Rorate Caeli

Lepers no more

From the Bollettino of the acts of the Holy See, the following nominations were made public on this last day of the year:

The Holy Father Benedict XVI has named Judges of the Court of Appeals of the Vatican City State the Rev. Msgr. Egidio Turnaturi and the Honorable Dr. Riccardo Turrini Vita.

So what? As Sandro Magister recalls today, the Honorable Judge is a member of Una Voce Italia - not only a member, but former President and part of the current Presiding Council elected in 2011. He was named based on his great personal merits, but his obviously public attachment to the Traditional Mass has not hindered him.

Auguri per il nuovo incarico!

Plenary Indulgence reminders:
Te Deum on Dec. 31
Veni Creator on Jan. 1

§ 1. A plenary indulgence is granted to the Christian faithful who, in a church or in an oratory, are present [take part] in a recitation or solemn chant of: ... 
1° the hymn Veni Creator ... on the first day of the year, imploring divine assistance for the whole of the coming year...

2° the Te Deum hymn, on the last day of the year, in thanksgiving to God for the favors received in the course of the entire year.
(Reference: Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, 4th edition, al. concessiones.)


Gratias agimus tibi, omnipotens Deus,
pro universis beneficiis tuis,
qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

A happy new year to our readers and their families!


This is the sign of the Church always, the Sign of Blood

Seven years were my people without my presence;
Seven years of misery and pain.
Seven years a mendicant on foreign charity
I lingered abroad:
Seven years is no brevity.
I shall not get those seven years back again.
Never again, you must make no doubt,
Shall the sea run between the shepherd and his fold.


It is not I who insult the King,
And there is higher than I or the King.
It is not I, Becket from Cheapside,
It is not against me, Becket, that you strive.
It is not Becket who pronounces doom,
But the Law of Christ's Church, the judgement of Rome.


I am here.
No traitor to the King.
I am a priest,
A Christian, saved by the blood of Christ,
Ready to suffer with my blood.
This is the sign of the Church always,
The sign of blood.
Blood for blood.
His blood given to buy my life,
My blood given to pay for His death.
My death for His death.


For my Lord I am now ready to die,
That His Church may have peace and liberty.
T. S. Eliot
Murder in the Cathedral
Our yearly post in honor of Saint Thomas Becket.

Christmastide recess

Manuel Sanz Domínguez, Restorer, Martyr

Fr. Manuel Sanz Domínguez, Martyr
In the agitation that followed the promulgation of the decree recognizing the "heroic virtues" of a recent pontiff, many great names remained somewhat in the shadow, including a long list of new martyrs now recognized, who were killed by the Spanish Republican forces in the greatest anti-Catholic persecution of the 20th century.

Keeping our long-held devotion to this blessed multitude of martyrs, we will present some of those who will be beatified in the upcoming months, beginning on this feast of the Holy Innocents.


Spain and Portugal brought countless millions to the Church of God - a work of great missionary orders. But back home, many religious men and women stayed "behind" helping with their cloistered prayers the expansion of the Catholic faith through the great enterprise of the Discoveries. Among these was one particular order that is quintessentially Iberian, and whose houses were always greatly favored by the Iberian royal houses: the Hieronymites (the Jerónimos).

In Lisbon, the greatest national monument is their splendid Monastery, in whose abbatial church the great navigator Vasco da Gama is buried: Santa Maria de Belém. (Below, the leaders of the European Union sign the Lisbon Treaty in front of the Monastery - expropriated by the government in the 19th century.)

Cuius regio, eius religio.

In Spain, the Jerónimos were also everywhere: their well-deserved fame of sobriety and religious seriousness led them to receive intense royal support. It was in their Royal Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Cáceres, in 1486, that Christopher Columbus first tried to persuade Queen Isabella that his design could have great religious consequences for Castille.

Abp. Hernando de Talavera
It was the Queen's confessor and main spiritual advisor, Fray Hernando de Talavera, Prior of the Jerónimos of Valladolid, who would convince her to support the adventurous Italian. It was also to the same Royal Monastery that Queen Isabella would return to give thanks to God and the Virgin for the reconquest of Granada, in 1492, having Talavera appointed first Archbishop of Granada.

Cloister, Royal Monastery of
Santa María de Guadalupe, Cáceres

It was in the Hieronymite monastery of Yuste that Emperor Charles V chose to remain in the last few years of his life. It was in the San Jerónimo Monastery of Madrid that he would have his son Philip proclaimed Prince of Asturias in front of the Cortes. It was for the Jerónimos that King Philip II would build one of the greatest religious bulidings of all time, the Royal Monastery and Palace of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. As in Portugal, in Spain a liberal monarchy would also expel the Jerónimos from their houses in the 19th century, though most Spanish religious buildings were later returned to the Church.

While the feminine branch of the Order managed to survive the ordeal in Spain - but not in Portugal - the monks were disbanded, apparently forever.

Until, that is, a 37-year-old layman tried and managed to do the impossible, reconstitute the most significantly Iberian monastic order: and he did in under 12 years, right in the middle of the most troubled time in Spanish history.

Moved by Providence and encouraged by the remaining feminine houses, Manuel Sanz Domínguez, a high manager in a bank, left his life as a banker and went to Rome in 1923-24, persuading the Curial authorities that he had what it took to restore the Order. And he established it in 1925, in the ruined remains of the Hieronymite house of the Royal Monastery of Santa María del Parral, just outside Segovia.

