Rorate Caeli

Holy Martyrs of Otranto, pray for us!

Regina Martyrum, ora pro nobis!

On the day of the canonization of Antonio Primaldo and companions, the 813 Holy Martyrs of Otranto (1480).

Today the Church proposes for our worship a host of martyrs, who were called together to the supreme witness to the Gospel in 1480. About eight hundred people, [who], having survived the siege and invasion of Otranto, were beheaded near that city. They refused to renounce their faith and died confessing the risen Christ. Where did they find the strength to remain faithful? Precisely in faith, which allows us to see beyond the limits of our human eyes, beyond the boundaries of earthly life, to contemplate “the heavens opened” – as St. Stephen said – and the living Christ at the right hand of the Father. Dear friends, let us conserve the faith [that] we have received and that is our true treasure, let us renew our fidelity to the Lord, even in the midst of obstacles and misunderstandings; God will never allow us to want [for] strength and serenity. As we venerate the martyrs of Otranto, let us ask God to sustain those many Christians who, in these times and in many parts of the world, right now, still suffer violence, and give them the courage and fidelity to respond to evil with good.
Mass following Canonization - Homily
May 12, 2013


  1. It is always great to hear of the great Martyrs of the Church, it gives one the desire to be counted one day amongst them. Pope Francis l has proven himself to be a man with great faith and he knows how to transmit it. By now I hope he see's that traditional minded Catholics are his greatest allies. As we share, promote and defend the same faith he professes. Tomorrow his Papacy will be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and all Heaven will be watching with great rejoicing. Viva il Papa!

  2. I didn't realize that Catholics worshipped martyrs...

  3. Of course we do, we have been doing it for 2000 years.

  4. From today's Gospel:

    ...yea, the hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doth a service to God.

  5. Anonymous3:15 PM

    Jim Craig, we do, but with some distinctions of which you may not be aware. Martyrs are a category of saint. They are not deities.

    The veneration due to the saints is called dulia. It is very different from the adoration due to the Most Holy Trinity alone, which is called latria. Both of these are called "worship", but they constitute distinct senses of the term.

    Thank you, New Catholic, for this encouraging post.

    Holy Martyrs of Otranto, pray for us, and for the persecuted Christians in the Middle East!

  6. I was taught that we prayed to the saints but worshipped God.

  7. Then you were taught wrongly. The use of the word "worship" (cultus) for our relationship with the Saints of God has been a part of the English language since its origins.

  8. Protestantism has usurped the term worship and used it to solely mean that honor due God and God alone. But there are lesser degrees of honor due his saints and even human beings such as our parents. The bloody revolutions of the Enlightenment and Protestantism brought about destruction of the appropriate degrees of honor due to God's creation by maintaining that honor is only due God and now they have firmly set their sights on convincing us that God doesn't even exist to command honor. An inevitable result of banishing the Holy Catholic Church from the state, the body politic and the public square.

  9. @Jim Craig

    The Protestant Book of Common Prayer, in its marriage service, used the phrase "With my body I thee worship". Now clearly, the Protestants would not have used this phrase if it meant offering to a human being what is owed to God alone. Therefore, they too recognised different senses of the word "worship".

    I think the confusion has crept in more recently due to a narrowed understanding of the term. I guess it is for this reason that some Catholics will state that we do not worship the saints but only honour them: they are making the same point on the basis of a different understanding of the word 'worship'. As long as we are clear in what sense we are using the word 'worship' there is not problem. In substance there is no difference of opinion. Any dispute is really just a 'dispute about words'.

  10. Hello Rorate C!

    Did you get a good look at the 12 May Canonization Mass?

    Really!! How was today's Mass anything but a continuation of B XVI's reform? (with a real-enforcement of Communion on the tongue which was lacking in Pope Benedict's liturgies).

  11. I am so glad my fears about Pope Francis have been proven wrong. And now he will consecrate his papacy to Our Lady of Fatima - another very good sign. I think he will be the pope that will fulfill our Lady's request regarding Russia so she can crush the head of the serpent.

  12. How was receiving on the tongue "lacking in Benedict's Liturgies" supposed to mean? It was the Pope Emeritus himself who started the custom in June 2008 of putting out a kneeeler for those who came to him for Communion. This did not start under Francis it is a continuation.It was only after 2005 that we started seeing Churches and Altars being restored in many (Though not all) churches including if I may KNEELERS.

  13. I wonder whether the Protestant usage of "worship" as exclusive to God has developed because Protestantism really has nothing to offer to God except prayer and praise - the same things we Catholics can give also to the Saints.

    What the typical "low" Protestant sect lacks is the notion of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. What sets God clearly apart is that we offer sacrifice to Him alone. This is part and parcel of latria and the reason why the early Christians would not offer a sacrifice of incense to the Emperor.

  14. >>>> Katalina said...
    How was receiving on the tongue "lacking in Benedict's Liturgies" supposed to mean? It was the Pope Emeritus himself who started the custom in June 2008 of putting out a kneeeler for those who came to him for Communion<<<<<<

    Thanks for the history lesson, Katalina!

    What I am referring to Katalina is 'enforcement'....I've scoured the internet for videos of people being corrected for attempting hand Communion, both under Benedict and Francis..right now the score is Francis: 5 (over 7 week span), Benedict 1 (over an 8 year span)

    yes, Francis' job of maintaining reverence is easier than Benedict's initiation and implementation....especially since Francis' friends on the left are still afraid to attack him for 'turning the clock back'....

    I pray that they try imitating him!

  15. Anonymous5:57 AM

    It's unfortunate that we got so yanked off topic right from the start. The canonization of 800 martyrs beheaded by the Turks doesn't happen every day. I wonder what else the Pope has to teach us regarding militant Islam.

  16. A great day with 800 new beatifieds!

    I could not help notice that Pope Francis did not mention exactly WHO decapitated these martyrs for the Faith...I cannot find reference to WHO in any report of his sermon...

    Am I wrong?

  17. May the Holy Martyrs pray for us! I watched the video recommended here by kneeling Catholic. Though it was a beautiful Mass, said with great reverence. I found that most of the Mass was in Italian, only parts in Latin. This I cite as a grave violation of the Second Vatican Council that said, "Latin is and will remain the official language of the Church". V2 said that only parts of the Mass may be in the vernacular, proceeding with great caution and prudence. Here is a contradiction, we traditional minded Catholics are accused of rejecting the Council when it is those accusers who have rejected the whole Council and replaced it with their own idea of what the Council should be. Leaders of the Church need to re-study the Council and obediently follow it and not replacing it with their own ideas of what it should have meant.

  18. I will never, ever forget their sacrifice and its meaning.
    When we cleave to Christ, as we seek our redemption in him, we are truly fighting the world, flesh and the devil.


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