Rorate Caeli

2013 Conclave - Il Foglio editorial
The springtime has failed, the time has come for the sowing season

This is what the Church needs: more sowing, less pollination from worldly sources. The springtime experiment has failed.

Les très riches heures du Duc de Berry - October: autumn sowing

Hoping for autumn sowing in the Church, not springtime pollination

I do not believe in the myth of the Vatican springtime, nor in the springtime of the Catholic Church and the Papacy. The Church must sow as is done in autumn and not be pollinated like an April flower. The owners of international public opinion, even the Catholic one, are demanding a new embracing of the present world, that is, meeting it halfway, going along with the temperament of peoples and cultures, being skillful imitators, formalizing new rules of life in the Church which copy the criteria of the judgment of the world from the waves of modernity, from the 16th century onwards, thus abolishing old rules and cancelling old features.

If this is the case, it might be better [for the Church] to close up shop. The experiment of pollination has already been done. It was a highminded moment and it was certainly ambitious, but it has failed and it is not the fault of the Roman Curia if the way of treating old and new problems in the religion business has caused the numbing of souls, if hearts are not being warmed, and if faith and reason are not built upon that sovereign balance which was attempted by both John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

We already have the United Nations and UNESCO, we already have the universal philosophy of human rights, we have humanitarian consciousness and we have contemporaneous idols and myths such as equality, liberty and fraternity. In fact, we have a perennial breeze of springtime light that hides every semblance of pain, sin, redemption, of the supernatural, of interior and collective salvation, of penance, reconciliation and mercy. Furthermore, we have a realistic and mediocre idea of personal faith, seen as a lifestyle, not as an experience that cannot be explained, a greater, efficacious grace transcending conscience - a measure of irrationality inside rationality -, and also the exterior beauty of the evangelical vision, in imitation of Christ - of relying on the Messiah , God Incarnate.

The problem does not lie in allowing priests to marry; so be it. The problem is that, even if one is married or not, the flesh remains the place of concupiscence, the sweet pleasure of a moment, an instant, in contrast with the immaculate fragrance of trusting in the Eternal. If in governing the great body of the Church it were necessary to emancipate Her from the reformism of the great Pope Gregory VII (as Hans Küng suggests), and if this should be left to an assembly of debating bishops instead of the infallible Vicar of Christ - a theological elaboration which is becoming less and less Petrine and less and less Roman, more connected to the patterns of life and spirituality of those primitive, praying ethnic groups, which only the reforms of Paul, Augustine, Constantine and Gregory transformed into Ecclesia, into the People of God, into a universal institution, modeled on the pre-Christian and secular organization of the Roman Empire - then so be it, so may the will of the clergy and lay and progressive theology be done. But, in the end, what we will have is a copy of an already well-known Kantian moral-code bent to the demands of the childish hedonism of our times with no sign of grace nor a return to God - whatever this may mean for believers and unbelievers alike.

I hope that the [General] Congregations go to the root [of the problem], and that the sowing will begin, after years of pollination and abandonment.

[Italian daily Il Foglio, Editorial, March 4, 2013. Translated and adapted by Contributor Francesca Romana]


Giovanni A. Cattaneo said...

Honest, wonderful and true words amazing that this is finally being talked about in the open.

Malta said...

I think the Church needs to get into the business of tough-love.

Enough about Capital Punishment, and more talk about contraception and abortion (Capital Punishment is still technically legal in the Church, btw.)

Time to downsize; the majority of the 1.2 billion "catholics" aren't really Catholics.

Benedict Carter said...

Whenever I hear Modernist liberal-progressives witter on about a "Springtime in the Church", I am reminded of the song shown here, I just can't help it.

