Rorate Caeli

Guest Op-Ed: 500th anniversary of the excommunication of arch-heretic, Martin Luther

By Mark Thomas

This Sunday, January 3, 2021, is the 500th anniversary of the excommunication of Martin Luther as a heretic and schismatic – the greatest damage ever done to the Holy Catholic Church. He died unrepentant, without the sacraments and outside the One True Church.

Yes, Pope Leo X, who issued the excommunication decree and the previous Exsurge Domine warning (6/15/1520) to Luther, had a mixed record of papal righteousness – but in this event he is nearly unsurpassed and fairly vindicated. 

In this writer's view, these documents are two of the most formidable, necessary and courageous decrees emanating from the Chair of Peter, defending the Holy Roman Catholic Church from doctrinal attack. They were subsequently, fully upheld by the Council of Trent – also one of the greatest Councils in Church history – to which we owe very much, especially on the Eucharist!

We still face great danger. With Luther, there was no warning, just 95 absurd theses appearing out of thin air. 

Here today, we had a warning in 1917 at Fatima. “Russia will spread her errors throughout the world,” did Our Lady alert the three children and us Catholics. 

We feel these effects today – a far more serious warning than Luther. In full deference to Our Lady and the Most Holy Trinity – it is extremely doubtful (despite assertions to the contrary) that the full, correct Consecration to Russia was done; or that the decisive 3rd Secret text was totally revealed. 

THOMAS BECKET - "This is the sign of the Church always: The Sign of Blood."

KNIGHTS. Where is Becket, the traitor to the King?
Where is Becket, the meddling priest?
Come down Daniel to the lions' den,
Come down Daniel for the mark of the beast.

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"When the Child was Born" (Quanno nascette ninno) -- A Christmas Poem by St. Alphosus Liguori -- Exclusive English translation for Rorate

A Very Happy Christmas and a Blessed Christmastide to all of you and all of your families!

As a gift to our readers, Rorate is fortunate enough to present what we believe to be a first in English: a translation, from the original Neapolitan, of St. Alphonsus Liguori musical poem for Christmas, Quanno nascette ninno (When the Child was Born)

When the Child was born (Quanno nascette ninno)

When the Child was born in Bethlehem

It was night and it seemed noon.

Never the stars shining and beautiful were seen like this:

And the brightest one went and called the Magi in the East.

Suddenly birds awoke

Singing in a whole new form:

Even the crickets with shrieks,

Jumping from side to side;

He’s born, He is born,

They said, the God who created us.

"My Lord and my God!" The Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle in late Advent

The feast of St. Thomas the Apostle has been kept on this day, December 21 from at least the ninth century.  It was moved to July 3, the day mentioned by St. Jerome as the date of his martyrdom in India, by those who revised the calendar after the Second Vatican Council.  They did this so that his feast would not interrupt the major ferial days of Advent leading to Christmas.  They wanted to tidy things up, calendar wise.  They considered the feast of St. Thomas in later Advent out of place.  Their liturgical rationalism made them blind to the wonderful interruption of late Advent made possible by the feast of this apostle.


Today’s Gospel is the famous Gospel of "doubting Thomas".  This Gospel is heard also on the Sunday after Easter, Low Sunday.  Heard on Low Sunday it makes sense as the continuing narrative of Jesus’ resurrection and appearances to the disciples. But it also makes sense in a discontinuous way today, four days before the celebration of the birth of Christ.  The celebration of Christmas makes sense only if one believes that the baby in the manger is the Incarnate Lord, the God-man, who came to save the world from sin and eternal death.  In an increasingly secularized world, this is either deliberately erased by a celebration of general good feeling and bonhomie. Or it is forgotten by Christians whose faith has been watered down lest they be uncomfortable in thinking about the real link between the wood of the manger and the wood of the Cross. 

