Rorate Caeli

Excerpts of the Pope's daily homilies in one place

The edited excerpts of the weekday homilies of Pope Francis, as published in L'Osservatore Romano, are now available in one single page in the Holy See website.

Pope Francis greets Bishop Rifan

In the General Audience of May 22, the Holy Father greeted his Apostolic Administrator for the Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney (Campos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), the only jurisdiction exclusively dedicated to the use of the Traditional liturgical books of the Roman Rite and created as such by Pope John Paul II in 2002.


Vergine Madre, figlia del tuo figlio, 
umile e alta più che creatura, 
termine fisso d'etterno consiglio,
Fra Angelico
Coronation of the Virgin

tu se' colei che l'umana natura
nobilitasti sì, che 'l suo fattore
non disdegnò di farsi sua fattura.
In te misericordia, in te pietate,
in te magnificenza, in te s'aduna
quantunque in creatura è di bontate.

Or questi, che da l'infima lacuna
de l'universo infin qui ha vedute
le vite spiritali ad una ad una,

supplica a te, per grazia, di virtute
tanto, che possa con li occhi levarsi
più alto verso l'ultima salute.

E io, che mai per mio veder non arsi
più ch'i' fo per lo suo, tutti miei prieghi
ti porgo, e priego che non sieno scarsi,

perché tu ogne nube li disleghi
di sua mortalità co' prieghi tuoi,
sì che 'l sommo piacer li si dispieghi.

Ancor ti priego, regina, che puoi
ciò che tu vuoli, che conservi sani,
dopo tanto veder, li affetti suoi.
Paradiso (c. XXXIII)

(Thou Virgin Mother, daughter of thy Son / Humble and high beyond all other creature, / The limit fixed of the Eternal Counsel, / Thou art the one who such nobility / To human nature gave, that its Creator / Did not disdain to make himself its creature./... In thee compassion is, in thee is pity, / In thee magnificence, in thee unites / Whate'er of goodness is in any creature. / Now doth this man, who from the lowest depth / Of the universe as far as here has seen / One after one the spiritual lives, / Supplicate thee through grace for so much power / That with his eyes he may uplift himself / Higher towards the uttermost salvation. / And I, who never hurned for my own seeing / More than I do for his, all of my prayers / Proffer to thee, and pray they come not short, / That thou wouldst scatter from him every cloud / Of his mortality so with thy prayers, / That the Chief Pleasure be to him displayed. / Still farther do I pray thee, Queen, who canst / Whate'er thou wilt, that sound thou mayst preserve / After so great a vision his affections. - Transl.: Longfellow)

Plus: On the Feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin, one of our favorite sacred compositions of all time, des Prez's "Benedicta est caelorum regina", in its proper place: Most Holy Mass.

Confirmed: Man Pope Francis prayed over possessed by demons

Previous post from Rorate here

From Catholic News Agency:

A 43-year-old Mexican man whom Pope Francis prayed over in St. Peter’s Square on Pentecost Sunday said that he had suffered from demonic possession for more than a decade.

Father Gabriele Amorth, the famous exorcist of the Diocese of Rome, told CNA on May 22 that Angel had received a “prayer of deliverance” from the Pope, who laid hands on him and prayed after Mass on May 19.

In an interview published by the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, the man, identified as Angel, recalled that his problems began one day in 1999 as he returned from Mexico City to his hometown in Michoacan by bus.

“I felt an energy enter the bus. I did not see it with my eyes but I felt it,” he said. “I noticed that it approached me and stood in front of me. And suddenly, I felt like a knife stabbed me in the chest and then, little by little, I had the sensation that it was opening my ribs.”

Initially, Angel thought it was a heart attack, but he did not die. However his health worsened, because he vomited everything he ate.

“I felt punctures all over my body, as if it were full of needles,” he said. “Even the sheets hurt me. I started losing the ability to walk.”

Soon, he said that he began falling into trances, uttering blasphemies and speaking in unknown languages, with doctors who attended him unable to explain what was wrong.

Angel’s health became so poor that he received last rites on four different occasions. The anointing brought an improvement to his health, so he started praying with a particular devotion to the Divine Mercy.

In 2004, he attended a lecture in the Mexican city of Morelia by a Ukrainian priest who explained his case.

“I told him what was happening to me, how bad I felt. He touched a relic of Padre Pio to my chest and I saw a special light that surrounded me,” he recalled.

“I felt a great peace. But at the same time, I noticed something that began to scratch inside me. That something knocked me down and started to manifest itself. I couldn’t do anything, that presence was stronger than me and it overpowered me.”

That day, Angel said, it was clear that he was possessed, and this knowledge made him feel fearful and “very dirty.”

“My family reacted at first with disbelief and, in fact, between my siblings there are some who are still skeptics and who believe that what I have is the result of a psychological imbalance,” he stated.

Initially, a priest in Mexico City performed four or five exorcisms on Angel. During one of them, the priest “asked the demon how he had entered into me and it said it was because of a curse that someone put on me.”

Angel’s health continued to deteriorate despite several exorcisms. He became unable to work and had to close his advertising company. He was forced to sell his house in order to support his wife and two children.

However, he recently had a dream in which he saw Pope Francis “dressed in red and praying with an incense burner in his hand and surrounded by bishops and cardinals.”

He said that he initially didn’t give it much thought, but when he woke up, he turned on the television and saw “a Mass with the Pope dressed in red and with incense burning in his hand, surrounded by bishops and cardinals.”

“And a thought came to my mind: Do I have to go to Rome?” he said.
Although Angel was hesitant to travel because he was so sick, he eventually decided to make the trip to Rome with a priest that he knew.

He had been reading the book “The Last Exorcist,” by Fr. Amorth, “which states that both Benedict XVI and John Paul II had performed exorcisms and prayers of delivery over the possessed.”

