Rorate Caeli

Forty Hours Devotion in New York City

The Church of the Holy Innocents in New York City will celebrate the restoration of its "Mural of the Crucifixion" with two Solemn High Masses and a pontifical High Mass.  These traditional Latin Masses will be part of a Forty Hours Devotion at the parish, with Constantino Brumidi's 142 year old mural for all to see.

* On Friday, 1 February, at 6 p.m., there will be a Solemn High Mass.  This will be a Votive Mass of the Blessed Sacrament with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Procession.  It will be followed by an all-night vigil.

Usus Antiquior articles now online

Usus Antiquior was the sole academic journal dedicated to the study of the Classical Roman Rite (a dedication that was interpreted quite broadly). However, after only six issues in three years (2010 - 2012) it ceased publication at the end of last year. 

With the journal ceasing publication, all of the articles in its six issues are now marked as "free content", and can now be freely downloaded or read online as PDF files. (Previously, only selected articles were available online for free.)

(Note: Rorate does not necessarily endorse everything that was published in this journal.)

For the record: Benedict XVI on doctrinal issues and ecumenism

This celebration is part of the Year of Faith, which began on 11 October, the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. Communion in the same faith is the basis for ecumenism. Unity is given by God as inseparable from faith; St. Paul expresses this effectively: "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all"(Eph. 4:4-6). The baptismal profession of faith in God, the Father and Creator, who revealed himself in his Son Jesus Christ, pouring out the Spirit who gives life and holiness, already unites Christians. Without faith - which is primarily a gift of God, but also man's response - the whole ecumenical movement would be reduced to a form of "contract" to enter into out of a common interest. The Second Vatican Council reminds Christians that "the closer their union with the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, the more deeply and easily will they be able to grow in mutual brotherly love"(Decr. Unitatis redintegratio, 7). Doctrinal issues that still divide us must not be overlooked or minimized. They should rather be faced with courage, in a spirit of brotherhood and mutual respect. Dialogue, when it reflects the priority of faith, can open to the action of God with the firm conviction that we cannot build unity alone: it is the Holy Spirit who guides us toward full communion, who allows us to grasp the spiritual wealth present in the different Churches and ecclesial communities.
 - Pope Benedict XVI

 (Official Italian text on Vatican website: link)

Photo source: link.

Pontifical High Mass for the Dead at the Faldstool

The Most Reverend Joseph Nathaniel Perry, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, offered a Pontifical High Mass for the Dead at the Faldstool for the souls of deceased Catholic leaders of the pro-life movement on Friday, 25 January, after the March for Life in Washington, D.C.

The Mass was organized by Juventutem Michigan, under the leadership of Mr. Paul Schultz, Esq. Offered at Saint Mary, Mother of God church, the Mass attracted approximately 450 people (including several dozen who had to stand in the narthex and back of the nave), mostly Catholics in their 20s and 30s who were visiting Washington for the March.  Several priests from the Fraternity of Saint Peter, Institute of Christ the King and various dioceses served as ministers and sat in choro.  The parish schola of men, under the direction of guest conductor Wassim Sarweh, chanted the propers and ordinary of the Requiem Mass.  A choir of six men sang several polyphonic motets.

The following are some photos taken by Juventutem volunteers:

For the record: two Papal Documents change competencies in the Curia

Two significant Apostolic Letters of Pope Benedict XVI, given motu proprio, were published today in L'Osservatore Romano, changing the competencies of organs of the Roman Curia:

- Fides per doctrinam: alters the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus in order to transfer the competency on Catechesis from the Congregation for the Clergy to the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization;

- Ministrorum institutio, relieving the Congregation for Catholic Education of one of its most significant competencies, that of caring for Seminaries - that is transferred to the Congregation for the Clergy. 

March for Life in Washington, D.C.

This Friday, 25 January, the March for Life will be held in Washington, D.C., marking the 40th anniversary of the Roe versus Wade decision on abortion in the United States.  An enormous amount of traditional Catholics attend the March -- and I am guessing nearly everyone reading this within driving distance to our nation's capital will be there Friday to walk peacefully down Constitution Avenue to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Some people even fly in from other parts of the country or world.  It is a huge annual event, particularly this year with the unfortunate milestone.

The speeches by pro-life leaders will be at 12 noon, and the March itself will be around 1-3 p.m.  Before and after those times (hauntingly, noon to three on a Friday, after 40 years) there will be numerous traditional Latin Masses offered near the site of the March.

The parish that offers the only public traditional Latin Mass in Washington, D.C., will be the site of all the Masses: Saint Mary, Mother of God, church at 5th and H streets, Northwest.  The closest Metro station is Gallery Place / Chinatown, using the 7th and H street exit and walking two blocks to Old Saint Mary's. The church and traditional Latin Mass there have a special connection to the March for Life, as it was the long-time parish of Miss Nellie J. Gray, who started the March for Life and ran it every year until passing away in August.  This photo was taken during her funeral, a traditional Latin Requiem Missa Cantata offered by Father Alfred J. Harris, pastor, with Cardinals O'Malley and Wuerl in choro:

Here is a list of traditional Latin Masses scheduled to be offered there on Friday, 25 January, before and after the March for Life:

The TLM in German-speaking lands: statistics since 2007

While much attention is being focused on the news that the Archdiocese of Berlin is undergoing "significant restructuring" (a euphemism for 105 parishes being scheduled for reduction to 30 parishes by 2020), it might be instructive to take a look as well at how Summorum Pontificum is faring in Germany, as well as in Austria and Switzerland. The following statistics of canonically-regular Traditional Latin Masses (i.e. those under diocesan auspices and not including those of the SSPX) are from the website of Pro Missa Tridentina

AS OF JANUARY 16, 2013:

Germany -  152 locations with the Traditional Latin Mass:
                 -- 53 every Sunday (of which 32 also have them on Holy Days of obligation) 
                 -- 27 one to three Sundays per month
                 -- 72 on weekdays only