Down-sizing .. well, it's already been done, hasn't it in reality? I have been blogging on Catholic sites for 5 years now, have made thousands upon thousands of posts, opened many eyes, caused many people to think, yes 9and I thank God for it); but have faced continuous opposition, villification, even hatred, from two sources: the militant homosexual-atheist and the Modernist Catholic, both of whom often support each other against the Traditionalist Catholic voice (doesn't that tell you everything?), and who (to me) in essence seems no different to the propagandized Bolshevik of the late '20's and '30's, screeching, full of hate, denouncing all around him.

I am sure many others here feel the same.

We must never stop trying to reach them: they are also the sad victims of Moloch and the gaping maw of his Revolution in doctrine, liturgy and theology.

P.J.David said...

Truely a wonderfully laid out article and to the point.Let us pin our Hopes on our Redeemer and Holy Mother Mary, THE MEDIATRIX. that we have a HOLY POPE who would use his Authority ,wearing the TIARA and CURIA Ceases to exist that try to control the Vicar of Christ ole Authority.

May our Lord have Mercy on us and change everything in the ONE,HOLY,APOSTOLIC and CATHOLIC church and save us from Liberal and Modernists who despoiled over 50 years.

Jason C. said...

I agree with all of this, but... weather forced my family and I to attend the Novus Ordo for Laetare Sunday, with its Gospel of the prodigal son.

I couldn't help but be reminded of my fellow traditionalists when hearing the elder son's complaint to his father: why are you so concerned with these 1.2 billion sons-in-name-only, who took your liturgy, sacraments, and ecclesiology, and squandered them in exchange for flirting with the flesh-pots of the world?

I think many traditionalists and other faithful Catholics often forget that the church--call it the father in our parable--makes many of her decisions not with us, the elder sons, in mind, but with the assumption that the faithful remnant aren't going anywhere no matter what outrageous things she does to get the prodigal sons to admit that they've been starving in a pig-sty for the last couple of generations. The best we can do it hope that whatever tactics she takes to win over the world aren't too abominable for those of us who have remained in our father's house all along.

Ioan said...

Jason C: The problem with this analogy is that the father did not go looking for his prodigal son. He kept his eyes to the horizon in hope, but the son had to "come to himself" and return in his own time. The father did not change to accommodate the prodigal's wrongheaded ways.

That said, we also must not be like the older brother when the prodigal does choose to return.

Peccator said...

A wonderful article; thank-you!

In response to the comments of Jason C.:

While I certainly agree we all have to be wary of becoming the elder son, I think we misunderstand the defense of Tradition if we think it is self-serving.

The defense of Tradition is not about appealing to a traditionalist remnant. It is about fidelity to Jesus Christ and evangelization. Only the fullness of the Truth can really attract people from the heart. Only the fullness of the Truth converts, not a Truth concealed or watered down to appeal to our sinfulness, our worldliness.

Many, many "traditionalists" (myself included) have been prodigal sons. We defend Tradition because we love Christ and because we love our prodigal neighbors.

Imrahil said...

I agree with the dear @Peccator that a truth concealed or positively watered down cannot convert.

However, it is certainly possible also to throw things, in themselves defensible as unconcealed truths, truth at a person in a way as to emotionally turn her away from the Faith for a long time.

And: the first thought to cross the prodigal son's mind was the plenty of food at his father's table. Something to consider. It may (arguably) be so that the faithful man should become high-minded; but an appeal to the high-mindedness of the sinner will not help a thing. Conversion, as a rule, as the saints have taught also, happens step by step.

Nor will an appeal to the unbeliever to follow the letter (or spirit) of the Holy Bible.

Imrahil said...

Dear @Ioan,

you raised an interesting point.

For indeed in the parable, the Father does not leave the house.

But it seemingly can only be said that the parable (which, after all, does not directly call the father God) throws a spot on other things, but not this. It is a parable after all.

For according to quite certain Catholic theology, and according to other parables (the Lost Sheep comes to mind), God does indeed go out to the sinner first, or the latter would not even have the chance to "come to himself" as you say.

It can be argued that the Church should do so too. Indeed to some extent she obviously must; how big this extent is, that is the point that can be argued about.

cyrillist said...

