Rorate Caeli

Ecumenism, Love, Hatred, and St. John the Evangelist

Tilman Riemenschneider, The Last Supper, detail showing St. John the Evangelist

In his encyclical Mortalium Animos, Pope Pius XI makes notable appeal to the teaching of the Apostle and Evangelist John to distinguish between true and false charity toward non-Catholic Christians:

Rome's "Family Day" - Defiant Catholic Laity against "same-sex unions", despite little support from the Vatican

The "Cirinnà Bill" being debated in the Italian Parliament to allow "same-sex unions" in that central nation of Catholicism managed to bring Catholics from all over Italy to Rome this Saturday.

The image from the Circo Massimo is unmistakable: on this "Family Day", a huge multitude of Italian families (including many friends of this blog) gathered to protest the government's support of the counternatural bill.

Fr Cipolla presents the new Norcia venture in the United States: Birra Nursia Monastic Beer

By Father Richard Cipolla

There are few places in this world that mean more to me spiritually than the monastery of St. Benedict in Norcia, Italy.

Cardinal Zen on the Traditional Mass:
School of adoration, strength for martyrs.

Just before retiring in 2009 Joseph Cardinal Zen celebrated his last Mass in public as Bishop of Hong Kong in the Traditional Roman Rite. He told the many journalists who attended the ceremony that he wanted to devote part of his retirement life to the faithful who are attached to the traditional liturgy of the Church. (See our report on that event.) Since then he has kept his promise; Rorate has reported on many of his Masses (see our collection of posts about him) and we understand that there have been many, many more that have gone unreported on liturgical or Traditional Catholic blogs and websites.

Institute of Christ the King's Constitutions receive definitive approval from the Holy See

On this 29th of January, feast of St. Francis de Sales in the 1962 Missal, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest has received the definitive approval of its Constitutions from the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. 

The rescript conveying the approval was signed by Gerhard Cardinal Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. 

Op-Ed: "Penance: requested by Heaven and hated by the world" - by Roberto de Mattei

Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
January 27, 2016

It there’s one concept that is radically foreign to contemporary mentality it’s that of penance. The term and the notion of penance evoke an idea of suffering we inflict upon ourselves to expiate our faults or those of others, and to unite us to the merits of the Redeeming Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The modern world rejects the concept of penance because it is immersed in hedonism and professes relativism, the negation of any good which is worth sacrificing oneself for, unless it is in search of some pleasure.  Only this can explain episodes such as the present furious media attack against the Franciscans of the Immaculate, whose monasteries are depicted as places of torture, just because an austere penitential life is practiced there. Using the hair-shirt or impressing the monogram of the name of Jesus on one’s chest are considered barbaric, whereas the practice of sadomasochism or indelibly tattooing one’s body are considered an inalienable right of the person.

The Church’s enemies repeat, with all the power the media is capable of, the anticlerical accusations of all times. What is new is the attitude of the ecclesiastical authorities, who, instead of defending the defamed nuns, abandon them - in secret satisfaction - to the persecution of the media. This satisfaction has its origins in the incompatibility that exists between the rules which these religious persist in conforming to and the new standards imposed by “adult Catholicism”.

Event: Palestrina's Missa Brevis on Candlemas - Jersey City, New Jersey

Event notice sent by a local reader:

Palestrina's Missa Brevis will be performed for Candlemas on Tuesday, February 2nd at a 7:00 PM Traditional Latin Solemn High Mass in downtown Jersey City’s historic St. Anthony’s Church, located at Monmouth St. between 6th and 7th. The renowned Cantantes in Cordibus choir, which is under the direction of Maestro Simone Ferraresi, the noted composer, pianist and conductor, will sing this deeply moving and beautiful work.

For the record: the Russian No
1. No to change of date for Easter
2. No imminent meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow

These should put an end, at least for the time being, to the never-ending rumors of a change in the observance of Easter for the entire Christian world, and of the meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow that never, ever materializes. 

Terrifying: Post-Synod document written by Pope's friend, Ultra-Liberal Tucho Fernandez - will call into question natural moral law

Tucho Fernandez in a striking pose
The president of the Pontifical Council for the Family [Abp. Paglia] has confirmed that Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation devoted to the family will be published by the end of March.

