Rorate Caeli

"Council of Cardinals" officially instituted

Chirograph "Tra i suggerimenti"
by which a Council of Cardinals is instituted to aid the Holy Father in the Government of the Universal Church and to study a project of revision of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus on the Roman Curia

Among the suggestions appearing in the course of the General Congregations of Cardinals preceding the Conclave was the convenience of establishing a small group of members of the Episcopate from the different parts of the world that the Holy Father could consult, individually or collectively, on particular matters. Once elected to the Roman See, I have had the occasion of reflecting often on this matter, believing that such an initiative would be of notable aid for carrying out the pastoral ministry of the Successor of Peter that the brothers Cardinals had wished to entrust me.

For this reason, on the past April 13, I announced the constitution of the aforementioned group, indicating at the same time the names of those who were called to take part in it. Now, upon mature reflection, I consider appropriate that this group, by way of the present Chirograph, be instituted as a "Council of Cardinals", with the competence of aiding me in the government of the universal Church and to study a project of revision of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus on the Roman Curia. It will be composed of the same persons indicated before, which may be consulted, as Council or individually, on the maters that I consider from time to time worthy of attention. The aforesaid Council, whose number of components I reserve the right to configurate in the manner that will prove to be more adequate, will be an ulterior expression of the episcopal communion and of the aid to the munus petrinum that the Episcopate spread throughout the world may offer."

Given in Rome, at Saint Peter's, on September 28, 2013, first of the Pontificate


The end of the second paragraph, especially in the form in which an advisory council constitutes by itself an "ulterior expression of the episcopal communion and of the aid to the munus petrinum that the Episcopate spread throughout the world may offer", seems to be, probably, the first "Denzinger moment" of Pope Francis.

The Crisis of the Church is a Crisis of Bishops:
French bishop defames Melkite Catholic Patriarch over Syria, cautions against "demonization" of jihadists

Bishop Dagens

From the blog of the Society of St. John Chrysostom:

The Tablet - Bishop denounces Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch

The above blog post not only reproduces the Tablet article, but also provides a detailed chronicle of Bishop Claude Dagens' attack on Patriarch Gregory III on Radio Notre-Dame and the Patriarch's response. Bishop Dagens also called for a war to topple the Assad regime, in the opposite sense of the Pope's insistent calls for peaceful and negotiated solutions. 

Le Salon Beige's brief report on the matter quotes the Bishop as saying during his interview: Il faut faire très attention à ne pas diaboliser tous les jihadistes! (We must be very careful not to demonize all jihadists!)

To our knowledge, not a single Latin-Rite Bishop has stood up so far in defense of the Melkite Patriarch

Claude Dagens, Ordinary of the Diocese of Angoulême since 1993, is no "ordinary" French bishop, being the sole Catholic cleric who is an immortel of the Académie française, occupying Seat No. 1. It will be of interest to our readers (though not a complete surprise) that he happens to be one of the few French bishops who have completely blocked the application of Summorum Pontificum in his diocese, with the result that the sole Traditional Latin Mass in his diocese is served by the Fraternity of the Transfiguration, which is affiliated with the SSPX. 

Canonization date of John XXIII and John Paul II

It is now official: the two Popes will be canonized on April 27, 2014


NCR reaches new low: Christian genocide justified

Armenian orphans (Turkish Empire, 1915)
Liberals used to pretend they were better Catholics - other Catholics would fade away as enlightened Christians gradually took their place. Now, via the "National Catholic Reporter", they just try to find ways to directly justify the disappearance of Christians:

On Sept. 22, two suicide bombers rushed worshippers leaving All Saints Church in northwestern Pakistan and set off their devices. They left 85 dead and scores wounded, making this the worst anti-Christian violence in Pakistan since the nation was founded in 1947. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

On hearing this news, most Americans might interpret this act as one of violent religious discrimination, of anti-Christian killing. But my lead guest on "Interfaith Voices" this week says that misinterprets the message.

That guest was Dr. Akbar Ahmed, a native of Pakistan who once administered the frontier area in which the bombing took place. He is also a devout Muslim, an anthropologist, a professor of Islamic studies at American University in Washington, D.C., and an internationally recognized leader in interfaith relations. He is now a U.S. citizen.
So I asked him point-blank, "Was this bombing an act of religious discrimination?" Was it religiously motivated? Without hesitation, he said, "No." He pointed to a statement from the Taliban themselves saying it was a response to the United States' frequent and continuing drone attacks in the tribal areas of Pakistan. He said the Pakistani government's protests to the United States have been unable to stop the drones, so the frontier tribes have resorted to their ancient "eye for an eye" response to perceived injustice.

Right... So in order to protest against foreigners, they slaughter and maim their own fellow citizens who are Christians. Instead of challenging this absurd justification immediately, the NCR journalist thought it so compelling that she posted it as an attempt at "interpreting the Pakistan bombing: anti-drone, not anti-Christian".

If it were not the drones, it would be American support for specific countries. Or the Regensburg papal address. Or Russia's anti-terrorist offensive in the Caucasus. Or the French law against veils in public schools. Or offensive cartoons. Or the Swiss ban on the construction of new minarets. Or as revenge for the fall of Granada in 1492 and the loss of Al-Andalus. Or the wounds of British colonialism still all too present in these frontier regions of the former Raj - and this was an Anglican church, therefore these Christians should just disappear already. All very nice interpretive keys for NCR's future articles justifying the genocide of Christians in Muslim-majority nations.

Upcoming events in Rome

1. On the evening of September 30, Bishop Athanasius Schneider will give a conference at the seat of the Fondazione Lepanto (headed by Roberto de Mattei) at Piazza Santa Balbina 8. The theme will be Corpus Christi. Holy Communion and the Renewal of the Church, which is also the title of his newest book, published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana only last month.

This is the same day as the ordinary public consistory for the canonization of Blessed Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. 



