Rorate Caeli

Synod: Swiss Bishops' Conference's Website Floats Idea That Confessor Should Ignore Church Teaching on Morals

[Translator's Note:, the official website of the Swiss Bishops' Conference, recently published on 21 August 2015 ( a short comment and summary of an objectively scandalous interview with Dr. Markus Arnold, a Swiss Catholic lay theologian and a professor of Theological Ethics at the University of Lucerne ( After this comment, the Swiss Bishops' Conference's website permissively gives the link to the entire original interview.]

Excerpts below:

Question: The Catechism [of the Catholic Church] says one should treat homosexuals with compassion.

Could Francis eliminate 2/3 rule at upcoming Synod?

The well-respected and prolific Dr. John Rao, who also served as Rorate's credentialed correspondent at the last conclave, today sent us this chilling piece for our readers to ponder: 

Pope Francis and the Triumph of the Will

I just returned from three and a half months in a Europe as overwhelmingly indifferent as the New World to yet another traditionalist obsession---the survival of marriage and the family. Back in the States, I thought that I might share with Rorate readers a grave concern that I have been hearing expressed by a number of Catholics who still believe that that issue of marital and familial survival just might have a certain significance for mankind. This is the fear that Pope Francis, knowing that the majority of those who attended the Extraordinary Synod last year were in favor of Cardinal Kasper’s assault on Catholic morality, might personally change the rules this October to ensure that the voice of the mass of the People of God triumphs over the obstructionism of a minority of tyrannical orthodox nitpickers. 

I don’t know whether this is a real possibility, but, quite frankly, it would seem rather contradictory for the Holy Father to allow a pedantic 2/3 “rule” to stand in the way of the victory of democracy or any other contemporary consideration whatsoever. Pope Francis has repeatedly expressed his interest in listening and responding enthusiastically to the deeply felt needs of a world somehow more attuned than ever before to the innate dignity of the human person. Why not simply cut to the quick and use the coming Synod forthrightly to show his solidarity with the most basic underlying principle of the whole of modernity? 

EVENT: Pre-Synod Address and Pontifical High Mass - Cardinal Burke at Steubenville - UPDATED

The Synod on the Family: Addressing the Instrumentum Laboris

Keynote: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

Followed by a Panel Discussion

September 8, 2015
The Ordinary General Synod of Bishops will meet for the 14th time from October 4-25, 2015, in the Vatican adressing the theme, "The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world."
As the bishops prepare to meet, the "working document" for their preparation and eventual discussion, the Instrumentum Laboris, has received much scrutiny. His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, the Cardinal Patronus of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, will deliver a keynote address at Franciscan University concerning the synod and the issues it will address.
Following his address, Cardinal Burke will be joined by eight experts in various fields of theology and philosophy. The members of the panel have all submitted essays on various aspects of the Instrumentum Laboris for inclusion in a book to be published by Emmaus Road before the synod.
The day will begin with a Pontifical High Mass in the Extraordinary Form offered by Cardinal Burke at St. Peter Parish in downtown Steubenville with sacred music supplied by the University's Schola Cantorum Franciscana, directed by Nicholas Will, professor of Sacred Music, and accompanied on the organ by Andrew Barnick '15.

Live Streaming

This event will be live streamed. Come back to this page for the live stream on the day of the event.

Tickets for the Address and Panel Discussion

Marriage, it's always been marriage

From the very first Martyrdom, that of the "Greatest born of women", Saint John the Baptist, whose Beheading we celebrate today, the purity/indissolubility of marriage has always been the essential moral and social dogmatic centerpiece of Christian life since the fullness of time, when Our Lord Jesus Christ, "by virtue of His supreme legislative power ...restored the primeval law in its integrity by those words which must never be forgotten, 'What God hath joined together let no man put asunder'." (Casti connubii, 34)

"There's No Such Thing as Moderate Islam": An Iraqi Priest Describes the Christian Genocide

Padre Douglas al Bazi recounts the Christian Genocide in Iraq

Matteo Matzuzzi
August 26th 2015

“Wake up! The cancer is at your door. They will destroy you. We, the Christians of the Middle East are the only group that has seen the face of evil: Islam”.

Rome. “Please, if there’s anyone who still thinks ISIS doesn’t represent Islam, know that they are wrong. ISIS represents Islam one hundred percent.” Father Douglas al Bazi, an Iraqi Catholic parish priest in Erbil, raised his voice during an intervention at the Meeting in Rimini, with a choice of words – in a provocative way and in hard tones –  that few had ventured use so far.

He carries on his own body the scars of the torture he underwent nine years ago, when a band of Jihadists kidnapped him for nine days, keeping him in chains and blindfolds along with a broken nose from being kneed: “For the first four days they didn’t even give me anything to drink. They would walk past me saying ‘Father, do you want some water?’ All day long they would listen to the reading of the Koran to let the neighbours hear what good believers they were.”

