Rorate Caeli

"Fear the Lord, and give him honour,
for the hour of his judgment is come."

So, where did the famous biblical warning that became some kind of a motto of Saint Vincent Ferrer comes from? Curiously enough, from his letter on the end of the world to Pedro de Luna (the antipope Benedict XIII, whom he saw as the legitimate pope for a considerable time).

Saint Vincent explains that this fragile world of ours is always hanging by a thread, spared by the mercy of God and the intercession of Saints, especially the Blessed Virgin, so that not all souls may be lost. Even in Paschaltide, let us beg the Lord, "parce nobis, Domine!" The hour of his judgment is coming, and will come for each of us also individually - let us always be prepared.

Bust-reliquary of Saint Vincent Ferrer
(Treasure of San Gennaro, Naples -
in temp. exhibition at the Musée Maillol, Paris)

[T]he whole duration of the world rests on a certain conditional prolongation obtained by the Virgin Mary in the hope of the correction and conversion of the world by the aforesaid Orders [the mendicant orders]. For Christ said to the Blessed Virgin: "Unless the world is corrected and converted by means of these Orders I will no longer spare it." Since, therefore, the conversion and correction of the world has not followed but rather the reverse, for greater crimes and wickedness abound, and, it must be regretfully admitted, these Religious Orders themselves, who have been given for the conversion and correction of the world, are in reality so moribund and relaxed that little religious observance is kept in them, the observant man must admit that this conclusion is amply proved

... [T]he same conclusion is drawn from a certain other revelation (a most certain one to my mind [Rorate note: Saint Vincent means it was made to himself]), made just over fifteen years ago to a religious of the Dominican Order. This religious was very ill indeed and was praying lovingly to God for his recovery so, that he might again preach the word of God as he had been wont to do with great fervor and ardor. At last, while he was at prayer, these two saints appeared to him as in a dream, at the feet of Christ making great supplication. At length, after they had prayed thus for a long while, Christ rose and, with one on either side, came down to this same religious lying on his bed. Then Christ, touching him caressingly with the finger of His most holy hand, gave him a most definite interior comprehension that, in imitation of these saints, he must go through the world preaching as the Apostles had done, and that He, Christ, would mercifully await this preaching for the conversion and correction of mankind, before the coming of Antichrist. At once, at the touch of Christ's fingers, the aforesaid religious rose up entirely cured of his sickness.

... "Fear the Lord and give Him honor, because the hour of His judgment is come. And adore ye Him that made heaven and earth, the sea and the fountain and the waters. Let him who is able understand." [Rev. xiv]

Saint Vincent Ferrer
Letter to "Benedict XIII" on the End of the World
July 7, 1412

The pope's prayer intention for May (and shooting the messenger)

The Vatican released the Holy Father's prayer intentions for the next month.

Pope Francis' universal prayer intention for May is: “That the media may be instruments in the service of truth and peace”.

This blog (which received Holy See Press Office media credentials during the last conclave) is sometimes criticized for reporting the truth when the truth is bad or uncomfortable news, especially over the past 13 1/2 months.

Veritas et pax. There can be no pax without veritas.

You Report: Archdiocese of Melbourne gets a traditional Personal Parish

From a reader:

To followup your original post on our elevation to a Personal Parish (see here), Fr Tattersall was formally installed as Parish Priest by the Archbishop of Melbourne on Easter Friday.

In choir, were also Bishop Peter Elliott (Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne, and Bishop Emeritus Basil Meeking (from Christchurch, NZ), 20 to 25 visiting clergy, seminarians and the community itself.

The choir sang Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli for the Ordinary. Photos are now available on the Parish website by clicking here

Rorate offers congratulations to all the Faithful at Bl. John Henry Newman Parish and a genuine thank-you to Your Excellencies Elliot and Meeking for your devotion to the sacred tradition of Holy Mother Church. 

When Irish dissidents are smiling

Strong punishments remain for traditional-leaning friars and religious in the Franciscans of the Immaculate, but one of Ireland's most vocal dissident priests in the Marist order had, according to the Irish Times, the help of the current pope and the former president of Ireland for a return to "good standing" in the Church.

Pope Francis is believed to have intervened directly with the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) to have all sanctions on silenced Irish priest Fr Sean Fagan (86) lifted.
It was confirmed to The Irish Times in Rome last night that Marist priest Fr Fagan, who has been subject to sanction by the Vatican for six years, is no longer so.
For many years Fr Fagan, who has suffered ill health for some time, had been critical of rigid stances by the Vatican on issues to do with conscience and sexual morality notably in letters to this newspaper. In 2003 he published the book Does Morality Change? And in 2008 Whatever Happened to Sin?
In 2010 he was informed by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that he would be laicised should be write for publication any material it considered contrary to Church teaching and should he disclose this to media.

Prayers for a great friend of Rorate

Dear friends, please keep in your prayers Ennemond, the pen name of a bright young man of Tradition in France, and a great friend of this blog, so that his health may recover fully, according to God's will and power, and through the intercession of His Blessed Mother.

Holy Innocents in NYC facing closure?

Holy Innocents, NYC.

As if in response to yesterday's celebration of the "New Pentecost" and the "New Springtime", the online news site Capital New York reported today that the Archdiocese of New York was moving towards its final stages of planning a long-expected wave of parish closures (Archdiocese moves toward large-scale parish closings):

The Archdiocese of New York took a major step last week toward consolidating its dense network of 376 parishes, entering the final stages of planning for what is likely to result in the most significant sweep of parish closings seen here in recent memory. 
Early last week, an advisory board that has been working for months with outside consultants to find ways to streamline the centuries-old archdiocese quietly sent its preliminary recommendations to local working groups—known as clusters—for review. It is the first time a broad consolidation plan such as this has been handled this way.

Among the locations being considered for closure by the committee, which is scheduled to issue its final blueprint to archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan in June, are the Church of St. John the Baptist and the Church of the Holy Innocents in Midtown Manhattan, according to internal documents obtained by Capital New York. Both would be consolidated into nearby St. Francis of Assisi on West 31st Street, which could take a new name.

