Rorate Caeli

Persecuted Christians: from Pakistan to Iraq, the same Ideology that is hostile to the Faith

Source:  Il Sussidiario
August 31, 2014
Pietro Vernizzi   

“The root of the attacks against Christians in Iraq, Pakistan, Syria and Nigeria is the same, and what they have in common is the ideological matrix that is using religion to impose its own view on everyone.  These persecutions are stronger where there is political instability.”  Paul Jacob Bhatti, president of the Shahbaz Memorial trust, a foundation in honor of his brother killed in Pakistan by Islamic fundamentalists on March 2, 2011, highlighted this in a talk he gave at the Meeting di Rimini called “Witness to Freedom”. The following is from questions that followed the talk.

Editorial: The Synod of Bishops and Divine Law
by Roberto de Mattei

Radici Cristiane
Editorial, September 2014
by Roberto de Mattei

Rosso Fiorentino
The Marriage of the Virgin
Basilica of San Lorenzo, Florence

The Synod of Bishops in October will discuss on the basis of Instrumentum laboris – “the worksheet” which summarizes the responses to the “preliminary questionnaire” received from the Bishop Conferences, ministries, and more in general - dioceses, parishes, movements, ecclesial associations,[all] consulted on the topic of marriage and the family. Besides the sociological slant which characterizes it, the document contains some disturbing passages. One of these is the implicit and often explicit devaluation of the idea of the natural law. In the Instrumentum laboris, in fact, we find this: “In a vast majority of responses and observations, the concept of natural law today turns out to be, in different cultural contexts, highly problematic, if not completely incomprehensible.” (n.21) The solution suggested would be to abandon the concept and term of the natural law, or “to re-read” it in accessible language, with particular attention to the young being part as a direct interlocutor on these themes.

We seem to understand then, that since the Catholic world no longer comprehends the idea of the natural law, it might as well be shelved and substituted by something more suited to the current mentality.

Two Days of Aberrations - Dispatches from the Catholic World: Colombia, Italy

Thomas Couture
Romans of the Decadence (1847)
Musée d'Orsay
[W]e can also see how incongruous is the demand to accord “marital” status to unions between persons of the same sex. It is opposed, first of all, by the objective impossibility of making the partnership fruitful through the transmission of life according to the plan inscribed by God in the very structure of the human being. Another obstacle is the absence of the conditions for that interpersonal complementarity between male and female willed by the Creator at both the physical-biological and the eminently psychological levels. It is only in the union of two sexually different persons that the individual can achieve perfection in a synthesis of unity and mutual psychophysical completion. From this perspective, love is not an end in itself and cannot be reduced to the corporal joining of two beings, but is a deep interpersonal relationship which reaches its culmination in total mutual self-giving and in cooperation with God the Creator, the ultimate source of every new human life.

SSPX Priest Celebrates Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica

By the gracious permission of the higher direction of the Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican, the faithful of the church of Saint-Martin-des-Gaules, Noisy-le-Grand (near Paris) -- who were in Rome for a summer vacation pilgrimage led by Father Michel de Sivry, of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) -- were able to attend a Mass at the Altar of Saint Pius X, where the saintly Pope's body reposes.

The Mass in the Vatican Basilica was celebrated by Fr. de Sivry on August 9, 2014, during this special centennial year of the dies natalis of Saint Pius X.

Video below (click on play):

Cañizares goes to Valencia, and his replacement at Divine Worship is...

As mentioned by us days ago, it's been confirmed today: Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, up to today Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, was named by Pope Francis new Archbishop of Valencia (in the place of Carlos Osoro Sierra, named also today Archbishop of Madrid).

Who will now occupy the currently vacant central liturgical position in the most widespread rite in the Church, the Modern Roman Rite ("Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite")? A Ratzingerian? A Bugninian? Someone (or something?...) altogether different? Somewhere in Casa Santa Marta, this has already been decided...

A New Fatima Secret?...

Italian religious commentator Antonio Socci, whom we admire, has a very interesting, almost entertaining, book on what he calls, "the fourth Secret of Fatima," a supposed missing passage of the private revelations originally made in Fatima, Portugal, and put into writing many years later. In the past few days, he has insisted on it (excerpts in English), based on some passages of a newly published biography of Sister Lucia. It must be said that a not so interesting part of Socci's original book were his frequent mentions of... Medjugorje.

Anyway, missing or not, what really matters is that the message of Fatima is the message of Lourdes, which is the message of Our Lord:

A Reflection on The Centenary of His Death,

by Roberto de Mattei

Pope St. Pius X celebrates Mass in St. Peter's on 50th Anniversary of Proclamation of the Immaculate Conception
(Dec. 8, 1904)

One hundred years after his death the figure of Saint Pius X stands erect, majestic and heavy-laden in the firmament of the Church. The sadness which clouds Pope Sarto’s expression in his last photographs, not only reveals a sense of the catastrophic consequences of the First World War, which had started three weeks before his death, but seems to foresee an even greater tragedy than the wars and revolutions of the 20th Century: the apostasy of nations and of churchmen themselves in the century which would follow.

