Rorate Caeli

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.

William Shakespeare and the Heart of His Mystery - PART II - by Elizabetta Sala




Elizabetta Sala

'The Plot Thickens'

(Or How More Pieces Fit Into The "Shakespeare Was Catholic" Puzzle) 

Sir John Gilbert's 1849 painting: The Plays of William Shakespeare -  420 scenes and characters from several of William Shakespeare's plays.

Let’s examine some other clues of dissidence in his works. For example: why does Shakespeare fill his classical plays with anachronistic elements such as abbeys, churches, bell-towers and monasteries? In the Comedy of Errors, to cite one, an abbey right next to  “graves” makes topical reference to a place of execution. It has a definite importance because in the 1930s it was discovered that the setting was exactly the same as that next to the first theatre Shakespeare worked in: there, following the defeat of the Armada, a Catholic priest was executed for the mere fact  that he was one. Could Shakespeare be paying tribute to a martyr? 

Robert Southhall,  a martyr  Saint under the Elizabethan regime. Shakespeare was influenced by his writings.

Priests were hunted by the regime and automatically guilty of high treason simply for their presence on English soil: this is what happens to the unfortunate merchant in the Errors: in this sense it is of  distinct importance that “merchant” was a code-word for “missionary”. Obviously, the references were more explicit for those knowing how to identify them, while they could pass almost unnoticed by inattentive eyes and ‘untrained ears’. 

The Comedy of Errors:  Duke Solinus, ruler of Ephesus, presides over the trial of the unfortunate merchant,  Egeon of Syracuse. Syracusians were not allowed in Ephesus, so Egeon has been detained. (engraving)



What do the unanswered criticisms of Amoris Laetitia teach us today?

(Roberto de Mattei) Five years ago, on 8 April 2016, the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, the most controversial document of Pope Francis’ pontificate, was published. This document is the outcome of a process initiated by Walter Cardinal Kasper’s intervention in the February 2014 consistory. Cardinal Kasper’s thesis on how the Church should renew its marriage praxis formed the leitmotif of the two synods on the family in 2014 and 2015. Unfortunately, the final exhortation Amoris Laetitia turned out to be even worse than Cardinal Kasper’s report. While the German cardinal had asked some questions, Amoris Laetitia offered the answer, opening the door to remarried divorcees and implicitly authorising more cohabitations. This is why, in 2017, philosopher Josef Seifert went so far as to say that Amoris Laetitia “has the logical consequence of destroying the entire Catholic moral teaching”.

Don Pietro Leone: The Council and The Eclipse of God - PART VII : The Four Notes of the Church


In this installment, Don Pietro addresses the Council’s attack on the Four Notes of the Church.  Here he looks at the Church’s Oneness or Unity and explains how the Council attacked this Dogma in four ways.                                                                             F.R.





A.  The Four Notes of the Church


The Four Notes, or defining characteristics, of the Church are Her Oneness, Holiness, Catholicity and Apostolicity, infallibly professed in the Creed as follows: ‘I believe in one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.’ We shall show how the Council casts doubt on each of these Notes in turn.


The Four Notes of the Church

EVENT: Ars Celebrandi, World's Largest Traditional Liturgy Workshop, to take place in 2021

 The Shrine of Our Lady of Lichen, in Poland, is to host once again this year* ARS CELEBRANDI, the largest global workshop for the Traditional Roman Liturgy. (Registrations available here.)

As in previous editions, Ars Celebrandi should include the following events:

In Memoriam: William Shakespeare: April 23 , 1564 - April 23, 1616 - The Heart of His Mystery by Elizabetta Sala

Shakespeare: The Heart of His Mystery 


Elizabetta Sala

Part I 

 The Elusive Catholic

Coleridge coined the adjective “myriad-minded” to describe Shakespeare, since his genius is not completely comprehensible, neither explicable nor inscribed to the scheme of a culture or an age. Like the smile of the Mona Lisa, from whatever angle you view it, there is always something elusive.


In a famous excerpt from Hamlet, his two ‘traitor-friends’, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, are trying to induce the Prince into revealing his secret: he, being much smarter than both of them, evades their enquiries with great nonchalance and says openly that they will never be able to pluck out “the heart of his mystery” (Hamlet 3.2,):  is the playwright speaking here in the first person, challenging a too simplistic interpretation?  If so, who are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern?


