Rorate Caeli

"Two Popes": Has the Papacy become a Diarchy?
Messori enters into the picture, Socci stands his ground and questions
Special double-article post

Our contributor Francesca Romana presents us with a special double translation: first, Vittorio Messori's article published in Corriere della Sera earlier this week (May 28) in which he presents his (in our opinion disturbing and theologically troubling) view of a kind of diarchical papacy. Antonio Socci, who has been defending this bizarre concept for months, published on the following day (May 29) a reply in Libero.

What is going on? Why on earth is probably the most influential Vatican affairs commentator, Messori, raising this matter now? Why, as Socci implies, does he seem to have made a 180-degree turn on the very important matter of "here we rule one at a time." We provide no answers, as it often happens we just wish to bring to English-speaking readers what is being written in other languages but is being overlooked by the mainstream media. We report, you decide. 


Ratzinger did not withdraw to a private life. Here is why we truly have two Popes.

Vittorio Messori
Corriere della Sera, May 28, 2014

“Dear Brothers, I have convoked you […] also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God […]and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter.”

Completely unexpected, said in Latin in a low voice, those words were like a whip that went round the globe in just a few minutes. And also into countries where the majority is not Catholic and not even Christian, but where the historical uniqueness of the event was understood immediately. Let us not forget that - according to the recent words of the Protestant Obama, the Orthodox Putin and the Anglican Cameron - the Roman Pontiff would be today the highest moral authority on the planet.

To return to that February 11, 2013, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, those who know the Catholic world are aware that we are still questioning and confronting each other [about it], even harshly.

The sides seem to be two: on the one hand there are the guardians of Tradition, for whom the “renunciation” (not demission, the Pope not having anyone on earth to present it to) even if it is foreseen in Canon Law, would be a sort of defection, almost as if Benedict XVI considered his office like that of a president of a multinational or a State. And so, it was necessary he retire to a private life because of declining age, for the sake of issues of efficiency; [he]refused, instead, the long public agony chosen by John Paul II. On the other hand, we have the side of those who are rejoicing: the renunciation would end the sacredness of the Pontiff - that mystical aura surrounding his person - and therefore [there would be] the conforming of the Bishop of Rome to the same norm of all bishops - desired by Paul VI; that is, the renunciation of the governing of a diocese and official appointments in the Roman Curia at the age of 75.

In the background, though, there remained questions which seemed to have no answers: why did he not choose to call himself “Bishop Emeritus of Rome” (as the Civiltà Cattolica suggested) rather than “Pope Emeritus” ? Why did he not renounce the white cassock, even if he took off the cape and the annulus piscatorius from his finger, the sign of his ruling authority? Why did he not withdraw into the silence of a cloistered monastery, instead of staying within the confines of Vatican City, next to Saint Peter’s - meeting often – even if in private – with his successor, receiving guests and participating in ceremonies and canonizations like the ones recently of Roncalli and Wojtyla?

I must confess I asked myself similar questions - remaining perplexed.

A response to these questions comes now from a study by Stefano Violi, esteemed Professor of Canon Law at the Faculty of Theology in Bologna and Lugano. It is worth examining these many pages, since with Benedict’s decision, unknown and somewhat disconcerting scenarios have opened up for the Church. It is probable that the conclusions by Professor Violi will stir up debate among colleagues, seeing that this canon lawyer hypothesizes that Ratzinger’s act is profoundly innovative, and that there really are two living Popes: even if one of them by his own will, – to say it in a simplistic but not wrong way – in our view - “halved himself”.

So that we understand: firstly, all of the delirium from conspiracy hunters is to be abandoned, by taking Benedict seriously when he spoke of the growing burden of old age as the prime and only motive for his decision: “[…]strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me […] my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.” However, studying in-depth the very precise Latin with which Joseph Ratzinger accompanied his decision, the eyes of the canon lawyer discovered that it goes way beyond its few historical antecedents and also beyond the discipline foreseen for the “renunciation” in the present Code of the Church.

That is to say, we discover, that Benedict XVI did not intend to renounce the munus petrinus, nor the office, or the duties, i.e. which Christ Himself attributed to the Head of the Apostles and which has been passed on to his successors. The Pope intended to renounce only the ministerium, which is the exercise and concrete administration of that office. In the formula employed by Benedict, primarily, there is a distinction between the munus, the papal office, and the execution, that is the active exercise of the office itself: but the executio is twofold: there is the governmental aspect which is exercised agendo et loquendo - working and teaching; but there is also the spiritual aspect, no less important, which is exercised orando et patendo – praying and suffering. It is that which would be behind Benedict XVI’s words : “I do not return to private life […] I no longer bear the power of office for the governance of the Church, but in the service of prayer I remain, so to speak, in the enclosure of Saint Peter.” “Enclosure” here would not be meant only in the sense of a geographical place, where one lives, but also a theological “place.”

Here then is the reason for his choice, unexpected and innovative, to have himself called “Pope Emeritus.” A bishop remains a bishop when age or sickness obliges him to leave the government of his diocese and so retires to pray for it. More so, for the Bishop of Rome, to whom the munus, the office, and the duties of Peter have been conferred once and for all, for all eternity, by the Holy Ghost, using the cardinals in conclave only as instruments. Here we have the reason for his decision to wear the white cassock, even though bereft of the signs of active government. Here is the reason for his will to stay near the relics of the Head of the Apostles, venerated in the great basilica.

To cite Professor Violi: “Benedict XVI divested himself of all the power of government and command inherent in his office, without however, abandoning his service to the Church: this continues through the exercise of the spiritual dimension of the pontifical munus entrusted to him. This he did not intend renouncing. He renounced not his duties, which are, irrevocable, but the concrete execution of them.” Is it perhaps for this that Francis seems not to be fond of calling himself “Pope” aware as he is of sharing the pontifical munus, at least in the spiritual dimension, with Benedict?

