Rorate Caeli

Four old classics in new editions

I am happy to announce the appearance of four more titles from OS JUSTI PRESS, which republishes long out-of-print volumes of serious worth to contemporary Catholics. All are available at Amazon; the titles below are hyperlinks.

Guest Note: "Paul VI: a 'Pastoral' Canonization" -- by Fr. Pio Pace

Once again, Fr. Pio Pace, an expert in Romanitas, gives us his opinion on a present topic: now, the astonishing canonization of Paul VI.


Paul VI: a "Pastoral" canonization?

Fr. Pio Pace

Perhaps Paul VI had remarkable and heroic virtues in his private and secret life. But, as Pope, he is the object of not little debate: he promulgated the most liberal texts of the Council (Gaudium et Spes, Unitatis Redintegratio, Nostra Aetate, Dignitatis Humanae); he led a liturgical reform that turned sacred liturgy upside down and inside out; and several other things, big and small, such as the suppression of the extremely ancient and venerable Roman Subdiaconate.

Paul VI fully embodies Vatican II. It is precisely for this reason that he has been chosen for canonization, as the Popes of the Council and post-Council, who have been canonized one after the other: John XXIII, John Paul II...

Sermon for the Second Sunday in Lent

Fr. Richard Cipolla

From the gospel of the Transfiguration: “ And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun and his garments became white as light.” (Mt. 17:1-2)
And from the book of Genesis:  “Take your son Isaac, your only one whom, you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you.” (Gen. 22:2)

There were two on that mountain of the transfiguration with Christ:  Moses, the giver of the Law, and Elijah the great prophet.  They were there with the One who fulfilled the Law and the Prophets, Jesus Christ.  But there was present also not in bodily form but surely spiritually the one who the Roman Canon calls Abraham, our father in faith.  For the covenant God made with Abraham reached its fulfillment in the person of Jesus Christ.  And it is the test of Abraham by God in the sacrifice of his beloved Son, Isaac, that points to in a direct line to the sacrifice of the only Son of God by God the Father which act is the definition of love.

Requiem Mass and Litany for the Church in China, Monday, February 26, 2018, in New York City

This Monday, February 26, 2018, there will be a Solemn Requiem Mass and Absolution at the Catafalque to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Happy Valley Racecourse Fire in Hong Kong at which 670 people perished. The Mass is at the Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in New York City at 7:30 PM.

Following Mass, the Sacred Ministers will change from black to violet vestments and lead the choir and people in a procession throughout the Church singing a Solemn Litany of the Saints to beseech our Lady of Mt. Carmel and the Communion of Saints to intercede for the persecuted Church in China and protect it against the attacks it faces today.

At the Requiem Mass, the choir will sing the Missa pro defunctis for six voices by Manuel Cardoso (1566-1650). The Mass is being sponsored by a family that lost five members in the tragedy.

Sundays in Lent

As Lent is 1/4 over already (but who's counting?), we thought it would be of interest to share commentary from a popular handmissal on the Sundays within Lent, which are of course not part of the 40 penitential days between Ash Wednesday and Easter:

"As today is not a day of fasting, there is no collecta previous to the stational procession, this procession being a rite of a distinctly penitential character, and therefore not in keeping with the Sunday festival." - The New Roman Missal, by Father F.X. Lasance

 May your Sunday be a glorious one before we resume our fasting and penance tomorrow.

Op-Ed: "Better a Millstone" - Catholic school principal left alone: Planned Parenthood wins another battle

Fr. Richard Cipolla

It is always local situations that show how deep the problems in the Church are at the present time. The problematic issuances from Rome, Germany and  Chicago are indeed disturbing, but to see how far things have gone, one must go to the local level of the Church:  the diocese and the parish.  Go to a typical parish Mass to see the fruit of the liturgical experiment of the post-Conciliar Church.  The unmooring from the Tradition of the Church is plain to see in the carrying out of the deliberate misunderstanding of the Mass and the disappearance of reverence.  Not to mention the precipitous decline in the percentage of Catholics who go to Mass regularly.

But one sees what has happened and is happening to Catholic doctrine also at the local level.  I live in one of the most wealthy counties in the United States.  There is also poverty in this county.  But when the median family income of the county is calculated, the poverty disappears in the wash of super-affluence.