St. John the Baptist, also on West 31st Street, is directly across from of Pennsylvania Station and a well known parish. It is run by the religious order of the Capuchin Franciscans and is home to the Saint Padre Pio Shrine, which attracts devotees to the 20th century saint. Holy Innocents on West 37th Street, the oldest building in the Fashion Center, was once known as the “actor's church.” Playwright Eugene O'Neill was baptized there in 1888. Some Masses are still celebrated there in Latin. ...


The bulk of the closures are expected to take place in the Bronx and Manhattan, where many parishes were built as little as a block or two from the next as the church flourished in the last century. Some of those parishes may have attracted 800 people for Sunday Masses, but now struggle to fill the pews.

The closures could have significant real-estate implications, ushering onto the market hundreds of millions of dollars worth of coveted land across Manhattan.

While Zwilling said the value of property the churches are built on is not a factor in preparing a plan for the closures, it could become an issue if—hypothetically—the cardinal were left to decide between closing two parishes.

“If you put everything together and it came out exactly equal and you need to choose between the two, would that become a factor in making the decision? Maybe,” he said. “But it's not a motivating factor.”

While the plight of many of New York's parishes call for sympathy, the fate of  the Church of the Holy Innocents in Manhattan is of special concern to Traditional Catholics. Although NYC has six churches and chapels where the Traditional Latin Mass is celebrated at least every Sunday (three in Manhattan and one in the Bronx under the Archdiocese of New York, and one each in Brooklyn and Queens, under the Diocese of Brooklyn), this parish is the only one of the six where it is also celebrated every day, publicly, according to a regular schedule. It is where the Traditional Catholic community in New York City has its Sacred Triduum every year. 

This news comes only months after the loss of the Traditional Latin Mass in nearby Christ the Saviour Parish after its parish priest, Fr. George Rutler, was transferred to other assignments (including Administrator of the Church of Holy Innocents).

Sermon for Dominica in Albis 2014

From the Gospel according to St. John: 

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.
It is the gospels of St. Luke and St. John that give us the narratives of the most vivid post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus.  These appearances are at once strange and ordinary, their strangeness pointing to the dimension shattering act of the Resurrection, their ordinariness underlying the absolute continuity of the risen Lord with the Jesus who died on the Cross, as in today's Gospel: he showed them the wounds in his hands and in his side.

A reminder about today's canonization ceremony

The canonization ceremony of October 21, 2012 saw the introduction of a revised rite that was very similar to the one used prior to Pius XII. Rorate noted this reform on that very same day. This rite will be used today, although the Te Deum will be replaced with a shorter hymn (Iubilate Deo, Cantate Domino).

This reform attracted little attention; the ephemeral restoration of the fanon got far more media space. This does not change the fact that the new rite of canonization may well go down as one of Pope Benedict XVI's more far-reaching reforms, not least because it includes the following petition (the third one), addressed to the Pope just before he proclaims the actual formula of canonization:

Most Holy Father, Holy Church, trusting in the Lord's promise to send upon her the Spirit of Truth, who in every age keeps the Supreme Magisterium free from error, most earnestly beseeches Your Holiness to enroll these, her elect, among the saints.

Prior to the third petition, in his response to the second petition, the Pope says:

Let us, then, invoke the Holy Spirit, the Giver of life, that he may enlighten our minds and that Christ the Lord may not permit his Church to err in a matter of such importance

(Emphases ours).

These two formulae, or any formula more or less explicitly saying the same things, were present neither in the post-1969 rite of canonization, nor (to our knowledge) in the rites of canonization prior to the main liturgical reforms of the 1960's. Anyone can see the significance of these little formulae to the continuing question of the infallibility of canonizations -- the act of canonization is now explicitly included in the immunity of the Supreme Magisterium from error. 

Some will protest that these words do not amount to an Apostolic Constitution, or a dogmatic tome, or an infallible decree spoken by the mouth of the Holy Father himself. Fair enough; but they are part of the liturgy of canonization, these words "put into context", so to speak, the formula of canonization that the Pope is about to pronounce. One can even say that these remind him of the extent of his authority just before he exercises it. These two formulae therefore cannot be lightly dismissed, and any future critique of the canonizations of John XXIII and John Paul II will have to take these into account. 

Canonizations: And why not Mastai-Ferretti?

While this blog has editorialized in favor of accepting the canonizations today, one of my colleagues in Rorate has also argued that today's line-up of papal saints-to-be is short of one man - the Ven. Pius XII. Now I would like to point out another Pope whose inclusion in today's rites would have been appropriate as well. 

The theoretical case for the inclusion of Bl. Pius IX -- Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti -- in today's canonizations is probably even stronger than that of Pius XII. Not only is he already beatified, but he was beatified together with John XXIII (who deeply admired him and hoped to celebrate his canonization), by decision of John Paul II, who had previously declared him a Venerable. During the beatification ceremony, John Paul II explicitly praised Pius IX's "fidelity to the immutable deposit of revealed truths" and his work in opening the First Vatican Council, even as he praised John XXIII for opening the Second Vatican Council. It was a true balancing act, notwithstanding the continued adulation in numerous sectors of the Church, before and after this beatification ceremony, of Vatican II as a Super-Council. 

His Holiness Pope Francis exercised the fullness of his power to dispense with the normal procedures in order to proceed with the canonization of John XXIII, and his canonization is widely understood as not just a tribute to his personal holiness but also as an unspoken "canonization" of the Second Vatican Council. In not doing the same for the Pontiff who opened the First Vatican Council and who was beatified alongside the same John XXIII, the message is reinforced (whether unintended or not) that one Council is more equal than all the others; and that Popes of a certain era -- the one after 1958 -- were privileged with holiness and grace, and deserve precedence in recognition, far more than their immediate predecessors of the previous centuries.

You Report: Where the Tridentine Latin Mass is offered, the faithful will come. - Port Richmond, Philadelphia (Penn.)