2. On October 10, Giovani e Tradizione will present the "Acts" of the 3rd Conference on Summorum Pontificum, which took place on May 13 - 15, 2011.

The 2011 Conference was held in the Angelicum and culminated in a Solemn Pontifical Mass at the Altar of the Throne in St. Peter's Basilica, offered by Walter Cardinal Brandmüller. It was probably the most glorious of the liturgical and theological conferences oriented towards Traditional Catholicism that took place in Rome during the reign of Benedict XVI. (The list of speakers, liturgies and talks at this Conference can still be read here, although in the end it was not Cardinal Canizares Llovera who offered the Mass.)

  Acts of the Conference
The Acts will be presented at the Angelicum with greetings and an introduction by Fr. Vincenzo Nuara OP of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, and with interventions by Sandro Magister, Giovanni Turco, and Raymond Cardinal Burke. 

On the afternoon of the next day, October 11, Cardinal Burke will celebrate a Solemn Pontifical Mass at the Basilica di San Clemente in Rome. 


3. On October 12, at the closing of the second Giornate Sacerdotali Romane organized by the Amicizia Sacerdotale Summorum Pontificum, a Solemn Mass will be offered at the eight in the morning at the Altar of St. Pius X in St. Peter's Basilica.


4. The second international pilgrimage of Traditional Catholics to Rome to be organized by the "Coetus Internationalis Summorum Pontificum" will take place this October. The first had taken place in November last year

How awful was Catholic life under those immoral Renaissance Popes!

In the Pontificate of Alexander VI, the difficult Rodrigo Borgia? Not the life of doctrine, never touched in its purity, nor the life of liturgy, kept with veneration and order, nor still the life of mission, beginning the greatest propagation of the Catholic Faith in history.

The spirit that would lead to the tragic episodes of 1517 and beyond was brewing, certainly, and the moral crisis of the hierarchy was not a minor issue in it. It is the spirit of non serviam that roams the world always waiting for the best moment to devour souls. 

Notwithstanding the predominance of secular interests throughout the whole of the reign of Alexander VI, this Pope was not inactive in matters regarding the Church. In all essentials, in spite of abuses, the government of the Church was steadily carried on; no doubt, however, this was partly owing to the marvellous perfection of her organisation.

Like his predecessors, Alexander gave a hearty support to the monastic orders, enriched them with many privileges and did all he could to secure and promote their well-being and their work.

Alexander took pains on many occasions to promote devotion to S. Anne and the Blessed Virgin. In regard to the latter, the ordinance restoring the ringing of the Angelus in August 1500, was an act of wide and lasting importance.

[A]ll the clergy of the city were invited to the opening of the [1500] Jubilee. The Pope himself performed this ceremony on Christmas Eve, 1499, having taken pains to settle all the details beforehand with his Master of Ceremonies. The ceremonial observed on these occasions was no modern invention, but, as the Bull of indiction expressly says, was founded on ancient rites and full of symbolic meaning.

According to Burchard, the crowd which assisted at these solemnities numbered 200,000 persons. Although this may be an exaggeration, still it is certain that, in spite of the troubles of the times and the insecurity in Rome itself, the numbers attending this Jubilee were very large.

If Alexander VI did nothing towards the reform of the Church, yet he was not wanting in earnest care to preserve the purity of her doctrine. His Censorial edict for Germany, dated 1st June, 1501, is a very important document in this respect.

In this, which is the first Papal pronouncement on the printing of books, it is declared that the art of printing is extremely valuable in providing means for the multiplication of approved and useful books; but may be most mischievous if it is abused for the dissemination of bad ones. Therefore measures must be taken to restrain printers from reproducing writings directed against the Catholic Faith or calculated to give scandal to Catholics.

In Italy Alexander VI. energetically repressed the heretical tendencies which were especially prevalent in Lombardy. On the 3ist of January, 1500, two inquisitors were sent by him with letters of recommendation to the Bishop of Olmütz [Olomouc], to proceed against the very numerous Picards and Waldensians in Bohemia and Moravia, who led extremely immoral lives. Ever since the year 1493, Alexander had been taking great pains to win back the Bohemian Utraquists; but these efforts had failed completely. When in the year 1499 some of the more moderate Utraquists shewed an inclination to be reconciled with the Church, Alexander had the matter discussed in Consistory and bestowed special powers on the clergy in Prague.

Alexander exerted himself not only to maintain the purity of the Christian faith, but also to provide for its propagation. The magnificent discoveries of the Portuguese and Spaniards offered a wide field to the Church in this direction. It is consoling to note how much, even under Alexander VI., was done in the way of spreading the knowledge of the Gospel amongst the heathen.
Ludwig von Pastor
The History of the Popes
[Translation Fr. F. I. Antrobus, C.O.]

At the beginning of the sixteenth century, John Burckard (+ 1506), a famous papal master of ceremonies, drew up -- using the Ordines of the Papal Court and the Vatican MSS. of Sacramentaries and Missals -- and published in 1502, by order of Alexander VI, an Ordo Missae. It is from this that some of the general rubrics of our present Missal are drawn, and the Ritus servandus of our Missal embodies the greater part of Burckard's Ordo
Rev. J.B. O'Connell
The Celebration of Mass (1964)

Liturgy notes - the revolution is alive and well

1. The Committee on Divine Worship of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a document with the title Stewards of the Tradition to mark the 50th anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concilium.

The document is effectively one long hymn to the liturgical reform as actually implemented, praising the "great work of reform of the Liturgy and renewal of the Church that has borne such abundant fruits" and the "great strides" in promoting full, conscious and active participation; calling on the faithful to "continually strive to deepen this renewal that was begun under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit", affirming that the reformed Liturgy was "the result of extensive historical scholarship and reflection on pastoral needs", calling for further inculturation, and the like. Anything in this document that is critical of the shortcomings of the liturgical reform, whether in its ideals or its implementation, is next to impossible to detect.