Events: Traditional Latin Masses during the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu, Philippines
Update - Pictures of Cardinal Zen's Mass, additional TLM included

UPDATE (1/26/16):

Friends from the Philippines have sent us the following pictures of the Traditional Latin Masses on January 25 and 26, and even the surprise announcement today at the International Eucharistic Congress, of Cardinal Zen's Mass.

1. Invitation to IEC delegates to attend the TLM of Cardinal Zen.

Event: Announcing the 2016 Summer Theology Program in Norcia, Italy (July 10-24)

We have been asked to announce the following event:
The St. Albertus Magnus Center for Scholastic Studies [AMCSS], in partnership with the Monastero di San Benedetto, will hold its fifth annual summer theology program in Norcia, Italy, from July 10–24, 2016.

Septuagesima: In the beginning

The lessons for Matins introduce the theme of the penitential pre-lenten season of Septuagesima: Creation and Fall, and Original Sin; and God's intervention in human History to purify mankind through a remnant in an ark (Sexagesima week) and to choose a People for himself; and the will of the unfathomable Divinity to reveal himself through his chosen people of Israel; and the Mystery of the Incarnation, through which the promise to Abraham ("in thee shall all the kindred of the earth be blessed", First Lesson in the Matins for Quinquagesima Sunday) would be fulfilled by the Divine Son of the Blessed Virgin ("I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel", Third Lesson in the Matins for Wednesday in Septuagesima week).

The reality of Original Sin ("I am the Immaculate Conception") and the great need for penitence in our times ("Penance! Penance! Penance!") were also the messages of the memorable events which began on February 11, 1858:

A job for a true Journalist: Who can find "The Kolvenbach Report" on Father Bergoglio?

The superiors of religious orders and societies are consulted by the Congregation for Bishops when their priestly members are considered for an appointment as bishop.

It is a well known and established information in the Holy See (as it was in Buenos Aires before) that, when Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ, was tipped by the then-Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Quarracino, to become his auxiliary, in 1992, the then-Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach -- who was struggling to recover some credibility to his order after the severe intervention by Pope John Paul II and the removal of Arrupe and Arrupists who had run the great Society to the ground following the Council -- wrote an unfavorable report on the possible nomination.

Event: Retreat for Young Men in New Jersey - Feb. 19-21 - Traditional Mass exclusively

You are cordially invited to a retreat for young men based on the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola on the week-end of 19-21 February 2016. It shall be directed by Rev. Carlos Hamel of the Fraternity of St Joseph Guardian, pastor of the parish of La Londe, France; and held at the Church of St John the Baptist, 1282 Yardville-Allentown Road, Allentown, N. J. It is the third time we host this kind of retreat, and the second one in Allentown.

A Clamorous (and Blessed!) Turnaround by Pope Francis on Marriage and against Same-Sex "Unions"?

Antonio Socci on Facebook

In Pope Francis’ intervention to the Roman Rota [today - in English here], there was a passage that was immediately re-launched by the media because of its topical impact.

“During the Synod on the Family, which the Lord granted us the past two years, we were able to carry out in a spirit of effective collegiality, in-depth and sapiential discernment, through which the Church – among other things – indicated to the world that there can be no confusion between the family willed by God and any other type of union.”

This was immediately connected to the debate in the Italian Parliament on “civil unions” and the upcoming “Family Day”.

For the record - the never-ending quest for more reforms.
1) CDW Secretary: Non-Catholic spouses of parishioners could be selected for foot-washing rite.
2) Lutherans given communion during Mass in St. Peter's Basilica

1. Even as the reform of Maundy Thursday foot washing was being announced, its loopholes were already being explored by the supporters of further reform. Buried in Catholic News' Agency's report on yesterday's change (Women may now have their feet washed at Holy Thursday Mass, Pope says) we find the following interpretation from Archbishop Arthur Roche, Secretary of the CDW (our emphases):

Although the Pope has previously chosen to wash the feet of both non-Catholics and non-Christians, Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, cautioned that the new change does not necessarily include them.

In Jan. 21 comments to CNA, the archbishop said that the changes are meant for “the local community,” and members of “the local parish.” 

He said that reading the decree as an invitation for non-Catholics to participate would be a “selective interpretation” of the text, and that while this could be something that happens “in the future,” it’s probably not what the Pope’s decision intended. 