Revival of the Latin Mass in Port Richmond Philadelphia, by Jon FREY

On March 1, 2014, for the first time since the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, the Tridentine Mass was offered at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia. As this first Low Mass was being planned, early expectations hoped for 20 to 30 souls to attend. To the shock, surprise and awe of those who planned this Mass, close to 90 souls came to hear what will now be the first of many Latin Masses offered in this baroque-style church.

Thanks to the strong showing of interest at that first Mass, the pastor of Nativity BVM has extended his permission for the Latin Mass to continue. The pastor at St. Adalbert’s Church, one block to the east of Nativity BVM, has also opened the doors to have its first Latin Mass on June 27 of this year on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (and will be a High Mass).

Port Richmond is a unique neighborhood in that it still boasts 5 functioning Catholic Churches within its small borders. Nativity BVM is flanked by two neighboring parishes, each one city block apart: Our Lady Help of Christians to the West, which once served German immigrants; and Saint Adalbert’s Church, which continues to serve the thriving Polish community. As with most parishes since Vatican II, all of these parishes have seen steep declines in Mass attendance, the closing of schools and convents, and shortage of priests. Starting in 2015, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will examine these parishes to determine their vitality and opportunities for cost-cutting consolidation given Mass attendance numbers and number of clergy at each parish. 27 churches were closed in 2013, and 46 are up for review this year.

As the Archdiocese prepares to pull out the proverbial scalpel next year, the Holy Ghost has sent this community a young priest who is dedicated to the Latin Mass and has already earned himself the nickname of “The Phantom of Port Richmond” for his strict adherence to dressing in the traditional black cassock, biretta and cloak while walking the neighborhood. It did not take long for many to recognize Father’s piety and strict adherence to the rubrics of the Novus Ordo Mass, and to learn that he was one of several priests in the archdiocese that knew the traditional form of Mass.
From May 1st thru July 1st, five Latin Masses have been scheduled at two of the churches on Allegheny Avenue. Due to Father’s commitments to offer the Latin Mass at Holy Trinity Church in Center City (an Apostolate dedicated only to the Latin Mass on Sundays and Holydays, including Holy Week), Sunday Latin Masses are not possible at this time. Time will tell if enough interest and resources will permit a wider use and support of the Latin Mass in Port Richmond. However, the pastors here now know: if the Latin Mass is offered, the faithful will come. Will it be enough to rebuild the faith and parishes? Only time will tell.

Schedule of Masses in Port Richmond, Philadelphia May 1 thru July 1 2014

Thurs May 1 - 7PM - St. Joseph the Worker - L
(with hymns from choir of Our Lady of Port Richmond Regional Catholic School)

Tues May 13 - 7PM - St. Robert Bellarmine - L

Thurs June 5 - 7PM - St. Boniface – L (with hymns)

Fri June 27 - 7PM – Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus – H
+++at St. Adalbert’s Church+++ 2645 E Allegheny Ave

Tues July 1 – 7PM – Feast of the Most Precious Blood - L
*L – Low Mass H – High Mass

Light of hope amid the darkness

This weekend, CBS "Sunday Morning" ran a heartwarming video of the joy-filled Benedictines of Mary, whom have always been close to our heart here at Rorate. With so much pain and anguish in our daily lives in the Church, getting this close to heaven -- through their glorious voices -- every once in a while is very comforting.  
Please enjoy the video, and then consider helping them eliminate their remaining debt, by clicking here to donate online.

[h/t CMR Twitter]

Event: FSSP Low Mass Workshops for Priests in May

The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) will host once again a five-day training workshop on the Traditional Latin Mass (Low Mass) for priests in their Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska, from May 19-23, 2014.

Please make this known to your pastor or other priest who might be interested in learning it.

Traces of the Hegelian Guillotine in the Liturgical Reform

by Alessandro Gnocchi

No great man, said Hegel, can escape the censure of the servant who looks after his hidden rooms.  In the same way, revolutions and their traumas of reform do not escape the judgment of the second hand dealers who frequent the shops selling things retro and antique, where one finds the vestiges of times past and the disposition of a time now swept away.  In so far as it is hidden, it is always the place in which the exceptional individual and the epochal event are obliged to manifest their very nature at an intimate level, even if only in a detail.

The liturgical reform that took place in the Catholic Church at the end of the 1960s does not escape the Hegelian guillotine.  That great leap towards the world, which can be called a revolution, when one considers the orientation of prayer reversed with respect to what was the case in the past, has its own revealing retro boutique.  It is enough to go through rectories, convents and sacristies in search of antique liturgical vestments to see the proof of this.  With a little patience and a strong disposition to humility, in this tour of liturgical remembrance one always finds a priest, a sister, more often an old sacristan, who unearth Roman chasubles, dalmatics, tunicles, cottas and birettas, longing for the times when the Mass was really the Mass. But even they, except with rare exceptions, are not able to recover the maniple, that slender piece of cloth similar to a little stole that the celebrant wears on his left arm.

Self-Serve Communion on Holy Thursday:
8 years of "Reform of the Reform" of the Mass of Paul VI had no effect

As we have often and repeatedly said here, the "Reform of the Reform" of the Rite of Paul VI was bound not to have any effect without a combination of text modifications, strict enforcement, and stern example from the very top -- it survived barely based on the third item, now annulled by ad hoc selective application or non-application of the liturgical law.

On Holy Thursday 2014, a practice that used to be widespread in parts of Western Europe in the post-conciliar years, and intermittently ever since, was back in full view: Self-Serve Communion of Paten and Chalice.

In the Cathedral of Our Lady of Tournai (Notre-Dame de Tournai), Belgium:

In the parish church of Saint Claire, Hénin-Beaumont, Diocese of Arras, France:

The only truly enduring Reform of the Reform, made possible by the work of justice known as Summorum Pontificum, is the Traditional Roman Rite. 

[Source: first image; second image. Tip: Le Forum Catholique.]

Editorial Note: What? A Pope with a lousy Pontificate
should never be beatified, or canonized!