This poverty is talked about by those who are entrusted with running the government and by those running the Church.  But those who run the Church understand that nothing can be done, at least at the basic level of dollars and cents, without the wealthy of Fairfield County.  Nothing to be done.  What they mean by “to be done” has little to do with Jesus’ directive to go out and preach the Gospel.  What the hierarchy means by “to be done” is to pay attention to the assurance that the bureaucracy continues to function, much like the government in Washington D.C.  in the continuous pseudo-crises of government funding.

De Matte - Opponents of Ostpolitik: Monsignor Pavol Maria Hnilica (1921-2006)

Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
February 21, 2018

Pope Francis‘ political collaboration with Communist China has direct precedents in the Ostopolitik of John XXIII and Paul VI.  But yesterday, just as today, Ostoplitik had strong opponents who deserve to be remembered. One of these was the Slovakian Bishop Pavol Hnilica (1926-2006), whom I’d like to recall, based on my own personal memories and by referring to a precise study dedicated to his figure, to be published shortly by Professor Emilia Hrabovec, to whom I express my gratiude for allowing me to consult and quote from her manuscript.

Vatican II, "electric saw"

Over 50 years later we still read about examples such as what happened to even cloistered orders following Vatican II.

The New York Times looks at the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament:

The level of the order’s isolation was relaxed in the 1960s after the Second Vatican Council, a sweeping set of reforms in the Roman Catholic Church known as Vatican II. Sister Marie Aimée remembered the grille being brought down by a sister wielding an electric saw. “I said, Holy Toledo!” she recalled.

From the same article:

Important Guest Essay: "The Meaning of Amoris Laetitia According to Pope Francis." - by Dr John Lamont

The meaning of Amoris laetitia according to Pope Francis

John R. T. Lamont

            The teaching of the apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia has been the subject of a great deal of debate since the promulgation of that document. Various interpretations of this teaching have been presented, and the differing interpretations have been used both to denounce the document as heretical and to defend it as in harmony with the teaching of the Church. Pope Francis has recently acted to clarify the meaning of the most contentious section of Amoris laetitia through a statement in the October 2017 issue of the Acta apostolic sedis, the journal that publishes the official acts of the Holy See (the title of the journal is generally abbreviated as AAS). The meaning and consequences of this clarification are of the first importance, and need to be carefully and accurately examined.

The meaning and authority of the AAS statement

            The statement in the AAS has three components: i) a letter from Pope Francis to the bishops of the Buenos Aires region concerning their pastoral degree on the application of Chapter 8 of Amoris laetitia, ii) the pastoral decree itself, and iii) a statement by Cardinal Parolin, the Secretary of State, asserting that the Supreme Pontiff has ordered the publication of the two preceding components in the AAS as statements of the authentic magisterium. The letter from Pope Francis is given the title of ‘Apostolic letter’ in the AAS statement, a title it did not bear when originally issued.

            The statement in the AAS has a high degree of authority. The term ‘authentic magisterium’ is explained in para. 25 of the dogmatic constitution Lumen gentium, and in canon 752 of the Latin Code of Canon Law. The exercise of the authentic magisterium is not infallible, and hence does not require the assent of faith from Catholics, but it does require the religious submission of mind and will, a submission that includes sincere adherence to the assertions being taught. The covering statement by Cardinal Parolin, the publication of the above documents in the AAS at the command of the Pope, and the new title of ‘Apostolic letter’ given to Pope Francis’s original letter to the Buenos Aires bishops, confirm that the relevant contents of the documents are teachings of the authentic magisterium of the Catholic Church. This is a rather roundabout way of conveying an official teaching of the Church, since  this teaching is given in a letter about a letter about an apostolic exhortation, but this form of expression is not entirely without precedent or unsuitable in itself. There are precedents for a Pope issuing a teaching by endorsing a statement previously made by bishops. It does however mean that the statement needs to be carefully analyzed in order to identify the content of the teaching it conveys.

An attack on older Traditional Catholics in the Catholic Herald

Davis in the Catholic Herald
In last weekend's Catholic Herald (Feb 16) Michael Davis (not to be confused with the late, great, Michael Traherne Davies) makes an extraordinary attack on the older generation of Catholics attached to the Traditional Mass. He does so in the context of an alleged contrast with younger Traditionalists. You can read the first part of his article, or pay to read the whole thing; I include some screenshots to give a flavour.

To generalise about Traditional Catholics as 'going out of [their] way to be nasty' or tainted by 'repugnant anti-Semitism' is wearily familiar, and I would not dignify it with a response but for the fact that Davis presents himself as a 'Traditionalist' (as he puts it), and the Catholic Herald is one of the more trad-friendly Catholic newspapers. Furthermore, Davis is the paper's US Editor, on the eve of their big launch in the USA. Rorate's Twitter feed put it well: what we see is the phenomenon of the "the self-hating self-righteous not-really-trad Trad." I've discussed other examples of the type here.