Instead, what he has inherited entirely from Benedict, is the office of the Bishop of Rome. Is it for this reason, as everyone knows, this has been his favourite definition, from the very first words of greeting to the people after his election? So much so, that many surprised, asked themselves why he had never used the word “Pope” or “Pontiff” on such a solemn occasion, in front of the televisions of the entire world and spoke only about his role as the successor to the Roman Episcopate.

Therefore: would the Church then for the first time, truly have two Popes, one reigning and one emeritus? It appears that this was the will of Joseph Ratzinger himself, with the renunciation of active service only and that it was “a solemn act of his magisterium” to cite the canon lawyer.

If it truly is so, so much the better for the Church: it is a gift that they are near each other even physically - one who directs and teaches and one who prays and suffers for everyone, but most of all to sustain his confrere in his everyday pontifical office.


Now even the “Corriere” and Messori have discovered that there are two Popes. Repeating what we had written three months ago, but pretending not to know the consequences (“they hide their hand after throwing the stone”)

Antonio Socci
Libero, May 29, 2014

Yesterday a page written by Messori in the “Corriere della Sera” (with the title: “Here is why we truly have two Popes”) disclosed a sensational revelation: Benedict XVI, in renouncing his mandate by using certain expressions, left: “only his power of government and command over the Church.”

Nevertheless he maintains” the munus, the papal office” which “is irrevocable”. He renounced only “its concrete exercise.” Which means that the Church would really have “two Popes” – a diarchy.

This revelation is truly sensational. It is a shame that it was already made and commented upon – many times, with plenty of argumentation – three months ago, here in the columns of “Libero” (four installments of my inquiry, starting on February 9).

Three months later, Messori and the “Corriere” presented all of it as if it were their own scoop (taking as a pretext one of the essays by a canon lawyer which came out recently), without referring to everything that had happened between February and March.


Indeed, my inquiry into the demission of the Pope, a year after the renunciation, caused a great row: and the “Swiss Guards” of Vatican Insider- La Stampa” immediately protested, scandalized.

On February 14, the most zealous of them, Andrea Tornielli, after the first three installments of my enquiry, excommunicated it with these textual and surreal words:

“(a year after the demission) we have read many comments and analyses. Some – I must confess - reading them made me shudder – the idea almost of a diarchy is outlined, and even the notion that the “true” Pope is still Ratzinger. And unfortunately I am not referring only to the galaxy of prophecy followers – or of the false, apocalyptic prophecies – but also to writers, whose positions, nobody would have been able to imagine a year ago. Not to mention the many, who sensing they are no longer as “confirmed” in their vision, cultural battles, pastoral strategies, patterns of thought and their presence everywhere as “first of the class ” - instead of a healthy examination of conscience, end up by being nostalgic and oppose - more or less subtly – the magisterium of Benedict to that of Francis.”

Will Tornielli shudder also this time because of Messori’s article? Last February, such was the horror of the Vatican journalist, investing himself in the role of tutor in the public order of ideas, that he felt it his duty to bother even poor Benedict XVI in order to ask him to deny or confirm my theses – despite knowing well that he had chosen the cloister.


The “Pope Emeritus” obviously could not evade this petulant request, otherwise who knows what insinuations would have been made. Neither could he talk about what he had remained silent about until then. So he gave a fantastic answer…

“La Stampa” displayed – as a worldwide scoop, launched all over the globe – that strange note by Pope Ratzinger wherein –as the Turin newspaper reported – he denied my argumentation. In a particular way – according to Tornielli – Ratzinger denied being “ Pope number two - he is not part of a “diarchy.”

In reality, that note was not at all about a diarchy. Primarily his note however, contained a single piece of real news: it was in an enigmatic, exquisite response given by the Pope Emeritus, which by itself, should have made the “insiders” jump up onto their chairs!

Having to explain why he had kept the title of “Pope Emeritus”, the name “His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and the white cassock, Ratzinger wrote verbatim: “at the moment of my renunciation there were no other clothes available.”

“La Stampa-Vatican Insider” thought such a surreal answer sounded just right. They were not even aware of the Pope’s sensational irony and how he had elegantly eluded them.

It is obvious in fact, that such an answer meant that the Pope could not or did not want to speak nor explain the reasons for that choice.

You do not need much to understand it, since the renunciation had also been decided a year before and was announced twenty days prior to it becoming official. Therefore, it is impossible that “at the time of the renunciation” there were no “other clothes” available.

Anyway, nobody could believe that one would remain Pope for [purely] sartorial reasons…

In fact, two days after, February 28, the trusted Don Georg Gänswein, Ratinger’s secretary, in an interview to “Avvenire” gave the real answer which Benedict could not or did not want to give in person. Here is how Don Georg explained why he had kept the title of Pope Emeritus: “He considers that this title corresponds to reality.”

Anyone can understand that this statement is of exceptional importance: it means that Ratzinger dresses like a Pope because “he is” Pope.

So Tornielli, who became the fireman that extinguished a fire I caused, ended up involuntarily setting off a bigger one. It was increasingly evident that Benedict XVI did not resign from the Petrine Ministry, but only it from its “active exercise.”

If and how this is possible and what it implies is a completely unresolved question, above all theologically.

In fact, last April 7, Sandro Magister, the most authoritative and reliable of Vatican journalists, on his very well-known internet site, recalled my inquiry and the “answer” given by “Vatican Insider” saying that – in his judgment – it did not respond the questions I had raised.

The TV had broadcast news of the controversy along with the Pope’s extraordinary note; even the “Corriere della Sera” had (although with a superficial and arrogant article).

It is surprising that of all this, in the page of yesterday’s “Corriere”, there was not even the slightest mention.


What is particularly surprising however, is that Messori concludes his article with an (apparently) ingenuous hymn about the beauty of having two Popes “in the enclosure of Peter”. An enclosure – explains Messori enthusiastically – that is not only geographic, but also a theological “place.”

Evidently Messori does not remember his interview of a year ago, precisely with Andrea Tornielli, who never appeared to be enthusiastic about the fact that Ratzinger remained Pope Emeritus. In that interview – spurred by Tornielli’s questions – Messori said he was very perplexed at the fact that Benedict had decided to stay in the Vatican.

