Rorate Caeli

“‘Don’t Call Me Hero’: The Catholic Attitude”: Guest Article by Fr. William Slattery

The following article illustrates historically what the recent Rorate Caeli article entitled “A theologian analyzes the morality of the cancellation of public Masses and the closure of churches by the State” documented theologically: the attitude priests must have in administering the sacraments. The author is Fr. William J. Slattery, Ph.D, S.T.L., author of The Logic of Truth (Leonardo da Vinci, 2016) and Heroism and Genius: How Catholic Priests Helped Build – and can help Rebuild – Western Civilization (Ignatius Press, 2017).

St. Cajetan Strengthens a Dying Man

“Don’t Call Me Hero”: The Catholic Attitude

Fr William Slattery

The most recent well-documented account of the attitudes and actions of priests during an epidemic occurred during the most devastating famine to hit Europe since the fifteenth century: the “Great Famine” in Ireland between 1845–1850. According to Amartya Sen, the Harvard historian of famines, “[in] no other famine in the world [was] the proportion of people killed as large as in the Irish famines of the 1840s.”[i] The cause was a blight that destroyed the potato crop—the staple food for three million of the nation’s 8.5 million people—killing one million persons by starvation and related diseases of fever, diphtheria, cholera, smallpox, dysentery and influenza and forcing another million into exile.

When the famine struck, the Irish parish priests, though few in number and with minimal resources, rose to the occasion, acting according to their identity as spiritual fathers.[ii] Their heroism was repeatedly recognized by their political enemies. As a British government official seeking to alleviate the effects of the famine wrote at the time, “all the Roman Catholic curates [assistant parish priests] . . . are laboring like tigers for us, working day and night . . . [without them] we could not move a stroke.[iii] Even a revolutionary movement, the Young Irelanders, although bitter about the Church’s refusal to side with them, stated – somewhat hyperbolically – that the priests had cared for the people of their parishes “with a devotion unsurpassed in the annals of martyrdom”.[iv]

Although they did as much as possible to alleviate the famine itself and its associated epidemic, the Catholics of Ireland wanted above all that their priests act as priests: to give them Holy Communion, hear their confessions, anoint them at their last hour, and remind them of Heaven. As Father Bernard O’Reilly, who accompanied his compatriots to exile in North America on the “coffin-ships” remarked, they wanted “the supreme consolation of an Irish Catholic - the last rites of his Church.”[v]

One priest, Father Hugh Quigley of Killaloe, narrated his daily existence at the peak of the famine as follows:

We rise at four o’clock— when not obliged to attend a night call— and proceed on horseback a distance from four to seven miles to hold stations of [the sacrament of] confession for the convenience of the poor country people who . . . flock in thousands . . to prepare themselves for the death they look to as inevitable.
       At these stations we have to remain up to five o’clock p.m. administering both consolation and instruction to the famishing thousands. . . . The confessions are often interrupted by calls to the dying, and generally, on our way home we have to . . . administer the last rites . . . to one or more fever patients.
       Arrived home, we have scarcely seated ourselves to a little dinner when we are interrupted by groans and sobs of several persons at the door crying out, “I am starving”, “if you do not help me I must die”, and “I wish I was dead”. In truth the priest must either harden his heart against the cry of misery or deprive himself of his usual nourishment to keep victims from falling at his door.
       After dinner— or perhaps before it is half- over— the priest is again surrounded by several persons, calling on him to come in haste— that their parents, or brothers, or wives, or children are “just departing”. The priest is again obliged to mount his jaded pony and endeavor to keep pace with the peasant who trots before him as a guide through glen and ravine and over precipice to his infected hut. This gives but a faint idea of the life of a priest here.[vi]

A newspaper account described another priest’s schedule:

On last Sunday and Monday week, the broken-hearted clergyman had to drag his own tottering limbs, with scarce an interval of rest, from one corpse to another. In the three subsequent days, exhausted, overcome, feeble and faint, he had still to continue his attendance on the dying; to pass continually from townland to townland; to look on corpse after corpse, to behold, renewed over and over, all the agonies and horrors.[vii]