From (double!) coronation to abdication, a terrible pontificate, with far-reaching dangerous consequences - from the biography of Pope Saint Celestine V (Peter Celestine - Pietro da Murrone), who died on May 19, 1296:

In reply to the request of the cardinals, that he should come to Perugia to be crowned, Pietro, at the instigation of Charles, summoned the Sacred College to meet him at Aquila, a frontier town of the Kingdom of Naples. Reluctantly they came, and one by one, Gaetani being the last to appear. Seated on an humble ass, the rope held by two monarchs, the new pontiff proceeded to Aquila, and, although only three of the cardinals had arrived, the king ordered him to be crowned, a ceremony which had to be repeated in traditional form some days later, the only instance of a double papal coronation. Cardinal Latino was so grief-stricken at the course which affairs were evidently taking that he fell sick and died. Pietro took the name of Celestine V. Urged by the cardinals to cross over into the States of the Church, Celestine, again at the behest of the king, ordered the entire Curia to repair to Naples. It is wonderful how many serious mistakes the simple old man crowded into five short months. We have no full register of them, because his official acts were annulled by his successor. On the 18th of September he created twelve new cardinals, seven of whom were French, and the rest, with one possible exception, Neapolitans, thus paving the road to Avignon and the Great Schism. Ten days later he embittered the cardinals by renewing the rigorous law of Gregory X, regulating the conclave, which Adrian V had suspended. He is said to have appointed a young son of Charles to the important See of Lyons, but no trace of such appointment appears in Gams or Eubel. At Monte Cassino on his way to Naples, he strove to force the Celestine hermit-rule on the monks; they humoured him while he was with them. At Benevento he created the bishop of the city a cardinal, without observing any of the traditional forms. Meanwhile he scattered privileges and offices with a lavish hand. Refusing no one, he was found to have granted the same place or benefice to three or four rival suitors; he also granted favours in blank. In consequence, the affairs of the Curia fell into extreme disorder. Arrived in Naples, he took up his abode in a single apartment of the Castel Nuovo, and on the approach of Advent had a little cell built on the model of his beloved hut in the Abruzzi. But he was ill at ease. Affairs of State took up time that ought to be devoted to exercises of piety. He feared that his soul was in danger. The thought of abdication seems to have occurred simultaneously to the pope and to his discontented cardinals, whom he rarely consulted.
Some years after his canonization by Clement V in 1313, his remains were transferred from Ferentino to the church of his order at Aquila, where they are still the object of great veneration. His feast is celebrated on 19 May.
(Catholic Encyclopedia)

Wait a second: he was canonized just 17 years after his death? Now, there is a process ripe for reexamination.


We posted the above on the feast of St. Peter Celestine in 2011, at the time of the beatification of Pope John Paul II by Pope Benedict XVI. It is even more applicable now near the date of his canonization, along with that of Pope John XXIII.

One of the glorious historic characteristics of the Catholic Church, an expression of her stern Roman sobriety, has been her great hesitation to succumb to the appeals of popular opinion on the great and powerful of this world. Two great examples, of course, have included the refusal of the Church of Rome to explicitly extend to the Universal Church the cultus of great men who did much for the Church but had many personal misgivings: Constantine the Great, venerated by Churches of the East, and in specific particular churches of the West; Charlemagne, venerated in specific particular churches of the West.

Even more symbolic has been the Church of Rome's refusal to simply canonize her former Bishops en masse, though there were so many great ones in the periods that followed the early centuries of great persecutions during which so many popes were martyred. Not many were recognized as saints later on, and even fewer were so after the canonization process developed more clearly in the second millennium.

In both cases, this hesitation of the Church of Rome (which itself explains the historical development of the procedures for beatification and canonization) indicates an admirable freedom of action in which she refuses to succumb to the pressures of princes and masses, or to a repulsive use of canonization to express self-congratulation for her own greatness. She is great because the Lord made her so, through no merit of her own. This noble simplicity and certainty of her own self is a mark of Rome, Mother and Teacher of all Churches.

It is doubtless the case that the Church of Rome must avoid falling in the proud vain tone characteristic of canonizations (or "canonizations") elsewhere. Canonizations involve a serious exercise in papal power, engaging all Catholics. Canonizations do not force any Catholic to carry on a personal devotion for a specific saint. And yet, once this papal prerogative is solemnly exercised and declared according to the Apostolic authority of the Roman Pontiff, canonizations cannot simply be dismissed or rejected, but gently accepted.

Canonizations: The case for Pacelli

The canonizations of Pope John XXIII and John Paul II will take place this Sunday, with many flocking to Rome to be a part of the historic event.

Without questioning the two already-mentioned canonizations, the question still remains: Why not Pacelli? 

Let it not be forgotten that his cause for beatification was expressly launched by Paul VI together with that of John XXIII precisely to combat their "almost being turned into symbols or banners of opposite tendencies within Catholicism". (Source) In beatifying and canonizing one but not the other -- does this not imply something about the relative strength of these "opposite tendencies" within the Church? 

Clearly, a very strong case can be made for Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli (Pope Pius XII), from a standpoint of sheer numbers alone.

For those who say we are now living in the greatest age of the Church, let us consider the numbers below, just for the dioceses of the United States during the reign of Pius XII. They are remarkable, to say the least -- if the canonization of a Pope also takes into consideration the appraisal of his pontificate (other than his personal holiness and his prophetical wisdom, both of which are irreproachable regarding Pope Pacelli), then these surely deserve observation:
While all these numbers may make one yearn for the Church of old, a few of them are truly staggering for the modern mind to comprehend in today's Catholic-lite world: a 200+% increase in American converts; a nearly 250% increase in seminaries built; a 200+% increase in seminarians; and a 50% increase in priests. All of this happened over Pius XII's glorious 19-year-reign. 

While we do not question the canonization of a saint, we can say, looking at these numbers, that there is a strong case to be made that the lineup on April 27 is short one great man.