The main enemy which St. Pius X had to face, had a name, which the Pontiff himself gave: Modernism. His relentless fight against Modernism characterized his Pontificate indelibly and was a fundamental element in his sanctity. “The lucidity and firmness with which Pius X conducted his victorious fight against the errors of modernism - affirmed Pius XII in his speech at the Canonization of Pope Sarto – testifies to what heroic degree the virtue of the faith burned in his saintly heart (…)”.

To the Modernism that was proposed, “a universal apostasy of the Faith and Church discipline”, St. Pius X opposed it with an authentic reform which had its major point in the custody and transmission of the Catholic truth. The encyclical Pascendi (1907), where he struck down the errors of Modernism, is the most important theological and philosophical document produced by the Catholic Church in the 20th century. Yet, St. Pius X did not limit himself to fighting the evil of the ideas, as if they were disincarnated from history. He wanted to strike at the historical bringers of these errors by imposing ecclesiastical censures, by watching over seminaries and Pontifical universities and imposing the anti-modernist oath on all priests.

This coherence between doctrine and pontifical praxis gave rise to violent attacks from “crypto-modernist” environments.

When Pius XII promoted his beatification (1951) and his canonization (1954), Pope Sarto was defined by opponents extraneous to the renewing ferments of his time, guilty of having repressed modernism with brutal and police-like methods. Pius XII entrusted Monsignor Ferdinando Antonelli, a future cardinal, with the compilation of a historical Disquisitio dedicated to dismantling the accusations against his predecessor, based on witnesses and documents. Today, however, these accusations appear once again even in the “celebration” that the “Osservatore Romano” dedicated to St. Pius X, by the writer Carlo Fantappiè, exactly on the anniversary of his death on August 20.*

Zurbarán at 350: 2 video suggestions
- The Agnus Dei; and the half-hour special "Incarnate Images"

Some call him the ultimate "Counter-Reformation" painter, and what could be a greater compliment to a post-16th-century Catholic artist than this? There is certainly no doubt about his sincere Catholic faith and his serious family life - Francisco de Zurbarán, who died in Madrid on August 27, 1664, exactly 350 years ago, dedicated most of his astonishing talents to the depiction of sacred things and of the Holy One.

This could hardly be any clearer than in his Agnus Dei (c. 1635), shown in detail in this video of the Museo del Prado (it has English subtitles - play, then turn on subtitles/CC):

Post-Christian and Secular: The Loss of Pudor

Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?  No, they were not ashamed; they did not now how to blush.  Jeremiah 8:12

One of the most glorious parts of Vergil’s Aeneid really has nothing to do with Aeneas’ founding of Rome.  Book IV of the Aeneid deals with the passion of Queen Dido of Carthage for the man-hero Aeneas and its tragic consequences.  Dido has sworn a oath to her dead husband that she will never remarry, that she will always be true to the oath she made to her husband to be faithful and true to him even after his death.  When she meets Aeneas, she is stirred with passion, and in a famous scene she swears to her sister Anna, she swears by the gods, that she will never set aside her pudor and embark on an affair with this man-god Aeneas.  That word pudor:  a Classical word that has come into the vocabulary of all the Romance languages. Those who know Spanish or Portuguese or Italian will recognize this word immediately.  Its meaning lies deep in the understanding of the human psyche, and its English translation, which is inadequate, is a “sense of shame”.  For the Classical author, to lose one’s pudor makes one less than human, more of an animal than a man or woman.  This very word, “shame”, is something that is disappearing from our culture, our society.  The post-modern man, who is a man who has shed or who is ignorant of Western history and culture, that of the Classical Greek and Roman and of its flowering and sacralization in Christianity, has lost his sense of shame.

 This pudor, this sense of shame, is deeply biblical.  

Event: FSSP Low Mass Workshops for priests in December

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 December 15-19, 2014.

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

A new traditional Catholic parish is created

Priest: "thus they do not attend the Traditional Latin Mass for nostalgic reasons ... This has been a canard frequently aimed at those who attend the Traditional Latin Mass"

The following post was written and submitted to Rorate by parishioner Jen Mackintosh of Wildflowers and Marbles:
After Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI issued his Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, on July 7, 2007, establishing that every priest could offer the Traditional Latin Mass, a group of faithful from Huntsville, Alabama and surrounding areas expressed a great desire for the Traditional Latin Mass.  In 2008, in response to the faithful desiring the Traditional Latin Mass, Bishop Robert Baker (Birmingham, Alabama) established an apostolate in Huntsville, Alabama in order to make this Mass available.  Father Alan C. Mackey was appointed chaplain of the newly formed Latin Mass community in Huntsville with the assignment of offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and making the Sacraments available according to the 1962 liturgical books.  The newly formed Latin Mass Community was granted permission to use the facilities of an existing parish, St. Mary of the Visitation in Huntsville, for Sunday Mass.