Alongside all of this, priests often ended up performing the gruesome role of ensuring that the corpses were buried in coffins. People dreaded that they or their relations would be buried without a coffin, and it often fell to the priest to procure coffins, to coffin the dead, and to bury, Tobias-like, the victims of the pestilence.[viii] Father Troy of Skibbereen, County Cork narrated such an incident on January 10, 1847:

I went to the hut...provided with a coffin - had to creep in on my hands through an opening. The lifeless and putrid corpse was reclining against the wall...The poor wife and one of the children endeavored to get to their knees (they could not stand) to help me to coffin his remains, but I had to beg of my curate to help us.”
       Father Thomas Quinn in County Clare told how: “I had, together with my curate, Rev. Mr. Reid, to convey by torchlight two successive nights, the remains of two persons who were abandoned by their own immediate family and friends.”[ix]

The situation of the clergy in many parts of Ireland was similar to that described in this letter: “The priests are absolutely exhausted having to attend so many sick calls and in many instances are obliged to walk, their horses being unable to carry them through want of sufficient feeding and the priest not getting as much as would purchase oats for his horse.”[x]

Some priests, perhaps many, even gave away most of their few personal belongings:

When the terrible scourge of the famine descended upon his [Father Timothy Kelly’s] parish from 1845 to 1847, his reaction to the prevailing distress was what one would expect of the pastor and the man sprung from the people. He was in every sense the father of his flock. He organized the provision of meals for the numbers who were starving and when every resource failed he sold all he had, even his horse, to buy food for his people.[xi]

It was no surprise, therefore, that as the famine devoured the country many of the clergy became almost as poor as beggars, without decent clothes or even a pair of shoes; indeed, some were almost starving. As a government inspector reported: “In some instances where priests were confined with fever, I found in their cabins nothing available beyond stirabout. . . . There was no tea, no sugar, no provisions whatever; in some of their huts the wind blew, the snow came in, and the rain dripped.”[xii]

Moving constantly amid deadly disease and corpses took its toll among these valiant men. From 1847 to 1852 eight bishops died, some at least from famine fever. The highly documented authoritative work, by Donal Kerr entitled The Catholic Church and the Famine (Columba Press, 1996) states, “Many priests, religious brothers and nuns certainly died as a result of the Famine”. Another historian stated: ‘In 1847 at least thirty-six priests died of fever, sixteen of them during the month of May.’[xiii] Six priests died in Kerry. Of the sixty-four priests in the diocese of Kilmore, seven died in 1846-1847; at least seven in County Cork by June 1847; five died in the diocese of Killaloe in 1847-1848.

A Gaelic song of Famine times refers to a priest crossing the Atlantic from Galway Bay to Baltimore in the winter of 1847 or 1848, accompanying some 200 Irish, young and old:  “Bhí sagart beannuí a labhair ó chroí linn gur thug sé saor sinn go Baltimore [A holy priest was there to speak from the heart with us, and he brought us safe to Baltimore].

Of some 100,000 Irish that sailed to Canada in 1847, about one out of five died from disease and malnutrition. The ships bearing the Irish to Canada in 1847 were authentic “coffin ships”: thousands died either on board or upon disembarking at Grosse Île, a quarantine island in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River in Canada, where at least 5,500 died.

When the ships came ashore with their “ghastly yellow looking specters”, priests were waiting for them with food, medical supplies and the sacraments. A Celtic cross on the island commemorates forty-four priests who attended the immigrants. They paid the price there and elsewhere for their dedication: on Grosse Île twenty priests were infected with famine fever and six died; in Montreal, seventeen Grey nuns and seven priests succumbed; in Toronto, Bishop Michael Power (1804-1847) perished of typhus.[xiv]  

These priests did not regard themselves as heroes. This was all done in the line of duty; a matter of fulfilling what they had sworn to God to do when they touched the chalice and prostrated themselves on their day of sacred ordination; a matter of giving their people what was due to their people by sacred right.