Fr. Amorth witnessed the Pope’s prayer over Angel and said the next day, “there is no doubt that he is possessed.”

Hic Domus Dei est et porta caeli

Entrance procession of the Traditional Mass celebrated in the Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica of Our Lady of Paris (Notre-Dame de Paris), May 29, 2013. (Click to enlarge, more pictures to come.)

[Source and tip: Schola Sainte-Cécile, cf. our sidebar]

Jesuit-educated, creating a "thinking" Church

While Sister Gramick's former order and the Vatican have tried to silence her, it appears this church will give her the spotlight she desires. At least they had the good sense not to hold this discussion in a Catholic facility. H/T @rzollAP:

Diocesan Bishop grants use of church for funeral rites of deceased SSPX priest

The Bishop of Gap and Embrun (Hautes-Alpes, France), Bp. Jean-Michel di Falco Léandri, kindly granted use of the church of Saint-André-des-Cordeliers, in Gap, for the funeral rites of Fr. Dominique Lagneau, FSSPX, a much loved and cherished priest of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), director of the house of priestly retreats of that society in Montgardin, near Gap.

The ceremony was led by the SSPX Superior-General, Bp. Bernard Fellay, and took place on May 18, 2013.

Corpus Christi procession and benediction - Rome, A.D. 1960

From the altar of the Ara Caeli [on top of the Capitol], spiritual and political center of ancient Rome, the mysterious and at the same time glorious procession, moving around the edges of the Capitol, arrived here, in front of the Colosseum; and here it stops, as a majestic symbol of the triumph of Christ and of his Church, under the arch of Constantine, before another altar, mobile if you wish, as the tents in the desert signing the passage of human and divine conquests, but an affirmation of the memories of the past, impressed upon the currentness of the present. O, noble and glorious edict of Constantine, proclaiming throughout the centuries the freedom of the Church of Christ; o, voices of the human generations who passed here, celebrating under this arch the perennial hymn of the Christian faith of all ages.
June 16, 1960

[Tip: Cantuale Antonianum, cf. sidebar]

Did the Pope say to resisting bishops: "Summorum will not be touched"? Not really.

No, the Pope did not say that, not even allegedly.

Il Foglio today carried an article by Matteo Matzuzzi with the following title: "Francis and Latin - 'The ancient Mass is not to be touched,' the Jesuit Pope once again surprises all. The bishops from Apulia ask for the removal of Ratzinger's motu proprio. Bergoglio says no: 'both new and ancient things are worthy'." Father Finigan has a translation of the relevant two paragraphs of the article here.

However, once again an Italian news source puts words in people's lips that were not exactly there. Matzuzzi's article was completely based on a post written by Sandro Magister for his Italian-only blog. Here is the main excerpt of Magister's post, with what the Pope supposedly said to the bishops of Apulia.

There were also indiscretions regarding the liturgy.

The Archbishop of Bari, Francesco Cacucci, started it, declaring to Vatican Radio that Pope Francis had exhorted the bishops to "live the relationship with the liturgy with simplicity and without superstructures".

Then, it was the turn of the bishop of Conversano and Monopoli, Domenico Padovano, who told his own clergy that the bishops of Apulia had complained to the Pope about the work of division created within the Church by the defenders of the Mass in the ancient rite.

And how did the Pope answer him?

According to what was mentioned by Bishop Padovano, Francis exhorted him to be careful with the extremisms of certain Traditionalist groups, but also to treasure tradition and allow it to live in the Church along with innovation.

In order to better explain this last point, the Pope would have brought up his own example:

"See? They say that my Master of papal ceremonies [Guido Marini] is of a Traditionalist mold; and many, after my election, have asked me to remove him from his position and replace him. I have answered no, precisely because I myself may treasure his traditional formation, and at the same time he might take advantage of my more emancipated formation."

If the words are authentic, they are instructive about the liturgical spirit and the style of celebration of the current pope.

But in what sense the bishops of Apulia have interpreted them is not certain.

Another one of them, that of Cerignola and Ascoli Satriano, Felice di Molfetta, a former president of the Liturgical Committee of the CEI [Italian Episcopal Conference], in a message to his diocese wrote among other things:

"I did not fail to rejoice with the pope for the style of celebration that he has taken up, a style inspired by the 'noble simplicity' determined by the Council, showing particular attention to the subject, about which he has not failed to give his considerations of a great theological-pastoral profile, shared by all fellow brothers who were present.


"Pope Francis, in light of certain phenomena of the recent past, regarding which not a few drifts have taken place, exhorted us bishops, referring also to some concrete examples, to live the relationship with the liturgical action, as work of God, as true believers, beyond every ceremonial triumphalism, acknowledging fully that the 'noble simplicity'of which the Council speaks is not sloppiness, but Beauty, beauty with a capital 'B'."

But to enroll Pope Francis among the ranks of the Progressives also in the liturgical field is at the very least far-fetched. It does not mean, in particular, that he is hostile to the liberalization of the mass in the ancient rite, decided by Benedict XVI with the motu proprio "Summorum Pontificum" of 2007.

While it is certain the Bishop di Molfetta himself was in that year one of the most combative critics of that motu proprio, before and after its publication.

He considered the mass in the ancient rite "incompatible" with the post-Conciliar one, and tried without success to make the CEI issue an interpretive note - in a restrictive sense - of Summorum Pontificum.