Government as an Occupying Force - Guest Article by John Andra

When I read the following article in the March 31, 2021, issue of The Remnant, I knew that it had to be shared with a wider audience online. Editor Michael Matt kindly gave his permission to republish it at Rorate Caeli, for which we thank him very much.—PAK


Government as an Occupying Force
John Andra


SARS-CoV-2, like other respiratory viruses, lives in the human environment. It does not live in the natural environment—in lakes, trees, mountains, etc. On the rationale of protecting us, the government has moved into the spaces where the virus lives. The government is thus an occupying force in the human environment

Good Shepherd Sunday Sermon: "When you want to go to a given place, the difficulty of the road cannot divert from this desire." (St. Gregory the Great)

Sermon of Gregory, Bishop of Rome
Saint Peter's Basilica
February 7, 591*

John 10: 11-16

You have heard, dear brothers, the instruction which is addressed to you by the reading of the Gospel; you have also heard the danger that we run. Here indeed is he who is good, not by accidental grace, but by essence, declares, "I am the Good Shepherd." And giving us the pattern of goodness that we must imitate, he adds: "The Good Shepherd gives his life for his sheep. "He did what he taught us; he showed what he commanded us. The Good Shepherd gave his life for his sheep to the point of changing his body and blood into a sacrament for us, and to satiate with the food of his flesh the sheep he had redeemed.

He has traced us the path of contempt for death, so that we may follow it; he has set before us the model to which we must conform: first to spend our external goods in all charity for the sheep of the Lord, and if necessary, to give even in the end our life for them. The first form of generosity, which is less, leads to the latter, which is higher. But since the soul, by which we live, is incomparably superior to the earthly goods we possess abroad, how can one who does not give his goods to his sheep be willing to give his life for them?

Don Pietro Leone: The COVID 19 Vaccination Debate: Chains of Evil

Today, Rorate would have been posting the next installment of the series from the book “The Council and the Eclipse of God” had Don Pietro not sent us his contribution to the ongoing debate on the CoronaVirus vaccination. It’s not too short and not too long and as usual beautifully written from the perspective of moral theology. Don Pietro’s love for God, Souls and Truth are paramount, as is evident in this article,  a 'must read' for those seeking guidance in this important matter of  the Covid 19 vaccines.   Devastating  is his list  of the 10 evils behind the production of these vaccines.           

"THE ROMAN SPIRIT: This is what we need!" - by Roberto de Mattei

Lateran Basilica

The Roman Spirit is something that one breaths in only in Rome.  The “sacred city” par excellence, the center of Christianity, the eternal fatherland of every Catholic, who is able to repeat with Cicero, “civis romanus sum”, claiming a spiritual citizenship that has as its geographical boundaries not that of a city but that of an Empire:  not the Empire of the Caesars, but that of the Church, Catholic, apostolic, and Roman.

Jesuit calls for ban on young Catholics at Latin Mass

It is always an eye-opener to read the latest thoughts from the Catholic left, who are often pro-choice as a matter of principle unless the choice runs contrary to their ideology.

Jesuit Father Thomas Reese, former editor-in-chief of America magazine (until Pope Benedict helped resolve the situation) has remained an often-quoted source for (dare I say, lazy) mainstream media reporters, and has written a column for Religion News Service. He is pictured below with the rest of the Jesuit community at Gonzaga High School in Washington, D.C. (yes, this is actually their website's group photo) seated, second from the left.

In his latest manifesto, Reese not only calls for overturning Summorum Pontificum, he states:

Thomas Sunday: "The mouth of the devil's evil persuasion devours, day after day, those whose bad lives are in disagreement with the faith they confess."

Saint Gregory the Great 
on the Gospel of the Sunday in Albis (John 20:19-31)
Paschaltide, 591

When reading this gospel, a first question agitates our mind: how did the body of the Lord, once resurrected, remain a real body, while he was able to enter the disciples despite the closed doors? But we must know that the divine action would have nothing more admirable if it were understood by reason, and that faith would have no merit if human reason furnishes it with experimental proofs. Such works of our Redeemer, which can in no way be understood by themselves, must be meditated in the light of his other actions, so that we may be led to believe these wonderful facts by others who are more again. For this body of the Lord who introduced himself to his disciples despite the closed doors is the same as his Nativity brought out in the eyes of men the closed breast of the Virgin. It is not surprising, therefore, that our Redeemer, having risen to live forever, entered despite the closed doors, since coming [into this world] to die, he came out of the Virgin's womb without opening it.