They knew the Tradition: this had always been the attitude of priests from the lethal smallpox epidemic that swept through the Roman Empire during the years 165-180. It was the attitude of the thirty-eight- year- old archbishop, Charles Borromeo,when the bubonic plague struck Milan in 1576. He spared no expense and risked every danger in caring for the suffering—and probably paid for it by hastening his own death due to intermittent fever eight years later on November 4, 1584. Mark Twain, describing him as he moved calmly amid the terrified people, was describing the Irish priests during the Famine and all the other priests through the ages:
He was brave where all others were cowards, full of compassion where pity had been crushed out of all other breasts by the instinct of self-preservation gone mad with terror; cheering all, praying with all, helping all with hand, brain, and purse; at a time when parents forsook their children, the friend deserted the friend, and the brother turned away from the sister while her pleadings were still wailing in his ears.[xv]

During two millennia, when plague or famine struck, all priests knew the Catholic attitude–the only possible one–regarding the administration of the sacraments, as confirmed by the Council of Trent with all the nuances and subtleties of theology: the Sacrifice must be present and the sacraments must be given because both are necessary.

An attitude alive and vigorous because the Catholicism of two millennia of Tradition was vibrant.

Tradition, the “Ring of Fire”! “Take now this Ring,’ he said; ‘for thy labors and thy cares will be heavy, but in all it will support thee and defend thee from weariness. For this is the Ring of Fire and herewith, maybe, thou shalt rekindle hearts to the valor of old in a world that grows chill.’”[xvi]


[i] Amartya Sen (lecture at New York University, 1995), quoted in Cormac Ó Gráda, Black ‘47 and Beyond: The Great Irish Famine in History, Economy and Memory (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999), p. 3.
[ii] There were only 2,393 priests in parishes in Ireland in 1845: 1,008 pastors and 1,385 assistant pastors (“curates”); see A. Kerr, A Nation of Beggars? Priests, People and Politics in Famine Ireland, 1846–1852 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 48. According to estimates based on the first religious census taken in Ireland by the British government in 1834, Catholics in 1841 were nearly 81 percent of the total population while the combined Protestant total made up most of the remaining 19 percent—i n round figures, 6,500,000 Catholics out of the total population of 8,175,000; see “First Report of the Commissioners of Public Instruction, Ireland”, Parliamentary Papers 33, no. 45 (1835).
[iii] Lord Monteagle to Bessborough, October 1, 1846, Monteagle Papers, MS 13, 396, National Library of Ireland, quoted in Kerr, Nation of Beggars, p. 48. Italics mine. Lord Monteagle had been Chancellor of the Exchequer in the British government from 1835 to 1839.
[iv] Nation, July 24, 1847, quoted in Kerr, Nation of Beggars, p. 61. Italics mine.
[v] Quoted in, Donal A. Kerr, “The Catholic Church and the Great Irish Famine”, March 7, 1997 lecture, online at
[vi] Kerr, Nation of Beggars, p. 42.
[vii] Limerick and Clare Examiner, May 17, 1849. Quoted in the article “Father Thomas Moloney Pleaded for His Starving Flock”, Irish Identity, accessed January 20, 2015, .htm, courtesy of Matthew Lynch and Austin Hobbs, of Clare Champion.                  
[viii] Donal A. Kerr, A Nation of Beggars?: Priests, People and Politics in Famine Ireland, 1846-52 , Oxford University Press, 1995, p.38.
[ix] Ibid., p.39.
[x] Letter of Bishop Egan of Kerry to Renehan, April 22, 1846, Renehan papers, MCA, quoted in Kerr, Nation of Beggars, p. 170.
[xi] Account of the pastorship of Fr. Timothy Kelly, parish priest of Cooraclare and Kilmihil during the Great Famine, in Peter Ryan, History of Kilmurry Ibrickane (Old Kilfarboy, County Clare: Old Kilfarboy Society, 2002).
[xii] Count P. E. de Strzelecki, agent for the British Association’s relief scheme in a letter to Clarendon, August 26, 1848, in Report and Minutes of Evidence of the Select Committee of the House of Lords on Irish Poor Laws, May 4, 1849, vol. 16, 979–80, quoted in Kerr, Nation of Beggars, p. 171.
[xiii] T.P.O’Neill, ‘The Catholic Clergy and the Great Famine in Reportarium Novum, 1956, (1), p. 463.
[xiv] See the documentary drama, Death or Canada: the story of the Irish Famine and its impact on Toronto in 1847 wherein the heroism of Bishop Power is portrayed.
[xv] Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad, autograph edition (Hartford, Conn., 1869), pp. 231–32.
[xvi] J. R. R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion.

