Rorate Caeli

What If This Year...

...for the Feast of St. Andrew (patron of Constantinople), the Pope had restored the Patriarchate of Constantinople? By appointing a Catholic as Patriarch, that is what Pope Leo XIII did for the venerable Church of St. Mark in Alexandria: "We ... from the plenitude of apostolic power restore the Catholic Patriarchate of Alexandria and establish it for the Copts. ... To us it is most desired that the dissenting Copts look upon the Catholic Hierarchy in truth before God; that is to say the hierarchy which on account of communion with the Chair of Peter and his successors alone can legitimately restore the Church founded by St. Mark, and alone is heir of the entire memory, whatever has been faithfully handed on to the Alexandrian Patriarchate from those ancient forebears." (Acta Sanctae Sedis 28, p. 257-260, anno 1895-1896) 

"The plenitude of apostolic power," said Pope Leo XIII: it would be temerarious to claim that the Bishop of Rome does not have the power to do what Leo XIII did at a moment when it appeared to him that many Copts would return to unity. No serious suggestion is being made here as to what Pope Benedict XVI should do for the feast of St. Andrew this year or next. But just as the Popes have varied greatly in their approach over the centuries to the schismatics of the East -- the Council of Florence treating the Patriarch of Constantinople and 60 Greek bishops as a legitimate deliberative voice with the Latins, even before the Greeks co-defined the Filioque with Pope Eugene IV, versus Leo XIII appointing a Catholic as Patriarch in the face of the schismatic Copt in Alexandria, versus Vatican II-era Popes and their well-known gestures and messages to objectively schismatic Patriarchs -- so also the Greeks have not been as monolithic over the centuries as sometimes supposed. 

For example, John Bekkos, as a result of his study of "Latin" doctrine and the Holy Fathers, professed the truth of the Filioque and the Roman primacy, becoming Patriarch from 1275 to 1282 in full communion. The witness of his life would make it slanderous to accuse him of some sort of sellout for political reasons, and he professed the following in a document sent to the Bishop of Rome: “the due reverence of our obedience; the primacy of the Apostolic See; the highest and perfect primacy and principality over the whole Church catholic; the plenitude of power; to the same, all Churches are subject, and their prelates owe [to the Apostolic See] obedience and reverence." In addition, in line with Pope St. Gregory the Great, he professes that the Roman Church had confirmed and strengthened the privileges of other Churches. (PG 141: 945-950)

And even the Byzantine "hermeneutician of rupture" St. Symeon of Thessalonika could recognize the power, in principle, of the Pope, regardless of diatribes against alleged Latin heresies: "Let [the Latins] only show that the pope perseveres in the faith of Peter, that he is truly his successor under this aspect, and we acknowledge in him all the privileges of Peter, and we recognize him as the leader, as the head and supreme pontiff. ... Let the bishop of Rome only profess the faith of Sylvester, Agatho, Leo, Liberius, Martin and Gregory, and we will proclaim him truly apostolic and we will consider him the first of the pontiffs and we will obey him not only as Peter, but as if he were the Savior himself" (PG 155: 120-121; the original Greek is more accurately rendered in Dictionnaire de Theologie Catholique 14, p.2976-2984).

Purgatorial Society Priests: Send in Info ...

Below, please find the sixty-fourth posting of enrolled Souls of the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society.

ALSO: For the 17 priests saying Masses for the Souls, please send me a quick email at (just need name and email address). Having email issues and need ALL of you to send me an email for our records. Any priests who want to start saying TLMs for the Souls may also email me. Last, any priests saying either monthly or daily Masses for the Souls I don't know of, email me your information as well. As always, this will remain completely private. 

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:

Interreligious dialogue 101: Ad flip-flopem

Post-Temple Judaism: Recalling the order of worship in the Temple, in the solemn prayers in the synagogue the faithful, together with the different ministers and led by them, worship all together facing East, turned to the "Ark" where the Word of God is held.


Islam: In thousands of mosques around the world, the most solemn prayers take place on Friday, as, in the noon prayers, and following the major and minor sermons, the faithful and congregation leaders bow down and pray all together in the same direction facing the mihrab wall that indicates the qibla, the direction of what they consider the holiest of places on earth: the Kaaba, in Mecca.


Post-1970 Catholicism: "Without shedding of blood there is no remission," says the Epistle to the Hebrews, and millions of Catholics assemble in their churches to witness the unbloody re-presentation of the central event in the history of the Universe, the redemptive sacrifice of the King of Time and Space, really and actually present - Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity - in the Eucharistic species. In the religion that is incarnational in every sense, where each spatial detail makes every difference, the faithful pray all together in the same direction facing the holiest thing on earth:

Father and the band.

Celebrating the end of the Liturgical Year with Gabrieli - I

2012 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Giovanni Gabrieli, main organist of San Marco, in Venice - the titular organist of the primo organo at Saint Mark's, accompanied by composing duties, occupied one of the most prestigious musical positions in the Most Serene Republic and in all of Italy.