So, Matzuzzi's interpretation was that when the Pope allegedly told the bishops of Apulia, according to the account supposedly made by Bishop Padovano, "also to treasure tradition and allow it to live in the Church along with innovation", that Summorum would not be touched; while according to Padovano's own alleged account, the example the Pope used to illustrate what he meant was the current pontifical liturgical style, a kind of synthesis between Msgr. Guido Marini's "traditional" mindset, and his own "emancipated" liturgical life. The sentence reported by Magister ("Francis exhorted him to be careful with the extremisms of certain Traditionalist groups, but also to treasure tradition and allow it to live in the Church along with innovation"), was somewhat reworked in Il Foglio ("they should treasure tradition and create the necessary conditions so that tradition might be able to live alongside innovation") - the author's interpretation added to Magister's report of Padovano's supposed account.

Honestly, we never thought that Summorum  would be touched, because we did not think it could be touched - not because of the character of the new Pope, but because the legal construction made by Benedict XVI is just so solid, and based on an argument that is deeply dogmatic and theological: "What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful" [Letter to Bishops, July 7, 2007]. In other words, the ancient Missal has not been abrogated because it cannot be abrogated legitimately (we are not entering here in sterile discussions on the various editions of the ancient liturgical books, the 1960-1962 editions having been established by various reasons as the paradigmatic editions). Tweaks and adjustments are one thing, wholesale obliteration (as apparently - only apparently! - Paul VI tried to do) is impossible, if the Church is to retain her marks (One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic), not only in space (for all peoples) but most importantly in time (for all generations). No wonder the most recent edition of the Denzinger includes Summorum as one of the few doctrinal texts worth quoting of the last pontificate.

Update [May 29]: we thank our friend Francesco Colafemmina (Fides et Forma, in our sidebar) for calling our attention to this tweet by the article's author - in a response to the title of the article, on whether the Pope would "touch" Summorum:

"I have no elements to say it [that the Pope would never repeal it], but only feelings: I don't know, but I don't see [a] Bergoglio who repeals Summorum Pontificum"

Ok, then.

(Informative note: According to the website of Inter Multiplices Una Vox, in all of Apulia (It. Puglia), whose bishops find the defenders of the Traditional Latin Mass to be so "divisive", there are only four locations where it is celebrated once every Sunday under the terms of Summorum Pontificum, plus one where it is celebrated every Saturday night. One of these Masses is celebrated by Msgr. Nicola Bux of Bari, one of Benedict XVI's most outspoken collaborators and defenders on matters liturgical. - Augustinus.)

UPDATE: Violating Natural Law, "under protest"
Archdiocese funds health plan covering abortion

UPDATE: We have received many, many questions asking whether the cardinal, by agreeing to abortion and contraception funding in his archdiocese's healthcare plans, incurred a latae sententiae excommunication -- obviously a very serious question that should not be the topic of laymen guessing. 

A response, from the lawyers at the Canon Law Centre:

First, it is a general principle of canon law that the Church’s penal laws are subject to a strict interpretation (cf. 1983 Code, canon 18). Also, in penal law the principle of legality (nullum crimen, nulla poena sine lege) concretely means that an act can be punished only
if, at the time of its commission, the act was the object of a valid, sufficiently precise, written criminal law to which a sufficiently certain sanction was attached.

In light of these principles, it is clear that while the direct procurement of an abortion is punished with a latae sententiae excommunication as per canon 1398, there is no penal sanction attached to the act of making provision for health care plans which provide abortion (much less that fund contraception).  Thus, however morally objectionable this is, the question of sin is altogether a different one from the question of incurring a penalty under canon law.

In sum, based upon the facts as they are known, in no way can it be said that Cardinal Dolan has incurred an automatic excommunication.  Prayer is certainly needed, but there is to my mind no question regarding a latae sententiae penalty in this case. 

Our original post, below:

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Archbishop of New York, has been vociferous in the fight against the Obama Administration's mandate for Catholic institutions to provide coverage for birth control in their employee health plans. Most Catholics have been united in prayer and action in this effort.

However, according to the New York Times, it appears, "under protest," Dolan's archdiocese has been helping its employees violate Natural Law for over a decade -- even providing coverage for abortions

But even as Cardinal Dolan insists that requiring some religiously affiliated employers to pay for contraception services would be an unprecedented, and intolerable, government intrusion on religious liberty, the archdiocese he heads has quietly been paying for such coverage, albeit reluctantly and indirectly, for thousands of its unionized employees for over a decade.

The Archdiocese of New York has previously acknowledged that some local Catholic institutions offer health insurance plans that include contraceptive drugs to comply with state law; now, it is also acknowledging that the archdiocese’s own money is used to pay for a union health plan that covers contraception and even abortion for workers at its affiliated nursing homes and clinics.

“We provide the services under protest,” said Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York.

You can read the rest of the story here.

And for more information on the cardinal's confusing statements on the current abortion fight in New York, read Prince, or politician?

Sunday, June 2: all together with the Pope in Eucharistic Adoration

On Thursday, Feast of Corpus Christi, following mass at the Lateran Basilica, the Holy Father will lead the traditional procession in honor of the Most Holy Sacrament in Via Merulana to the Liberian Basilica.

On Sunday, June 2, at 1700 [Rome: CEST. London:-1, GMT: -2, EDT: -6], in the Vatican Basilica, in the context of the celebrations of the Year of Faith, the Holy Father will preside the Eucharistic Adoration, to which all Dioceses in the world are invited to join spiritually.

[Source: Office of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations]

Trinity Sunday's papal Mass: liturgical note

One of the few "traditionalizing" elements introduced into the papal liturgy in the reign of Benedict XVI that had essentially survived until now in the current pontificate was the practice of requiring those receiving communion from the Pope to do so kneeling and on their tongue.

To be more precise: in his Masses for the public, Pope Francis had usually given communion to the deacons  (who always received kneeling) while famously abstaining from giving communion to the laity. However, the papal deacons had always given communion in the Pope's place, and those receiving from them continued to be required to kneel and to receive on the tongue. To many who had been anxious about the changes implemented in the papal liturgies since March 2013, the survival of this practice in the Pope's Masses for the public was a great consolation. 