Letter from a Catholic Medical Doctor to His Bishop: "I beg you, open wide the doors of our churches, and may they never be closed again"

Rorate was given a copy of this moving letter, written by a Catholic medical doctor to his bishop, who has continued to uphold severe restrictions on Mass attendance and sacramental reception.

The Ascension of Our Lord
May 21st, 2020

Your Excellency,

Last Monday, I received a copy of the diocese’s letter regarding the opening of our churches as we enter the “yellow phase.” After being denied access to the Sacraments for two months, I cannot begin to tell you how absolutely heartbreaking the letter was to read.

Fontgombault Sermon for the Ascension: "We feel a deep sorrow when we read that the experience of virtual Masses seems to satisfy a not inconsiderable number of Christians."

Ascension of the Lord

Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
Fontgombault, May 21, 2020

Eritis mihi testes... usque ad ultimum terræ.
You shall be witnesses unto Me... even to the uttermost part of the earth.
(Acts 1:8)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My dearly beloved Sons,

The event of the Ascension comes and closes the time when the Lord was present with His disciples. After His resurrection, Christ had appeared again many times to His friends. But contrary to the three years of His public life, already He was no longer with them in a way that could be felt and seen. Now, the Ascension deprives them even of this presence.

The time is now come for the last words, the ultimate sending on mission. Three of the evangelists, Matthew, Mark and Luke, will remember that. As to St. John, he doesn’t evoke the moment of the Ascension, since the others had already told it before him, but he concludes his Gospel with the episode of the miraculous catch of fish, near the shore of the Sea of Tiberias.

Whereas the night had already elapsed, and they still had caught nothing, the Apostles see a man on the shore. They don’t recognize him. He invites them to cast again their nets, which get full of fish. “It is the Lord!” (Jn 21:7) exclaims St. John. After a meal of bread and fish taken around a fire of coals, Jesus asks Peter three times this question, “Lovest thou me?” Then He adds, “Feed my lambs... Look after my sheep... Feed my sheep.” (Jn 21:15-18)

Traditional Catholics get French Highest Court for Administrative Matters to Act for the Liberty of the Church when Bishops didn't

Note: The following is an article published in the French daily Le Monde, not known for Catholic sympathy.  The remarkable fact referred to in this article is that a group of Traditional Catholic priests and laity brought a suit to what is the French equivalent to the Supreme Court on administrative and governmental matters to celebrate Mass within the situation of the Covid-19 crisis.  The French Bishops Conference protested against the situation but did not follow up with an appeal to the Court.  This shows where the power lies in the battle that will be engaged in the future between a secular state that is inimical to the Christian faith and its practice and those Catholics who believe and will fight for their rights against a secular and anti-religious State.  

The original decisions of the Conseil d'État are available here (the main one is number 440366)

 Conseil d’Etat lifts the "disproportionate" ban on religious celebrations in France

By Cécile Chambraud for Le Monde 

May 19, 2020

The government has eight days to relax the ban on public religious ceremonies in places of worship, in effect since March 15. The Conseil d’Etat ruled Monday, May 18, that the general and absolute ban on all gatherings in churches, temples, synagogues and mosques, if it could be admitted in the first phase of the fight against the epidemic Covid-19, is “disproportionate” during this period of post-confinement.