@Jason C.: That reminds me of an idea I had for a spin on that parable, to be entitled, "The Prodigal Son Stayed Home." The younger son demands and receives his share of the inheritance from the father, and proceeds to remain in the father's house and live his riotous life on the premises, basically turning it into a brothel. The father is deeply grieved, but does nothing to correct the son, except for fruitless pleading. The elder son endures it for as long as he can, and finally removes to a far country, refusing to return unless the younger son is either compelled to reform or is expelled from the house.

I don't have an ending for it. I think that the only way out would be for the younger son to realize his error and repent, as in the original. But will he?

BONIFACE said...

It's one thing to say God goes seeking for the sinner; he certainly does, even in the parable (the father runs from his house to greet the son). But what Jason C. means is that the Father, though he searches for the prodigal, receives the prodigal back into his house - he does not conform his own behavior to that of the prodigal.

Patrick Archbold said...

You can't have a springtime in the Church with a hierarchy that never acknowledges the winter of their own making.

Once you realize it is winter, you can plan for Spring.

Donal said...

What about the New Evangelization?

Long-Skirts said...

Il Foglio editorial: The springtime has failed, the time has come for the sowing season"


(or "fool me once, shame on you")

Daily Mass
In uniformed plaid
Then suddenly
Adults went mad

Priests danced round
Nuns turned hip
Fathers, mothers
All jumped ship

Michael rowed
His boat ashore
Through the Sanctuary

Garfunked too
Jesus loves you

Jesus Christ
God is dead
So who You are?

Mourning pills
Eat the Bread
Grace Slicked-souls
Will feed your head

All were Virgins
Female Ghost
Feminist boast

Tell what's happening
What's the buzz
Bishops do
What never was

But one Bishop
Stood up straight
Great man-Mitred
Gainst the gate

Great man-Mitred
Took the Cross
Plugged the hole
To stop Priest loss

And to this day
Green fields, no dream
From Catholic families
Vocations stream

And along the
River banks they line
Rosaries in hand
For both Tibre and Rhine

We believe in God
The Virgin...the Creed
If this flow continues
Your waters will bleed

But not with Christ’s
Most Precious Blood...
A mitred-muck
Of sin-scabbed mud!

LeonG said...

Anybody with intelligence can see that a married clergy does not solve any problems at all. The arguments also presuppose that no religious are celibate which is absolute nonsense. Dwindling Sunday attendance and declining vocations are due to much more profound causes.
let us begin by restoring The Latin Mass to its full glory with Our Blessed Lord at its centre; let us restore the liturgy as it was when The Church was expanding and robust as Pope John XXIII rightly stated and let us restore all the Sacraments to their true former beauty and effectiveness before the liberal modernists contaminated The Church with its secular humanistic infection.

LeonG said...

There may well be 1.2 billion "catholics" with baptismal certificates but of these how many actually obey as faithfully as they are able, the true Roman Catholic Faith handed down to us?

Jason C. said...

cyrillist, I LOL'd, that was good. And P. Archbold states it most pithily.

Matt said...

Definitely on the mark. Yes, onward and UPward. Enough of this downward spiral into destructive nothingness.

We shall see though. Conclave has begun so we'll find out "shortly" what the tone of the Church is going be in the foreseeable future. (cringingly)

Gladius said...

Our Lady of the Rosary stated at Fatima, "Only I can help you". The Hierarchy has to choose one or the other:

1) Our Lady.

2) Ecumenism.

GQ Rep said...

Get ready everyone this week for either a magnificent choice, a historic surprise pick of an outstanding tradition minded prepared to suffer the election of an immitation John Paul II (a cheerleader for Vatican II type Pope) who will attempt to go above and beyond it.

The first brings a rush of hope.
The second, a chill of what might be more likely.

Let's all hope and pray for the first, and against the second.