The case against masks, presented by a religious Sister in the form of an article from the Summa

Rorate is grateful for the following contribution, offered to us by a religious Sister who wishes to remain anonymous (or rather, who must remain anonymous for the sake of her community).

For the past ten months or so, we have been urged, commanded, and threatened to wear masks. The majority of the populace seems to be complying. It is the exception, rather than the norm, to see unmasked faces at a grocery store, a gas station, or the gym. Christians seem to be like their neighbors in this regard; walking into most Masses on a Sunday morning, one is likely to be “greeted” with masked parishioners, social distancing, and lots of sanitizer.

15 Years of Rorate Caeli: Thank you!

A very happy RORATE SUNDAY! 

 And deep gratitude to God Almighty for all our readers on this 15th Anniversary of our work for Christ and Church, Rorate Caeli. 

 Thank you!

De Mattei: "The Year of Saint Joseph: A Great Opportunity for the Church"

Roberto de Mattei

The scenario at the end of 2020 appears very different from that with which 2019 concluded. A year ago, the unrelenting decline of the pontificate of Pope Francis was confirmed by the outcome of the Pan-Amazonian Synod which was unable to bring about any of the expectations of the progressivists, from the abolition of ecclesiastical celibacy to women priests. On the level of international politics, the victory of Donald Trump in the following year’s election seemed sure, without any electoral fraud able to threaten it. The resistance against the revolutionary forces which dominate the world was shown in many ways: by great pro-life events to anticommunist demonstrations in Hong Kong, to the formations of Catholics in Acies Ordinata. The groups most tied to Tradition were on the attack, with a substantial unity of purpose.

MAJOR EXPOSÉ: Rooms broken into, dossiers stolen, death threats, armed guards, assassinations... Fr. Charles Murr on Vatican intrigues surrounding Cardinals Baggio, Benelli, Villot, and Gagnon

Rorate readers will be aware of the groundbreaking interview Kevin J. Symonds conducted with Fr. Murr for the October 2020 issue of Inside the Vatican, which was also published at Rorate on October 10. Interested readers may want to read that interview first in order to gain more understanding of context for the present one, which was done once again for Inside the Vatican. In the previous interview, Fr. Murr told us about his friendship with Mother Pascalina Lehnert, the “right hand” of Pope Pius XII for several decades. In addition to this discussion, Fr. Murr made some notable revelations about what was going on at the Vatican in the 1960s, and 1970s. The interview below follows up on these revelations with the theme of “where do we go from here?”

Cardinal Baggi (L) and Cardinal Benelli (R)


ITV: Thank you, Fr. Murr, for sitting down again with Inside the Vatican. In our previous interview, you spoke of your association with Cardinal Edouard Gagnon and Msgr. Mario Marini. These two men worked closely with the Sostituto of the Secretariat of State, Cardinal Benelli. You yourself, however, did not enjoy the same association with Cardinal Benelli...

I was twenty-four years-old when I met and became friends with the newly appointed minutante in the Vatican Secretariat of State, Monsignor Mario Marini. Soon after, Marini introduced me to another extraordinary man who would play a major role in my life, his good friend, Archbishop Edouard Gagnon (1918–2007). Gagnon and Marini were respected friends and confidants of Archbishop Giovanni Benelli (Sostituto of the Secretary of State); I was not part of that inner circle. I knew Benelli, of course, and spoke with him many times, but I knew my place. Once, on Lago di Bracciano I was at table with him and Monsignors [Guillermo] Zanoni and Marini. I remember talking as little as possible. With Benelli, I knew my place and kept it.

Why did you think of your relationship with Benelli in this way?

To begin with, Giovanni Benelli was Giovanni Benelli! He was one of the most powerful men on earth; brilliant, a strategizer and deal-maker par excellence, the #1 Vatican diplomat, a man on familiar terms with popes and princes, patriarchs and presidents, world leaders of all sorts. I, on the other hand, was a greenhorn American student of philosophy; absolutely no one of consequence. Those special times that I was privileged to be in Benelli’s company were times I knew I was in the presence of greatness.