The troubled years of the Second Spanish Republic, founded in 1931, did not hamper his work - but the restorer, ordained to the priesthood in 1928, was caught in the anti-Catholic wave that swept through Spain in the 1930s, and grew much worse during the Soviet-inspired Republican response to the alzamiento of July 18, 1936. It was not only the active religious who were threatened, the contemplative orders were persecuted with particular ferocity. And Fr. Manuel Sanz was captured, imprisoned, murdered and buried in the greatest open-air reliquary in the world, the Field of Saints that is in Paracuellos de Jarama, outside Madrid. (Previous post on the Paracuellos massacre here. Note: the Augustinian friars who were placed in charge of El Escorial in the 19th century were also almost entirely annihilated at Paracuellos. El Escorial remains an Augustinian house.)

The Monastery that remains today is only one, El Parral, but it stands - as always, the nuns have expanded much more. Only six members were left alive following the Republican persecution. The Hironymites were also, of course, hit by the modernizing trends of the 1960s: Father Manuel Sanz would never recognize the liturgy forced upon Spain after the Council. But considering the war and the Council, the fact that they are still there is nothing short of amazing. He did his part, and was called by God to receive his glorious crown in 1936. With such a powerful intercessor, it is unlikely that the Jerónimos and Jerónimas are going to disappear anytime soon.

Cementerio de los Mártires, Paracuellos de Jarama, Madrid

Das ist sehr cool!

Saint Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom), Vienna


The Reform in the Trappist Abbey of Mariawald: "Putting God back at the center of the life of the monastery"

Divine Office in Mariawald, prior to the renewal of the High Altar (source

In 2008, the sole Trappist Monastery in Germany, the Abbey of Mariawald, became the first (and, so far, the only) Trappist monastery to completely return to the pre-Conciliar liturgical books since the liturgical reforms of the 1960s. The Abbot of Mariawald, Dom Josef Vollberg, was interviewed very recently by Paix Liturgique, which has published a partial English translation of the interview: “Restoring Her Youth To the Church”: an interview with the Abbot of Mariawald". I would like to highlight the following portion of the interview (emphases mine):

2) Can you tell us the motivations that led you to embrace the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum and to choose the extraordinary form at your Abbey, late in 2008? 

Dom Josef: In our community there had been no visible fruits of the changes brought about by the second Vatican Council and our numbers had fallen drastically. From 1965 to 2011, many monks left the monastery and we had only two confirmed vocations.

And so, faced with the new liturgy's anthropocentric tendency, the desire was born to put God back at the center of the life of the monastery. Just as a tree lives only when it is fed by the energy it draws up through its roots, so too the monk (and not only the monk!) needs the wisdom of a centuries-old treasure to restore her youth to the Church.

Note that the liturgy at Mariawald is not completely identical with the Roman rite. It has its own specific features in terms of the calendar, Eucharistic liturgy, and especially as far as concerns the Breviary (the Liturgy of the Hours).

3) What changes has this choice meant for your religious life?

Dom Josef: The reform as (sic) made the monks' spiritual life more demanding. The new--understand “ancient”--liturgy requires an appropriate learning process: singing Gregorian chant is an art that demands a specific formation; attention to Latin as the proper language of worship demands willpower and diligence; reciting the Breviary takes longer and starting the Office at 3am demands a true willingness to surrender onself. All these sacrifices are rewarded by the discovery of heretofore unknown riches.

Service at the altar too requires appropriate training and the faithful themselves have to be formed to the liturgy versus Deum. Celebration versus Deum rather than versus populum demands a different kind of 'participatio actuosa' on their part--and for the most part, a more conscious one. Communion on the tongue also leads to deeper adoration. By the way, the Holy Father himself distributes Communion on the tongue in the Novus Ordo, thus giving an example of the much desired “reform of the reform.”

4) What influence has it had on the quality of your community life?

Dom Josef: Forty years of the new liturgy make any new change of orientation difficult, especially for the older brethren.

These days, however, the earlier tensions have eased and the situation is more serene. Openness to the Church's uninterrupted tradition and the more intense spiritual life are slowly bearing fruit, especially when it comes to new vocations. There is no room for impatience. If I may use the image of one of the Abbey's friends: reforming Mariawald is like turning around an ocean liner going at full steam: it takes time. Mariawald needs time . . . and also everyone's prayers.

5) What assessment are you in a position to make of this choice today? Has it had an effect on the vocations you have been attracting?

Dom Josef: If you wish to ask me for an assessment, I would say: “I would do it again, despite many, and sometimes subtle, difficulties.” There have been and there still are many candidates to enter at Mariawald: since the 2008 reform, between forty and fifty. But most of them do not stay because of the demands specific to the strict rule that we observe. This reflects a general phenomenon in our present-day society: the inability to commit on the long term. Ones sees it in the refusal to marry, the ever more general practice of cohabitation, and the increasing number of civil divorces.

This fear of commitment reaches all religious orders and is not tied to the nature of our reform. In 2008 we were twelve monks at the monastery. Two have since passed away. Today, therefore, there are ten of us, including a brother who has recently made his solemn profession (there's one who isn't afraid to commit!). We also have a novice and shall welcome a postulant this year, and there are two or three people who have shown serious interest in joining us. We also have three monks who live outside the monastery.