Aldo Maria Valli on the Church and the Pandemic: "The Masks have fallen! The Masks have fallen!"

by Aldo Maria Valli of Duc in Altum

Translated by Father Richard Gennaro Cipolla

The pandemic of the coronavirus has brought us suffering and uneasiness, but has contributed to the ripping off of many masks.

One mask that has been ripped off is a consequence of how the government has acted in the pandemic, just as we have been accustomed to see how the government has acted in the last few years: the politics of superficial declarations, of disputes that are continual and meaningless. of continual electoral campaigns, of the quasi- theater only good for talk shows but in the end all fatuous and empty.

When confronted with an alarming situation, for each individual and for society as a whole, the apparatus of the government has shown it itself to be what it is: A debased theatrical event, or more to the point, a backdrop of papier-mâché, before which dull and dreary figures of actors recite the lines of the farce that is the struggle for power that totally ignores the authentic functions of government, that is, the management of the res publica.  

What should a government do if it does not operate to guarantee the safety of its citizens?  And what should it do to guarantee the safety of its citizens if it does not recognize that reality, to do what has to be done to give to the country a solid foundation and to confront in a timely fashion crises that arise?

Rao: "Follow-up on the Pandemic: Committing Suicide in the War of All Against All"

Committing Suicide in the War of All Against All:
Addendum to My Previous Remarks

John Rao

“Had I but served my God with half the zeal I served the Zeitgeist,
He would not in my age have left me naked to mine enemies.”

I. An Addendum

A commentator on my recent letter regarding the pandaemonium now diabolically disorienting almost every nook and cranny of our Global Fatherland wondered whether it might not be more accurate to categorize the planetary imprisonment as a Thomas Hobbes-down rather than a John Locke-down. He definitely has a point with respect to the roots and the historical chronology of the problem, but not in terms of marketing what is indeed at base a Hobbesian weapon of mass destruction. Here, Locke beats the author of Leviathan as an arms dealer hands-down. 

Still, the point is well taken, and serves the purpose of addressing something weighing heavily on my mind: the need for a brief, three-fold and admittedly somewhat disjointed addendum to my initial words on the Hospital of Earthly Delights that the Medico-Moonshine Complex has brought into being with a panache that Hieronymus Bosch could never have matched. This tripartite addendum concerns 1) the War of All Against All in and of itself; 2) the appropriateness of our chaplain, Fr. Richard Munkelt, baptizing that conflict in its current manifestation with Johnny Pluralist’s name; and, 3) the utterly astounding fact that the Church has decided to “do herself in” just when there is an elegant sufficiency of external warriors ready to administer the coup de grace more honorably.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider: "The devotion to Our Lady of Fatima in times of tribulation"

The devotion to Our Lady of Fatima in times of tribulation

The Right Rev. Athanasius Schneider
Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Mary Most Holy in Astana

Humanity and especially the Catholic faithful are currently experiencing a time of tribulation. For Christians, is an atmosphere of catacombs and persecution of the faith. However, the facts show that, under the pretext of the Covid-19 epidemic, the inalienable rights of citizens were violated, disproportionately and unjustifiably limiting their fundamental freedoms, and in first place the exercise of freedom of worship.

De Mattei: The “confinement” of the Sanctuary of Fatima

Roberto de Mattei 
Corrispondenza Romana
May 13, 2020

On the eve of the 103rd anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima, we learnt that the Portuguese National Republican Guard (PNRG) since May 9th has  been conducting operation “Fatima at Home” with the aim of impeding pilgrims from entering the Marian Sanctuary on May 13th. The news was given by the Director of Operations, Vitor Rodrigues, who praised the ‘fantastic collaborative position’ of the members of the Catholic Church, which the PNRG had been working with ‘for many weeks’.* Following this operation of “confinement”, the Fatima Sanctuary was placed under surveillance by 3500 National Guard soldiers, with the duty of assuring that no member of the faithful might approach the place without reasonable justification.** And, for the authorities, prayer obviously doesn’t constitute a valid justification. Basically, all means of access to the Sanctuary have been cordoned off, but even other places of devotion as well, such as  Aljustrel, the village where Lucia, Francesco and Jacinta were born, Valinhos, the apparition site of August, and even the Via Crucis.  