Liturgical colors - header

Resistance is never futile: An interview with Christian Marquant, founder of Paix Liturgique

We are pleased to present the text of an interview we recently conducted with Monsieur Christian Marquant of Paix Liturgique (“Liturgical Peace”). He belongs to the generation of extraordinary people who, as young men, acted decisively when their elders shrank from doing so: they resisted the imposition of liturgical novelty upon the people of God. Here, for the first time online, Christian recounts his adventures and misadventures from the mid-1960s to the present—above all, the establishment and work of Paix Liturgique, a multilingual, data-driven enterprise for the restoration of the usus antiquior all around the world. We are grateful for the many historic photos Mr. Marquant shared with us, most of which appear here for the first time. Dr. John Pepino kindly translated the interview from French into English.


Christian Marquant, Summorum Pontificum Conference, October 2020, Rome

The “Long March” of Paix Liturgique

Rorate Caeli: Dear Christian, you are the man who orchestrates Oremus-Paix Liturgique. Could you tell us about this movements and its activities?


Christian Marquant: It would hard to tell you what we are today without telling you at least some of our history as Catholic activists. It all began in the mid-1960s.

Op-Ed: "No More Bishop Nice Guy": The Future of the Catholic Church in the United States

 The Wall Street Journal recently published an editorial by one of their deputy editors entitled “No More Bishop Nice Guy”.  The author, Matthew Hennessey, makes a plea to the bishops: “Show some backbone. Open the churches”.  He points out what should be obvious to the bishops:  the terrible spiritual damage done to so many families whose loved ones died alone without the Sacraments, the arbitrary limiting of worshippers in churches to numbers that have no scientific justification, and, probably the worst, the breaking of the fundamental and godly habit of regular Mass attendance for millions of families.


The Traditional Mass in Latin America: survey from the FIUV

Recently, the FoederatioInternationalis Una Voce (FIUV), of which I am Secretary, conducted a survey of its member associations and other contacts to supply information for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: to supplement the survey of bishops the Congregation had itself initiated. We received a large number of responses, including from almost every Spanish-speaking country.

The graph illustrates the availability of the EF in the dioceses for which we had responses, and the contrast between the USA and Canada, on the one hand, and Mexico and 16 countries in Central and South America on the other. In the former, nearly 60% have at least one centre where the EF is celebrted on a more than just Sunday and Holy Day basis, labelled for convenience as ‘Full’ provision. In Latin America, only 4 of the 97 dioceses for which we received reports is there a centre offering a ‘more than Sunday and Holyday’ provision, while in 51 of them no public celebrations are taking place at all.

There are many dioceses for which we had no reports, in Latin America, where there are almost certainly no EF Masses taking place; in Canada and the USA, on the other hand, we are more likely to have missed out on places where there are celebrations. This means the graph probably understates the contrast.

Of greater value than figures, I believe, are the personal testimonies of the people filling in the survey. I offer a selection here, anonymised to protect the individuals and groups concerned. I will let them speak for themselves, from a full range of experiences, both good and bad, in seeking the Church’s ancient liturgy.

These quotations are translations from the Spanish. The original Spanish can be seen in a Spanish-language version of this blogpost at the Adelante la fe blog here

If anyone would like to join the FIUV’s list of local contacts, please email me at

From Argentina

We were treated with contempt on the part of the bishop.

(another diocese)

We are segregated and labelled, by the clergy and laity with positions in the diocese, as execrable traditionalist recalcitrants, when we only wish to offer our Lord the honour he deserves…

The Ordinary is totally hostile. He has forbidden kneeling for Holy Communion. He has persecuted all who want to celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

(another diocese)

RORATE EXCLUSIVE—New biography describes great influence of Fr. Joseph Ratzinger in Vatican II

Rorate is pleased to publish the following article by Dr. Maike Hickson, in which she summarizes the information on (then Father and peritus) Joseph Ratzinger’s involvement in the Council as detailed in Seewald’s magisterial biography, the first volume of which will be released in English on December 15. While some of these facts are already well-known, they have never been presented with as much detail and coherence as Seewald offers. Hickson worked from both the original German edition and the forthcoming English translation. In publishing this critique, we acknowledge at the same time how indebted we are to Ratzinger/Benedict XVI for taking crucial and countercultural steps on behalf of the restoration of the authentic Roman liturgy.

