Rorate Caeli

Foundations Restored, a DVD series from the Kolbe Center for Creation Studies -- A guest-review, by Fr. Thomas Crean OP

Fr. Thomas Crean, OP

Atheism is not natural to man. St Thomas Aquinas writes: “Natural reason shows man that he is subject to some superior, because of the defects he experiences in himself, which mean that he must be helped and directed by a superior – and whatever this superior is, it is what everyone calls God” (Summa theologiae 2a 2ae 85, 1). Yet atheism has been spreading among mankind from the 19th century on.

Likewise, before the 19th century, and absent bloody persecution, baptised peoples did not en masse give up the practice of some form of the Christian religion.  Since then, they have done so throughout the West.

How can we explain these phenomena?  The Kolbe Center for Creation Studies believes, first, that they are caused in large part by a general acceptance of the claim that the first human beings, and the main categories of living things, derive their existence from natural causes rather than from a miraculous act of the Creator; and secondly, that this claim is incorrect and contrary to divine revelation.  I think that the Kolbe Center is correct in both regards.

I welcome, therefore, the appearance of Foundations Restored, a DVD series in 17 episodes which offers theological and empirical arguments against the ‘Darwinian mentality’ which for the moment still prevails among the human race, including among many Catholics.  The series is aimed at adults and young adults at secondary schools, college and seminaries, and the average length of an episode is just over one hour.

Museum of 17th-Century Hidden Catholic Church in Amsterdam to be closed? -- considered "too Western"

Sent by a Polish friend of Rorate Caeli (Polish original here):


World-famous museum in Amsterdam is to be closed, because for the leftist city authorities its staff is too "white" and "Western"

The hidden church "Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder", hidden in the attic of a 17th-century Amsterdam tenement house, is one of the city's oldest museums, as well as one of the most famous after Anne Frank family home, Van Gogh and the national museums ( Rijksmuseum). Since I have already presented it quite extensively in the text "Fleeting exhibition in the church hidden in the attic", here I will only remind you of the most important facts.

From the moment of the victory of the Protestant revolution in the second half of the 16th century in the lands of today's Netherlands, Catholicism was banned, and Catholics trying to profess their faith were persecuted (although fortunately less bloody than, for example, in England). Consequently, secret chapels, hidden in private houses, were built in many cities, where the faithful gathered silently. There were over a dozen of them in Amsterdam. This state of affairs lasted until the nineteenth century, when the ban on Catholic worship was lifted. While many anti-Catholic restrictions were still in force (the ban on Catholic processions in this leading "libertarian" country in the European Union was in force until 1983!), churches were allowed to be built. Secret chapels were no longer needed and they were liquidated, but the purely baroque hidden church "Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder" ("Our beloved Lord in the attic") in the heart of Amsterdam's old town, at Oudezijds Voorburgwal, 38, was left as a trace of those times and turned into a museum.

Why Did “Prayer and Penance” Go Missing on the Feast of St John Vianney?

Today on the 1960 general Roman calendar is the feast of St John Mary Vianney. When he was canonized in 1925, his feast was set for August 9, but in 1960 he was bumped back a day to August 8. His dies natalis, August 4, had been occupied by St. Dominic for so many centuries that no one thought of moving him. As Gregory DiPippo pointed out at New Liturgical Movement, St. John Vianney would himself have celebrated Mass in honor of St. Dominic on August 4th.

What struck me this morning as I assisted at Mass is the Collect, which is the only proper item (the rest of the Mass is from the Common of Confessors “Os Justi”). Here is how it reads:

Back in Print after Nearly a Century: Cardinal Schuster’s The Sacramentary

Traditional Catholic publisher Arouca Press, based in Ontario, has just released an affordable reprint of Cardinal Ildefons Schuster's classic commentary on the Roman rite, The Sacramentary, in both paperback and hardcover, with discount rates for buying the entire 5-volume set directly from Arouca (US $100 for the complete paperback set, and $140 for the hardcover set).

Responsum of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Baptism done with the formula "We baptize you" is invalid

on the validity of Baptism conferred with the formula
«We baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit»



First question: Whether the Baptism conferred with the formula «We baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit» is valid?


Second question: Whether those persons for whom baptism was celebrated with this formula must be baptized in forma absoluta?


To the first questionNegative.

To the second question: Affirmative.

The Supreme Pontiff Francis, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, On June 8, 2020, approved these Responses and ordered their publication.

Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 24, 2020, on the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist.

Luis F. Card. Ladaria, S.I.

✠ Giacomo Morandi
Titular Archbishop of Cerveteri

* * *

on the modification of the sacramental formula of Baptism

De Mattei: An eminent Cardinal, but not very prudent

Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
August 5, 2020

Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun is an eminent prelate who sincerely loves his country and the Church. Born in Shanghai in 1932, ordained to the priesthood in the Salesian Order in 1961, he was appointed Bishop by John Paul II in 1996 and created Cardinal by Benedict XVI in 2006. Between 1996 and 2009 he was coadjutor and subsequently Archbishop of the diocese of Hong Kong, No one knows better than he does the complexity of the political and religious situation in China.