Sunday's papal Mass at the parish of "Santi Elisabetta e Zaccaria," the Pope's first pastoral visit to a Roman parish outside of the Vatican itself, saw the Pope give first communion to several children (and at least one adult). The full video of the Mass can be found here, with the communion of the children taking place starting at 1:49:15.

He gave communion to the children (and the adult) while they stood, and he also did so without a paten (even though he would first intinct the host in the Precious Blood). It is quite clear from footage and photographs of the Mass that there was more than enough space for a kneeler to have been put in front of the Pope and, surely, procuring a kneeler and a paten would not have been impossible in a Roman parish for a papal Mass! 

To those tempted to dismiss the significance of this action: consider that this took place in the Pope's first Mass in a parish of his diocese outside the Vatican, in a Mass that was broadcast live by Centro Televisivo Vaticano and which took place not on an ordinary weekday or a "green Sunday," but on one of the great feasts of the liturgical year.  Furthermore, precisely because it took place in a parish of his own diocese, it cannot but send a clear signal about what he sees as appropriate for the liturgy in a typical parish.

(As an aside, the so-called "Benedictine altar arrangement" was also reduced in this Mass to two small candles and a small crucifix in the middle of the altar.)

When Pope Benedict XVI reigned, every little "restoration" of traditional elements to the papal liturgy was often trumpeted as yet another momentous step in the restoration of the liturgy for the whole Church. It strikes us as absurd and inconsistent that now that another Pope reigns, "papal example" in the liturgy is suddenly treated in some "conservative" quarters as "irrelevant" and as being of little or no concern, something best ignored and needing no comment. Unfortunately, the restoration of the sacred liturgy can never be built on wishful thinking, or on denial, or on coming up with strange and improbable excuses (sometimes in the name of charity!) to explain away the obvious. 

Pope: Culture of economic comfort deprives us of closeness to the Lord

Catholic family life
'No, no, not more than one child, because otherwise we will not be able to go on holiday, we will not be able to go out, we will not be able to buy a house.' It’s all very well to follow the Lord, but only up to a certain point. This is what economic well-being does to us: we all know what well-being is, but it deprives us of courage, of the courage we need to get close to Jesus. This is the first richness of the culture of today, the culture of economic well-being.
He is the Lord of time; we are the masters of the moment. Why? Because we are in command of the moment: I will follow the Lord up to this point, and then I will see… I heard of a man who wanted to become a priest - but only for ten years, not any longer… Attraction for the provisional: this is a richness. We want to become masters of time, we live for the moment. These two riches are the ones that, in this moment, prevent us from going forward. I think of so many men and women who have left their land to work throughout their lives as missionaries: that is definitive!.
Before Jesus’ invitation, before these two cultural riches, let us think of the disciples: they were disconcerted. We too can be disconcerted by Jesus’ request. When Jesus explained something, people listened in amazement. Let us ask the Lord to give us the courage to go forward, to rid ourselves of this culture of economic well-being, hoping in time – at the end of the journey where He awaits us. Not with the small hope of the moment that will no longer be of any use. And so be it.
May 27, 2013

Rorate on the road ... in Ohio

 Trinity Sunday High Mass at Queen of the Holy Rosary, FSSP, in Vienna, Ohio 
(diocese of Youngstown).

JUNE 1, 2013: Watch FSSP ordinations, live online has asked us to make sure our readers know that, on June 1, 2013, at 10a.m. CDT [1500 GMT/UTC], they will broadcast the ordination of five Deacons of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) to the Holy Priesthood live on and on their mobile apps. A Fraternity priest will be doing the "play-by-play" so viewers know exactly what is happening and the spirituality behind the actions taking place. Below is a well-done promotional video for the holy event you should watch:

Freemason defrocked

From AFP and France 24:

A Catholic priest at the posh French ski station of Megeve has been stripped of his functions at the request of the Vatican for being a member of a Masonic lodge, his parish said Friday.

Father Pascal Vesin of the Sainte-Anne d'Arly-Montjoie parish was ordered by the bishop of Annecy, Yves Boivineau, to halt his functions due to his "active membership" of the Grand Orient de France, a large Masonic organisation. 

A statement from the parish said the move had been "made at Rome's request."

It said the bishop had asked Vesin earlier to forsake Freemasonry, which he had refused to do.

In March, the Holy See's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asked for priest's departure. Three members of the diocese of Annecy then met him but Vesin said he would not quit his membership of the Lodge...

A communique on the home page of the Diocese of Annecy simply states that "a priest of the diocese" (whose name is not mentioned) has been a member of the Grand Orient of France since 2001, and confirms that he has been dismissed at Rome's request.

Hey, Father, could you just give me the blessing, please?...

I remember once, coming out of the city of Salta [Salta Province, Argentina], on the patronal feast, there was a humble lady who asked for a priest's blessing. The priest said, 'All right, but you were at the Mass' and explained the whole theology of blessing in the church. ...'Ah, thank you father, yes father,' said the woman. When the priest had gone, the woman turned to another priest: 'Give me your blessing!'. All these words did not register with her, because she had another necessity: the need to be touched by the Lord. That is the faith that we always look for , this is the faith that brings the Holy Spirit. We must facilitate it, make it grow, help it grow.
Think about a single mother who goes to church, in the parish and to the secretary she says: 'I want my child baptized'. And then this Christian, this Christian says: 'No, you cannot because you're not married!'. But look, this girl who had the courage to carry her pregnancy and not to return her son to the sender, what is it? A closed door! This is not zeal! It is far from the Lord! It does not open doors! And so when we are on this street, have this attitude, we do not do good to people, the people, the People of God, but Jesus instituted the seven sacraments with this attitude and we are establishing the eighth: the sacrament of pastoral customs!
May 25, 2013

Relevant: Benedict XVI finishing the encyclical on Faith to be signed by Pope Francis
New encyclical on the poor: "Beati Pauperes"?