Austria -  33 locations with the Traditional Mass:
               -- 11 every Sunday (of which 8 also have them on Holy Days of obligation) 
               -- 5 one or two Sundays per month
               -- 17 on weekdays only

Switzerland - 39 locations with the Traditional Latin Mass:
                   -- 22 every Sunday (of which 12 also have them on Holy Days of obligation) 
                   -- 4 one or two Sundays per month
                   -- 13 on weekdays only

AS OF MARCH 24, 2012:

Germany -  148 locations with the Traditional Latin Mass:
                 -- 53 every Sunday (of which 28 also have them on Holy Days of obligation) 
                 -- 26 one to three Sundays per month
                 -- 69 on weekdays only

Austria -  32 locations with the Traditional Mass:
               -- 12 every Sunday (of which 7 also have them on Holy Days of obligation) 
               -- 4 one or two Sundays per month
               -- 16 on weekdays only

Switzerland - 41 locations with the Traditional Latin Mass:
                   -- 23 every Sunday (of which 12 also have them on Holy Days of obligation) 
                   -- 4 one or two Sundays per month
                   -- 14 on weekdays only

Germany -  148 locations with the Traditional Latin Mass:
                 -- 52 every Sunday (of which 28 also have them on Holy Days of obligation) 
                 -- 31 one to three Sundays per month
                 -- 65 on weekdays only

Austria -  31 locations with the Traditional Mass:
               -- 12 every Sunday (of which 7 also have them on Holy Days of obligation) 
               -- 4 one or two Sundays per month
               -- 15 on weekdays only

Switzerland - 41 locations with the Traditional Latin Mass:
                   -- 23 every Sunday (of which 14 also have them on Holy Days of obligation) 
                   -- 5 one or two Sundays per month
                   -- 13 on weekdays only

Germany -  137 locations with the Traditional Latin Mass:
                 -- 49 every Sunday (of which 23 also have them on Holy Days of obligation) 
                 -- 27 one to three Sundays per month
                 -- 60 on weekdays only 

Austria -  27 locations with the Traditional Mass:
               -- 11 every Sunday (of which 7 also have them on Holy Days of obligation) 
               -- 3 one or two Sundays per month
               -- 13 on weekdays only

Switzerland - 37 locations with the Traditional Latin Mass:
                   -- 21 every Sunday (of which 12 also have them on Holy Days of obligation) 
                   -- 4 one or two Sundays per month
                   -- 12 on weekdays only

"On weekdays only" encompasses Mass sites ranging from those with a Traditional Latin Mass one weekday per quarter to those that have it on one or more days in the course of a week.

The statistics for Switzerland include the whole country, and not just the German-speaking areas.

According to a press release published by Pro Missa Tridentina in 2008, the situation in Germany before and immediately after Summorum Pontificum was as follows:

February 15, 2008 - 90 locations 
End of December 2007 - 78 locations (more than double in less than half a year!)
July 2007 (just before Summorum Pontificum) - 35 locations
1997 - 23 locations with the Traditional Latin Mass (monthly, weekly, weekdays, etc.)

It is evident that between Feb. 2008 and Feb. 2010, the number of Traditional Latin Mass locations increased from 90 to 137 in Germany. 

Di Noia's letter - full text in English

Jean-Marie Guénois, religious correspondent for French daily Le Figaro, made public today the full text of the letter sent by the Vice-President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Abp. Di Noia, to the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, Bp. Fellay, and all the priests of the Society. (Our previous post on the letter here.)

There is no sign that there was any intent of confidentiality in the letter, called by Fr. Lombardi (Holy See spokesman) a "personal appeal" by Abp. Di Noia.


[Update: From Il Sismografo, we have the original English text of the letter]

Advent 2012

Your Excellency and dear Priestly Brothers of the Fraternity of St. Pius X,

Our recent declaration (28 October 2012) affirmed in a public and authoritative manner that the Holy See’s relations with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X remain open and hopeful. Until now, apart from its official pronouncements, the Holy See has for various reasons refrained from correcting certain inaccurate assertions regarding its conduct and competence in these interactions. A time is rapidly approaching, however, when in the interest of truth the Holy See will be compelled to address some of these inaccuracies. Particularly dolorous are statements that impugn the office, and person, of the Holy Father and that, at some point, would demand some response.

Recent assertions by persons holding significant positions of authority within the Fraternity cannot but cause concern about the realistic prospects for reconciliation. One thinks in particular of interviews given by the District Superior for Germany, formerly General Superior of the Fraternity (18 September 2012) and by the First Assistant General of the Fraternity (16 October 2012), and a recent sermon of the General Superior (1 November 2012). The tone and content of these interventions have given rise to a certain perplexity about the seriousness and, indeed, the very possibility of straightforward conversation between us. While the Holy See patiently awaits an official response from the Fraternity, some of its superiors employ language, in unofficial communications, that to all the world appears to reject the very provisions, assumed to be still under study, that are required for the reconciliation and for the canonical regularization of the Fraternity within the Catholic Church.

What is more, a review of the history of our relations since the 1970s leads to the sobering realization that the terms of our disagreement concerning Vatican Council II have remained, in effect, unchanged. With magisterial authority, the Holy See has consistently maintained that the documents of the Council must be interpreted in the light of Tradition and the Magisterium and not vice versa, while the Fraternity has insisted that certain teachings of the Council are erroneous and are thus not susceptible to an interpretation in line with the Tradition and the Magisterium. Over the years, this stalemate has remained more or less in place. The three years of doctrinal dialogues just concluded, though permitting a fruitful airing of views on specific issues, did not fundamentally alter this situation.
In these circumstances, while hope remains strong, it is clear that something new must be injected into our conversations if we are not to appear to the Church, to the general public, and indeed to ourselves, to be engaged in a well-meaning but unending and fruitless exchange. Some new considerations of a more spiritual and theological nature are needed, considerations that transcend the important but seemingly intractable disagreements over the authority and interpretation of Vatican Council II that now divide us, considerations that focus rather on our duty to preserve and cherish the divinely willed unity and peace of the Church.
It seems opportune that I should introduce these new considerations in the form of a personal Advent letter addressed to you as well as to the members of the Priestly Fraternity. Nothing less than the unity of the Church is at stake.