One of my friends who is even more interested in all this than me suggested a party at his place for our group of eight on the day the new Pope is elected.
"You're overly optomistic" I told him.
If it's great news to celebrate, I'll join in.
If not, fortunatly my job takes me to a photoshoot to Seoul next week, so I won't have to hear/read about any disasterous pick for Pope! :)

By the way, pray for those people in North and South Korea, please. The North has a nutjob as leader, and they're really saying threatening things these past days...which has the good people in the South(Buddhists and Catholics) extremely nervous

Joseph said...

LeonG said...
"There may well be 1.2 billion "catholics" with baptismal certificates but of these how many actually obey as faithfully as they are able, the true Roman Catholic Faith handed down to us?"

The answer is zero. None of us are living the Faith to the extent we are able.

Tom said...

Donal said..."What about the New Evangelization?"

Perhaps God has prepared for us a new Pope who will launch successfully the New Evangelization.



Imrahil said...

Dear @LeonG, By the way about those baptismal certificates.

I know what you meant and what you meant is valuable. Nevertheless... if you allow me a wish... do not use the word "baptismal certificate".

I'm not sure whether it really was invented by the usual Protestant/Anabaptist "we have the better morality" and "a ritual such as Baptism is worth nothing" kind of person, but at any rate it has all the touch of it.

The second most important thing about us (after having or not having sanctifying grace) is that we have a baptismal certificate.

Yes, it is.

Of course, I do not mean the paper issued and signed by the priest (which nevertheless is valuable), but the real baptismal certificate - directly imprinted on our souls. Theologians call it the character and hold it to be indelibilis.


Besides, even about your original issue (which I called valuable), I feel something is wrong. Do not diminish the number of Catholics (I'll use the imperative voice to cut things short, meaning: if you have the chance to do). Maybe allow it to be diminished for the sake of calling a spade a spade... but do not diminish it on purpose; do not preach people out of the Church.

This would be an idea if the Catholic Christianity were nothing but an option in the market of religions. Then we could say, "if you do not like us, go elsewhere". And given that excommunications are so heavily out of fashion, we might be, frankly speaking, upset that the unbelievers just don't go elsewhere. (This is the at least subconscious mindset I detect somewhere in the Church today.)

But this is not how it is. "Where would be the other place to go to", as St. Peter says. Catholic Christianity is the absolute truth; as such, it has to have a place for all people. Let us be clear: on some of these people, the Church has the place of putting them under a censure, e. g. excommunication. But give to them *that*, which is both honoring them by taking them seriously, and a medicinal purpose to get them back. That mindset I spoke of would rather have their own declarations-of-defection as medicinal to the Church(!) - something which excommunications would, next to the other things they do, effect just as well: but excommunications are so very much out of fashion.

The Church is for all people. "I have compassion with the people for they are like sheep who have no shepherd", saith the Lord. The (so-called) Liberals cry "We want her not to be a club of moral superperformers!" They are right (yes that is possible), although it must be said that when they suppose the conservatives and traditionalists to want that, a good part of that is a schimera. Unfortunately not all of it.
(The argument with the so-called Liberals, when cut of the propagandistic talk and terminological confusion, reduces itself to the systematically much simpler question whether this or that commandments really hold. In this technical, legalistical argument they are, as a rule, wrong - both about a lot of commandments they deny, and also a lot of commandments they draw from the void.)

The Church has a place for all people; I'm glad, because she has thus also a place for me. If it is about not-being-a-heretic, and if we suppose I have no grave sins positively on my conscience (I do not state anything about this in a combox; I do state that such a thing is possible and not restricted to exceptional supermen) then also on that, I might actually enjoy being accepted in the fold. Should this acceptance, on the other hand, be based on what we usually understand as moral performance (which so frequently is accompanied by expressions like "always" and "the very best" and "to my utmost ability" and "nothing but"),... good grief.

Which pretty much, dear @Malta, sums up my problem with the "tough love"-manner of talking as well.

justin said...


"do not preach people out of the Church"

That is such an accurate statement. I can only concur.