USA Today publishes canonization opinion

The mainstream media has largely been covering Sunday's planned canonizations as a mixed decision with respect to the Second Vatican Council, with John XXIII as the liberal reformer, and John Paul II as the conservative restorationist.  Of course, a case can be made that the characterization is actually the complete opposite of reality, particularly concerning liturgy.
Another argument concerning the canonizations has been made in today's USA Today, the largest circulation newspaper in the United States, focusing on the abuse scandals of the 20th century.
Mr. Brett M. Decker, an American writer (and, full disclosure, the best man at my wedding), has an op-ed published on page 6A in today's print edition, entitled "Pope Puts Catholic Rebirth At Risk."
For the record of current events, here are three paragraphs from the opinion piece:
Outside of those who were martyred, the Catholic Church traditionally has found few pontiffs worthy to be saints. In fact, only two have been canonized in the past 700 years.

Rorate on the Road at Fontgombault Abbey
Abbatial Easter Sermon: Easter and the lesson of John Paul II

Dom Jean Pateau, the Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault Abbey delivered the following sermon for Easter Sunday Mass, made available to Rorate:


Homily of the Right Reverend Dom Jean PATEAU
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
April 20th, 2014
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My dearly beloved Sons,

On June 1st, 1980, in Le Bourget [air field, near Paris], Blessed John Paul II asked our country a question, "France, eldest daughter of the Church, art thou faithful to the promises of thy baptism?"

On this holy Easter day, just a week before his canonisation, Pope John Paul II asks us the same question, "Friend, art thou faithful to the promises of thy baptism?" Maybe we shall have to answer, "And what are the promises of my baptism?"

Last night, during the great Vigil, we renewed these promises. We have renounced Satan, along with all the evil works which he inspires. We have forcefully reasserted the articles of the Creed: "I believe in God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I believe in the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the flesh, and life everlasting."

Each year during Easter night the Church thus brings us back to the holy day of our baptism, towards which we must show great veneration. Yet, does our everyday life bear the mark of our commitments? Are we convincing witnesses to Jesus Christ's redeeming love, which we received when water was being poured three times on our head and the priest said, "I baptise thee in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost"? Are we possessed with the boldness of faith which makes us say to everybody, "Please, sorry, thank you", in the name of Jesus Christ Who comes Himself to beg for our love, to forgive us and to love us? Has God entered our lives? Is our heart self-sufficient to the point of claiming the right to manage all right without Him?

To be baptised, to be a Christian, means to put on Christ, to be one with Him in His body which is the Church. Tertullian thus said: "A Christian is another Christ."

Yet, where will Christ ultimately lead me if I let Him enter my life, if I allow Him to burn my heart with His cleansing fire?

Let us once more allow Pope John Paul to teach us:

When, on October 22, 1978, I said the words "Be not afraid!" in St. Peter's Square, I could not fully know how far they would take me and the entire Church. ...

Rorate book review: "Painted Saints"

Once in a while, Rorate reviews books for our readers we believe will be beneficial to them or their families, helping them grow in the Faith. We receive no compensation for this -- ever. We do it only as an act of charity, the same reason for which we take the time to run this blog.
Today's review is of the Angelus Press' "Painted Saints" -- a children's book written by Lucy Embury in 1938.
The back cover bills the book this way: "Thus begins the story of a young orphan boy in Marseilles, rescued and adopted by kindly Father Serrano, an old priest, and begins the adventure of what will become the most formative experience of his life. Marcel grows into a Catholic young man through the stories, fables, and legends of his people, and especially through the modeling of the small clay statues Father Serrano makes of the heroes of the Faith, his painted saints."
In a nutshell, this is a truly heartwarming story, and one completely improbably in today's troubled age. The main character, a young Marcel, is a homeless boy living under a bridge. When he meets the local pastor, he is adopted by him, and learns the priest's hobby of making and painting statues of saints, which later becomes his profession as a man and father.
The book, which was easily understandable by my six-year-old and liked but not fully comprehended by my younger children, is full of adventure, solid Catholic theology and truly does encourage virtue and duty in life.

You may purchase this fine book for the very reasonable price of $12.95 from Angelus Press by clicking here.

NB: If you are a publisher and wish for Rorate to review a book or item, please email athanasiuscatholic AT

Dominica Paschæ in Resurrectione Domini (Easter Sunday)
A Meditation of Saint Alphonsus on Paradise

Osanna, Sanctus Deus Sabaoth,
superillustrans claritate tua
felices ignes horum malacoth!

L'anima d'ogne bruto e delle piante
di complession potenziata tira
lo raggio e il moto delle luci sante;

ma vostra vita sanza mezzo spira
la Somma Beninanza, e la innamora
di sé sì che poi sempre la disira.

E quinci puoi argomentare ancora
vostra resurrezion, se tu ripensi
come l'umana carne fessi allora

che li primi parenti intrambo fensi.

Commedia, Paradiso (c. VII)


for the Paschal Festivity

The Joys of Heaven


Oh, happy are we if we suffer with patience on earth the troubles of this present life! Distress of circumstances, fears, bodily infirmities, persecutions and crosses of every kind, will one day come to an end; and if we be saved, they will all become for us subjects of joy and glory in paradise: Your sorrow (says the Saviour, to encourage us) shall be turned into joy.

So great are the delights of paradise, that they can neither be explained nor understood by us mortals: Eye hath not seen (says the Apostle), nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for those who love Him. Beauties like the beauties of paradise, eye hath never seen; harmonies like unto the harmonies of paradise, ear hath never heard; nor hath ever human heart gained the comprehension of the joys which God hath prepared for those who love Him.

Beautiful is the sight of a landscape adorned with hills, plains, woods and views of the sea. Beautiful is the sight of a garden abounding with fruit, flowers and fountains. Oh, how much more beautiful is paradise!