All Hell Breaks Loose - German Bishops officially open up Holy Communion to Non-Catholics

The Francis Effect meeting the German Heresiarchy leads to an explosive decision of cataclysmic consequences.

Naturally, this Rome will not reject this aberration. This Vatican will welcome it. This pontificate will rejoice in it.

Report and translations from CNA/EWTN:

Cardinal Reinhard Marx has announced that the German bishops' conference will publish a pastoral handout for married couples that allows Protestant spouses of Catholics "in individual cases" and "under certain conditions" to receive Holy Communion, provided they "affirm the Catholic faith in the Eucharist".

Straight talk from the traditional Martyrology

Today's entry for the Roman Martyrology includes:

At Scythopolis in Palestine, St Severian, Bishop and Martyr, who was slain by the Monophysites because he opposed them so zealously.

and ...

At Damascus, St Peter Mavimenus, who said to certain Arabs who came to him in his sickness: "Every man who does not embrace the Catholic Christian faith is damned as Mohammed, your false prophet, was" and was slain by them.

Not surprisingly, these saints are absent in the new Martyrology that appeared in 2004 from the Vatican Press -- one of the last liturgical books to be "reformed."

 And just at a time when we could use a few more shepherds who zealously oppose heresy, and a few more courageous men who speak the truth about Islam.

You Suggest: Audio downloads of Franciscan meditations

Our friends at Romanitas Press have a compelling new offering: Learn how the Church's Liturgical Year relates to you through the eyes of Franciscan spirituality with these audio recordings from the 7-volume set of Franciscan Meditations by Capuchin, Fr. Bernardin Goebel.

​Each MP3 recording features an insightful, but brief segment about a day in the Church's Liturgical Year (per the 1962 Roman calendar) and how it relates to your personal sanctification.

Want to grow in holiness through the Church's sacred liturgy but don't have much time to read? Then these audio downloads are just for you.

CLICK HERE to order. Each costs just 99 cents. 

Click here for an audio sample.

Call for Masses for Ireland's abortion referendum

A previous Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Caversham, outside Reading, England. This year's Pilgriamge,
whose Mass will be offered for this intention, takes place this Saturday at 11:30am.
Latin Mass /  Una Voce groups throughout Britain and Ireland call for Masses to be offered for the Irish abortion referendum.

The Canonization of Vatican II: The case for Pacelli, revisited

Today, it was reported that Pope Bergoglio announced last week in his annual Lenten meeting with priests in Rome, that Paul VI will be canonized a saint this year.

As terrifying as this is, it should come as no shock. No matter how much damage they did, no matter how many souls they lost to Hell, no matter how much they destroyed the liturgy and, with it, the Faith, one thing is clear: Vatican II is being canonized via these failed pontiffs.

Since 1983, and the dissolution of the Devil's Advocate, Catholics of good will can honestly question these canonizations. What cannot be questioned, however, is the tragedy that is the case for sainthood for Pope Pius XII.

While the post-Concilliar popes (yes, all of them), left nothing but destruction, or at best the slowing of destruction in their wakes, the Church under Pope Pacelli flourished in every category.

And so we bring you this post, from 2014, as a reminder of what the last, saintly, Pre-Concilliar Pontificate accomplished in the United States:

Event: Lecture by Dr. Peter Kwasniewski in Naples, Florida, February 24

To Rorate's friends in Florida, I am happy to announce that I will be in Naples next weekend to give a lecture on “Reconnecting with Tradition: The Church’s Hope for the Future.” 

The lecture will be held at 4:00 pm in the Great Room at the St. Laurent Condominium, 6849 Grenadier Blvd., Naples, FL, 34108. All are welcome to attend. I will be signing copies of both of my books, Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis and Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness, for any who might be interested. Following the lecture there will be an information sesson about Wyoming Catholic College as well. I would certainly enjoy meeting fellow lovers of Catholic tradition, including Rorate readers.

On Sunday I will be singing with the Schola at the 8:45 am High Mass at the FSSP apostolate Corpus Christi Chapel (located at St. Agnes Catholic Church, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Rd., Naples, FL 34120), and again, I'd be delighted to meet anyone afterwards.