For the record: TLM at Gesu e Maria to continue

Messa in Latino reported on November 27 that the every-Sunday Traditional Latin Mass in Gesu e Maria in Rome will continue for the foreseeable future. The sole change is that, beginning on December 8, the Mass will be moved to a slightly earlier time slot.

The welcome news came after the Vicar of Rome, Cardinal Vallini, and Msgr. Zuppi, Auxiliary Bishop in Rome, intervened and discussed the situation with the Discalced Augustinian friars. 

Ah, those traditionalists!

Laodicea, Anatolia
Published a few hours ago on CNS: 

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Traditionalist and progressive camps that see the Second Vatican Council as breaking with the truth both espouse a "heretical interpretation" of the council and its aims, said the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

What Pope Benedict XVI has termed "the hermeneutic of reform, of renewal in continuity" is the "only possible interpretation according to the principles of Catholic theology," Archbishop Gerhard Muller said in remarks published Nov. 29.

"Outside this sole orthodox interpretation unfortunately exists a heretical interpretation, that is, a hermeneutic of rupture, (found) both on the progressive front and on the traditionalist" side, the archbishop said.

What the two camps have in common, he said, is their rejection of the council: "the progressives in their wanting to leave it behind, as if it were a season to abandon in order to get to another church, and the traditionalists in their not wanting to get there," seeing the council as a Catholic "winter."

"Louis XVI, King of the French - 1793
 Kingdom of the Law - Year 5 of Freedom"

A "council presided over by the successor of Peter as head of the visible church" is the "highest expression" of the Magisterium, he said, to be regarded as part of "an indissoluble whole," along with Scripture and 2,000 years of tradition.

The doctrinal chief's remarks were published in the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, to present the seventh volume of "The Complete Works of Joseph Ratzinger." The volume collects both published and unpublished notes, speeches, interviews and texts written or given by the future pope in the period shortly before, during and just after Vatican II.

Archbishop Muller specified that by "continuity" Pope Benedict meant a "permanent correspondence with the origin, not an adaption of whatever has been, which also can lead the wrong way."

Burial site of Alexander Kerensky, Putney Vale Cemetery, London

The term "aggiornamento" or updating -- one of the watchwords of the council -- "does not mean the secularization of the faith, which would lead to its dissolution," but a "making present" of the message of Jesus Christ, he said.

This "making present" is the "reform necessary for every era in constant fidelity to the whole Christ," he said.

"The tradition of apostolic origin continues in the church with help from the Holy Spirit," he said, and leads to greater understanding through contemplation and study, intelligence garnered from a deeper experience of the spiritual, and preaching by those who through the "apostolic succession have received an assured charism of truth."

More from Vatican Insider: The custodian of faith on the “heretical interpretations” of the Council.


This comes a few days after Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, was quoted as telling traditionalists to "go back to studying Latin", "because they often want masses to be celebrated in Latin, but it is likely they do not know the language that well." (The advice to learn Latin -- a completely unprovoked quip -- is certainly not offensive to traditional Catholics, but the Cardinal's remarks seem to echo the idea that in order to attend the Traditional Latin Mass, the priests and faithful should first know Latin -- a misguided and wrongheaded notion that has been used frequently to deny Catholics access to this Mass. Traditional Catholics are not Latinolaters, otherwise they would be quite satisfied with the 1969 liturgical construct celebrated in Latin...)

Condescending prelates should simply listen to the Pope: "It is true that there have been exaggerations and at times social aspects unduly linked to the attitude of the faithful attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition. Your charity and pastoral prudence will be an incentive and guide for improving these." (Letter to Bishops accompanying Summorum Pontificum) Got it?

Vatican II at 50: After 900 years, the Canons of Great Saint Bernard leave Italy, and wither in Switzerland

Chateau Verdun, Saint-Oyen
Aosta Valley, Italy

Farewell to the Last Monk of the Great Saint Bernard in Italy

SAINT-OYEN (AOSTA [Italy]) - Father Francis Darbellay, 77, canon of the Great Saint Bernard likes to be candid. “The other day, when we left the Hostel Chateau Verdun forever, they threw a party for us. There was the Bishop of Aosta, the President of the Regional Council and our Superior. To me, it did not seem like a party at all but more like a funeral. After a thousand years, we, the priests of the Congregation of the Canon Regulars of the Great Saint Bernard, are leaving the Aosta Valley and Italy. To us, it is the death of our soul. We are leaving the land of our birth, since it was Saint Bernard of Menthon, our founder, the archdeacon at Aosta, who built the hostel that took his name, high up there on Mont-Joux [in the Vallais, Switzerland]. We had four parishes, Gervasone college and the School for Agriculture in Aosta, which taught the production of cheese and wine to thousands of young people from the valleys. The Hostel of Chateau Verdun was our last stronghold. We are like Napoleon’s army, which arrived as far as Moscow and then was compelled to turn back.”