Soft diplomatic language and fashionable respectability which is used to avoid clashing with various sensibilities, are not for Father Douglas. No room in his words either, for the debates on the more or less high level of moderation inherent in religions. The same goes for appeals to dialogue at all costs with the decapitators and hangmen of old, retired scholars and - even with the caliph himself. Father Douglas’s intervention is not very much in line with some western social and cultural debaters and ‘preachers’ but more along the lines of the local Bishops, such as the Patriarch of Baghdad, mar Louis Raphaël I Sako, who, in his book “Stronger than Terror” (Emi) accused the Ayatollah al Sistani, the highest authority of the Iraqi Shiites, of having remained silent regarding the Jihadists’ persecutions against minorities because “they won’t listen to me anyway”.

Roberto de Mattei: "The Synod of Adultery: the Church has been here before”

St. Theodore the Studite, and the “Synod of Adultery”
Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
26th August 2015

 “The Synod of Adultery” an assembly of Bishops in the 9th century, made history when they wanted to approve the praxis of  a second marriage after the repudiation of a legitimate wife.  St. Theodore the Studite, (759-826) was the one who opposed it the most vigorously and for this was persecuted, imprisoned and exiled three times.

It all started in January 795, when the Roman Emperor of the East (Basileus) Constantine  VI (771-797) had his wife Maria of Armenia locked up in a monastery and began an illicit union with Theodora, the lady-in-waiting to his mother, Irene.  A few months later the Emperor had her proclaimed “Augusta”  Theodora, but being unable to convince the Patriarch Tarasios (730-806) to celebrate the new wedding, he finally found a minister willing to do so in the priest Joseph, hegumen (head) of the Monastery of Kathara on the Island of Ithaca, who officially blessed the adulterous union.

EXCLUSIVE - Book Review - Pre-Synod Book "Eleven Cardinals Speak on Marriage and the Family"

Eleven Cardinal Speak on Marriage and the Family: Essays from a Pastoral Standpoint, dedicated to the issues of Marriage and the Family to be discussed in the October Synod (Winfried Aymans, Editor) published by Ignatius Press, will be available in September.


Eleven Cardinals Defend Traditional Catholic Moral Teaching on Marriage and the Family

Book review by Dr. Maike Hickson.

On September 4, Ignatius Press will release a new book defending the traditional moral teaching of the Catholic Church (, entitled: Eleven Cardinals Speak On Marriage and the Family. Father Joseph Fessio, S.J. decided to redouble his effort in support of those princes of the Church who fight to uphold the authoritative teaching of the Church based upon the words of Christ Himself. Last year, Ignatius published the Five Cardinals Book, this year the Eleven Cardinals Book. 

Antonio Socci: "The Catholic Church is not the Bergoglio Party" - "for 2 years, nothing about extermination of Christians, but on Muslim migrants they can't stop talking!"


Antonio Socci
August 23rd 2015

[Bp. Nunzio Galantino, appointed Secretary-General of the Italian Bishops' Conference
by the Pope and new laughingstock of Italian political and ecclesial life]
To the courageous headline in yesterday’s “Libero” (“The Pope’s Party. The Vatican’s Political Shift”) only one idea should be added: the Bergoglio Party is one thing (which is doing harm, but will fade with him), the Catholic Church is another. The other day Matteo Salvini* rightly noted this in the polemics he had with Monsignor Galantino. Plus, the very caustic interview with Giovanni Sartori - the king of political analysts - helped clarify it all:

“To me, this Vatican that utters such nonsense is a disaster. They aren’t interested at all in the real facts and focus on very petty things”. [Note: Sartori also declared, "Galantino? To me, he seems... demented."]

Sartori has always torn Italian politics to shreds, but to the Bergoglio Party he says: “Let me do the work of the political analyst – you attend to the things priests attend to”.

What would those “real facts” be that the priests should be attending to? Sartori is merciless:

“for two years” – he says – those in Bergoglio’s Church haven’t said a word about the extermination of Christians, the slaughter of Catholics in Africa and the rest of the world, along with the continuous persecution of the Kurds. They should focus on these issues and leave alone the things that are not of their competence”.

It’s true that there are some shocking cases of Christians condemned to death for the faith – like Asia Bibi or Meriem – whom Bergoglio has always refused to mention.

Catholic Traditionalist Cultural Organization Founded in New York

The current crisis in the Catholic Church is rooted in part in a general cultural malaise. A renewal of genuine Catholic culture is thus one of of the things that would be necessary to overcome the crisis.  We are therefore pleased to report the founding of The Lumen Christi Association of New York: Pro Fide et Cultura (LCA). As the LCA’s Mission Statement puts it, the organization was formed,
to address the educational and cultural needs of persons, institutions, and societies in accordance with the sacred traditions and sacramental life of the Catholic Church, LCA seeks to promote cultural solidarity, a higher law of liberty, the salvation of souls, respect for the ecological and moral order of nature, literacy in theological and liturgical matters, a reintroduction of the classical principles of art and architecture into public and religious space, and harmony between science and religion... Through prayer, persuasion, and action, LCA holds out the possibility of redeeming a sense of Christendom. To that end, LCA’s mission will be realized through conferences, seminars, and lectures, and through collaborative efforts both to support existing institutions and to found new ones consonant with LCA’s ideals and core beliefs.
The LCA’s first public event will be “An Evening to Benefit the Benedictine Monks of Norcia.”