The Preservation of the Unity of the Church

In this context, the words of St. Paul spring to mind: “I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace: one Body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph 4:1-6).

With these words, the Apostle Paul admonishes us to maintain the unity of the Church, the unity that is given by the Spirit and which unites us to the one God “who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph 4:6). True unity is a gift of the Spirit, not something of our own making.

Nevertheless, through our actions and decisions we are able to cooperate in the unity of the Spirit, or to act against the Spirit’s promptings. Therefore, St. Paul exhorts us to “live in a manner worthy of the call you have received” (Eph 4:1) to live so that we may preserve this precious gift of unity.

In order to persevere in the unity of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas notes that, according to St. Paul, “four virtues must be cultivated, and their four opposite vices shunned” (Commentary on the Letter to the Ephesians §191). What gets in the way of unity? Pride, anger, impatience, and inordinate zeal. According to Aquinas, “the first vice which he [St. Paul] rejects is pride. When one arrogant person decides to rule others, while the other proud individuals do not want to submit, dissension arises in the society and peace disappears. ... Anger is the second vice. For an angry person is inclined to inflict injury, whether verbal or physical, from which disturbances occur. ... The third is impatience. Occasionally, someone who himself is humble and mild, refraining from causing trouble, nevertheless will not endure patiently the real or attempted wrongs done to himself. ... An inordinate zeal is the fourth vice. Inordinately zealous about everything, men will pass judgment on whatever they see, not waiting for the proper time and place; and a turmoil arises in society” (ibid).

How are we to overcome these vices? St. Paul says: “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love” (Eph 4:2).
According to Aquinas, humility, by recognizing the goodness in others and accurately acknowledging our own strengths and weaknesses, helps us to avoid contention in our interactions with others. Mildness “softens arguments and preserves peace” (Commentary on the Letter to the Ephesians, §191). It helps us to avoid inordinate displays of anger by giving us the serenity to do what we are called to do in a spirit of equanimity and peace. Patience enables us to endure suffering when it is necessary for the sake of the good we seek, especially in the case of a difficult or arduous good or when external circumstances militate against the achievement of the goal. Charity casts out inordinate zeal by allowing us to support one another in charity, “mutually bearing with the defects of others out of charity” (ibid.). St. Thomas counsels: “When someone falls he should not be immediately corrected—unless it is the time and the place for it. With mercy these should be awaited since charity bears all things (1 Cor 13:7). Not that these things are tolerated out of negligence or consent, nor from familiarity or carnal friendship, but from charity. ... Now, we that are stronger ought to bear the infirmities of the weak (Rom 15:1)” (ibid.).

The prudent counsel of St. Thomas may be of assistance to us if we can allow ourselves to be formed by his wisdom. In the past forty years, has there at times been a lack of humility, mildness, patience, and charity in our mutual relations?

Consider these words Pope Benedict wrote to his brother bishops to explain why he promulgated the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum: “Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden. This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to enable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew” (Letter of 7 July 2007).

How might the virtues of humility, mildness, patience, and charity shape our thoughts and actions? First, by humbly striving to recognize the goodness that exists in others with whom we may disagree, even on seemingly fundamental issues, we are able to approach contested issues in a spirit of openness and good faith. Secondly, by practicing true mildness we may maintain a spirit of serenity, avoiding the introduction of a divisive tone or imprudent statements that will offend rather than promote peace and mutual understanding. Thirdly, by true patience we will recognize that in our striving after the arduous good we seek, we must be willing, when necessary, to accept suffering while waiting. Finally, even when we still feel the need to correct our brothers it must be with charity, in the proper time and place.

In the life of the Church, all of these virtues are aimed at preserving “the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3). If our interactions are marked by pride, anger, impatience, and inordinate zeal, our intemperate striving for the good of the Church will lead to nothing but bitterness. If, on the other hand, through the grace of God we grow in true humility, mildness, patience, and charity, our unity in the Spirit will be maintained and we will grow deeper in our love of God and of our neighbors, fulfilling the whole of God’s law for us.

We place such emphasis on the unity of the Church because it reflects and is constituted by the communion of the Holy Trinity. As we read in a sermon of St. Augustine: “Both the Father and the Son wished us to have communion both with them and among ourselves; by this gift which they both possess as one, they wished to gather us together and make us one, that is to say, by the Holy Spirit who is God and the gift of God” (Sermon 71.18).

The unity of the Church is not something that we grasp for ourselves by our own power, but is a gift of divine grace. It is in recognition of this gift that Augustine is able to say: “But one who is an enemy of unity has no share in the love of God. 

Those, therefore, who are outside the Church do not have the Holy Spirit” (Epistle 185 §50). These are chilling words: one who is an enemy of unity becomes an enemy of God, for he rejects the gift that God has bestowed on us. “What proof is there that we love the brotherhood?” St. Augustine asks. “That we don’t sever its unity, because we maintain charity” (Homilies on the First Letter of John, 2.3). Hear what Augustine has to say to those who divide the Church: “You don’t have charity because, for the sake of your honor, you cause divisions in unity. Understand from this, then, that the spirit is from God. ... You are removing yourself from the world’s unity, you are dividing the Church with schisms, you are tearing to pieces the body of Christ. He came in the flesh so as to bring it together; you are crying out so as to scatter it” (ibid. 6.13). How can we avoid becoming enemies of God? “Let each one question his heart. If a person loves his brother, the Spirit of God is abiding in him. Let him look, let him probe himself before God’s eyes. Let him see if there is in him a love of peace and unity, a love of the Church spread throughout the earth” (ibid. 6.10).