The community steadily increased in support and number, and a building fund was established and maintained with the goal of purchasing property for the establishment of a personal parish.  Five years after first expressing a desire for the Traditional Latin Mass, the vision of Father Mackey and the community of faithful came to fruition with the purchase of an Anglican Church in the Five Points district of Huntsville.  Providentially, the first Mass in the new building was offered on January 31, 2013, the Feast of St. John Bosco, who had a special devotion to Our Lady under the title, Help of Christians.

Catholic Identity Conference 2014

Next month the Catholic Identity Conference 2014 will be held, from the evening of Friday, 12 September through noon on Sunday, 14 September, in Weirton, West Virginia, and Steubenville, Ohio, in the U.S., near the Franciscan University of Steubenville.

The theme will be "The Old Evangelization: Restoring Liturgy, Mission and Catholic Tradition."

This will be the third annual Catholic Identity Conference.  New this year are more priests involved with the daily traditional Latin Mass and talks, including from the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, Institute of Christ the King and Diocese of Pittsburgh.  One new speaker on Saturday and two new speakers on Sunday have been confirmed, including this writer.

Guest post: Former student laments liturgical abuse at former Catholic high school

This year’s observance of the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary provides the opportunity to reflect on the two rites of the Roman Missal. On invitation from the Chancery in Philadelphia, the Tridentine Mass was offered in the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, as part of the annual Mass of Thanksgiving by Mater Ecclesiae Parish based in Berlin, New Jersey, contrasted to the “ordinary form” of the Roman Rite, as offered to a group of high school boys at LaSalle College High School in suburban Philadelphia – poolside, in swimsuits. It is important to reflect on the differences in the two Rites of Holy Mass in these times as it demonstrates the increasing divide between those who would call themselves “mainstream Catholics” and “Traditional Catholics”.

Islam: Territorial Advances on the Western African Front
Nigerian Cardinal: Young Muslims are Joining Boko Haram

3,000 miles from Mosul (Iraq), and Raqqa (Syria) in the "Islamic State", and 1,800  miles from the new "Islamic Emirate of Benghazi" (itself just 400 miles from Athens or Sicily), Islamist armies are now conquering Nigerian cities in which Christians have lived together with Muslims since the time of the first missionaries.

See below several of their conquering moves in at least three different Nigerian states in the past few weeks, up to this Saturday:

Aug. 12:

The New World Steps Forth to the Rescue and Liberation of the Old:
A Seminary in Europe and for Europe with Vocations from the Americas

We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

These, of course, were Churchill's famous words in his speech to Parliament of June 4, 1940, during the most dramatic month of the Second World War. We read it today, and we are stunned by what was apparently an insane level of uncalled-for hope in a desperate situation.

Two numbers released in the past couple of days exemplify the desperate vocational situation of the Church in most of Europe today: in the whole of Belgium, with a population of over 10 million people and a glorious Catholic past just until the 1960s, only 14 priests will be ordained in 2014, half of them foreign nationals (source); in the island of Corsica, France, there is at this moment just one young man, a Lebanese citizen, preparing for ordination (source).

In fact, one of the most surprising elements of the current Islamization of a vast proportion of the European population is precisely that it is a phenomenon of the past few decades -- that is, the religious decline in Europe is not a given for its environment. This is important as a sign (worrisome and at times terrifying as it may be). Many European-born descendants of immigrants from Muslim nations are more religious than their parents, and mosques and minarets spring up everywhere. Why has the movement among the native population, in particular Catholic families, been the opposite after the events of the 1960s, including the Catholic events of that decade?


While Church committees discuss without end without acknowledging the source of the problem, some are doing much more than this. This great new seminary, a specific initiative of the New World coming in rescue of the Old World that gave it so much, was announced elsewhere, but they were kind enough to send us more details:

Libero Quotidiano: "Islam: When Bergoglio attacked Ratzinger"

Regensburg, 2006
When an Islamophile Bergoglio attacked Ratzinger

by Fausto Carioti
August 22, 2014

From Raqqa to Mosul: The Islamic "Capital" was the First City to be "Cleaned" of Christians -- and with the First Dhimma Agreement

Cross being removed from the Armenian Church in Raqqa, Syria, 2013

Some Irish Redemptorists are doing it again

We received the following report from our Irish reader keeping a close eye on this ongoing situation:

Readers, you may recall the story posted some time ago about the two Irish Redemptorist priests in drag (see here). Well, they're at it again -- this time doing the "ice bucket challenge"...

