Rorate Caeli

Can a Bishop Require Communion in the Hand to Prevent the Spread of the Coronavirus? (And Would This Apply to the TLM?)

The following article is intended as a follow-up on yesterday's post by Bishop Athanasius Schneider.

A friend posed this question to me: “Our bishop sent out a notice suspending communion on the tongue temporarily in response to the coronavirus, and our pastor thinks that this applies to our Latin Mass. Do you know of any legislation or magisterial statement clarifying that not even a bishop has the authority to do this?”

Op-Ed - Bishop Schneider: The Rite of Holy Communion in times of a pandemic

'The ban on Communion in the mouth is unfounded compared to the great health risks of Communion in the hand in the time of a pandemic. Such a ban constitutes an abuse of authority.'

By Bishop Athanasius Schneider

Nobody can force us to receive the Body of Christ in a way that constitutes a risk of the loss of the fragments, and a decrease in reverence, as is the way of receiving Communion in the hand. Although it is true that one could receive Communion on a small white and clean handkerchief (purificator, small corporal) directly in the mouth, this way is not always practicable and even refused by some priests.

In these cases, it is better to make a Spiritual Communion, which fills the soul with special graces. In times of persecution, many Catholics were unable to receive Holy Communion in a sacramental way for long periods of time, but they made a Spiritual Communion with much spiritual benefit.

Communion in the hand is no more hygienic than Communion in the mouth. Indeed, it can be dangerous for contagion. From a hygienic point of view, the hand carries a huge amount of bacteria. Many pathogens are transmitted through the hands. Whether by shaking other people's hands or frequently touching objects, such as door handles or handrails and grab bars in public transport, germs can quickly pass from hand to hand; and with these unhygienic hands and fingers people then touch often their nose and mouth. Also, germs can sometimes survive on the surface of the touched objects for days. According to a 2006 study, published in the journal "BMC Infectious Diseases", influenza viruses and similar viruses can persist on inanimate surfaces, such as e.g. door handles or handrails and handles in transport and public buildings for a few days.

Many people who come to church and then receive Holy Communion in their hands have first touched door handles or handrails and grab bars in public transport or other buildings. Thus, viruses are imprinted on the palm and fingers of their hands. And then during Holy Mass with these hands and fingers they are sometimes touching their nose or mouth. With these hands and fingers they touch the consecrated host, thus impressing the virus also on the host, thus transporting the viruses through the host into their mouth.

Communion in the mouth is certainly less dangerous and more hygienic compared to Communion in the hand. In fact, the palm and the fingers of the hand, without intense washing, undeniably contain an accumulation of viruses.

The ban on Communion in the mouth is unfounded compared to the great health risks of Communion in the hand in the time of a pandemic. Such a ban constitutes an abuse of authority. Furthermore it seems, that some Church authorities are using the situation of an epidemic as a pretext. It seems also that some of them have a kind of cynical joy to spread more and more the process of trivialization and de-sacralization of the Most Holy and Divine Body of Christ in the Eucharistic sacrament, exposing the Body of the Lord himself to the real dangers of irreverence (loss of fragments) and sacrileges (theft of consecrated hosts).

Fontgombault Sermon for Ash Wednesday: Lent is not a time for ascetic exploits, but for a merely and truly Christian life.


Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
Fontgombault, February 26, 2020

Convertimini ad me.
Be converted to Me with all your heart.

Joel 2:12

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My dearly beloved Sons,

The Holy Forty Days of Penance are back, days both dreaded and desired.

Dreaded, for they remind us that it is our duty to convert, to turn around. What is at stake in this turnaround is perhaps not the ultimate orientation of our lives, yet, it does demand a true effort on such or such point, which we have to discern and acknowledge. It’s never something easy to give up habits that have grown old at the same pace as we have. What a token of love if we do that! What a merit!

These days are also desired, for they will end up in the light of the Risen One. The Easter night encounter is like the magnet reorienting the compass of our lives during Lent.

Encountering and receiving the Lord cannot be improvised. Remember the Gospel part about Martha and Mary. The Lord has entered His friends’ home. Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet. Martha is busy with the preparation of the meal, and she grows impatient with her sister’s inactivity. Jesus, while He acknowledges that Martha is busy with many things (for that matter, He doesn’t ask her to give up cooking), tactfully reminds her that one choice only is good, truly good. This good part consists in receiving Jesus in one’s heart.