What about those with whom fellowship is difficult? Listen to St. Augustine: “Love your enemies in such a way that you wish them to be brothers; love your enemies in such a way that they are brought into your fellowship” (ibid. 1.9). For Augustine, this authentic form of love can only come as God’s gift: “Ask God that you may love one another. You should love all people, even your enemies, not because they are your brothers but so that they may become your brothers, so that you may always be aflame with brotherly love, whether towards one who has become your brother or towards your enemy, so that by loving him he may become your brother” (ibid.10.7).

The example for loving our enemies so that they might become our friends ultimately comes from Christ himself: “Let us love, because he loved us first (4:19). For how would we love if he had not loved us first? By his love we were made his friends, but he loved us as enemies so that we would become his friends. He loved us first and bestowed on us the means of loving him” (ibid. 9.9).

For St. Augustine, then, the unity of the Church flows from the communion of the Blessed Trinity and must be maintained if we are to remain in communion with God himself. Through God’s grace, we must preserve this unity with great determination, even if it involves suffering and patient endurance: “Let us endure the world, let us endure tribulations, let us endure the scandals of trials. Let us not turn aside from the way. Let us hold onto the unity of the Church, let us hold onto Christ, let us hold onto charity. Let us not be torn away from the members of his bride, let us not be torn away from the faith, so that we may glory in his presence, and we shall remain secure in him, now through faith and then through sight, the pledge of which we have as the gift of the Holy Spirit” (ibid. 9.11).

The Place for the Priestly Fraternity in the Church

What, then, is being asked of the Priestly Fraternity in the present situation? Not to abandon the zeal of your founder, Archbishop Lefebvre. Far from it! Rather you are being asked to renew the flame of his ardent zeal to form men in the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Surely, the time has come to abandon the harsh and counterproductive rhetoric that has emerged over the past years.

That original charism entrusted to Archbishop Lefebvre must be recaptured, the charism of the formation of priests in the fullness of Catholic Tradition for the sake of undertaking an apostolate to the faithful that flows from this priestly formation. This was the charism the Church discerned when the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X was first approved in 1970. We recall Cardinal Gagnon’s favorable judgment of your seminary at Ecône in 1987.

The authentic charism of the Fraternity is to form priests for the service of the people of God, not the usurpation of the office of judging and correcting the theology or discipline of others within the Church. Your focus should be on the inculcation of sound philosophical, theological, pastoral, spiritual, and human formation for your candidates so that they may preach the word of Christ and act as instruments of God’s grace in the world, especially through the solemn celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Attention should certainly be paid to the passages of the Magisterium that seem difficult to reconcile with magisterial teaching, but these theological questions should not be the focus of your preaching or of your formation.

With respect to the competence to correct, we might well consider the example of St. Pius X and his interventions on the question of sacred music. In 1903, St. Pius promulgated the famous motu proprio Tra le sollecitudini, promoting throughout the Church a reform of ecclesiastical music. This document, however, was in a sense the culmination of two earlier initiatives of the then Giuseppe Sarto: a votum on sacred music written at the request of the Congregation of Sacred Rites in 1893, and a pastoral letter on the reform of sacred music to the Church of Venice published in 1895.

These three documents essentially contained the same message, and yet the first was a suggestion for the Roman Curia, the next was an instruction for the faithful under his jurisdiction as Patriarch of Venice, and the third was a command for the universal Church. As Pope, St. Pius X had the authority to address abuses in ecclesiastical music throughout the world, whereas as bishop he could only intervene within his diocese. St. Pius X was able to address problems in the church on a universal level in his disciplinary and doctrinal prescriptions, precisely because of his universal authority.

Even if we are convinced that our perspective on a particular disputed question is the true one, we cannot usurp the office of the universal pontiff by presuming publicly to correct others within the Church. We may propose and seek to exert influence, but we must not disrespect or act against legitimate local authorities. We need to respect the proper fora of different types of issues: it is the faith that should be preached from our pulpits, not the latest interpretation of what we take to be problematic about a magisterial document.

It has been a mistake to make every difficult point in the theological interpretation of Vatican II a matter of public controversy, trying to sway those who are not theologically sophisticated into adopting one’s own point of view regarding subtle theological matters.

The Instruction Donum Veritatis on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith 1990) states that a theologian “may raise questions regarding the timeliness, the form, or even the contents of magisterial interventions” (§24), although “the willingness to submit loyally to the teaching of the Magisterium on matters per se not irreformable must be the rule.” But a theologian should “not present his own opinions or divergent hypotheses as though they were non-arguable conclusions. Respect for the truth as well as for the People of God requires this discretion (cf. Rom 14:1-15; 1 Cor 8; 10: 23-33). For the same reasons, the theologian will refrain from giving untimely public expression to them” (§27).

If, after intense reflection on the part of a theologian, difficulties persist, he “has the duty to make known to the Magisterial authorities the problems raised by the teaching in itself, in the arguments proposed to justify it, or even in the manner in which it is presented. He should do this in an evangelical spirit and with a profound desire to resolve the difficulties. His objections could then contribute to real progress and provide a stimulus to the Magisterium to propose the teaching of the Church in greater depth and with a clearer presentation of the arguments. In cases like these, the theologian should avoid turning to the ‘mass media’, but have recourse to the responsible authority, for it is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and renders service to the truth” (§30).

This part of the task of a theologian, acting with a loyal spirit, animated by love for the Church, can at times be a difficult trial. “It can be a call to suffer for the truth, in silence and prayer, but with the certainty, that if the truth really is at stake, it will ultimately prevail” (§31).

Nevertheless, critical engagement with the acts of the Magisterium must never become a sort of “parallel magisterium” of theologians (cf. §34), for it must be submitted to the judgment of the Supreme Pontiff, who has “the duty to safeguard the unity of the Church with concern to offer help to all in order to respond appropriately to this vocation and divine grace” (Apostolic Letter, Ecclesiae Unitatem, §1).

