Rorate Caeli

150 Years of Maria Montessori: The Mass Explained to Children

Everything is sacred in the rite of Holy Mass. Every movement of the priest, every object he touches, every tone of his voice is determined for him: and the faithful can follow the Mass in its mystical meaning and in its every detail.

Maria Montessori

La Santa Messa spiegata ai bambini [The Holy Mass Explained to Children]


150 years ago today, on August 31, 1870, Maria Tecla Artemisia Montessori was born in Chiaravalle, Marche. It was just days before the fall of Rome to the forces of the Kingdom of Italy, and the end of the Pontifical States -- which had ruled the Marche region for many centuries until 1860.

Maria was raised a devout Catholic, a strong faith she kept throughout her life. In 1896, she became one of the first women to graduate as a medical doctor in Italy, having been a brilliant medical student at the University of La Sapienza, in Rome. Pope Leo XIII himself praised her choice as adequate for her station.

There is much to praise about Montessori, including her remarkable contributions to the education of children, but it as her Catholic faith which kept her going, even during the difficult years of single motherhood due to a passionate youthful error or the years of self-exile from the Fascist regime. 

In honor of her 150th birthday, we make available below the book she wrote on "The Mass Explained to Children", now in the public domain:

The Francis Vatican Is Providing Cover for Biden

Main excerpt of George Neumayr's insightful appraisal of the present moment for the American Spectator:

In 2020, the Vatican is once again running interference for a pro-abortion Democrat. Joe Biden fashions himself as a Pope Francis Catholic. He brags about his cozy relationship with Pope Francis. In 2016, the Vatican invited Joe Biden to a conference about medicine, a scandalous invite given that Biden supports making scientific use of aborted embryos. Biden gushed about the anti-capitalism of Pope Francis: “We need to create a culture which, as Pope Francis reminds us, cannot just be based on the worship of money. We cannot accept a nation in which billionaires compete as to size of their super-yachts.”

HELP THE CHURCH IN LEBANON ! - A Trustworthy Effort by the Armenian Catholic Eparchy in the US & Canada

From the Armenian Catholic Eparchy of Our Lady of Nareg (in the United States and Canada):

* As you are aware, on Tuesday, August 4th, 2020, a massive explosion destroyed most of the vicinity of the Port of Beirut, Lebanon. The explosion which impacted over a 10 mile radius, took the lives of more than 200 people, leaving more than 4,000 wounded and injured, while the whereabouts of many individuals are unknown as authorities continue their search. Countless families are now homeless and have lost everything. 
* Churches, Rectories, and Cultural Centers were heavily damaged, tremendously impacting the people of the entire nation. Lebanon was already suffering from a political and economic crisis, in which the local currency had lost 80% of its value over the last 6 months, alongside managing and containing the COVID-19 pandemic. In the midst of this insecurity, the explosion occurred, further affecting the lives of the citizens of a once globally renown country.
* Our brothers and sisters in Lebanon are in need of our support right now more than ever. Even the smallest act of charity that we can provide is of great value to them.
* Please consider making a donation today by sending a check payable to “Armenian Catholic Eparchy” to 1510 E. Mountain St., Glendale, CA 91207 with the note “For Lebanon”; or make a donation by click the Red Donate Button AT THIS LINK including “For Lebanon” in the Note. May God bless you!

There's only one choice in November: listen to Sister Deirdre Byrne, MD

Watch the video below, from tonight's Republican National Convention, and send Sister Deirdre Byrne's strong words to all friends and family. Catholics have no choice but to agree with her, and vote accordingly:


 Good evening. I am Sister Dede Byrne, and I belong to the Community of the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Last Fourth of July, I was honored to be one of the president's guests at his Salute to America celebration. I must confess that I recently prayed while in chapel, begging God to allow me to be a voice, an instrument for human life. And now here I am, speaking at the Republican National Convention. I guess you’d better be careful what you pray for. My journey to religious life was not a traditional route, if there is such a thing. In 1978, as a medical school student at Georgetown University, I joined the Army to help pay for my tuition, and ended up devoting 29 years to the military, serving as a doctor and a surgeon in places like Afghanistan and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. After much prayer and contemplation, I entered my religious order in 2002, working to serve the poor and the sick in Haiti, Sudan, Kenya, Iraq and in Washington, D.C. Humility is at the foundation of our order, which makes it very difficult to talk about myself. But I can speak about my experience working for those fleeing war-torn and impoverished countries all around the world. Those refugees all share a common experience. They have all been marginalized, viewed as insignificant, powerless and voiceless. And while we tend to think of the marginalized as living beyond our borders, the truth is the largest marginalized group in the world can be found here in the United States. They are the unborn. As Christians, we first met Jesus as a stirring embryo in the womb of an unwed mother and saw him born nine months later in the poverty of the cave. It is no coincidence that Jesus stood up for what was just and was ultimately crucified because what he said was not politically correct or fashionable. As followers of Christ, we are called to stand up for life against the politically correct or fashionable of today. We must fight against a legislative agenda that supports and even celebrates destroying life in the womb. Keep in mind, the laws we create define how we see our humanity. We must ask ourselves: What we are saying when we go into a womb and snuff out an innocent, powerless, voiceless life? As a physician, I can say without hesitation: Life begins at conception. While what I have to say may be difficult for some to hear, I am saying it because I am not just pro-life, I am pro-eternal life. I want all of us to end up in heaven together someday. Which brings me to why I am here today. Donald Trump is the most pro-life president this nation has ever had, defending life at all stages. His belief in the sanctity of life transcends politics. President Trump will stand up against Biden-Harris, who are the most anti-life presidential ticket ever, even supporting the horrors of late-term abortion and infanticide. Because of his courage and conviction, President Trump has earned the support of America’s pro-life community. Moreover, he has a nationwide of religious standing behind him. You’ll find us here with our weapon of choice, the rosary. Thank you, Mr. President, we are all praying for you.


[Transcript provided by CNA]

Online Walking Pilgrimage to Walsingham: join the LMS for the conversion of England!


Every year since 2010 the Latin Mass Society has had a walking pilgrimage from Ely to Walsingham, which is about 60 miles, for the conversion of England. This year we can't do it because of the Coronavirus: it would have taken place this weekend. Instead we are doing an online version, which you can take part in not only as a participant in live-streamed Masses and devotions, spanning the Shrine of Our Lady of Willesden, Our Lady of the English Margyrs in Cambridge, and the Slipper Chapel in Walsingham, the restored Catholic shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham.

Futhermore, you can join our prayer and penance by actually walking - whereever you are.

How will it work?

750th Anniversary of the Death of Saint Louis King of France

On this day, exactly 750 years ago, in Tunis, North Africa, King Louis IX died to this world and entered heaven.

His instructions to his son, Philip, as he neared death were to become his last testament.

"Fair son, the first thing I would teach thee is to set thine heart to love God; for unless he love God none can be saved. Keep thyself from doing aught that is displeasing to God, that is to say, from mortal sin. Contrariwise thou shouldst suffer every manner of torment rather than commit a mortal sin.

Jesus Christ: the “Great Absence” in today’s Church

 “Today, Pastors and the entire people of God need to return to a correct order of priorities: to begin with, by shouting from the rooftops the first and most important of these priorities: the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.”

by Gianfranco Amato

President, Jurists for Life

La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana

August 21, 2020

Every day, it seems like ‘a great absence’ is making itself felt inside the Church: Our Lord Jesus Christ. We talk about everything except Him. In official discourses, prolusions, interventions and now even in documents, every reference to the Son of God seems to have disappeared. The idea that there can be a Christianity without Christ is making increasing headway in a creeping manner. For that matter “the Powers that be” are fond of a religion that attends to the poor, the needy, the diverse, immigrants, social justice, respect for the environment and peace, but which eclipses the troublesome figure of Christ – the only Truth – with all the ensuing weaponry of the precepts, dogmas, principles values and ideals of this Truth.  This is why in the ecclesiastical world we keep hearing authoritative voices going on about everything except the Unicum necessarium . But wasn’t it the mission of the Church to “proclaim the Kingdom of God and Christ and establish it among the peoples”  as it would seem No. 565 of the Catechism indicates?