Jesus’ answer points out what a true Lenten path should be. It doesn’t mean we should take up Carthusian observances. It means that, while we remain faithful to our duty of state, to our humdrum everyday routine, we should receive again, or receive better, Jesus into our own lives.

Italy: Prohibition of public participation at Holy Mass: FSSPX Communiqué on the Health Emergency

February 25, 2020

Note regarding the suspension of Holy Masses

As is known, the Public Authorities have decided to suspend all public events until March 1st , as a result of the Coronavirus health emergency.  
Consequent to such a decision even  public celebrations of Holy Masses have in fact been prohibited, whereas markets, shopping malls and sport-centers remain open.  
The St. Pius X Fraternity, unfortunately, is obliged to suspend all the celebrations with the  participation of the faithful in the regions involved, not however without denouncing the behavior of the Public Authorities, who are impeding the Christian population, in such circumstances, from praying publically to their Creator.  
In this regard, we cannot help being astonished at the lack of appropriate reaction on the part of the Episcopate which raises its voice against the deforestation of the Amazon, but accepts, readily, the banning of public worship given to God.

What does a Catholic bishop do when government orders the end of gatherings in times of Coronavirus? This:

Northern Italy is in a state of semi-lockdown due to the spread of the current most dangerous strain of the Coronavirus, as large public gatherings have been forbidden for several days in most of the regions -- including Lombardy, Veneto, Liguria, Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna.

Since some of the local "ordinanze" (decrees) include the prohibition of "religious" gatherings, and getting ahead of the public authorities, several dioceses in the region have suspended religious activities.

Now, as the very high death toll in a few days (over 50 so far, in only a week) in the Islamic Shia center of Qom, in Iran, has shown, religious gatherings can indeed lead to widespread infection and high mortality rates. But what if there is a way to keep the worship of God while complying with public demands to avoid contagion?

The Bishop of Pavia, in Lombardy, Corrado Sanguineti, shows that is possible. His pastoral letter on the matter is a lesson in common sense, and in particular we call your attention to this paragraph:

"Meditations on Death"
A Lenten Guest Series by Father Konrad zu Loewenstein
- I: Introduction

A Lenten Guest-Series by 
Father Konrad zu Loewenstein

Now that we have entered the liturgical season of Septuagesima, and are about to enter the great penitential season of Lent, it is appropriate to recall to mind the perennial Catholic teaching on death.

To this end I offer readers a synthesis of the respective material to be found in the book Preparation  for Death by St. Alphonsus Maria de' Liguori.

Proficiat ad vitam aeternam! Amen.


after the ‘Preparation for Death’, by St. Alphonsus Maria de’Liguori


De Mattei: Gregory and the Coronavirus of his time

Roberto de Mattei 
Corrispondenza Romana
February 19, 2020

An aura of mystery surrounds the Coronavirus, or Covid-19, as we don’t know either its origins or the real data of its diffusion, nor of its possible consequences. What we do know however, is that pandemics have always been considered as Divine chastisements in history and the sole remedy the Church took against them was prayer and penance.    

This happened in Rome in the year 590, when Gregory of the Anicia (gens) senatorial family, was elected Pope taking the name Gregory I(540-604).

Italy was devastated by diseases, famines, social disorders and the destructive wave of the Lombards. Between 589 and 590, a violent outbreak of plague, the terrible lues inguinaria, after  devastating the Byzantine territory in the East and the Frankish land in the West, had sown death and terror in the peninsula and had struck the city of Rome. The Roman citizens saw this epidemic as a Divine punishment for the corruption in the city.

The first victim the plague claimed in Rome was Pope Pelagius II, who died on February 5th, 590 and buried in St. Peter’s. The clergy and the Roman Senate elected Gregory as his successor, who, after being praefectus urbis lived in his monk’s cell on Montecelio.  After his consecration on October 3rd 590, the new Pope tackled the plight of the plague immediately. Gregory of Tours (538-594), who was a contemporary and chronicler of those events, recounts that in a memorable sermon delivered in the Church of Santa Sabina, Gregory invited  the Romans to follow - contrite and penitent - the example of the inhabitants of Nineveh: “ Look around you: behold God’s sword of wrath brandished over the entire population. Sudden death snatches us from the world, scarcely giving us a second of time. At this precise moment, oh – how many are taken up by evil  - here all around us –   unable even to think about penitence.”