Guest Op-Ed: Penance for the sake of Heaven -- Reflections for Ash Wednesday

By Veronica A. Arntz

Today, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of the season of Lent. The Church, in the wisdom of the old liturgical calendar, gave us the past few Sundays to prepare ourselves for this season of fasting, prayer, and penance. Lent is the time of the liturgical year in which we pause and recognize our weak human nature, our inclination to sin, and our mortality. Some will look at our rigorous sacrifices and fasting as foolishness, given how our society is wont to pursue instant gratification. What is it that motivates our penances? Perhaps reflecting on that question will help us to choose penances that will deepen our spiritual lives and our love for God.

In Question 12 of the Prima Pars of his Summa Theologiae, St. Thomas Aquinas considers the knowability of God; in other words, how does man know God, both in this life and in the next, when he is able to see His Divine essence? In Article 6, Thomas asks whether some will see the Divine essence more perfectly than others will. He argues in the affirmative, stating that it is based on the intellect’s greater capacity that will allow some to behold the vision of God more perfectly. The object—the vision of God—will remain the same, since God does not change, but the more perfectly an intellect shares in the light of glory, the more perfectly He will be seen. Thomas explains:

Lent is coming: Time to prepare

Lent starts tomorrow. We're running out of time to prepare.

In the past, you could find a traditional Lenten Mission at many parishes. Now, unless you are near a traditional parish, they are nearly extinct -- or worthless.

Fortunately, we are not meant to live in the past, we are meant to live in the now. And, now, we have the Internet. And there is an abundance of good on the Internet, along with the bad.

As we do every year, we bring to your attention this wonderful, traditional, five-part Lenten Mission by the holy and learned Fr. Isaac Mary Relyea. While it is not short, it does go by very quickly, and is easy to follow and understand. It's clear, concise and bold.

As the season nears, you would do well to listen to this, to pray on it and to use it to prepare for a fruitful Lent -- and be ready for it to change you for the better.

Click on each of the five themes of the mission: Prelude to the Mission * On Death * On Judgment * On Hell * On Heaven * (download all MP3 files in one here)

Fine new edition of Bouyer's Christian Initiation

Our friends at Cluny Media continue to impress with their reprints of old out-of-print Catholic classics. Whatever you may think about this or that element of Louis Bouyer's writings, he was a major theologian of the 20th century, of a stature that almost no one can compare to today; he had a commitment to traditional theological principles, on the basis of which he eventually came to regret some of the progressive ideas he espoused as a younger scholar; and he did penance for his involvement with the Consilium by telling the world in his Memoirs about the mendacity of its leader and the incompetence of many of its members. 

This book, Christian Initiation, is an eloquent and penetrating little book, an interesting combination of apologetics and mystagogy. Here is a summary , courtesy of the publisher.

*       *       *

Louis Bouyer (1913–2004) was a member of the French Oratory and one of the most respected and visionary Catholic scholars and theologians of his time. Formerly a Lutheran minister, Bouyer entered the Catholic Church in 1939. A visionary Catholic scholar and theologian, Bouyer was peer and friend of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Joseph Ratzinger as well as T. S. Eliot and J. R. R. Tolkien.

Ecce ascendimus Ierosolymam: Lent Is coming...

Ecce ascendimus Ierosolymam, et consummabuntur omnia quæ scripta sunt per prophetas de Filio hominis. (From the Gospel for the Sunday in Quinquagesima, Luke xviii, 31: Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man.)

Christianity is as old as the world; for it consists, essentially, in the idea of a God -- Creator, Legislator, and Savior -- and in a life conformable to that idea. Now, God manifested himself to the human race from the beginning under the threefold relation of Creator, Legislator, and Savior, and from the beginning, from Adam to Noah, from Noah to Abraham, from Abraham to Moses, from Moses to Jesus Christ, there have been men who lived conformably with this idea of God.

Three times before Jesus Christ, God manifested himself to men in this threefold character: by Adam, the first father of the human race; by Noah, the second father of the human race; and by Moses, the lawgiver of a People whose influence and existence have mixed them up with all the destinies of mankind.

Two Collects Most Appropriate for Our Times

St. John of Matha offering Holy Mass
The old liturgy continues to show how its relevance never fades, and even grows in intensity, in ways that may be surprising to us but were always foreknown to God in His Providence.

In the nineteenth century in the Western world, who would have thought that the Moslems were a particularly great threat? At that time, they were not. But today? That's a different story, as we all know. Similarly, while sin has always been dogging our steps in every era, one could not have spoken prior to the Sexual Revolution of a veritable plague of vices against the sixth commandment, including the systematic and ever-earlier loss of innocence inflicted by Satan and his busy disciples on the children of our time. If ever an age needed a saint who models innocence of life and urges us to preserve it in chastity or recover it in penance and self-control, that age would be ours.