In short, there is nothing surprising about the document; it is what one would expect after five relentless decades of propaganda in favor of liturgical reform, only mildly blunted by tentative steps towards "reform of the reform" in the previous Pontificate. It is a Pontificate that has been gone for only six months but whose legacy is now as if it never existed in vast swathes of the Church. We confess ourselves more surprised by the silence on this document of a certain portion of the Catholic Internet that, not so long ago, was busy hailing every little quote from any prelate in favor of elements of liturgical tradition as a giant step towards restoration...

2.. In the capital of the Philippines, Manila, there will be a large conference on the New Evangelization next month, to be held in the country's sole Pontifical University. Called the "Philippine Conference of the New Evangelization", it is far wider in scope than what its name implies, with all of the priests of Brunei and numerous delegates from other Asian countries attending it. Of interest on matters liturgical is that the Conference program advertises that it will open with the "Misa ng Bayang Pilipino" (Mass of the Philippine People"), a highly inculturated rite of the Mass made in the 1970's and which has never received Roman approval or recognition. However, in the current Pontificate, this is no source of worry ... as the Cardinal Archbishop of Manila proudly states on the website of his archdiocese, the "eyes of the Vatican are on us", not to police but to see what happens in the Conference.

Counterpoint: "Santità, mi scusi", an Open Letter

(See also Point: The Inevitable Pope)

Santità, mi scusi: An Open Letter to the Pope on His Statements to Civiltà Cattolica

Your Holiness,

I am sure it will not displease you if I address you in this way I saw that everyone is writing to you. Permit me to address you as well for some questions that lie in my heart.

After I read your recent statements, the most recent being those included in the “interview” given by you and released by Father Antonio Spadaro, S.J., I must admit that I was very surprised, and some distressing doubts welled up within me. These doubts have enveloped me like a noxious weed that weighs down and takes away air and light, those things that have been until today my knowledge of doctrinal certainties.

Point: The Inevitable Pope

a guest-post by Fr. Richard Cipolla, DPhil

(See also: Counterpoint: Santità, mi scusi: An Open Letter)

The media is awash with positive fascination with Pope Francis. Secular blogs known for their hostility to the Catholic Church are effusive in their approval of Papa Bergoglio in whom they see as the man who will transform the Catholic Church into a religious version of liberal secularism. But whatever adjectives one applies to Pope Francis, the most apt is really “inevitable”. That the Church should have a Pope like Francis was inevitable, for he is the first Pope who is a product of the post-Vatican II Church. His two predecessors, Blessed Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI, were products of a pre-Conciliar Church. They were trained for the priesthood and were ordained immediately after World War II. They were formed by what one could call a classical preparation for the priesthood. While it is true that both of Pope Francis’ predecessors played significant roles in the Second Vatican Council, they were not formed by the Council. They were the last Popes to have an institutional memory of the Church before Vatican II. And so it is not surprising that both John Paul and Benedict made doctrinal continuity an important aspect of their respective papacies.

Pope Francis is the first Pope who was ordained priest after the Second Vatican Council. His whole ministry in the Church has been in the post-Conciliar time. He was ordained in 1969, four years after the close of the Second Vatican Council. Thus the beginning of his ministry in the Church took place in that decade after the Council that was marked by upheaval, confusion, and rapid change both in the Church and in the Western world. The Jesuit order, of which he was and is a member, was in many ways an icon of that tumultuous time in the Church’s history. Under Pedro Arrupe, named Father General of the Jesuits in the year the Council closed, the Jesuits cast off their image as the brilliant soldiers of the Pope to take on an image of revolutionaries, both in the ecclesial and worldly sense. Their espousement of liberation theology, their active involvement in opposing oppressive governments, and their anti-authoritarian attidues gained them the admiration of some, as well as the public rebuke of Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. Like so many religious orders, they experienced a real decimation in their ranks, from which they still have not recovered.

Pope Francis’ inevitability is not merely temporal, that sooner or later someone ordained after Vatican II would become Pope. His inevitability has a deeper meaning: that the foment and confusion and both spiritual and ecclesial amnesia that marked the decades of the 60s and 70s are once again present. It is back to the future in many ways. The church leaders of those heady days are coming back out of hiding. In Rome, a city having an uncanny sense of shifts in direction, those who found the last two papacies oppressive with their insistence on St. Augustine’s dictum, “Love and do what you will”, think that they can again act according to their own version of the great saint’s directive: “Do what you will and call it love”. Those who chafed under the insistence on continuity and Tradition of John Paul and Benedict now can proclaim what they have always believed: that the last two papacies were mere aberrations, just a temporary holding back of the inevitable apotheosis of the Zeitgeist of Vatican II that will usher in an age of peace, joy and love without the encumbrances of doctrinal and moral authority.

But I would caution them to not take their white bell-bottomed trousers out of the closet yet and start singing “Stayin’ alive”. Papa Bergoglio has surprised the Church and the world in many ways these past few months. And these surprises are part of his inevitability. But it is obvious that he is a man of great faith who understands the command to love and who takes his role in the Church seriously. So it is inevitable that he will grow into his role from being merely the bishop of Rome to the job of governing the Church in the footsteps of Peter as the Vicar of Christ on earth. And that should be no surprise.

Catholic hospital now an abortion mill

One of the country's largest Catholic-owned hospitals will carry out abortions under new laws, it has confirmed.

The Mater Hospital in Dublin's north inner city is one of 25 named in controversial legislation where a pregnancy can be terminated if the woman's life is in danger.

In a statement today, hospital chiefs said they had carefully considered the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act and would abide by the law.

"The hospital's priority is to be at the frontier of compassion, concern and clinical care for all our patients," the statement said.

"Having regard to that duty, the hospital will comply with the law as provided for in the act."

The confirmation follows claims last month from one of the hospital's board of governors that it could not follow the law because of its Catholic ethos.