Sermon for the 12th Sunday After Pentecost: The Problem of the Law

Fr. Richard G. Cipolla


From the epistle:  He also it is who has made us fit ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the spirit, for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life…. For if there is glory in the ministration that condemned, much more does the ministration that justifies abound in glory. (2 Corinthians 3:6)


St. Paul here once again wrestles with the problem of the Law and the new dispensation of grace in Jesus Christ.  Two Sundays ago, St Paul wrestled with the relationship between justification and good works.  And he arrives at the conclusion that is part of our faith:  that we are justified by our faith in the cross of Jesus Christ and not by good works. But that a faith that is real, that is alive, must manifest itself in good works, and that these good works that come from our faith are pleasing in the sight of God and are a proof, so to speak, to God that our faith is real and living.  

Invalid baptism leads to an avalanche of invalid sacraments

A rogue "permanent deacon" in the Archdiocese of Detroit, Mark Springer, administered invalid baptisms for 13 years. One of them was to someone who would eventually be "ordained" a priest in 2017 -- only to learn he was never validly baptized himself.

Post-Vatican II vernacular baptism book

To his credit, the priest -- Father Matthew Hood -- watched a video of his baptism and heard the word "We" instead of "I" used in the vernacular formula, "I baptize thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." According to a statement issued by the Archdiocese of Detroit today he immediately contacted the chancery.  Hood was then validly baptized, and then all of his other sacraments had to be validly administered, since they required a valid baptism to be valid themselves.

That was the easy part.

Now the archdiocese must find every Catholic who received sacraments from Father Hood, as they were administered by a non-Catholic layman!

Make Your Voice Heard! New Latin Mass Survey

From the website of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter: 

Here’s a chance to make your voice heard about the Latin Mass as well as your TLM parishes and communities.


"Towards a global dictatorship! In Italy ‘The New World Order’ is now being taught at school."

 Translation of a post by

Chiesa e Post Concilio 

August 20, 2020

Many years have passed since we first heard people talking about the New World Order, and until only the other day,  those who spoke of this openly in public were ridiculed by friends, relatives, acquaintances and labeled as paranoid conspiracy theorists.  

De Mattei: The Assumption: a Dogma for Our Times

 Roberto de Mattei 
Corrispondenza Romana
August 19, 2020

Waiting for the Virgin in Heaven  (Michael Willman 1681). 

Seventy years ago, on August 15, 1950, the dogma of the Assumption in Heaven of the Blessed Virgin Mary was proclaimed. The promulgation of the dogma was decreed on November 1, 1950, with the Apostolic Constitution  Munificentissimus Deus, but Pius XII made the announcement on August 15, the day  in which, from time immemorial, the Feast of the Assumption has been celebrated.

The Assumption is the transit of the Blessed Virgin, body and soul, from earth to the celestial life.  This truth of Faith springs from the Divine Maternity and virginal integrity of Mary’s Body. Mary being the Mother of God and immune from original sin, it was not fitting that She be subject to the corruption of death, which is a punishment for sin. The dogma of the Immaculate is the premise, the Assumption is the conclusion of a coherent vision of the Mother of God’s privileges.

 “Christ – explains Pius XII in the encyclical proclaiming the dogma -   overcame sin and death by his own death, and one who through Baptism has been born again in a supernatural way has conquered sin and death through the same Christ. Yet, according to the general rule, God does not will to grant to the just the full effect of the victory over death until the end of time has come.” [4]

As a consequence of original sin, also the bodies of the just dissolve after death, and only on the last day will each be reunited to their own glorious soul. “Now God has willed that the Blessed Virgin Mary should be exempted from this general rule. She, by an entirely unique privilege, completely overcame sin by her Immaculate Conception, and as a result she was not subject to the law of remaining in the corruption of the grave, and she did not have to wait until the end of time for the redemption of her body.” [5]

On October 30, two days before the definition of the dogma, Pius XII, had the extraordinary grace of seeing the same spectacle of the sun spinning in the heavens like a fiery globe, which 70,000 pilgrims had witnessed in Portugal more than thirty years before, on October 13, 1917.  “The “dance of the sun” was repeated again right in front of Pope Pacelli on October 31 and November 8.  For the Pontiff, the prodigy seemed to be the heavenly seal on the recently proclaimed dogma and an encouragement to develop the great Marian Movement, which, after the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, cried out for the proclamation of the Mediation of Mary and the Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.