And he said it very brusquely:

“What had surprised me at the time was the decision by Benedict XVI to stay “within the enclosure of St. Peter’s”[…] I always remember this motto from the Savoia House: ‘Here we rule one at a time.’ The idea that one can construe being on the outside is that the emeritus may in some way, despite himself, influence his successor.”

Yesterday Messori wrote something that seems to be the exact opposite:

“Would the Church then for the first time, truly have two Popes, one reigning and one emeritus? It appears that this was the will of Joseph Ratzinger himself, with the renunciation of active service only, and that it was “a solemn act of his magisterium” […]If it truly is so, so much the better for the Church: it is a gift that they are near each other even physically - one who directs and teaches and one who prays and suffers for everyone, but most of all to sustain his confrere in his everyday pontifical office.”

Is everything just fine then? Is everybody happy? It is exactly the opposite. Messori in fact, as an “insider” – cannot ignore that this situation – as he outlines it – does not have any theological nor canonical foundation.

Through the Divine Constitution of the Church, in reality only one can be the Pope. And if it is as Messori says – Benedict XVI “did not intend to renounce the pontifical munus” which “is irrevocable” what kind of demission is his?

Messori knows well that his entire article induces one to ask a dramatic question (who is the Pope?), but he avoids carefully formulating it, allowing the reader to pose it. Why? Is this article a signal that many are posing it in Church circles?

The [Separated] Orthodox Churches and Second Marriages

By Monsignor Nicola Bux

Recently Cardinal Walter Kasper made reference to the Orthodox practice of second marriages to support the notion that even Catholics who are divorced and remarried should be admitted to Communion.  But perhaps he did not pay attention to the fact that the Orthodox do not have Holy Communion in the rite for a second marriage, even as in the Orthodox rite for Holy Matrimony there is no provision for Communion, but only an exchange of a common cup of wine that is not consecrated.  It is now commonly said among Catholics that the Orthodox permit second marriages, and therefore, that they tolerate divorce from the first spouse.

In truth this is not the case, because it has nothing to do with the modern legal system.  The Orthodox Church is disposed to tolerate second marriages of persons whose matrimonial bonds have been dissolved by the Church, not by the State.  The basis of this practice has its basis in the power given by Jesus to the Church to “loosen and to bind”.  This second chance is conceded to those in particular circumstances: typically, cases of long standing adultery, but by extension as well to certain cases in which the matrimonial bond has become a pretence. There is also provided for, although discouraged, even the possibility of a third marriage. Moreover, the possibility of entering into a second marriage is conceded only to the innocent partner.

Thanks be to God for His new Priests!

As we had announced previously here, Bp. Athanasius Schneider ordained today in the Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) seven new priests, the Reverend Fathers Joshua Curtis, Robert Dow, Michael Flick, Joseph Heffernan, Paul Leung, Daniel Nolan, and Joshua Passo. Congratulations to all involved, and to the new Priests in particular, as well as their families!

As the FSSP North American District reminds today, two other deacons will still be ordained to the priesthood: the Rev. Deacons Zachary Akers and Daniel Heenan, who will be Ordained on Saturday, June 14, 2014, by the Most Reverend James Conley, Bishop of Lincoln, in Leesburg, Virginia (St. John the Apostle Catholic Church, 101 Oakcrest Manor Dr. NE, Leesburg, VA 20176 - June 14, 2014, 9:00 a.m.)

Update: The European FSSP Diaconal Ordinations also took place this Saturday in Lindau, Germany, conferred by Abp. Guido Pozzo, of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei".

(Source: via Confraternité Saint-Pierre)

Bishop Rey once again ordains in the Traditional Rite

On the feast of the Ascension, His Excellency Dominique Rey, bishop of Fréjus-Toulon ordained two priests according to the Traditional Rite of Ordination at Toulon Cathedral. Frs. Florent Molin and Matthieu Bevillard are members of Missionaries of Divine Mercy, a society attached to the traditional liturgy which was founded by Bishop Rey himself. The two men were formed at the diocesan seminary at la Castille. 

Social concerns are Traditional Concerns - do not leave the social battlefield at the mercy of unbelieving liberals

"Breaking down the Left"

In order to give more energy to the unstoppable advance of the traditional movement we need to accomplish a “breakdown of the left”. There are many faithful [Catholics] who for years have sympathized with progressive environments, attracted by social problems such as hunger in the world and the worker’s issues, but now they are becoming aware of the desacralizing of Catholicism and are hoping for its “restoration”. There are a lot of people, in good faith. who have found themselves on “the left”, and now we must lead them back to the bedrock of Tradition. One of the mistakes that needs absolutely to be avoided is that of leaving “ the social questions” in the hands of the modernists and “reds”.

We must exploit every occasion to gain some advantage for the good of souls, and therefore for the greater glory of God. We must not stay at the window merely looking at the passing of events; we have to make an effort to attract souls to Tradition, by trying to make use of every occasion that presents itself. I shall explain better. People like those who do not limit their talking to liturgical and doctrinal questions i.e. those who are involved concretely as well in social works. At present the traditional movement has remained on the fringes of ecclesial life, but the time has arrived to take advantage of the situation.

In what way? We ought to give life to new initiatives also in the social sphere, so as to snatch people away from the clutches of the sterile philanthropy of modernism and try to make them fully aware of the great devotional and doctrinal patrimony of Tradition. The primacy of the doctrinal and liturgical questions must remain, but we absolutely need to avoid leaving “the social issues” in the hands of the modernists and their communist friends. The true militant of Catholic Tradition is interested in social questions and is always on the side of the poor and suffering.

If we fail to accomplish “the breakdown of the left” a lot of people will fall into the modernist net, which might continue to increase its philanthropic works for the poor, without however, trying to lead souls to Christ, [thus] giving the wrong idea that the Church is one of the many humanitarian NGOs. If we do nothing, people will think that the faithful linked to the traditional liturgy are interested only in the Cappa Magna, brocade chasubles, shoes with silver buckles, altar cards in gold-chiseled frames and hand-embroidered surplices. This is false, as in reality, traditionalists are the greatest friends of the people (St. Pius X said this), and are interested in the problems of those who are in need. However they do not do this for political reasons nor to make a good impression, but out of simple fraternal charity, which is the true love that comes from God.

