Rorate Caeli

Napa Institute Pontifical Mass by Bishop Cordileone on July 29 - Full Video

H/t Veritatem facientes in caritate

"This grace I will most easily obtain"

As the sky is adorned with stars, so the Province of the March of Ancona was in former times adorned with holy and exemplary friars, who, like the bright luminaries in heaven, ornamented the Order of Saint Francis, and enlightened the world by their doctrine and example.

Foremost amongst these was Brother Lucius Antico, in whom indeed shone forth the fire of divine charity and the light of holiness; for, taught by the Spirit of God, his preaching produced innumerable fruits. Another brother, Bentivoglio of San Severino, was seen by Brother Maximus raised above the earth as he was praying in the forest, at the sight of which miracle Brother Maximus became a Friar Minor, and grew so holy that he worked many miracles, both during his lifetime and after his death: he is buried at Murro. ...

Another Brother, Peter of Monticello, who was the guardian of the old Convent of Ancona, was raised several feet above the earth, to the foot of the Crucifix before which he was in prayer. This same Brother Peter having once observed the Fast of Saint Michael the Archangel with great devotion, as he was praying on the last day of the Fast in the church, was heard to speak with Saint Michael by a young man who had hidden himself behind the high altar, in hopes of seeing something wonderful; and the words which he heard were the following.

The saint said to Brother Peter: “Thou hast suffered faithfully for my sake, and during many days hast mortified thy body; wherefore I am come to comfort thee, and whatever grace thou askest of God, I will obtain for thee.” Brother Peter answered: “Most holy prince of the celestial host of saints, faithful servant of divine love, and pious protector of souls, this is the grace I ask of thee, namely, that thou obtain from God the pardon of my sins.” And St Michael answered: “Ask some other grace, as this I will most easily obtain.” And as Brother Peter asked for nothing else, the Archangel added: “Through the faith and devotion which thou hast to me, I will obtain for thee not this grace only, but many others likewise.” And when the conversation, which had lasted some time, was ended, the Archangel Michael departed, leaving Brother Peter greatly comforted.

Fioretti of Saint Francis

Should the SSPX be excommunicated? An Apostolic Nuncio's thoughts

As the possibility of an imminent regularization of the canonical status of the Society of St. Pius X seems increasingly remote, calls for their mass excommunication or for the formal acknowledgment of their alleged "schismatic" status once and for all, are again beginning to be heard. As if preparing for a tide of such comments, Archbishop Thomas Edward Gullickson, Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine, published the following article on his blog a week ago:

The Clear and Distinct as Gift  
With a genuinely upright enthusiasm, I wish to thank RORATE CAELI for posting the YouTube video interview in German with Fr. Schmidberger. This priest has always distinguished himself for his clear and distinct ideas, for the noble and profound way he makes his analysis. This video is no exception.  

As much as it pains me to hear him step back from the path of full communion with the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, where only it is to be found, Ubi Petrus, Ibi Ecclesia, I can deal with and appreciate his level-headed-ness.  

As I was listening to the interview, however, it came to me that the possibility of renewing the excommunication and extending it to all who adhere to the brotherhood if they refuse the Holy Father's extended hand, ought perhaps to be excluded for another reason and that on ecumenical (within or without the Church) grounds. Excommunication, as an imposed penalty today, should be salutary in its intent and working. Excommunication should work for the Church today like it did in the words of St. Paul. I turn the man (cohabiting with his father's wife) over to Satan in hopes of saving his soul and in the meantime eliminating a cause of great scandal within the body of the Church. After so many years away from us, you would have to find arguments for convincing me that a renewed or extended excommunication would bring the brotherhood to its knees and home to Peter, or that the brotherhood's continued separate existence through scandal, by reason of our acquiescence to the separation, risks the kind of scandal among Catholics which could put the eternal salvation of members of the Catholic Church at risk.

Ecumenical, I say, because I doubt if the penalty of excommunication could be effectively used today to return anyone who is still separated from us to full communion. The question for me and I think for Fr. Schmidberger is always the same: What happens when that clear-headed elite of which he is the stellar example passes from the scene? Who will steer the course? Whence comes the indefectibility or infallibility?

We must redouble our prayers for the unity of Christ's Church cum et sub Petro.

The Archbishop explains his views in greater detail in the comments section to his original post.

Many thanks to Archbishop Gullickson for noting our post!

Vatican II: A discussion that can no longer be stopped

Whatever might be said about the current situation of the talks between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), and whatever one's doctrinal position might be, one thing is clear: the frank discussion of the ambiguities of Vatican II and of post-Conciliar Vatican documents vis-a-vis the pre-Conciliar Magisterium has begun, and can no longer be stopped. While it would be easy to exaggerate the quality, extent and openness of the discussion so far, it cannot be denied that signs of it have been appearing in unlikely places, such as the following article that was published last week by the Homiletic and Pastoral Review.

Sept. 20, 2012 by Paul Kokoski. 

More and more, Catholics are shying away from using terms like “proselytizing,” “conversion,” and even “Catholic” in their ecumenical and inter-religious efforts, almost as if they were ashamed of the Gospel, or afraid of appearing as a “sign of contradiction.”

Vatican II’s Dignitatis Humanae states that every person has a “right” to religious freedom. They are not to be “coerced,” in any way, to act contrary to their own beliefs. In seemingly contradictory fashion, the same document exhorts Catholics to use the coercive power of truth in their missionary mandate to “make disciples of all nations”: “The truth cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own truth, as it makes its entrance into the mind at once quietly and with power.” Dignitatis Humanae thus invites Catholics to be both non-coercive, and coercive, in their dealings with non-Catholics. “Non-coercion” is understood in a negative sense to mean “non-missionary.” “Coercion” is understood in a positive sense to mean “missionary.” Vatican II, then, is inviting Catholics to be both a non-missionary, and a missionary, people. It is asserting, in effect, that two contradictory views of reality are merely different perceptions of the same thing. One can see in this confusion the promotion of a lethal system of religious indifferentism.