Fr Kevin Doran, based in Donnybrook in Dublin, had argued European regulations could allow the hospital to opt out of the new laws. 

The Mater Hospital was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1861. It is now run as a private company, mostly owned by the same religious order as well as the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, the Catholic Nurses Guild of Ireland, the Society of St Vincent de Paul and medical consultants.

Another of the 25 hospitals named in the law as an "appropriate institution" for an abortion to be carried out to save the life of a pregnant woman is the Catholic-run St Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin, part-owned by the Sisters of Charity.

The hospital has already confirmed it will follow " the law of the land".

So, how's that "dialogue with the world" working out for you?

Yesterday, five students of the Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires (the oldest high school in the city, originally founded as a Jesuit school, but that become a public school following the expulsion of the Jesuits in the 18th century) entered the nearby parish church of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the oldest standing religious building in the Argentine Capital. According to Clarín, they "burned the armchair on which the priest sits during mass, one of the 18th-century carved wood altars, they urinated on the altar, and they wrote insulting sentences with white paint on the floor and on the pews."

In the image above, the most revealing words: "The only church that enlightens is the one that BURNS."

"Are you saved?" No, but I'm working on it ...

From a traditional mission priest and friend of Rorate:

Let us focus our attention on the difference between Redemption and Salvation. Over the last 50 years or so there has been much confusion over who is saved and how. Practically speaking, this confusion was seen in the controversy over the words “for all” or “for many” in the Consecration at the Novus Ordo Mass.

So, let us begin by simply asking… Are you saved? The correct answer is “NOT YET. I am working on it! Pray for me!” People often ask us how we are doing… perhaps a good response would be simply to say: “I am working out my salvation.”

But wait a minute. Are we not baptized? Do we not pray, go to confession, receive Holy Communion? Are these not signs that we are saved? No. These are all signs that we have been Redeemed. Fr. John Hardon, SJ: “Literally, to redeem means to free or buy back. Humanity was held captive in that it was enslaved by sin. Since the devil overcame human beings by inducing them to sin, they were said to be in bondage to the devil. Moreover, the human race was held captive as to a debt of punishment, to the payment of which it was bound by divine justice. On all these counts, the Passion of Christ was sufficient and superabundant satisfaction for human guilt and the consequent debt of punishment. His Passion was a kind of price or ransom that paid the cost of freeing humanity from both obligations. Christ rendered satisfaction, not by giving money, but by spending what was of the highest value. He gave himself, and therefore his Passion is called humanity's Redemption.”

St. Paul: “You are not your own; you were bought with a great price” (1Cor. 6:20). St. Peter: “you were not redeemed with corruptible things as gold or silver… But with the precious blood of Christ” (1Pet 1:18).

New Consultants of the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff

From the Vatican Information Service:

Today, the Holy Father:

- appointed the following as consultants of the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff:

Traditionalism and academic censorship - a personal experience and a very grave episode

by Dr. John Lamont

I recently had an experience that is very informative about the current status of tradition in the Church, and that deserves to be made public. Its importance lies in its revelation of the practice of silencing traditionalist theological positions, a practice that is usually carried out in private, but that is adhered to even by the most allegedly 'conservative' theological venues.

It will be helpful to provide some context for this episode. Fr. Martin Rhonheimer, an eminent theologian who is also a priest of Opus Dei, published an article in the Swiss edition of the theological journal 'Nova et Vetera' on the teaching of Vatican II on religious freedom (a translation can be found here: In it, he argued that this teaching did in fact reject prior magisterial teaching on the social kingship of Christ, but that this rejection was not an instance of the 'hermeneutic of discontinuity' condemned by Benedict XVI. Fr. Rhonheimer's position was found wanting by Prof. Thomas Pink of King's College London, and by the author of this piece, who contacted the editors of the English-language edition of Nova et Vetera and suggested that they might be interested in a reply to Rhonheimer. The editors welcomed this proposal, and encouraged me to submit a paper to them on this topic. An earlier version of the paper can be found here.

The paper disagreed with both Rhonheimer and Pink, and argued in favour of the traditional position on the relation between Church and State that was taught by Pius IX, Leo XIII, St. Pius X, and Pius XI. The editors reacted to the piece with enthusiasm. It was sent to referees, who reported favourably on it while recommending some changes. After these changes were made, the editors announced that the final product was of high quality and deserved publication, and stated that they would print it in Nova et Vetera. This was an important decision, because the traditional position on Church-State relations that was advocated by the paper has been denied a voice in Catholic academic circles for many years.

To explain the significance of the eventual destiny of this submission, it is necessary to expand a bit on the role of academic journals like Nova et Vetera. Such journals, along with academic publishers, perform the function of determining what is and is not considered to be serious scholarly work. What is printed by them counts as scholarship that is trustworthy and deserving of discussion, and what is not printed by them does not count as scholarly, is not a worthwhile source for a scholarly argument, and is not listed in bibliographies or taught in universities. Because journal articles are easier to read and easier to write than entire books, it is the journals rather than the academic presses that play the most important role in this function. There are obvious disadvantages to assigning this gatekeeping role to journals, but it is really a necessary function, because if it is not carried out it is too difficult for the individual scholar to judge the value of work that is not directly within his field of expertise - and given the number of academics trying to get published, it is even necessary within a given field, in order to cut down the amount of material that a scholar needs to look at to keep informed.

This necessary function imposes certain professional responsibilities upon journal editors that are universally recognised. It is not ethical for editors to refuse to publish articles simply because they disagree with them, or to publish articles simply because they agree with them, regardless of the scholarly merits of the articles in question; nor is it ethical for them to print articles because they are on good terms with the authors, or to refuse to print them because they are at odds with their authors. Provided that the articles submitted to the journal are within the area that the journal is devoted to, the sole responsibility of the editors is to print only articles that reach a high scholarly standard, and within the submitted articles that reach such a standard to print the best ones. In order to carry out this responsibility, the usual system is for the editors to send out submitted articles to referees who are specialists in the field that the articles address, and to remove any identifying signs from the articles so that the referees will not know who wrote them. The referees will thus be influenced only by the contents of the article, and not by the reputation or lack of reputation of its author.