“The effect of this temper of innovation”: New anthology brings together best of Newman on worship, reverence, and ritual

We all known John Henry Newman was a rare genius, a brilliant preacher, a man of great earnestness and prayer. His sanctity has been formally recognized. But are people as familiar as they should be with his wisdom on matters liturgical, devotional, sacramental?

Some have suggested that there isn’t a whole lot of attention to liturgy in Newman. But the new 524-page anthology, John Henry Newman on Worship, Reverence, and Ritual (Os Justi Press, 2019), which I prepared in the months leading up to the canonization, gives us a treasure-trove to explore.

The anthology draws on the full sweep of Newman’s career, from young Anglican preacher in Oxford to the Meditations and Devotions published posthumously in 1893. All of the substantial discussions of divine worship, liturgical rites, and the various attitudes, feelings, mindsets, practices, that could come under the heading of “reverence” are found in this volume.

It is astonishing to see how relevant even the Oxford Newman of the 1830s remains to the issues that most plague the Catholic Church in 2020. He was dealing with the same urges of “tinkeritis” and “optionitis” in the liturgy, with the plague of casualness and indifference, with the loss of a correct attitude of veneration for inherited practices. We can see this in so many passages. Here are some samples.

An Important Document of Anti-Modernism: The Program of the Sodalitium Pianum

In his prophetic 1907 encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, Pope St. Pius X warned against the grave 
Caricature of Msgr. Benigni
danger to the Church represented by the modernist heresy. This “synthesis of all heresies,” which by attacking the objectivity of dogmatic truth effectively denies all doctrine (while claiming to uphold it) was promoted by many persons in the “very bosom and heart” of the Church. St. Pius knew that there were many modernists even in the Court of the Roman Pontiff, and that many high-ranking ecclesiastics, who were not themselves modernists, did not understand the gravity of the modernist problem. In fact, after Pascendi was published, many otherwise loyal bishops and curial officials thought that the Pope was exaggerating the problem. One of the few curial officials who truly understood the problem and fully agreed with the Pope on it was Msgr. Umberto Benigni, a minor official in the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs. Benigni started various initiatives to combat modernism, including the news agency La Corrispondenza di Roma, which gathered information on the modernists, and above all the Sodalitum Pianum, the Pian Sodality. This was a semi-secret organization (secret that is to the outside world, but fully transparent to the Pope and the Secretary of State), which was devoted to foiling the modernist plot. In France it came to be known as the La Sapinière. It was much reviled and calumniated by modernists and semi-modernists, and its memory still suffers from those calumnies. But it was supported by St. Pius X himself (who financed it), as well as by the Cardinals Merry del Val and De Lai. After the death of Pope St. Pius X, Pope Benedict XV, who thought that his predecessor had exaggerated the modernist threat, suppressed the Sodalitium.

We offer below a translation (by an anonymous writer) of Msgr. Benigni’s Program for the Sodalitium Pianum. Certain expressions have an unfortunate ring to them today, but on the whole it is admirable in its devotion to the integral truth of the Catholic Faith, its loyalty to the Pope and the bishops in union with him, and its clear-sighted opposition to all forms of modernism.
Program of the Sodalitium Pianum

1. We are integral Roman Catholics. As these words indicate, the integral Roman Catholic accepts, integrally, the doctrine, the discipline, and the direction of the Holy See, and all their legitimate consequences for the individual and for society. This is "papist", "clerical", antimodernist, antiliberal, antisectarian. It is thus integrally counter-revolutionary, because it is adversarial not only towards the Jacobin Revolution and sectarian Radicalism, but equally so towards religious and social liberalism. It must thus be absolutely understood that, by our saying "integral Roman Catholic", this should not be understood as modifying, in any way, the authentic and glorious title of Roman Catholic. The word "integral" solely means "integrally Roman Catholic", namely, fully and simply Roman Catholic without any corresponding additions or restrictions (even beyond the intention of the one using it), such as the expressions "liberal Catholic", "social Catholic", and whatever other sort, insofar as these tend in theory or in practice to restrict the application of the law of the Church and the duties of the Catholic in religious or social life.