Rome-SSPX - Important - With the Pope's own signature: Vatican II and the post-conciliar Magisterium must be accepted in full

A transcript of a conference given by the French bishop of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Bp. Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, in the priory of Saint L.M.G. de Montfort (Maine-et-Loire, France), on September 16, 2012, was made public by French forum Un évêque s'est levé. The main excerpts, according to the available transcript, dealing with the Rome-SSPX negotiations are the following:

"[T]he agreement considered in 2011-2012 lasted for six months, it has not been blessed by the Blessed Virgin. (We had prayed rosary after rosary, and we keep doing that, that is very good.) But the Blessed Virgin was clearly not behind this idea. She did not walk this path, because on June 30 (it's a secret that I reveal to you, but it will be made public), on June 30, 2012, the Pope wrote with his own hand a letter to our Superior General, Bp. [Bernard] Fellay, signed personally: 'I confirm to you in fact [that], in order [for you] to be truly reintegrated into the Church  [Tissier says:] (let us move beyond this expression), it is necessary to truly accept the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar Magisterium.'

"It is, as a matter of principle, a stopping point, because we could not accept it anyway; we would not sign it anyway. One can enter into details, because the Council is so vast one can find good things in it, but this is not the essence of the Council."
"Evidently, we could not sign it. Because we are required to sign it, the agreements do not move forward. I would say that [if] on this point there is no agreement, there will be no agreement.

"This is all I can tell you, I do not think Rome will let us go. The Modernist Rome [sic] will come close to us [once again], it is inevitable. They are determined, they are persistent, they want to lead us to the Council, therefore pray. Personally, I would never sign things like that, that is clear."

In Gianluigi Nuzzi's book filled with Vatican leaks published earlier this year, Sua Santità, a specific chapter was devoted to the 2009 "Williamson crisis", and, in it, mention was made of the note of the Secretariate of State made public by L'Osservatore Romano on February 4, 2009 (we provided a translation of the Italian original text as soon as it was published). Nuzzi included this in his book:

"...[T]he entire phrase 'the Holy Father does not intend to leave aside an indispensable condition' [in the Secretariat of State's draft] was cancelled by Benedict XVI and replaced with, [in his own handwriting,] 'For a future recognition of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X, the full acknowledgment of the Second Vatican Council and of the Magisterium of Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, and of the same Benedict XVI is an indispensable condition'." (Gianluigi Nuzzi, Sua Santità, Chiarelettere, 2012, page 208)

It is unclear if this same content was merely mentioned by Pope Benedict XVI with a reference to the 2009 note in the June 30, 2012, letter mentioned by Tissier de Mallerais, or if the 2012 letter has more precise demands on the matter.

[French forum content also reported by Andrea Tornielli for La Stampa - in Italian]

Consecration to Our Lady - FSSP North American District

Annual renewal of the Consecration of the North American District of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) to Our Lady on the Feast of the of the Most Holy Rosary (source).

Every year, throughout the North American District, the priests of the Fraternity of St. Peter and the faithful who freely associate themselves with the Fraternity, renew the consecration of the North American District to the Blessed Mother of God. This re-consecration is done on the first Sunday of October, the Sunday recognized by the Church as being closely associated with the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. We encourage all who have not yet done so, to join in the renewal of the consecration during this month of the Rosary. The consecration in this manner is significant first and foremost because the Fraternity has chosen as one of its principle patrons, Our Lady under her august title of Mother of God. Secondly, the Feast is significant because Our Lady through the Rosary preserved so many tenacious adherents to the devotion through difficult years and, as if rewarding them with fruits for their labors, the traditional Mass was once again made available to many of them and to some the traditional Mass was made available through the ministry of the Fraternity. Finally the re-consecration on the feast of the Holy Rosary brings to mind St. Pius V who instituted the feast after the great catholic victory over the Muslim invaders at the battle of Lepanto. St. Pius also codified the traditional Mass, ensuring that it would be preserved for centuries to come, and through whose intercession it can be reasonably assumed that the traditional Mass is continually preserved by the highest guardians of orthodoxy even in our day through both the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei Afflicta and Summorum Pontificum.

Act of Consecration of the North American District of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter to the Blessed Mother of God

This consecration is made on the first Sunday of October by the members and faithful of the North American District of the Fraternity. For private use only.

O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Help of Christians, behold this day before thy feet, the priests and seminarians of the Fraternity of Saint Peter, together with all those who, united with us as a spiritual family, place their hope and trust in thee. O Queen and Mother of all priests, it was by thee that Jesus, the Divine High Priest and Victim, was given unto the world, and He in turn has given thee to us.

Intercede, therefore, we implore thee, for us thy children, whom thou didst receive and accept at the foot of the Cross. Look with favor upon the work we seek to do for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Obtain for us by thy prayers the graces we need as members of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, to be instructed and enlightened by her Magisterium, to be devoutly zealous for the graces of her Sacraments, and to be unfailingly loyal in our unity with the Vicar of thy Son.

(This section is offered by priests and seminarians only:) Conscious of our own frailty, and of the hatred of the world for the works of light, we offer thee this day, and beg thee to take under thy patronage, our Priestly Fraternity. We invoke thee, this day and evermore, as our advocate and Queen, and devote ourselves and all those souls who seek our priestly care, together with all our works and all we have and are, to thy loving protection. To thee and to thy Immaculate Heart, we entrust and consecrate ourselves. Assist us in our endeavors to spread the Kingdom of thy Son, so that those who have strayed from the truth may once more attend to the teaching of the Church; those separated from her unity may return to the one true fold; those in sin may be restored to a state of grace; and those who have abandoned the Sacraments may return with fervor to receive them. O Virgin Most Pure, do thou, together with Saint Peter, and all the angels and saints, pray for us all. May thy love and protection be ever upon our Fraternity, so that we may faithfully proclaim the Holy Gospel and bring the Sacraments to ever more souls. Obtain for us by thy prayers that we may persevere in grace until death, when we may be united with thee, our loving Mother, in our heavenly home. Amen.

The Pope on the Sacred Liturgy and Sacrosanctum Concilium: altare Dei est cor nostrum

In recent months we have made a journey in the light of the Word of God, to learn to pray in a more authentic way by looking at some great figures in the Old Testament, the Psalms, the Letters of St. Paul and the Book of Revelation, but also looking at unique and fundamental experience of Jesus in his relationship with the Heavenly Father. In fact, only in Christ is man enabled to unite himself to God with the depth and intimacy of a child before a father who loves him, only in Him can we turn in all truth to God and lovingly call Him "Abba! Father." Like the Apostles, we too have repeated and we still repeat to Jesus, "Lord, teach us to pray" (Lk 11:1).

You report: In the footsteps of Saint Bridget, new Traditional Pilgrimage in Sweden

We deeply thank reader M. Holmström for the detailed report of the Swedish pilgrimage, and for sending us the beautiful pictures by D. Nygård.