These responsibilities are imposed by the role of academic journals within the academic system. They do not apply to non-academic journals which may reach or at least aspire to a high intellectual level, such as First Things; such journals in the end are advancing their own position in the marketplace of ideas, and their editors are free to reject items simply because they do not like their contents or their authors. Academic journals however are not supposed to be advancing the outlook of their editors, because if they do, the objectivity and hence the value of scholarship is lost. This does not mean that Catholic theology journals have a responsibility to consider or print views that reject Catholic doctrine, because such views reject the premise upon which the scholarly discipline of Catholic theology is based, and thus do not have a claim to scholarly consideration by Catholics; but it does mean that such journals cannot ethically enforce the personal views of their editors upon theological questions that are open to debate among Catholics.

Nova et Vetera is undoubtedly an academic journal. It describes itself in the following terms: "The English edition of Nova et Vetera is published quarterly and provides an international forum for theological and philosophical studies from a Thomistic perspective. Founded in 1926 by future Cardinal Charles Journet in association with Jacques Maritain, Nova et Vetera is published in related, distinct French and English editions. The English edition of Nova et Vetera welcomes articles and book reviews in theology, philosophy, and biblical studies that address central contemporary debates and discussions. We seek to be 'at the heart of the Church,' faithful to the Magisterium and the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, and devoted to the work of true dialogue, both ecumenically and across intellectual disciplines. Nova et Vetera is a peer reviewed journal ... Nova et Vetera practices blind review. Submissions are evaluated anonymously by members of the editorial board and other scholars with appropriate expertise." Its senior editor is Cardinal Georges Cottier, former papal theologian to John Paul II, and the editors of its English edition are Profs. Matthew Levering and Reinhard Huetter, both well-known academic theologians.

All this background explains both why the author of the present piece was pleased to have his paper accepted in Nova et Vetera, and rather puzzled when, after acceptance, the paper failed to appear in the journal. This puzzlement was replaced by astonishment when an enquiry about the article's date of publication elicited the following response from the authors (message published by recipient, as authorized by his and most jurisdictions, e-mail addresses omitted):

From: matthew levering
To: John Lamont
Cc: Reinhard Huetter
Sent: Thursday, 12 September 2013 1:09 AM
Subject: Nova et Vetera update

Dear John,

This morning I spoke with Reinhard Huetter, Nova et Vetera's co-editor, about N&V 12:1. He would prefer to wait until you are registered in a parish that is canonically in regular and full communion with the Roman Catholic Church and with its bishops in Australia and the bishop of Rome, Pope Francis. From our conversation in Australia, my sense is that this will be soon; you are such a fine Catholic scholar. I have no doubt that you will soon be in full and regular communion with the Roman Catholic bishops in Australia and the bishop of Rome, Pope Francis. So we are going to publish this excellent article asap, but it needs to wait until we hear the good news from you,

Yours in Christ,
Matthew (and Reinhard)

The conversation in Australia refers to a lunch that I had with Prof. Levering, when he was visiting Australia as a speaker for a conference on tradition at the University of Notre Dame Australia (see here: The question of my parish registration did not arise at that lunch. As it happens I am registered at a parish of the Archdiocese of Sydney, and in fact possess a canonical mandate to teach theology from the Archdiocese (cf. Canon 812 of the Latin Code); but since the requirement that I assure the editors of my registration in order to be published was an unethical one, I replied to both editors protesting the content of the email and declining to have my paper published in the journal. I received no reply to this protest, and since Prof. Huetter did not disavow Prof. Levering's message it can be concluded that he agreed with it. Prof. Levering is aware that I am not an Anglican or a member of the Orthodox Church or any other non-Catholic body, so his requirement that I be in 'full communion' with the Roman Catholic Church can only refer to my not having any association with the Society of St. Pius X.

The situation is thus as follows: the editors of the English edition of Nova et Vetera, one of the most well-respected 'conservative' theological journals in Catholic theology, have formally asserted

a) that a paper defending the traditional Catholic position on Church and State is of excellent quality and deserving of publication in their journal;

b) that the paper will be published by them;

c) partially withdrawing b), that the paper will be published by them provided its author is not associated with the Society of St. Pius X.

This unprofessional and unethical behaviour is something that needs to be made public in Catholic academic circles, and I have endeavoured to do this. But it has a broader importance as well, which is why it is of concern to Rorate readers generally. Universities and academics have all kinds of obvious and less obvious flaws and shortcomings, but they matter. A view that is denied any representation in academic circles will become unthinkable to the people who are educated at universities, and as a result will eventually become unthinkable to the society as a whole. Exclusion from academic respectability is one of the gravest problems that traditionalists face. Because their views have no representation among academics, they can be dismissed as backward and ignorant, and the reasons for their positions can be not simply dismissed, but entirely passed over in silence; thus permitting their opponents to concentrate entirely on the powerful strategy of rhetorical misrepresentation and abuse. And indeed, for non-traditionalists this lack of academic presence is a real stumbling-block. How can a theological position be taken seriously when virtually no-one with scholarly credentials has advanced it for more than fifty years? Are not the opponents of tradition correct when they claim that the adherents of traditionalist positions are amateurs who have adopted dated positions that struck their fancy, and repeat the slogans of antiquated reactionaries deservedly forgotten by those who actually know about the topic?