Following his recent visit ad limina with the bishops of his region, the Bishop of Molfetta (Apulia, Italy), Luigi Martella, spoke of the conversation they had with the new Pope, including the following:

Then, he spoke to us about Benedict XVI with such tenderness: "When I met him for the first time in Castelgandolfo, I noticed that he had a very lucid memory - he said -, even though physically challenged. Now he is clearly better." In the end, he wished to exchange a confidence, almost a revelation: Benedict XVI is finishing writing the encyclical on faith that will be signed by Pope Francis. Then, he will himself prepare his first encyclical on the poor: Beati pauperes! [Rorate note: 'Blessed are the poor,' he seems to be implying that could be the name of this second encyclical letter.] Poverty - he made clear - understood not in an ideological and political sense, but in an evangelical sense.

Source: Official website of the Diocese of Molfetta; tip: Secretum meum mihi (in Spanish, cf. our sidebar).

Come to Walsingham with the Latin Mass Society!

Congratulations to those who have completed the Chartres Pilgrimage this year, who will be nursing their blisters as they try to return to the world of work. Inspired by the Chartres Pilgrime and the Australian Christus Rex pilgrimage, the Latin Mass Society now organises a walking pilgrimage from Ely to Walsingham, about 55 miles. The dates this year are 23 to 25 August 2013, and you can sign up here.

Walsingham has a special importance for England; it is the English National Shrine to Our Lady, and in the Middle Ages was one of the great pilgrimage shrines of Europe. The shrine centred around a reproduction of the Holy House, revealed by Our Lady and built with the assistance of angels. It is a shrine, in a sense, to the Holy Family, and the sacredness of family life. We shall see if, by the time of the pilgrimage, the bill to establish same-sex 'marriage' in England has been successful or not...


For American readers, I'd like to mention the annual

'Pilgrimage of Restoration'
to Our Lady's Shrine of Martyrs Auriesville, New York, USA, Friday-Sunday September 20-22

Register, or PRE-register at DEEP discounts until June 1. Register gratis for Sunday's events. Or, participate from home or parish: sponsor a pilgrim, request prayers, obtain a plenary indulgence.

Check the pilgrimage blog for updates.

Discovering Cardinal Dechamps, Tradition made fresh and clear

The wealth of free material one finds on the web is truly astounding. I managed in my little free time in the past few days to find and read a work I can only characterize as magnificent.

While some may criticize one or other point in the work of the theologian Joseph Ratzinger, it cannot be denied that his writing style captivated many faithful Catholic readers. It is a free style, unencumbered by rhetorical exaggerations that often darken more than clarify. A style also familiar to readers of Romano Guardini and - let us be honest - one that may have been responsible for the popularization of the Nouvelle Théologie. How to present the truths of the faith in a fresh new way? The problem of some (many?...) Nouveaux Théologiens was, of course, that they presented many half-truths, or worse (those who dealt with liturgical matters frequently did so with the past, for instance); but how can one deny that they succeeded in implementing their agenda, both immediately before, during, and after the Council in great measure due to a writing style that is attractive, still today, in its freshness and (apparent) clarity?

Anyway, long before any of this, in 1857, a Redemptorist priest published a remarkable tome, Le libre examen de la vérité de la foi: Entretiens sur la démonstration catholique de la révélation chrétienne  (The Free Examination of the Truth of Faith) (Google Books, in French). The setting is as classical as it gets, a fictitious dialogue, on the footsteps of the greatest in Greco-Roman Antiquity. But what is new is the writing style, that presents the truth of the Catholic Faith in a fresh manner very unusual for its age. Fr. Victor-Auguste Dechamps would soon be named Bishop of Namur and then Archbishop of Mechlin and Primate of Belgium by Blessed Pius IX, and would remain throughout his life a stern defender of both the proclamation of the Immaculate Conception and, during and after the First Vatican Council, a strong advocate and defender of the dogma of the Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff.

We hope to translate some excerpts of this great work in the near future - we have not been able to find a translation of it in English. But, if one is really not available, we earnestly recommend Catholic publishers make it available to English-speaking readers of our age.

While we were searching for a translation of the work to recommend it to our readers, we were in for another surprise: a book by the same author, Cardinal Dechamps, C.Ss.R., on another matter dear to all Catholics, our Most Blessed Lady the Ever-Virgin Mother of God. This one is indeed available in English, and we could not recommend it more highly: The Second Eve, or the Mother of Life (Internet Archive, in English), particularly recommended for the month of Our Lady, but quite useful throughout the year.

How could a Redemptorist, whose order was founded by none other than the author of The Glories of Mary, even attempt to write a new book on the Immaculate Virgin? He explains it:

It may, perhaps, be matter of surprise that one of his disciples and children should have thought of writing another book in honour of Mary, when S. Alphonsus himself has written a work on the glories of his Mother, so full of life and unction, that truly pious souls cannot read a single page of it without being deeply moved and enlightened thereby. We can enter into this feeling; but we believe, nevertheless, that S. Alphonsus loves to see us follow his steps, and that he desires to hear us speak of Mary after our poor fashion to the Christians of our own day, in their own language; so as to draw to their Mother souls which, in order to love her better, need chiefly to know her better, and who require to be led to the Glories of Mary.

But the motive which induced us to write will be better understood by the relation of a fact which suggested it.

One day, when we were visiting a learned and pious friend, we found the Glories of Mary among the books which covered his table. He saw that we had observed it, and took it up, saying: "This is my spiritual thermometer; when I am in some degree faithful to grace, a few words from this book enlighten and encourage me; when I am careless and lukewarm, it no longer suits me; it becomes, as it were, too strong for me. When I feel this, I look into myself, and I soon find that it is not the light which has grown dim, but the interior eye which is no longer able to bear its brightness. I then labour to restore this eye of the soul to its strength and purity; and the thermometer soon rises, or rather the soul rises, and soon finds itself in union with this precious book."