It often pays to speak up

Congratulations to the opposition in the Slovak parliament and to the authorities of the Slovak Central Bank who, after much pressure from a populace (and a Catholic hierarchy) that was under Soviet Communism just a few short years ago, decided to press on with the special 2-euro coin for the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of the holy apostles of the Slavs, Saints Cyril and Methodius, in Great Moravia, and the beginning of the translation of the Bible in the local language.

26 Nov 2012

The €2 coins which will commemorate the 1,150th anniversary of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Great Moravia, set to be released in 2013, will contain the religious symbols that were originally proposed, the TASR newswire reported on November 23.

“The NBS [National Bank of Slovakia, country’s central bank – ed. note] Bank Council approved the original proposal of the design, even though it realises that the new approval process may lead to frustrating the original goal of releasing the commemorative coin throughout the 17-nation eurozone,” said spokesperson for the bank Petra Pauerová, as quoted by TASR.

The European Commission earlier stated that the commemorative coin cannot contain crosses and halos in order to observe the principle of religious neutrality in the European Union. Later it was revealed that it was not the EC as such, but certain eurozone members that objected to releasing the coin with religious symbols.

PCED letter on fulfilling the Sunday obligation by attending an SSPX Mass and diocesan seminarians as subdeacons

The Polish Traditionalist Catholic blog Nowy Ruch Liturgiczny published yesterday the November 6, 2012 response of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei to two queries (which that blog reproduced in the original English): 

1. Is it possible to fulfill the Sunday obligation by participating in a Mass celebrated by a priest from Society of St. Pius X, if the participant is not "against the validity or legitimacy of the Holy Mass or the Sacraments celebrated in the forma ordinaria or against the Roman Pontiff as Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church" and this is the only opportunity in the local area to participate in the Mass in forma extraordinaria (which the participant is highly devoted to)? 

2. Do the decree of Sacred Congregation of Rites (no. 4184) and the decision of Pontifical Comission ‘Ecclesia Dei’ (no. 24/92), concerning the possibility of serving as a subdeacon during the Mass in forma extraordinaria, apply also to diocesan seminarians (who are not seminarians of the institutes erected by Pontifcial Commision 'Ecclesia Dei') who wear clerical clothing?

The response:

Good Queen Isabella

Elisabeth Catholica
Castellae Regina
Serva Dei
†  26 Nov. MDIV

From her Last Will and Testament, Codicil, Chapter XII:

When the Islands and Mainland of the Ocean Sea, discovered or yet to be discovered, were given to us by the Holy Apostolic See..., that granted us this concession, our main intention was to make an effort to procure and to draw their people and convert them to our Holy Catholic Faith, and to send to those Islands and Mainland of the Ocean Sea prelates, and religious, and clerics, and other people with knowledge and fear of God, to instruct their residents and inhabitants in the Catholic Faith, and to teach and guide them with good manners, and to put in it due diligence, according to what is broadly established in the Letters of said grant, for which I request the King, my Lord, with great affection, and I charge the Princess and said Prince her husband that they thus do it and fulfill it, and that this be their main end, and that in this they may place great diligence, and that they do not consent or permit that the Indians living in and inhabiting those said Indies and mainland be persecuted in their persons and in their properties; but instead I order that they be treated well and justly. And if they have received any distress, that it be remedied and corrected, so that in nothing may the Apostolic Letters of such grant be exceeded in what it is placed upon us and established.

Notes: 1. Image: Eduardo Rosales (1864), Doña Isabel la Católica dictando su testamento, Museo del Prado.
2. Our regular feature in honor of the Servant of God Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Castille and Leon, Queen Consort of Aragon. Website of the Commission for the Beatification of Isabel la Católica, of the Archdiocese of Valladolid (in Spanish) - Cause of the Servant of God (in English)

Event: Bellocian talk in London

The Belloc Society is pleased to announce that the veteran Bellocian Michael Hennessy will be giving a talk on Hilaire Belloc MP and his parliamentary contributions during the early part of the last century. Belloc was one of the great Catholic writers of the 20th Century. Mike has researched Belloc's parliamentary speeches extensively and is well placed to do so as he works at the Palace of Westminster. We look forward to what promises to be a most entertaining evening. 

Venue: Monday, Nov. 27, 7:30p.m., The Spying Room, The Morp

eth Arms, Millbank, Pimlico (nearest tube Pimlico).

Event: New Jersey TLM on EWTN

Great strides for the Traditional Latin Mass have been made in the Diocese of Trenton under the care of Bishop David O'Connell.  After the first Solemn High Mass was celebrated in the New Jersey Diocese on Feb. 19, 2012, the first Pontifical High Mass in the Diocese will be taking place on the Feast of the Miraculous Medal, Nov. 27, at 7:00 P.M.  It will be broadcast live on EWTN.  