To understand how great the joys of paradise are, it is enough to know that in that blessed realm resides a God Omnipotent, Whose care is to render happy His beloved souls. St. Bernard says that paradise is a place where “there is nothing that thou wouldst not, and everything that thou wouldst.” There shalt thou not find anything that is displeasing to thyself, and everything thou dost desire thou shalt find: “There is nothing that thou wouldst not.” In paradise there is no night; no seasons of winter and summer; but one perpetual day of unvaried serenity, and one perpetual spring of unvaried delight.

No more persecutions, no jealousies are there; for there do all in sincerity love one another, and each rejoices in each other’s good, as if it were his own. No more bodily infirmities, no pains are there, for the body is no longer subject to suffering; no poverty is there, for everyone is rich to the full, not having anything more to desire; no more fears are there, for the soul being confirmed in grace can sin no more, nor lose that supreme good which it possesses.


“There is everything that thou wouldst.” “Nihil est nolis, totum est quod velis.” In paradise thou shalt have whatsoever thou desirest. There the sight is satisfied in beholding that city so beautiful and its citizens all clothed in royal apparel, for they are all kings of that everlasting kingdom.

There shall we see the beauty of Mary, whose appearance will be more beautiful than that of all the Angels and Saints together.

We shall see the Beauty of Jesus, which will immeasurably surpass the beauty of Mary.

Smell will be satisfied with the perfumes of paradise. Hearing will be satisfied with the harmonies of heaven and the canticles of the blessed, who will all with ravishing sweetness sing the divine praises for all eternity.

Ah, my God, I deserve not paradise, but hell; yet Thy death gives me a hope of obtaining it. I desire and ask paradise of Thee, not so much in order to enjoy, as in order to love Thee everlastingly, secure that it will never more be possible for me to lose Thee.

O Mary, my Mother, O Star of the Sea, it is for thee, by thy prayers, to conduct me to paradise.

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
Three Meditations on Paradise for the Easter Festival
[Contributor Francesca Romana]

A Chrism Mass in the Extraordinary Form

Yesterday, for the second consecutive year, His Excellency Archbishop Haas of Vaduz (Liechtenstein), celebrated the Chrism Mass for his diocese in the Extraordinary Form. H.E. Haas was surrounded by priests of his diocese as well as some priests and seminarians from St. Peter Seminary where the Archbishop resides regularly.

[h/t Riposte Catholique]

Saint Alphonsus in Holy Week:
VII- Sabbato Sancto (Holy Saturday): The Lady on Calvary

for Holy Saturday

Mary Present on Calvary at the Death of Jesus


There stood by the cross of Jesus His Mother. We observe in this the Queen of Martyrs, a sort of martyrdom more cruel than any other martyrdom, - that of a mother so placed as to behold an innocent Son executed upon a gibbet of infamy: “she stood.” Ever since Jesus was apprehended in the garden, He has been abandoned by His disciples; but Mary abandons Him not. She stays with Him till she sees Him expire before her eyes: “she stood close by.”

Mothers, in general, flee away from the presence of their sons when they see them suffer, and cannot render them any assistance; content enough would they be themselves to endure their sons’ sufferings; and, therefore, when they see them suffering without the power of succoring them, they have not the strength to endure so great a pain, and consequently flee away, and go to a distance. Not so Mary. She sees her Son in torments; she see that the pains are taking His life away; but she flees not, nor moves to a distance. On the contrary, she draws near to the cross whereon her Son is dying.

O sorrowing Mary! Disdain me not for a companion to assist at the death of thy Jesus and mine.


She stood near the cross. The cross, then, is the bed whereon Jesus leaves His life; a bed of suffering, where this afflicted Mother is watching Jesus, all wounded as He is with scourges and with thorns. Mary observes how this her poor Son, suspended from those three iron nails, finds neither a position nor repose. She would wish to give Him some relief; she would wish, at least, since He has to die, to have Him die in her arms. But nothing of all this is allowed her.

Ah, cross! She says, give me back my Son! Thou art a malefactor’s gibbet; whereas my Son is innocent.

But grieve not thyself, O Mother. It is the will of the Eternal Father that the cross should not give Jesus back to thee until after He has died and breathed His last. O Queen of Sorrows! Obtain for me sorrow for my sins.


There stood by the cross His Mother. Meditate, my soul, upon Mary, as she stands at the foot of the cross watching her Son. Her Son! But, O God, what a Son! A Son Who was, at one and the same time, her Son and her God! A son Who had from all eternity chosen her to be His Mother, and had given her a preference in His love before all mankind and all the angels! A Son so beautiful, so holy, and so lovely; A Son Who had been ever obedient unto her; a Son Who was her one and only love, being as He was both her Son and God. And this Mother had to see such a Son die of pain before her very eyes!

O Mary, O Mother, most afflicted of all mothers! I compassionate thy heart, more especially when thou didst behold Jesus surrender Himself up upon the cross, open His mouth , and expire; and, for love of this thy Son, now dead for my salvation, do thou recommend unto Him my soul.

And do Thou, my Jesus, for the sake of the merits of Mary’s sorrows, have mercy upon me, and grant me the grace of dying for Thee, as Thou hast died for me: “May I die, O my Lord” (will I say unto Thee, with St. Francis of Assisi), “for love of the love of Thee, Who hast vouchsafed to die for love of the love of me.”
St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
The Ascetical Works : The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ
Meditations for Holy Week

[Contributor Francesca Romana]

Saint Alphonsus in Holy Week:
VI - Feria Sexta in Parasceve (Good Friday): Hanging Dead from the Cross

for Good Friday

Jesus hanging Dead upon the Cross


Raise up thine eyes , my soul, and behold that crucified man. Behold the Divine Lamb now sacrificed upon that altar of pain. Consider that He is the Beloved Son of the Eternal Father; and consider that He is dead for the love that He has borne thee. See how He holds His arms outstretched to embrace thee; His head bent down to give the kiss of peace; His side open to receive thee into His heart. What dost thou say? Does not a God so loving deserve to be loved? Listen to the words He addresses to thee from that cross: “Look, my son, and see whether there be any one in the world who has loved thee more than I have.”

No, my God, there is none that has loved me more than Thou. But what return shall I ever be able to make to a God Who has been willing to die for me? What love from a creature will ever be able to recompense the love of his Creator, Who died to gain his love?


O God! Had the vilest one of mankind suffered for me what Jesus Christ has suffered, could I ever refrain from loving him? Were I to see any man torn to pieces with scourges and fastened to a cross in order to save my life, could I ever bear it in mind without feeling a tender emotion of love? And were there to be brought to me the portrait of him, as he lay dead upon the cross, could I behold it with an eye of indifference, when I considered: “This man is dead, tortured thus, for love of me. Had he not loved me, he would not so have died.”

Ah, my Redeemer, O love of my soul! How shall I ever be able to forget Thee? How shall I ever be able to think that my sins have reduced Thee so low, and not always bewail the wrongs that I have done to Thy goodness? How shall I ever be able to see Thee dead of pain on this cross for love of me, and not love Thee to the uttermost of my power?


O my dear Redeemer! Well do I recognize in these Thy wounds, and in Thy lacerated body, as it were through so many lattices, the tender affection which Thou does retain for me. Since, then, in order to pardon me, Thou has not pardoned Thyself, oh, look upon me now with the same love wherewith Thou didst one day look upon me from the cross, whilst Thou wert dying for me.

Look upon me and enlighten me, and draw my whole heart to Thyself, that so, from this day forth, I may love none else but Thee. Let me not ever be unmindful of Thy death. Thou didst promise that, when raised up upon the cross, Thou wouldst draw all our hearts to Thee. Behold this heart of mine, which, made tender by Thy death, and enamored of Thee, desires to offer no further resistance to Thy calls. Oh, do Thou draw it to Thyself, and make it all Thine own! Thou hast died for me, and I desire to die for Thee; and if I continue to live, I will live for Thee alone.

O pains of Jesus, O ignominies of Jesus, O death of Jesus, O love of Jesus! Fix yourselves within my heart, and let the remembrance of you abide there always, to be continually smiting me, and inflaming me with love.

I love Thee, O infinite goodness; I love Thee, O infinite love. Thou art and shalt ever be, my one and only love.

O Mary, Mother of love, do thou obtain me love.
St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
The Ascetical Works : The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ
Meditations for Holy Week

[Contributor Francesca Romana]

The photo we will not post

Today, we learn that, once again, Liturgical Law will be ignored during the pontifical Maundy Thursday liturgy. It is being reported that the feet of "9 Italians, 1 Muslim from Libya, a young man from Cape Verde and an Ethiopian woman" will be washed by Pope Francis.

The word "anomie" is used in legal theory and sociological studies to designate a society where bonds between individuals face breakdown for many reasons, including due to the lack of enforcement of rules. Once rules that exist in the books are not revoked by legitimate authority, but simply ignored, there is a systemic risk of legal-moral collapse. This has certainly been true in liturgical law since the Council, with the 1963-1969 messes sauvages, in particular since the new liturgy of Paul VI, and even more so when the norms that still exist, instead of being explicitly changed (when they can be changed) are ignored by an authority. This is no criticism, merely an assessment of current liturgical reality, that is, "liturgical anomie".

The feet washed by the Pope are those of disabled people, including one woman. In itself, the image will be one of great care - but it does put immense pressure upon those, in the Rite of Paul VI, who had tried to follow the rules made up by the Supreme Authority himself in the spirit of the late "reform of the reform". We will not take part in the spreading of this soon-to-be-released photo. It's no longer new news this year and, sadly, does not even seem to surprise anyone. We will not let this distract us for one more second during Holy Week and we suggest the same for our dear readers.

Instead, please read what we said one year ago, when a fuller picture of what was coming from this pontificate began to take shape. We were widely criticized for this, but we do not take a single word back from it.

The Official End of the Reform of the Reform - by example


1st: We are not invested in what goes on in a Novus Ordo setting. So, really, we are not disappointed by it -- though we are still surprised when it moves farther and farther away from traditional practices. We are just reporting it, as we did before any other venue in English.

2nd: Of course the optional mandatum is something that, while widely symbolic of the link between Christ and His Apostles, is ruled by pure Ecclesiastical Law, not Divine Law, and, regarding it, the Supreme Legislator can do (almost) as he pleases, even remove its presence from a liturgical environment. As long as there are specific standing rules about it (viri, men), however, even the Supreme Authority is bound to humbly obey them, unless he formally changes them beforehand. It really is not that hard to understand this basic matter of legal logic, is it?

3rd: Dear adversaries of this blog (yes, they do exist, and seem to be some of our most faithful readers!), please do not shoot the messenger.

His counsel was that this deed must be reported to thee, and not hidden. And this seemed best; and the lot doomed my hapless self to win this prize. So here I stand -- as unwelcome as unwilling, well I wot; for no man delights in the bearer of bad news. (Antigone)

Saint Alphonsus in Holy Week:
V - Feria Quinta in Cœna Domini (Holy Thursday): Consummatum est

for Holy Thursday

Jesus dies upon the Cross


Behold how the loving Saviour is now drawing nigh unto death. Behold, O my soul, those beautiful eyes growing dim, that face become all pallid, that heart all but ceasing to beat, and that sacred body now disposing itself to the final surrender of its life.

After Jesus had received the vinegar, He said: It is consummated. He then passed over in review before His eyes all the sufferings that He had undergone during His life, in the shape of poverty, contempt and pain; and then offering them all up to the Eternal Father, He turned to Him and said, It is finished. My Father, behold by the sacrifice of my death, the work of the world’s redemption, which Thou hast laid upon me, is now completed. And it seems as though, turning Himself again to us, He repeated, It is finished; as if He would have said, O men, O men, love me, for I have done all; there is nothing more that I can do in order to gain your love.