We were and always will be against communism. To “break down the left” then, there is no need to understand it as a slide towards the political positions of the progressives, as many people did when they voted for the Christian Democrats. On the contrary, it means snatching away from the modernist and communists, the mass of poor people who have been deceived for decades and bringing them back to Christ, the one and only true Saviour of the human race.

Our points of reference to imitate are not the heads of the modernist NGOs or even the secularists, but rather the heroic figures who have given luster to the Church Militant. I am referring to the examples of St. John Bosco, St Joseph Cottolengo, St. Louis Orione, St. Frances Cabrini, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Bartolomea Capitaneo, and many other valiant followers of the Divine Redeemer.

[Source: Cordialiter - May 28, 2014. Translation: contributor Francesca Romana.]

The total destruction and reconstruction of the FI

New "wrecker" of the Franciscan Sisters a final death knell for true FI charism?

We've been doing our best to bring you, our readers, everything we can on the tragic and chilling situation of the Franciscans of the Immaculate (FI) under intervention -- ordered by Pope Francis.

There are so many unexplainable moves -- and naked attempts to stomp out tradition and orthodoxy within one of the few flourishing orders -- by the Vatican in this matter you'd think you were reading a fiction novel by Malachi Martin.
Yet, unlike the villains in Martin's stories,  those attacking the Church from the inside aren't the sly, skillful enemies playing expert Machiavellian politics -- they're ham-handed amateurs who just don't care that anyone knows their true motives because there's seemingly so little anyone can actually do to stop them.
Cue the latest news, concerning the beloved Sisters of the Immaculate:
By Mauro Faverzani, Corrispondenza Romana
Translated by Rorate readerSeamus O'Halloran

The Wind of Beijing is Blowing on the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate
Well, by order of His Eminence João Cardinal Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of the Consecrated Life, Sister Fernanda Barbiero, from the Institute of the Sisters of St. Dorothy, has become the new “Visitor” or “Wrecker” of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate.
It is a rather bizarre choice, because the new Commissar has absolutely nothing in common with their charisma. Certainly nothing with the male branch of the religious Family founded by Father Manelli, where at least they sent a Capuchin (Fr. Fidenzio Volpi) [Rorate note: that gives us no comfort whatsoever, for all the evident reasons]. The task given to Sr. Fernanda is rather like forcing a healthy patient to take medicine: there is no reason for it. Leaving aside any harm it might cause, because medicines also have side-effects, especially when they are taken for no reason.
Who exactly is this Sister Fernanda Barbiero? One may begin to get an idea by reading what she said in an article entitled “Religious Sisters in the Church,” published on 28 January 2012 by the Italian LCWR. What immediately strikes the reader is the reference she makes to the Fourth World Conference on Women by the United Nations at Beijing in 1995. Sr. Fernanda goes overboard in stressing the “great importance” of the Conference on Women, saying that it is the first stage on the path towards “women’s power,” which will give women a new sort of “citizenship” in “society, politics, economics, the Church, and academia.”
Actually, Beijing turned out to be something completely different: it was the first stage on the path towards promoting “gender equality” at world level, a concept which has been ideologically, speciously, and falsely understood as a synonym for freedom and “orientation.” Beijing in 1995 was the starting point for many current evils: the second edition of the preparatory document uses the term “gender equality” in almost every paragraph.
Notable on the other hand is the complete absence of any reference to maternity and to the roles of husbands and wives. They only ever speak about the concepts of “man” and “woman,” and thus try to impose gender equality upon every aspect of the UN policy. A disaster.
Indeed, immediately after the Conference the Holy See statements and corrections in a document entitled “Reserves and Declarations concerning Interpretation,” although it is still only available in Spanish on the Vatican website. It heavily criticises the “platform of action” at Beijing as an attack on marriage and the family, as a promotion of abortion, homosexuality, and contraception when using the false language of “reproductive health,” “sexual health,” “reproductive rights,” “family planning,” and “regulating fertility,” all of which are defined by the Holy See as “morally unacceptable.”
The Vatican document repeats the firm and total opposition of the Holy See to any sort of law giving legal rights to abortion, and asks for these “reserves” to be included in the final report of the Beijing Summit. Now, the fact that Sister Fernanda has nothing better to do than see in this devastating Conference a “starting point” is seriously worrying.
Sister Fernanda Barbiero absolutely loves the new “Church of Mercy,” as can be seen in an editorial she wrote on 26 January this year about “Consecration and Service,” taking her cue from a book on the same subject by Cardinal Kasper, where he talked about the upcoming Consistory on the Family. Sr. Fernanda just cannot hold herself back: “The symphony of God’s mercy is music you can hear throughout the Bible,” and then she goes on to define it as the “defining principle of God” and the “key to understanding all the Gospel” before coming to her final apotheosis,  “Let us all live a life of mercy!”
She doesn’t stake out her territory, doesn’t feel the need to make any distinctions, doesn’t hold back, doesn’t express any whys or wherefores; the danger – a very real danger – is that the whole order of things will be changed, and cheap sociology will take the place of transcendent faith. According to the Italian news agency Adnkronos, Sr. Barbiero, President in 1998 of the Pontifical Institute Regina Mundi, was asking for some very loose and ill-defined “overall reform” in the life of Nuns, and was asking the Nuns themselves to “set out on a path of liberation,” using a language more commonly found in feminist tracts than in convents.
In that article in 2012 she more or less preached the same mantra, shining the light of sociology on the life of Nuns and bringing out “women’s questions” with references to an ongoing “difficult period of transition.” The life she spoke of was one of alienation, frustration, and unsatisfied desires so far away from the spiritual fullness and internal calm of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate. They do not need any sort of ideological “emancipation,” nor have they ever asked for it. If only people would leave them alone. Then they could get on with their life of prayer.
LET US PRAY that the Sisters hold strong through their passion -- as they did in December of last year, when they issued an official statement courageously attacking Fr. Volpi's accusations against them as totally unfounded

On the 60th anniversary of the Canonization of Saint Pius X
Full canonization address by Pope Pius XII

2014 is the glorious centennial year of the entrance of Pius X into eternal life, in 1914. On May 29, 1954, exactly 60 years ago, Pope Pius XII celebrated this widely expected canonization with an intense and firm speech, which followed the canonization ceremony.