The Only Priest to receive the death penalty in U.S. history: Mass murder, Homicide, Abortion.

On February 18, 1916, exactly 104 years ago, a Catholic priest was executed by the state of New York at the Sing Sing prison -- the only priest in America to receive the death penalty for a crime. The New York Daily News did a look back at the story from a century ago.

Father Hans Schmidt was convicted of murder, following an affair he had with a woman. Before he killed her, he also paid for their baby to be aborted.

What was especially interesting was this passage from today's article:

LEPANTO III: Don John of Austria has set his people free!

“ Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them….. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Mt.28-18-20)

In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.

The Church of Dialogue humiliates Cardinal Burke: Mass behind closed doors

Andrea Zambrano

La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana

February 16, 2020

Behold the Church of bridges and mercy, open and outreaching! Cardinal Burke is forced to annul  a Mass in Ostuni: the parish priest had demanded the celebration be held behind closed doors as his arrival in Brindisi displeased the high levels of the diocese.  The newspapers attacked him as an enemy of the Pope. The Bishop of Ostuni however, will tomorrow meet with the Waldensians in church to talk about immigration. 

Here we see the Church of mercy, the Church of open ports and the Church of out-reach.  So open, so merciful and so out-reaching, that clandestine Masses are reserved for troublesome Cardinals.  It is happening in Ostuni, Puglia as in China, where, according to the Vatican Chancellor, Sorondo,  the Social Doctrine of the Church is applied.

The latest Brindisian newspapers present us with a very disturbing sign concerning Cardinal Leo Burke, who was politely shown the door in that sordid and humiliating way only the prevailing clericalism is capable of. “The conservative Cardinal is not welcomed by the priests”,  were yesterday’s headlines in the Quotidiano di Puglia: Annulled the American high-prelate’s Mass scheduled in the Cathedral. The parish-priests had expressed embarrassment after his position against Pope Francis.

Sexagesima: The Most Beautiful Epistle of the Year, Explained by St Pius X - "The Lord will never abandon His heritage"

From the Epistle for the Sunday in Sexagesima: "For though I should have a mind to glory, I shall not be foolish: for I will say the truth: but I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth in me, or anything he heareth from me. And lest the greatness of the revelations should exalt me, there was given me a sting of my flesh, and angel of Satan, to buffet me. For which thing, thrice I besought the Lord that it might depart from me. And He said to me: my grace is sufficient for thee: for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me." (II Cor. xii, 6-9)

When [St. Anselm] was torn from the solitude of the studious life of the cloister, to be raised to a lofty dignity in most difficult times, he found himself a prey to the most tormenting solicitude and anxiety, and chief of all the fear that he might not do enough for the salvation of his own soul and the souls of his people, for the honor of God and of His Church. But amid all these anxieties and in the grief he felt at seeing himself abandoned culpably by many, even including his brethren in the episcopate, his one great comfort was his trust in God and in the Apostolic See. Threatened with shipwreck, and while the storm raged round him, he took refuge in the bosom of the Church, his Mother, invoking from the Roman Pontiff pitiful and prompt aid and comfort; God, perhaps, permitted that this great man, full of wisdom and sanctity as he was, should suffer such heavy tribulation, in order that he might be a comfort and an example to us in the greatest difficulties and trials of the pastoral ministry, and that the sentence of Paul might be realized in each one of us: "Gladly will I glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may dwell in me. For which cause I please myself in my infirmities . . . for when I am weak then am I powerful" (2 Cor. xii. 9, 10).

Such indeed are the sentiments which Anselm expressed to Urban II.: "Holy Father, I am grieved that I am not what I was, grieved to be a bishop, because by reason of my sins I do not perform the office of a bishop. While I was in a lowly position, I seemed to be doing something; set in a lofty place, burdened by an immense weight, I gain no fruit for myself, and am of no use to anybody. I give way beneath the burden because I am incredibly poor in the strength, virtue, zeal, and knowledge necessary for so great an office. I would fain flee from the insupportable anxiety and leave the burden behind me, but, on the other hand, I fear to offend God. The fear of God obliged me to accept it, the same fear of God constrains me to retain the same burden. Now, since God's will is hidden from me, and I know not what to do, I wander about in sighs, and know not how to put an end to it all".