For some individuals, the thread holding them to the Church is so thin, do not give them reason to sever it.

Inform them of their error - yes. But to declare that such an individual is not a Catholic is wrong, both canonically and morally. Correct them in love, do not alienate them.

If even Hugo Chavez, a brutal dictator, because of that cultural thread of Catholicism, received the grace of dying in the bosom of the Church (something that all of us can only aspire to), what more the many other individuals, who mock, hurt and injure the Church.

Do we seek to alienate them by severing all ties with them? Are we to follow the Amish sect in this respect?

Or is the Church more motherly than that? The Father in the prodigal son, was looking out for him, spotted him from afar and ran to greet him. He did not know why he was coming back, or what he was going to say. He did not want to hear his apology. He dressed him in the finest robes and threw a grand celebration.

WIll we be the elder brother? Will we complain to the Church about how "we have slaved" for her? As if our duty to the Church was equivalent to slavery, and not a duty borne out of love? Will the Church, like the Father in the parable, need to cajole us, and need to remind us that 'everything she has is ours'?

Do we seek to win our lapsed Catholic brothers and sisters for Christ? That victory may never been seen in their lifetime, but who is to say that at the very end, baptismal grace which leaves such an indelible mark of our soul, may not cry out and win for us the grace of final repentance? These are not people who 'deserve' punishment anymore than us - for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. These are our brothers, our sisters, our fathers and mothers, our sons and daughters. And there but for the grace of God we go. Love them, love them all. Correct them - in a spirit fo fraternal charity. Terms like "catholic with a baptismal certificate only" do not help us in this regard.

That is what it means to be a Catholic. It is not about having a baptismal certificate. It is about having baptismal grace.

Our holy father Benedict is the example par excellence of this - his dealings with the SSPX reaching out to them, time and time again always seeking to bring back to the one fold and the one shepherd. If only we can have another Pope like Benedict, we will have been truly blessed by God.

Benedict Carter said...


It's either Our Lady or ecumenism.

Spot on. It's ecumenism, more than anything else, which has led the church to deform or even deny the nature of the Church, the importance of baptism, the need to convert, the identification of false non-Christian with the partly-Christian ecclesial communities and sects.

So many ills have come from ecumenism. Even militant atheism is a "preparation for the Gospel" in these people's eyes.

I'll have to ask Enid Ecumaniac what she thinks about it.

Tom said...

LeonG said..."let us begin by restoring The Latin Mass to its full glory with Our Blessed Lord at its centre; let us restore the liturgy as it was when The Church was expanding and robust as Pope John XXIII rightly stated and let us restore all the Sacraments to their true former beauty and effectiveness before the liberal modernists contaminated The Church with its secular humanistic infection."

I am for that. But how much support exists among Cardinals, bishops and priests to restore the Traditional Roman Mass? Not much. Perhaps our new Pope will offer at times the Traditional Roman Mass publicly.

At any rate, the Novus Ordo will occupy its current place of primacy for a long time to come. That is why it's vital for the life of the Latin Church for our new Pope to work to imbue the Novus Ordo with Holy Tradition.


Aegidius said...

Benedict Carter, you complain you "have faced continuous opposition, villification, even hatred" upon posting your views in blogs.

In our language, German (which I know falls short being your favourite), there is a saying going like "The manner you shout into the forest is the manner it echoes back".

LeonG said...


Have you never heard of metaphor?

LeonG said...


You are entitled to your opinion.

However, you cannot cure the current sickness by more of the same current medicine.
The vernacular liturgy is not Catholic in its essence and was avoided by all pre-conciliar papacies because they knew and understood the importnace to the western Latin Rite Church of Latin as the liturgical language.
Lex Supplicandi....Lex Credendi....
There is no other way to embody The Roman Catholic Faith.

Common Sense said...

Dear Aegidius, personaly I highly value Benedit Carter's contribution to this blog.Perhaps note of caution,when the echo comes from your area of the forrest!