Statue in the Chiesa di San Salvador, Venice

May 29, 1954

[Quest'ora di fulgente trionfo...] This hour of splendid triumph which God, Who lifts up the lowly, has arranged and as it were hastened in order to set His seal on the marvelous elevation of His faithful servant Pius X in the supreme glory of the altars, fills Our heart with joy, a joy in which you, Venerable Brothers and Beloved Sons, share abundantly by your presence here. We offer heartfelt thanks then to God in His goodness for allowing Us to take part in this extraordinary event; all the more so since, for perhaps the first time in the history of the Church, the formal canonization of a Pope is proclaimed by one who had the privilege of serving him in the Roman Curia.

This day is blessed and memorable, not only for Us, who count it among the happiest days of Our pontificate, to which Providence has allotted so many sorrows and cares, but also for the entire Church, which, gathered around Us in spirit, rejoices all together in a great thrill of religious feeling.

This wonderful evening the endearing name of Pius X, pronounced in the most diverse accents, spans the whole earth; it resounds in enduring testimony to the fruitful presence of Christ in His Church, by evoking everywhere aspirations to sanctity, great graces of faith, of purity, of devotion to the Holy Eucharist. God, Who rewards with liberality, bears witness to His servant’s lofty sanctity in exalting him. It was this sanctity, even more than the supreme Office he held, that made Pius X an outstanding hero of the Church, and as such today the Saint raised up by Providence for our times.

Now it is precisely in this light that We wish you to contemplate the gigantic and yet humble figure of the holy Pope, so that when the shadows of this memorable day fall and the cries of the immense hosanna fade away, the solemn rite of his canonization may linger to bless your souls and help in saving the world.

1. He solemnly announced the programme of his pontificate in his very first Encyclical (E supremi of Oct. 4, 1903) in which he declared that his only aim was “to re-establish all things in Christ” (Eph. 1:10), that is, to sum up, to restore all things to unity in Christ. But where is the road that leads to Christ, he asked himself, looking in compassion at the hesitating, wandering souls of his time. The answer, valid yesterday as well as today and always, is: the Church! His primary aim then, unceasingly pursued till death, was to make the Church ever more effectually suitable and ready to receive the movement of souls toward Jesus Christ. With this aim, he conceived the bold undertaking of recasting the body of church law in such wise as to give the Church a more ordered life, greater certainty and flexibility of movement, such, as was demanded by an age typified by growing dynamism and complexity. It is surely true that this work, which he himself called “truly an arduous task,” was consonant with his eminent practical sense and the vigour of his character. Nevertheless the ultimate reason for his undertaking this difficult task is not, it seems, to be found only in the temperament of the man. The well-spring of the legislative work of Pius X is to be looked for above all in his personal sanctity, in his profound personal conviction that the reality of God, which he experienced in a life of constant union, is the source and basis of all order, all justice, all law on earth. Where God is, there is order, justice and law; and conversely, all just order safeguarded by law manifests the existence of God. But what institution here below ought to demonstrate this relationship between God and law more clearly than the Church, the mystical body of Christ Himself? God has blessed abundantly this work of the Holy Pontiff, so that the Code of canon law will remain for future ages the great monument of his pontificate and he himself will justly be hailed the providential Saint of our age.

Would that this spirit of justice and law, which Pius X gave witness to and exemplified for the modern world, could penetrate the conference halls of nations, where the most serious problems affecting the whole human family are discussed, particularly the method of banishing forever the fear of terrifying cataclysms and of guaranteeing for all peoples a lasting happy era of tranquility and peace.

2. In the second of his distinguished accomplishments Pius X is revealed as the indomitable champion of the Church and the providential Saint of our times. In sometimes dramatic circumstances this accomplishment resembled the struggle of a giant in defence of a priceless treasure: the internal unity of the Church in her innermost foundation, the faith. Even from his childhood years Divine Providence was preparing the Saint in his humble family, built upon authority, good habits, and the exact practice of the faith. No doubt every other Pontiff would by virtue of the grace of state have fought and repulsed the assaults which were aimed at the very foundation of the Church. But we must recognize that the perspicuity and strength with which Pius X carried on the victorious struggle against the errors of Modernism, testify to the heroic degree with which the virtue of faith burned in his saintly heart. Uniquely concerned that the inheritance of God be preserved intact for the flock confided to his care, the great Pontiff knew no weakness when dealing with persons of dignity or authority; nor did he manifest vacillation when confronted with alluring but false doctrines within or without the Church; nor did he betray fear lest he bring upon himself personal affronts and unjust interpretations of his pure intentions. He had the clear conviction that he was fighting for the most holy cause of God and souls. The words which the Lord addressed to the Apostle Peter are literally verified in him: “I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not, and you.. . will confirm your brethren” (Luke 22:32). The promise and the command of Christ once again instil in the indefectible rock of one of His Vicars the invincible courage of an athlete. It is right that the Church by conferring upon him the supreme glory in this hour and in this very place where the ever lustrous glory of Peter has shone forth for centuries, thus uniting both one and the other in a single exaltation, should offer to Pius X her gratitude and at the same time invoke his intercession that she may be spared new conflicts of the same nature. The subject then under consideration, namely, the preservation of the close alliance between faith and science, is so noble a good for all humanity, that this second great achievement of the saintly Pontiff exercises a notable influence even beyond the Catholic world.

Sermon for the Ascension by the Father Abbot of Fontgombault:
"Fight the Dictatorships of our age with the Gospel."