The great interest of the Nova et Vetera episode described above is that it lifts the veil on the process by which this anti-traditionalist academic consensus is produced, and shows that it has nothing to do with scholarly merit. A journal in a 'Thomistic perspective', whose editor-in-chief is the former papal theologian for John Paul II, can refuse to publish a paper arguing for a traditionalist conclusion not on the grounds of its scholarly quality - which it acknowledges to be excellent - but purely because the author's connections are thought to be suspect. This approach, rather than the intellectual merits of the traditionalist case, is what explains the absence of traditionalist scholarship in academic venues. It is my hope that by exposing one instance of this approach I may contribute to its being discredited.


Rorate note. This seems to be as good a moment as any to add one point to this chilling exposé by Dr. John Lamont. A point that we have wished to discuss for a long time and that has already been excellently covered by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf in his blog: in Canon Law there is no such thing as a general obligation for a layman to register in any parish. As Fr. Zuhlsdorf recalled then:

The faithful have a right to worship according to the proper rituals of the Church (can. 214), the right to apostolic activity (can. 216), the right to Christian education (can. 217), and corresponding obligations to “assist with the needs of the Church so that the Church has what is necessary for divine worship, for the works of the apostolate and of charity, and for the decent support of its ministers.” (can. 222) and the obligation to remain in communion (can 209) and be obedient to their pastors (c. 212). By “pastors,” pastores, the Code means bishops, not parish priests.

These rights and obligations are normally, and properly exercised in parishes, which “as a general rule” are territorial (can. 518), but a bishop can establish parishes “by reason of the rite, language, or nationality of the Christian faithful of some territory or even for some other reason.”

Now that the big picture is established, let’s look at the specifics.

What's missing?

Any mention of “registration” – something that seems to have been a creation of North American pastors for various reasons.

Canon law does not recognize any impact of the notion of “registering” in a parish, which is largely unheard of in other parts of the world.

This "registration" may be common in other parts of the Anglosphere, and a kind of registration (not necessarily parish-related, but always declared before the State) is common in those German-speaking areas that kept the government-collected Church levy (Kirchensteuer), but it really is absurd to ask for this "parish registration", not being a canonical obligation, as a document needed for academic publication. We doubt this is demanded of all those who send material to the journal - is it? If a person declares himself or is known to be a Catholic, that really should be enough. What if the author were from a place (most places in the Catholic world) where there is no such thing as parish registration, what then would be asked? A baptismal certificate? A declaration from the parish priest? Signed when, in the past couple of months? Some proof of Catholicity is understandably demanded in different canonical settings by appropriate canonical authority (at Confirmation, Marriage, Seminary admission, Holy Orders, etc), not by an academic journal only asking it from Traditional Catholic authors; and not in the form of a "registration" which really is a non-canonical procedure that itself is uncommon in global Catholicism.

Plus, let us be honest, this card-carrying legalistic Catholicism promoted by the journal editor above seems to be the complete opposite of the Catholicism the current Pope -- whom he mentions twice by name and title ("the bishop of Rome, Pope Francis," lest one forgets) -- wants and calls for daily.

Unless, apparently, one has Traditional leanings. Then the identification card must be produced right away...

Are you praying for persecuted Christians?

Peshawar, Pakistan
When I hear that so many Christians in the world are suffering, am I indifferent or is it like one of my family is suffering? When I think or hear that so many Christians are persecuted and even give their lives for their faith, does it touch my heart or not at all? ... I will ask you a question, but do not answer in a loud voice, but in your hearts: how many of you pray for the Christians who are being persecuted? How many of you? Each one of you answer in your heart. 'Am I praying for that brother, for that sister, who is facing hardship for professing and defending his faith?'
General Audience
September 25, 2013

The Christian Genocide

Family members in the funeral of one of those killed in the bombing of
All Saints' Peshawar (Anglican), Pakistan
Is there any other name for what is happening? Yes, the time has come to use the G word: what is happening is Genocide, the small Christian minorities in several Muslim countries are being targeted in order to attain their disappearance from where they live and have lived for centuries.

The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was signed in 1948 and entered into effect in 1951. Its definition of genocide is clear, and includes any single one of the following.

Article 2. In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Day after day, thousands upon thousands of Christians are being object of (a), (b), and (c) throughout the Muslim world, and even outside it: this past weekend, the largest massacre of Christians in Pakistani history included the death of at least 85 in the northwestern city of Peshawar. Numerous were maimed in Kirkuk, Iraq, when the home of a Christian MP was bombed. This in two days. The martyrdom in Nigeria by Boko Haram (the deadliest in the world) and that in Syria by Al-Qaeda-related forces continue unabated, and the suffering is far from over in Egypt. Christians, a "religious group", are being "killed", are being "serious harmed bodily and mentally", and the sole intent is clearly to "inflict on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part", either by forced migration and uprooting or direct annihilation. This is Genocide.

And, while the ongoing attack in Nairobi, Kenya, is not on the same level of threatening the existence of a group (Kenya being a Christian-majority nation), the genocidal intents of the Somalian Islamist group could not be clearer: "Are you Muslim or Christian? We don’t want to kill Muslims." 

When Polish-Jewish lawyer Rafał Lemkin first coined the word in 1944, he declared that the defining example of Genocide in the 20th century (a model for the one being perpetrated at that exact moment throughout Europe) had "first" been that of "the Armenians" (source) - the targeted execution or expulsion of Christian Armenians by Muslims from the lands they had occupied for millennia in Anatolia. The almost complete elimination of Christians from East Thrace and Anatolia during the first half of the 20th century provides Muslims everywhere with a clear template: it is possible to completely uproot Christians from their ancestral lands.

It is past the time for the Church in her highest representation, all Catholics, all Christians, and responsible governments to at least recognize the Genocide (or rather, Genocides) taking place against different Christian populations in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, with the help, or, in many (most?) cases, with the complicity of Muslim-dominated governments. It is indeed impossible for this giant genocidal enterprise to "be maintained without broad and deep support from the Muslim population".

Even if only words are said, the truth must be said, in a firm and unmistakable recognition: the Genocide of Christian minorities is taking place.