As the faith of those who looked upon this visible body remained hesitant, the Lord immediately showed them his hands and his side; he presented them with touching the flesh he had just introduced, despite the closed doors. In this, he manifested two astonishing and very contradictory things to each other in the light of human reason, since after his Resurrection his body revealed itself to be both incorruptible and tangible. Now, what touches is necessarily corruptible, and what is not corrupted can not be touched. But in a way that forces amazement and beyond comprehension, our Redeemer gave us to see after his resurrection a body that was both incorruptible and tangible: by showing him incorruptible, he invited us to reward; in giving him to touch, he confirmed us in the faith. He showed himself at the same time incorruptible and tangible, to show clearly that after his Resurrection, his body remained of the same nature, but that he was raised to a very different glory.

The COVID-19 Vaccination Debate: Professor De Mattei responds to Critics with 10 Questions

 Roberto de Mattei: 10 questions to all those holding the “anti-vax” position


            My position in defence of the moral liceity of the currently available anti-Covid vaccines has attracted the approval of some cardinals, theologians and priests, whom I thank here, but also the predictable disapproval of many who hold an "anti-vax" position. Having recently published a study on the moral liceity of vaccination examining the question more broadly ( On the moral liceity of the vaccination), I limit myself here to putting some questions to those who hold the “anti-vax” position. I would ask them to answer these in a precise and, if possible, polite manner.


1)    The “livre de chevet” for the anti-vax position is Vaccination: a Catholic perspective by Pamela Acker, published by the Kolbe Center in 2020. In this book, the author argues that the risks of any vaccination are greater than the possible benefits (on pp. 80-81 she gives the example of rabies and tetanus). Those who consider this book as a reference text should also reject the so-called ethical vaccines because they are considered harmful to health. Beyond the vaccines against Covid, is it licit for a Catholic to get vaccinated?

Easter Friday: The Great Commission

 Friday in the Easter Octave is defined by one of the most influential texts in the history of the world: a simple order that transformed a band of eleven outcasts in Galilee into the marvelous Christendom:

The eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And seeing Him they adored: but some doubted. And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

Amen, amen, amen. What are you doing to put the Great Commission into practice in our newly-paganized age? We learn how to act from the teachings of Saint Jerome, remembered in today's Matins:

The COVID-19 Vaccination Debate: We cannibals and the children of Medea*


The following commentary regarding recent articles on Rorate Caeli  by Professor Roberto de Mattei and Father Richard Cipolla on vaccines, was written in response to my own conscience in disagreement with them on this extremely important issue and alters nothing of the high esteem and respect I have for both of them in their respective roles as Catholic priest and Catholic historian. I am fully aware that their scholarship and intellectual qualifications are light years ahead of mine – yet I still believe I have something to say about this matter as a reasonably informed and most concerned Traditional Catholic. I have no hard feelings because we differ in our stances on this subject:  just surprise and bewilderment.                                                                                                         F. R.


I oppose the position on the so-called licit use of Covid 19 vaccines for Catholics, that Professor De Mattei and Father Cipolla have proposed in their articles on Rorate Caeli over the past 2 weeks .

IMPORTANT: Traditional Priests in Paris arrested for not having masked servants in sanctuary during Easter Vigil - The French Republic persecutes Catholics once more (Updated)

Update: after many hours of detention by the Police, the priests were set free. But they can still undergo a full criminal procedure, depending on what the courts decide.

The parish of St-Eugène-Ste-Cécile is the greatest jewel of the Paris archdiocese. There are churches that are grander, more historic, more beautiful than this building, a wrought-iron lattice marvel from the industrial age and an example that 19th-century architecture could build beautiful churches in record time.

But it is the greatest jewel not because of the building, but because of what goes on inside it: for decades now, it has been the most lively parish* in the city, due to its promotion of the Traditional Latin Mass. Its group of musicians, the Schola Sainte-Cécile, is responsible for some of the best sacred Music in Europe today. The parish celebrations can be seen freely at their Youtube channel.