Our best wishes for the revival of the Latin liturgical tradition in the land of Saint Bridget.


Meeting God's friends along the way
On September 7-8, 2012, the Society of Cardinal Dante (Kardinal Dante-sällskapet) organized its first pilgrimage from Skänninge to Vadstena in the footsteps of Saint Bridget of Sweden for the sake of reviving Catholic Tradition in Sweden.

Before Protestantism, Skänninge and especially Vadstena were two of Sweden's most important Catholic villages. Although this was the first pilgrimage of the Society, almost 60 people participated. The pilgrims were mainly young people and young families. There was also a group flying in from Croatia only to participate in this historical event.

The pilgrimage started out in Skänninge, where the participants had assembled from many parts of the country, with a Missa Cantata celebrated in honor of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

After Mass, the participants gathered for lunch in the nearby inn. When the meal was finished the aim was set on Vadstena and the walk began!

Late arrival!
Through the beautiful landscape of Östergötland, the pilgrims walked and sang and prayed the rosary together and also stopped to view the ruins of one of the two old Dominican convents which, after the Reformation, sadly disappeared. Many new contacts and friends were made during the walk, strengthening the bonds of the group.

After five long hours of walking, the goal was in sight and the pilgrims were lucky enough to get to the former abbey church before closure and had the opportunity to pray together before the relics of Saint Bridget.

Although the walk was over 20 kilometers the mood remained joyful and the long walk seemed to effect the youngest children the least! After a wonderful and well deserved dinner at a local restaurant the pilgrims headed to a local hostel.

On Saturday morning, the adventure culminated in two important events. Already at 7 AM, a small group of persons had gathered in the former abbey church to witness the conversion and, by the permission of the Swedish Bishop, the confirmation of one of the pilgrims, a young man who chose as his Patron the Patron Saint of Stockholm and its Catholic Cathedral Saint Erik. 

After the confirmation the preparations for Mass were set and at 9 AM the Mass of the Nativity of Mary was celebrated. The pilgrims then gathered close to the relics once more to sing the Litany of Saint Bridget.

Finally a nice brunch was served and the pilgrims went on to say their goodbyes and went home strengthened in faith and Catholic Tradition.

The plans are now in full operation for the second pilgrimage taking place in May 2013.

Facts: The Association to the Memory of Cardinal Dante is intended as a network of Swedish friends of the Institute of Christ the King. We also wish to honour the memory of the great Cardinal and Papal Master of Ceremonies, as well as contribute to a revival of the traditional Roman liturgy in Sweden. Since November 2011 there is a priest from the Institute residing in Stockholm.

Upcoming Events

1. Annual Pilgrimage to Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, Auriesville, New York: This weekend: invitation and more information here.

2. Special Mass in honor of Saint Mother Theodore Guérin, in South Bend, Indiana:

October 3rd, 2012
St. Patrick Catholic Church
309 South Taylor Street
South Bend, IN 46601
7:00 PM
Missa Cantata
Celebrant: Fr. Brian McDonnell, FSSP

Prayers for the success of the November Pilgrimage to Rome

From Una Cum Papa Nostro, the blog of the organizers of the international pilgrimage of Catholic traditionalists to Rome from November 1 to November 3 of this year, culminating in a Pontifical Mass according to the 1962 Missal in St. Peter's Basilica. (There is no real news yet on who will be the celebrant of this Mass, and it is better not to speculate.)

On October 7, a Rosary for the Pilgrimage

Sunday October 7, on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto, every single Summorum Pontificum Coetus is invited to pray for the success of the CISP Pilgrimage in November. 

We ask any group of faithful and religious that benefits from the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to pray their Rosary in that beautiful day for the spiritual goals of the Pilgrimage, as expressed by our Chaplain: 

-  thanksgiving and support for the Holy Father;
-  demonstration of loyalty to Peter;
-  profession of faith and participation in the New Evangelization promoted by His Holiness. 


Un chapelet pour le Pèlerinage 

En la fête du Très Saint Rosaire, anniversaire de la bataille de Lépante, le dimanche 7 octobre, le Coetus Internationalis Summorum Pontificum invite tous les groupes Summorum Pontificum à prier pour le succès du pèlerinage de novembre à Rome. 

Le Coetus Internationalis demande à chaque communauté laïque ou religieuse qui bénéficie de la forme extraordinaire de la messe de prier un chapelet aux intentions du pèlerinage, telles qu’exprimées par son aumônier, l’abbé Claude Barthe : 

- action de grâces et de soutien filial au Saint Père,
- témoignage de fidélité au successeur de Pierre,
- profession de foi et désir de participer à la nouvelle évangélisation voulue par Benoît XVI.

You report: American Anglican Ordinariate, anti-Tradition zone

We have received the following report from a reader:

You have previously posted on your blog reports about Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson's animosity towards the Traditional Mass and another contributor, Augustinus, followed up with mention of the Mass being celebrated Friday mornings at Mount Calvary in Baltimore, a church of the Anglican Ordinariate.

You should know that after Mass there last Friday, September 21st, it was announced that, while the celebration of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form is "allowed" [sic] to Ordinariate priests, it cannot be celebrated at Ordinariate premises, "since that form of the Mass is not integral to the Anglican patrimony."

This is less than three months after the termination of another weekday Traditional Mass at an archdiocesan parish due to a priest's reassignment.  That church, St. William of York, with its communion rail and removable low altar, and Mount Calvary were two of the few churches in Baltimore that are well-suited to accommodate the Traditional Mass. 
Rorate can add that - having confirmed the content above with other sources -, according to our own Roman inquiries on this matter, one man seems to be responsible for the embarrassing and outrageous hatred displayed by the Ordinary of the United States, Msgr. Steenson, regarding the Traditional Mass of the Roman Rite: Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington. Wuerl had been put in place as a sort of liaison between Rome and the Anglicans before the official creation of the Ordinariate, and still acts as the Capo di tutti capi of the Ordinariate, on which he imposes his personal idiosyncrasies and hatreds.

We do not think, though, that this excuses Steenson's unbelievable weakness in his foremost administrative task: defending the rights and prerogatives of his priests and faithful. He may think the rights ascertained by Summorum Pontificum to all priests of the Latin Church, including those of his own Ordinariate, are an easily dismissable "problem" created by "difficult" people, with which he should not waste his scarce "political capital". We say with utmost certainty that this weakness will come back to haunt him and all his priests and faithful in more "serious" matters. We would have thought that his Episcopalian experiences would have warned him to the dangers of ceding territory to the Enemy, but, alas, some lessons are never learned by those constitutionally unable to learn them.