Important New Book on Marriage

Miguel Ayuso and Bernard Dumont

Modern Churchmen are supposedly eager to listen to the insights of competent laymen. They would do well to apply that principle to an important new book that is to be published at the beginning of September by The International Union of Catholic Jurists (UIJC). Edited by the  traditionalist Catholic President of UIJC, Miguel Ayuso, the book includes contributions from numerous distinguished Catholic lay-scholars in six languages (English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish). Although it is clearly meant to contribute to the debate around Cardinal Kasper’s proposals, most of the essays approach the question from a wider perspective, examining the nature and importance of marriage in the light of legal theory, legal history, and philosophy. Thus Bernard Dumont (editor of the French review Catholica) shows how recent confusion about the nature of marriage flows from a false, modern understanding of freedom. Danielo Castellano (professor of philosophy at the University of Udine, Italy, and editor of the journal Instaurare) shows how ancient philosophy was able to understand the nature of marriage as a union of one man and one woman for the whole of life, for the sake of the generation and education of children. Wolfgang Waldstein (professor emeritus of Roman Law at the University of Salzburg, Austria) shows how the same natural-law insights were made by the ancient Roman jurists.

Don Dolindo Ruotolo: "It is the duty of every Catholic to contribute to the salvation of souls."

Fragments by Don Dolindo Ruotolo:

It is the duty of every Catholic to contribute to the salvation of souls

In the Church’s great battle, the inactive souls are more numerous than those who with full and absolute trust in God, are truly dedicated to the good of all. Fear and human respect prevail in a great many Catholics, who are content to camp in the Church, but never move into action […] Yet it is the duty of every Christian to contribute to the salvation of souls; if a sinner experienced rebuke, help, exhortation and is assailed by the insistence of his brothers, it would be more difficult for him to fall into the depths of the abyss. We see, very painfully, the opposite: sinners are left to rot in their deplorable state, and the just are attacked by the hostility and mockery of others. It is a horrible thing!

[From "La Sacra Scrittura", volume V, by Don Dolindo Ruotolo, Apostolato Stampa].


The Infallible secret of the Christian Life and Eternal Salvation

Beautiful Ars Celebrandi Traditional liturgy workshop in Poland - report and pictures, with declarations by Bp. Schneider

On 19 August 2015, at the “Ars Celebrandi” workshop of traditional liturgy [see announcement here], bishop Athanasius Schneider from Kazakhstan celebrated Pontifical Mass and Vespers, and gave a lecture on the proper renewal of the liturgy and due adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. He also answered questions from the participants of the workshops and signed his latest book Corpus Christi.

In his lecture, entitled “The Renewal of the Liturgy and the Perennial Sense of the Church”, which abounded in quotations from the New Testament, the writings of the Church Fathers and the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, His Excellency pointed out that the essential feature of the sacred liturgy is the adoration of God.

FIUV Position Paper: Tradition, Restoration, and Reform

The language of reform has been important in the Church since the era of the Second Vatican Council, as it has been in the political sphere since the French Revolution, but it does not, or should not, mean the same thing in the Church as in secular politics. It will no doubt surprise many liberal Catholics that when the read (in English) the word 'reform' in texts of Vatican II and official 'reforming' documents from before and after it, the words translated 'reform' and also 'revise', 'revision' and so forth, actually mean restore: instauratio, instaurare, recognoscantur

This is not a merely verbal point: genuine reform in the Church is always a matter of restoration, since the opposite of reform is not stability but decay. Restoration is how you maintain stability and continuity, not how you undermine it. Whether the changes made following the Council were successful in restoring the authentic spirit and practices of the Church, is a question which needs to be asked case by case. The concern of this paper is to establish that this is the correct question to ask, and that the efforts of supporters of the ancient liturgy in restoring the Traditional Mass to the Altars of our churches and the spiritual lives of Catholics, have at least as much claim to be about instauratio as the efforts of Bugnini and his associates.

I say something about Pope Francis' use of the term 'restorationist' on my blog here.

Comments can made on my own blog or email to: treasurer AT

I will not be publishing a Position Paper in September, but there is another in preparation which should be ready not long thereafter.

This is numer 27 of an ongoing series. This paper can be downloaded as a pdf here; the complete series can be seen online here, and most (1-23) are included in a hard-copy book which can be purchased from Lulu here.

The passing on of Tradition: a Traditional Solemn Mass at the St Catherine's Trust Summer School
in July, attended by 24 children in North Wales, UK; Mass took place in St David's Church, a Pugin
church attached to the Franciscan Retreat Centre at Pantasaph, near Flint.

Positio 27: Tradition, Reform, and Restoration

This paper seeks to address two possible objections to the revival of the Extraordinary Form: that such a project is contrary to the spirit of reform called for by the Church, particularly by the Second Vatican Council; and that such a project is contrary to the nature of tradition itself, which should not be ‘rediscovered,’ but only ‘passed on’.