Event: “Festival of Saint Louis,” August 24–25 in the City of St. Louis, Missouri

Adoration and First Vespers for the Feast of Saint Louis
Begin the feast on the afternoon of the preceding day with vespers and Benediction (programs provided).
St. Luke Catholic Church, 7230 Dale Ave, St. Louis, MO 63117

Sung Matins and Lauds for the Feast of Saint Louis
Pray the beautiful morning hours of the Divine Office as the sun rises (programs provided)
Epiphany Catholic Church, 6596 Smiley Ave, St. Louis, MO 63139

Solemn Mass of Saint Louis
Celebrate our city’s patron with the highest prayer of the Church (programs provided)
St. Luke Catholic Church, 7230 Dale Ave, St. Louis, MO 63117

Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction
St. Luke Catholic Church, 7230 Dale Ave, St. Louis, MO 63117

Accompany a statue of Our Lady and a relic of Saint Louis in a joyful and prayerful procession
Starting Point: St. Luke Catholic Church, 7230 Dale Ave, St. Louis, MO 63117
Ending Point: St. Louis statue on Art Hill - Fine Arts Dr, St. Louis, MO 63110
Route is approximately 2 miles (Not recommended for those with limited mobility)

Rosary & Reception
Rosary at the Statue of Saint Louis followed by a Celebratory Reception
Come to thank Saint Louis for his intercession and ask for his continued protection
Art Hill, Fine Arts Dr, St. Louis, MO 63110

The Oratory of Sts. Gregory and Augustine | Epiphany of Our Lord Parish | Knights of Columbus Council 17355 | St. Louis Forever Rosary Coalition | Juventutem St. Louis | Equites Sancti Ludovici | CREDO of the Catholic Laity

Sermon for the 11th Sunday After Pentecost: The Tradition of the Catholic Church

Fr. Richard G. Cipolla 

Brethren, I make known unto you the Gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received and wherein you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast after what manner I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all, which I also received. (I Corinthians 15: 1-3)


To receive and to pass on. That is the essence of what the Catholic Church means by Tradition with a capital T. We are not a people of the Book, like Islam, the basis of which faith is entirely the Koran.  And there are Protestant Christians who are also people of the Book, but their book is the Bible.  And for them the whole faith is contained in the Bible and the purpose of study is to constantly read and examine and analyze the text of the Bible.  That this foundation is shaky should be obvious:  for the original languages of the Bible are Hebrew and Greek, and therefore every translation is subject to that fundamental dictum that translation always involves in a sense a betrayal, for every translation bears the marks and prejudices of particular people and of a particular culture.  There is no total objectivity in translation and in a faith like Christianity that insists that the ultimate truth is found in the person of Jesus Christ whose words are recorded in the gospels this problem is acute.  But we Catholics have always believed from the very beginning that what has been handed down, the Tradition, is not merely what is recorded faithfully in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, but also includes the oral tradition handed down from Jesus to the Apostles and to the Church.  

Dom Antoine Forgeot, OSB -- Abbot Emeritus of Our Lady of Fontgombault -- Rest in peace

Notice of the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Fontgombault, France:

Fontgombault Sermon for the Assumption of Our Lady: What is Freedom? "Freedom, a gift from God, is stepping into the harmony of the Divine Plan."

Assumption of Our Lady
Sermon for the Mass 

Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau 
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault 
Fontgombault, August 15, 2020 

Tu gloria Jerusalem, tu lætitia Israël. 
Thou art the glory of Jerusalem, thou art the joy of Israel. (Jdt 15:9) 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 
My dearly beloved Sons, 

Whereas we are at the peak of summer heat, and the liturgy unfolds the splendor of its greatest solemnities, the reading taken from the Book of Judith immerses us into one of the darkest moments of the chosen people. The Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnezzar had sent his army to conquer the western part of Assyria. After a string of successes, the army has now come before the gates of Israel and laid siege to a city called Bethulia. 