However, Archbishop Roche did say that although the decree is meant for the local community, it’s possible that a non-Catholic spouse of a parishioner who regularly attends the Catholic liturgy could be chosen to participate

Appeal: New small private traditional catholic high school in 'ultra-progressive' Belgium needs your help

New small private traditional catholic high school in 
'ultra-progressive' Belgium needs your help

(Only a very small part of the buildings being currently used.)

For fans of Asterix comic books, the storyline might sound familiar: “All of Belgium is occupied, either by atheism or by a Church that has been on the international avant-garde of ‘progressivism’ for at least 50 years. (As usual, ‘progressivism’ leads to collapse.). Not to mention, of course, the abuse scandals and their cover-up. All of Belgium? No, not all of Belgium. Some small pockets of resistance by traditional catholics still exist.”

Cardinal Bagnasco, Italian Bishops' Conference chairman, in favor of Natural Marriage - Pope humiliates him

[Background: the Italian Parliament is about to approve the civil recognition of same-sex "couples". Only a few faithful bishops are supporting the millions of Catholics who are protesting it - led by the president of the Italian Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Bagnasco. Pope Francis does not like it.]

The Pope “cancels” Bagnasco, supporter of “Family Day”

by Carlo Tecce
Il Fatto Quotidiano
20th January 2016

Tomorrow [today] Francis will not meet the President of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) as planned. He was not pleased at being drawn into Italian political issues. Jorge Mario Bergoglio has eliminated Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco from his agenda of official meetings, so, [there will be] no audience tomorrow morning. The private meeting fixed a week ago by the permanent Episcopal Council, appeared and then disappeared from the internal “Bollettino - Prefettura della Casa Pontificia". The is the umpteenth episode and perhaps the most clamorous, which sanctions the distance between the Church of Francis and the Church of the Bishops presided over by Bagnasco himself.

The inevitable: Pope Francis decrees that Maundy Thursday foot-washing can include women

When, within two weeks of his election, Francis chose to include women (including a Muslim) among the "viri" whose feet he washed as part of the Maundy Thursday Mass, we immediately grasped its significance and posted that it was "The Official End of the Reform of the Reform - by example". He repeated the inclusion of women in the foot-washing rite in 2014 and 2015, which could only have meant that he desired to normalize the practice. Today's reform was inevitable. It was only a matter of time. 

We predict that before long, like many other “options” such as communion in the hand, female altar boys, “extraordinary” ministers of holy communion and “ad populum” celebrations, having women take part in the Maundy Thursday washing of the feet will become virtually obligatory, with the priests who refuse it being stigmatized as “reactionaries” and punished in a variety of ways. 

Francis pushing this decree through Robert Cardinal Sarah is another reminder that, no matter what the highest officials of the CDW say and do in their private capacity, it is still the express will of the Pope that matters in the end. Beautiful reflections, edifying personal example and words of encouragement are no substitutes for clear legislation. As long as the “Reform of the Reform” is not embodied in clear legislation that is vigorously enforced from the very top, it will never take off the ground and will never be more than the hobby of a tiny minority. No amount of brave talk from a handful of bloggers will change this.

At the same time this "reform" should not be surprising, as it flows from the intrinsic malleability of the “Novus Ordo” (by which we mean not only the Mass but also the entire range of liturgical books associated with it.) The reality of the Novus Ordo makes slogans such as “say the black and do the red” and the entire concept of “liturgical abuse”, essentially meaningless. When the “black” and “red” could be changed anytime under the pressure of clerical and lay disobedience and the whims of those in power, today’s “disobedience” could end up being tomorrow’s obedience to the “God of Surprises”. 

One last point: the new rubrics for foot washing still limits it to the "faithful", members of the "People of God". Muslims are definitely not part of the "People of God", no matter how much one tries to stretch the meaning of the term without losing all coherence. Next Maundy Thursday, will the Pope still wash the feet of an unbaptized woman or two?

There is a silver lining to all this, of course: our fellow Rorate contributor Joseph Shaw explains in his Statement on allowing the washing of the feet of women at the OF mandatum:

These concessions have moved many to reconsider the Extraordinary Form, which is not affected by this decree, or similar concessions to liturgical abuses in the past. It is in the Extraordinary Form that the Church's liturgical traditions are maintained.