Frs. Sean Duggan & Gerry O'Connor (CSsR) nominate both the papal nuncio and the Archbishop of Dublin to do it next, along with "Panti" (Rory O'Neill) -- a well known Irish drag queen and homosexual rights activist ("Panti" recently caused outrage on Irish television by labeling certain Catholic organizations and pro-life individuals as homophobes, costing the national broadcaster to pay out thousands of euros in damages). 

In this video, you can see Fr. Sean Duggan on television answering questions re: the future of the Church

2 New Organs: One in Virginia, blessed today
-- the other one in an Extremely Special Place


“Pope's words on War and Peace are a Radical Shift for the Catholic Church.”

New Archbishop in Madrid -- Cañizares might remain at the Congregation for Divine Worship, or will he go to Valencia instead?... [Updated]

Prayer ... Patience ... Perseverance ...
SSPX gets a "new" church in Pittsburgh

Posted for the record, an interesting story, told by the USA District of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X (SSPX):

The USA District is proud to announce the acquisition of a "new" church for its mission in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania! The church building in question is the former diocesan St. James Church, closed ten years ago in 2004.

We offer from the pastor, Fr. Patrick Rutledge, the article below detailing some historical background on the Pittsburgh area chapel (presently located in the suburb of Carnegie) as well as the various attempts to obtain a more suitable facility. Featured below the article are some images of the church as it appears today (as an art center) and two historical images.

Blasts from the Past: Madrid, 1954

Just years before it all went tumbling down: whatever happened to these two young men?...

Madrid, 1954: Two seminarians near the Gran Vía on a cool day,
in front of the movie theater of the Plaza del Callao

[Tip: Le FC]

The Legitimacy of Calling Oneself a “Traditional Catholic”

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the death of Saint Pius X
for whom Traditionalists “are the true friends of the People”

Bishop Aillet ordaining a priest
of the FSSP this past July
One often hears objections against the use of the term “traditional” or “traditionalist” as a way of defining oneself as a Catholic. Although I’ve written about this before here at Rorate, it is a topic that merits further attention.

Someone might object as follows. Although tradition is obviously a major component of Catholic life, and the handing on and receiving that tradition a major task of the Church, nevertheless it’s only one of a number of such components. Why it should be singled out as the primary one, as is inescapably the case when one uses that term to self-identify? Tradition is not so much a criterion of truth in itself as it is a means of knowing truth and, to some extent, a guarantee of truths. We receive and preserve what has been handed down from Christ because we know that they are true—true because they come from the Incarnate Word, not true because they are handed down as such. It is certainly the case that the necessity and value of tradition are especially denied today. But that doesn’t seem to be a sufficient reason to choose the term to identify ourselves. If what I said above is correct and tradition as such is not the fundamental criterion of the Faith, then it’s a mistake to identify ourselves by it simply because it’s denied so often today. We shouldn’t over emphasize a truth that someone else denies; rather, we should give it its proper place in our thinking.

And (continues our objector), are you not familiar with Pope Benedict XV’s criticism of putting a qualifier in front of Catholic that he made in his first encyclical Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum in 1914? This was shortly after the modernist crisis had been contained by the firm action of Pope Saint Pius X, and so, just as today, people back then were anxious to distinguish their Catholicism from that of others. Benedict XV wrote:

It is Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as “profane novelties of words,” out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: “This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved” (Athanasian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim “Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,” only let him endeavor to be in reality what he calls himself.

What might be said to such a line of argument?

- Rome, August 20, 1914, 1:30 a.m. -

It is 1:30 a.m., Central European Time (GMT + 1). In a neutral Italy amidst a continent ravaged by war, the bells are about to toll all through the City and throughout the world.

Exactly at this moment, exactly 100 years ago, the great Pope who still lives in our hearts, the simple parroco 
Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto 
gave his soul up to the LORD he had always served faithfully, leaving the travails of the earth for eternity in the Church Triumphant, in sempiternal glory.

Thank you, Saint Pius X! Please, intercede for us in Heaven above, that we may accomplish the words of the Apostle to the Gentiles you made your lifelong aspiration: "to restore all things in Christ"!