Since the Anglican Ordinariate of the United States has become an explicit and rabid Anti-Traditional area, at least in its highest position, it is unlikely that Rorate will report any of its future developments. We stay with Fisher, More, Byrd, Campion, and Newman, and all the various Traditional rites, forms, and uses of the Latin Church  - they can stay with the "Anglican Patrimony" of Annibale Bugnini. As Vicky Gene Robinson (Steenson's contemporary fellow "bishop" of the Episcopal Church in the early 2000s - Robinson, starting in March 2004, Steenson in October 2004) might say, godspeed on your new "life journey"...

You report: First Traditional Wedding in Denmark in decades

A Danish reader sends us the following report:

The first wedding in Denmark according to the Traditional Roman Rite since the late 1960s-early 1970s liturgical upheaval took place on Saturday, September 15 at the historic Jesu Hjerte Kirke (Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) in Copenhagen. Both bride and groom are regular attendees at the Traditional Sunday Mass held twice a month in the same church.

The Nuptial Mass was sung with Gregorian settings supplemented by the motets Sicut lilium inter spinas by Palestrina and Ubi Caritas by Duruflé. 

A great many non-Catholics and non-believers were present, and everyone, also those familiar with Catholic liturgy in the Ordinary Form, remarked that the ceremony was extraordinarily beautiful, mystical, and inspiring.

Earth-shattering evidence of the wedding of Our Lord Jesus Christ!

And I John saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice from the throne, saying: "Behold the tabernacle of God with men, and he will dwell with them. And they shall be his people; and God himself with them shall be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away." And he that sat on the throne, said: "Behold, I make all things new." And he said to me: "Write, for these words are most faithful and true.

And he said to me: "It is done. I am Alpha and Omega; the beginning and the end. To him that thirsteth, I will give of the fountain of the water of life, freely. He that shall overcome shall possess these things, and I will be his God; and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, they shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." And there came one of the seven angels, who had the vials full of the seven last plagues, and spoke with me, saying: "Come, and I will shew thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb."

Apocalypse of Saint John (Revelation), XXI

SSPX-Rome: Important - Father Schmidberger speaks on conditions and current status of negotiations with Rome
Updated: video with subtitles

Fr. Andreas Steiner, spokesman of the German District of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), interviewed Germany’s current District Superior and former Superior General of the Society Fr. Franz Schmidberger.

Fr. Schmidberger spoke on the most recent General Chapter, the current situation of affairs between Rome and the SSPX, and on the relationship with Abp. Müller (head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - and President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei).

[Click on "captions" for English subtitles]

Following is an adapted, but reasonably accurate, summary of the 17:21-long video.

On the first question, dealing with the General Chapter, Fr. Schmidberger remarks about the gain for the SSPX itself: “the General Chapter has provided us with a new unity within our own ranks, [a unity] which had suffered a bit in recent times; and that is a big grace of God, I would say”. Concerning the external aspect of the General Chapter, Father remarks that there are three points which must be demanded from the authorities if a visible union with Rome will be established. These are: firstly, that the SSPX will be given the freedom to expose the errors of Vatican II; secondly, that the SSPX will be allowed to only use the liturgical books of 1962; and thirdly, that there must always be a bishop in the Fraternity from within its own ranks.

The second question deals with the situation between Rome and the SSPX. Around Pentecost (of this year) people thought that a visible union was close, but, as Father remarks, the meeting of Cardinal Levada and Bishop Fellay changed this. The proposal that was presented by the Cardinal contained not only the proposal [translator's note: for a doctrinal preamble] that Bishop Fellay had sent to Rome earlier, but it added to that proposal new requirements to be fulfilled by the SSPX, but which the Bishop deemed unacceptable for the Fraternity.

These additional requirements consist, according to Father, of the recognition of the “licitness” [in German: Lizeität - translator's note: see also the foreword to the SSPX’s German District’s Mitteilungsblatt nr. 404 of September 2012, in which the same word is used, strengthening the belief that this words stems directly from the proposal of Cardinal Levada] of the new liturgy [translator's note: Father firstly presents the term Lizeität as “permissiveness”, but he then immediately interprets it as meaning “rightfulness”]; and also of the recognition of the uninterrupted continuity between Vatican II and all former councils and doctrinal statements of the Church. And that is impossible, according to Father, as there undeniably are ruptures with Vatican II and “we therefore cannot accept the hermeutic of continuity as such” [emphasis added by translator].

Following on that meeting, Bishop Fellay sent a letter to the Pope, asking him whether these additional requirements were wished for by His Holiness, or that they were his co-workers's demands. The Pope assured Bishop Fellay that he really wishes these requirements to be fulfilled.

The SSPX will send its concerns about these additional requirements to Rome in the hope that they can be resolved. Already with the doctrinal discussions it became clear that there are big differences between the teaching of the Church during the last centuries (represented by the SSPX) and the doctrinal concepts of the representatives of the current authorities in the church. As long as these are not resolved, Father says he believes that there will be no real exodus of the Church out of the current problems.

The third question, then, deals with the relation between Archbishop Müller, the current prefect of the CDF, and the SSPX. The Archbishop has not been very favourable of the SSPX when he was the local ordinary of the diocese in which the SSPX has its German seminary; however, what worries Father much more is the heterodoxy of the Archbishop in certain points of the Faith [translator's note: see this Rorate post, at number 2], whereas the head of the CDF is supposed to watch over the Faith and protect it.

Father Steiner then asked whether Fr. Schmidberger expects new excommunications if the SSPX does not fulfil the two abovementioned requirements. Father Schmidberger, however, thinks that that is very unlikely. He sees the Fraternity not only as a community of about 570 priests, some sisters and some Catholic schools, but – without wanting to come across as pretentious – he also believes that the SSPX is in a certain way the backbone of all those who want to keep the Tradition of the Church alive. For all those, the SSPX is in a certain way a point of reference. If this point of reference would be discredited in such a way, this would mean a huge “demoralisation” of the traditional and conservative forces in the Church. It would therefore be a tremendous catastrophe, not so much for the Fraternity, but for the Church itself.