Ascension of Our Lord

Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
(Fontgombault, May 29, 2014)

Prædicate Evangelium omni creaturæ.
Preach the Gospel to every creature.
(Mk 16:15)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

My dearly beloved Sons,

The final words of Saint Mark’s Gospel chosen by the Church to be read during Ascension’s Mass recount how the eleven Apostles are sent forth on mission.

The earthly sojourn of Jesus is drawing to its end. The Incarnate Son of God’s visible mission has reached its completion. It is now the Apostles’ turn to proclaim Jesus Christ’s good news, the Gospel, and to proclaim it to all creatures. A great novena opens up for the Apostles which will close on the morning of Pentecost’s feast with the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. During these days the Apostles are not to leave Jerusalem, but are to wait there for the Paraclete Whose visit has been promised by the Father (cf. Acts 1:4) and Who will light up and warm up still quite lukewarm hearts and soul. Jesus does not ignore the limitations of those to whom He entrusts the evangelizing of the world. Prior to sending the Apostles forth on mission, He upbraids His disciples “with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen Him after He was risen again” (Mk 16:14).

Are the words of Jesus still up to date?

On this very day Jesus still sends forth on mission, He sends us forth on mission. Let us turn towards the Father and ask that those who have become adult Christians when they received the anointing of the sacred chrism during confirmation should receive a renewed outpouring of the Holy Ghost, so that like the Apostles we may become true witnesses of Christ again. Mission lands are opening up in front of us: Omni creaturæ, all creatures.

To proclaim Christ does not mean shackling man under the burden of commandments, it means liberating him from his passions. More than three centuries were needed so that societies of the antiquity should understand what an extraordinary grace the visit of God is for man. Today we have to follow the same way, which begins by our own conversion. Are we really convinced that choosing Christ is making the right choice? Have we therefore truly chosen Christ? Last, do we believe that proclaiming Christ means serving our neighbours?

Today’s world is a world of dictatorships: dictatorship of a single man, dictatorship of the most powerful men, dictatorship of a majority. Saint Thomas Aquinas has given a paramount criterion for political discernment: the common good. The various dictatorship regimes are evil insofar as they propose to promote the good of a part only of the group. A good political regime should discern and promote the common good of all the members of the group.

It is difficult to discern in today’s political life a will to promote common good. The law rather aims at supervising a maximal permissiveness, as it offers to each and all to assuage their passions while at the same time seeking to minimise consequences for others, thus avoiding to make too many disgruntled persons. A new mankind is being shaped which brushes aside all of those who stand in its way or are burdensome: unwanted or crippled children, elderly people, social misfits where are to be found so many young people who will find but in alcohol, drugs or suicide an answer to their misery. Society is serenely assured to be well within its rights and will restrict itself to record the fact into soulless statistics, thus concealing behind anonymous figures those who are its own victims and who are not to be mentioned.

Even as societies jettison man, should not man jettison these societies and choose anew man and his good? Preach the Gospel to every creature! That is Christ’s answer.

The Apostles around the Lord were but eleven. That is not much. The disciples of Jesus accounted for at most a few hundred persons. That is not much either, for a Roman Empire which encompassed the whole Mediterranean basin. Yet, with the help of the Holy Ghost and in obedience to the marching orders received from Christ, the Apostles undertake to proclaim the Good News which will be accompanied and confirmed by the signs granted by the Lord.

Today’s world is not that different from the decadent Roman Empire, especially as concerns morals and the family. Refusing to give children or adolescents any authentic reference point has been, is and will be the weapon of all and sundry dictators. Faced with those, Christians must be counter-revolutionary insofar as they refuse to be dazed by the artificial proliferation of ideas, but rather dash them against Christ and reality so as to discover what really underpins them.

How could we still listen to the champions of relativism, those who will receive with starry-eyed wonder any stupid idea, the sole merit of which consists in antagonizing customs inherited from so many centuries of Christianity and that have shown their mettle, and who condemn with the utmost harshness to be silenced those who advocate what was yesterday only still called truth, or the foundations of our society?

There is no longer, as they say, any truth, any certainty. That is a lie: there is the Gospel. “Preach the Gospel to every creature”, Christ asks from all His disciples. Young people, grown-up men and women, all creatures have a right to the truth. They have a right to know God.

Shall we be courageous and answer their expectation? In these days let us join the Apostles in the Cenacle. Let us unite in their prayers and let us ask for each other the grace of the Holy Ghost. Jesus will not fail to hear our prayer. May He not have someday to upbraid us with our lukewarmness and our incredulity.

May Mary, the Woman who believed, walk with her children on the path. Let us be apostles, let us be courageous witnesses unto the ends of the world of Him in Whom we believe.

Amen, Alleluia.

SSPX Bp. Fellay on Pope Francis: "He has read the biography of Abp. Lefebvre twice - and he liked it."
And some other important revelations

In a visit to the French city of Fabregues on May 11 (the day following this post), the Superior-General of the Society of Saint Pius X, Bp. Bernard Fellay, spoke at length about various matters of relevance to his congregation. The most important part was that related to the personality of Pope Francis:

With the current pope, as he is a practical man, he looks at people. What a person thinks, what he believes, is at the end a matter of indifference to him. What matters is that this person be sympathetic in his view, that he seems correct to him, one may say it like this.

And therefore he read twice Bp. Tissier de Mallerais' book on Abp. Lefebvre, and this book pleased him; he is against all that we represent, but, as a life, it pleased him. When, as a Cardinal, he was in South America, the District Superior [Fr. Christian Bouchacourt] came to ask him for an administrative favor with no relation to the Church; a visa problem, of permanent residency. The Argentine government, which is very leftwing, makes use of the concordat that was established to protect the Church to bother us quite seriously, and tells us, "you say you are Catholic, it is thus necessary for you to have the signature of the bishop in order to reside in the country." The District Superior therefore went to him to present the problem: there was an easy solution, and that would be to declare ourselves an independent church [before Civil Law], but we did not want to do it because we are Catholic. And the Cardinal told us, "no, no, you are Catholic, that is evident; I will help you;" he wrote a letter in our favor to the government, that is so leftwing that they managed to find an opposing letter by the nuncio. Therefore, a 0-0 tie. Now he is the pope, and our lawyer had the opportunity of having a meeting with the Pope. He told him that the problem was still going on with the Society, and asked him to please designate a bishop in Argentina with whom we could sort out this problem. The Pope told him, "Yes, and this bishop is myself, I promised to help, and I will do it."