This will be the 1-year anniversary of the weekly Traditional Latin Mass at the Church of St. Anthony in Hamilton, New Jersey.  Further information and details of the mass can be found here:

The Institute of St. Philip Neri opens a seminary in Berlin

Founded in Berlin in 2003, the Institute of St. Philip Neri is a community of Catholic priests in the tradition of the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri. The Institute was canonically erected as a society of pontifical right in 2004 by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, with use of the liturgical books in force in 1962. On November 1, the Institute established a seminary in the form of a studium which was given the name Baronius-Akademie. Father Jatzkowski is the rector. There are currently two seminarians, but it has the capacity to accommodate up to 25 students, including auditors.

[See also: Riposte Catholique, in French]

Zielinski at CDW

Fr. Michael John Zielinski O.S.B. Oliv - a friend of Tradition (cf this, this, and this) - was named by Pope Benedict XVI today bureau chief at the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

The complete reorganization of the Congregation was achieved recently.

[Update: La Stampa provides more details on Dom Zielinski's new job.]

The Friday after Thanksgiving Day indult ...

A friendly and tasty reminder that there is a strong argument to be made that there is no required abstinence from meat this Friday.

While always a topic of great discussion, it is a fact that Pope Pius XII granted Americans a dispensation from their Friday abstinence, so that they may enjoy turkey the Friday after Thanksgiving. I say "enjoy" turkey because that is truly the only reason he would have granted it -- the arguments over refrigeration and whether meat would spoil don't hold water since wide-spread, in-home refrigeration (as well as cable TV) actually did exist in the 1950s.

So eat your turkey this Friday and give great thanks to a merciful God for all that we have to be thankful for. And, while you're at it, thank and pray for Pope Pius XII before you dive into that turkey, that he may be canonized a saint soon.

Also, there will be no posting of souls for the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society this week. All souls sent in will be posted next week.

A reminder on 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, Rome, Italy". Individual names are preferred. Be greedy -- send in as many as you wish and forward this posting to friends as well.

Open Thread: What we are thankful for ...

In the United States, it is Thanksgiving Day. We at Rorate are thankful for many blessings, including you, our readers. Your support makes it possible for us to continue our work spreading tradition throughout our international readership -- our online family.

Now tell us: what are you thankful for?

Newsletter - and events (England)

It does not seem that there are many Traditional Catholic newsletters in English - certainly not among those made freely available on the web - that are better than the one prepared by the English apostolate of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter: Dowry (Summer 2012 edition here). It is to the great credit of Fr. A. de Malleray  FSSP, that he was able to introduce the best features of Traditional Catholic newsletters and periodicals in France to this quarterly, and still make it available free of charge on the web shortly after publication.

The current newsletter includes two events that we heartily recommend: the Vocation discernment weekend, on December 14-16, 2012, at St. John Fisher House (the FSSP English House, in Reading); and the Clergy retreat in Bavaria, on April 15-19, 2013 (details on pages 18-19 of the newsletter).

One of Rome's oldest running Traditional Latin Masses to be stopped?

The every-Sunday Traditional Latin Mass in the Chiesa dei SS.mi Nomi di Gesù e Maria along the Via del Corso, usually known simply as Gesù e Maria, is scheduled to be replaced beginning on December 2 of this year with a Portuguese Mass. Ironically, this is the titular church of Domenico Cardinal Bartolucci, who said in 2009 that he always celebrated the Traditional Latin Mass since his ordination. The news has long been anticipated by various Italian Catholic blogs, and Messa in Latino called this week for a rally of Catholic Traditionalists in front of this church on the morning of December 2 in an effort to save the TLM, the Mass for which this church was built in the 16th century, from permanent eviction. 

The eviction of the every-Sunday Traditional Latin Mass and its replacement with a vernacular Novus Ordo has been ordered by the Discalced Augustinian friars who run the church, which has a Mass schedule that is far from being full. The TLM in this church dates back to the early 1980's and has been taken care of by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest since 1992. 

While it is true that there are numerous private Masses every day according to the Classical Roman Rite in the Eternal City, not least in St. Peter's Basilica itself, the list of TLM's that is maintained by Inter multiplices Una Vox indicates that there are only eight churches in Rome (out of several hundred) that have an officially-scheduled weekly TLM -- an exponential improvement over the pre-Summorum situation, but also an indication of the distance which the restoration of the Roman liturgy still has to travel. It is against this background that the potential loss of the TLM in Gesù e Maria should be seen. 

Photo source: link

Nothing that is given is small

Melchisedech and Abraham
High Altar (detail), Dominikanerkirche - Friesach (Carinthia, Austria)
Why seekest thou rest when thou art born to labour? Prepare thyself for patience more than for comforts, and for bearing the cross more than for joy. For who among the men of this world would not gladly receive consolation and spiritual joy if he might always have it? For spiritual comforts exceed all the delights of the world, and all the pleasures of the flesh. For all worldly delights are either empty or unclean, whilst spiritual delights alone are pleasant and honourable, the offspring of virtue, and poured forth by God into pure minds. But no man can always enjoy these divine comforts at his own will, because the season of temptation ceaseth not for long.

Bourgeois mentality

"I will not serve."

"I can do no other."