Finally, the last question sought the opinion of Fr. Schmidberger as to whether the talks with Rome have had any benefit. Father believes that the talks have had huge benefits. Firstly, they have proven that the SSPX really does search a normalisation; that the SSPX regards its current situation in light of the current crisis, as being not normal; and every abnormality lingers for a normalisation. The current abnormal situation is, however, not the fault of the Fraternity; it is a necessity in the current crisis if one wants to keep the ancient liturgy, the ancient doctrine, the ancient discipline integrally and if one wants to live homogeneously as a Catholic on this fullness.

On the other hand, the discussions have shown that there exist doctrinal differences; and the deviations do not exist on the side of the Fraternity, but on the side of – one has to, sadly, admit this – those representatives of the Church that organise the Assisi meetings, that practise that which has been explicitly condemned in the past by the Church, by the Popes, by the councils.

And thirdly, the talks have led to a process of clarification within the Society. The Society does not agree with those that, out of principle, reject talks with Rome. Father ends the interview by saying: "The Fraternity has never worked for itself; it has never regarded itself as an end in itself, but it has always striven to serve the Church; to serve the Popes. Archbishop Lefebvre has always said this: we want to be at the disposal of the Bishops, of the Popes; we want to serve them, we want to help them lead the Church out of this crisis, to restore the Church in all her beauty, in all her holiness; but this can, of course, only happen outside of any compromise, of any false compromise. That is of great importance to us and we have in truth tried to resettle this treasure in the Church, to give it right of residence again. And maybe one or another has worked out in a certain way. The Fraternity has also, through these doctrinal discussions which I have mentioned, certainly made people think about the Second Vatican Council and about certain statements of this Council.”

[Translation: IM. Source:]

Me, me, me, me, me

[T]he tenderness which we have for our own selves is a great hindrance to us in the path of perfection.

To understand this, we must remember that there are in us two sorts of love; the affective love, and the effective love. ... [A] father ... has two sons, one of whom is yet a child, but amiable and of good promise; and the other is a grown man, brave and generous. The father greatly loves these two sons, but with a different kind of love; for he loves the one who is still a child with a love extremely tender and affective; he caresses him, he kisses him, he holds him on his knees and in his arms with an incomparable sweetness, as well for himself as for the child; suppose this child has been stung by a bee, the father never ceases to soothe him until the pain is abated. If his eldest son had been stung by a hundred bees, he would not deign to turn his head round, although he loves him with a love mightily strong and solid.

Consider, I pray you, the difference of these two loves. For although you have seen the tenderness of this father for his little one, he nevertheless does not give up forming the intention of sending him away from the house, destining his eldest son to be his heir and the successor to his property. The latter, therefore, is loved with an effective love, and the former with an affective love. Both the one and the other are loved, but in a different way.

The love which we have for ourselves is, in like manner, either effective or affective. Effective love is that which stirs and drives to action those who are ambitious of honors and riches, who never say, "this is enough." Affective love applies to those who are very tender over themselves, who do nothing but complain, and who are so afraid of anything hurting them, that it is lamentable to observe them. If they are sick, though perhaps it is but the tip of their finger that aches, nobody suffers so much as they do, or is so miserable; no sickness is to be compared to that which they suffer, and one cannot find physicians enough to attend to them. They never cease attending to themselves, and while they think to preserve their health, they lose and ruin it entirely. If others are sick, it is nothing, it is only themselves who have a right to complain, and they weep tenderly over themselves, to move others to compassion; they do not care whether we think them patient or not, provided we think them sick and afflicted.


This feebleness is much more insufferable in spiritual than in bodily things; and nevertheless it is unfortunately most indulged in by spiritual persons, who would be saints all at once, without choosing to be at the expense even of the sufferings caused by those conflicts which the inferior part of the soul sustains from things painful to nature; however, whether we choose it or not, we must needs have the courage to suffer, in resisting these efforts all the days of our life, unless we wish to renounce the perfection which we have undertaken.

Saint Francis de Sales
Les Entretiens (Conferences at the Visitation of Annecy)

To Be Deep in History: Lead, Kindly Light

On the two-year anniversary of his beatification, Rorate is pleased to bring you this very special, free look at a wonderful video on John Henry Cardinal Newman. "Lead, Kindly Light" is a special 20-minute film about this great convert.

Until now, it has only been shown once: on large-screen televisions (19 September 2010) in Birmingham, England, immediately before the Pope’s special Mass with the Beatification of Cardinal Newman.

The film was produced in 2010 by the Newman Connection, in association with Corpus Christi Watershed.

It is now being made public today in celebration of the imminent release of the St. Edmund Campion Missal & Hymnal for the Traditional Latin Mass.

To learn more about the special connection between this film and the Campion project, please click here.

Celebrating 50 years of a very successful endeavor

Whose boat?
From the Catholic Herald:

Archbishop of Canterbury and Orthodox patriarch to join Vatican II celebration

The Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and the Archbishop of Canterbury will join Pope Benedict XVI’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, it was announced today.

Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Dr Rowan Williams will attend the Mass that Pope Benedict will celebrate at the Vatican to mark the anniversary of the opening of the council on October 11, 1962, Vatican officials said.

Representatives from the Orthodox Church and Anglican Communion were observers at the 1962-65 council, which officially embraced and promoted Catholic involvement in the ecumenical movement.

FSSP installation in Fribourg

As we reported in June, Bishop Charles Morerod OP of the Diocese of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg decided to entrust the pastoral care of the Basilica of Our Lady (Basilique de Notre-Dame) in Fribourg to the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP). The official installation of the FSSP in the Basilica took place on September 8, with a Mass celebrated by the Superior General of the Fraternity, Fr. John Berg.

Mondays: Pray for the Souls in Purgatory

Below, please find the sixty-second posting of enrolled souls of the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society.

Mondays in the Church have traditionally been set aside for the souls in Purgatory. Here's an extra prayer you can add to your routine for them:

Monday Prayer for the Faithful Departed

O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood which Thy divine Son Jesus shed in His cruel scourging, deliver the souls in purgatory, and among them all, especially that soul which is nearest to its entrance into Thy glory, that it may soon begin to praise and bless Thee for ever. Amen.

How to enroll souls: please email me at and submit as follows: "Name, State, Country." If you want to enroll entire families, simply write in the email: "The Jones family, Ohio, USA". Individual names are preferred. Be greedy -- send in as many as you wish and forward this posting to friends as well.