Anglican Ordinariate Use coming up - Mass on October 10

History will be made in the Catholic Church on Thursday 10 October when a new text for the Mass which includes traditional Anglican words is officially introduced in London.

The new text has been devised for use by Ordinariates throughout the English-speaking world as a way of putting into practice Pope Benedict XVI’s vision of allowing former Anglicans who wish to enter the full communion of the Catholic Church to do so whilst retaining aspects of their spiritual and liturgical traditions. Benedict XVI described these as “precious gifts” and “treasures to be shared”.

The new liturgy — the work of a special commission established by Rome and now approved by the Holy See — includes material from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer (1662) as well as the Roman Rite. It will be unveiled with a Mass followed by a media launch at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street, Soho.

The Mass will be celebrated by the Ordinary of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, Monsignor Keith Newton, and the preacher will be Monsignor Andrew Burnham, Assistant to the Ordinary and a member of the commission which devised the Use. Music, drawn entirely from the English tradition, will include Howells’ Collegium Regale.

Mgr Burnham said: “For some time, the Ordinariate has had its own liturgy, approved by the Holy See, for marriages and funerals and the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham already provides a daily office in the Anglican tradition. But the introduction of this new Ordinariate Use is very important because it means that we now have our own distinctive liturgy for the Mass which brings to the Roman rite beautiful Anglican words which have been hallowed for generations. It gives the Ordinariate unity and a corporate identity.”

The Roman Rite in both its ordinary and extraordinary forms remains available for use by Ordinariate priests and there will be no requirement for them to adopt the Ordinariate Use. However, all Ordinariate clergy will be expected to familiarise themselves with it. Some priests are expected to use it regularly, while others – especially in parishes with a large concentration of “cradle” Catholics in the congregation – may only wish to use it from time to time.

The Mass will be celebrated in Our Lady of the Assumption & St Gregory’s Church at 6.30pm on Thursday 10 October. All welcome.

(Tip: New Liturgical Movement)

An ominous article, "The Nests of Yesteryear":
"It seems I was a fool all these years" Prada in a pro-life rally
Juan Manuel de Prada is by far the most famous Catholic writer and columnist in contemporary Spain. His column has been published in the highly influential Spanish daily ABC for many years - and his opinion, in defense of the Church and the Papacy, her doctrine and her moral stance, has led him to be ridiculed and humiliated often. He is a conservative author who is at home in an orderly novus ordo Mass, not a Traditionalist (though not an anti-Traditionalist either), and ABC is the only Spanish daily that can be considered in any way close to the Church.

The cultural references for Spanish-speaking Catholics are common in both sides of the Atlantic - so, in a sense, it is far from wrong to say that Catholic Hispanics are all fellow cultural countrymen: for instance, both Argentine and Spanish Catholics, at the same time, faced with the great menaces of the early 20th century, created the concept of the "Hispanidad". Juan Manuel de Prada is one of the few remaining figures of the dying breed of the once powerful intellectual life of the Catholic Hispanidad.

In Saturday's edition of ABC, de Prada published an ominous article. We translate it without any further opinion or endorsement.


The Nests of Yesteryear
Juan Manuel de Prada
ABC [Spanish], Sep. 21, 2013

I am unaware if I was insane before;
but today, reading a certain interview,
I felt that I played the fool all these years.

Democracy, Somerset Maugham taught, is a party to which all are invited, but in which you can then enter only if you lavish the doorman with gifts. Old theology called lavishing the doorman "flattering the world". We notice that the words of Somerset Maugham are quite true, for instance, by the way in which democratic politicians profess their affiliation: a left-wing politician admits he is a left-winger so happily, and proud to be so; a right-wing politician, on the other hand, presents himself with an inferiority complex as a "centrist", or a "reformer", or any other silliness used at the time, but he will not say even if he is tortured by squeezing his nipples that he is a right-winger. When someone declares himself to be of the right, he becomes ipso facto a party-pooper of democracy; and what democracy needs are cheerleaders, not party-poopers. I suppose that, at this very moment, there is not in the world a single democrat, from the Pope downwards, who dares say he is a right-winger.

Another way to cheer democracy consists in not mentioning those matters that democracy considers difficult and of the Catholic underclass, as, for instance, abortion. In Spain, for example, there was a time in which the party-pooper right-wing, in order to carry votes from the Catholic underclass, began to pester about these questions, filed appeals arguing the unconstitutionality of its practice, and even promised that, once it reached power, it would change the laws that support them. But, once power was attained, the right decided that it was time to cheerlead democracy; and, since then, it decided to put these difficult matters on hold. A true democrat should not speak of certain difficult matters, because they will tell him that he is obsessed (as if denouncing the thousands of growing lives that are thrown away every day in the dumpster were an "obsession"); and, if you are a democrat struggling with your beliefs, you must, in every event, see, hear, and keep quiet, under pain of being considered from the Catholic underclass.

I was not born to see, hear, and keep quiet; therefore, for my own personal health, I choose from this day forward to avoid seeing or hearing certain things, in order not to be forced to keep quiet, as I do today. On a certain occasion, a reader wrote me a letter asking me, if one day I lost my faith, not to allow this to be revealed through my articles, because it would inflict a very deep wound upon those who, like her, fed their [faith] by reading me. There are things that, even when one wants to, one cannot let go: it happened thus with Jonah and his duty of preaching in Nineveh; and it thus happens with me regarding my faith. But Saint Augustine taught us that, even though we must never refuse martyrdom, neither must we deliver ourselves to it senselessly.

I who am the most senseless man in the world spent many years delivering myself joyfully into martyrdom, in a battle with the world that left me in shreds, with my literary career thrown in the wastebasket and turned into the laughing stock of all my colleagues; and I made this daily exercise of immolation joyfully, because I considered that my obligation was not to please the world, but to fight it until my last breath.