Christmas Octave: Devotion to the Child Jesus
First part

The devotion to the Child Jesus

Fr. Alban Cras, FSSP - Conference 

The devotion to the Child Jesus goes back to the very origins of Christianity. There are somewhat legendary depictions of the Child Jesus in the Apocryphal Gospels (cf. Infancy Gospel of Thomas, that presents a super-hero Child Jesus). We then see the Child Jesus appear notably to Saint Jerome, and also to Saint Catherine of Alexandria.

In the Middle Ages, the entire world is aware of the closeness between Saint Anthony of Padua and the Child Jesus. But it was in the 16th century that the devotion to the childhood of Christ received a great boost thanks to the Theresian reform; therefore, it was mainly the Carmelite spirituality that favored it. In all her travels, Saint Teresa of Avila took with her a statue of the Child Jesus, and she placed a new one in each new Carmel. It was thus that the Child Jesus was considered the true founder of each new monastery.

You are aware perhaps of the famous apparition of the Child Jesus to Saint Teresa of Avila, whose name in religion was Teresa of Jesus. The Child Jesus appeared to Teresa on a staircase in the monastery of the Incarnation, and told her: "You, you are Teresa of Jesus, and I am Jesus of Teresa."

All those sisters who accompanied Saint Teresa shared this devotion, and those who came to France to found the reformed Carmels naturally brought it with them. And precisely in France the arrival of the Spanish Carmelites was in great measure the work of Cardinal de Bérulle, one of the main founders of the French School of spirituality, that is so insistent on the Incarnation. Bérulle's theological choices prepared prepare him therefore to encourage the development in France of the devotion to the Child Jesus, and the Carmelites would play a great part in this.

One Carmelite in particular, the Venerable Margaret of the Most Holy Sacrament, entered the Carmel of Beaune at 11 and died, at 29, in 1648. She would have an immense influence, even in the Court of Louis XIII, because Queen Anne of Austria goes so far as to join the confraternity founded by her. The famed baron Gaston de Renty offers the Beaune Carmel a statue that will become famous under the title of King of Grace. It is a crowned Child Jesus, at once childlike and majestic. Margaret of the Most Holy Sacrament establishes a confraternity (the Family of the Holy Child Jesus), creates a "small rosary" of 15 beads, distributes thousands of images, and has the Child Jesus feasted on the 25th of every month.

But why this devotion to the Child Jesus? Because the childhood of Our Lord has something to teach us, it is filled with lessons, and the first lesson is certainly the path of spiritual childhood. And when we speak of the path of childhood we clearly think of another Carmelite, a successor of her mother Saint Teresa of Avila, but also of the first French Carmelites. This is obviously Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, or rather Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus. At the Lisieux Carmel, the statue of the Child Jesus that Thérèse was charged with decorating with flowers is preciously kept.

And why is it necessary for us to have a deep devotion to the Child Jesus? Baron de Renty describes the spirit of childhood as "a state in which life is lived day by day, in a perfect death to oneself, in complete abandonment to the will of the Father."

Marianne Stokes, Madonna and Child (detail)

The Child Jesus is, first, in the manger, an infinitely feeble and dependent being. He is Almighty, but He is reduced to helplessness, to swaddling clothes he cannot even move. Then he is forced to flee from Herod. "Exinanivit," says St. Paul: He reduced Himself, taking upon Himself our condition of captivity. Swaddled, he cannot move, as up on the Cross - or the Host. (cf. Bérullian portrayals of the Child Jesus). The state of childhood is primarily a state of confidence and abandonment.

[Published in Communicantes (Newsletter of the French District of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter), December 2012]

Christus natus est nobis

A very joyful Christmas and a blessed Christmastide to all!

Breviarium Romanum - In Nativitate Domini, ad matutinum
Antiphona ad invitatorium
Gaspar Fernandes (Évora, Portugal, 1566 - Puebla, New Spain, 1629)


Grazie, Santità! Auguri anche a Lei!

You report: Midnight Mass in Australia
And Christmas program in the land of Saint Benedict

Already our first report of a Midnight Mass - in Australia:

The Gloria is back!

Summorum Pontificum Wangaratta were blessed to again host Midnight Mass at Glenrowan (Victoria), a town made famous by the Bushranger, Ned Kelly.

The music was provided by a great choir based up in Albury (New South Wales) and was backed up beautifully with folks driving as far as Echuca (Vic.) and Canberra (ACT). SPWang would like to thank all those involved from singers and servers tothe flower ladies, and a special public thanks to Fr. Terence Mary Naughtin OFM Conv., whose tireless work helps provide the old Mass to those in more remote parts of Australia.

Merry Christmas!

And our friends at the Monastery of Saint Benedict in Nursia (Norcia, Umbria) send us the details of masses (all masses Traditional) today, tomorrow and on St. Stephen's for those who are anywhere nearby. Buon Natale!

The Most Hopeful Night for the Poor Souls

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

It's been a long-held belief that Christmas is the time when the most souls are released from Purgatory. It is also said that the consecration of the Mass is the time that many souls are released. So for those of us going to Christmas Masses, the consecration at these Masses in particular, we know the graces pouring forth from the altar are sending many souls to Heaven. 

While they won't be posted online, please send the names of your deceased loved ones today. As long as they're in our inbox they're enrolled in the Society. Get them in just in time for Christmas then make your offertory intention for all the souls enrolled in the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society. 