Sermon: The Fleshliness of the Catholic Faith

Fr. Richard G. Cipolla
Delivered at a Solemn Traditional Mass, at St. Mary's, Norwalk, Connecticut

“At this the Jews began to quarrel among themselves, saying, “How can he give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said: “The man who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.  The man who feeds on me will have life because of me.” (John 6:52-55)
The Greek verb for the English translation that says “began to quarrel among themselves” has the overtones of a nasty fight.  Jesus statement, “I am the bread from heaven”, his personalization of what was understood to be spiritual caused the Jews to murmur as they did in the desert at Meribah.  But then Jesus’ words about feeding on his flesh and blood causes a near riot to break out.  I would suspect with just cause that in many Catholic parishes today a riot would break out if the parishioners were told that they had to take Jesus’ words seriously about eating his flesh and blood.

John Rao to Lecture on “Splendors and Miseries of the Tridentine Life”

Dr. John Rao (shown in the video above reading the Lake Garda Statement) will be delivering the customary Roman Forum Lecture Series in New York this year on the glories of Baroque Catholicism and their demolition in the Enlightenment. The Program will be as follows:

The Roman Forum
New York City Church History Program

Splendors and Miseries of the Tridentine Life:
The High Baroque and the Architects of Demolition: 1689-1748

Lecturer: John Rao, D. Phil., Oxford University
Associate Professor of History, St. John's University

Louis Bouyer's Memoirs Available Again

John Paul II’s “Letter to Families”—Remember That One?

How quickly we forget… In an age of ephemeral communications and ever-multiplying pronouncements, even the finest papal documents can get buried in the sands of oblivion. I am as well aware as the next traditionalist of the many problematic elements in John Paul II’s pontificate—but, to be perfectly honest, as time goes on, I find he is looking better and better. It’s amazing what a contrasting backdrop will do for a man’s reputation. As the Polish pope’s overpowering personality and whimsical decisions recede into the background, certain of his writings acquire greater and greater relevance (one might even dare to use the word “prophetic”) for our contemporary situation, serving as tall guideposts for the orthodox and a fearful scaffolding for dissenters. 

One such nearly-forgotten but extremely rich and rewarding document is the “Letter to Families” of 1994, also known by its official Latin title Gratissimam Sane.

The Synod: 11 Cardinals enter the field to halt the “Protestantising” of the Church (the original article)

This was the original article that revealed the publication of the upcoming book that, following in the footsteps of "Remaining in the Truth of Christ" (Cantagalli, in Italian; Ignatius, in English), will proclaim the truth in time for this year's Synod, with Cardinals from around the world

The Synod: 11 Cardinals enter the field to halt the “Protestantising” of the Church
Lorenzo Bertocchi
August 17, 2015

Although the news has been kept quite reserved, and no-one has been able to read a preview of the texts, a book which we might entitle “Remaining in the Truth of Christ No.2” will be out before the next Synod in October. According to some reports circulated in the United States, a certain number of cardinals, among whom Raymond Burke and Walter Bradmullar are mentioned, have been working to produce another text opposed to the theses of Cardinal Walter Kasper and other theologians, regarding the themes of the Synod on the Family. However, as far as we know, this is not exactly how things really are [at all].

The polemics that accompanied the publication of the book “Remaining in the Truth of Christ” (Cantagalli) were very heated. It was only a few days before the Synod of 2014 when, the Sienese publisher, along with the five cardinals who wrote it, were accused, more or less directly, of an “editorial action” against the Pope. Walter Kasper, himself, said openly in an interview on September 18th 2014: “The target of the polemics is not me but the Pope”. Cardinal De Paolis, one of the five cardinals who had contributed to the text, expressed his great surprise to “La Repubblica”: “There are those who actually hypothesize a deliberate action, a conspiracy. There is no conspiracy, just the desire to convey a position.”

Schism or no schism? That is NOT the question, at least for Bishop Athanasius Schneider

We at Rorate really try to avoid debating other websites. This is not because we feel "superior," but for more prosaic reasons: this is a free website, and we simply make no money off more visitors, whom we wish only to inform and uplift; and we despise the inward-looking view of those who waste their time with...other news sources, instead of the content itself. One must strive to generate more light than heat. 

Curiously enough, that seems exactly the point made by Bishop Athanasius Schneider in his "clarifications" sent to Mr. Michael Voris, who had asked him about his comments to our partners of Adelante la Fe/Rorate Caeli en Español

Incredibly and amazingly, it seems the clarifications did not clarify anything to Mr. Voris, and they did not include one single mention of the word "schism," or indeed of the very concept of "schism." "Schism" seems to be far away from the concerns of Bishop Schneider in his view of the SSPX. Nothing in his "clarifications" retracts or takes away from anything he said to our Spanish-language partners.

Novus Ordo Chronicles: Bishop in Bolivia prohibits communion in the hand in his diocese.
Plus: a review of bishops who have restricted communion in the hand

Our partners at Adelante la Fe / Rorate Caeli en Espanol report that the Bishop of the Diocese of Oruro, Bolivia declared this past Sunday that he will no longer permit communion in the hand (EXCLUSIVA: El Obispo de Oruro prohíbe la comunión en la mano en su diócesis). The report says that the Bishop, the Polish Verbite missionary Krzysztof (Cristobal) Białasik, made this decision after it was noticed that some people receive the Host but do not consume it, apparently wishing to carry It away for unknown reasons. 