Thus we can see that for those within the Church who have the canonical mandate or mission to teach, there is room for a truly theological and non-polemical engagement with the Magisterium. Intellectually speaking, however, we cannot be satisfied merely with generating and sustaining controversy. Difficult theological problems can only be adequately dealt with through the analogy of faith, that is, the synthesis of all that the Lord has revealed to us. We must see each doctrine and article of faith as supporting the others, and learn to understand the inner connections between each element of our faith.

To engage in the study of theology, we must have adequate cultural, biblical, and philosophical training. I think for instance of a passage from the 1917 Code of Canon Law that is printed in the introduction to the 1947 Benziger English edition of the Summa Theologiae: “Religious who have already studied their humanities should devote themselves for two years at least to philosophy, and four years to theology, following the teaching of St. Thomas in accordance with the instructions of the Holy See” (CIC 1917, can. 589). Consider the wisdom embodied in this directive: theology is to be undertaken only by those who have been adequately formed both in the humanities and philosophy. Recently, the Congregation for Catholic Education has required that the study of philosophy continue for three years during priestly formation. Without this breadth of learning, our theological inquiry will not have the rich soil of culture in which the faith took root and which is indispensable for fully understanding both the philosophical concepts and terms that underlie the doctrinal formulations of the Church.

If we concentrate only on the most difficult and most controversial questions—which, by all means, need to receive careful attention—we might over time lose a sense of the analogy of faith and begin to see theology mainly as a sort of intellectual dialectic of competing claims, rather than as a sapiential engagement with the living God who has revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ and who inspires our study, our preaching, our pastoral care through the Holy Spirit.


Pope Benedict XVI, in his magnanimous exercise of the munus Petrinum, is striving to overcome the tensions that have existed between the Church and your Fraternity. Would a full ecclesial reconciliation bring about an immediate end to the suspicion and bad feeling we have experienced? Perhaps not so readily.
But what we are seeking is not a human work: we are seeking reconciliation and healing by God’s grace under the loving guidance of the Holy Spirit. Let us recall the effects of grace articulated by St. Thomas: to heal the soul, to desire good, to carry into effect the good proposed, to persevere in good, and finally, to reach glory (cf. Summa theologiae 1a.2ae, 111, 3).

Our souls need first to be healed, to be cleansed of the bitterness and resentment that comes from thirty years of suspicion and anguish on both sides. We need to pray that the Lord may heal us of any imperfections that have come about precisely because of the difficulties, especially the desire for an autonomy that is in fact outside the traditional forms of governance of the Church. The Lord gives us the grace to desire certain goods, in this case the good of full ecclesial unity and communion. This is a desire that many of us share humanly speaking, but what we need from the Lord is for him to let this desire suffuse our souls, so that we may desire with the same desire of Christ ut unum sint.

Only then does God’s grace allow us to carry into effect the good proposed. It is He who prompts us to seek reconciliation and brings it to completion.
This is a moment of tremendous grace: let us embrace it with our whole heart and mind. As we prepare for the coming of the Savior of the world during this Advent season of the Year of Faith, let us pray and hope boldly: may we not also anticipate the longed for reconciliation of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X with the See of Peter?

The only imaginable future for the Priestly Fraternity lies along the path of full communion with the Holy See, with the acceptance of an unqualified profession of the faith in its fullness, and thus with a properly ordered ecclesial, sacramental and pastoral life.

Having received from the Successor of Peter this charge to be an instrument in the reconciliation of the Priestly Fraternity, I dare to make my own the words of the Apostle Paul in urging us “to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+ J. Augustine Di Noia, O.P.

Credit Where Credit is Due

You will remember back in May we brought you the story of Fr. William Holtzinger, A.K.A. the "Poodle Priest," of St. Anne's Parish in the Archdiocese of Portland. We make no apologies for rightly criticizing a novelty that turned the Sacrifice on Calvary into Barnum and Bailey's. 

Whether Fr. Holtzinger has had a full conversion to orthodoxy or not we cannot say. We must, in charity however, give him credit for at least beginning to adhere to the words of our Holy Father and starting to implement Summorum Pontificum. 

From Father's personal website:

Mass in the Extraordinary Form 
Several months ago I was asked if we could offer a special Mass in what is called the "Extraordinary Form," previously called, the Tridentine Mass or Latin Mass. After supportive consultation with various people and groups including our Archbishop, Chancellor, and the vicariate area priests, I decided to support and accommodate a quarterly Mass in the Extraordinary Form at Our Lady of the River. The first of these Masses will be on February 10th at 6 PM. Questions you might have likely deal with what, how, and why. 

Read more here. 

Di Noia sends letter to SSPX priests - via Menzingen

This is the main part of the information shared by Riposte Catholique (in French):

Each priest of the Society of Saint Pius X [FSSPX / SSPX] has received a very long letter by Abp. Di Noia, Vice-President of the Ecclesia Dei Commission. The Pope's delegate takes note of the standing disagreement between the Holy See and the SSPX: the Holy See believes that it is necessary to interpret the texts in the light of Tradition; the SSPX considers that certain teachings of Vatican II are erroneous. The entire matter, itself unchanged, is [then] to render this disagreement bearable.

With the aid of texts by Saint Paul, Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas, Abp. Di Noia therefore proposes a new, spiritual, approach. He asks both parties to move forward, each one for their part, to an examination of conscience focused on humility, docility, patience, charity. The SSPX considers that this cannot exclude, considering the doctrinal questions at stake, the strict confession of faith. Especially considering that the dismantlement of faith, catechesis, sacramental practices adds weight to their considerations. Conversely, it is true, one could say that the continued degradation of the situation of the Catholic faith is a pressing invitation [to the SSPX] to leave their splendid isolation, and join the official rescue corps in the very spot of the accident.