Last Saturday evening, on the celebration of the Easter Vigil, the parish once again put on the most dignified liturgy possible. It was also an occasion of additional joy due to the adults baptized into the faith in this most solemn of all Vigils.

Alas, the anonymous brother of one of the newly baptized was "horrified" with what he saw. Some kind of sacrilege? Blasphemy? No, there was nothing against the Catholic faith, but there was what he thought were sins against the Covidist faith: the priest and his servers in the sanctuary were maskless. And, worse, people who went to take Communion received it maskless and, l'horreur, on the tongue!...

Those anti-Catholic "accusations" were published by the daily Le Parisien, and then led to two procedures against the pastor of the church, Father Marc Guelfucci, and one of his vicars, Father Gabriel Godziski: one of them criminal (some kind of "crime" against "public health"); and, since honor is not his forte, the archbishop of Paris, Michel Aupetit (petit both in name and in dignity), decided to open today canonical proceedings against the pastor.

Now, this Thursday, the two priests were placed under "garde à vue" (a kind of administrative, not court-ordered, arrest typical of French law) and are now under arrest.

For the Record: US Conference of Bishops' Doctrine Chairman on Johnson & Johnson/Janssen Covid-19 Vaccine

[On the ongoing Catholic debate on the various Covid-19 vaccines:]
On March 2, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Doctrine, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a statement on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine recently approved for use in the United States. 

“The approval of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in the United States again raises questions about the moral permissibility of using vaccines developed, tested, and/or produced with the help of abortion-derived cell lines.

Aldo Maria Valli: How Amoris Lætitia Opened my Eyes About Francis and the Council


 Vaticanist Aldo Maria Valli (Rorate note: Valli used to be the Vaticanist for one of the main channels of Italian public broadcasting corporation RAI) was interviewed on Radio Spada on February 27, 2021. 

During the interview, he explained how he discovered Tradition and the effects of the Second Vatican Council on the life of the Church. Here are the most significant excerpts from this courageous testimony.

 Radio Spada: If you had to summarize in a few lines your position on this historic event that Vatican II was for the Church and its consequences, what would you tell us? 

 Aldo Maria Valli: I have nurtured admiration for many actors of the conciliar sessions, and Providence has allowed me to know some of them personally. I have always appreciated their passion and love for the Church.Having grown up in the post-conciliar Church (in my case, in Milan), for a long time I did not even suspect that the Council could carry within it the seeds of a theological and pastoral evolution and, even worse, of a deviation in relation to Tradition and the deposit of the faith. During the years that I followed the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI as a Vaticanist, I embraced the vision of what is called “the hermeneutics of continuity.” 

The COVID-19 Vaccination Debate - The Threat to the Traditional Movement: A Response to Comments on deMattei's Article on the Vaccines

 The Traditional Catholic blog, OnePeterFive,  recently published my translation of Roberto deMattei’s article on the moral liceity of receiving the Covid-19 vaccines.  This translation was published first on Rorate Caeli. 

Fontgombault Sermon for Easter Day 2021: "The tomb is empty. Will the same happen to the tombs of our lives, of our miseries?"


Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Father Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
Fontgombault, April 4, 2021


Rich and poor, exult together. You who have abstained, and you who were neglectful, honor this day. You who have fasted, and you who have not fasted, rejoice today… All of you, enjoy the feast of faith… Let no one bewail his misery, for our Kingdom has appeared. Let no one weep on his sins, for forgiveness has risen from the tomb. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. Death held Him, and He has smothered death; He descended into hell, and He has despoiled it… Hell, where is thy victory? Christ is risen, and the devils are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns.

 Dear Brothers and Sisters, 
 My dearly beloved Sons, 

 By these words, taken from the Byzantine rite of the Easter Vigil, St. John Chrysostom, archbishop of Constantinople, addressed his people “on this holy and radiant day of Christ our God’s glorious and salutary resurrection.” Whoever we may be, whatever our lives may be, let us implore the forgiveness Christ offers us through His victory over evil, and over death. Let us rise with Him and enjoy the feast of faith. These words divide mankind into two parts. Every man who acknowledges he needs a savior receives them for his salvation. Every man who is self-sufficient rejects them for his ruin. 