Please consider forwarding this Society to your family and friends, announcing from the pulpit during Holy Mass or listing in your church bulletin. We need to spread the word and relieve more suffering souls.

Please pray for the enrolled souls and the 17 holy priests saying Traditional Masses for the Society:

Prayer of a Parishioner

A parish priest outside the Catholic church of Bagshot, Surrey, 1950s (Source)

In a recent purchase of a very handy 1950s pocket edition of a Bible - that had first been given as a gift to a priest -, there was a folded typed prayer card, with the following...

Prayer of a Parishioner 
Thank you, Lord, for the shortcomings of our Priests!
If they did not have them,
they would not be able to understand our own weaknesses.
I forgot that, when outside, they must greet everyone.
I also forgot that they always have to welcome others
with a smile on their lips,
even when they are somewhat dead inside.
I ask you, Lord, that I may practice charity with our Priests,
that I may understand that I have only one Priest to suffer,
while he has to suffer us all.

Mother of God, intercede for the Lands of thy Son's visitation

In honor of the Most Holy and Ever-Virgin Mother of God, and in remembrance of the visit of the Successor of Saint Peter to the blessed lands of the Levant once touched by the Word Incarnate: part of the Akathist hymn, chanted in Arabic by Archimandrite Agapios Abu Saada, of the Basilian Order of the Most Holy Savior, Pastor of the Melkite Greek Catholic Parish in Haifa, the city of Carmel, the Mount of Saint Elias:

The Pope in Lebanon: "Your suffering is not in vain" - "In Heavenly Jerusalem, your tears will be wiped away" - "Our Mother understands our needs"

Basilica of Saint Paul - Harissa

By telling his disciples that he must suffer and be put to death, and then rise again, Jesus wants to make them understand his true identity. He is a Messiah who suffers, a Messiah who serves, and not some triumphant political saviour. He is the Servant who obeys his Father’s will, even to giving up his life. This had already been foretold by the prophet Isaiah in today’s first reading. Jesus thus contradicts the expectations of many. What he says is shocking and disturbing. We can understand the reaction of Peter who rebukes him, refusing to accept that his Master should suffer and die! Jesus is stern with Peter; he makes him realize that anyone who would be his disciple must become a servant, just as he became Servant.

Following Jesus means taking up one’s cross and walking in his footsteps, along a difficult path which leads not to earthly power or glory but, if necessary, to self-abandonment, to losing one’s life for Christ and the Gospel in order to save it. We are assured that this is the way to the resurrection, to true and definitive life with God. Choosing to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, who made himself the Servant of all, requires drawing ever closer to him, attentively listening to his word and drawing from it the inspiration for all that we do.

Dear brothers and sisters who are suffering physically or spiritually, your sufferings are not in vain! Christ the Servant wished to be close to the suffering. He is always close to you. Along your own path, may you always find brothers and sisters who are concrete signs of his loving presence which will never forsake you! Remain ever hopeful because of Christ!

And may all of you, my brothers and sisters who have come to take part in this celebration, strive to be ever more fully conformed to the Lord Jesus, who became the Servant of all for the life of the world. May God bless Lebanon; may he bless all the peoples of this beloved region of the Middle East, and may he grant them the gift of his peace. Amen.

Benedict XVI 
September 16, 2012


Dear Church in the Middle East, draw from the source of salvation which became a reality in this unique and beloved land! Follow in the footsteps of your fathers in faith, who by tenacity and fidelity opened up the way for humanity to respond to the revelation of God! Among the wonderful diversity of saints who flourished in your land, look for examples and intercessors who will inspire your response to the Lord's call to walk towards the heavenly Jerusalem, where God will wipe away every one of our tears (cf. Rev 21:4)!

Benedict XVI 
September 16, 2012


Let us turn now to Mary, Mother of God, Our Lady of Lebanon. Let us ask her to intercede with her divine Son for you and, more particularly, for the people of Syria and the neighbouring countries, imploring the gift of peace. You know all too well the tragedy of the conflicts and the violence which generates so much suffering. Sadly, the din of weapons continues to make itself heard, along with the cry of the widow and the orphan. Violence and hatred invade people’s lives, and the first victims are women and children. Why so much horror? Why so many dead? I appeal to the international community! I appeal to the Arab countries that, as brothers, they might propose workable solutions respecting the dignity, the rights and the religion of every human person! Those who wish to build peace must cease to see in the other an evil to be eliminated. It is not easy to see in the other a person to be respected and loved, and yet this is necessary if peace is to be built, if fraternity is desired (cf. 1 Jn 2:10-11; 1 Pet 3:8-12). May God grant to your country, to Syria and to the Middle East the gift of peaceful hearts, the silencing of weapons and the cessation of all violence! May men understand that they are all brothers! Mary, our Mother, understands our concern and our needs. Together with the Patriarchs and Bishops present, I place the Middle East under her maternal protection (cf. Propositio 44). May we, with God’s help, be converted so as to work ardently to establish the peace that is necessary for harmonious coexistence among brothers, whatever their origins and religious convictions.
Benedict XVI 
September 16, 2012

The Pope in Lebanon: The secret of true peace is answering Christ's call

In Christ you will find the strength and courage to advance along the paths of life, and to overcome difficulties and suffering. In him you will find the source of joy. Christ says to you: سَلامي أُعطيكُم – My peace I give to you! (Jn 14:27). This is the true revolution brought by Christ: that of love.

The frustrations of the present moment must not lead you to take refuge in parallel worlds like those, for example, of the various narcotics or the bleak world of pornography. As for social networks, they are interesting but they can quite easily lead to addiction and confusion between the real and the virtual. Look for relationships of genuine, uplifting friendship. Find ways to give meaning and depth to your lives; fight superficiality and mindless consumption! You face another temptation, too: that of money, the tyrannical idol which blinds to the point of stifling the person at the heart. The examples being held up all around you are not always the best. Many people have forgotten Christ’s warning that one cannot serve both God and mammon (cf. Lk 16:13). Seek out good teachers, spiritual masters, who will be able to guide you along the path to maturity, leaving behind all that is illusory, garish and deceptive.

Bring the love of Christ to everyone! How? By turning unreservedly to God the Father, who is the measure of everything that is right, true and good. Meditate on God’s word! Discover how relevant and real the Gospel can be. Pray! Prayer and the sacraments are the sure and effective means to be a Christian and to live “rooted and built up in Christ, and established in the faith” (Col 2:7). ... “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 13:35). This is the legacy of Jesus and the sign of the Christian. This is the true revolution of love!