We have been careful not to draw from this isolated fact a general conclusion which would be incorrect, for experience proves daily that the Glories of Mary touches sinners and brings them back to God, as it consoles the just and encourages them to perseverance; but it is no less true that there is a certain spiritual state unhappily too often experienced, a state of languor and darkness, in which we find the necessity of varying our reading, and of being brought back gently to books which seem at those times to be beyond us.

We therefore offer this book to the world in the hope that it will be of service to those who have yet to learn to enjoy the Glories of Mary.

Thank God Almighty for the writings of Cardinal Dechamps. There is so much evil that is done online - but so much good can also come from online sources, and the discovery of this great author by new generations and in other languages could certainly be one of them. If you do not know his works, we hope you enjoy them!

Common sense ruled the day: better done than said
Notre Dame de Paris purified immediately after desecration yesterday

Following a suicide by the main altar of the Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica of Our Lady of Paris (Notre Dame de Paris) yesterday afternoon, a mass of reparation was immediately celebrated for the purification of the sacred space before the building was reopened for visitors. There was no need for legalistic discussion, what had to be done was done.

COMMUNIQUÉ [original in French]

May 21, 2013

On Tuesday, May 21, at around 1600 [4PM], a man committed suicide with a firearm inside the Cathedral.

The Cathedral staff tried to reanimate the person before the speedy intervention of the rescue team.

The Cathedral, visited by a great number at that time of day, was evacuated to assist the action of firemen and police officers.

As is the use in such cases, a Mass of Reparation was celebrated by Bp. Jérôme Beau, Auxiliary Bishop of Paris, in the presence of Monsignor Patrick Jacquin, Rector-Archpriest, of priests of the Cathedral and of some faithful, including members of the staff.

Speak of the Devil ...

There's been a lot of talk about the Devil, demons, possession, etc. under the young pontificate of Pope Francis. All very, very good developments that should give all serious Catholics hope, and all lukewarm prelates shivers. But it should also be a warning that everyone is vulnerable to the wickedness and snares of the Devil, and all must pray to be protected, and pray for the exorcists that are fighting this battle daily.

There is a wonderful, daily set of prayers, approved with an imprimatur, to help you and the exorcists. And Rorate has gained permission from the priest authors to publicize it.

Click here to see the prayers, the rules surrounding them and the requirements to be a member of the Auxilium Christianorum. 

As someone who works to help the Poor Souls in Purgatory, I can attest to the real attacks that come from that work (especially after creating the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society), and the incredible relief these prayers bring. I can also tell you I know people who simply had a type of "fog" around them that these prayers fixed quickly as well. 

One caveat: as the fathers say on the site, please try to consult a traditional spiritual director before starting the prayers, if you have one available. If not, seek out a traditional priest in the confessional, and speak to him. These prayers are serious, and must be taken seriously.

BREAKING UPDATE: Francis versus Lucifer?

Update from the AP

The Rev. Gabriele Amorth, a leading exorcist for the diocese of Rome, said he performed a lengthy exorcism of his own on the man Tuesday morning and ascertained he was possessed by four separate demons. The case was related to the legalization of abortion in Mexico City, he said.

Amorth told RAI state radio that even a short prayer, without the full rite of exorcism being performed, is in itself a type of exorcism.

"That was a true exorcism," he said of Francis' prayer. "Exorcisms aren't just done according to the rules of the ritual."

Original Rorate story:

We have been covering (here) the remarkable words of Pope Francis -- remarkable only because the post-Conciliar Church has all but buried Satan for dead, but remarkable nonetheless -- and the Devil, and our need to recognize his power and reject his temptations.

His words, however, may have just be taken to a whole other, public level.

A caution: the Vatican, through Fr. Lombardi, has already, somewhat, dismissed this. The denial, as usual, leaves a lot to interpretation -- the "had no intention to" line is always the "out" of a spokesman. Read it for yourself here and decide.

Now, from The Sun (go here for additional photos):

POPE Francis has been embroiled in a scandal after footage emerged today appearing to show him giving a man an exorcism in St Peter's Square.

The astonishing incident between the Pontiff and the person in a wheelchair, took place immediately after Pentecostal mass on Sunday May 19.

The video shows how a priest leans across the boy or young man to tell Francis something, at which point the Pope’s expression becomes more serious.

The Pontiff then grips the top of the subject’s head firmly and is seen pushing him down into his wheelchair.

As this is happening Francis recites an intense prayer, and the boy’s mouth drops wide open and he exhales sharply.

Francis’s usual smile then returns and he continues with the traditional and more gentle Sunday greetings for sick or disabled visitors to St Peter’s.

La Repubblica newspaper this morning quoted an exorcism expert has saying: “It was a prayer of liberation from evil or even a real exorcism.”

The leading Roman exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth, said: “Francis is also the Bishop of Rome and like all bishops he’s an exorcist.”

The new Pope has made it quite clear since his election that he believes the Devil, whom refers to as “the Enemy” and “The Prince of this World” is a real force that needs to be fought constantly.

The Vatican has downplayed the incident, filmed by the religious satellite channel TV2000, saying it was simple prayer.

The former Pope, Benedict XVI, never performed an exorcism, Francis is on record as having performed them, however, as was Benedict’s predecessor John Paul II.