For most of its inhabitants, the future seems bleak and hopeless. Yet, Judith, a pious widow, arises. After taking time to pray, she goes to the enemy camp. Her wisdom seduces Holofernes, the general, and all his officers. A few days later, Judith takes advantage of the warlord’s drunkenness and executes him. The people rejoices, the town is set free, and the enemy army is put to rout. Why remember the praise given to Judith on this Assumption morning? What is the connection between the humble Virgin of Nazareth and the liberator of Bethulia? 

The homecoming of the victorious widow into her city can but very modestly foreshadow the entrance of Mary into heavenly glory. It thus seems we have to search elsewhere the motive for this parallel. As Judith, the Virgin of Nazareth found herself at the centre of a fight, the most terrible of all fights. In the image of the city of Bethulia, man has been from the very beginning besieged, enslaved by sin, a prisoner of manifold addictions. At the appointed hour, Mary rises from the midst of the human tide, the only one who, by a unique privilege, is alien to the satanic genealogy inexorably marking every man coming into this world. 

If the Virgin Mary overcomes Satan, it is because she has freely accepted to fulfill perfectly what God had wanted for each of us. In the beginning, God had uttered a word, “Let there be light”. And light shone. It still shines in creatures, in the sun that gives us light. Yet, at the end of His work of creation, God had said another word, “Let us make man to our image and likeness”. An unexpected word, suggesting that from now on, the light of the first day is no longer sufficient. Man is called to live in another and more powerful light, God Himself. Between God and every man, there remains not only the link uniting each creature to its Creator, but also a deeper link, expressed in this assertion of St. Paul to the Galatians, “And I live, now not I: but Christ liveth in me.” (Gal 2:20) 

Fontgombault Sermon for the Assumption in Celebration of the National Vow of King Louis XIII: "So many men embark on the virtual paths of internet, forsaking their families and friends for an insubstantial and elusive dreamland."

Assumption of Our Lady 
At Vespers, before the Procession according to the Vow of King Louis XIII 

Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau 
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault 
Fontgombault, August 15, 2020 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 
My dearly beloved Sons, 

On the evening of this day, so as to abide by the vow made by King Louis XIII, we are going to go on a procession in honor of Mary, and we shall sing the Litanies of Loretto, as well as the hymns Chez nous soyez Reine [Be Queen in our midst] and the Ave Maria of Lourdes. 

This year, three new invocations have been added, according to the wish of the Holy Father, to the traditional ones in the Litanies: Mater misericordiæ, Mater spei and Solatium migrantium. Let us consider each of these new invocations. Since we are within a few miles of Pellevoisin, the first invocation, Mater misericordiæ, “Mother of mercy”, cannot leave us unmoved, for in Pellevoisin, Mary indeed revealed herself as the “All merciful”. This new name, placed just after Mater Ecclesiæ, was used by John Paul II in his encyclical on mercy, Dives in misericordia. He writes:

Mary is also the one who obtained mercy in a particular and exceptional way, as no other person has. At the same time, still in an exceptional way, she made possible with the sacrifice of her heart her own sharing in revealing God’s mercy. […] No one has experienced, to the same degree as the Mother of the crucified One, the mystery of the cross, the overwhelming encounter of divine transcendent justice with love: that “kiss” given by mercy to justice. […] Mary, then, is the one who has the deepest knowledge of the mystery of God’s mercy. She knows its price, she knows how great it is. In this sense, we call her the Mother of mercy: our Lady of mercy, or Mother of divine mercy. (n. 9)

-All Hail the Wife and Mother of God!

Mary! She is the north of the tender youth
who, feeling in his heart the burning life,
rows forward with courage and delight.
And, in the growing glare of heaven's light,
 a voice rises from the peaceful earth:
the Virgin, shaded by a blooming rose.
Father Jacint Verdaguer

The mystery play of Elche is a sacred musical drama of the death, the passage into heaven (known as the Assumption) and the crowning of the Virgin Mary.

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.