I am still waiting for it, but anyway he said it, just as he said that, "those people there, they think I will excommunicate them, but they are mistaken;" he said something else that was very interesting: "I will not condemn them, and I will not stop anyone from visiting them [lit. 'd'aller chez eux'.]" Once again, I will wait to see. 

[Source: French District of the SSPX]

New oratory community in San Francisco

Oratories, societies and priestly fraternities come and go, depending on the whim of the local bishop.  There are several examples, particularly in the U.S. and Canada, of priests in such organizations that have been restricted, persecuted or even thrown out of dioceses when too many young adults flocked to communities that favored traditional Latin Masses.

His Excellency Salvatore Joseph Cordileone, archbishop of San Francisco, California, on the other hand, has been one of the most friendly archbishops in the world toward traditional and traditional-leaning Catholics. He has celebrated numerous pontifical High Masses and even travels for FSSP ordinations.

One year ago we posted a report that Archbishop Cordileone personally requested a parish in San Francisco offer the traditional Latin Mass on a regular basis. This was a huge accomplishment considering just a few years back, under much different leadership, there was a lone, brave priest in that archdiocese -- the Rev. Fr. William Young -- offering a catacomb-like TLM, and he was rewarded by former archdiocesan officials with residence at the notorious Most Holy Redeemer parish until becoming seriously ill.

The parish that offers the regular TLM established by Archbishop Cordileone will now be the home of the latest community-in-formation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri.

on behalf of the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Immaculate

Regardless of your opinion on specific Church matters, please spread as widely as possible this appeal to prayer for justice and peace regarding the recently initiated visitation (with intervention tones) of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate decided by the Congregation for Religious.

We join Italian website Corsia dei Servi in this appeal, and ask all to join in prayer to the Lord and His Virgin Mother.

She's paying attention - and He's listening to Her


After hearing the news about the appointment of a visitator to the Institute of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate, we are more than ever convinced that these days being Catholic is a problem for some Vatican authorities. We have decided (at least for the time being) to suspend any comment or publication whatever related to this incredible and disconcerting affair: let this be a time of prayer and staying spiritually close to the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate. 

 For this reason, we are launching a Rosary Crusade appeal, requesting the help of everyone who intends to support the Fathers, Brothers and Sisters who are being hit and persecuted so unjustly, through the recitation of at least a decade of the Rosary every day, dedicated to the Franciscans of the Immaculate.

Editorial Staff

Pope tries to clarify what Kasper's Doctrine on Marriage means for the Synod

On the plane back from the Holy Land, the Pope answered some questions, including this most important attempt at clarification of the most controversial ongoing topic of the upcoming Synod of Bishops:

- [Reporter:] You are a political and spiritual leader, who opens up many expectations with initiatives such as the meeting with the leaders of Israel and Palestine. Also in the Church there are many hopes of change, as it occurs with the situation of the divorced. Does it not seem to you that you are putting too much meat in the oven? Do you not think that you have opened up too many fronts and too many expectations?

- [Francis:] This meeting in the Vatican will be a prayer meeting. It will not be to establish mediation or to search for a solution. It will be prayer, and then they come back home. But I do believe prayer is important. Praying together, without starting discussions... It will be a prayer meeting. There will be a rabbi, a Muslim, and myself. I asked the Custodian of the Holy Land to arrange the practical things.

I thank you for your question on the divorced. The [October 2014] Synod will be on the family, its problems, about the richness of family, the current situation of the family. The preliminary presentation that cardinal Kasper made had five chapters. Four on the beautiful things of the family from a theological perspective, family problems, the pastoral problem of separations, matrimonial nullity, divorced and the problem of communion... It did not please me that so many people, including in the Church, priests, etc, spoke of communion for the divorced as if it were all reduced to casuistry. We know that there is a crisis of the family. Young people do not want to get married, or do not get married, live together... I do not wish that we got into casuistry: what can be done or cannot be done... That is why I am so thankful for this question, because it gives me the opportunity to clarify. The pastoral problem of the family is very, very wide, and should not be plucked case by case. That which Pope Benedict said three timesv - once in the South Tyrol, another time in Milan, and another in a consistory - is that the procedures of matrimonial nullity have to be examined. To study the faith with which a person enters matrimony, and clarify that divorcees are not strange. Oftentimes they are treated as if they were. I am certain that it was the Spirit of the Lord who guided us to choose this theme for the Synod. The family needs much pastoral help.

[Source: Spanish daily La Razón, text in Spanish. Ellipses in original text, merely indicating oral tone.]

Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society: Eighty-second posting of Souls


Below, please find the eighty-second posting of enrolled Souls of the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society. It's another large list this month with over 1,000 Souls. We have also added yet another priest in the services of the Souls enrolled in the Society and are now up to 40 priests.

Priests: The Souls still need more of you saying Mass for them! Please email me to offer your services. There's nothing special involved -- all you need to do is offer a weekly or monthly TLM with the intention: "For the Souls enrolled in the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society."
How to enroll souls: please email me at and submit as follows: "Name, State, Country." If you want to enroll entire families, simply write in the email: "The Jones family, Ohio, USA". Individual names are preferred. Be greedy -- send in as many as you wish and forward this posting to friends as well. And please follow this formatting strictly. 

Please consider forwarding this Society to your family and friends, announcing from the pulpit during Holy Mass or listing in your church bulletin. We need to spread the word and relieve more suffering souls.