For the past 8 years, we have strived to cover each major centennial of Pope Saint Pius' amazing holy work for the Restoration of All Things in Christ in his relatively short but highly consequential pontificate. No one since Saint Pius V, and no one after him, has accomplished a similar global work of true Catholic reformation, that is always based on Our Lord Jesus Christ himself. In the encyclical in which he presented his pontifical program, Pius X was clear:

Now the way to reach Christ is not hard to find: it is the Church. Rightly does Chrysostom inculcate: "The Church is thy hope, the Church is thy salvation, the Church is thy refuge." (Hom. de capto Euthropio, n. 6.) It was for this that Christ founded it, gaining it at the price of His blood, and made it the depositary of His doctrine and His laws, bestowing upon it at the same time an inexhaustible treasury of graces for the sanctification and salvation of men. You see, then, Venerable Brethren, the duty that has been imposed alike upon Us and upon you of bringing back to the discipline of the Church human society, now estranged from the wisdom of Christ; the Church will then subject it to Christ, and Christ to God. If We, through the goodness of God Himself, bring this task to a happy issue, We shall be rejoiced to see evil giving place to good, and hear, for our gladness, " a loud voice from heaven saying: Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God and the power of his Christ." (Apoc. xii., 10.) But if our desire to obtain this is to be fulfilled, we must use every means and exert all our energy to bring about the utter disappearance of the enormous and detestable wickedness, so characteristic of our time - the substitution of man for God; this done, it remains to restore to their ancient place of honor the most holy laws and counsels of the gospel; to proclaim aloud the truths taught by the Church, and her teachings on the sanctity of marriage, on the education and discipline of youth, on the possession and use of property, the duties that men owe to those who rule the State; and lastly to restore equilibrium between the different classes of society according to Christian precept and custom. This is what We, in submitting Ourselves to the manifestations of the Divine will, purpose to aim at during Our Pontificate, and We will use all our industry to attain it. [E Supremi Apostolatus, Oct. 4, 1903]

And in eleven years, he did it. And his work was so magnificent that the "wickedness so characteristic of our time" that he mentioned above was almost unbelievably kept at bay from the Church during the bloodiest period of human history in the 50 years that followed his death, and that all good things that subsist in the Church after the debacle of the past half-century are imbued with his concern and passed through his hands. It is true that we often see the glass half-empty when we view the Church of our age, and the terrible years of her passion in the past half-century, during which, as one of his successors admitted, "the smoke of Satan enter[ed] into the Temple of God"  -- but we must instead glorify God for the great man whose truly Catholic reforms built up the defenses that kept her integrity safe during her time of need. A sane liturgical movement, a strong Catholic identity, a safe doctrinal environment, an unsurpassed time of Eucharistic devotion, a rationalization of the law, the promotion of sound sacred music, the acceleration of the global expansion of missionary activities and the creation of numerous dioceses in mission areas, and the greatest vocational explosion in modern history beginning in his pontificate -- all accomplishments of the first pontificate of the 20th century, achievements which would collapse (but not totally!) only in the 1960s. So, instead of lamenting the recent past, we must celebrate the almost unsurpassed influence of one holy man whose work on this earth was a gift for God's Church, and whose eternal reward began exactly 100 years ago: Happy Birthday in Heaven, Saint Pius X, and thank you for everything.


Transcribed below is the article on the death of Pope Pius X published in the August 22, 1914, edition of The Tablet, with links to our various posts and series on several aspects of the Sarto Pontificate. The text also provides a general tone of how the holy Pope was viewed -- loved and revered in an unsurpassed way -- by his contemporaries in the Church in that, the first month of what would be a long and devastating war.

It is with inexpressible sorrow that we have to announce the death of the Pope.

His Holiness had so far recovered from the serious illness which attacked him last year that hopes had been entertained that he might still be spared for the welfare of the Church. But he was in his eightieth year, and there can be no question that his powers, already weakened by his illness, were still further reduced by the sorrow with which, as he said, his heart was wrung at the outbreak of the great conflict in Europe [cf. centennial of exhortation Dum Europa]. On the fourteenth of this month, His Holiness contracted a slight bronchial cold, which, though accompanied by a rise in temperature, at first gave no anxiety. On Sunday he rose as usual, but was so weak that he was ordered back to bed. But Monday [Aug. 17] night was a bad one, and on Tuesday [Aug. 18] he was so much worse that it was decided to issue bulletins morning and evening. Unfortunately, the bronchitis trouble developed, and was accompanied by increased feverishness. On Wednesday [Aug. 19] his state had become so critical, owing to a sudden relapse, that by evening death seemed imminent, and a telegram from our Rome correspondent informed us that it was "now only a question of hours." That was only too true. At half-past two on Thursday morning death came, and released the sufferer from the heavy weight of the great burden of the Supreme Pontificate.

The power of the chapel veil

View video below:

August 1914: Kulturkampf reaches a whole new level

On August 19, 1914, the advancing German armies that had grievously violated Belgian neutrality earlier in the month, occupied the city of Louvain (Leuven), Brabant.