Celebrate the Red Octave

Guillaume Dufay
Veni Sancte Spiritus

Traditional Catholics should in particular remember those calendar features that the 1968-1969 liturgist brigade tried to eradicate based on an antihistorical and false antiquarianism: Septuagesimatide, Ember Days, the Pentecost Octave... That is, the committeemen kept the octave day itself (the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity), but eliminated the days of the Octave - though the former is much less ancient than the latter. This great and ancient Octave even has its own Ember Days: if you have the chance, celebrate the Holy Ghost by attending weekday Masses during this Octave. And, if you do not have weekday TLMs available near you, there is always the great FSSP apostolate at

Thank you, Shawn Tribe

For all your great work at The New Liturgical Movement! We are sure CMAA and Jeffrey Tucker, as well as Gregory DiPippo, will do wonderful things at NLM. And we ask our Blessed Lord and His Immaculate Mother to bless you, yours, and all your future projects following your retirement from NLM.

Love never says "Enough"

Josquin des Prez
Veni Sancte Spiritus


God ordained in the old law that fire should be kept continually burning upon his altar: "The fire on the altar shall always burn." (Lev. vi, 12). St. Gregory says that the altars of God are our hearts, in which he desires that the fire of his love should always burn. And hence the Eternal Father, not satisfied with having given us his Son Jesus Christ, to save us by his death, would also give us the Holy Ghost, to dwell in our hearts, and keep them continually inflamed with his love. And Jesus himself declared, that it was in order to influence our hearts with this holy love that he came into the world, and that he desired nothing more than to see it kindled: "I am come to send fire upon the earth: and what will I but that it be kindled?" (St. Luke, xii. 49). Hence, forgetting the injuries and ingratitude he received from men in this world, when he had ascended into heaven, he sent down upon us the Holy Ghost.

O most loving Redemer, dost thou then love us not only in thy sufferings and ignominies but also in thy heavenly glory? Hence it was that the Holy Ghost chose to appear in the form of fiery tongues: And there appeared to them parted tongues, as it were of fire (Cf. Acts, ii. 3). And hence the Church instructs us to pray: "May the Holy Ghost, we beseech thee, O Lord, inflame us with that fire which our Lord Jesus Christ came to cast upon the earth, and which he ardently desired should be enkindled." This was the holy fire which has inspired the saints to do such great things for God, to love their enemies, to desire contempt, to renounce all worldly goods, and to embrace with cheerfulness, even torments and death.

Love cannot remain idle, and never says: "It is enough." The soul that loves God, the more she does for her beloved, desires the more to do for him, in order to please him the more, and to draw down his love all the more. This holy love is enkindled in mental prayer: "In my meditation a fire shall flame out." (Ps. xxxviii, 4). If therefore we desire to be on fire with the love of God, we must delight in prayer; this is the blessed furnace in which this divine ardor is enkindled.

Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

Paris-Chartres Pilgrimage 2013

One of the best ways to follow the events of the Pentecost Pilgrimages (particularly the Paris-Chartres "Notre-Dame de Chrétienté" pilgrimage) in France this weekend is the NDChrétienté official Twitter account, already filled with links to photo albums and videos.

And, of course, also follow us @RorateCaeli

On the ongoing revision of the penal law of the Church

Bishop Arrieta, February 11, 2012, at Wigratzbad. Source. 

All emphases are Rorate's - Augustinus.

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta has a special briefcase he uses exclusively to carry documentation for a project that would completely revise an entire section of the Catholic Church's basic law.

The black case contains a 40-page draft text for a new "Book VI: Sanctions in the Church" section of the Code of Canon Law, as well as the 800-page synthesis of recommended amendments and objections to the proposed changes.

Bishop Arrieta, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, delves into the briefcase at work in his office overlooking St. Peter's Square and at home in the evening.

Like any society, the Catholic Church has laws, Bishop Arrieta said, and while the tenets of its faith do not change, its laws do need to be adapted to the changing situations in which its members try to live out their faith.

While the pontifical council is looking at small adjustments to several sections of the Code of Canon Law, promulgated in 1983, and ways to speed up the process for evaluating the validity of marriages, the section concerning offenses and penalties was judged to be in need of more than a touch up.

The current code was drafted in the 1970s, Bishop Arrieta said, "a period that was a bit naive" in regard to the need for a detailed description of offenses, procedures for investigating them and penalties to impose on the guilty. It reflected a feeling that "we are all good," he said, and that "penalties should be applied rarely."

"The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, when Pope Benedict was prefect, was obliged to act as a consequence of the fact that the (church's) penal law was not working," he said.

The naivete of the law became clear with the sexual abuse crisis, Bishop Arrieta said. In addition, the sanctions section of the 1983 code was written with such an emphasis on the role of the individual bishop in his local diocese that each bishop bore the full weight of deciding when and how to intervene and what sort of sanction or punishment to impose on the guilty.

The law ended up being too vague, and church sanctions were being applied so haphazardly, that the church appeared to be divided, he said.

The project to revise the section began in 2008. The draft was completed in 2011 and sent to bishops' conferences and pontifical faculties of canon law, which had a year to respond. The suggestions were organized and synthesized, and now council officials and consultants -- mostly professors of canon law -- meet for an afternoon every two weeks to go through them, line by line.

Bishop Arrieta said it will be at least two years before a new draft is ready to present to Pope Francis. As the church's chief legislator, it is the pope who decides whether or not to promulgate it and order that it replace the current law.

The proposed draft incorporates the Vatican's 2010 updated definition of "delicta graviora" -- Latin for "graver offenses," including clerical sexual abuse of minors, the "attempted ordination of women" and acts committed by priests against the sanctity of the Eucharist and against the sacrament of penance.

The two chief concerns in the new section, as in all church law, he said, are "to safeguard the truth and protect the dignity of persons."

At the same time, the rules are more stringent -- "if someone does this, he must be punished," the bishop said. While it withdraws the discretionary power of the bishop in certain cases, he said, "it is for the good of the bishop."