Where there were nests yesteryear there are no birds this year, Don Quixote tells us, when he comes back to his senses. I am unaware if I was insane before; but today, reading a certain interview that kicked up a dust cloud, I felt that I played the fool during all these years.

And, following the example of the distinguished interviewee, I will dedicate myself from this day forward to pleasing and flattering the world, in order to avoid its condemnation.

[Tip: reader]

Live from Rome: Special 25th Anniversary Mass of the
Fraternity of Saint Peter, October 18, 2013

The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) will celebrate the 25th anniversary of their foundation on October 18, 2013.

The LiveMass team sends us the announcement of the great event of celebration, to be held in Rome and that will be broadcast live on the web.

On October the 18th we will be commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. For this special day several members of the Confraternity of St. Peter will be going to the FSSP church in Rome for a special Solemn Mass celebrated by our Superior General, the Very Rev. Fr. Berg FSSP.

LiveMass will be broadcasting that Holy Mass LIVE from Rome, on and the iMass apps. 

The Rev. Fr. Goodwin FSSP will be joining us once again to give commentary. This is going to be a very exciting occasion!

The Solemn Mass celebrated by Fr. Berg will be broadcast LIVE on October 18th, 2013, at 11:30 AM Rome Time, which will be 5:30 AM Eastern US Time, and 7:30 PM Eastern Australian Time.

Later that day we will broadcast Vespers and Benediction from Rome at 4:30 PM Rome Time, 10:30 AM Eastern US Time, and 12:30 AM (Oct 19th) Eastern Australian Time.

So mark your calendars, and be sure to join us for the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the FSSP!

Slow and steady - also in the greatest Gothic Cathedrals

From Le Salon Beige, this nice symbolic piece of news:

"Beginning Sunday, September 22, and from then on on all Sundays, under the responsibility of the Cathedral Archpriest, Fr. Philippe Montier, the Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the rite will be celebrated in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Noyon [Notre-Dame de Noyon], Oise [Picardy, France], at 1800, in agreement with the Bishop of Beauvais, Noyon and Senlis, Bp. Jacques Benoît-Gonnin."

Congratulations to all involved.

The Traditional Mass will survive. It survived 1969! It will survive anything, it will still be here long after our own bodies have been laid to rest. Like the builders of the Cathedral of Noyon, 900 years old, the first or second Gothic cathedral ever built, those who struggle for the Mass know they struggle for posterity as well, for the sake of Christ and His Church.

Roman Curia: nominations and confirmations

Pope Francis changed a few names and confirmed most others in the Roman Curia:

-Apostolic Penitentiary: Card. Piacenza (up to now Prefect of Clergy), in the place of Card. Monteiro de Castro, now retired.

-Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Abp. Müller confirmed as Prefect, and Abp. Ladaria Ferrer confirmed as Secretary; Abp. Di Noia, who had been up to now Vice-President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, has been named Adjunct Secretary. Bp. Giuseppe Sciacca has been named as a consultant of the Congregation.

-Evangelization of Peoples (Propaganda Fidei): all members confirmed.

-Clergy: Abp. Beniamino Stella, up to now president of the Academia Ecclesiastica, named in the place of Card. Piacenza; Abp. Iruzubieta confirmed as Secretary; Mexican Abp. Jorge Carlos Patrón Wong named for a new position, Secretary for the Seminaries.

-Synod of Bishops: Abp. Lorenzo Baldisseri named as General Secretary.

-Now Abp. Giampero Gloder has been named Pres. of the Academia Ecclesiastica.

(Source: in Italian)

Cardinal Piacenza, 69, the most dedicated Prefect of Clergy since Card. Castrillón Hoyos - and who fought for and got the competence over Seminaries as part of the general competence of his Congregation - is moved to the mostly ineffectual position of Penitentiary. Spanish daily El Mundo, quoted by blogger Francisco de la Cigoña (one of the most popular in the Spanish-speaking Catholic world), implied yesterday that the replacement of Piacenza would signal an open season against "Conservatives" in the Curia by the new dominant "Progressives".  That seems to be a reasonable view.

For the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, the structure goes back to normal, with just the President (the Prefect of CDF) and the Secretary (once again, since August, Abp. Pozzo), with the transferral of former Vice-President Abp. Di Noia.

2014 Calendar from the Norcia Monastery now available

The Monastery of Saint Benedict in Nursia (Norcia, Umbria, Italy) has released its calendar for 2014. It includes the following:

- The Feast Days from both the Ordinary and the Extraordinary Form (that is, the New and Traditional calendars)
- Specific Benedictine and local saints
- Beautiful photos of both the monastery, the monastic community, and the town of Norcia
- Days in which to fast and abstain from meat
- Holy days of Obligation

Pricing and payment information available here.

Pope Francis: strong words against abortion

Each one of us is invited to recognize in the fragile human being the face of the Lord, who, in his human flesh, experienced the indifference and loneliness to which we often condemn the poorest, either in the developing nations, or in the developed societies. Each child who is unborn, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord, who, even before he was born, and then as soon as he was born, experienced the rejection of the world. And also each old person and - I spoke of the child, let us also speak of the elderly, another point! And each old person, even if infirm or at the end of his days, bears the face of Christ. They cannot be discarded, as the "culture of waste" proposes! They cannot be discarded!
September 20, 2013

Traditional Catholics, remember: a happy parish is a healthy parish

Fr. James Fryar, FSSP, well-known for the wonderful website he created,, was recently named for a new assignment. 

On Aug. 18, in his farewell sermon in the church of Christ the King, in Sarasota, Florida, he had a message that is extremely precious for all Catholics that are traditional-minded or have great love for the Traditional liturgy: do not let your soul be poisoned by judgmentalism and self-righteousness just because of the gift God has given freely to you. A parish that is spiritually healthy is a parish that is happy.

Click below for the main part of the sermon, which will start automatically at 33:06.