Archbishop of Mosul: "I have lost my Diocese to Islam - You in the West will also become the victims of Muslims"

Armenian Orthodox church in Raqqa, Syria, now an ISIS office
Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer in the near future. I lost my diocese. The physical setting of my apostolate has been occupied by Islamic radicals who want us converted or dead. But my community is still alive.

Please, try to understand us. Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here. You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims. Also you are in danger. You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles. You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home.

Archbishop Amel Nona
Chaldean Catholic Archeparch of Mosul, now exiled in Erbil
August 9, 2014

[Updated: Date has been corrected; full translation of the relevant paragraph from original article below:]

Save Holy Innocents

A reader sent us this link. Watch it below, and weigh in:

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch and Holy See Envoy to Iraq:
An Appeal to the International Community

Press Release of the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans

IMPORTANT - IRAQ DONATIONS: alms for refugees in Iraq
A Chaldean Catholic Project

A traditional Roman Catholic priest has passed along a site for our readers to give alms to help the Chaldeans suffering unimaginable evil in Iraq - it is a project sponsored directly by the Saint Thomas the Apostle Chaldean Catholic Eparchy in the United States.

We cannot take up physical arms -- but we can wage a spiritual battle of fasting, penance and prayer. And we can help with our wallets as well.

Image of the Day: Pope prays in Aborted Children's Symbolic Cemetery
"The Great Destroyer of Peace is Abortion"

Pope Francis visits the symbolic cemetery for abortion victims in Kkottongnae, Korea, this Saturday.


I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing - direct murder by the mother herself. And we read in the Scripture, for God says very clearly: Even if a mother could forget her child - I will not forget you - I have carved you in the palm of my hand. We are carved in the palm of His hand, so close to Him that unborn child has been carved in the hand of God. And that is what strikes me most, the beginning of that sentence, that even if a mother could forget something impossible - but even if she could forget - I will not forget you. And today the greatest means - the greatest destroyer of peace is abortion. And we who are standing here - our parents wanted us. We would not be here if our parents would do that to us. Our children, we want them, we love them, but what of the millions. Many people are very, very concerned with the children in India, with the children in Africa where quite a number die, maybe of malnutrition, of hunger and so on, but millions are dying deliberately by the will of the mother. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today. Because if a mother can kill her own child - what is left for me to kill you and you kill me - there is nothing between.

Mother Teresa
December 11, 1979

Iraq and Syria News Roundup - Aleppo's Christians under grave threat of genocide

Church in Aleppo, Syria, destroyed in 2012

In a small way, it is good that the news from Iraqi and Syrian Christians under threat is now so abundant that it has become hard to select worthwhile items - it shows a concern for their fate that wasn't there just weeks ago. Let us keep praying to the Mother of God for deliverance and a safe way out of this unbelievable situation for our wronged brethren. 


1. On Friday evening, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) at last edited its first resolution on the Islamists who have expelled hundreds of thousands, and raped and killed an unknown number, of Christians and other minorities in Iraq and Syria. Those countries and individuals (most reports had been pointing to the Gulf region, of course) financing these groups are the object of sanctions.

It is a complex resolution, because many items are new applications of items already present in prior anti-terrorist resolutions, but it is a very good sign (despite its ridiculous lateness) of a response. Whether we like it or not, international coordination on security matters after World War II almost always depends on the UNSC and on the acceptance of the facts by its five permanent members. So this is a start, as it provides a legal footing for further actions.


2. This Times report on the first major village reoccupied after ISIS left shows how difficult it will be to repopulate these areas (including those left by Christians in the Nineveh Plains) until this terrorist force is completely vanquished.


3. The most frightening news comes from the Christian community that has been suffering for the longest time, in Syria. The great city of Aleppo, where Christians have also been present for two millenia and that had immense Christian communities living in peace just before the outbreak of the civil war, has been in the center of the war. But in the past couple of days, ISIS has advanced closer and closer to Aleppo, where thousands of Christians, the original inhabitants of the city before the Muslim invasions of the 7th century, still remain.

Please, keep in your prayers and sacrifices the Christians of Aleppo and of all Syria.

ALEPPO, Syria — Walking through the largely Christian neighborhoods of Aleppo city — Azizieh, Siryan, Sulaimaniyah and Midan — you can still see the posters of the two bishops kidnapped by Islamist militants last year hanging on shop windows, walls and even cars. The people here haven’t forgotten them; the event is still as painful and fresh as if it had happened just yesterday. The bishops’ kidnapping was a symbolic event, indicative of the larger collapse of interfaith communal relations in a country under the strain of a sectarian civil war, and marked the end of a long era of relative peace and safety for the Christians of Syria.
Fear is palpable in this city; it hangs heavy in the air everywhere you go, like a potent and nauseous perfume. You can see it in people's eyes, in the deep lines on their faces; you can hear it in the way they talk; it’s in their conversations, it’s all they ever talk about.