It’s as if we are on the eve of the French Revolution again, when Jansenism, Gallicanism, the Enlightenment and enlightened Catholicism  - different and varied forces, but united in their hate for the Church of Rome – linked together and multiplied their forces, under the shadow of the Masonic Lodges, to destroy definitively the religious and social order founded by Christianity.

A theologian analyzes the morality of the cancellation of public Masses and the closure of churches by the State — superb Thomistic treatment

The author of this letter, a priest and an experienced teacher of moral theology, shared the following text with Rorate Caeli. It was originally prepared as a letter to the priest’s local ordinary. I find it the best treatment I have read so far of these questions.

Letter Reflecting on the Cancellation of Masses and Closure of Churches

8 May 2020
Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Graces and Queen of All Saints

Your Excellency,

For nearly two months now the Catholic faithful have been deprived of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, of Holy Communion, and for many, even of Confession, many priests refusing this ministry. This time has been one of great suffering for all. The unexpectedness of the situation found us all wondering what to do, and those in positions of leadership had to make some very tough and very quick decisions.

"A controllable pandemic has been transformed into a totally unnecessary pandaemonium": John Rao on the mass hysteria

Rorate appreciates John Rao's permission to post here part of a letter he recently addressed to friends of the Roman Forum. It is an excellent analysis of our situation. 

“The more the panic grows, the more uplifting the image of a man who refuses to bow to the terror”. (Ernst Jünger)

                                                                                                                   May, 2020
                                                                                                                   The Month of Mary

Dear Friends of the Roman Forum,

The purpose of the Roman Forum is educational, and it would be a dereliction of duty not to make some comment on what we are witnessing around us and what it means for us as Catholics, as citizens, and as civilized men and women. I do not feel competent to discuss the initial cause of a disease that has affected the entire globe, nor would I in any way wish to minimize the real suffering and loss that this malady has entailed for many people. But what I do believe an educator needs to stress is the way in which a controllable pandemic has been transformed into a totally unnecessary pandaemonium; a horrifying illustration of the diabolical disorientation accompanying all of the ravages of modernity, and one that has allowed a painfully hollow modern society to titillate itself with the “feel” of living through the Bubonic Plague without actually doing so.

Coronavirus Crisis - URGENT APPEAL OF PASTORS FOR THE CHURCH AND THE WORLD: to Catholics and all people of good will



to Catholics and all people of good will

“Veritas liberabit vos.” (“The truth will set you free.”)
John 8:32
    In this time of great crisis, we Pastors of the Catholic Church, by virtue of our mandate, consider it our sacred duty to make an Appeal to our Brothers in the Episcopate, to the Clergy, to Religious, to the holy People of God and to all men and women of good will. This Appeal has also been undersigned by intellectuals, doctors, lawyers, journalists and professionals who agree with its content, and may be undersigned by those who wish to make it their own.
    The facts have shown that, under the pretext of the Covid-19 epidemic, the inalienable rights of citizens have in many cases been violated and their fundamental freedoms, including the exercise of freedom of worship, expression and movement, have been disproportionately and unjustifiably restricted. Public health must not, and cannot, become an alibi for infringing on the rights of millions of people around the world, let alone for depriving the civil authority of its duty to act wisely for the common good. This is particularly true as growing doubts emerge from several quarters about the actual contagiousness, danger and resistance of the virus. Many authoritative voices in the world of science and medicine confirm that the media’s alarmism about Covid-19 appears to be absolutely unjustified.
    We have reason to believe, on the basis of official data on the incidence of the epidemic as related to the number of deaths, that there are powers interested in creating panic among the world’s population with the sole aim of permanently imposing unacceptable forms of restriction on freedoms, of controlling people and of tracking their movements. The imposition of these illiberal measures is a disturbing prelude to the realization of a world government beyond all control.

