Rorate Caeli

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.


  1. Hopefully we shall see Bishop Fellay in a similar shot soon.

  2. Unless the sspx show some flexibility

  3. Has anyone published statistics concerning the Personal Apostolic Administration? It would be useful to know the number of parishes, priests, seminarians, and faithful prior to 2002, in 2002, in 2012, etc. It would be interesting to compare it to the situation in the rest of Brazil and Latin America.

  4. I wonder if Francis was aware of who he was greeting and that this particular bishop carries a certain ...peculiarity in his ministry.

  5. Oh come on, he is a bishop from South America, the Pope doubtless knows him.

  6. Anonymous3:02 AM

    Yes, doubtless. He may not appreciate him, or he may. Who knows? But he surely knows him, or of him. That's for certain.

  7. Yes, of course he knows him, and they have friends in common - if only people would just be more alert...

  8. L.M.S. of Beaumont:

    The statistics for the Apostolic Administration are naturally published in the Annuario Pontificio. My 2009 copy (data as of 31 December 2007) gives the following numbers:

    30 priests
    29,112 catholics
    142 churches
    11 seminarians
    93 sisters
    24 educational institutes

    For comparison, the statistics for the Diocese of Campos are as follows:

    12,520 square kilometers area
    1,040,000 total population
    899,000 catholics
    43 parishes
    90 churches or missions
    64 diocesan priests (4 ordained that year)
    14 religious priests
    1 permanent deacon
    40 seminarians
    18 male religious
    86 female religious
    18 educational institutes
    6 charitable institutes
    41,854 baptisms

  9. Wow. A very positive sign for the TLM. Pope Francis has a really nice smile. People really love this charismatic Pope.

  10. "Unless the sspx show some flexibility"

    And the Holy See? Why are they not more flexible? They are with everyone and everything else these days. Why are "they" not more flexible with the FSSPX?

    Let's hope and pray Pope Francis fixes this situation once and for all...

    I say a Memorare everyday for this particular intention.

  11. Regarding the Holy See and bishops, we were delighted in Belgium to learn of the appointment of Mgr. Jean-Pierre Delville as the next Bishop of Liège. Mgr. Deville is one of a group of five dedicated priests who (by rota) celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form for the faithful of Brussels at the Chapelle du Sacré-Coeur de Lindthout (Summorum pontificum). He was tutored in the ancient Roman rite by Mgr. Roger Gryson, responsible for the raditional Mass community ( and Emeritus Professor at the Université Catholique de Louvain.

  12. Thank you, SMN.

    Do you or anyone else here know how the 2007 numbers compare to the prior decade and how things have progressed from 2007 to 2013. It would be interesting to know the trend. How fast the Apostolic Administration is growing or if it is somewhat stagnant.

    Are there any articles we can be pointed to for the history of what is now the Apostolic Administration? How Archbishop Castro Meyer cared for it prior to his death and what happend from '91 to 2002?

    Apologies for all the questions, but we are not as familiar with the situation of the Apostolic Administration as we are with the SSPX.

  13. I am no spokesman for the Apostolic Administration, only a (very) grateful faithful in the pew; but I can say this: there would be only one place for TLM in Rio de Janeiro (the whole Metropolitan Region) if the Priests of Campos didn't come over weekly. Whatever diferences there may be between the traditionalist groups in Rio de Janeiro, one thing isn't to be denied: The Apostolic Administration contributes very much for the good of souls in our so-called "Wonderful City". Some say they have "compromised" to modernists, some say they are "reactionaries" and so. What I see and hear in the Mass I go to is good and sound doctrine, even when the mentions of CVII documents are unavoidable. What Benedict XVI urged us to do (read CVII in the lenses of Tradition, instead of the opposite), they do. The group that go to mass at Cosme Velho have ties with FSSPX (what I consider to be very good), and all my respect and love, because they held TLM in Rio single-handedly when there was no Summorum Pontificum to avail us. They also do a great good to the souls, but (I say it again), they would be alone if there wasn't the Administração Apostólica to join the task. And, while some dioceses are aggressive against the TLM (Nova Iguaçu, for instance), the bishops can't deny a church to the Administration if the faithful require the TLM: the only thing they can do is to get out of the way. So there is TLM in Nova Iguaçu, our neighboring county, even if the Bishop dislikes it.