De Mattei: Querida Amazonia: the consequences of the ‘turning point’ that never was

Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
February 13, 2020

A temporary halt on “viri probati”;  the flop of the Amazon Synod; open conflict with the Amazonian-Germanic bishops.  These three points are contained in the dynamic initiated by Pope Francis’ Post-Synod Exhortation Querida Amazonua, presented on February 12th 2020.* There has been a great deal of suspenseful buildup around this Papal Exhortation, which put the final seal on the Amazon Synod, held in Rome from October 6th to 27th , 2019.** Both the Instrumentum Laboris (June 17th 2019) *** and the final document of October 26th proposed a new pantheistic cosmology expressed in the statue of the Pachamama, venerated in the Vatican Gardens and carried in procession into St. Peter’s, before being thrown into the Tiber by Alexander Tschugguel.  

This cosmological vision is the most scandalous aspect of the Pan-Amazon Synod, which, though, proposed other ambitious objectives, such as the introduction of viri probati: namely the admittance of married men to the priesthood, after John Paul II and Benedict XVI had categorically excluded this hypothesis, but had been pushed by the most progressive sectors in the Church since the time of the Second Vatican Council.  Paragraph 111 of the Final Document approved by the Synod had taken on a strong symbolic value over the last few months. This paragraph proposed “ to ordain as priests suitable and respected men of the community with a legitimately constituted and stable family, who have had a fruitful permanent diaconate and receive an adequate formation for the priesthood.”

Analysis: "Querida Amazonia, a Blueprint for a Lay Church" - by Fr. Pio Pace, Roman Curia Insider

It has been a while, but Father Pio Pace, our pseudonymous very influential insider in the Roman Curia, was at last able to send us a special comment on the new post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, Querida Amazonia.


Querida Amazonia: a document for a kind of "Lay Church"?

Father Pio Pace

Will married viri probati be ordained to the priesthood? This question was the focus of all the attention, before, during, and after the assembly of the Amazon Synod, and the bishops of the German 'Synodal Way' were mounting an ambush, getting ready to seize the issue to force the institutional transformation of the Church.

For all sorts of political and tactical reasons, the long-expected apostolic exhortation does not mention it. It does not reject the possibility (as it has been hastily claimed): it simply does not mention it. In fact, the exhortation goes much further, in the direction of a Laicized Church, in which the common priesthood of the baptized largely absorbs the priestly ministry, being mixed up with it.

Because this text, under a modest appearance, is actually very ambitious. One should read with great attention the beginning of the Exhortation: it is presented as a, "framework of reflection," which is an invitation to read the final document of the Synod (which speaks of priestly ordination of married deacons), but rises up to more fundamental, and certainly more radical, considerations. The central passage deals with the "Inculturation of ministry" (paragraphs 85-90), followed by thoughts on the communities (91-98), then on the role of women (99-103).

Apostolic Exhortation “Querida Amazonia” — full text
Full Text of the papal document following the Amazon Synod

Notes: Regarding the priesthood and the Eucharist, we call your attention in particular to Paragraphs 82-98.

No opening whatsoever was made for the ordination of married men/viri probati to the Priesthood. On the contrary, in the spirit of making clear clericalism is not central, there is an emphasis on the lay ministry as "distinctively lay" (cf. paragraph 94).

The paragraphs on women (99-103) also do not have any revolutionary content.

Paragraphs 104-105 make clear that the path forward should not be an either/or, but solutions beyond conflicts of the past.

One particular good point is the one of Paragraph 18, with extensive historical references in footnote 17,  making clear the permanent solicitude of the Church, through various pontificates, and since the earliest days of Christian presence in the New World, for the welfare of the indigenous peoples. Specific reference is made even to the Laws of the Indies (Leyes de las Indias), promulgated by the Spanish Crown with specific protections for the indigenous populations. The 1909 text of one of the first bishops of Amazonas (Manaus), Brazil, Frederico Benicio, named by Saint Pius X to that extensive territory, is expressly quoted.