But fear of a new kind permeates this ancient and deeply rooted community. Genocide and ethnic cleansing are very real threats that haunt the collective conscience of Syria’s Christians.

The Pope's Strength: Does it Come from God or from "the People"?
"Progressives" Make a Pope In Their Own Image

Jacques-Louis David
Le Serment du Jeu de Paume le 20 juin 1789 [The Tennis Court Oath on June 20, 1789], c. 1791
Musée Carnavalet

The ultra-"progressive" founder of the interreligious community of Sant'Egidio, and also former (unelected...) minister of the Italian government, Andrea Riccardi (more about him here), is one of those ideologues who have never received a vote in their lives but think they can better describe what "the people" want.

In an interview to French weekly L'Express published this Friday, he reaches the height of "progressive" populism. In his view, the strength of the Pope comes not from God, but "the people."

"The strength of Pope Francis is the people"
On which allies can the Argentine pope count?

His strength is the people. In my view, he has achieved an alliance, not with the Church's hierarchy, but with the faithful, to whom he gives orientations, but without decreeing to them, "You must do like this, or like that." He appeals to the liberty and responsibility of Christians, who come by the way massively to Saint Peter Square to see him. In the Anglo-Saxon world, his glow is particularly strong. A well-known American journalist has told me, "He's become our new Mandela." He has conquered Germany, that had turned its back on Benedict. Among you, in France, he does even better than John Paul II, who had connections, such as Jean-Marie Lustiger. Francis raises enthusiasm by himself. He is not submitted to the media, it is the media that turns towards him.

It must first be made clear that this was never said by the Pope, who was not elected by "the people," but by a very restricted and exclusive Church structure -- revolutionary populism is what "progressives" want to make the Pope look like, a Pope in their own image.

This populism must be denounced from the outset.

Fontgombault Sermon and Allocution:
Assumption of Our Lady, Proclamation of Love, Motherhood and Life
Vow to Our Lady: a Vow for Peace and Prayerfulness

Assumption of Our Lady

Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
(Fontgombault, August 15, 2014)

There is more happiness in giving than in taking (cf. Acts 20:35).

God the very first has put into practice this fundamental rule of spiritual life: He gave us His Son, He gave us Mary.

In monastic life, men give themselves to God through the practice of the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. They renounce riches, the legitimate joys of a human family, and the exercise of their own will, thus giving to the world the testimony that God only suffices. Today we remember the commitment that fifty years ago two of us have made. Throughout these years God has remained faithful. Man can rely on this faithfulness to enter into a path which might seem to go beyond human strength.

Whereas current ideas incline us to zapping, to ceaseless changing, to the culture of the temporary which debars us from any long-term commitment, life’s true joy and fecundity spring from an irrevocable commitment which gives us time to grow, to ripen, to blossom. Monastic life thus emerges as a laboratory where in the contact with divine realities, in liturgical prayer, in lectio divina, in personal prayer, as well as in brotherly life, a sweet fragrance is evolved which goes up from earth towards heavens to the praise of the Maker’s glory.

It is therefore not very hard to understand why monks like to choose Mary’s feasts to commit themselves before God by the links of profession or promise, and why they cultivate a great love for her. Mary is she who has entirely been God’s possession, to the extent that God has wanted to take flesh in her. To man’s gift, to his often so poor prayer, God Who is never niggardly of His grace answers with His abundance, He gives bountifully and lavishly. Mary is full of grace and she invites her children to follow the path of abandonment to Providence.

We remember today the end of Mary’s earthly life. She has gone up to Heaven in her body and soul and she has been crowned by God as Queen of heaven and earth. 

Event: Juventutem Long Island tonight (Assumption)

The following was submitted to Rorate from the new Juventutem Long Island:

Brick by Brick, the young people of the Church are determined to build back the Church to her former glory, and Juventutem Long Island is proud to be a part of that. One by one young adults are dedicating themselves to promoting beautiful liturgy and having authentic Catholic culture. 

Determined to spreading the gospel, we wanted to share with you our great joy in announcing our inaugural event which is tomorrow, the Feast of the Assumption, we are having a Mass at 6:15 at St. Aidans Church in Williston Park, NY followed by an Evening of Recollection featuring Erin von Uffel, DM as guest speaker. Mrs. Von Uffel will be speaking about the cause for canonization of Sr. Marie Mandat-Grancey.  This event is co-sponsored by the St. Agnes Institute and Catholic Fellowship of Long Island. 

More information can be found on Twitter here or on Facebook here.

Thank you for your prayers and support! 

Tots a una veu: Visca la Mare de Déu!