Roy Bourgeois


"Pattern?" - we asked last year. Yes, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith could detect a pattern in Mr. Bourgeois's behavior. From the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers (source: NCRonline):

The Congregation For The Doctrine Of The Faith Canonically Dismisses Roy Bourgeois

Maryknoll, New York – November 19, 2012 – The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on October 4, 2012, canonically dismissed Roy Bourgeois from the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, also known as the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. The decision dispenses the Maryknoll priest from his sacred bonds.

As a priest during 2008, Mr. Bourgeois participated in the invalid ordination of a woman and a simulated Mass in Lexington, Kentucky. With patience, the Holy See and the Maryknoll Society have encouraged his reconciliation with the Catholic Church.

Instead, Mr. Bourgeois chose to campaign against the teachings of the Catholic Church in secular and non-Catholic venues. This was done without the permission of the local U.S. Catholic Bishops and while ignoring the sensitivities of the faithful across the country. Disobedience and preaching against the teaching of the Catholic Church about women’s ordination led to his excommunication, dismissal and laicization.

Mr. Bourgeois freely chose his views and actions, and all the members of the Maryknoll Society are saddened at the failure of reconciliation. With this parting, the Maryknoll Society warmly thanks Roy Bourgeois for his service to mission and all members wish him well in his personal life. In the spirit of equity and charity, Maryknoll will assist Mr. Bourgeois with this transition.

"Love the Pope!" - no ifs, and no buts:
For Bishops, priests, and faithful, Saint Pius X explains what loving the Pope really entails

The struggle against Modernism had taken a great toll on Pope Saint Pius X as he spoke 100 years ago, in November 1912, to the members of the Apostolic Union of Clergy, a confraternity of secular priests in union with the Holy See. He knew that despite every effort, he was being disobeyed and disregarded in so many places, by priests and even by bishops. He knew "learned" scholars despised him, and wished their authority to take the place of the Apostolic voice. 

In a cry coming deep from his holy heart, the Pope summoned all the Church to understand what love for the Pope, any Pope, the one who holds the Keys, truly entails: a hard message that, exactly one century later, must be heard and obeyed by the clergy and by the lay faithful.


Distracted with so many occupations, it is easy to forget the things that lead to perfection in priestly life; it is easy [for the priest] to delude himself and to believe that, by busying himself with the salvation of the souls of others, he consequently works for his own sanctification. Alas, let not this delusion lead you to error, because nemo dat quod nemo habet [no one gives what he does not have]; and, in order to sanctify others, it is necessary not to neglect any of the ways proposed for the sanctification of our own selves.


The Pope is the guardian of dogma and of morals; he is the custodian of the principles that make families sound, nations great, souls holy; he is the counsellor of princes and of peoples; he is the head under whom no one feels tyrannized because he represents God Himself; he is the supreme father who unites in himself all that may exist that is loving, tender, divine.

It seems incredible, and is even painful, that there be priests to whom this recommendation must be made, but we are regrettably in our age in this hard, unhappy, situation of having to tell priests: love the Pope!

And how must the Pope be loved? Non verbo neque lingua, sed opere et veritate. [Not in word, nor in tongue, but in deed, and in truth - 1 Jn iii, 18] When one loves a person, one tries to adhere in everything to his thoughts, to fulfill his will, to perform his wishes. And if Our Lord Jesus Christ said of Himself, "si quis diligit me, sermonem meum servabit," [if any one love me, he will keep my word - Jn xiv, 23] therefore, in order to demonstrate our love for the Pope, it is necessary to obey him.

Therefore, when we love the Pope, there are no discussions regarding what he orders or demands, or up to what point obedience must go, and in what things he is to be obeyed; when we love the Pope, we do not say that he has not spoken clearly enough, almost as if he were forced to repeat to the ear of each one the will clearly expressed so many times not only in person, but with letters and other public documents; we do not place his orders in doubt, adding the facile pretext of those unwilling to obey - that it is not the Pope who commands, but those who surround him; we do not limit the field in which he might and must exercise his authority; we do not set above the authority of the Pope that of other persons, however learned, who dissent from the Pope, who, even though learned, are not holy, because whoever is holy cannot dissent from the Pope.

This is the cry of a heart filled with pain, that with deep sadness I express, not for your sake, dear brothers, but to deplore, with you, the conduct of so many priests, who not only allow themselves to debate and criticize the wishes of the Pope, but are not embarrassed to reach shameless and blatant disobedience, with so much scandal for the good and with so great damage to souls.

Saint Pius X
Allocution Vi ringrazio to priests on the 50th anniversary of the Apostolic Union 
November 18, 1912

Speaking of young people...

Congratulations to the Transalpine Redemptorists (the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer): two new deacons, Brother Yousef Marie and Brother Magdala Maria, were ordained yesterday in the chapel of the Seminary of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Nebraska), of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, in which they pursue their studies.