The Great Influence of Joseph Ratzinger in the Revolutionary Upheaval of the Second Vatican Council

Dr. Maike Hickson

Peter Seewald’s authoritative biography, Benedict XVI: A Life—already published in German in its entirety, and due to be published in English in two volumes, with the first volume released on December 15 from Bloomsbury—describes in detail the important role then-Professor Joseph Ratzinger played before and during the Second Vatican Council. His influence helped to bring about a revolutionary change of the Council’s direction, tone, and topics. For example, he was able to change the Church’s presentation of the concept of the sources of Revelation, he helped suppress an independent schema on Our Lady, he opposed an “anti-Modernist spirit,” and he was in favor of using the vernacular languages during Holy Mass. As Seewald himself stated in a recent interview: Ratzinger helped the “advance of Modernism in the Church,” and “was always a progressive theologian.”

TLM strength yet again recognized by New York Times

It is always encouraging to see mainstream media observe the beauty and vibrancy of the traditional Latin Mass and its communities.  The New York Times, which has previously cited the strength of the traditional Latin Mass in France, has done so again, this time within an observation that churches there are the only places to hear live music during coronavirus shutdowns:

Every Sunday, St.-Roch, known as the “church of artists,” celebrates a Tridentine Mass, the traditional Latin Mass that was standard until the introduction of services in vernacular languages in the late 1960s. The Tridentine Mass isn’t exactly audience friendly: For starters, the priests perform most of it while turned toward the altar, with their backs to the congregation.

Still, it has its aficionados. The crowd on the first Sunday of December was among the largest I’ve seen indoors since the start of the pandemic. At least 400 people filled St.-Roch, with limited social distancing and no enforcement of mask rules.

Many Plenary Indulgences available throughout the Year of Saint Joseph, starting today: Conditions (in English)

The Pope introduced the Year of Saint Joseph, to celebrate the 150 years of his Patronage over the Universal Church.

Along with the papal apostolic letter, the Major Penitentiary introduced a set of new plenary indulgences, available until December 8, 2021. The Apostolic Penitentiary letter is here (in Latin and Italian).

The details are the following:

Conditions for the plenary indulgence

The plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the Pope’s intentions) to Christians who, with a spirit detached from any sin, participate in the Year of St. Joseph on these occasions and manners indicated by the Apostolic Penitentiary:

Apostolic Letter PATRIS CORDE of the Holy Father, on the 150th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church






WITH A FATHER’S HEART: that is how Joseph loved Jesus, whom all four Gospels refer to as “the son of Joseph”.[1]

Matthew and Luke, the two Evangelists who speak most of Joseph, tell us very little, yet enough for us to appreciate what sort of father he was, and the mission entrusted to him by God’s providence.

We know that Joseph was a lowly carpenter (cf. Mt 13:55), betrothed to Mary (cf. Mt 1:18; Lk 1:27). He was a “just man” (Mt 1:19), ever ready to carry out God’s will as revealed to him in the Law (cf. Lk 2:22.27.39) and through four dreams (cf. Mt 1:20; 2:13.19.22). After a long and tiring journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, he beheld the birth of the Messiah in a stable, since “there was no place for them” elsewhere (cf. Lk 2:7). He witnessed the adoration of the shepherds (cf. Lk 2:8-20) and the Magi (cf. Mt 2:1-12), who represented respectively the people of Israel and the pagan peoples.