Mary! She is the north of the tender youth
who, feeling in his heart the burning life,
rows forward with courage and delight.
And, in the growing glare of heaven's light,
 a voice rises from the peaceful earth:
the Virgin, shaded by a blooming rose.
Father Jacint Verdaguer

The mystery play of Elche is a sacred musical drama of the death, the passage into heaven (known as the Assumption) and the crowning of the Virgin Mary.

Holy Innocents in NYC and Father Wylie's letter

"There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed: 
nor hidden, that shall not be known." (Lk 12:2)

Two new pieces were published this week on Holy Innocents in New York City, the archdiocesan parish that features the city's only daily traditional Latin Mass, on the websites of Fox News and the New York Observer.  This follows earlier coverage of the threat of closure in the New York Times here and here and Rorate's report from April.

An interesting new twist in this plot, however, is the matter of Father Justin Wylie's dismissal from the Archdiocese of New York, originally covered by Rorate in June.  At the time we wrote:

Fr. Justin Wylie, a South African priest serving as attaché to the Holy See's United Nations Permanent Observer Mission, was dismissed from his regular functions as a priest in the Archdiocese of New York following a sermon on the urgent need for the Archdiocese to send true and sympathetic shepherds to serve (and guide) those who attend the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in the Archdiocese.

We can now add that a correspondent of the blog spoke personally to Monsignor Edward Weber, the director of priest personnel for the Archdiocese of New York, regarding the astonishing, unprecedented, and violent dismissal (with letters sent even to his employer, the Holy See's United Nations Permanent Observer mission, and his native diocese). The monsignor told this correspondent that the removal of Fr. Wylie did not go through his office (whose whole purpose is the administration of priestly personnel affairs), but came "directly from the Cardinal's office".

In this week's Fox News report linked above, Adam Shaw wrote:

Sources told me that a letter was immediately sent to the papal nuncio to the U.N. and, incredibly, to Wylie's archdiocese in Johannesburg, scolding Wylie for his comments and threatening to recommend Wylie's priestly faculties be removed -- an extremely serious move that essentially prevents a priest from acting as one and is usually reserved for very serious accusations like sexual abuse, not upsetting a cardinal.

Sources say that after the letter was received, Rev. Wylie, in a move that sounds more like something from Inquisition-era Spain than from modern day New York, was then silenced,  forbidden from celebrating Mass publicly, and told to pack his bags and leave for South Africa as soon as possible.

Msgr. Edward Weber, head of the Priest Personnel office for the Archdiocese, who would normally be responsible for such a letter, denied that the letter existed when I spoke to him by phone, despite previously being reported on a traditional blog as saying the order came from the Cardinal's office. Weber told me he had been misquoted.

Later, the archdiocese admitted in a statement that there had indeed been a letter, but said it did not come from the Cardinal's desk, and it did not threaten to remove Wylie's faculties. When I asked if they had threatened to recommend that he have his faculties removed, the archdiocese did not respond. 

Auxilium Christianorum

There are so many Christians in need of prayer, now more than ever. Some of their issues are caused by natural means, some supernatural. But, in either case, prayer is the answer.

Therefore, we repost this information from last year: a set of prayers, approved with an imprimatur, and all the power of the Church that an imprimatur brings:

Click here to see the prayers, the rules surrounding them and the requirements to be a member of the Auxilium Christianorum. ...

One caveat: as the fathers say on the site, please try to consult a traditional spiritual director before starting the prayers, if you have one available. If not, seek out a traditional priest in the confessional, and speak to him. These prayers are serious, and must be taken seriously.

For the record: Latest Church pronouncements on Iraqi Christians

1. Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Sako - need for United States direct involvement in removing jihadists from the Nineveh Plains:


2. Pope Francis' letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations (made public today):

They owe Benedict XVI an apology

12 August 2014
  by Camillo Langone
Manuel Paleologus, they owe you an apology. They also owe an apology to Benedict XVI, whom they attacked after he quoted you at Regensburg: 
Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”
Today, when the news from ex-Iraq is once more making history, and is showing to anyone who has eyes to see what the Koran translated into action truly is, they need to apologize to both of you.  But they won’t do it: because they don’t believe in sacred texts. They are Europeans and a European doesn’t believe in the Gospel not even if he’s a Catholic. Not even if he’s a priest (at Mass on Sundays the only words about Faith are those written in the Missal, while the ones from  the priest -- homilies, admonitions,  casual chatter --  are melancholic manifestations of  unbelief). 
It is impossible for a European to think that someone could actually believe in their own religion.   And as for the Italians: according to their vocabulary the word Religion is defined as “a good and human thing”, so they will never apologize to you nor to Benedict.
Those who are not able to believe in God are not even able to believe in reality: they are not able to recognize a sword -- not even when it goes into their neck.
Translation by Rorate's Francesca Romana.