Below, images of the Solemn High Mass celebrated this Sunday by Fr. Michael Mary, F.SS.R., with the assistance of the two newly-ordained deacons. (Source: Transalpine Redemptorists)

Two forms of "Youth Mass"

Two Masses, two sides of the battle over the minds and hearts of young Catholics.

1) This is a promotional poster for the "Messe qui prend son temps", the "Mass that takes its time", that is regularly celebrated by the French Jesuits in the Eglise Saint-Ignace in Paris, expressly for students and young professionals. The poster is currently on the main page of the website of the Jesuit Province of France. Versions of this Mass are also celebrated in a few other cities in France. 

And here are some glimpses of what the French Jesuit "Mass that takes its time" is like:

Pope to bishops: "Cultivate the ars celebrandi"

As the Council recalls, the liturgical action of the Church is also a part of her contribution to the civilizing task (cf. Gaudium et spes n. 58, 4). The liturgy is indeed the celebration of the central event of human history, the redemptive Sacrifice of Christ. By this, it testifies to the love with which God loves mankind, it testifies that human life has a meaning and that [man] is called by vocation to take part in the glorious life of the Trinity.

Mankind needs this testimony. It needs to perceive, by way of the liturgical celebrations, that the Church is conscious of the Lordship of God and of the dignity of man. It has the right to be able to discern, beyond the limitations that will always characterize her rites and ceremonies, that Christ "is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, and in the person of the minister" (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 7).

Aware of the concern which you have surrounding your liturgical celebrations, I encourage you to cultivate the art of celebration, to help your priests in this sense, and to work ceaselessly in the liturgical formation of seminarians and faithful. Respect for the establishes norms expresses love and fidelity to the Church's faith, to the treasure of grace that she protects and passes on; the beauty of the celebrations, much more than innovations and subjective adaptations, is what makes the work of evangelization durable and efficacious.
Benedict XVI
November 17, 2012

In related news: the reorganization of the Congregation for Divine Worship, following the transferal of several of her former disciplinary competences to the Roman Rota, was completed (see La Stampa).

Good Queen Mary

Procl.: 19 Iulii MDLIII
† 17 Nov. MDLVIII

A Queen filled with love

The use of the rod can actually be a service of love. Today we can see that it has nothing to do with love ... if heresy is allowed to spread and the faith twisted and chipped away, as if it were something that we ourselves had invented. As if it were no longer God’s gift, the precious pearl which we cannot let be taken from us.
Benedict XVI
June 11, 2010

[Our regular feature in honor of Mary, Queen of England and Ireland, Queen Consort of Spain and its possessions: May she rest in peace.]

The Church of Vatican II: the lamps are going out all over Europe

1. In Vic (Catalonia, Spain), the Franciscans are leaving after nearly 800 years of continuous presence. On October 28, a farewell (new) Mass  for the Franciscans was celebrated in the Shrine of the Mother of God. (Source: Catalunya Religió - tip: La Cigüeña)

2. In Dieburg (Hesse, Germany), only four elderly Capuchins were left, and the local province decided to end 400 years of presence in the city; they are leaving in a couple of weeks. (Source: German Capuchin portal; tip: reader)

3. In Le Havre (Normandy, France), the large former convent, including a large chapel, that housed the Recollect Franciscans for over a century is about to be demolished. The last two friars left a few months ago, and the property was sold to investors. (Source: 76actu)

FIUV Position Paper: Holy Days of Obligation

Today I can publish the latest Position Paper, this time on Holy Days of Obligation.

In 2006 the Bishops of England and Wales moved three Holy Days to 'the nearest Sunday': Epiphany, Corpus Christi, and the Ascension. For reasons which remain obscure, they left All Saints, SS Peter and Paul, and the Immaculate Conception where they were. (The Nativity of Our Lord is always safe from these schemes thank heavens.) This has proved to be the single most unpopular thing the bishops have done in recent years, uniting clergy and laity alike, the debate being aroused afresh every time one of these three dates comes round. They are currently reconsidering the question, and it is much to be hoped that common sense will prevail. Moving feast days to Sunday, or more simply removing the obligation to attend Mass in the week, symbolises so well the withdrawal of the Church from public life, into a little corner: Mass-going, it seems to say, is something strictly for the time left free by one's secular obligations. With variations, this has happened in many other countries as well.

2011 06 23_0284
Corpus Christi being celebrated on the Feast of Corpus Christi, SS Gregory & Augustine's, Oxford, 2011

A side-issue which arose at the time was what happened with celebrations of the Traditional Latin Mass. The Latin Mass Society submitted a dubium to the PCED and receive the response (included as an appendix to this paper) that, essentially, we could carry on as usual. There is, of course, no provision in either the 1962 Ordo nor in the Breviary for the dates of major feast days suddenly becoming ferias. But it means that, with this Position Paper, we have to defend the practice found with the Extraordinary Form, and at the same time argue for a restoration of Holy Days across the board. Whatever seven or so of the ten canonical Holy Days are by custom observed as 'of obligation' in a country should be observed properly: on their proper days, with an obligation to attend Mass, and not moved to Sunday, either permanently or when they fall on Saturday or Monday.