    Pleased to join, and hoping to be helpful.

  14. And the Holy See? Why are they not more flexible? They are with everyone and everything else these days. Why are "they" not more flexible with the FSSPX?

    The Holy See has been more than flexible in their discussions with SSPX... Fare more so than with other runaway groups... the Old Catholic's for example...SSPX needs to come back to the Church.

  15. Yoink!,the SSPX IS in the Church... it is just in an irregular situation. The SSPX is not schismatic. They recognize the Supreme Pontiff.


  16. Barbara, you are right. The SSPX is not needing to "come back to the Church". The Society is now, and has always been, a vital part of the Roman Church. What are these interests that persist in seeking to present an errant view on this point? The answer to that seems clear enough. I consistently appreciate your comments on this site.


  17. I doubt that any regulars here at Rorate have any doubt themselves that, had Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio been elected in 2005 instead of Joseph Ratzinger, we would not have had Summorum Pontificum, Anglicanorum Coetibus, or some of the other gestures toward tradition (or indeed, some key appointments) that we have seen in the last pontificate.

    And yet: As we learned with the last pontificate, how a prelate conducts himself as a subordinate prelate is not always predictive of how he will conduct himself as pontiff. For all the good things that Pope Benedict did for tradition, it is also true that certain harsh criticisms he made as private theologian of the Missal of Paul VI (a "fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product") or certain passages in the conciliar texts (espeically Gaudium et Spes), these criticisms were never repeated during his pontificate, and measures that might have followed that some of us expected were not taken.

    It is still far too early to draw too many conclusions about how Pope Francis's pontificate will unfold on many of these issues. But, as we see with small gestures like this one toward Bishop Rifan, or his rebuke toward bishops of Apulia, it does seem probable now that in some ways, Bergoglio is not always prelude to Francis. It is not just the practical constraints on papal power, but also a sense that a man who has taken on the papacy now understands himself in a very different role than before. Pope Francis does not appear to have the same sympathies for tradition that his predecessor did/does, but it does seem possible that he may be willing to accept it as it now exists in the life of the Church. If that is true, we could do far worse, even as we continue to hope for better.

  18. P.S. Thanks to SMN for the data on Campos. I was very much curious myself how matters stood there.

    I also remain curious how it has developed since it was established in 2000.

  19. Anonymous3:27 PM

    The Personal Administration of Saint Jean-Marrie Vianney - Campos - Brazil shows now the results of fruitful works over 10 years, after its erection by Blessed Pope John Paul the II. The Mother Church construction and seat of Rev. Bishop Rifan itself explain what these catholic groups stands for:

    And the work goes far beyond ! The consctruction of the Local Seminary is in progress.

    Articles and Pictures can be seen in


    Ricardo Morais
    and God Bless !
    web Master

  20. Any statistics would be tainted by the huge influx of people to the Campos region due to the discovery of oil on its seaboard. Its population grew considerably since the late 90's due to that (all the industry that surrounds petrol extraction and refining, imports, exports, maintenance, etc).

    That disclaimer being said, Campos conquered small steps (due to the short number of priests) but precise chaplaincies on major cities around the country, mainly due to Msgr. Rifan's diplomacy within the national bishops' conference. Also cities where Campos' priests have families/relatives usually have some (un)frequent mass schedules.

    Statistics would also hide the apostolates which are run not by an Apostolic Administration priest, but rather by Anapolis priests that were reinserted in other cities after the passing of Msgr. Pestana and the new bishop being enemy with the TLM. But it was Msgr. Rifan that facilitated their removal/moving around and reinsertion in other cities that needed TLM apostolates and that Campos couldn't cover by itself.


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