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:

7 years of RORATE CÆLI - and a special gift:
An essay on Modernism by Don Pietro Leone

Heinrich Isaac (1450-1517)
Propers, Mass of the Fourth Sunday in Advent: Introit

Today is Rorate Sunday, the Fourth Sunday in Advent, and a very special day for us: it is the seventh anniversary of this web log, founded on this same Sunday, 2005, and named after its introit - recurrent words throughout Advent, from its very first liturgical moment (First vespers of the First Sunday). It is a perfect day, then, for us to present a special essay on Modernism and why its presence is so strong in our days - by Don Pietro Leone Monselice, the pen name chosen by a traditional Catholic priest, whose solid work on the Traditional Roman Rite and the Pauline Rite we happily published in 2011.

We thank Father deeply for his new contribution to our website - and we also thank you, our readers, for the faithful readership in the past seven years. And thanks also to our followers on Twitter (@RorateCaeli).

In his book “Athanasius”, Bishop Rudolf Graber, of Regensburg, explains how the Evil One in the course of the ages has attacked the Holy Catholic Church in ways increasingly refined, insidious, and intimate. He began by attacking the faithful through persecutions, but seeing that these lead rather to an increase of the Faith, he adopted another method: that of attacking the Faith itself.

With the heresies of Martin Luther he managed to detach a great number of people from the Catholic Church; with the heresies that comprise Modernism, he has even succeeded at present in contaminating the Faith of a great number of people within the Church Herself.

What is Modernism? Saint Pius X defines it in his encyclical Pascendi as “the synthesis of all heresies”. The Code of Canon Law (CIC. 751) defines heresy as: “the obstinate denial, after receiving baptism, of a truth which is to be believed by Divine and Catholic Faith, or the obstinate doubt concerning it…”

Now, what is defined by the words ‘a truth which is to be believed by Divine and Catholic Faith’ is Catholic dogma. We observe that Modernism has in fact a wider scope than Catholic dogma as here defined, in that it extends to all traditional Catholic doctrines, even if they have not yet been defined as dogmas. In other words, Modernism includes the denial not only of all dogmas, but also of all traditional Catholic doctrine.

For the purposes of this essay we shall understand ‘heresy’ in a wide sense, as the obstinate denial of any traditional Catholic doctrine (or the obstinate doubt in its regard).

First of all, we will present two particular characteristics of Modernism: 1. Ubiquity; 2. Obscurantism.

I The Characteristics of Modernism

1. Ubiquity

Ubiquity concerns the extension of the heresy.

In the past the Church always condemned heresies, and took this opportunity to formulate Her doctrines more profoundly and more clearly. Consequently, the rotten, heretical, branch of the Church was cut off from its healthy trunk; and the healthy trunk, nurtured by a new influx of the light of Truth, was able to flourish yet more gloriously than before.

For the past fifty years, by contrast, the heresies of Modernism have no longer been condemned; or if they have been condemned, they have been but seldom, feebly, and without sanctions. As a result almost the entire tree of the Church has by now been infested by error.

This infestation takes its cue from the Magisterium itself, from the teaching of the Church: of the hierarchy and the clergy. This said teaching constitutes an illegitimate use of the munus docendi entrusted to the Church by Our Lord Jesus Christ: a use illegitimate and therefore a use that also exceeds the competence of those who exercise it: a use that is extra vires.

At this point we observe that we understand the term ‘Magisterium’ as the organ or instrument of the munus docendi of the Church, and we distinguish two senses of the term: a positive sense which refers to its legitimate exercise; and a neutral sense, which is the sense in which we will understand it in this essay, which refers to its exercise simpliciter, without specifying if it is legitimate or illegitimate. That the Magisterium may be exercised in an illegitimate way, will be demonstrated by the examples given below. This is obvious, and may be denied only by an ideologist.

Modernism inside the Church is difficult to combat for various reasons:

-it is difficult to discern inasmuch as it is ubiquitous or omnipresent - Jacques Maritain speaks of ‘immanent apostasy’. This signifies that it has become part of the very fabric of the Church Herself, or, using another image, it has become too vast even to see;

-it is difficult to understand because it is obscurantist (as we shall show it in the next section);
-it is difficult to evaluate since in order to evaluate it, theological knowledge is required which is no longer taught in seminaries or in parishes, or at least not exclusively so taught;
-it is difficult to accept because it requires intellectual honesty and courage, which are necessary to face the doctrinal devastation in the Church today;
-it is difficult to criticize, above all for a priest, because he will be regarded not only as ‘hard’, but also as ‘lacking in piety’ or even ‘schismatic’ (or ‘crypto-schismatic’) towards the Church, the Pope, and the Magisterium (understood in the first sense of the term); and will have to steel himself for some mauvais quarts d’heure with his Superior or Bishop, and perhaps even the loss of his apostolate.

2. Obscurantism

Obscurantism concerns the communication of heresy. Heresy is the obstinate denial, or doubt, of a Catholic dogma. 1.

In the past, heresy was explicit. Examples are Martin Luther’s 95 Theses posted on the cathedral door at Wittenberg. Nowadays, by contrast, in the context of Modernism, the heresy is implicit: it is implied, insinuated, suggested, favoured by obscurantism.

This obscurantism operates in two principal ways: by silence or by equivocation (ambiguity). By silence a given doctrine is no longer taught; by equivocation it is expressed in a way that furthers heresy.

We shall consider each way in turn.

a) Silence

Many doctrines are passed over in silence, i.e. those that are considered “negative”, such as the existence of Hell, Mortal Sin, and sacrilegious Holy Communion.

Let us look at sacrilegious Communion. This doctrine is almost never taught or preached any more. In fact, the passage from Saint Paul that condemns it, which appears in the Old Roman Rite on the Feast of Corpus Christi and on Maundy Thursday, was suppressed in the New Rite.2.