... The vocation of Christ’s disciples is to be “leaven” in the lump, as Saint Paul says: “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Gal 5:9). Be heralds of the Gospel of life and life’s authentic values. Courageously resist everything opposed to life: abortion, violence, rejection of and contempt for others, injustice and war. In this way you will spread peace all around you. Are not “peacemakers” those whom in the end we admire the most? Is it not a world of peace that, deep down, we want for ourselves and for others? سَلامي أُعطيكُم – My peace I give to you! (Jn 14:27), Jesus says. He overcame evil not with more evil, but by taking evil upon himself and destroying it completely on the cross through a love lived to the very end. Truly discovering God’s forgiveness and mercy always enables us to begin a new life. It is not easy to forgive. But God’s forgiveness grants the power of conversion, and the joy of being able to forgive in turn. Forgiveness and reconciliation are the paths of peace; they open up a future. 

Dear friends, a number of you are surely asking in a more or less conscious way: What is it that God expects of me? What is his plan for me? Wouldn’t I like to proclaim to the world the grandeur of his love in the priesthood, in the consecrated life or in marriage? Might not Christ be calling me to follow him more closely? Think about these questions with confidence and trust. Take time to reflect on them and ask for enlightenment. Respond to his invitation by offering yourselves daily to the Lord, for he calls you to be his friends. Strive to follow Christ wholeheartedly and generously, for out of love he redeemed us and gave his life for each one of us. You will come to know inconceivable joy and fulfilment! To answer Christ’s call to each of us: that is the secret of true peace. 
Benedict XVI 
September 15, 2012

Parliaments and nations will pass away, the Words of Christ will last forever

No nation is guaranteed a permanent place in this world, these ridiculous parliaments and governments with no sense of their impermanence will one day disappear: the only end of history is Our Lord Jesus Christ.

From the declarations of Cardinal Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, upon meeting a minister of the French government, that will soon push through parliament the modification of the civil notion of marriage in order to include unnatural unions:

"This has many consequences that cannot be numbered. Afterwards, they will try to create 'couples' of three, or of four. After that, one day, perhaps, the prohibition of incest will fall. ... A marriage is a name that implies a bulwark, in order to allow the most fragile spot in society, that is, a woman who gives birth to a child, to have all conditions established so that it may take place with the best available resources.

"For us, the first page of the Bible has a little more strength and truth, that will traverse the cultures and the centuries, than the circumstantial or passing decisions of a Parliament."

Naturally, he is being attacked for these declarations.

[Tip: Le Salon Beige; source: Le Figaro]

FIUV Position Paper: The EF and Western Culture

Today I can publish the 11th in our series of Position Papers, on the Extraordinary Form and Western Culture. 'Modern Man' and 'the Man of Today' (in the dated idiom of the 1960s and 70s) was a constant source of concern at the Second Vatican Council, and a similar concern is to be found in the writings of the more progressive 'liturgical movement' writers. Modern Man doesn't like Latin, ritual, Gregorian Chant, and so these things had to be done away with. Sadly, it would be more accurate to say that Modern Man doesn't like the 10 Commandments, just like his ancestors. But there was an element of truth in this concern. In the course of the last two or three centuries cultural barriers have been erected in the West against ritual, by the deeply embedded, though bizarre, idea that only spontaneous actions are sincere, and against a sense of mystery, by the equally powerful, though quite opposed, idea, that meaning can only be communicated by what is immediately intellectually understood. The separation of Faith and Reason in the West  has created a schizophrenic culture which is able to attack the Church and the ancient liturgy simultaneously from two utterly opposed directions, the Romantic insistence on emotional authenticity and the Enlightenment insistence on intellectualism.

As Mgr Ronald Knox said, 'any old stick is good enough to beat the poor old Church of Rome, and if it breaks, you've got two!'

This problem hasn't gone away, and we all know people (some readers may be such people themselves) who find it difficult to engage with the ancient liturgy either because it seems too formal to be 'real', or because it seems too mysterious to be meaningful. This problem will not be solved overnight. The question is whether we respond by making concessions to these feelings, or in some other way.

This paper argues that concessions - taking away ritual and mystery - are not the best way forward, and that the ancient liturgical tradition is actually well placed to address the difficulty presented by modern Western culture. There are a number of arguments put forward; a taster is the argument that since the ancient liturgy can reach us at lots of different levels, with music and art, intellectually and emotionally, by presenting the ineffable mysteries to the senses and the imagination, it is uniquely well placed to overcome, perhaps gently and gradually, the ingrained prejudices of 'Modern Man', which on examination are not merely prejudices against specific liturgical forms, but against the Faith.

I've put some more commentary on the petition of cultural figures, which secured the 'Agatha Christie Indult' o 1971, which forms an appendix to this paper, on my own blog here.

Some 'Modern Men' walking 55 miles from Ely to Walsingham for the Conversion of England, in the Latin Mass Society's Pilgrimage to Walsingham.
This paper is available as a pdf here; the full set can be dowloaded from here.

Comments can be sent to positio AT

The next paper, on Latin in Seminaries, will be published on 15th October.

Papers in preparation include the Lectionary, Holy Week, and Holy Days of Obligation.


FIUV Position Paper 11: Evangelization and Western Culture

1    The ancient Latin liturgical tradition is rooted, first, in the Western Mediterranean culture of antiquity, and then the Western and Central European culture of the Middle Ages. It was influenced by, and in turn influenced, these cultures, over many centuries, and was carried, with the rest of European culture, to North America, Oceania, and elsewhere. A key question in the liturgical debate of the 20th Century, and since, has been whether what we may broadly call ‘Western’ culture (the culture of Latin Europe, and of populations of predominantly European culture in other continents), has changed in recent centuries in such a way that this liturgical tradition, in its familiar form, is no longer an effective tool for the sanctification of the individual, and the propagation of the Faith, particularly in the context for the need for a re-evangelization of this culture,[1] which is now in many ways hostile to the Gospel.[2] This is this question we wish to examine in this paper.

        The place of the Latin liturgical tradition in other cultural contexts needs to be addressed separately.