From Vatican Information Service:

The Pope decrees that not only men may be chosen for the washing of the feet in the Liturgy of Holy Thursday
Vatican City, 21 January 2016 (VIS) – The Holy Father has written a letter, dated 20 December and published today, to Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, in which he decrees that from now on, the people chosen for the washing of the feet in the liturgy of Holy Thursday may be selected from all the People of God, and not only men and boys.

Luther and the Holy Roman Church in His Own Words (Strong Language) - Guest-post

Martin Luther and the Catholic Church

a guest-post by John R. T. Lamont

Luther's version of the "NON SERVIAM"(Gedaechtniskirche, Speyer)

A number of favourable comments about Martin Luther have been made by Catholic authorities to mark the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. In particular, the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, whose president is Cardinal Kurt Koch, has issued a Catholic-Lutheran ‘Common Prayer’ for 500 years of Reformation together with the Lutheran World Federation. This ‘Common Prayer’ includes the following prayers: ‘Help us to rejoice in the gifts that have come to the Church through the Reformation’, and ‘The ecumenical journey enables Lutherans and Catholics to appreciate together Martin Luther’s insight into and spiritual experience of the gospel of the righteousness of God, which is also God’s mercy’; ‘Thanks be to you O God for the many guiding theological and spiritual insights that we have all received through the Reformation.’ This is not of course an initiative of the magisterium of the Church, but it is as effective in forming the beliefs of Catholics as a magisterial statement, since it is presented in the media as a position of the Church. This initiative urgently requires comment and criticism from faithful Catholics.

The Mystery of ISIS

The Great Powers that can destroy a nation in days apparently have not ended their strange experiment of letting the "Islamic State" do whatever they want in most of Syria and half of Iraq.

After the genocide of Christians from the lands occupied by ISIS, they will not stop until every sign of Christian heritage is wiped out. Why, why do the Great of this world allow this?

"The mystery of iniquity already worketh; only that he who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of the way."... (II Thess.)

A fixed, "unified" Easter? Not so fast!
Part I: Why a unified Easter will not be implemented in the foreseeable future.


Last year, Pope Francis reportedly spoke of the need to unify the date of Easter among Christians during the meditation that he preached to the World Retreat of Priests at the Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome. The text of the meditation itself seems to be missing from the Vatican website (although there is a video) and Zenit's own translation of the meditation (Part 1, Part 2) does not include any references to Easter. The Pope's call to spread the charismatic-pentecostalist practice of "Baptism in the Spirit" (his third and most explicit endorsement of it, by our count) actually warrants far more attention, although none has been forthcoming.

Now we have Justin Welby, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury speaking of the need to put Easter Sunday on a fixed date. Various news reports (such as this) quote him as saying that it should be fixed on the second or third Sunday of April and that he expects the change to happen between 5 and 10 years' time. Although the reports don't mention it, he is echoing a proposal first made by Paul VI in 1975. (See below.) Some of these reports mention Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II as a proponent of a unified Easter, specifically on the third Sunday of April. It is true that Tawadros II has been vocal about the ideabut it remains to be seen if his fellow Oriental Orthodox (especially the more numerous Ethiopians) are willing to follow him on this matter. Welby reportedly mentioned the support of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople for a unified Easter, but for reasons explained further in this article this support seems to be overstated.

Sermon for the Second Sunday after Epiphany

Sermon for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Fr. Richard G. Cipolla
St. Mary's Norwalk
January 17, 2016

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg
The Wedding Feast of Cana
“At a certain point the wine ran out, and Jesus’ mother told him, ‘They have no more wine.’ Jesus replied, ‘Woman, how does this concern of yours involve me?  My hour has not yet come’.  His mother instructed those waiting on table, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’” (John 2: 3-5)

Guest Op-Ed: The Need to Close One’s Ears to the Rehashed Messages of the Pope

Last year, when we interviewed Raymond Cardinal Burke (see here) he confirmed Catholics can no longer look towards Rome -- towards Pope Francis -- for guidance on critical issues. The good Cardinal said, instead, to turn to the catechism and tradition.  

With that sage advice in mind, we bring you this guest Op-Ed, written by the highly-esteemed John Rao who, among numerous other things, was Rorate Caeli's first-ever credentialed Conclave correspondent in 2013:

A Not So Surprising Surprise of the Holy Spirit:

The Need to Close One’s Ears to the Rehashed Messages of the Pope

Those who resist change are obstinate rebels and idolaters and are guilty of "divination"!

Thus says Pope Francis in his latest screed from Casa Santa Marta. 