Readers may be interested in Appendix C, which points out the negative legal consequences for Catholics if the obligation to attend Mass is abolished. In a nutshell, it is a lot harder to argue with an employer, a prison governor, or a school headmaster, that one should be allowed to attend Mass, if the Bishops are saying that to do so is not obligatory. I have more to say about this in my LMS Chairman blog posting simultaneously with this.

This paper brings the series to a baker's dozen: 13. We have more papers in preparation, but I'm going to take December off, and publish the next one on January 15th.

 This paper can be downloaded as a pdf here. The full series can be seen here.

Comments can be sent to :  positio AT


FIUV Position Paper: Holy Days of Obligation

1.                  Under the 1983 Code of Canon Law (Canon 1246) ten Holy Days of Obligation are listed, in addition to Sundays.[1] The Code goes on to say that, with the approval of the Holy See, Conferences of Bishops may ‘suppress some of the holy days of obligation’ (that is, remove the obligation to attend Mass on those days), ‘or transfer them to a Sunday’. The typical result is:
a.                   Some of these feasts are celebrated without an obligation to attend Mass.
b.                  Epiphany, Ascension, and Corpus Christi are celebrated on the nearest Sunday.
c.                   The remaining Holy Days of Obligation are themselves moved to Sundays,[2] or the obligation to attend Mass is removed,[3] when they fall on a Saturday or a Monday.
The main exceptions are those cases in which the traditional dates of feasts are marked by public holidays: the Nativity of Our Lord, most obviously, and certain other feasts in Catholic countries or regions.[4] Notwithstanding this, the effect of each point (a) to (c) is to reduce the number of non-Sundays in a typical year which require attendance at Mass.

2.                  In celebrations of the Extraordinary Form the 1962 Calendar is used, but the days of obligatory attendance at Mass are set by each Bishops’ Conference. The dates of the ten Holy Days are in fact the same in the two calendars.[5]

3.                  On this topic, not only does the practice of the Extraordinary Form differ from that of the Ordinary Form, but changes to Canon Law have altered the legal framework within which the Extraordinary Form exists, as they have in relation to the Eucharistic Fast.[6] Accordingly, in this paper we wish not merely to point out the value of the practice of the Extraordinary Form, but also to suggest respectfully that the practice of removing the obligation to attend Mass on so many of the canonical Holy Days be discontinued for the whole Latin Rite.

The Significance of the Dates

4.                  The first consideration in favour of celebrating the feasts on their traditional dates, as is done in the Extraordinary Form, is that these dates have great significance, historically, culturally, and above all theologically. Most obviously, it is appropriate for the Ascension to be celebrated forty days after Easter, since Scripture tells us that Our Lord Ascended forty days after His Resurrection.[7] The liturgical calendar does not always follow exactly the sequence of events in Scripture, but in this case the forty days—symbolic of a period of waiting and preparation, and mirroring the forty days of Lent—have long been observed as a joyful period after Easter. Moreover, Ascension can be viewed as the beginning of a Novena of preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The symbolic meaning of the period after, as well as before, the feast of the Ascension is lost if the feast is moved to a Sunday. It is a public holiday in France, being included in the Concordat of 1801.

5.                  The celebration of Epiphany after ‘Twelfth Night’ following Christmas marks, in union with the Eastern Churches, the most ancient day of the celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord, kept in Gaul long before its adoption in Rome,[8] and the Twelve Days of Christmas are deeply embedded in European culture. It is a public holiday in Spain, Poland, and parts of Austria and Germany.

6.                  Corpus Christi was instituted following private revelations to St Juliana of Liège;[9] the use of a Thursday recalls the events of Holy Thursday, to which the feast is closely related. The feast was established on the first Thursday after Trinity Sunday, first locally, and then universally by Pope Urban IV in 1264 and Pope Clement V at the Council of Vienne in 1311;[10] the propers and Office of the feast were composed by St Thomas Aquinas.[11] This was in fact the first creation of a feast of the Universal Church by a Pope.[12] The celebration of public processions on the day itself is a feature of a number of countries where it is marked with a public holiday;[13] elsewhere these take place on the following Sunday.

7.                  Similar considerations can be adduced for the other Holy Days, whose obligatory celebration is subject to removal when they fall on Monday or Saturday: see Appendix B.
8.                  Looking at the calendar as a whole, the timing of great feasts, whether they are fixed to the Easter cycle or to a particular date, can quickly become embedded in the consciousness of the Faithful, and indeed in mass-produced diaries, as landmarks of the year. As noted with the Feast of the Ascension, the distance of time between feasts, as well as their order, is important.