Behold now, lastly, Jesus dies. Come, ye angels of heaven, come and assist at the death of your King. And thou, O sorrowing Mother Mary, do thou draw nearer to the cross, and fix thine eyes yet more attentively on thy Son, for He is now on the point of death. Behold Him, after having commended His spirit to His Eternal Father, He calls upon death, giving it permission to come to take away His life. Come, O death, says He to it, be quick and perform thine office; slay Me, and save my flock. The earth now trembles, the graves open, the veil of the temple is rent in twain. The strength of the dying Saviour is failing through the violence of the sufferings; the warmth of His body is gradually diminishing; He gives up His body to death: He bows His head down upon His breast, He opens His mouth and dies: And bowing His head, He gave up the ghost. The people behold Him expire, and observing that he no longer moves, they say, He is dead, He is dead; and to them the voice of Mary makes echo, while she too says, “Ah, my Son, Thou art, then dead.”


He is dead! O God! Who is it that is dead? The author of life, the only-begotten Son of God, the Lord of the world, - He is dead. O death! Thou wert the amazement of heaven and of all nature. O infinite love! A God to sacrifice His blood and His life! And for whom? For His ungrateful creatures; dying in an ocean of sufferings and shame, in order to pay the penalty due to their sins. Ah infinite goodness! O infinite love!

O my Jesus! Thou art, then, dead, on account of the love which Thou has borne me! Oh, let me never again live, even for a single moment, without loving Thee! I love Thee, my chief and only good; I love Thee, My Jesus, - dead for me! O my sorrowing Mother Mary, do thou help a servant of thine, who desires to love Jesus.
St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
The Ascetical Works : The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ
Meditations for Holy Week

[Contributor Francesca Romana]

Saint Alphonsus in Holy Week:
IV - Feria Quarta (Holy Wednesday): Christ speaks from the Cross

for Holy Wednesday

The Words spoken by Jesus upon the Cross


While Jesus upon the cross is being outraged by that barbarous populace, what is it that He is doing? He is praying for them, and saying, O My Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. O Eternal Father, hearken to this Thy Beloved Son, Who, in dying, prays Thee to forgive me too, who have outraged Thee so much. Then Jesus, turning to the good thief, who prays Him to have mercy upon him, replies: Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise. Oh, how true is that which the Lord spake by the mouth of Ezekiel, that when a sinner repents of his faults, He, as it were, blots out from His memory, all the offences of which he has been guilty: But if the wicked do penance…I will not remember all his iniquities.

O would that it were true, my Jesus, that I had never offended Thee! But, since the evil is done, remember no more, I pray Thee, the displeasures that I have given Thee; and, by that bitter death which Thou hast suffered for me, take me to Thy Kingdom after my death; and, while I live, let Thy love reign within my soul.


Jesus, in His agony upon the cross, with every part of His body full of torture, and deluged with affliction in His soul, seeks for someone to console Him. He looks toward Mary; but that sorrowing Mother only adds by her grief to His affliction. He casts His eyes around Him and there is no one that gives Him comfort. He asks His Father for consolation; but the Father, beholding Him covered with all the sins of men, even He too abandons Him; and then it was that Jesus cried out with a loud voice: Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me? My God, My God, why has Thou also abandoned Me? This abandonment by the Eternal Father caused the death of Jesus Christ to be more bitter than any that has ever fallen the lot of either penitent or martyr; for it was a death of perfect desolation, and bereft of every kind of relief.

O my Jesus! How is it that I have been able to live so long a time in forgetfulness of Thee? I return Thee thanks that Thou has not been unmindful of me. Oh, I pray Thee ever to keep me in mind of the bitter death which Thou has embraced for love of me, that so I may never be unmindful of the love which Thou hast borne me!


Jesus then, knowing that His sacrifice was now completed, said that He was thirsty: He said, I thirst. And the executioners then reached up to His mouth a sponge, filled with vinegar and gall.

But, Lord, how is it that Thou does make no complaint of those many pains which are taking away Thy life, but complainst only of thirst?

Ah, I understand Thee, my Jesus; Thy thirst is a thirst of love; because Thou lovest us, Thou dost desire to be beloved by us. Oh, help me to drive away from my heart all affection which are not for Thee; make me to love none other but Thee, and to have no other desire save that of doing Thy will.
St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
The Ascetical Works : The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ
Meditations for Holy Week

[Contributor Francesca Romana]

Events: Holy Week and Triduum around the world (updated)

Please, if you wish us to post the schedule of Holy Week and Triduum rites in your community around the world, please send us a message with the subject: "Event: Holy Week".

We will post all schedules sent to us in this post, which will be updated as more information comes in. Thank you.

See all events below: Rome, Hong Kong, Reading (England), Louisiana (incl. the Dominican Monastery of the Heart of Jesus), Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Quezon City (Philippines), Monastery of St. Benedict in Norcia (Italy), Chicago, Omaha (Nebraska), Sacramento and San Francisco (California), Budapest and Gyömrő (Hungary), Cleveland (Ohio), Guadalajara (Mexico), Melbourne and Wangaratta/Tarrawingee (Victoria, Australia), New York City, Diocese of Richmond (Virginia), Diocese of Paterson (New Jersey)...
For live broadcast schedule by LiveMass, see here.

For French-speaking areas, we suggest the thread provided by Le Forum Catholique.


1. Rome (Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini):

April 13, Palm Sunday: 9:00 a.m. Low Mass
10:30 a.m. Blessing of Palms, Procession and Pontifical Mass, celebrated by His Excellency François Bacqué, titular Archbishop of Gradisca and Apostolic Nuncio.
5:30 p.m. Vespers and Benediction
6:30 p.m. Low Mass

April 16, Holy Wednesday: 8:30 p.m. Tenebræ

April 17, Holy Thursday: 6:30 p.m. Mass of the Lord’s Supper
8:30 p.m. Tenebræ (after the Mass)

April 18, Good Friday: 6:30 p.m. Commemoration of the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ
8:30 p.m. Tenebræ

April 19, Holy Saturday: 10: 30 p.m. Easter Vigil.

April 20, Easter Sunday: 9:00 a.m. Low Mass
11:00 a.m. Solemn High Mass
5:30 p.m. Vespers and Benediction
6:30 p.m. Low Mass