From News.Va (with our emphases).

Pope Francis: obstinate Christians are rebels and idolaters
2016-01-18 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Christians who stop at “it’s always been done that way” have hearts closed to the surprises of the Holy Spirit. They are idolaters and rebels will never arrive at the fullness of the truth. That was the message of Pope Francis at Mass on Monday morning at the chapel in the Casa Santa Marta.

Graphic designers: help the Purgatorial Society

UPDATE: We are already getting submissions, so thank you! But please, take your time. Let's set a deadline of February 15. Those of you who have submitted, go back and think about it and take some more time. Those of you who haven't, don't rush it. We're looking for the best logo/coat of arms we can have to represent the Society.

For those of you who are experts -- or at least proficient -- with graphic design, the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society is asking for your help.

When we started the Society five years ago, we didn't have anything big in mind. He hoped to find a couple of priests to pray a weekly or monthly traditional Latin Mass for souls that readers would enroll, to make up for the canonizations that happen from the pulpit at most Novus Ordo requiem Masses, which rob the deceased of prayers. Fast forward to today, and we have 70 priests saying weekly and monthly TLMs for the Society, and hundreds of thousands of enrolled souls!

Should Any Catholic Praise Luther? (A cross-post)

Blogger Dr. Christopher Malloy has written an eloquent piece on why we absolutely should not praise Luther as we draw near to the 500th anniversary of his initial public act of rebellion. Rorate thanks Dr. Malloy for his permission to cross-post this timely collection of quotations here.

We praise someone who fundamentally deserves praise. No one is without fault, and no one without some merit. But only those are worthy of praise who fundamentally deserve praise, whose pith and marrow is good.

Coptic Orthodox Bishop attends Traditional Latin Mass

Bishop Arsany (or Arsenios), the Coptic Orthodox Bishop for the Netherlands, attended today a Sung Mass  (1962 Missal) celebrated at the Sint-Agneskerk in Amsterdam, where a personal parish dedicated to the Traditional Latin Mass is under the care of the FSSP. He might not be the first Orthodox prelate to attend a TLM in recent years, but as far as I know he is the first one to do so while seated on a throne inside the sanctuary.

UPDATE: A note on where to find the text of the "Common Prayer", and the letter co-signed by Cardinal Koch promoting it.
Important - Lutheran World Federation, Pontifical Council for Christian Unity launch "Common Prayer" service extolling Martin Luther and the Reformation

By their fruits...

UPDATE: In my original post I neglected to mention where the text of the "Common Prayer" can be found. It can be downloaded via a link at the bottom of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) webpage containing the press release we reposted below: Press Release: A joint Catholic-Lutheran “Common Prayer” for 500 years of Reformation

OP-ED: "To Ross Douthat, With Affectionate Correction", by Fr. Richard Cipolla - Church Crisis, the True Battle, and Sacred Liturgy

To Ross Douthat, With Affectionate Correction

Fr. Richard G. Cipolla, DPhil

Paolo Veronese - The Wedding Feast at Cana (1563) - Musée du Louvre

It is certainly true, as has been observed on Rorate Caeli, that Ross Douthat’s Erasmus Lecture for First Things has caused quite a stir in traditional Catholic circles.  Msgr. Pope’s article bemoaning the lack of growth in the presence of the Traditional Mass in the Church has also gained the attention of Traditional Catholics, but that article lacks the depth and urgency that is contained in Douthat’s lecture. Many of us have admired his Op-Ed pieces in the New York Times, often wondering how he achieved his position amidst the quintessential Liberal Establishment embodied by that paper of record.  His skirmish with the Catholic theologians (and I have refrained from putting theologians in quotation marks out of some sense of objectivity, despite my belief that there may no longer be any Catholic theologians, for Catholic theologians have to be immersed in the Tradition, and there do not seem to be any who are so today) is an example of the proper role of the laity in the Church as encouraged by the Second Vatican Council. 