An outline of the concrete solution is left, surely on purpose, somewhat uncertain by Abp. Di Noia. He recalls en passant that Rome expects from Bp. Fellay a response to the document that was given to him last June 14. But, besides that, he proposes to the SSPX a process that could be qualified as transactional:

- On the one hand, the SSPX would find anew the positive charism of the first years at Fribourg and Écône (it would try to reform what can be [reformed], first through the formation of traditional priests and by preparing them for a teaching in conformity with their formation).

- On the other, the SSPX still considering that certain passages of the teaching of Vatican II cannot be reconciled with the preceding Magisterium, it could discuss it, as long as it:
- abstains as a matter of principle from [discussing them in] the mass media;

- does not establish itself as a parallel magisterium;

- always presents the objections in a positive and constructive manner

- bases all its analyses on deep and wide theological bases.

... A reference is made to the instruction Donum veritatis on the ecclesial vocation of the theologian (May 24, 1990).

Rorate can add the following: we can confirm that the letter was not sent by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei directly to each SSPX priest, but to General House, in Menzingen, Switzerland, that forwarded it. We cannot confirm that it was forwarded to every single priest or priory of the SSPX. We can add that it is not exactly a new/urgent letter, but that it was sent in early December 2012. And we cannot confirm all contents presented by Riposte Catholique, since, while accurate, they seem to be interpolated with some interpretation of what they could mean (that is, the content is not presented verbatim).

Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York

A new History Channel video on Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York City has been released.  Just two minutes and fourteen seconds, it contains some rare photos and a host of interesting statistics.  It can be viewed here.

The cathedral is currently in the midst of an extensive restoration and cleaning effort.  For those who have visited it, Saint Patrick's is a memorable block in the heart of an extremely congested area of Manhattan.  With rare exception (including distracting TV monitors throughout the nave, a redundant table-altar in the sanctuary and a modernist Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton side altar) the cathedral has escaped the wreckovation craze following the Second Vatican Council.  Perhaps more traditional Latin Masses will be celebrated there soon, keeping with Cardinal Dolan's writings on restoring Catholic disciplines.

While on the subject of Saint Patrick's, here are two photos from the archives that will likely be of interest to fans of the cathedral.  The first is from 1912, when the Edison Light Company installed 40,000 lights after Archbishop John Farley was made a cardinal.  Notice the lack of buildings around the cathedral.  The second photo is a wedding from 1930.  Notice the massive high altar.  That was removed in 1942 for the current altar and baldacchino, which is now not even used (despite being freestanding!).  These photos are taken from the cathedral's Facebook page, which also contains other interesting historical images. 

Reminder: Franciscan Protomartyrs

On January 16, the Roman Martyrology recalls the martyrdom of this page's patron saints, the Franciscan Protomartyrs, in 1220. Holy Franciscan Protomartyrs, pray for us!

Bishop Athanasius Schneider discusses Religious Liberty

Production: Catholic News Service (CNS)

LMS launches Sodality of St Augustine

I'm not able to publish of FIUV position paper this month, since we've not made as much progress with them as I had hoped. We have four in an advanced stage of preparation, however, so normal service will be resumed in February I trust.

I thought Rorate readers might be interested in an initiative of the Latin Mass Society, which is suited to an international audience since it is web-based and not limited to LMS members: the Sodality of St Augustine of Hippo.

The purpose of the Sodality is to unite the prayers of members for the conversion of those dear to them. There can be few Catholics today who do not have family members or close friends who have either lapsed from the practice of the Faith, or never had it; it is a particular source of grief when parents see children and grandchildren living without the support of the Sacraments. We take heart from the example of St Augustine, converted at last by the prayers and tears of his mother St Monica, and wish to demonstrate our fellowship with others in the same position, by praying not only for our own dear ones, but for those of others who will do the same for ours.

Never, I think, in the history of the Church has there been more reason to support this kind of sodality.

Find out more here.

New Traditional Personal Parish - a first for the Netherlands

The Traditional Catholic community that has worshipped in the church of Saint Agnes (Agneskerk), in Amsterdam, since 2006, under the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP), will be granted a full-fledged Personal Parish (as provided by the Code of Canon Law and by Summorum Pontificum, art. 10) by the Bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam. 

The new Personal Parish will be dedicated to Blessed Charles of Austria.

[Source: Mysterium Fidei]

What is Acquired Contemplation?

by Thomas of Jesus OCD

The word contemplation means, in the strict sense of the word, an act of simple intellectual sight, which when the object contemplated is beautiful and lovable, is associated with admiration and love. Contemplative prayer is distinguished from discursive prayer and affective prayer and can be defined as a simple and affectionate glance at God or at divine things; or more briefly, simplex, intuitus veritatis, as St. Thomas says.

Acquired contemplation can be defined thus: an affectionate knowledge of God and of His works, and it is the fruit of our efforts. It has as its principal object the Divine Majesty, and for its secondary object, all created things, since they derive from God, Who is the source of all, and they are like a mirror which reflects the divine perfections to our eyes. Therefore, all that which contemplation considers in creatures regards the knowledge, glory and honour of the Most High, Who, in the creation of the universe, has shown so much harmony, magnificence, abundance and variety, precisely in order to cause to shine forth, honour, praise and love His goodness, wisdom and power.

It is said that Christian contemplation is an affectionate knowledge, because it has its cause and effect in the will. It is love, in fact, that enables us to contemplate the Essence of God, His goodness and His other attributes. On the other hand, love is the fruit of contemplation; we love God in proportion to our knowledge of Him. Such is the teaching of St. Thomas, based on that of St. Gregory; and the angelic Doctor ends by saying that the ultimate perfection of the contemplative life consists not only in seeing truth, but also in loving it.


According to the wise observation of Denis the Carthusian, contemplation is practiced in two ways. In the first place, and this is the ordinary way, with the help of the work of our reason; it is then rational or acquired contemplation, of which the love of God must be the compliment, the beauty and the form. It is necessary, then, that it be accompanied by acts of interior and exterior charity, such as: to rejoice in the goodness and other perfections of God; to unite ourselves to Him with fervour; to detest sin for love of God; to pray for the extirpation of the vices, since they act as obstacles to contemplation; and, on the contrary to pray to obtain contemplation; to consecrate to the Passion of Our Lord, an affectionate and compassionate remembrance. It is likewise an excellent work to apply oneself with purity of spirit to praise the Creator with hymns and psalms etc. This exercise puts the demons to flight and is an abundant source of graces and merits, as well as being an anticipation of the life of Heaven.