Problematic features of Western Culture

     Western culture has certainly changed, or decayed, in ways unfriendly to the ancient liturgy. The theologian Fr Aidan Nichols, OP, cites sociological evidence suggesting that, for example, children raised without a clear understanding of hierarchy and ritual, and in a context of an atomised society, find it harder to comprehend the messages conveyed by social rituals such as the liturgy.[3]

4     The Church has always respected pagan cultures, and in purifying them of elements incompatible with the Natural Law has enabled them to flourish.[4] It might seem possible, therefore, for the Church to approach the task of re-evangelizing the West in a similarly open-minded fashion.

      The difficulty is that the cultural attitudes most at odds with the ancient liturgy are those which have derived, historically, from a rejection of Catholic teaching.[5] For example, the Romantic tradition stresses the emotions and spontaneity, as indicative of sincerity and authenticity.[6] This is historically related to the focus on personal religious experience, and the rejection of Reason in theology, found in some strands of Protestantism, contrary to the teaching of the Church.[7] A person influenced by Romanticism must reject or substantially modify this aspect of his culture, if he is to embrace the Faith.

      Romanticism is, within modern Western culture, in permanent tension with the exaggerated Rationalism of the Enlightenment. Rationalism raises problems for the ancient liturgy of a contrasting sort, rejecting symbolism, ritual, and the sense of mystery, as obscurantism. This, again, cannot be separated from an attitude of mind hostile to the Faith itself, since it is hard to see how someone with this Rationalist response could accept the ineffable mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation.

7      Pope Benedict XVI expresses the point with great clarity, when discussing the cultural significance of kneeling.

It may well be that kneeling is alien to modern culture—insofar as it is a culture, for this culture has turned away from the faith and no longer knows the One before whom kneeling is the right, indeed the intrinsically necessary gesture. The man who learns to believe learns also to kneel...[8]

As Bl. Pope John Paul II remarked:

the liturgy, though it must always be properly inculturated, must also be counter-cultural.[9]

8     In light of this, the question we face is: how, in general, and specifically in the liturgy, can we best overcome the prejudices unfriendly to the Faith which are characteristic of modern Western culture, and promote and sustain the counter-cultural nature of the community of believers?

Advantages of the Extraordinary Form

9     There are many aspects to a complete answer to this question, and indeed it has been addressed in the Papal Magisterium with increasing urgency in recent years, in the context of the ‘New Evangelization’. There follow some considerations which show that ancient liturgy is a positive force in this effort, and not at all a handicap.

       First, the ancient liturgy is characterised by an unflinching presentation of the Truths of Faith: it avoids the danger of (in the words of Pope Benedict XVI) ‘the repetition of phrases that might seem more accessible and more pleasant for the people’, ‘making the mystery a banality’.[10] For example, the reality of human sin and our need for grace, which are perhaps the truths most energetically evaded, but most urgently needed, by modern Western culture,[11] are presented insistently by the Extraordinary Form, not only in its texts (such as the Collects of Lent), but also ceremonies, such as the priest’s Confiteor before the servers’. It is a natural bulwark against the danger noted by Pope Benedict:

A weakened sense of the meaning and importance of Christian worship can only lead to a weakened sense of the specific and essential vocation of the laity to imbue the temporal order with the spirit of the Gospel.[12]

1    Secondly, as just noted the Extraordinary Form uses a wide range of means to communicate the Faith. The texts, ceremonies, vestments, and musical accompaniment of the liturgy, the lay-out of the sanctuary and the movement of ministers and servers, the complexity of some, and not other, ceremonies, the contrast between spoken, sung, and silent prayer, and the engagement of the Faithful, all communicate the Faith in subtle ways, even to those who, in Pope Paul VI’s phrase describing ‘modern man’, are ‘sated with talk’.[13] This has particular value in seeking to counteract subconscious habits of mind, and can serve as a gentle re-education of the imagination and emotions: for, in Pope Benedict XVI’s phrase, liturgy is a ‘school of prayer’.[14] The sense of ‘sacrality’, noted as a characteristic of the Extraordinary Form by Pope Benedict XVI,[15] is precisely a response to the call, made insistently by Bl. Pope John Paul II in the context of the new evangelization, for a renewed sense of mystery in the liturgy.[16] Bl. Pope John Paul II applied this explicitly to the Extraordinary Form:

The People of God need to see priests and deacons behave in a way that is full of reverence and dignity, in order to help them to penetrate invisible things without unnecessary words or explanations. In the Roman Missal of Saint Pius V, as in several Eastern liturgies, there are very beautiful prayers through which the priest expresses the most profound sense of humility and reverence before the Sacred Mysteries: they reveal the very substance of the Liturgy.[17]

1     Thirdly, even while some aspects of the liturgy may provoke a negative reaction among those formed by Western culture, the beauty, particularly of the Church’s musical patrimony, but also of vestments, altar furnishings and architecture, all used in their intended liturgical context, can often penetrate and soften the heart hardened against the Faith. The role of art as an ‘invitation to seek out the face of God’ was emphasised by Bl. Pope John Paul II.[18] This beauty can gain a hearing for the content of the Faith.

1    Fourthly, the Extraordinary Form is today the focal point of a milieu informed also by traditional spiritual writers and supported by the religious orders committed to it, which constitutes a form of Catholic culture consciously counter-cultural vis-a-vis the dominant secular culture:[19] in the phrase of Pope Paul VI, ‘they make up a community which is evangelizing’.[20] The call to be witnesses to the Faith even in the most hostile environment, made by Pope Benedict XVI and his immediate predecessors, is one which has been enthusiastically answered by Traditional Catholics, who find themselves in possession of resources from the Catholic Tradition which have been neglected by many others in the Church.

1    Finally, the Extraordinary Form has value in embodying classical cultural forms. It is impossible to study the history of art or music without seeing the contribution of the Church and the Faith, and this contribution is a living part of the ancient liturgy. Again, in the liturgy proper, the Extraordinary Form represents an ideal against which many Protestant and secular forms have reacted. A secular Westerner experiencing it may have a similar experience when seeing, for the first time, a nun wearing a traditional habit, which he had previously seen only in comic films or mocking cartoons. He will see at last what the fuss was about, and may well have to reassess judgements made on the basis of the parody.

1    This experience, of seeing clearly at last what lies at the root of Western culture, despite all the attempts to abuse and belittle it,[21] is of profound importance. The philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre describes the experience of a person who encounters the culture and set of beliefs which, he suddenly realises, is what he has been groping towards himself, as ‘the shock of recognition’.[22] Something like this shock is expressed by St Augustine in his Confessions:

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.[23]

Appendix: Cultural figures seek the preservation of the ‘Traditional Mass’ in 1971