"True or false pope?" - Book review on work refuting Sedevacantism

The following brief book review on this work that refutes the error of Sedevacantism was written for Rorate by Fr. François Laisney who, among many other things, was the former United States District Superior for the Priestly Society of St. Pius X (SSPX):

De Mattei on the Pope's pronouncements and video: It's not only heresy that offends the Catholic Faith

Not Only Heresy Offends The Catholic Faith

Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
January 13, 2016

In a long interview published on December 30th in the German weekly Die Zeit, Cardinal Ludwig Müller, Prefect for the Congregation of the Faith, raised a question of crucial relevance today. When the interviewer asked the Prefect what he thought of those Catholics who attack the Pope defining him “a heretic”, he replied: “Not only because of my office, but from personal conviction, I must disagree. A heretic in the theological definition, is a Catholic who denies obstinately a revealed truth proposed by the Church that they are obliged to believe. It’s another thing when those who are officially charged to teach the faith express themselves in a somewhat inappropriate, misleading or vague way. The teachings of the Pope and bishops are not above the Word of God, but serve it. (…) Moreover, papal pronouncements have a different binding nature – ranging from a definitive decision pronounced ex-cathedra to a homily which is used rather for spiritual analysis.”

Reply to Mgr Pope: Are Traditional Catholics doing enough?

Evangelising in difficult conditions (the rain): the LMS Walsingham Pilgrimage
Mgr Charles Pope has written a blog post about how those who love the Traditional Mass should make greater efforts to evangelise for it. He says this because he thinks, on the basis of anecdotal evidence, that attendance at the EF has stopped growing. He links this with the very lethargic attitude he once noticed, of Novus Ordo Catholics faced with the prospect of losing their parochial school. I confess I don't understand the parallel.

Priestly celibacy: More than a mere discipline

Yesterday, we reported that priestly celibacy was once again on Pope Francis' radar (see here). We at Rorate have seen this coming for a while as an organic -- yet oh-so-non-organic -- development in the future erosion of the Church's tradition.

Good News: FSSP Invited to the Diocese of Fresno -- Traditional Catholics There Need Your Help

There's always plenty of bad news in the world, but as New Catholic recently reminded us, we who are carrying the banner of Catholic Tradition need to rejoice in all the good that our Lord is doing in His Holy Church and among us who strive to love and revere His Holy Name.

Confirmed: Priestly celibacy, homosexual clergy to be the next battlefields in this Pontificate
Is this also the opening of the war over "decentralization"?

Sandro Magister's latest column (Married Priests. The Germany-Brazil Axis) published today, carries more concrete proofs of Pope Francis' openness to creating "exceptions" to the law of priestly celibacy in the Latin Rite, with support from German and German-Brazilian clerics. This time we are no longer dealing with mere rumors or speculation, but direct affirmations by two well-known clerics who have corresponded or spoken with the Pope that he is indeed willing to consider the possibility of married Latin-Rite priests, at least in certain regions of the world (beginning with the Amazon), with the hope that the reform will then "develop a dynamic of its own".

Register now for the Roman Forum Summer Symposium

Below, please see the information for this year's Summer Symposium in Gardone Riviera, Italy. Whether you attend or not, please consider helping the Roman Forum accomplish its critical work towards restoring the Church. Click here to find out how to help.

For the record: full text of Ross Douthat's "A Crisis of Conservative Catholicism" now online.

In recent days two articles have provoked much discussion about the true state of both Catholic Traditionalism and Catholic Conservatism. The first is Msgr. Charles Pope’s article “An Urgent Warning About the Future of the Traditional Latin Mass” which argues, on the basis of anecdotal evidence, that not only are the numbers attending the TLM not growing, but that these might soon decline. I hope to find time to say something about this in the coming days. 

Radicati EDITORIAL: An Indulgence is not a Truce

An Indulgence is not a Truce

Editorial: Radicati nella fede, January 2016
Newsletter of the Catholic community of
Vocogno, Diocese of Novara, Italy

“The post-conciliar Church? It is a Church in which life is removed considerably from the event of Calvary. A Church that diminishes its demands and doesn’t resolve problems anymore according to the will of God, but according to human possibilities. A Church which I believe has become elastic and morally relativistic. A Church in the fog and without the tables of the Law. A Church that closes its eyes to sin, that fears reproach for not being modern.” (Stefan Cardinal Wyszynski)

Why has the Church observed Holy years, why has She held Jubilees with their plenary indulgences? Basically because men must turn back to God and separate themselves from sin which brings eternal death. There is no other reason, there is absolutely no other!

We are witnessing [at present] a peculiar insistence on the mercy of God which sounds foreign, very foreign to Catholic ears. We hear talk of the Lord who is always forgiving, but this insistence is never preceded and accompanied by the memory of the gravity of sin, in [all] its deadly consequences.