On January 9, 2016, Cardinal Zen, today Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, voiced severe criticism of the Vatican policy towards China which has evolved during the pontificate of Pope Francis. The Vatican reporter, Sandro Magister sums up the situation in these terms: “Since it has been in power, in fact, the Chinese Communist Party has wanted to set up a Church submissive to itself and separate from Rome, with bishops appointed by its own exclusive warrant and ordained without the approval of the Pope, subjugated to a “Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association” that Benedict XVI called “irreconcilable” with Catholic doctrine. An “official” Church, therefore, on the brink of schism. Interwoven with an “underground” Church led by bishops not recognized by Beijing and absolutely faithful to the Pope, who however, pay the full price of clandestinity: oppression, surveillance, arrest, abduction.”1.

Cardinal Zen is the voice today that best represents this “subterranean” Church.  “I am the voice of the voiceless not only to protest against the Communist Authorities, but also to put certain questions to our Roman Authorities. All these years actions were posited which offend the doctrine and the discipline of our Church: illegitimate and excommunicated bishops perform pontifical rites and sacred ordinations, legitimate bishops take part in illegitimate Episcopal ordinations up to four times; almost the total participation of the bishops of the official community at the National Assembly of Catholic representatives. No word came from Rome! Don’t our brothers  in China have the right to be confused and pose questions?”2

Guest Article: “The Seven Steps of the Altar”

Rorate Caeli is grateful to Canon Heitor Matheus, ICRSS, for sharing with us this beautiful homily he preached some time ago at St. Mary's in Wausau, Wisconsin. It is fitting to share it this week as we recall the dies natalis of St. John Vianney on August 4th (with his Mass in the usus antiquior on August 8th). We are reminded that the minor and major orders are very much alive in the Church today, continuing immemorial tradition. Young men responding to the Lord's call desire and deserve to have these rites for their strengthening and sanctification.

The Seven Steps of the Altar: Ascending to the Priesthood

Canon Heitor Matheus, ICRSS

THIS YEAR on the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (July 2), our Institute had the great joy to give nine more priests to the Church—nine more men who were ordained to continue the work of Redemption of Our Lord Jesus Christ. So I wish to speak today about this beautiful adventure that we call vocation and how a man becomes a priest.

As in a great puzzle, God has a place for each one of us, and we have the duty to try to find out where our place is. And I tell you that we are only going to be happy, truly happy, in the vocation God has for us. Our vocation is the most important decision we have to make in this life: it will decide the course of our life here below, and also bear upon our eternity.

But how do we find out our vocation? First of all, we have to know that the word “vocation” means “calling.” A vocation is a calling from God. We don’t hear this calling with the ears of our body, but we can perceive it by the affections of our heart. For example, when a young man enjoys coming to church, serving at the Altar, learning about the Faith, spending time in prayer… when it is as if he is drawn by a secret force to the things of God. Such things are signs of a vocation.

"If any man have an ear, let him hear": The Mark of the Beast

If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. 

And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 

And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 

Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

The Apocalypse of Saint John (Revelation), 13:9-18


Related news item: Singapore to make travellers wear electronic tags to enforce quarantine (Reuters)

Reminder: Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society

This is our monthly reminder to please enroll Souls of the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society. Last month, we added a new priest, and the Society now stands at 108 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.

Sermon for the Ninth Sunday After Pentecost: Lead us not into temptation

Fr. Richard G. Cipolla


From the gospel of St. Matthew:  Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  

And from today’s epistle from Paul to the Corinthians:  

Let no temptation take hold on you, but such as is human: and God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able; but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it. 



Another difficult passage to deal with on the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost.  Last Sunday we had to deal with the dishonest steward and Jesus’ commendation of him. Today we have to deal with St. Paul’s teaching on temptation.  But we must deal with this, for this passage points to one of the most best known phrases in the Lord’s Prayer. “ Lead us not into temptation.”  

A Religious Superior Reflects on Wimples—and on the Current Masquerade

Rorate Caeli received the following text from a religious superior who gave permission to publish it anonymously. The substance is taken from a chapter talk in the community.

Portrait of a Woman, ca. 1430-1435, by Robert Campin

Although the veil is historically more ancient than the wimple, the recent order from the civil government, requiring the wearing of a mask in public places, has made me reflect on our wimple.

The wimple came into fashion during the Middle Ages, from about the 13th century onward. All women of good breeding wore a wimple, and, later on it was retained for some time (through the 15th century) for married women. The wimple was always worn with a veil. The idea for the wimple is that the woman’s face is visible, but her neck and her head are covered. Even if it seems that lay women sometimes showed some of their hair when they wore a wimple or veil, the hair seen was dressed or braided, not hair flowing freely (which is an important difference with regard to its attractiveness).