Despite all problems (the downsides are numerous), we can rightly say that this is the best possible document we could have hoped for in the current pontificate and in the current age. It is not the best document (that would be impossible in the current moment in time), but it is, in a Leibnizian way, the best possible text...

Full text below:

BREAKING — On the Amazon Synod document, let’s remain positive

Rorate has learned that, at the current state of the text, Catholics should remain positive regarding the most controversial points of the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Querida Amazonia”, to be published tomorrow.

We cannot say anything, unfortunately, but we refer readers to the first paragraph of this post we published last week:

La Fede Quotidiana has learned of an important fact relating to the coming papal document on the subject of the Amazon. And this fact, unless modified at the last moment, contradicts what has been recently reported concerning a text in which a yes is given to viri probati and the married priesthood. Those who saw this text two days ago (it will almost certainly be presented on February 12) said that the two hotly debated categories are not mentioned in the document and thus there is no official opening up [to them].

We also point readers to the following excerpt of a piece published yesterday by the US bishops’ official news website. We can affirm that it is an exact reference to  the text as it stands:

Pope Francis told a group of U.S. bishops that people focused on the possibility of ordaining some married men and women deacons for service in the Amazon will be disappointed in his apostolic exhortation.

Penance! Penance! Penance! — She came to Bernadette | Reject the "Cult of the Body" | Priests have the duty to form consciences

In many ways the nineteenth century was to become, after the turmoil of the Revolution, a century of Marian favors. To mention but a single instance, everyone is familiar today with the "miraculous medal." This medal, with its image of "Mary conceived without sin," was revealed to a humble daughter of Saint Vincent de Paul... .

A few years later, from February 11 to July 16, 1858, the Blessed Virgin Mary was pleased, as a new favor, to manifest herself in the territory of the Pyrenees to a pious and pure child of a poor, hardworking, Christian family. "She came to Bernadette," We once said. "She made her her confidante, her collaboratrix, the instrument of her maternal tenderness and of the merciful power of her Son, to restore the world in Christ through a new and incomparable outpouring of the Redemption."

New Book: Pearl of Great Price — Revolutionary France and the Papacy

Arouca Press publishes (Amazon) this very interesting history of the Revolutionary sack of Rome.
From the book’s presentation:

In 1797, Revolutionary France, with the dynamic young General Bonaparte in command of its armies, set upon the conquest of Europe, both by taking territory and by spreading the new ideology. Pope Pius VI, though firmly opposed to the Revolution, nonetheless thought he had spared Rome from its march by granting Napoleon control over the papal lands in Tuscany, where the popes had reigned for a millennium. But the accidental death of a French general, living in Rome at the residence of the French ambassador, Napoleon’s own brother, gave the Revolutionary government at Paris the excuse it needed to invade the Eternal City.

This is the story of the sack of Rome, and the actual and figurative siege of the Church at the hands of the Revolution, which sought to make Pius VI the last of his line—the Last Pope.

Legitimate Donations - I - Consider donating to the construction of the Regina Caeli Parish church in Houston (FSSP)

Years ago, we had the honor of first announcing the new FSSP church in the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese.

Once again, we would like to ask you to consider contributing to a worthwhile cause, which is their construction project: HERE you can find lots of information on how to contribute to their capital campaign.

Please, consider helping this great work of God, especially if you are in Texas.

Enroll Those Most in Need for 40 Masses and 40 Days of Prayer and Penance by the Carmelite Hermits

Rorate has received this announcement from the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (whom we announced in 2018).
In the face of the crisis in the world today, the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel will be offering 40 Masses and 40 days of prayers, vigils, fasting, and penances for all those enrolled during the sacred season of Lent. All are invited to enroll those most in need of the graces from these many Masses, prayers and sacrifices, including family, friends, clergy, and those in positions of leadership.

“Here in Carmel, there is nothing, nothing but God. He is all, He suffices, and one lives for Him alone and for His glory... in this life of prayer and contemplation, interceding always for His people before the Face of God.” - St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

Enroll yourself or your loved ones at:

Septuagesima: In the beginning

Septuagesimatide begins today, in the First Vespers for the Sunday in Septuagesima.