Priests Living in Fear of their Bishops

A guest op-ed by Tomás Rodríguez (pen name)

A priest recently revealed his belief that the Latin Liturgy prayed ad orientem focuses upon God and not the priest/people. He’s right, but revealing his belief was dangerous because it invited a question. He was asked if he would institute ad orientem worship in his parish. Sadly, he said no, citing lack of catechesis, that it will be poorly received, etc. in defense of this decision. When we know what is right, are we not supposed to do it?

There is a simple fact about catechesis: passing on the Faith requires the utmost care and precision. An ancillary fact is the oft quoted (and hardly ever cited) alleged statement of St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary use words.” If it is truly a question of catechesis and preparing the people for necessary changes, when can we expect to see some action? We do not see much, and when we do there often follows a significant backlash.

The Horrid Traditionalist

Joseph Shaw recently introduced the new book released by Angelico Press, "The Gentle Traditionalist". Is there a greater symbol of gentleness and kindness than the Holy Family, that we celebrate today?
This has unfortunately led us to be reminded of that old foe of all that is good and proper in Catholic Tradition, the Horrid Traditionalist. The Horrid Traditionalist is bitter, resentful, judgmental, duplicitous, and aggressive. As Saint Paul warns in his Second Epistle to Timothy about some men in the last days, the Horrid Traditionalist is "without affection," "without peace," "without kindness" -- they have "an appearance indeed of godliness, but denying the power thereof."

EVENT: January 23 Conference on Catholic Higher Education in Arlington, VA

Conference on Catholic Higher Education to be held in Arlington, VA

New book: The Gentle Traditionalist, by Roger Buck

I'm delighted to recommend this new book, partly a novel and partly a dialogue about the Church, the world, and Ireland. A whole heap of excellent books by traditionalists have appeared recently, addressing the crisis in the Church in the context of the crisis in the liturgy. The Gentle Traditionalist is different in addressing itself to non-believers.

Thus, it does not primarily attempt to convince well-informed Catholic readers with detailed (or broad-sweeping) historical and theological argument; rather, it presents, in a charming but unflinching way, the Catholic traditionalist perspective on how things are, where we have come from, and what we can do about it.

The detailed arguments of the other works are very necessary in winning arguments within the Church which need to be won, but this book may be more accessible, intellectually and emotionally, for many Catholics as well as for non-Catholics. It is witty and articulate, and will be balm for the soul for committed trads as well as food for thought for the unconvinced.

Pope Francis on Interreligious Dialogue

Below is the final scene in the video, shortly after the Pope has announced his intention for this month: "That sincere dialogue among men and women of different faiths may produce the fruits of peace and justice":

Here's how this video came about, and the announcement that all of the pope's monthly intentions will now be in video format:

Their cups overfloweth!

There's something in the water at St. Anne Church, a Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) parish in San Diego (visit them here).

Pontifical High Mass following March for Life

Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Americans will gather in Washington, D.C., on Friday, 22 January 2016 for the annual March for Life. Held each year on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, the March attracts many traditional Roman Catholics.

Immediately following the March this month will be a traditional Latin Solemn High Pontifical Mass at the faldstool, offered by His Excellency Edward J. Slattery, bishop of Tulsa, Oklahoma. It will be offered at 4 p.m. at Saint Mary Mother of God church at 5th and H streets, Northwest, in the District.

Sermon for the Feast of the Epiphany 2016

by Father Richard G. Cipolla
St. Mary's
Norwalk, Connecticut

“And behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him.”
Adoration of the Kings
Museo del Prado, Madrid
So you light your window candles, plug in the lights on the Christmas tree, pause to look at the crèche with the Magi now come to worship the baby Jesus. You do so because you know what time it is. It is the twelfth day of Christmas, not the eighth, not the tenth, but the twelfth day of Christmas, that day whose observation is older than the first day of Christmas, the day with the strange sounding Greek name, Epiphany, strange but no matter, this is the time, this is the twelfth day of Christmas. And you look out and you notice the Christmas trees on your neighbors’ lawns, belly up, needles falling off, ready for the garbage man to pick up. Christmas disposed of before its time, its time of twelve days, on the first day of Christmas my true love gave me to me.