The second way of contemplating is supernatural and mystical: the Holy Ghost is its Author by the infusion which He makes in the soul through the touches, lights and movements He transmits. Here the human soul does not reason at all, but considers the truth as do the Angels, by intuition in a simple glance; because, when Wisdom, whose power is infinite, teaches the truth, one immediately perceives it and there is no need of reasoning.

The matter of acquired contemplation is the same as for infused contemplation, that is, it is principally God Himself, or that which is found in Him, and which we see to be, both according to reason or above reason, as well in a certain sense, when it is not according to reason. God is wise, good, powerful, just merciful etc: this is according to reason. God has created us for a supernatural end; He has infused grace into us and has made us His friends; He has given us His only Son to be our Redeemer: these are the truths which are over and above reason. Finally, there are the truths which seem to be outside of reason; for example, all those which refer to the mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity. The soul finds its rest in the contemplation and sight of these divine things.

Apart from the Divinity, contemplation also has as its object the humanity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the most Holy Virgin Mary, the Angels, the Saints, we ourselves and, in general, all the truths of the Faith. All these things can be called celestial things, because their aim is to increase within us love for the things of Heaven.

The end of contemplation is union with God, because, as we have already said, contemplation derives from love and produces love; now it is characteristic of love to be united to the object which is loved. The union of infused contemplation is called a union of bliss, whilst that of acquired contemplation is called a union of sobriety.

[Venerable Thomas of Jesus, OCD - Tomás de Jesús, Tommaso di Gesù: Baeza, Spain, 1564 - Rome, 1627. Source: De Vita Contemplativa, The Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate, Italy. Tip and translation: Contributor Francesca Romana.]

First came the Flying Nun ...

Now, the Dancing Jesuit.

In all honesty, this Jesuit (Fr. Dr. Saju George, S.J.) has been around for many years, so there's nothing new here - though this is a recent presentation, in the church of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul, in Untermarchtal (Baden-Württemberg, Germany). But with all the other problems in the Church today, a little levity could go a long way. 

NB: This should bring great comfort to certain rogue Catholics. If this Jesuit isn't excommunicated, there's still hope for you yet!


We are the people - of God

Part of the one million protesters reach the Champ de Mars
Paris, Jan. 13, 2013

Up to this Sunday, the decades-old movement for the imposition of a legal change of the definition of marriage to include unnatural unions of two people of the same sex (not "gender", sex) seemed so overwhelming as to appear unstoppable. The great majority of people, who are naturally inclined to see these bizarre "unions" as anything but marriages, appeared impotent before the media-driven wave to impose by law the violation of the basic rules of societal organization.

And now the reaction of the silent majority comes from unexpected quarters: France, surrounded by those bastions of faux-marriage in Belgium and Spain. First, the hundreds of thousands who took to the streets in November. And today, Feast of the Holy Family in the traditional calendar, up to 1 million people from all over the country and from all kinds of organizations (including scores of Catholic families) took the streets of Paris to make clear that they are willing to do everything it takes to stop the legislative plans of the Hollande-Ayrault government to change the legal definition of marriage.

Let us not accept the media-and-elites-driven anti-natural steamroll in Courts and Parliaments: they must realize that we will resist them to the end. [Image: Le Parisien]

Event: FSSP Clergy Retreat in Bavaria, April 2013

We first mentioned this several weeks ago, but now have more details. We heartily recommend this retreat to all our readers who are in the Clergy.

Ottobeuren Abbey - Abbatial Church

Clergy retreat in Bavaria 15-19 April 2013,    led by Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP.

Come and pray next door to one of the largest international seminaries in Europe (motherhouse of an institute admitting over 40 new seminarians each year) in Pope Benedict’s native Bavaria! What a grace to be supported during our retreat by the presence and prayer of 90 seminarians and priests from various European countries, singing in choir the peaceful Gregorian melodies 4 times a day. What a good deed in return to include them and every candidate to the priesthood in our prayer intentions. Wigratzbad is also a Marian shrine and we will ask the Mother of God to teach us how to better know, love and serve Her divine Son in the Most Holy Eucharist.

Theme: ‘The priest and the Eucharist in the recent magisterium of the Church’.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Pope John-Paul II’s celebrated encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia (17 April 2003), Fr de Malleray will give meditations on the centrality of the Most Holy Eucharist in the life of priests, developing in particular the notions of the Real Presence, the Sacrifice, the Adoration, the liturgy. In the context of the current ‘Year of Faith’, focusing here on priests, the conferences and table readings will includes quotes fromPresbyterorum OrdinisSacrosanctum ConciliumMysterium FideiPastores dabo vobis and other magisterial teaching. Examples from the lives of holy priests and classical spirituality will also be used.

Programme: Silent retreat with a one-hour conference in the morning and another in the afternoon. Three daily meals taken in silence with table readings. Free time. Retreat-master available for confession and spiritual advice. Optional Lauds, community Mass, Sext, Vespers and Compline prayed in Latin with the seminarians and staff of the St Peter International Seminary. Daily hour of Eucharistic Adoration. The many altars will offer ample opportunity for private daily Mass (both EF and OF Missals can be used at the Shrine).