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 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:

You Suggest: FSSP Spanish immersion program for priests and seminarians

From a reader:

The St. Junipero Serra Spanish Institute is pleased to announce that registration is open for its fifth year of Spanish immersion for priests and seminarians in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. This year the program will run from June 15th – August 14th.

Participants in the St. Junipero Serra Institute stay at Casa Cristo Rey of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter where in addition to 4 hours of class daily, they live in a pastoral environment that immerses them in Spanish and nourishes them spiritually. Each day begins with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the singing of the divine office. Seminarians have a wide range of opportunities to put the Spanish they learn in practice through interaction with local families and participation in pastoral activities of the FSSP’s parish in Guadalajara.

Some of the highlights of the programs:

'Exclusive: Francis “is not opening up” to viri probati and the priesthood for married men'

Bruno Volpe
La Fede Quotidiana
February 2, 2020

La Fede Quotidiana has learned of an important fact relating to the coming papal document on the subject of the Amazon. And this fact, unless modified at the last moment, contradicts what has been recently reported concerning a text in which a yes is given to viri probati and the married priesthood. Those who saw this text two days ago (it will almost certainly be presented on February 12) said that the two hotly debated categories are not mentioned in the document and thus there is no official opening up [to them].

Reminder: Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society (who will become the 100th priest?!)

This is our monthly reminder to please enroll Souls of the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society. Last month, we gained another wonderful priest for the ranks, and the Society now stands at 99 priests saying weekly or monthly traditional Latin Masses for the Souls. Come on Fathers, who is going to become the 100th priest?!

** Click here to download a "fillable" PDF Mass Card in English to give to the loved ones of the Souls you enroll (you send these to the family and/or friends of the dead, not to us). It's free for anyone to use. CLICK HERE to download in Latin and CLICK HERE to download in Spanish

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 repose of 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.

Fontgombault Sermon for Candlemas 2020: "Every child is a gift from God."


Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
Fontgombault, February 2, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My dearly beloved Sons,

The feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and of the Purification of our Blessed Lady occurs this year on a Sunday. As a feast of the Lord, it supersedes the Sunday, and we are therefore able to celebrate together this feast. It bears a special relationship with consecrated life, and Pope St. John Paul II wanted to emphasize this fact with a day of prayer.

According to our Bishop’s wishes, throughout the various parishes of our diocese, priests will mention this special answer to God’s calling: forsaking everything so as to follow Him, namely, consecrated life. This calling is lived by the male and female contemplatives in a life withdrawn from the world, inside an enclosure, or by the religious, as well as consecrated lay men and women, through an apostolic activity. We willingly unite ourselves to the thanksgiving of the whole Christian people for the gift of consecrated life God has given the Church, and we especially keep in our prayer so many young people the Lord is still calling to follow Him. May the call of the Lord of the harvest strike a responsive chord in them, and receive a generous, persevering and radical answer.

Gregorian Chant: Perfect Music for the Sacred Liturgy

I am pleased to publish here at Rorate Caeli the full text and video of the lecture I gave on Gregorian chant as the supreme model of sacred music—a reservoir of faith and a wellspring of devotion—at the Sacred Liturgy Conference in Spokane, Washington, in May of 2019. The organizers of the Sacred Liturgy Conference gave me permission to post the video, which I recommend for its slides and musical examples. However, the text may be of value to those who prefer to print it out and read it. There are slight discrepancies between text and video that make no difference to the meaning. PAK

Gregorian Chant: Perfect Music for the Sacred Liturgy

Peter A. Kwasniewski

One might think that something called “plainchant” or “plainsong” would not furnish much to talk about; after all, its very name says it’s plain and it’s chant. In reality, Gregorian chant it is anything but plain, except in the sense that its beautiful melodies are meant to be sung unaccompanied and unharmonized, as befits the ancient monastic culture out of which they sprang. What we call “Gregorian chant” is one of the richest and most subtle art forms in Western music—indeed, in the music of any culture. In my presentation today, I will first give a rapid sketch of the history of chant, then address why we sing our liturgy rather than merely speaking it, and finally delve into the characteristics that make Gregorian chant uniquely suited to the Catholic liturgy.