Clearly this silence, as indeed silence on any article of doctrine, is not merely something neutral: the failure to accomplish an act; but something positive: a veritable act, an act of denial. Because if someone is entrusted with a doctrine to preach as a moral principle and does not preach it, the only explanation possible is that he does not deem it necessary for moral conduct, and therefore, for all intents and purposes, he denies it.

If a worker notifies the headmaster of a school that there is a live electric cable in a certain classroom, and cautions him to warn students not to enter for fear of electrocution, but the headmaster omits to warn them, his silence, for all intents and purposes, amounts to a denial of the fact in question.

To the Modernists’s silence on Catholic doctrines, we can apply the declaration of Pope Felix III regarding the Patriarch Acacio in the 6th century: ‘Error cui non resistitur approbatur, et veritas quae minime defensatur, opprimitur: error which is not opposed, is approved, and the truth which is defended only minimally, is oppressed’.

b) Equivocation

The second method of obscuring doctrine is equivocation. Let us put this equivocation in its context.

As for witnessing to the Faith, the Catholic assents to that which a doctrine declares and denies that which it denies: he says yes to yes and no to no, as the Lord Himself teaches us (Mt. 5.37): ‘But let your speech be yea, yea, no, no: and that which is over and above these is of the evil one.’ The heretic of the past, by contrast, says yes to no and no to yes; while the modern heretic, by means of equivocation, says yes and no to yes, and yes and no to no.

As for epistemology, it should be said that if a strength of dogma is its clarity, a strength of Modernism is its confusion. Clarity illuminates the mind to accept the truth, while confusion confounds the mind to accept falsity.

We will proceed to give three examples of equivocation.

i)The Ends of Marriage 3.

Until quite recently, the Holy Catholic Church has always taught that the primary end of Marriage is procreation, and the secondary end the reciprocal assistance, or love, between the spouses. Whereas at the Second Vatican Council, in the new code of Canon Law, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and in various recent encyclicals, love is now put in the first place and procreation in the second (without, however, explicitly defining love as “the primary end” nor procreation as “the secondary end”).

Let us ask ourselves the following questions: Was the doctrine of the past true and the doctrine of the present false? Or was the doctrine of the past false and the doctrine of the present true? Or was the doctrine of the past true then but is false now? Or was the doctrine of the past true in one sense and is the doctrine of the present true in another sense? And in this case, why does the doctrine of the present take precedence over that of the past? And answer comes there none.

ii)The Holy Mass

In the final version of Art.7 of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani (n. 27 in the 2000 typical edition of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal), the official introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae, the Holy Mass is presented in these terms: ‘Missa seu Cena dominica....memoriale Domini seu sacrificium eucharisticum: the Mass or The Lord’s Supper[…] the Commemoration of the Lord or the Eucharistic Sacrifice’. In other words the Holy Mass is identified with the Lord’s Supper in the first instance and with the Commemoration of the Lord in the second. This, however, is an equivocation. The Holy Mass is the Lord’s Supper and the Commemoration of the Lord (that is Calvary) in a certain sense (not essential), but presenting it thus simpliciter, suggests that it is so essentially: which is a Protestant position.4 In other words, to present Holy Mass in terms laden with a Protestant sense, is to present it in a Protestant sense.

iii)The Papacy

Professor Romano Amerio, in his contribution at the Theological Congress “Sì, si, no, no” ‘The Dislocation of the Function of the Magisterium’ cites the following initiative expressed in an official document about ecumenism: ‘to discover a form of exercise of the Papacy, which, while not renouncing anything essential to its mission, opens up to a new situation’ and he comments: “This means: it cannot be renounced, but at the same time it can be renounced. It is an absolute principle, but it is not an absolute principle. The infallibility of the Pope is an immutable rock ‘but’… and when you say the ‘but’ the move has already been made.’

c)The Nature of Obscurantism

In summary, we have given various examples in order to show how Modernism obscures Catholic doctrine: it obscures the Catholic doctrine on sacrilegious Communion; on the order of the ends of Marriage; on the sacrificial nature of Holy Mass; and on the primacy of Peter.

However, it does not only obscure these doctrines, but it obscures them in favour of heresy, since keeping silent about sacrilege is the same as denying it; the reversal in listing the ends of marriage insinuates a reversal of their valuation; presenting Holy Mass in Protestant terms, favours Protestant theology on the Eucharist; and qualifying that which is absolute relativises it.

This obscurantism can be considered as a sort of partial or total eclipse of the Faith. It is partial when it consists of an equivocation which does not amount to a formal contradiction; it is total when it passes over Catholic doctrine in silence, or when it expresses the doctrine in contradictory terms: since the denial of the principle of non-contradiction regarding a given doctrine is the denial of the very possibility of its truth. The result of such denial is a Faith without truth: a Faith determined merely by sentiments and subjective attitudes, which is no longer Faith at all.

II The Consequences of Modernism

If the heresy of the past is like ‘a dagger thrust’ in the words of the Abbé Dulac, the modernist heresy is like a slow poison, in such a way that one can go to bed at night with the Faith and wake up in the morning without it.

Modernism acts like a slow poison inasmuch as, by obscuring a dogma, it weakens the virtue of the Faith: that is to say it weakens the adherence of the will to revealed Truth. In this way Modernism disseminates doubt about all the dogmas of the Faith.