The idea that the old liturgy was getting to be "irrelevant" and the new one is "relevant" is one of those superficial sayings that quickly withers under examination. In reality, it is quite otherwise: the old has such a rich content and durable structure that it weathers every storm and emerges with new brightness as the needs of the times shift. Well might the words of the Psalmist be applied to the usus antiquior: "Thy youth shall be renewed like the eagle's." The new liturgy, in contrast, is so tethered to the narrow time-bound theories of its academic fashioners that it meets the needs of an ever-shrinking category of modern people who are not young enough to be post-modern or wise enough to be pre-modern.

De Mattei: The spirit of resistance and love for the Church

Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
February 7, 2018

As the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ election draws near, we hear repeatedly that we are facing a dramatic and absolutely unprecedented ‘page’ in the history of the Church. This is only partly true. The Church has always experienced tragic times which have seen the laceration of the Mystical Body since its very beginnings on Calvary right up to the present day.

Global scandal: Francis exposed as a liar by own advisers on abuse victim

From the Associated Press, in what is turning out to be the greatest scandal of a sorry Pontificate:

AP exclusive: despite denial, Pope got abuse victim’s letter


VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis received a victim’s letter in 2015 that graphically detailed how a priest sexually abused him and how other Chilean clergy ignored it, contradicting the pope’s recent insistence that no victims had come forward to denounce the cover-up, the letter’s author and members of Francis’ own sex- abuse commission have told The Associated Press.

The fact that Francis received the eight-page letter, obtained by the AP, challenges his insistence that he has “zero tolerance” for sex abuse and cover-ups. It also calls into question his stated empathy with abuse survivors, compounding the most serious crisis of his five-year papacy.

Sermon for Candlemas: And then there was silence

Fr. Richard Cipolla

“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word.   For mine eyes have seen thy salvation.”  (Luke 2: 29-30)

He waited in the gathering darkness as he had every day for so long now.  He tried to think back how long he had been doing this, but his mind seemed not to work well in thinking about the past.  He remembered the fasting, giving to the poor, how no one was ever rejected who came to his house, he remembered saying the prayers, keeping the faith.  What else did he remember?  He remembered the longing and the dread.  The longing for an end to this waiting, he remembered the words of the prophet Malachi: the Lord will suddenly come into his temple. Into his temple--those words, those words which he had taken as a sign that he was meant to wait, and to wait here, not sure what he was waiting for, but he knew that his life was to wait against that dread that would envelop him especially at night when he could not sleep, that dread, almost a vision of a future of blackness and death. In these hours he feared for his children and his children’s children, what would they know when faith was gone, what would they know when the obligations of love were denied, feeling a hovering over a birth season of darkness.

Guest Op-Ed: Reflections on obedience for the Feast of Candlemas

 By Veronica A. Arntz

The feast of Candlemas is a rich tradition in the Church; it is a day that we celebrate many events, including the purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple, and the Nunc Dimittis of Simeon. In reflecting on this beautiful feast day, one common theme that we find present is obedience. Obedience is the proper response of an individual to God’s invitation and call; it is the fitting response to God’s commandments and law. We too should strive in obedience to follow the commandments of God, just as we find in the Holy Family and the aged Simeon.

The first example of obedience is Mary who, even though she was conceived without original sin, went to be purified in the Temple in accordance with the Mosaic Law. As we read, “And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord’)” (Luke 2:22-23, RSV-CE).

Reminder: Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society

This is our monthly reminder to please enroll Souls of the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society. We now stand at 86 priests saying weekly or monthly traditional Latin Masses for the Souls. Come on Fathers, let's get this to 100! 

** Click here to download a "fillable" PDF Mass Card to give to the loved ones of the Souls you enroll. It's free for anyone to use. **

Priests: The Souls still need more of you saying Mass for them! Please email me to offer your services. There's nothing special involved -- all you need to do is offer a weekly or monthly TLM with the intention: "For the Souls enrolled in the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society." And we will always keep you completely anonymous unless you request otherwise. 

How to enroll souls: please email me at and submit as follows: "Name, State, Country." If you want to enroll entire families, simply write in the email: "The Jones family, Ohio, USA". Individual names are preferred. Be greedy -- send in as many as you wish and forward this posting to friends as well.