Arrival: Monday 15 April afternoon: landing at Memmingen Airport (direct Ryanair flights from London-Stansted, Manchester, Edinburgh, Dublin) and 40-minute drive to Wigratzbad.
Departure: Friday 19 April after lunch; landing in the UK by 4pm.
On option: stay on with us for one day of tourism: Lindau peninsula on Lake Constance, dinner in local ‘Gasthaus’ (restaurant) and colossal Benedictine Abbey of Ottobeuren – with take off from Memmingen on Saturday afternoon.
Cost: £220 (all inclusive for 4 days full board in single room with en-suite bathroom + transportation from the airport and back). Not included: return journey from your parish to Memmingen airport: for convenience, each priest will book his own flight (estimated cost of return flight with Ryanair: £120). Extra cost for the optional tourism day: add about £50 in total.
Booking: Please send us your full name, surname, address and contact details with your £100 deposit made payable to FSSP ENGLAND.
Info – Contact: Please contact Fr de Malleray if you have any questions: St John Fisher House, 17 Eastern Avenue, Reading RG1 5RU, England
Email:                   Tel.:   0118  966  5284.

UK priests report:
Fr Simon Henry, P.P., Liverpool Archdiocese: “The Seminary is part of an extensive site that is a place of Marian pilgrimage. So successful has the seminary proved that an extension was opened in 2000 by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos to house the present number of 80 seminarians. I managed to sit in the Rector’s place in the refectory on the first day there, thus finding myself in pleasant conversation with the Superior General of the Fraternity, Fr John Berg – an urbane American. It was an example of the kindness and hospitality that is extended to all guests that the Rector, Fr Banauch, just sat to the other side of me and I remained in blissful ignorance of my blunder. The weather was lovely looking out through the windows”.

Fr Leon Pereira, OP, Subprior of St Dominic’s, London, and Professor at Oscott College: “I must say how impressed I am by the quality of the seminarians at Wigratzbad. Everywhere we were greeted warmly and courteously.
The seminarians struck me as pretty normal young men, prayerful without any false piety or affectation, and intellectually curious (that delighted me as a Dominican). I noticed how in their conversations, there was never any fixation with rubricism, even when they were unguarded and recreating. They asked me a lot about St Thomas, and clearly knew a lot themselves. And they expressed curiosity and an unfeigned fraternal solicitude for the seminarians I teach at Oscott. All very edifying indeed!”

Fr Barry Hughes, P.P., Southwark Archdiocese: “A memorable part of my travels was the hospitality of the seminary of the Fraternity of St Peter. I was astonished to learn that it was bursting at the seams with 80 students, taking the full course, but with especial focus on the Traditional Mass. While many ordinary seminaries have closed, or are half empty, this one has a constant supply of young men, mostly from France and Germany – we did find a Lancastrian among them. This was, after all, a pilgrimage, and a valued feature was a day of recollection, in silence, nourished by reflections from St John Vianney and Pope St Pius X.”

Fr Michael Brown, P.P., Hexham & Newcastle Diocese, reports on a clergy pilgrimage with Fr de Malleray: “On Wednesday we had a day of silent retreat in the house. Fr de Malleray gave us four conferences on the priestly life and we had readings at meals from St Pius X’s exhortation on the priestly lifeHaerent animo. Fr de Malleray recommended to us Bl. Columba Marmion’s Christ, the Life of the Priest as the best book he has read on the priesthood. I have had a copy for many years and intend to read it in this Year of the Priesthood. Father’s talks were both practical and challenging and gave me at least, much food for thought.”

A 400-strong priestly community serving in 110 dioceses (3 in the UK), the FSSP has ordained 6 British priests over the last 10 years and currently has 9 seminarians from these Isles on formation, including 3 in Wigratzbad. Please pray for us, and for more good priestly vocations from this country. God bless you and your ministry. Visit us on

Williamson to Consecrate a Bishop?

Today, we were contacted by a worthy source claiming that H.E. Bishop Richard Williamson, formerly of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), was to come to the United States in a couple of weeks to consecrate a bishop.

Rorate independently contacted one of the priests said to be organizing the consecration ceremony. Although we asked repeatedly, the priest refused to deny the consecration would be taking place, only saying there's nothing to report to the "general public."

Read more here.

Spain: Religious Orders prepare for the end

(Note: Some minor corrections have been made to the entry for the Franciscans (OFM) as of 1750H GMT of Jan. 11, 2013.)

A reader has brought to our attention an article in Spanish, published on October 2012, summarizing the "restructuring" of some of the major religious orders in Spain (due to the drastic decline in their numbers and vocations) as follows:

Society of Jesus : Its five Spanish provinces (Aragon, Andalusia or Betica, Castile, Loyola and Tarragona, see picture to the left) will be consolidated into a single province, the "Province of Spain", in 2014. (Photo source.)

Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (OFM Cap) : In 2011 the four provinces of Andalusia, Castile, Navarra-Cantabria-Aragon and Valencia were unified into a single province.

To the right: Spanish Capuchins during the assembly that unified their provinces in 2010. (Source)
Discalced Carmelites : In 2014 the seven provinces of Navarre, Burgos, Castile, Andalusia, Aragon, Valencia, Catalonia and Portugal will be unified into one.

In 2010, there were 433 Discalced Carmelites in Spain; 230 were above 60 years of age (92 were more than 80 years old), and 203 were below 60 years of age (only 25 were below 40 years old).

Above: Discalced Carmelite Capitulars of the Province of Aragon praying together in 2010. (Photo and statistics source)

Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans): In 2016, the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Friars Preachers, the Dominicans will unify the Provinces of Spain, Aragon, Andalusia, Portugal and the Vicariate of the Holy Rosary into one. 

Meeting in 2012 of  Spanish Dominican superiors. Photo source

Order of Friars Minor (OFM) : In 2015 the Provinces of 1) Castile, 2) Andalusia, 3) Granada, 4) Valencia-Aragon, 5) Catalonia, 6) Cartagena-Murcia and 7) the Custody of San Francisco Solano will be consolidated into a single entity. The Provinces of Aránzazu and Santiago will remain as they are. 

Meeting of Spanish Franciscan Provincial Definitors in Sept. 2012. Photo source

Franciscans of the Province of Valencia, and some Franciscan sisters, attending a conference in 2009. Photo source