As a result, dogmas are labelled as ‘problems’: ‘the problem of the Resurrection’, ‘the problem of Original Sin’, ‘the problem of Hell’, etc. However, the dogmas of the Faith are not problems: rather they are supernatural Truths 5. They are problems only for those who deny the Faith.

The Faith becomes a problem, then, and is relegated to a place alongside other Religions, or is treated as one theme amongst a variety of others. In this way the Faith is substituted for “fables”: ‘they will refuse to listen to truth and will turn to fables’: a veritate quidem auditum avertent, ad fabulas autem convertentur’ (2. Tim.4.4).

The members of the hierarchy and clergy, then, in an illegitimate exercise of their munus docendi, lend importance to other Christian confessions or religions, or alternatively, abandon in large measure the teaching of the true Faith in favour of subjects such as anthropology, sociology, psychology, or politics. Abandoning definitions and anathemata, they make recourse in their official declarations to cascades of intellectualizing and impenetrable verbiage and in their sermons to stories and jokes

The emptiness of this teaching, once stripped of its sophistication, is manifested all too clearly in the children’s catechesis. What visions of truth and of holiness are given them in the pure days of their childhood to root them in the Faith and in the life of the sacraments and the virtues, and to summon them in the final hours of their life to the embrace of Divine Mercy?6.

Obscuring a doctrine, in particular by denying the principle of non-contradiction, has a further, and even more notable, effect, inasmuch as it not only obscures the Faith in its entirety, but also the very notion of Truth. For Catholic doctrines are Truths, objective Truths, indeed they are absolute Truths, more certain than the truths of the senses; and to claim that at the same time and in the same way they can be both true and false, is to deny the very possibility of Truth.

The further one departs from the conception of objective truth and reality, the closer one draws to that of subjective truth and reality. In so doing, however, one is on the road that leads to madness, because madness is nothing other than embracing subjective reality.

The order of the True yields to the order of the Good. Truth is no longer considered a guide to behaviour, but “love”: love, however that is no longer defined by reality. This love, inasmuch as it is rational, is manifested in humanism, a humanism lightly coloured by Christianity with a tendency towards activism; inasmuch as it is emotional, it is manifested in sentimentalism and the excessive concern for the sensibilities of others.

The objective yields to the subjective, and the river of Modernism flows back into that vast ocean of subjectivism from whence it came.

[MODERNISM: an essay by Don Pietro Leone Monselice. Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana]

Traditional Liturgy Schedules for Christmastide

We invite our readers to post in the combox about the schedules in their communities for Christmastide Masses, Matins and Vespers according to the Classical Roman Rite. Schedules of traditional devotions are also welcome. 

You Report: The Traditional Latin Mass in the Archdiocese of Toronto and Suffragan Dioceses

(For an earlier "You Report" article on the TLM in Ontario: You report: The TLM in Ontario)

Rorate has received this lengthy and valuable report from the Toronto Traditional Mass Society. 

The pictures accompanying this article come from the Rorate Mass celebrated on December 15, 2012 in Kinkora (Population 30 and 160 km northwest of Toronto) in the Diocese of London in Ontario. More pictures can be found on their Facebook page. 

Early history of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in Toronto (post-Vatican II):

For decades the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite was never to be found in Toronto. For liturgical sanity in the Ordinary Form, one could have always attend St. Michael’s Cathedral  which preserved dignity in the liturgy with the aid of the renowned St. Michael’s Choir School which is affiliated with the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music. At times, there was the odd travelling priest and eventually the SSPX arrived once a week to celebrate Mass in a borrowed Ukrainian Catholic parish until that was aggressively stopped and then displaced to a university lecture hall. The SSPX eventually purchased an old Baptist building and converted it and began their apostolate which now includes a school about an hour from Toronto. 

A great blessing to Toronto was the erection almost 35 years ago, of the Toronto Oratory of St. Philip Neri . The Oratorians initiated the proper celebration of the Ordinary Form and set a standard unknown in 1978, even celebrating it in Latin. Eventually, they began celebrating the Extraordinary Form under the indult regime and they were only the second in the entire Archdiocese of Toronto to do this, the first being a kind and humble priest, Fr. Liam Gavigan, who was once alone in this work and to whom we owe so much. He is  now 80 but still going strong and celebrates two EF Masses every Sunday. The Oratorians now celebrate daily in their primary parish at Holy Family and on Sundays at their second parish, St. Vincent de Paul and within their various chapels at the Oratory and St. Philip’s Seminary. 

(For a more comprehensive listing of Extraordinary Form Masses in the Archdiocese of Toronto, as well as for a listing of Christmas liturgies according to the Extraordinary Form for Christmas in 2012, please see the list at the end of this article.)

Gabriele pardoned

Communiqué of the Holy See Press Office:

This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI visited Paolo Gabriele in prison in order to confirm his forgiveness and to inform him personally of his acceptance of Mr Gabriele's request for pardon, thereby remitting the sentence passed against the latter. This constitutes a paternal gesture towards a person with whom the Pope shared a relationship of daily familiarity for many years.

Mr Gabriele was subsequently released from prison and has returned home. Since he cannot resume his previous occupation or continue to live in Vatican City, the Holy See, trusting in his sincere repentance, wishes to offer him the possibility of returning to a serene family life.