Ecumenism: An Essay by Don Pietro Leone

Five years after Don Pietro Leone’s first contribution to our site, on the Roman Liturgy, we are happy to present the following essay on Ecumenism. We also recommend to our readers Pius XI’s encyclical Mortalium Animos, issued on January 6, The Feast of the Epiphany, 1928, which contains everything a Catholic needs to know in order to  evaluate ecumenism correctly. Don Pietro Leone is the pen name of a priest who celebrates the traditional Mass in full and peaceful communion with his Ordinary somewhere in that great cradle of civilization known as Italy.

Institute's Chicago church to be demolished

We read the sad news that the Institute of Christ the King's shrine in Chicago, heavily damaged by fire in October, will be demolished by order of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

From the announcement:

The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest has received a letter from the Archdiocese of Chicago summarizing the results of their substantial efforts to ascertain the best course of action for the Shrine building after the devastating October fire. Based on extensive engineering and other evaluations the Archdiocese has concluded that the church building has significant structural issues and to restore the building to its state before the fire and to bring it up to current City of Chicago building code standards is cost prohibitive. The Archdiocese is predominantly self-insured and therefore there is no resort to an insurance claim with an external insurer.

Therefore the Archdiocese is moving without delay to demolish the remnants of the structure. The Archdiocese has offered the Institute the opportunity to propose a plan for rebuilding a new church on the same site. The Institute is carefully considering this as a first option, mindful of its pastoral dedication and the Shrine’s important place in the Woodlawn and Hyde Park communities. As another option, the Archdiocese has offered a South Side church which is now available for occupancy.

Opinion: Have yourself a Merry "Little Christmas"

On my way home from Mass on St. Stephen's Day, I passed by a supermarket where I could see a clerk hurriedly taking down red and green regalia from some front end tables in order to make room for a liquor display in anticipation of the following week's High Holy Day of Chronolotry. It was an annual reminder that whatever the "holiday" is that the secular world celebrates every year at this time, had once again come to a screeching halt just as Catholics were beginning to celebrate Christmas. Sadly this phenomenon has rubbed off on some younger or poorly formed Catholics (I know; those are often mutually inclusive) who unwittingly deprive themselves of the ongoing merriment of Christmastide because society has conditioned them to do so.

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 now stand at 69 priests saying weekly or monthly traditional Latin Masses for the souls. Dear Fathers, will you help get us to 70? The Souls need you. Please volunteer.

"Post-Christmas Notes", a Maureen Mullarkey op-ed

We are very pleased to announce the new occasional contributor to Rorate Caeli, Maureen Mullarkey, who will, whenever time allows her to contribute (dare we hope, very frequently!), add the Catholic lay voice on what we might call "the Arts and Modern Concerns" to the list of matters presented and discussed on this blog.

Thank you, Maureen, and welcome to the team!

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The worthless man who loves things connected with birth keeps birthday festivals. (Origen)
It is not quite true that there is nothing new under the sun. You and I—we are what is new. Every generation is new under the sun. It all begins again with ourselves. We have a hard time imagining “is now and ever shall be” as anything that might differ substantially from our own now.

[Eugene Grasset. Angels Prepare Food for Mary and Jesus. Front cover, L'Illustration, Christmas issue, 1893]

It is easy to forget that Christmas as we know it is something of a latecomer. It was not celebrated in the early Church. Christians in the first two or three centuries understood themselves to be an Easter people, persecuted inheritors of the promise of the Resurrection. The death and resurrection of Jesus was the heartsblood of the faith. Within a community marked for martyrdom, it was the death date that earned commemoration. Death marked the day of initiation into eternal life, into the stunning mystery of Christ's victory over death.

Free Catholics books, in English and Spanish

A faithful reader of ours has compiled as many free online books as she could find. Amazingly, while the site has never really been promoted, when you Google search "Catholic books" it's still one of the top sites returned. People have found it on their own and found it to be a Godsend. In fact, as I was showing this site to Mrs. Adfero, she told me she too has used it to read books for free. 

Francis: "Only one who truly loves is able to forgive and forget."

Plenary Indulgence reminders: Veni Creator on Jan. 1

§ 1. A plenary indulgence is granted to the Christian faithful who, in a church or in an oratory, are present [take part] in a recitation or solemn chant of: ... 
1° the hymn Veni Creator ... on the first day of the year, imploring divine assistance for the whole of the coming year...