Joseph had the courage to become the legal father of Jesus, to whom he gave the name revealed by the angel: “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Mt 1:21). As we know, for ancient peoples, to give a name to a person or to a thing, as Adam did in the account in the Book of Genesis (cf. 2:19-20), was to establish a relationship.

The Deafening Silence of Pope Francis on China's Persecution of Catholics

 We are praying to Immaculate Mary for the health and safety of Jimmy Lai and his family, and for all Catholic and non-Catholic victims of persecution in the most formidable tyranny of our age, Communist China.

From The Wall Street Journal's opinion page (Dec. 7, 2020), main excerpt:

Jimmy Lai has embraced his destiny. Last Wednesday the founder of one of Hong Kong’s most popular newspapers, Apple Daily, was arrested on ginned-up fraud charges. On Thursday he was clapped into jail as a national security risk. Thus did a man who started the week a Hong Kong billionaire end it a Chinese dissident.

Mr. Lai’s jailing has provoked condemnation from figures as diverse as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Soviet refusenik Natan Sharansky and New York Rep. Eliot Engel. They have been joined by journalists, activists and politicians such as the Labour Party’s Sarah Champion and other members of Parliament who on Monday raised Mr. Lai’s plight in Britain’s House of Commons.

But there is one place where China’s bullying elicits only silence: the Vatican.

The Immaculate Conception: Whoever finds the Immaculata, finds Jesus (Kolbe)

Mikołaj Zieleński 
Magnificat (1611)

We cannot take rest as long as there is in the world one soul in danger, who does not yet know the Immaculata. Our human frailty, limited resources or any other worldly difficulty must not restrain us; let us confide in the Immaculata, let us place ourselves truly in Her hands and She will continue to win the battles of God, as at Lepanto, as at Vienna. We must place our Lady in every soul so that from every soul sin be expelled and Jesus introduced. Whoever finds the Immaculata, finds Jesus.

1-Day Online Marian Conference on December 8th: Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Assumption

1-Day Conference on 8th December 10:00 – 18:30 GMT to commemorate this year the 70th Anniversary of the Dogma of Our Lady's Assumption into Heaven. 

The Conference will feature three talks:

1) Fr Pio M. Idowu, Liturgical and Patristic development of the Dogma of the Assumption
2) Fr Serafino M. Lanzetta, Biblical and Theological foundation of Our Lady’s Assumption
3) Fr Philomeno M. James, Did Our Lady die before her Assumption into heaven? 

The day will conclude with Holy Rosary and Solemn High Mass at 5pm in St Mary's Church.

Registration is required to view the livestreamed event. A link to the livestream will be sent to registered participants online. 

Long Out-of-print Benedictine Martyrology Now Available

For obvious reasons—it has been around for much longer, and its contemplative and liturgical way of life is entirely structured for prioritizing the pursuit of sanctity—the Benedictine Order numbers more saints, blesseds, venerables, and reputed holy men and women than any other order in the Church, especially if we include the many later branches and reform movements that, called by various names, nevertheless take Benedict’s Holy Rule as their guide.

Those who admire or follow St. Benedict will rejoice, therefore, in the republication by Os Justi Press of A Benedictine Martyrology. Published in 1922 and long out-of-print, this book is Alexius Hoffman’s English translation and adaptation of the Rev. Peter Lechner’s Ausführliches Martyrologium des Benedictiner-Ordens und Seiner Verzweigungen [Detailed Martyrology of the Benedictine Order and its Branches], published in Munich in 1855. The original was published in cloth; this reprint is paperback, but with the simple and formal cover design displayed above.

Lefebvre: I have passed on what I received

 A new monument to the late Marcel Lefebvre.

Francis Makes Official Use of Joe "Abortion" Biden Campaign Slogan

Just... unbelievable. No comment. (Only that it doesn't matter if it's used for something else, it's closely linked with the Biden campaign and should not be used by a Pope.)

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 109 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.