May, Month of Mary: The Immaculata, the Exterminatrix of all heresies

[I]f it becomes children not to omit the imitation of any of the virtues of this most Blessed Mother, we yet wish that the faithful apply themselves by preference to the principal virtues which are, as it were, the nerves and joints of the Christian life - we mean faith, hope, and charity towards God and our neighbor. Of these virtues the life of Mary bears in all its phases the brilliant character; but they attained their highest degree of splendor at the time when she stood by her dying Son. Jesus is nailed to the cross, and the malediction is hurled against Him that "He made Himself the Son of God" (John xix., 7). But she unceasingly recognized and adored the divinity in Him. She bore His dead body to the tomb, but never for a moment doubted that He would rise again. Then the love of God with which she burned made her a partaker in the sufferings of Christ and the associate in His passion; with him moreover, as if forgetful of her own sorrow, she prayed for the pardon of the executioners although they in their hate cried out: "His blood be upon us and upon our children" (Matth. xxvii., 25).

BOMBSHELL: New historical evidence emerges in support of Bugnini’s association with Freemasonry — Names are named

The latest edition of the magazine of the Latin Mass Society of England & Wales, Mass of Ages, contains a review by Kevin Symonds of Taylor Marshall’s book Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within. (The review as published may be viewed in a PDF of the magazine, starting at page 40, as well as on the author’s personal website; it has been reproduced in full here.) 

Pursuing hints in the book, Symonds goes much beyond the conclusions of Marshall regarding Bugnini, having uncovered new material on Bugnini that decisively moves the question of his association with Freemasonry from the realm of shadowy speculation, where it remained even as recently as the scholarly biography by Yves Chiron, to the level of reasonable certainty. Instead of “unnamed sources,” where the matter was left by Michael Davies, we finally have named sources, with a plausible paper trail.

New Evidence on the Freemasonic Membership of Annibale Bugnini

Kevin Symonds

In this book, Taylor Marshall firmly maintains that the Catholic Church has been literally infiltrated by her enemies, thereby experiencing a massive campaign of disruption and distortion. A particular area in which Marshall advances this thesis pertains to the influence of the Vincentian priest, and later Archbishop, Annibale Bugnini (1912-1982) in the liturgical reforms of the mid-twentieth century. This review focuses on Marshall’s presentation of Bugnini’s influence upon these reforms and in particular of Marshall’s claim that Bugnini was involved with Freemasonry. It will be argued that, despite his eagerness to find evidence of ‘infiltration’ and his animus against Bugnini, Marshall actually misses some important evidence in favor of Bugnini’s membership of the Italian Freemasons.

“The Roman Canon: Pillar and Ground of the Roman Rite” — Full text of Dr. Kwasniewski’s lecture

Today, in honor of the feast of Pope St. Pius V, I am pleased to present to readers of Rorate Caeli the full text of my lecture on the Roman Canon, which in recent years has been delivered in a number of places in varying forms. The lecture had previously been translated into and published in Italian (“Pilastro e Fondamento del Rito Romano: il Canone Romano come Norma Dottrinale e Morale”) and German (“Im Herzen des katholischen Gottesdienstes: Zwölf Glaubenswahrheiten im römischen Kanon”).

The Roman Canon: Pillar and Ground of the Roman Rite

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

Of all the prayers with which the Roman Catholic Church offers the sacrifice of praise to Almighty God, the one that stands out the most as a touchstone of divine faith, a foundation of immovable rock, a treasure of ages, is the Roman Canon—the unique anaphora or Eucharistic prayer that the Catholic Church prayed in all Western rites and uses, from the misty centuries before the time of Pope St. Gregory the Great (d. 604) until the fateful end of the 1960s. Fr. Guy Nicholls writes of this remarkable Canon:

Rogationtide: Rediscovering Yet Another Treasure of Traditional Catholicism

by Michael P. Foley

Immediately before the crescendo of Ascension Thursday, before that triumphant culmination of the Pasch (a time so glorious that it was forbidden to fast), we encounter three days of violet vestments and anxious pleading. For in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite, the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before the Feast of the Ascension are the Lesser Rogation Days.