You report: The Rorate Mass

Our reader T. Gallagher sends us the following video and report from Saint Stephen the First Martyr Parish, served by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP), in Sacramento, California:

The Votive Mass of Our Lady in Advent (Rorate Mass) has been offered at St. Stephen's since the beginning of our parish in 2002. The church fills up before 5:30 am with families who drive as much as 1 1/2 hours in the dark to assist at this beautiful Mass in honor of Our Lady. Only candle light is used in the sanctuary and in the choir loft. It is the most beautiful time of total immersion into the mystery of the Incarnation.

The music used for the video is taken from our newly released CD "The Little Road to Bethlehem," which is available at St. Stephen's Bookstore (916-455-5114 or

The words of Isaiah used as the introit antiphon of the Votive Mass of Our Lady in Advent, are also, of course, used in the introit of the Fourth Sunday in Advent, tomorrow, after which this blog, founded on the same Sunday in 2005, was named.

Pope's Christmas Address: "Gender theory" is nonsense;
Dialogue: the Christian is confident because he is possessed by the Truth

The Holy Father's yearly Christmas Address to the Roman Curia:

Dear Cardinals,

Brother Bishops and Priests,

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is with great joy that I meet you today, dear Members of the College of Cardinals, Representatives of the Roman Curia and the Governorate, for this traditional event in the days leading up to the feast of Christmas. I greet each one of you cordially, beginning with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, whom I thank for his kind words and for the warm good wishes that he extended to me on behalf of all present. The Dean of the College of Cardinals reminded us of an expression that appears frequently during these days in the Latin liturgy: Prope est iam Dominus, venite, adoremus! The Lord is already near, come, let us adore him! We too, as one family, prepare ourselves to adore the Child in the stable at Bethlehem who is God himself and has come so close as to become a man like us. I willingly reciprocate your good wishes and I thank all of you from my heart, including the Papal Representatives all over the world, for the generous and competent assistance that each of you offers me in my ministry.

Once again we find ourselves at the end of a year that has seen all kinds of difficult situations, important questions and challenges, but also signs of hope, both in the Church and in the world. I shall mention just a few key elements regarding the life of the Church and my Petrine ministry. First of all, there were the journeys to Mexico and Cuba – unforgettable encounters with the power of faith, so deeply rooted in human hearts, and with the joie de vivre that issues from faith. I recall how, on my arrival in Mexico, there were endless crowds of people lining the long route, cheering and waving flags and handkerchiefs. I recall how, on the journey to the attractive provincial capital Guanajuato, there were young people respectfully kneeling by the side of the road to receive the blessing of Peter’s Successor; I recall how the great liturgy beside the statue of Christ the King made Christ’s kingship present among us – his peace, his justice, his truth. All this took place against the backdrop of the country’s problems, afflicted as it is by many different forms of violence and the hardships of economic dependence. While these problems cannot be solved simply by religious fervour, neither can they be solved without the inner purification of hearts that issues from the power of faith, from the encounter with Jesus Christ. And then there was Cuba – here too there were great liturgical celebrations, in which the singing, the praying and the silence made tangibly present the One that the country’s authorities had tried for so long to exclude. That country’s search for a proper balancing of the relationship between obligations and freedom cannot succeed without reference to the basic criteria that mankind has discovered through encounter with the God of Jesus Christ.

As further key moments in the course of the year, I should like to single out the great Meeting of Families in Milan and the visit to Lebanon, where I consigned the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation that is intended to offer signposts for the life of churches and society in the Middle East along the difficult paths of unity and peace. The last major event of the year was the Synod on the New Evangelization, which also served as a collective inauguration of the Year of Faith, in which we commemorate the opening of the Second Vatican Council fifty years ago, seeking to understand it anew and appropriate it anew in the changed circumstances of today.

All these occasions spoke to fundamental themes of this moment in history: the family (Milan), serving peace in the world and dialogue among religions (Lebanon) and proclaiming the message of Jesus Christ in our day to those who have yet to encounter him and to the many who know him only externally and hence do not actually recognize him. Among these broad themes, I should like to focus particularly on the theme of the family and the nature of dialogue, and then to add a brief observation on the question of the new evangelization.

The great joy with which families from all over the world congregated in Milan indicates that, despite all impressions to the contrary, the family is still strong and vibrant today. But there is no denying the crisis that threatens it to its foundations – especially in the western world. It was noticeable that the Synod repeatedly emphasized the significance of the family as the authentic setting in which to hand on the blueprint of human existence. This is something we learn by living it with others and suffering it with others. So it became clear that the question of the family is not just about a particular social construct, but about man himself – about what he is and what it takes to be authentically human. The challenges involved are manifold. First of all there is the question of the human capacity to make a commitment or to avoid commitment. Can one bind oneself for a lifetime? Does this correspond to man’s nature? Does it not contradict his freedom and the scope of his self-realization? Does man become himself by living for himself alone and only entering into relationships with others when he can break them off again at any time? Is lifelong commitment antithetical to freedom? Is commitment also worth suffering for? Man’s refusal to make any commitment – which is becoming increasingly widespread as a result of a false understanding of freedom and self-realization as well as the desire to escape suffering – means that man remains closed in on himself and keeps his “I” ultimately for himself, without really rising above it. Yet only in self-giving does man find himself, and only by opening himself to the other, to others, to children, to the family, only by letting himself be changed through suffering, does he discover the breadth of his humanity. When such commitment is repudiated, the key figures of human existence likewise vanish: father, mother, child – essential elements of the experience of being human are lost.

The Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, has shown in a very detailed and profoundly moving study that the attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper. While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question. He quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: “one is not born a woman, one becomes so” (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient). These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term “gender” as a new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. Bernheim shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of rights, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain. When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man.