 On this holy Easter day, let us remember the parable of the prodigal son, also called the parable of the merciful father. Among the two sons, the younger first demands his share of the estate, then leave his father’s home to live his own life. He squanders all his goods, and then conceives the wish to go back to his father, not as a son, but as a hired servant. From afar, his father catches sight of him. He goes and meets him, forgives him, and orders his homecoming to be celebrated. The elder son comes back from the field, and having been informed of the reason for the celebration, is greatly angered and refuses to join the feast. Neither the elder son nor the younger had understood the secret of their father’s heart, mercy. The elder, out of a narrow-minded fidelity to his education, was expecting from his father nothing but justice. He was righteous, and deemed himself not to need mercy. The younger son had squandered away his goods, his inheritance, and above all, his education. Aware of his own misery and responsibility, he could only claim to be condemned. As to the father, he was eager to share his secret, his mercy, with both of his children. 

Saint Gregory the Great's Sermon for Easter Sunday, 591: "Let us pass over from evildoing to virtue, that we may merit to see our Redeemer in Galilee."

Sermon by Gregory, Bishop of Rome
Basilica of Saint Mary Major
April 15, 591

Sermon on the Holy Day of the Resurrection

Gospel for the Mass of the Day (Mk 16:1-7)

It has been my custom, beloved brethren, to speak to you on many of the Gospel readings, by means of a sermon I had already dictated for you. But since I have been unable, because of the weakness of my throat, to read to you myself what I had prepared, I notice that some among you listen somewhat indifferently. So, contrary to my usual practice, I shall for the future make the effort during the sacred solemnities of the Mass to explain the Gospel, not through a sermon I have dictated, but by speaking directly to you myself.

So for the future it shall be the rule for me to speak to you in this way. For the words which are spoken directly to sluggish souls awaken them more readily than a sermon that is read to them; moving them by that touch as it were of authority, so that they listen with more attention. I am not, as I well know, competent to fulfill this office: but let your charity make good what my ignorance denies me. For I have in mind Him Who has said: Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it (Ps. lxxx. ii). We all have in mind a good work , and it will be perfected by His divine assistance (II Tim. iii. 17). And also, this great solemnity of the Sunday of the Resurrection gives us a fitting occasion for speaking to you: for it would indeed be unfitting that the tongue of our body should be silent in the praises that are clue this day; that day on which the Body of our Author rose again from the dead.



Sine sanguinis effusione non fit remissio.
Heb. 9:22

+Schneider: Abortion-tainted vaccines and the culture of death

                                                   By Bishop Athanasius Schneider


The blood of murdered unborn children cries to God from abortion-tainted vaccines and medicines

Anti-Christian world powers that promote the culture of death are seeking to impose on the world’s population an implicit — though remote and passive — collaboration with abortion. Such remote collaboration, in itself, is also an evil because of the extraordinary historical circumstances in which these same world powers are promoting the murder of unborn children and the exploitation of their remains. When we use vaccines or medicines which utilize cell lines originating from aborted babies, we physically benefit from the “fruits” of one of the greatest evils of mankind — the cruel genocide of the unborn. For if one innocent child had not been cruelly murdered, we would not have these concrete vaccines or medicines. We should not be so naive as not to see that these vaccines and medicines not only offer a health benefit but also promise to promote the culture of death.

Fontgombault Sermon for Maundy Thursday 2021: "Sacraments and Prayer are our sole strength against the apostasy of our times."

Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Father Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
Fontgombault, April 1, 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My dearly beloved Sons,

At the end of Lent, the Church seems to break with the austerity and bareness to which she has accustomed us since Ash Wednesday, and even since Septuagesima Sunday. 

The Chrism Mass and the Mass in Cœna Domini, or Mass of the Lord’s Last Supper, are liturgically very rich. The former was traditionally celebrated around the bishop in the cathedral churches, on the morning of Maundy Thursday. During this Mass, the oil of the infirm and the oil of catechumens are blessed, and the sacred chrism is consecrated. These holy oils are then taken to each parish, where they are normally kept in a small cavity closed by a door in the wall of the church. The oil of the infirm is used for the sacrament of extreme unction, which gives a special grace to bear a state of disease. The oil of catechumens grants to those who will be baptized the strength of the Holy Spirit for the fight of spiritual life. Lastly, the holy chrism, oil mixed with perfume, is used for the consecration anointing during baptism and confirmation, after episcopal and priestly ordinations, and during the dedication of churches and altars.