Int'l Bereaved Mother's Day: Memorialize your lost unborn children on new website

Our Lady of Consolation,
Comforter of the Afflicted,
pray for us.

Rorate note: In honor of International Bereaved Mother’s Day, a reader and bereaved mother has sent us a new resource, hoping to help other mothers who may be suffering the loss of an unborn child. While losing children to miscarriage is always hard, it can be especially difficult for mothers during the coronavirus, as many will have to postpone or even cancel internment or memorial services for their babies due to current shutdowns.

From a reader:

A Mom’s Peace, A Lay Apostolate for Mothers Of Miscarried and Stillborn Souls, has recently announced a unique online Garden of Remembrance beautifully dedicated to Our Lady in hopes of bringing the peace of closure and healing to many moms in the wake of loss.  The Garden of Remembrance is a place to commemorate the lives of children lost after conception, regardless of how many days, weeks, or months their short lives blessed their families.

A Mom’s Peace created this online memorial to fill a need for the families they serve when interment is not possible or when going to see your baby in the cemetery is too difficult for various reasons.

The intent of the Garden of Remembrance is to honor these precious little lives and provide consolation and much-needed closure, especially to families who otherwise would not have obtained it. It also serves as a reminder for families, especially moms, that they are not alone in the complexity of celebrating life while grieving the loss of these cherished family members. The lives of these beloved souls are too precious to forget.

The apostolate welcomes all parents to commemorate their child in the Garden of Remembrance.

A Mom’s Peace does not charge for the memorial flowers dedicated in the online Garden of Remembrance. However, A Mom’s Peace is very grateful for any financial support.  If you do desire to donate to the apostolate, donations are humbly accepted on their Donate & Sponsor page. The apostolate “exists to fulfill the corporal and spiritual works of mercy ‘bury the dead’ and ‘comfort the sorrowful’” and they do not turn away families who are unable to afford interment costs.

Fr Serafino Lanzetta on the Resurrection

A catechesis by Fr Serafino M. Lanzetta on the Paschal Mystery - Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord as one single mystery. The Cross without the Resurrection would be a sacrifice that ends with the death of Jesus - a failure of His prophecies and of His mystery as the Son of God. On the contrary, the Resurrection without the Cross would be a glory without suffering, a reward with no sacrifice, something only human. However, the current danger is to take only the Resurrection without the Cross, with all harmful consequences that it may bring about. For example, a split between a pre-Conciliar and post-Conciliar Church. The first would be the one attached to the Cross, to penance and to the rigor of doctrine. The second would instead be born of the Resurrection, of the Pentecost, the one that easily puts aside the Cross and happily moves on singing the Alleluia! Holy Communion is therefore given only to people who rigidly stand and receive it in their hand. In this logic, if one is risen doesn't kneel anymore. He only stands, without embracing the suffering of the Cross. We are affected by a "Pentecostal renewal" that hasn't produced that renovation hoped for.

Reminder: Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society

This is our monthly reminder to please enroll Souls of the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society. The Society now stands at 103 priests saying weekly or monthly traditional Latin Masses for the Souls.

** 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.

May, a Very Special Month:


Jesus, Lily of the Valleys
Mary, Queen of May
Joseph, Patron of Laborers

Orate pro nobis!


Chalice - Lily. The chalice is the lily, stylized and adapted to our use, and which, born from water, is proper for us to take to our lips.

The lily, and especially the water-lily, also called lotus or nenuphar, has always had a peculiar place in the symbolism of all religions. It projects its roots to substantial and deep regions, separated from our sight by these fluid, contemplative, mirror-like layers which are the domain of that which is contingent, unstable, of illusion and of this "time", of this reflection which relates to several circumstances.