Bishop Białasik is 57 years old and was appointed Bishop of Oruro by Pope Benedict XVI on June 30, 2005; he was consecrated in September of that same year. 

To our knowledge, Bishop Białasik is only the third bishop in the last ten years or so to withdraw permission for communion in the hand in his diocese (as opposed to maintaining an existing prohibition, or simply recommending communion in the tongue for the faithful in their diocese, or forbidding communion in the hand only in specific churches). The first was Juan Luis Cardinal Cipriani of Lima, Peru in 2008 (reiterated in 2011 at least for large celebrations) followed by Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith of Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2011 (reiterated in 2012). A fourth bishop, the recently-deceased Rogelio Livieres (may he rest in peace), strongly condemned communion in the hand in August 2014, in one of his last acts as Bishop of Ciudad de Este. Perhaps he would have prohibited it altogether had he not been ousted from his See soon after. (He already issued a letter on the liturgy in 2013 that recommended to his faithful the reception of communion kneeling and on the tongue, but did not prohibit the opposite practices.) Finally, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria temporarily permitted communion in the hand in July last year (at the height of the Ebola scare) then quickly withdrew the permission (in December) once the scare had passed. 

APOSTASY - How Suppression of Truth about God led to Depravity and Supression of Truth about Marriage and Family

Don Pietro Leone, a priest who celebrates the Traditional Mass exclusively in an Italian diocese, and who has sent so many gifts to Rorate readers, including his booklet on the destruction of the Roman Rite and his essay on Modernism, has a new Summer reading gift for our readers -- a long essay on Apostasy.

It is a booklet on Apostasy, and on how abandonment of the truth about God has led to all other evils in the Church and in Society. We strongly suggest you read, print out, send to friends, and spread it around as widely as possible, as it helps explain so much, including how a minority of perverted activists has been trying to alter the very words of Christ on the truth on marriage.

Is there hope? Read the essay to find out!



a special essay by Father Pietro Leone for Rorate Caeli

Watchman, what of the Night?        (Is. 21.11)

       In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

   Here in Italy the summer has reached its height: the sun beats down on the city and on the countryside by day, and by night the elderly sit outside and watch the people passing by.
   To the eyes of the Faith, by contrast, the whole of mankind is plunged in the most profound darkness, for both the Church and the World are in the throes of the gravest and most profound crisis in the history of their existence. The crisis is one of Apostasy, not so much in the formal sense of the explicit rejection of the Catholic Faith, but rather in the general sense of the falling away from God. 
    To help us understand the nature of this apostasy we shall make a brief meditation on the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans (vv. 17-32), in which St. Paul refers to this same phenomenon in his own epoch. Holy Scripture is widely applicable to the events of human history: we shall see how the passage in question may usefully be applied to the circumstances of our contemporary world.
   The elements which we propose to consider in this essay are the following:
I)   The suppression of the Truth about God;
II)  The refusal to honour God;
III) Foolishness;
IV) Idolatry;
V)  Depravity.

   I   The Suppression of the Truth about God

   St. Paul writes (v.18) of ‘those men that detain the truth about God in injustice’. ‘Detain’ (detinere in the Latin, catechein in the Greek) signifies the suppression of that which moves the agent to the good; ‘in injustice’ signifies that this suppression is in opposition to the order that God has established; ‘the truth’, as the context shows and as we proceed to explain, is both the supernatural knowledge of God, namely the Faith, and the natural knowledge of God which is acquired by the use of reason.
   The Truth about God which is suppressed in the contemporary world belongs, like the Truth of which St. Paul treats, both to the supernatural and the natural orders.

    A.  The Suppression of the Supernatural Truth about God

Fontgombault Sermon and Address for the Assumption: "They talk about peace, while war is brought to wombs by abortion!"

Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
(Fontgombault, August 15, 2015)

Et benedictus fructus ventris tui.
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
(Lk 1:42)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My dearly beloved Sons,
and most especially you, who are celebrating on this day
the sixtieth anniversary of your religious profession,

The choice of today’s readings might seem surprising.

Since no text in the New Testament tells of the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven, the Church has chosen for the Epistle the Book of Judith, where the heroine sets the people of God free from the yoke of its oppressor, and for the Gospel the account of the Visitation. These texts both testify to a benevolent exchange between Heaven and earth.

God is blessed by the people of Israel for having made it victorious over its foes, and for raising in its midst the woman who was instrumental in securing this victory. Judith also is blessed for having yielded herself unreservedly and with trust to God’s design, when her people was living in anguish and tribulation. As in a parallel, the Gospel tells of the double blessing uttered by Elizabeth, first concerning her cousin, Mary, Mother of her Lord, then concerning the Divine Child Who rests in her womb. Mary in turn raises towards God, as a bunch of flowers, her canticle of thanksgiving and blessing, namely the Magnificat. Mary, who was foreshadowed in Judith and her fight against evil, is she who is blessed par excellence, she who more than anyone else has believed that the promises of the Lord would be fulfilled.