9.                  The ecumenical dimension should also be noted, since the traditional dates are shared in a great many cases by non-Catholic ecclesial communities, such as the Anglican Communion and in Lutheran communities, and by the Oriental Churches.[14]

Calendrical disruption

10.              If, under Canon 1246, a feast is moved from one date to another, it creates a disruption to the rhythm of liturgical life on both dates. The original date either becomes a feria,[15] which seems inappropriate, or the feast is celebrated without the obligation to attend Mass.[16] In the latter case the feast loses the honour which is its due, and which the Church wishes to accord it, not only in terms of the obligation to attend Mass, but in terms of the special efforts which would otherwise be made to celebrate it with greater solemnity.

11.              On the new date, the Sunday, the original liturgy of the day is displaced, and the sequence of Sundays is interrupted. It is worth noting the long-term policy of trimming the number of feasts and Octaves which would displace the Mass of a Sunday, particularly by Pope St Pius X and Pope Pius XII, and indeed in the liturgical reforms following the Second Vatican Council. The very ancient Sunday cycle of the Extraordinary Form[17] relates in a systematic and progressive way to the liturgical seasons, and the greater appreciation of its richness was one of the Liturgical Movement’s most notable achievements.[18] Moving feasts onto Sundays is, from this point of view, a retrograde step.

12.              In certain contexts the celebration of an important feast on the nearest Sunday can be beneficial, when the Faithful may find it difficult to attend Mass, or a more solemn celebration of Mass, or other appropriate devotions such as Corpus Christi processions, on the traditional day, but this is already possible at the discretion of the pastor under the rules of the 1962 Calendar.[19] This allows practice to follow local needs precisely—a sparsely populated rural parish may be in a different situation from a seminary, for example—and at the same time serves to emphasise that the traditional date has not been abandoned. Furthermore, where there is more than one Mass on a Sunday, all but one would be Masses of the Sunday.

The Importance of the Obligation

13.              The duty to attend Mass on a Holy Day of Obligation is not absolute, and those for whom attendance would involve grave inconvenience are excused. Nevertheless, a formal obligation has important advantages.

14.              First, it gives parish priests and school chaplains the opportunity to celebrate Mass in even only nominally Catholic schools. Since in day schools, and even in many boarding schools, pupils spend Sundays with their families, these celebrations are a precious opportunity for the school to worship together. In the case of pupils coming from non-practising families, it may be their only opportunity to experience the Church’s liturgy celebrated with solemnity, or even at all.

15.              Secondly, in many places it will give Catholic employees, students, and prisoners an important advantage in asking for special provision to be made to enable them to attend Mass, since arguments based on official religious obligations carry more weight than optional devotions: see Appendix C.

16.              Thirdly, the number of Holy Days of Obligation is today so low in some places that there is a danger that the very notion of an obligation to attend Mass on a weekday is being lost.[20] The attempt to make the obligation less onerous can paradoxically make the remaining obligation seem both arbitrary and harder to remember, and so harder to keep.[21]

17.              Finally, the obligation to keep a feast does not undermine the devotion with which a Catholic assists at Mass, but adds to it a conscious act of obedience, emphasising one’s membership of and unity with the Church, engaging in an act of worship alongside Catholics all over the diocese, country, and indeed the world.


18.              The reduction of the number of days of obligation is part of a widespread trend over many decades, of responding to falling Mass attendance and other difficulties by trying to make the practice of the Faith easier. While an understandable reaction, we believe this to be fundamentally misguided. The Church does not command the respect, or stimulate the zeal, of her children by asking less and less of them.[22] In the case of the Holy Days of obligation, the Church has imposed the obligation to attend Mass on certain days to emphasise the importance of some truth of the Faith, an event in life of Our Lord, or of some of her saints. When the obligation is removed the Church’s exhortation to the Faithful to embrace the spiritual significance of these things is inevitably proclaimed with less urgency.

19.              The example of St Peter’s in Rome is of no small significance here, in maintaining the celebration of Holy Days on their traditional dates. Whereas there is certainly room for variation among local calendars, it is fitting within the Latin Rite that Catholics be able to celebrate these great feasts in union with the Universal Pastor, the Holy Father in St Peter’s.

Appendix A: Clarification from the PCED on Holy Days and the 1962 Calendar

Following the submission of a dubium by the Latin Mass Society, Monsignor Camille Perl, Vice President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, replied as follows, in a letter dated 20th October 2008, Protocol N. 107/97.

1. The legitimate use of the liturgical books in use in 1962 includes the right to the use of the calendar intrinsic to those liturgical books.
‘2. While in accordance with Canon 1246 §2 of the Code of Canon Law the Episcopal Conference can legitimately transfer Holydays of obligation with the approbation of the Holy See, it is also legitimate to celebrate the Mass and Office of those feasts on the days prescribed in the calendar of the liturgical books in use in 1962 with the clear understanding that, in accordance with the legitimate decision of the Episcopal Conference, there is no obligation to attend Mass on those days.
‘3. Thus, in accordance with nn. 356-361 of the Rubricae Generales Missalis Romani of 1962, it is appropriate to celebrate the external solemnity of Holy Days on the Sunday to which they have been transferred by the Episcopal Conference, as has been customary in many other countries hitherto.

Appendix B: Six Ancient Holy Days