One reason for the wearing of a wimple is the same as the reason for wearing a veil: that of reserving one’s beauty for one’s spouse. This is the reason that married women, above all, wore the wimple (and the veil). As we read in the Song of Songs, even a woman’s neck can be beautiful to a man: “Thy neck, is as the tower of David, which is built with bulwarks: a thousand bucklers hang upon it, all the armour of valiant men” (4:4). A woman who is not “available,” that is, one who is married or given in religion, does not wish, in any way, to draw attention to her physical beauty, and so it became customary for such women to wear wimples and veils.

Fashions changed, but women religious retained the custom of wearing wimples and veils.

The wimple always leaves the face uncovered. What does the leaving of the face uncovered mean? First, it means that a woman who wears a wimple is not seeking to hide herself totally; she is not seeking to exclude or separate herself from others. She is not excluding communication with other persons. Her face is left free; in fact, the wearing of the wimple draws more attention to the face, since there is nothing else to draw our eye.

The wimple “forces” someone who meets us to focus on our face, not on our body. In a real sense, our face most fully expresses who we are. Our face reveals who we are more than our body does. Consider that we learn so much more about a person by looking at his or her face than we do by looking at his or her hands or feet. The eyes are called the “windows of the soul,” and these eyes are almost highlighted by the wimple. 

The wimple, then, helps us to relate to other human persons in a way that harmonizes very well with our vocation. The wimple draws attention to the “inner man” which finds expression in our face. Our wimple helps others to look at us in that way.

Last week, the civil government ordered that everyone must wear masks in public places. The mask covers half of the face: the nose and the mouth. It is hard to recognize people when they wear masks; this is why burglars wear masks (the same kind, where only the eyes are visible). We can look from our convent to see people walking the streets who wear masks, but who are otherwise dressed indecently. The symbolic message such people convey is almost an exact inversion of the message we convey. One cannot “see” the “inner man” because of the mask, but one’s eyes are drawn, instead, to the body.

The mask is a barrier to truly human communication, for communication is so much more than the exchange of words. We speak with our face, with our expressions. When we add the wearing of masks to the other regulations, especially that of so-called “social distancing,” and to the increase in “virtual meetings” and “on-line classrooms,” we can see the mask as just one element in the dehumanizing tendency of our society.

Even though people may think it “dehumanizing” that we sisters wear all the coverings we do as part of our religious habit, the truth is that the layers we wear can be aids to make our relationship with other human persons “more human,” more personal. Because the use of masks is an element that frustrates truly human relationships, we have an instinctive aversion to wearing masks. The mask hides the human person; the wimple reveals the human person. 

Let us thank God for the gift of our wimples!

Nicolas de Largillière, Elizabeth Throckmorton, ca. 1729

Infallible canonisations: another problem

St Mary Magdalen, St John the Evangelist, Our Lady and the Christ Child,
St John the Baptist, and St Martha. From the All Saints Convent, Oxford.

(Cross posted from the LMSChairman blog.)

Dr John Lamont made the theological case against the infallible nature of decrees of canonisation here on Rorate Caeli a couple of years ago: here's the first post, and here is a follow-up. The other day I stirred up Twitter by repeating some of his arguments and it didn't surprise me at all to see a fair amount of resistence to this idea from traditionally-inclined Catholics.

This follows very naturally from the fact that a lot of old books and old authorities say that canonisations are infallible. What one has to remember is that St Alphonsus and the rest used the term 'infallible' in a far looser way than Vatican I's definition, and when the term is used today it is that definition which tends to uppermost in our minds. Again, the process of determining the sanctity of individuals has been vastly, well, 'speeded up' would be a polite term. Saints generally needed four miracles to be canonised in the past, now they need two. And so on.

But I'm not going into all that again: Dr Lamont lays it all out. No one outside Twitter has ever seriously suggested that the infallibility of canonisations was itself a doctrine of the Church which requires the assent of Catholics. So we can agree to differ, as theologians in fact always have.

I want to point out something else which is of huge importance. The process of canonisation has always required money - the researchers have to be paid - and many of those canonised have well-funded supporters. Having rich chums does not in itself show that a person is not holy - even Christ had some rich friends, after all. But joined to a, ahem, streamlined process, there is a potential problem.

The Holy Maccabees, martyrs: Defenders of Tradition

On this day, the Catholic Church calls on the intercession the Holy Maccabees -- seven Jewish brothers and their mother and a priest named Eleazar martyred in 167 B.C. by the monstrous prototype of the Antichrist known to history as Antiochus Epiphanes. As St. Paul wrote to the Hebrews, these nine "were racked, not accepting deliverance, that they might find a better resurrection" (Heb. 11:35, citing II Macc. 7:9-14). The traditional Roman Martyrology commemorates the Holy Maccabees in these words:

This Day, the First Day of August

At Rome, on Mount Esquiline, the dedication of the Church of St. Peter in Chains

At Antioch, the martyrdom of the seven holy brothers, the Machabees, and their mother, who suffered under king Antiochus Epiphanes. Their relics were transferred to Rome, and placed in the Church of St. Peter, just mentioned.