Cardinal Sarah at Fontgombault - Exclusive - "Jesus speaks to us through the Liturgy and the radiance of His glory"

Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, visited the Abbey of Our Lady of Fontgombault for the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalen, one of the traditional co-patrons of France.

Just as Rorate was proud to provide the first translation of the article published by the Cardinal-Prefect for L'Osservatore Romano (a translation of exceedingly high quality, made by our professional translator and linguist, Francesca Romana), we are proud to provide (once again, in a first in English) the sermon pronounced by the Cardinal at that occasion, as he visited the Abbey that kept so much of our Latin liturgical tradition alive.

Sermon of His Eminence Cardinal Robert Sarah
Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
(Fontgombault, July 22, 2015)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Mary Magdalene was a woman of great faith, with an utter and absolute trust in God’s infinite and merciful love. She had personally experienced Jesus’ redeeming love, and she had dedicated herself unreservedly to His service. We see her fully associated to the sorrowful moment of the crucifixion and death of Jesus on the Golgotha, beside John and the Blessed Virgin Mary: There were standing by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. (John 19:25)

Since the day on which “Mary, who was called Magdalene” was delivered from seven devils (Lk 8:2) that had made her a slave of sin, but especially since the day on which she was a witness, when standing by the cross, of the horrendous death of Jesus, because of our sins and out of love for us, her heart has become a blazing furnace of love for the Lord. Since the day on which she saw Jesus die on the Cross, Mary Magdalene has understood what true love was. She has understood that the power of love is death: going to the ultimate ends of love means dying for those whom we love. Since Jesus went as far as to die for us, Mary Magdalene herself is going to answer Jesus’ love: she will on turn love Him to the point of giving herself totally to Him.

Ninety dioceses to ring church bells to show support for Middle East's Christians

Today, Feast of the Assumption, in at least 66 French dioceses and 24 dioceses in other countries (including the Archdioceses of Madrid, Monaco, Cologne and Vienna and all the Dioceses of Belgium) church bells will be rung to show support for the persecuted Christians of the Middle East. In addition, prayers for our persecuted brethren will also be said in many of these dioceses. 

This initiative came from Bishops Dominique Rey of Frejus-Toulon and Marc Aillet of Bayonne, who also happen to be the most Traditionalist-friendly diocesan bishops of France. The initiative initially met with indifference and was off to a slow start: as late as August 10 only 8 French dioceses had joined the initiative. The persistent attention and support from mostly Francophone Catholic blogs and websites was no doubt one of the reasons for the sudden surge of support that poured out for this action in the last 72 hours .

(Source: various posts on Riposte-Catholique).

The Thoughts of a "Progressive" Swiss Abbot on Marriage and Homosexuality

The Thoughts of Abbot Urban Federer, Abbot of Einsiedeln Abbey, Thoughts Inspired by the Rapper Gimma

[Note: Urban Federer, as Father Abbot of Ensiedeln, Canton Schwyz, Switzerland, one of the greatest abbeys in Europe, and one of the last territorial abbeys in the world, is also a permanent member of the Swiss Bishops' Conference./ August 11, 2015]

While browsing through the e-mails and letters which have been accumulating during my recent vacation, certain concerned letters immediately caught my attention. For example: “Why does the Catholic Church condemn homosexuals?” asks one female author. Thanks be to God, concerning those homosexuals one can read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church this simple sentence: “One must be careful not to discriminate against them unjustly in any way.” I therefore can – and therefore do – give an initial answer to this concerned woman: It must not at all come to a condemnation of homosexuals within the Church.

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.

Since the mid-fifteenth century it has been performed in the Basilica of Santa Maria and in the streets of the old city of Elche, situated in the region of Valencia. It is a living testimony of European religious theatre of the Middle Ages and of the cult of the Virgin.

This theatrical performance, which is entirely sung, comprises two acts, performed on 14 and 15 August. These depict the death and crowning of the Virgin in a series of scenes and related paintings: the death of Mary, the night procession that is followed by hundreds of participants carrying candles, the morning procession, the afternoon funeral procession in the streets of Elche, and the enactment of the burial, Assumption and coronation in the Basilica. (Unesco)

Mystery Plays and Passion Plays inside a church were not uncommon before the Protestant revolts, but were severely curtailed after the Catholic Reformation. The Mystery Play of Elx (Misteri d'Elx in Valencian/Catalan, Misterio de Elche in Spanish) was a rare exception after Trent, allowed specifically for the Basilica of Saint Mary in Elx (Alicante, Valencia) by Pope Urban VIII. All participating actors are still today men, not women, as it has been since its inception, most probably in the 15th century.

Below, Jordi Savall's version of one of the main compositions of the play, Esposa e Mare de Déu, and of the processional hymn, with images of the play and its traditional special effects, as well as the procession:

As Valencians would say, Tots a una veu: Visca la Mare de Déu! ("All in one voice, long live the Mother of God!") -- ¡Viva la Virgen!