Congratulations to the great nation of Colombia!

For their first native-born saint, Laura de Jesus Montoya (Laura of St. Catherine of Siena): the blessed nun had a miracle recognized by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, whose decree was confirmed today by the Pope. Colombia was the largest Catholic nation still with no canonized native-born subject.

Also: the Congregation decree recognizing the "heroic virtues" of Pope Paul VI was approved by the Pope, thereby acknowledging him as a "Venerable".

The Bad Cop routine

From the interview granted by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Abp. Müller, to the Catholic Herald:

Archbishop Müller, who was appointed prefect in July this year, oversees reconciliation talks with the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) in his new role. He told the Herald that “the SSPX must accept the fullness of the Catholic faith and its practice” as “disunity always damages the proclamation of the Gospel by darkening the testimony of Jesus Christ”.

He said: “The SSPX need to distinguish between the true teaching of the Second Vatican Council and specific abuses that occurred after the Council, but which are not founded in the Council’s documents.”

He later continued: “Everyone who is Catholic must ask themselves if they are cherry-picking points from the Church’s teachings for the sake of supporting an ideology. Which is more important: an ideology or the faith? I want to say to people in extreme groups to put their ideology to one side and come to Jesus Christ.”
"Extreme ideology"

Just in time for Christmas!
Irish government issues first step in the liberalization of abortion

[Update: Statement by the Archbishops - see end of post.]

"There will be no free vote on this," Taoiseach Enda Kenny says. That is, who cares about conscience anyway? An anti-Catholic "free Ireland", who would have thought?...

Government unveils plans to address abortion ruling
Dec. 18, 2012

The Government announced today that a combination of legislation and regulations will be introduced to comply with the European Court of Human Rights ruling in the A, B and C case.

Minister for Health James Reilly presented a memorandum to this morning’s Cabinet meeting. The decision was taken to follow this route – the fourth option from the expert group on abortion - rather than proposing guidelines, an option favoured by anti-abortion campaign groups.
Fine Gael: when you can't do anything about the euro, just go after the babies
A statement released by the Department of Health said: "Having considered the report of the of the Expert Group on the judgment in A, B and C v Ireland the Government has decided that the implementation of this judgement by way of legislation with regulations offers the most appropriate method for dealing with the issue."

In a statement, the Government said the drafting of legislation, supported by regulations, will be within the parameters of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court in the X case. "It was also agreed to make appropriate amendments to the criminal law in this area," it said.

Ignorance of Christ

In Advent, time of expectation, it is interesting to read an almost unknown homily of Pope Paul VI, found only in Italian on the Vatican website. It was preached at a Roman parish on Passion Sunday, April 4, 1965. Excerpts follow:

 “. ... It is a heavy and sad page [of the Gospel]. For it recounts the clash between Jesus and the Jewish people. That people predestined to receive the Messiah, awaiting Him for thousands of years and completely absorbed in this hope and this certitude, at the right moment, that is when Christ comes, speaks and manifests Himself, not only does not recognize Him, but combats Him, calumniates and insults Him; and, finally, kills Him. . . . . Why was Jesus fixed to a cross? What wrong had He done? The Gospel, through the very lips of Jesus, repeats the same question: ‘Which of you can convict me of sin?’ It is because you do not listen to the word of truth. . . . . The Church wishes the faithful to meditate on these beginnings of the Passion of the Lord: she wants them know the causes, the roots, the psychological origin, interior to souls. From there begins the aversion to Christ and the movement which goes so far as to crucify the Lord. This thinking it over is salutary, for it disposes us to better understand the drama of Calvary. And thus, today, what shall we say? We shall observe that this fact . . . repeats itself, prolongs itself: it is an historical reality which continues: even down to us. . . . . Among the many excuses, we will indicate only one: we hear it from the lips of Jesus in the hours of the agony on the cross. . . . Does he perhaps condemn those who have nailed him to the gibbet? Does he desire their ruin? Jesus speaks with the heavenly Father and prays thus: Lord, pardon them, for they do not know what they do! They do not know . . . The same thing repeats itself. We glimpse in the drama of Christianity, in the very same drama of Christ who found enmity, opposition and hostility in the world, a phenomenon of ignorance, of not knowing. Those who do not wish to accept Christ or who rebel against him do not know what they are doing. My dear sons, as a remembrance of our meeting, of this visit of mine to your parish, I wish to leave you a recommendation: seek to know the Lord better; seek to have honest and precise information about the Message of Christ; about this our Religion, in the face of which are so often found such contrary and downright horrendous attitudes. For what reason? Because deep down there is rooted a sin of ignorance, there is lack of awareness, forgetfulness, superficiality, a blinded state of souls. Let us beware of these evils. . . . Would that all of you take note of the great responsibility to listen to the word of the Lord. . . . . My dear sons, do not despise this humble voice which speaks to you, and accept it truly as the echo not of my thought and my soul, but rather as the very voice of Christ, because I am his Vicar, because I have been sent by him, because I am the messenger of his words. It is necessary to believe in Christ, to have faith in Christ. ...”

A sermon more timeless than many a passage in and about Vatican II. In 1965, Paul VI was apparently aware that even Italy was beginning to lose the true knowledge of Christ. Without necessarily meaning to, this homily sums up the whole history of the Church: the rejection of Christ by his people, his acceptance by many Gentiles, and final rejection by the world, including nations which had once accepted him.