Please pray for the enrolled Souls and the 40 holy priests saying Traditional Masses for the Society:

Event - Rome, October 2014, Two Pontifical Masses in two days:
Cardinal Pell, Prefect of the Secretariat for Economy to celebrate Pontifical Mass as part of Summorum Pontificum Pilgrimage

The International Juventutem Federation is pleased to announce that His Eminence George Cardinal Pell, Prefect of the Secretariat for Economy, has kindly accepted our invitation to be the Celebrant at a Pontifical Solemn High Mass according to the Missal of St John XXIII on Friday 24 October 2014, 6:30pm, at Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, Parish Church of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter in Rome, Italy. The Holy Sacrifice will be offered in thanksgiving for the tenth anniversary of Juventutem, the worldwide youth movement fostering the sanctification of the young through the Roman traditions of Holy Mother Church. We are grateful to His Eminence who generously presided at Solemn Pontifical Vespers organised by Juventutem during World Youth Days in the past, first in Düsseldorf on 17 August 2005, and again in Sydney on 16 July 2008.

After Vespers in Düsseldorf, Cardinal Pell gave the following encouragements to the young WYD pilgrims of Juventutem: "I am happy to be here because the old Latin rite is one of the most beautiful things in the entire Western civilization. And I am very glad that this ancient rite has its place in the Church today. I am happy because this rite helps you to love God and to love one another. In this ancient rite we always see that our prayer is an act of worship. It is impossible to see a celebration like these Vespers as something horizontal. We have one Church only, whose Head is the Successor of Peter, with the Bishops as successors of the Apostles, and this unity is very important for the life of the Church” (translated from the original French).

Members and supporters of Juventutem are cordially invited to make arrangements to be in Rome and attend the Mass, which will be preceded by other Juventutem activities (full schedule to be advertised soon). All pilgrims in Rome are naturally invited as well, regardless of their involvement with Juventutem. The event will be part of the Populus Summorum Pontificum Pilgrimage 2014. The following day, on Saturday 25 October, His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, will celebrate a Solemn Pontifical High Mass according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in Saint Peter’s Basilica, at 12:00 noon.

[Source: International Juventutem Federation, May 27, 2014]

The Intervention on the Franciscans of the Immaculate "reflects very badly on this Papacy"

A great short comment by Father Ray Blake, following a fortuitous encounter with some Sisters of the Immaculate after a mass celebrated at Ramsgate:

...without getting into ad hominem arguments I tend to have sympathy with a comment made by friend.

There really is nothing here to justify the drastic action taken. Since it would appear that the overwhelming number of friars supported the direction the institute was taking, surely it was for the five to ask to be transferred to an institute more to their taste; there is no lack of non-traddy Franciscan congregations, most of whom are desperate for vocations. In fact, this response confirms my view that the action taken by Aviz, Volpi and others is disproportionate, scandalous and downright cruel. His entire defence is simply a more elaborate way of saying that the Friars were getting too traditional for his taste.

It is the disproportionate nature of the Holy See's response that is scandalous. It reflects very badly on this Papacy.

Father Blake and his friend are, of course, both quite right. A minority within the Institute resented their superiors, and they are 100% responsible for all that has happened - curiously enough, while the majority of the institute, including their founder, have been placed under strict silence or worse, the members of the minority are quite free to write, speak, travel, and even blog... Quite interesting, is it not?...  One would tend to think that this was not the Congregation they had joined, but that was not at all the case. The Franciscans of the Immaculate had always been traditional in their intimate thinking, while mostly dedicated to the Paul VI liturgy; after 2005, they were also clearly moved by the call to action promoted by Pope Benedict XVI himself and his vision of "hermeneutic of continuity", in liturgy and in theology. 

It truly does reflect badly on this Papacy, as if an atomic weapon had been used to settle a discussion initiated by a couple of rebellious children against their parents and the rest of the family. The foxes have been let loose to devastate the hortus conclusus: may God have mercy on those who have caused this.

You Report: Traditional Masses - two "Firsts"

1. A High Mass in Birmingham Cathedral for the first time in several decades.

[Source. Tip: M. Doyle]

2. Traditional Masses in Split (Spalato), Croatia, for the first time in several decades: a local reader reports that, "three Traditional Latin Masses were celebrated in Split, Croatia on May 21, 24, and 25 in th Church of Saint Philip Neri. The Masses were celebrated by Father Matthew Bartulica from Kansas City. Around 200 people gathered in these three days to experience the Latin Mass, many for the first time." 

[More images here.]

Tradition must also learn how to show a Kind and Gentle Face

You are wandering through a city filled with historical landmarks. You enter a beautiful church that you had never seen before. As you admire the interior, the priest sees you kneeling, and comes to invite you to a little gathering they are having in an adjoining hall.

"But Father," you say, "I'm just someone passing by, I don't want to bother you." "No," he says, "you must come! Must I force you?"

The gathering is quite nice, sandwiches and beignets done by women of the community, in honor of a group of people who help in the church. Father makes sure you eat something. He also gives you a booklet on the building. "It's a gift, take it."

You tell him, "Father, I'd never received this kind of welcome in a church before." "Good," he says, "now we have a new friend."

This old Franciscan friar had just celebrated a Paul VI mass, just before you entered the church. "Why," you think to yourself, "have I never seen anything even resembling this level of welcoming of a complete and utter stranger in a traditional community, even after visiting so many around the world? Why does it seem, at least in my experience, that we can't make the effort to be kinder, gentler, and more welcoming?" Now, one may be well aware that this kind of experience is very rare in Paul VI settings as well, but that is not the point. The point is that those who try to excel in the liturgical worship of God and in the dispensation of traditional doctrine must also try to excel in the charitable welcoming of all.

Thank you, Mother Help of Christians, for this wonderful experience. Please, Mother Most Holy, teach kindness, gentleness, and true mercy to your children in this vale of tears. Each one can begin this small yet significant job in our own communities, with the help of the Lord and the Gentle Lady.

Solemn High Mass at Sts. Peter & Paul Cathedral Basilica in Philadelphia

"On June 15th, 2014, Trinity Sunday, Rev. Fr. Joseph Heffernan, FSSP, will celebrate a Solemn Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter & Paul, at 18th and the Ben Franklin Parkway. The Mass will begin at 2:00 PM. Father Heffernan is from Philadelphia and was a parishioner at Mater Ecclesiae, of Berlin, NJ."

[h/t reader]