To all our readers, a very happy feast of the Assumption of Our Immaculate and Most Holy Lady, the Virgin Mother of God! May this most glorious of all Advocates intercede for us, and above all for all persecuted Christians. May she, the Queen of Martyrs, along with all Martyrs, old and new, achieve for us from the Most Holy Trinity the integrity and liberty of Holy Mother Church around the world.

What's a commemoration?

In addition to priestly societies such as the Institute of Christ the King, the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, the Institute of the Good Shepherd and numerous other groups of priests who offer (exclusively) the traditional Latin Mass and sacraments using the 1962 books, a growing number of diocesan and religious priests have learned and offered the TLM on a part-time basis, serving countless souls. They have often learned how to offer the traditional Latin Mass on one's own initiative (motu proprio), either by spending time with another priest who already celebrates the TLM, or by visiting an FSSP seminary, or even via videos and books during spare time.

Rorate Exclusive: A Memorandum by Publisher Neil McCaffrey on “Papal Cheerleaders,” from February 1976 — How History Repeats Itself Today

Rorate is pleased to publish, for the first time, a memorandum that was written by the late traditional Catholic publisher Neil McCaffrey in February 1976. Addressed to Fr. Edward J. Berbusse, S.J. (first chaplain of Christendom College), Fr. Robert Bradley, S.J., Fr. Vincent P. Miceli, S.J., Dr. & Mrs. Dietrich von Hildebrand, and Dr. & Mrs. William A. Marra, this memo reduces to shreds the "papolatry" that has become such a characteristic feature of neo-Catholicism. Though written almost 40 years ago, it is perhaps more pertinent today than ever. (Published with permission of Roger A. McCaffrey.)

                       February 25, 1976

Memo to:
       Fr. Berbusse
       Fr. Bradley
       Fr. Miceli
       Dr. and Mrs. von Hildebrand
       Dr. and Mrs. Marra

       Neil McCaffrey

Bill asked us to contribute a memo about our discussion. I’d like to offer mine on the subject on which we seemed to show the least consensus, criticism of the papacy.

1. Scripture makes no bones about the weaknesses of the Apostles and especially of Peter; which in any case were well known to the early Christians, whose faith survived the knowledge. Catholic history, from the age of the Fathers on down, provides us with the model. It was only in the 19th century that some Catholics found it necessary to refine the policies of the Holy Spirit.

2. The papacy is given primacy from the earliest years, yet there is little evidence of papolatry until we get to the last century. The papolaters of our day would have been regarded with astonishment by the Fathers, by Dante, by St. Catherine, by Bellarmine, by Suarez, by just about anyone you can name.

3. We can see papolatry in perspective when we put it beside its kin; and we can do that with a flying visit to Moscow or Peking. There too we are allowed to criticize underlings. Pravda does it every day. But the Leader, never.

EVENT: Ars Celebrandi - Traditional Liturgy Workshop in Poland

Press release:

Ars Celebrandi – the largest traditional liturgy workshop in Eastern Europe

From the 16th until the 23rd of August 2015 in the Holy Mary Shrine in Licheń (Our Lady of Licheń Basilica), Poland, the second Ars Celebrandi liturgical workshop will take place, the largest in Eastern Europe. 180 people from Poland and abroad are already registered, including 40 priests. His Excellence Bishop Athanasius Schneider will celebrate the pontifical Mass and Pontifical Vespers. His Excellency Bishop Wiesław Mering, of Diocese of Wrocławek, is the welcoming bishop.

As happened  last year participants will be able to choose from wide range of  practical workshops dedicated to priests, seminarists, acolyte servers, liturgy musicians, and other people caring about liturgy. Highly qualified and experienced leaders will be teaching:

The Instrumentum laboris and Catholic Moral Tradition in Extra-matrimonial Situations

Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
August 12, 2015

The Instrumentum laboris of last June 21st, 2015, offers all the elements to [help us] understand what is at stake at the upcoming Synod. The first consideration is about method.  Paragraph 52 of the Relatio Synodi of 2014 did not receive (as did paragraphs 53 and 55) the two thirds qualifying  majority necessary in the regulation norms for approval, but was inserted into the final document nonetheless. It was an obvious forcing, which confirms the plan to open the doors to the divorced and remarried, despite the opposition from a consistent body of the Synod Fathers, and above all, despite the contrary teaching of the Church. We are very close to a fine red line, that, however, no-one, not even the Pope, can cross.           

At his general audience on August 5th, Pope Francis said that “the divorced and remarried are in no way excommunicated and must not absolutely be treated as such: they are always part of the Church”.  However, it does not appear to us that the divorced and remarried are treated as excommunicates by anyone. We must not confuse the deprivation of the Sacrament of which they are subject to, with excommunication, which is the gravest of all ecclesiastical punishments and excludes one from communion with the Church. The divorced and remarried continue to be members of the Church and are bound to observe Her precepts i.e. attending the Sacrifice of the Mass and persevering in prayer (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1651).         

