Rorate Caeli

Synod Time! From the German Bishops' News Website: Indissolubility? That's just an ideal. Let's stop talking about "Guilt", please! [Official News Website of the German Bishops' Conference]
Bonn, July 29, 2015

A Report on How Bishop Franz-Josef Bode Considers the Themes likely to be Presented and Discussed at the [forthcoming October 2015] Synod on the Family in Rome:

The Bishop of Osnabrück [Germany], Franz-Josef Bode, sees that, in view of the Synod of Bishops as has been planned for this October 2015, the Catholic Church is facing important fundamental decisions. “We do not only face isolated questions concerning marriage and the family, but it is also about the fundamental decision as to how we want to react to the developments in Europe and the world,” said Bode himself to the journal Herder Korrespondenz, which is published in Freiburg [Germany].

Help this Traditional Catholic Book Scanning Campaign

An appeal from Rorate reader Mr. Paulo Frade:

Dear Rorate Friends,

I'm the webmaster of The objective of our initiative is to scan and make available rare Catholic books that are no longer being published or are hard to find either in Brazil or abroad.

The 100% free of cost e-books that we make available on our website, deal with various topics related to philosophy, theology, apologetics, cathechesis as well as Church history. The books are mostly in Portuguese, English, French, Spanish, and Latin. We are very careful in making sure that the books being scanned are not contrary to the Sacred Magisterium of the Catholic Church. After scanning almost 1000 books since 2009, we're now into our 4th campaign where we plan to scan another 150 books. We would really appreciate if Rorate could help us get the word out about our site.

Thank you for your help! God bless you!

"Bergoglio’s latest insult to Ratzinger: the sacking of his personal physician"

After this went public and caused grave scandal, Vatican spokesman Fr. Lombardi made great effort to present matters as business as usual and not a big deal at all, and scrambled to reassure that now the doctor would go on as the Pope Emeritus' personal doctor in a strictly personal position (which only hapened after the matter went public and caused huge scandal!)... Poor Pope Emeritus!...

We stress that the headline is not ours at all, but was published in the mainstream Italian paper Il Giornale as such ("L'ultimo dispetto di Bergoglio a Ratzinger"). Poor Pope Emeritus!...


"Bergoglio’s latest insult to Ratzinger: the sacking of his personal physician"

The chief physician who supported the canonization of Wojtyla is dismissed without prior notice. Before that the head of the Swiss Guards had been sacked too.

"Islam is a Religion, only another Religion can beat it." "The Lay Catholic Masses are stunning, but the Hierarchy is inactive."

Hungarian edition of
Michel Houellebecq's Submission (Soumission, Flammarion, 2015 - earlier review here), a novel based on a possible takeover of the France polity by an Islamic political party through democratic means, has been one of the great editorial successes of 2015.

In the most recent issue of the venerable Revue des Deux Mondes, dedicated to "prophetic writers" (that is, writers who express acutely the fears of their own times), Houellebecq, who would surely have become a Catholic convert in more confident times..., speaks on Islam and what is needed to stop it: namely, another religion.


Revue des Deux Mondes – But, since its enemies have declared war to Western Civilization, is a reaction possible among us? In the West, even in France? Or are you pessimistic even on this point?

Michel Houellebecq – It is not clear [what is needed] in order for this reaction to be efficacious. It is not an easy thing to combat a religious sect. Policemen, at the current time, defuse not a small number of attacks, but a purely police-based response to a religious sect is not assured to win it. In general, religions are the ones that beat other religions.

Marcello Pera: what an abyss between the Church of Biffi [Benedict XVI] and Galantino [Francis]!

Claudio Ponti interviews Marcello Pera, former President of the Italian Senate about [the late] Cardinal Giacomo Biffi.

Benedict XVI greeting Marcello Pera
‘Cardinal Biffi was a hero of the Church, who has no equal in most of the prelates of today’.

Claudio Ponti
Rimini 2.0
July 18, 2015

These are the words of Marcello Pera, President of the [Italian] Senate from 2001 to 2006, a philosopher, considered one of the leading Italian experts on Popper. During the years of his office - the second highest in the State - he developed a friendship with Benedict XVI, a relationship which continued even when Ratzinger became Pope Emeritus. From the intellectual harmony between them, three volumes were published: Senza Radici (Without Roots) (2004, Mondadori), which they wrote together and dedicated to Europe, relativism, Christianity and Islam, then, L’Europa di Benedetto (The Europe of Benedict) (2005, Cantagalli) by Joseph Ratzinger, for which Marcello Pera wrote the introduction, and Perché dobbiamo dirci cristiani: il liberalismo, L’Europa, l’etica (Why we have to say we are Christians: liberalism, Europe, Ethics) (2008, Mondadori) by Marcello Pera, with the introduction written by Benedict XVI.

Marcello Pera was in the front pew at the funeral of Cardinal Biffi who was the Archbishop of Bologna from 1984 to 2003.

We asked him some questions.

Church Labor Law in Germany and Same Sex "Unions" - Three Voices in the German Desert: "We Will Not Accept Self-Secularization Here"

For the background on the iniquitous change (enacted by the German Bishops' Conference itself, without having been prompted by any outside force), see our previous post.


Bishop Stefan Oster of  Passau, Facebook Entry, 22 July, 2015
The Church's Labor Law – a Few Thoughts From Passau About This Matter
[A Map of the Dioceses of Germany: Passau, Regensburg and Eichstätt are neighboring
dioceses in Bavaria, in the Southeast (lower right), next to Cardinal Marx's Munich-Freising.]

The bishops of Passau, Regensburg, and Eichstätt [Bishops Stefan Oster, Rudolf Vorderholzer, and Gregor Hanke] are in the process of checking whether and, if yes, when they will implement the revised Labor Law of the Church. Because of this, they are now variously called by public commentators as being either backward or as being those who put on the brakes; or as those who intend to dupe the other bishops; or as representatives of the “pure teaching”; or as those who, because of this, are acting in a way that does not relate any more to the life and the Faith of the people – which consequently helps to increase the numbers of people who leave the Church, etc., etc. Thus, I would like to add a few thoughts – from my own viewpoint, as well as from the viewpoint of Passau – for the sake of differentiation.

FIUV Position Paper: The Traditional Mass and Men

No shortage of men at Mass during the LMS' walking pilgrimage to Walsingham.
This year's pilgrimage starts on August 28th; details here.
Today I am publishing the 26th in the series of Position Papers prepared by the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce (FIUV), on the subject of the contribution which can be made by the Traditional Mass to the Evangelisation of men.

I've put some additional commentary on my own blog here.

I hope in the course of August to publish the next paper, which is on the concepts of Tradition, Restoration, and Reform.

The complete series of papers can be seen here. This paper can be downloaded as a pdf here.

They attempt to summarise, in 1,600 words, the most important arguments related to the Church's ancient liturgical tradition, each paper addressing a specific issue: Prefaces, the Lectionary, liturgical participation, the use of silence, the Kiss of Peace, and so on. They are where appropriate larded with references to the Magisterium and to scholarly studies. No one interested in the debate about the Catholic liturgy, from any perspective, should fail to read them.


FIUV Position Paper 26: The Extraordinary Form and the Evangelisation of Men

Since the 1970s, in the developed world, the ratio between Catholic men and women attending Mass, and committed in other ways to the Church, has changed noticeably. The size and resources of the Church in the United States enable us to consult carefully researched statistics for this phenomenon, which can be seen throughout the West. For example, in 1974, 46% of men and 45% of women surveyed regarded themselves as ‘strong Catholics’; in 2012, 24% of men and 30% of women did so.[1] In 2005 a survey reported that only 37% of regular worshippers at Masses in the United States were men.[2] A study published in 1985 showed that 70-90% of parish activities (catechesis, service, bible studies groups) were led by women.[3]

The Original Story: When the Jesuit Cardinal told Pope Benedict XVI he had to Resign

As our contributor Francesca Romana comments on the original article that first broke this amazing story published on Corriere della Sera and now published in English for the first time here in Rorate: "I don't know about this Father Fausti ...but surely this article should help put an end to the pious myth that the Holy Spirit always choses the Pope..."

Cardinal Martini’s confessor: When Martini said to Ratzinger: “The Curia is not going to change, you must go…”

Gian Guido Vecchi
Corriere della Sera
July 16,2015

Fr. Silvano Fausti’s narrative: at the 2005 Conclave, the ex-Archbishop of Milan supported the German in order to avoid the dirty games of a “slippery ” candidate.

VATICAN CITY. Father Silvano Fausti related that it happened when Benedict XVI and Carlo Maria Martini saw each other for the last time. It was in Milan, at the World Meeting for Families on June 2, 2012, that the Cardinal who had been ill for some time, left Aloisium di Gallarate to meet up with the Pope. That was when they looked each other in the eyes and Martini, who would be dead by August 31, said to Ratzinger: “The Curia is not going to change, you have no choice but to leave”. Benedict XVI had come back exhausted from his trip to Cuba at the end of March. That summer he began talking to his closest collaborators about it and they tried to dissuade him. In December, he convoked the consistory where he created six cardinals among which there wasn’t even one European to ‘rebalance’ the College. On February 11, 2013, he announced the ‘renunciation’ of his pontificate. A resignation ‘programmed’ from the very beginning of his papacy – if things didn’t go the way they were supposed to – from the moment that Martini shifted his consensus to Ratzinger at the 2005 Conclave, to avoid the ‘dirty games’ which aimed at the elimination of them both and the election of “someone ‘ very slippery’ from the Curia, …”, or  so the Jesuit priest reveals.

The Gospel in a Nutshell

 Dom Gérard Calvet OSB*

ONE DAY, as we were asking a Carmelite sister to tell us how she made her prayer, her heart to heart with the Lord, she responded that, for thirty-five years, one phrase of the Gospel was enough for her, and she returned to it without ceasing. It seemed to her that drawing on another source would be to be unfaithful to her particular vocation, or at least to the attraction which the Lord had given to her for her time of mental prayer. It is very true that the interior life, more than a response to passing impulses, is chiefly an effort to persevere in the direction of a continuous line flowing form the first grace.

The phrase that our Carmelite was taking in this way was drawn from the Gospel of John: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). The whole doctrine of salvation is contained in these few words: the divine paternity, the redemptive Incarnation, the role of faith, the drama of reprobation and the perspective of eternal happiness. The ancients gave a name to this verse of the Gospel of Saint John: they called it Evangelium in nuce, the Gospel in a nutshell. Let’s read it slowly and lets pause over each word so that we draw out the sap. This is perhaps the surest way to approach the great mystery of the Incarnation, this essential mystery, source of all the others, by which God touches the world. Lets try!

God so loved the world… Everything flows from the Trinity. Everything that is divine, everything that comes down from God and leads man to God can only be an outflowing of the love of the Trinity: God so loved the world... There is a great consolation and sweetness in this profession of faith in divine charity. It is something that makes the fear and the news of the worst catastrophes [1] lose their strength, like smoke that is blown away by the wind. So is there bad news? Can it be as bad as renouncing Love?

One can say that the race of saints has for two thousand years been working and plowing this field and have only been drawing the consequences of this essential good news, invoked so often: Deus caritas est. God is love. But according to a logic which made the ancient Greeks mock, it was necessary, so that this love express itself, so that it pour itself out on man, that God send His Son. This is the second part of our phrase.

... that he gave His only Son...

Event: Sung TLM in Church of Saint Joseph, Yonkers, NY.

May 20, 2015 - first TLM in St. Joseph, Yonkers in 50 years. 

From our friends in New York we have received the following announcement:

Record Number of Church Defections in Germany. Cardinal Marx: "This is the Joy of Francis"

DENIAL: The state of the Church in Germany
As it has been recalled on Twitter, almost twice as many defections from the Church in Germany under Francis than under Benedict XVI... Well, well...

German Bishops' Conference: Numbers of Catholics Leaving the Church Are at Its Highest On Record

Daniel Deckers
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
July 17, 2015

218.000 persons left the Church in the year 2014, 22 percent more than in the year before – and, besides that, more than ever before. The reason for it, according to the Archbishop of Freiburg, is very profane and secular.

In the year 2015, more Catholics than ever have left the Church. As the Catholic Bishops' Conference reported on Friday, the number of people having left the Church has risen 22 percent within the last year to now 218,000. The number of baptisms has remained nearly the same, however, when compared to the previous year: 165,000. The number of new members whom the Church has received either by entrance or by a re-entrance, has further sunken. Taken together, this number – for the first time – is less than 10,000.
The Bishops' Conference did not say anything about the deeper causes for such developments. Its president, Archbishop Marx of Munich, was quoted as saying that these new statistics show “that Church is multi-faceted and has still had a missionary force, even though the high number of exits from the Church makes us painfully aware that we do not reach people with our message.” Archbishop Burger, of Freiburg, spoke of the “irritations caused by the new way of gathering the Church taxes by referring to the capital incomes – which was erroneously then interpreted by many as an 'increase of taxes.'” Originally, the Church tax [Kirchensteuer] was only gathered together with the other taxes, when the tax payer formally requested it. Now, since 1 January 2015, it happens automatically. When, at the end of 2014, the banks started to inform their members about this new procedure, the number of exits considerably increased in the Catholic Church as well as in the Protestant churches.
[Concerning the numbers of the regular participants at the Sunday Mass: it is now 10.8 percent.] In 1990, the year of the re-unification, the number of the regular participants at Sunday Masses was 21.9 percent.

Also with regard to the priests and religious, the signs of implosion in the Church become visible only in a longer-term view. For example, the number of active priests [not yet retired] went down within the last fifteen years from nearly 13,000 to around 9,000. At the same time, fewer and fewer young men now prepare themselves for the priesthood in the seminaries. The number of female religious has been nearly cut into half since 1999 and is now down to approximately 17,500. Concerning the male religious, there is to be found a reduction of nearly 30 percent.


Press Release of the German Bishops' Conference, 17 July 2015

The Denial of the Law of God and His Rights

In his great encyclical letter Libertas Praestantissimum, Pope Leo XIII explains that it is not man’s place to dictate to God what man owes Him, but rather humbly and obediently to receive from God the law that must be followed if we are to please Him and attain the happiness for which He created us:

If the human mind be so presumptuous as to define the nature and extent of God’s rights and its own duties, reverence for the divine law will be apparent rather than real, and arbitrary judgment will prevail over the authority and providence of God. Man must, therefore, take his standard of a loyal and religious life from the eternal law; and from all and every one of those laws which God, in His infinite wisdom and power, has been pleased to enact, and to make known to us by such clear and unmistakable signs as to leave no room for doubt. And the more so because laws of this kind have the same origin, the same author, as the eternal law, are absolutely in accordance with right reason, and perfect the natural law. These laws it is that embody the government of God, who graciously guides and directs the intellect and the will of man lest these fall into error. (Libertas 17)

We see in these luminous words the confidence of a pope and of a church convinced of the reality and primacy of God, the existence of absolute truth, the ability of reason and faith to know that truth—and the ability of even fallen men to live according to that truth with the help of God’s grace (as Pope Leo develops at greater length elsewhere in the same encyclical, and as John Paul II was to do so masterfully in Veritatis Splendor).

A Pope who carefully plans what he says and does; and more from National Geographic's important new article on Francis

National Geographic has posted online its August 2015 feature article on Pope Francis (Will the Pope Change the Vatican? Or Will the Vatican Change the Pope?). Despite the presence of the standard clichés and stereotypes that mainstream secular American media is largely incapable of shedding when discussing Catholicism, the article's value is derived from its snippets of interviews with the Pope's circle of close friends. These shed much light on his plans and strategy for the future of the Church. Equally as important are the assertions that Pope Francis, far from being spontaneous and guileless, carefully plans the things he says and does. 

From the Synod of the Family, to clerical celibacy, to the Pope's attitude towards homosexuality, a clear picture emerges of a Papacy that, without explicitly aiming at changing doctrine, does aim at a very real revolution within the Church. Below is a selection of passages from the article that reveal much not only about the Pope's intentions, but also the unmistakable power and control that he exerts within the Vatican. 

"Non habetis, propter quod non postulatis": Why overhaul of Rite was so destructive to Church at large

 "Petite, et dabitur vobis: quaerite, et invenietis: pulsate, et aperietur vobis. Omnis enim qui petit, accipit: et qui quaerit, invenit: et pulsanti aperietur." [Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.] (Mt. 7:7-8) / "Litigatis, et belligeratis, et non habetis, propter quod non postulatis. Petitis, et non accipitis: eo quod male petatis." [You contend and war, and you have not, because you ask not. You ask, and receive not; because you ask amiss.] (James 4:2-3)

Considering the doctrine of prayer of Our Lord and of His apostle and kinsman St. James the Lesser will help us to understand how and why last century's overhaul of the liturgy of the Roman Rite proved so corrosive and destructive. For the Roman liturgy is nothing less than the corporate, public prayer of the Roman Church and the predominant rite of prayer of the Catholic Church. Prayer is so powerful, so fundamental to life, that the Church literally cannot perform the least of God's commands and counsels without prayer.

If, then, the Lord affirms that everyone who asks, receives, then it follows, as St. James reminds us, that those who do not ask do not obtain, and those who ask amiss shall not receive. In these basic principles of prayer we find the key to understanding the origin of the maladies afflicting the Church today, as well as their remedy.

In illustration of that point, we may highlight innumerable examples. However, because, as the Lake Garda Statement on the Ecclesial and Civilizational Crisis explains, the effective elision from Catholic life of the doctrine of the Social Kingship of Christ is both a cause and consequence of the Church's troubles, we may begin with a consideration of the liturgy of the Feast of Christ the King. (Within the past few days, Father John Hunwicke has explored this very aspect of the liturgy, while Peter Kwasniewski treated the subject here last year.)

Cardinal Takes Part in Pagan Worship in Argentina

"Pachamama" is the animist/pagan "goddess" of the earth for a number of Andean tribes. It remained mostly dormant or mythical for centuries with the successful evangelization of the Altiplano and the Andes by Spanish and native missionaries, but the efforts of different groups in the past few decades (including radical liberal "Catholic" religious) have strongly revived this pagan worship.

In a trip to the pope's native land of Argentina for the "Ecumenical Social Forum" in November 2014, (in San Marcos Sierras, Province of Córdoba, western Argentina), Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture and who was created a cardinal by Benedict XVI, spent a few minutes worshiping and presenting his homage to the goddess Pachamama, as the video below recorded. The video was released only very recently:

Classical Catholic School Opening in New Jersey: Sedes Sapientiae School

This Fall, New Jersey will be graced by the opening of a classical Catholic middle/high school – the first of its kind in New Jersey, and arguably the only of its kind in the entire Northeast: Sedes Sapientiae School.

The School’s inaugural class will range from approximately 11 to 20 students.

Launching this school has been a tremendously daunting undertaking, several years in the making. Those of us associated with the school reach out to you, the good readers of Rorate Caeli, for all the help and support we can get. We would very much appreciate it if you would keep us in your prayers, and help “spread the word” about this exciting development.

We’d also certainly appreciate any financial support that those who are able might be open to providing. The school has certain fixed expenses, yet a modest inaugural class. Until we get our enrollment numbers up (which will take a few years), our financial situation will be precarious. Any help now, at this critical moment, as we get ourselves fully established, would be of enormous assistance.

The School’s website is:

The website provides more information about the School, and has a link for donations.


The School’s location for the upcoming academic year (in Chatham Township, NJ) is a temporary one, and, unfortunately, does not feature a chapel. As such, the precise details regarding the School’s liturgical life have yet to be established. That said, three of the School’s four boardmembers hail from the FSSP apostolate in Pequannock, NJ (Our Lady of Fatima Chapel). Devotions such as the Rosary and Eucharistic Adoration, in addition to the Sacrament of Confession, will be made regularly available, on-site, to the School’s students, faculty, and staff. Gregorian Chant and Sacred Polyphony will be taught. Regarding the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, it is our intention to eventually have the Mass regularly offered at the School in the Extraordinary Form or not at all.

New Polyphonic Mass setting in honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Littleton, Colorado (the FSSP-run Traditional Catholic personal parish of the Archdiocese of Denver) marked the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel with a new Mass setting in which chant and polyphony alternate. Inspired by the work of the 16th-century Spanish priest and composer Tomás Luis de Victoria, sound clips of the new setting can be heard (being sung by the personal parish's choir) on the Denver Catholic website: Sounds a lot like love - Latin parish brings back sacred music for unique feast day Mass.

The most extraordinary event in English history

The Mother of God and her Divine Son appear to Saint Simon Stock in Cambridge - 764 years ago today: has there been any other moment in English history whose consequences have aided so many souls throughout the world achieve and keep holiness, reaching final perseverance? Men and women, made of flesh, need material reminders of the presence of God in their lives - and what could be more profitable than the blessed physical sign that Our Lady's Mantle covers us at all times, that Her Divine Son keeps watch over us day and night?
fortis pugnantium
furunt bella
tende praesidium
Saint Elias, pray for us!
Saint Simon Stock, pray for us!
Queen of Mount Carmel, pray for us!
Et fidelium animae per misericordiam Dei requiescant in pace. Amen.

Women's Fashions

Mater Castissima

Some excerpts from the writings of the late Don Vincenzo Cuomo, exorcist, (R.I.P. July 18, 2009) against the indecent fashions that are now spreading even into sacred places. Unfortunately, we rarely hear anyone today condemn these shameless fashions. We miss zealous priests like Don Giusppe Tomaselli, Don Lindo Ruotolo and Don Vincenzo Cuomo:

"Looking back at the summer season now over, we need to acknowledge, unfortunately, that nothing has improved with regard to women’s fashions, which have become increasingly more indecent. Nudism, these days, has even crossed the thresholds of our churches!

"There is a topic which has become taboo: women’s fashions. Who talks about it? Is it all acceptable? And if something isn’t acceptable, who should illuminate, rebuke and correct? Nudism, alas, has become increasingly more brazen and intrusive, fomented by [TV] shows, newspapers and billboard advertising […] We are now witnessing the globalization of immodesty, since the idea that a woman is not a woman if she isn’t provocative has taken root in [the minds] of the masses. It first began with the shortening of sleeves and then - sleeves disappeared altogether.

Blackfen Parish's Fr Steven Fisher: a tragic trajectory

Fr Steven Fisher, Twitter profile picture: taken a few years ago.
Rorate readers will be interested to hear that Fr Steven Fisher is leaving Blackfen parish, and the priesthood. He has been doing a teacher training course and plans to teach in a secondary school.

Many Rorate readers will associate the name of the parish of Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen, with the Traditional Mass. Over a decade, Fr Timothy Finigan introduced and nurtured the ancient Mass at the parish, and it was home to a good-sized congregation with a deep committment to the parish.

Last September Fr Finigan was moved to another parish, in Margate. The subsequent story was told on Rorate Caeli here.

The Holy See's New Alliances - I.
Behind Laudato Si: Meet the Irish dissident who was one of the chief advisors behind this encylical - and what he said about its theology

The New Yorker published last week a long opinion piece (A Radical Vatican?) by Naomi Klein, a radical eco-feminist (and abortion supporter who has publicly disparaged pro-lifers) who was specifically invited by the Vatican to be one of the four speakers at a major press conference held on July 1 in the Aula Giovanni Paolo II, organized by the Holy See Press Office and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. The press conference's goal was to introduce the international conference “People and Planet First: the Imperative to Change Course” held in the Augustinianum on July 2-3. The conference was co-hosted by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace along with CIDSE, an international alliance of 17 Catholic Development Organisations; predictably it focused to a great extent on Laudato Si. Klein also served as a panelist during the conference at the Augustinianum.

"A Radical Vatican?" is noteworthy not only as an example of how secular figures that the Vatican itself considers as allies are treating the encyclical as an epochal break from Catholic tradition, but also for its passages about the theological intentions behind the encyclical. (See below; emphases ours.) Here we find Naomi Klein quoting Fr. Seán McDonagh, who is part of the "administrative team" of the ultra-liberal and theologically dissident "Association of Catholic Priests" (ACP) in Ireland -- and was involved in drafting the encyclical. McDonagh's role in drafting Laudato Si is trumpeted not just by the ACP's website (which calls him "one of the chief advisors to the Vatican in the composition of the encylical") but by his own congregation (the Columbans -- see this) and by Vatican Radio, which not only acknowledges that he was one of the theologians consulted for the encyclical, but also chose to interview him about its importance. (Keep in mind that it is exceedingly rare for any of the actual drafters or advisors for an Encyclical to be publicly identified by official Church sources.)

Quo Primum, 445 Years


Quo primum tempore ad Apostolatus apicem [From the very first, upon Our elevation to the chief Apostleship], We gladly turned our mind and energies and directed all out thoughts to those matters which concerned the preservation of a pure liturgy, and We strove with God's help, by every means in our power, to accomplish this purpose. For, besides other decrees of the sacred Council of Trent, there were stipulations for Us to revise and re-edit the sacred books: the Catechism, the Missal and the Breviary. With the Catechism published for the instruction of the faithful, by God's help, and the Breviary thoroughly revised for the worthy praise of God, in order that the Missal and Breviary may be in perfect harmony, as fitting and proper - for its most becoming that there be in the Church only one appropriate manner of reciting the Psalms and only one rite for the celebration of Mass - We deemed it necessary to give our immediate attention to what still remained to be done, viz, the re-editing of the Missal as soon as possible.

For the record: Pope Francis personally clarifies that he was not offended by Hammer-and-Sickle "crucifix", explicitly acknowledges the Marxism of its Jesuit originator -- and praises him.

As expected, Pope Francis held an in-flight press conference on his way back to Rome this Monday. As widely reported by secular media, he made use of this opportunity to personally clarify his thoughts about the Hammer and Sickle "crucifix" (and the medallion, the "Order of Fr. Espinal" featuring a smaller version of the same) that were presented to him by President Evo Morales of Bolivia. Catholic News Agency has, thankfully, published a translation of the entire press conference (Full text of Pope Francis' in-flight interview from Paraguay to Rome.) The relevant portion is reproduced below (followed by our commentary):

"The Law of the Land is the Law of the Land" -- Except When It Actually Isn't and Couldn't Possibly Be

The Hireling
Spreading like wildfire through all the media is the "conciliatory" and "moderate" language of Cardinal Wuerl, as reported in a July 5 article:

“The law of the land is the law of the land,” says Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl. “We certainly follow what the law says. That doesn’t mean we change the word of God. That doesn’t mean we change the scriptures, or the church’s millennia-long tradition of what marriage is.” [link]

In one sense, this is hardly surprising; we have seen the same Cardinal take a soft line towards pro-abortion politicians who abuse the Most Blessed Sacrament by receiving It despite their notorious, persistent public dissent from immutable teaching on faith and morals. At the same time, however, it should shock us profoundly, as one more instance of a shepherd abandoning the crystal-clear teaching of the Church. The greatest witness to this teaching is, of course, the Angelic Doctor, who writes:



Antonio Socci
Libero Quotidiano
July 10, 2015

Pope Bergoglio seems to be quite at his ease immersed in the carnival babel of the plazas and regimes of South America. His character is more understandable in that atmosphere.

There are those who sustain that Morales was out of place and placed the Pope in difficulty, but it seems actually, that this is not how things were at all. In the first place, it seems obvious to suppose that the ceremonies were arranged beforehand, so I doubt that that “gift” took the Vatican by surprise (and if there hadn’t been the precautionary agreement, there would be something more to worry about as it would mean that the Pope is exposed to the affront of any demagogue at hand).

In the second place, it is significant that a Head of State, even of surreal socialism, like Morales, considered giving such a horror to Pope Bergoglio and nobody, on the other hand, ever thought of giving it to John Paul II or Benedict XVI (for example during the trips to Cuba). Evidently, they must have thought that the object – (which might perfectly well symbolize Liberation Theology and every latitude of “Catholic-communism” with Christ crucified as “a metaphor” for the poor”) – would have been welcomed and appreciated by the Argentinian Pope.


Morales, in fact, didn’t have the attitude of a “provoker”, but as an admirer of Bergoglio, whom he praised continuously as the “Pope of the poor”.

Exclusive for Rorate: Michael Davies Memorial Lecture by Roberto de Mattei - "From the Second Vatican Council to the Synod: The Teaching of Michael Davies"

Requiem and Michael Davies Memorial Lecture


A requiem for Michael Davies was celebrated by Fr Tim Finigan in the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street, London W1B 5LZ, at 5.30pm yesterday, Friday 10th July 2015. The Mass was accompanied with music by Cantus Magnus, under the direction of Matthew Schellhorn.

Following the Mass, The Michael Davies Memorial Lecture was delivered by Roberto de Mattei, Professor of Modern History and Christian History at the European University in Rome. His lecture was entitled 'From the Second Vatican Council to the Synod: The Teaching of Michael Davies'.

The lecture, which was held in the church hall at Warwick Street and chaired by Adrian Davies - Michael’s son, started at 6.30pm. The Mass and lecture were open to all.

Exclusive for Rorate Caeli


From the Second Vatican Council to the Synod: 
The Teaching of Michael Davies

Roberto de Mattei

Dear friends,

It’s an honour and a pleasure for me to be here to speak about the work of Michael Davies, whom I met personally and consider one of the few true defenders of the Catholic faith of the 20th century.
His books anticipate those of Romano Amerio 1 and Monsignor Gherardini 2 and my History of the Second Vatican Council II is also indebted to them.3
In the first paragraph of his book Cranmer’s Godly Order (published in 1976) Michael Davies wrote that the Church was going through “the greatest crisis since the Protestant Reformation, quite possibly the greatest since the Arian heresy”. For Davies this crisis has its most recent roots in the Second Vatican Council to which he dedicated an entire volume, the second of his memorable trilogy, The Liturgical Revolution.4
He returned to Vatican II in 1992 with another important book: The Second Vatican Council and Religious Liberty 5. The problems relating to the liturgy and religious liberty at first glance, appear distant from each other but actually have a common origin in the Second Vatican Council and its consequences.
In this conference, I’ll be focusing on the fundamental aspect of Mr. Davies’ work: that is, his contribution to the understanding of Vatican II and its aftermath.

The convocation of the Second Vatican Council

On October 9th 1958 Pope Pius XII died. On January 25th 1959, only three months after his election to the papal throne, the new Pope, John XXIII, announced the convocation of the Second Vatican Council.
Davies retraces Vatican II starting from its convocation, by using the words of Cardinal Pietro Sforza Pallavicino (1607-1667), a historian of the Council of Trent, quoted by Cardinal Manning: “… to convoke a General Council, except when absolutely demanded by necessity, is to tempt God6.
This was not what some conservative cardinals thought, seeing that from the moment John XXIII was elected, they encouraged him to convoke an ecumenical Council. The First Vatican Council had been brusquely interrupted by the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, and these cardinals imagined its continuation – in their intentions -  would be culminated with the drafting of a “Syllabus” of contemporary errors. They counted on the support of Monsignor Domenico Tardini, seeing that they had imposed on John XXIII, Tardini’s nomination as cardinal and Secretary of State, as a condition for his election to the Papacy.
Monsignor Tardini’s unexpected death on July 30th 1961, while the preparatory phase for the Council was in progress, upset these plans. The conservative cardinals also, overestimated the strength of the Roman Curia and underestimated their adversaries,’ who were forming a powerful and well-organized party. In his book, The Rhine flows into the Tiber, Father Ralph Wiltgen, was the first to reveal the existence of this organized structure.7 In my book about the Council I reported new elements based on the memories of some protagonists and some archival documents, which came to light in recent years.
In June 1962, when the first seven schemas of the conciliar constitutions (which  had been worked on by ten committees for three years under the supervision of Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani) were submitted to the Pope, John XXIII was still convinced that the Council would have been closed by December. The Pope approved the preparatory schemas and in July, three months before the opening of the Council, ordered that they be sent to all the Council Fathers, as a basis for discussion at the general congregations.
The Second Vatican Council opened in St. Peter’s Basilica on October 11th 1962.

The Lake Garda Statement

Lake Garda from Above

This year’s Summer Symposium of The Roman Forum in Gardone Riviera, on the shores of Lake Garda (See previous reports: here and here), concluded with a strong statement on the crisis in the Church and the world, and the necessity of returning to the fulness of Catholic Social Teaching in order to meet the crisis. It calls for an end to the policy of “opening to the world,” and for an end to the “fruitless collaboration with the Church’s implacable opponents” that this opening has meant, and calls for “a recovery of the Church’s traditional teaching on the Social Reign of Christ the King.” The statement is being simultaneously published on several websites. We are pleased to publish this important document in full here on Rorate Cæli. (Printable version). 

The Lake Garda Statement

On the Ecclesial and Civilizational Crisis


Among the Catholic faithful the conviction grows that the ongoing crisis in the Church and the drastic moral decline of our civilization have entered a critical new phase which represents a turning point in the history of the world. 

In the Church, a Synod on the Family has devolved into a battle to defend the indissolubility of marriage from an attack within, pitting cardinal against cardinal and bishop against bishop. The Synod has produced a midterm relatio, approved by the Pope himself, which calls for the admission of divorced and remarried Catholics to Holy Communion on a “case by case” basis without any renunciation of adulterous relations, contrary to the explicit teaching of Pope John Paul II in line with the perennial discipline of the Church.[1] The same document speaks of “valuing” the “homosexual orientation” while recognizing the “precious support for the life of the partners” supposedly provided by “homosexual unions.”[2] Bishop Athanasius Schneider rightly observes that “[t]his is the first time in Church History that such a heterodox text was actually published as a document of an official meeting of Catholic bishops under the guidance of a pope, even though the text only had a preliminary character.”[3]

The Defining Image of the Pontificate

Could one imagine an image of a smiling Pius VII receiving a "crucifix" on a small guillotine? Or a smiling Pius XII receiving a "crucifix" on a Swastika?

And horrendous as both the Terreur and the Nazis were, neither reached the absolute numbers of victims (ongoing as we speak, with Catholics in their dungeons as we speak) of the doctrine of the Hammer and Sickle. Communism, the greatest killer of Christians of all ages, defiles the Sacred Image of Our Lord and the memory of so many martyrs. And now they want to erase even this in the name of "dialogue"!...

The image above will forever remain, for all posterity, the defining image of this pontificate.

Radicati EDITORIAL: "We are faithful Sons and Daughters of the Church - we persist out of Love!"


Editorial: Radicati nella fede, July 2015
Newsletter of the Catholic community of
Vocogno, Diocese of Novara, Italy

It is for love of the Church that we remain with Tradition. It is for love of the Church that we persist - against all odds – in the celebration only of the Traditional Rite. It is for love of the Church that we even resist Her when She asks us to celebrate and attend the New Rite of the Mass.

This is absolutely not about antiquarianism – it is not about a love of the past for the sake of the past. On the other hand, the last liturgical reform, which has distorted the life of the Church for fifty years now, was created not out of love for the Church and Her history, but out of a faulty antiquarianism.

Actually, with the last liturgical reform, i.e. the New Mass, there was the will de facto to wipe the slate of the Church’s two thousand year history clean, with the idea of returning to some mythical golden-age of the Church’s beginnings – inventing a super-simplified liturgy which, mistakenly, wanted to go back to the time of the Apostles and Our Lord. If you ask some ordinary lay-folk, they will in fact tell you this, that the modern liturgy in its stripped-down simplicity, corresponds more with the simplicity of the Gospel. When all is said and done, many, including priests, think like this. They also think lovers of Tradition are weak individuals, who still need some ‘useless frills’ to live their faith.

"An Act of Parliament, directly oppugnant
to the laws of God and his holy Church..."

All which notwithstanding the jury found him guilty, and incontinent upon the verdict the Lord Chancellor [for that matter chief commissioner] beginning in judgment against him, Sir Thomas More said to him,

"My Lord, when I was towards the law, the manner in such case was to ask the prisoner before judgment, why judgment should not be given against him."

Whereupon the Lord Chancellor staying his judgment, wherein he had partly proceeded, demanded of him what he was able to say to the contrary. Who then in this sort mildly made answer:

"Forasmuch as, my Lord, this indictment is grounded upon an Act of Parliament, directly oppugnant to the laws of God and his holy Church, the supreme government of which, or of any part thereof, may no temporal prince presume by any law to take upon him as rightfully belonging to the See of Rome, a spiritual preeminence by the mouth of our Saviour himself, personally present upon the earth, to St. Peter and his successors, bishops of the same see, by special prerogative, granted, it is therefore in law amongst Christian men insufficient to charge any Christian."

Radicati EDITORIAL: Our dedication to Tradition must be total, we cannot settle for anything less.

Mysticism and Human Calculations
Editorial: Radicati nella fede, June 2015
Newsletter of the Catholic community of
Vocogno, Diocese of Novara, Italy

Joan Llimona i Bruguera
Saint Philip Neri in the Consecration of the Holy Mass (1902)
Church of Saint Philip Neri, Barcelona

Will anything change in the Church? Will we see the end of the modernist crisis? Will we see the Church return to Tradition? Humanely speaking, we have to say no. This crisis has been going on far too long for a probable rebirth on the human level. Catholics with a taste for the things of the world are so widespread now and Tradition so scant that it is discouraging from a human point of view. So, we may well say that we’ll not see a return to Tradition according to human predictions.

Yet, we pray and work every day for Tradition to return as the universal patrimony of the Church. We ‘do’ Tradition for this reason, we ‘do’ it so that everyone will return to it and that the Church will be rid of the modernist poison in Her doctrine and pastoral work.

Would there be any logic in embracing Tradition and passing over to the Old Mass just out of personal taste? What sense is there in “doing” Tradition if there is no desire for its return and total reign in the universal Church? This would be a senseless game to play! And we won’t play it!

Reminder: Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society

This is our monthly reminder to please enroll Souls of the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society. And, please remember our new policy change, that the names of Souls you enroll will no longer be made public. We are now at 56 priests saying weekly or monthly traditional Latin Masses for the souls.

7/7/7 + 8
- Help Summorum Pontificum do its work

It will rise again, I tell you, [...] the Mass will rise again, as I tell so many who come to me to complain (and they do it, at times, crying); and to him who asks me how I can be so sure of it, I answer (as a "poet", if you would like) bringing him to my balcony and showing him the sun... It will be evening soon and there, in the church of San Domenico [in Fiesole], the friars will sing, at Vespers: Iam sol recedit igneus; but, in a few hours, those same Dominicans, my friends, will sing, at Prime: Iam lucis orto sidere - and thus every day.

The sun, I mean, will rise again, it will shine again after the night, to brighten up the earth from the sky, because...because it is the sun, and God thus established it for our life and comfort. Thus, I add, it is and thus it will be with the Mass - the Mass which is "ours", Catholic, of all times, and of all people: our spiritual Sun, so beautiful, so saintly, and so sanctifying - against the delusions of the bats, driven out [of their hiding places] by the Reform, [who believe] that their hour, the hour of darkness, will not end.

And I recall: on this large balcony of mine we were several in a past year, watching the total solar eclipse. I remember, and I almost seem to feel it again, the feeling of coldness, of sadness, and almost of disillusion in watching it, in feeling the air darken and freeze, little by little. I remember the silence in the city, while the swallows... while the birds disappeared, frightened, and the repugnant chiropters appeared, flying in the sky.

To him who said, when the sun was entirely covered: -"What if it were not visible anymore?" - a thought to which none answered, almost as if not realizing the joke in it... The sun is visible anew, in fact, the sun rises again, after a brief daytime night, as beautiful as before and, as it seems, more than before, while the air is filled again by swallows, and the bats go back into hiding.

As before, luminous and beautiful, and yet being the same, the sun seems greater than it was before, as in ... the Gospel [lesson] of the lost and found drachma.

As it was before, and greater than it was before: thus it will happen with the Mass, thus the Mass will seem to our eyes, guilty of not having esteemed it worthily before the eclipse; our hearts guilty for not having loved it enough.
Tito Casini
Nel fumo di Satana: verso l'ultimo scontro
Florence, 1976 (reposted)


It has been eight years since His Holiness Pope Benedict XVl  blessed the Church and the world with the great gift of Summorum Pontificum.

"The Catholic Church in Crisis"
- a 1978 essay by Fr. Louis Bouyer

The Catholic Church in Crisis


Translation © COPYRIGHT 2015
 John M. Pepino

What has come to be called “the Lefebvre affair” deserves a close investigation. At first glance, one may think that it reveals only the somewhat strange mentality, a ghetto mentality, of Catholics who are incapable of coming out of their isolation, of their life within a closed community in a safeguarded dream.  In reality, once one examines it seriously, it reveals a deep malaise in French Catholicism and, therefore, in French society as a whole. And it would be a mistake to believe that this malaise is a recent one: it goes back a long way and its symptoms will never be healed so long as we refuse to go back to its sources. And still there would be more to say. It could never have developed, branched out, and lastly grown such monstrous and grotesque buds, had modern Catholicism’s most characteristic trait not come about, namely: a phenomenal, and not altogether healthy, development of the papacy. And here again what is at stake is the whole evolution of French society and, more generally, of that Western society which was long synonymous with “Christendom.” If such is the case, it won’t be a waste of time to push our analysis of the “Lefebvrist” phenomenon further than is usually done.


First of all, who is Archbishop Lefebvre, and what exactly has he done to provoke such reactions in and around the Church of France? Is he not himself a typical reactionary who blurs, as is only to be expected, clerical reaction with political and social reaction? One could doubtless find many of his own words to provide an apparently ample justification for this simplistic description. But the actual facts are far from being as simple as they seem. Let us first note that Archbishop Lefebvre belongs to one of the greatest French missionary families: the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers, whose superior general he was for a time. In that capacity he was for a long period the Archbishop of Dakar, and manifestly enjoyed full confidence on the part of the Holy See, which had made him its Apostolic Delegate for that entire region of Black Africa. Note carefully that at the time we were right at the end of the so-called “colonial” period, when the Church—for once!—was ahead of an inevitable politico-social process, decolonization, as she Africanized mission territories like that entrusted to Archbishop Lefebvre as quickly and as widely as possible. Now it is a matter of fact that he behaved in such an open and generous manner that all the African bishops, many of whom he had appointed himself, have remained to the bitter end his firmest defenders before the Holy See.  The Holy See’s delay in taking its well-known action against his post-conciliar activity—which action the French episcopate had been awaiting with understandable impatience—is principally due to these African bishops’ indefectible loyalty. This is all the more remarkable that, quite frankly, the same bishops hardly exhibit any comparable warmth towards his colleagues in France as a whole, and this despite the latters’ principled liberalism or progressivism. This was bluntly revealed in a particularly awkward scene that poor Cardinal Marty had to endure in Rome at the end of a synod of bishops where the Africans had generally voted to get the French off the permanent synodal organs.[2]

        Actually Archbishop Lefebvre, by virtue of his family background, belongs to the Northern French sort of Catholicism that formed generations of sincerely and deeply “social” employers without whose support Catholic Action generally, and the Jeunesse ouvrière catholique specifically,[3] would never have developed as extraordinarily as they did in our country between the two wars. You may call this “social Catholicism” paternalistic, but you’ll have to admit that it is a peculiar sort of paternalism that can encourage, or even to a large degree finance, such initiatives. The popularity that Cardinal Liénart long enjoyed among the genuinely working class of the North (where, for his part, he had stayed) as well as that which Archbishop Lefebvre stills enjoys in so-called “liberated” Africa is proof enough that one cannot be satisfied with sticking people into ready-made pigeon holes. Pigeon hole for pigeon hole and at the risk of scandalizing some people, I would say that  Archbishop Lefebvre’s Catholicism is basically in the tradition of Péguy,[4] which may explain his surprising success among the most popular social classes of France just as well as, if not more than, among more or less well-off circles. By this I first mean a Catholicism characterized, or even perfectly expressed, by that veneration of Joan of Arc “the good Lorraine girl,” “the saint of the homeland,” that so strikingly typified 1930s French Catholicism. It was a veneration that seemed even to eclipse that rendered to the Virgin, though not perhaps that of “Lourdes” (“Be Queen amongst us!” and so forth). In this Catholicism, “the Good Lord” was more or less identical with the Sacred Heart stamped on the blue-white-and-red flags that fluttered about Joan’s statue in the rue des Pyramides. Action Française,[5] of course, handily took hold of it, but it also got along well with a certain “1848” kind of socialism;[6] it was deeply popular but for all that also authoritarian and regimented—it came close to the satirical spoof by Muller and Reboux’s famous Cahiers: “ . . .  A yearly subscription gets you military honors; a two-year subscription gets you eternal salvation!”