Another set of modifications to the Code of Canon Law are already on Pope Francis' desk, awaiting his judgment. They deal with areas in which the code for the Latin-rite Catholic majority differs from the Code of Canons of the Eastern Catholic Churches.

Bishop Arrieta said that in most cases they are rules for situations that the Latin-rite code never envisioned, but that the Eastern code, published in 1990, did. With the large number of Eastern Christians -- Catholic and Orthodox -- who have migrated to predominantly Latin territories in the last 25 years, Latin-rite pastors need guidance, he said.

For example, Eastern Catholics who do not have access to a priest or parish of their rite are free to receive the sacraments in a Latin-rite parish, including baptism and matrimony. The proposed revisions for the code specify that in such situations the parish's sacramental register must include a notation that the people involved belonged to an Eastern Catholic church, he said. In addition, Latin-rite pastors must know that while a Latin-rite marriage is valid in the presence of a deacon, in the Eastern-rite churches a priest must preside.

Many Catholics think canon law is something they need to be concerned about only if their marriage breaks down and they want an annulment.

The annulment process is another area currently under study and scrutiny by the pontifical council, the bishop said. The church's law must uphold church teaching, but do so responding to the concrete situations of the faithful.

"Church law follows the theological reality of things," he said. "It isn't canon law that forbids divorce, the faith does. Canon law then transforms that into juridical language."

So while the council is not trying to find ways to facilitate annulments, "we are trying to identify the bottlenecks that delay" judgments in the annulment process and identify improved procedures, he said.


The Springtime of the Church: a statistical reckoning

Following on from my earlier post on Rorate Caeli about the strange, and optimistic, statistical comparisons being made on the internet about the number of ordinations to the priesthood in England and Wales, I and a number of Latin Mass Society volunteers have spent a lot of time among dusty tomes extracting statistics on a whole range of things which have appeared in the Catholic Directory over the years. Various articles have appeared on statistical measures of Catholic life in England and Wales over the years and it is clear that the researchers didn't have these numbers. They have lain uncollected in successive volumes of the Catholic Directory, and very few places have a complete set of old Directories.

Readers in England will see a good-sized article on our research in the print edition of the Catholic Herald out today, on p3.

So we now have numbers for Catholic baptisms, marriages, and conversions, as well as ordinations, numbers of priests, and numbers of places of worship. Some of the series go back to 1912 or 1913; others go back into the 19th century. Here I am going to talk about marriages; I've written on conversions on my own blog; you can download the raw data here, and see the press release here.

We all know the numbers of pretty well everything good in the Catholic world went south in the 1960s and 1970s. Here's a typical graph, recording the number of marriages in the Church in England and Wales, 1913 to 2010 (the latest date for which numbers are available).

Catholic Marriages in England and Wales (1913-2010)
Yes, you read that right: fewer Catholic weddings took place in 2011, in England and Wales, than in 1912. Since the population of the whole country has increased hugely in the meantime, the numbers per 1,000 Catholic makes for an even more dramatic graph.

For the record: the full text of the prayer consecrating the pontificate of Pope Francis to Our Lady of Fatima

Cardinal Policarpio, Patriarch of Lisbon, consecrating the pontificate of Pope Francis to Our Lady of Fatima. May 13, 2013. Source

The bishops of Portugal and this multitude of pilgrims are at your feet, on the 96th anniversary of your apparition to the little shepherds in Cova de Iria, to fulfill Pope Francis’ clearly expressed wish, that we consecrate to you, Virgin of Fatima, his ministry as Bishop of Rome and universal shepherd. 

Thus we consecrate to you, Lady, who are Mother of the Church, the ministry of the new Pope. Fill his heart with the tenderness of God, which you felt like no one else, so that he will be able to embrace all the men and women of this time with the love of your Son Jesus Christ. Contemporary humanity needs to feel that it is loved by God and by the Church. Only by feeling loved will it overcome the temptation to violence, materialism, forgetfulness of God, the loss of its way. And it will be led by you to a new world where love will reign. 

Give him the gift of discernment, to be able to identify the paths for the renewal of the Church. Give him the courage not to hesitate in following the paths suggested by the Holy Spirit. Shelter him in the harsh hours of suffering, to overcome in charity the trials that the renewal of the Church will bring. Be always by his side, saying with him those words you know well: “I am the Handmaid of the Lord, let it be done unto me according to Thy word.”

The paths of the renewal of the Church lead us to discover the timeliness of the message that you gave the little shepherds: the exigency of conversion to God who has been offended, because He is so forgotten. Conversion is always a return to the love of God. God forgives because He loves us. This is why His love is called mercy. The Church, protected by your maternal solicitude and guided by this shepherd, must assert herself increasingly as the place of conversion and forgiveness, because in her, truth is always expressed in charity.

You indicated prayer as the decisive path of conversion. Teach the Church of which you are a member and model, so that we will be increasingly a people at prayer, in communion with the Holy Father, the first of this people who prays, and also in silent communion with the previous Pope, His Holiness Benedict XVI, who chose the path of the silent man of prayer, taking the Church more profoundly into the paths of prayer. 

In your message to the little shepherds, here in Cova de Iria, you highlighted the Pope’s ministry, “the man dressed in white.” Three of the last Popes were pilgrims to your shrine. Only you, Lady, in your maternal love for the whole Church, can put in Pope Francis’ heart the desire to be a pilgrim to this shrine. It is not something we can ask him for other reasons. Only the silent collaboration between you and him will attract him to this pilgrimage, in the certainty that he will be supported by millions of believers, willing to hear your message again. 

Here at this altar of the world, he will be able to bless humanity, to make today’s world feel that God loves all men and women of our time, that the Church loves them and that you, Mother of the Redeemer, lead them with tenderness on the paths of salvation. 

+JOSE, cardinal patriarch

Source: ZENIT