The indissolubility of marriage, however remains a Divine law proclaimed by Jesus Christ and solemnly confirmed by the Church in the course of Her history. The Church requires a state of grace for admittance to the Eucharist, normally obtained through the Sacrament of Penance. The spouses, divorced and remarried find themselves objectively “in manifest grave sin” (Code of Canon Law, n.915), or “in an objective state of mortal sin, a state that, if publically known, is aggravated by scandal”, (Preferential Option for the Family. 100 Questions and Answers Relating to the Synod, Edition, Filial Appeal, Rome 2015, no.63).  If the divorced and remarried have no intention of removing this permanent and public situation offensive to God, they cannot even approach the Sacrament of Penance, which insists on the purpose of intention of not falling into sin again. The figure of the divorced and remarried, as Cardinal De Paolis correctly noted “contradicts the image and the figure of marriage and the family, according to the image offered by the Church”.

 How to square the circle? For a global analysis of the Instrumentum laboris, I recommend the excellent analysis by Mathew McCusker, on the site “Voice of the Family” (

 For my part, I will limit myself to some observations on the document’s approach to the theme of extra-matrimonial cohabitation. 

The new Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2390, says that the expression “free unions” (or cohabitation) “covers a number of different situations: concubinage, rejection of marriage as such, or inability to make long-term commitments. All of these situations offend against the dignity of marriage; they destroy the very idea of the family; they weaken the sense of fidelity. They are contrary to the moral law. The sexual act must take place exclusively within marriage. Outside of marriage it always constitutes grave sin and excludes one from sacramental communion”.

Events: Assumption Mass (NYC and Philadelphia)

1. New York City:

On Saturday, August 15, 2015, Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Church of the Holy Innocents will have a Solemn Mass at 1:00 PM celebrated by Msgr. Joseph Ambrosio (from Newark, NJ).

2. From a reader in Philadelphia, PA:

Radicati EDITORIAL: "The New Mass: a Skeletal Mass for a Skeletal Church"

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

[Fr. Steve Kelly, SJ, celebrates "mass" - Los Angeles]

They were anticipating a new Church, and so they set about changing the Mass. They wanted a Church with new dogmas and new morality, so they had to tinker with the Catholic Mass and make it into a skeleton of itself. And a skeleton Mass corresponds to a skeletal Church, made up of skeletal dogma and morality.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider: "there are no weighty reasons in order to deny the clergy and faithful of the SSPX the official canonical recognition"

Our partners at Adelante la Fe, who run Rorate Caeli en Español, have interviewed His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider, on a wide range of topics. While the entire interview is worth reading, his remarks on the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) merit a close examination. This follows two visits to SSPX seminaries, as requested of him by the Holy See.  

Adelante la Fe: Your Excellence has recently visited the SSPX [seminaries] in the United States and France. We know it was a “discreet” meeting but, can you make an evaluation for us of what you saw and talked with them about? What expectations do you have of a coming reconciliation and which would be the main obstacle for it?

A Long-Awaited Publishing Event: The Full English Translation of Bouyer's Memoirs Now Available

Eminent 20th-century theologian Louis Bouyer is no stranger to the readers of this weblog. (See, for example, his penetrating treatment of the Lefebvre affair.) Bouyer's first-hand account of his life and times, and particularly of the hopeful, harrowing, and disappointing conciliar period, is simply not to be missed, and thanks to John Pepino (translator) and Angelico Press, a complete translation is now available to us. 

From the publisher:

261 pages
$19.95 / £13.00
978-1-62138-142-6 (paper)

Progressive Exultation: "This Pope Will Get His Will Done at the Synod"

Who better than Alberto Melloni, the leader of the most "advanced" progressive wing of the Church in Italy and of the Bologna School of interpretation of Vatican II than to present what the Pope has in mind for the "Family" Synod of October 2015 (also known as the "Sex Synod")?

Some nervous months and years ahead as Catholic doctrine from the very mouth of Our God and Lord Jesus Christ on Marriage and Family is shaken to the core.

The Pontiff’s new move against the rigorists

Alberto Melloni
Corriere della Sera
August 6, 2015

Pope Francis did not confer on the Synod of Bishops deliberative powers nor authority over his agenda, nor ‘work periods’ which would give them collegial dignity. However, he assigned to the Synod a tenor of “parresia” – a word from the New Testament indicating frankness in speaking – which disturbs those who envisage a sluggishly conformist and naturally conservative Catholicism.

Blase, the Indecent: Being Unemployed not the same as being Killed, Chopped Up, and Sold

Pieter Aertsen
A meat stall with the Holy Family giving alms, 1551 

When a Bishop goes to the depths of nonsensical depravity in order to create a moral equivalency between the murder, mutilation, and selling of parts of innocent human beings (as the victims of the grotesque marketplace set up by Planned Parenthood and revealed little by little by the most horrendous series of videos in recent memory) and a plethora of other smaller social concerns, then he has placed himself beyond the boundaries of decency.

Blase Cupich, Francis-appointed Archbishop of Chicago, has become Blase the Indecent with his latest intervention in the public square trying not only to preserve but to even extend the rotten theory of the "seamless garment" favored by his predecessor Cardinal Bernardin.

Phil Lawler, a conservative commentator who is not ( least yet...) a traditionalist, said the pertinent words: