Rorate Caeli

#SumPont2021: Procession and Mass at Saint Peter's Basilica - TRADITION WILL NEVER DIE!


Second Day



On the Eve of The Feast of Christ the King, 2021 - Part XVII - The Council and the Eclipse of God – Part 3 of Chapter 4 on Religious Liberty: Christ the King (a)


In this installment, divided into two parts because of its rich and lengthy content,  Don Pietro analyzes the Council’s underhanded suppression of the Kingship of Christ and the Feast of Christ the King, established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 and  promulgated in his memorable and most beautiful encyclical Quas Primas.   First, Don Pietro examines the silence of the Council’s documents on this Feast  and second, its obfuscation  through the changes made in the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours as regards scripture readings, prayers and hymns and in the process, cancelling the many references to Our Lord’s Kingship. This was all accomplished  through duplicity and dishonesty and has led to the uncrowning of Christ the King and His Social Kingship.  To quote Pope Pius XI  'At the last judgment, Christ will accuse those who have expelled Him from public life and will have the most terrible vengeance from such an outrage.' Part (b) to this installment will be posted tomorrow. F.R.

Summorum Pontificum Pilgrimage 2021 -- Associated Press: "Traditionalists flood Rome after pope’s Latin Mass crackdown" #SumPont2021



by Nicole Winfield [Excerpts]

[Rome, October 30, 2021:] Traditionalist Catholics descended on Rome on Friday for their annual pilgrimage, hoping to show the vibrancy of their community after Pope Francis issued a crackdown on the spread of the old Latin Mass that many took as an attack on them and the ancient rite.

An evening vespers service at Rome’s Pantheon basilica, the first event of the three-day pilgrimage, was so full that ushers had to add two rows of chairs to accommodate the faithful. Many young families, couples and priests filled the pews, hailing from the U.S., France, Spain and beyond.

Traditionis Custodes in the world: OPTIME PRO in Poland.(At the Congregation for Divine Worship they admitted that it was “ A very harsh decision. Possibility of mitigation in Poland”).



From the Messainlatino Blogspot

Cardinal Nycz comments on Traditionis Custodes: it was acknowledged in the Congregation that the issue was dealt with too harshly.  

Cardinal Kazimierz  Nycz’s statement on the discussions held  recently on “Traditionis Custodes”  at the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The Metropolitan of Warsaw  said that “It was acknowledged in Congregation that the question had been dealt with too harshly and instead of serving unity, in individual cases, it may well make some leave the Church.”

Upon his return to Poland after the ad limina visit to the Vatican, Cardinal Nycz shared his observations about his Vatican sojourn in a interview with KAI (Polish Catholic News Agency). He also answered questions with regard to the procedure of the meetings, as well as to questions raised during many conversations with the functionaries of the Roman Curia and individual Congregations. The Primate admitted that during his visit, the Polish bishops also discussed Pope Francis’ Motu ProprioTraditionis Custodes” , which radically limited the possibility of celebrating Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

“There was a very interesting discussion in the Liturgical Congregation concerning the Tridentine Liturgy. The bishops asked questions, mainly in relation to parish  churches, where this liturgy could still be celebrated, in conformity with the Motu Proprio “Traditionis Custodes” if there was such a need in Poland in the future.”

They're back! Benedictines of Mary release new CD in honor of Christ the King

If you have been a long-time reader of Rorate you know we love and support the wonderful Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. Their numerous CDs have topped the classical music charts for years, enabling them to spread the Word of God through music, and continue their mission through the proceeds.

Now, after a three-year hiatus, they have released their 10th CD -- this one in honor of Christ the King. 

All proceeds will go toward the construction of a permanent monastery for the Abbey’s growing daughter house in the Ozark mountains of southern Missouri.

For only $15 this CD will make a great stocking stuffer for Christmas or a gift for St. Nicholas's feast day. You can purchase five or more at a discounted rate. 



“Spiritual life during a pandemic” - by Fr. Serafino Lanzetta (Lecture/Article)

 Conference at Hotel Massimo d’Azeglio, Rome 

– 23 October 2021



I have divided this talk into two sections: I will first reflect on the importance of nourishing the spiritual life in a situation of calamity, that is, when it is more difficult to decipher the presence of God and therefore a more solid faith and hope are required, and then I will try to offer an interpretation of the present epidemic-pandemic situation caused by COVID-19, highlighting the causes of the markedly inadequate theological-spiritual response to the phenomenon.


1. The spiritual life of the Christian 


The Prayers for Saint Luke in the Traditional and Reformed Roman Missals

As today is the feast of St Luke the Evangelist in both the traditional and reformed Roman calendars, it seemed worthwhile to compare the prayers assigned to St Luke in the traditional Missal with those of the post-Vatican II Missal. One might have thought, given the very long-standing veneration given to the Evangelists, that their prayers would not have been changed in the course of the liturgical reform, but unfortunately this is very far from the case.

Firstly, it should be noted that the collect, secret and postcommunion assigned for St Luke in the traditional Roman Rite have a long history of being used together: the Corpus orationum (CO[1] tells us that thirty-five extant liturgical manuscripts, ranging from the 8th to 16th centuries, keep these orations together as a set. Of course, the reformed Roman Rite not only splits up this Mass formulary, but discards one prayer entirely and only keeps the other two in an edited fashion (one minor, one major).

Miniature of Saint Luke from the Grandes Heures of Anne of Brittany
(1503–1508) by Jean Bourdichon

To be Consumed by the Fire of God: Sermon for Pentecost XXI

 From the Epistle:  For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the Principalities and the Powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness on high. (Ephesians 6:12)

The Church is only as good as her saints, for they make real the truth of the holiness of the Church.  And at the heart of every one of those men and women we call saints is Hans Urs von Balthasar’s statement:  “Love alone is credible.” Love alone is credible.  And yet, is this what Catholics associate with saints, do they believe that the saint is the saint because they make love credible?  The post-Vatican II time of the Church has seen a marked de-emphasis on the saints, at least at the level of the hierarchy or at least those in charge of liturgical matters.  In the years following the imposition of the 1970 Roman Missal  by Pope St. Paul VI the liturgical gurus of that time declared that to have too many statues of saints in a parish church confuses the people, and to have a statue of a saint, even the Blessed Virgin Mary, within the sanctuary, would generate the ultimate confusion, for then the people are distracted from what should be their focus:  the priest-presider as the celebrant of the liturgy.  We will demur from speaking about whether the priest should be the focus of the liturgy or whether the people should be the focus of the liturgy or none of the above.  These liturgical experts obviously were not familiar with the Divine Liturgy in an Orthodox church, where the presence of the saints is so vividly encountered in the presence of the icons. But the provincialism of liturgical experts is beyond this particular sermon.  

'The Council and The Eclipse of God' by Don Pietro Leone - PART XVI - 'The Right to Propagate Error'


In this installment, Don Pietro focuses further on the origins of the concept of ‘Religious Liberty’ which has wormed its way into the Church and minds and hearts of countless Catholics,  contradicting centuries of Church teaching.  We shall see in more detail how this notion of religious liberty reflects the concepts of the American Constitution and the French Revolution’s ‘Declaration on the Rights of Man’, emanating from the Freemasonic ideals and philosophy of the likes of Jean-Jacque Rousseau,  an opposer  of the order of natural morality, and one who believed in the concept of  ‘The Sovereign People’ and their right to ‘self-determination.’  Don Pietro emphasizes that the Council’s obsession about religious liberty contradicts centuries of papal documents in which they denounce it as: ‘insanity’;  ‘a monstrous error’;  ‘most pernicious to the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls’; ‘the liberty of perdition’ ; ‘the pest of indifference’ ; ‘a public crime’ ; and ‘atheism, however it may differ in name’ (See the sources for these quotes in the footnotes of this installment).



The Question of Continuity of the 1962 Missal and the 1970 Missal: The Sunday Gospels

The question of the continuity of the 1962 Roman Missal with the Missal promulgated by Pope St. Paul VI in 1970 is important to discuss for an understanding of the liturgical life of the Church today.  That St. Paul VI assumed such a continuity is clear in the Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum that promulgated the Missale Romanum of 1970 as a “restoration of the Missale Romanum”. In that same document Paul VI refers several times to the Missale Romanum promulgated in 1570 by St. Pius V and makes a parallel between the “many and wonderful fruits” of the Roman Missal of 1570 and the fruits anticipated in the use of 1970 Roman Missal.

Paul VI claims as a basis for the new Lectionary for Mass, the 1989 Ordo Lectionum Missae,  the prescription of the Second Vatican Council in Sacrosanctum Concilium that “over the course of a prescribed number of years a more representative portion of Holy Scripture be read to the people”.  As to the new ordering of the Lectionary, the Pope continues: “All these things have been arranged in this way so as to arouse more and more among Christ’s faithful that hunger for the Word of God by which under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the people of the New Covenant can be seen, as it were, to be impelled towards the perfect unity of the Church.”

Una Voce International: new edition of Gregorius Magnus magazine

Cross-posted from the blog of the FIUV, Una Voce International.

I am pleased to announce the Winter 2021 issue of Gregorius Magnus is available.

Gregorius Magnus 12, Winter 2021, is now available as a PDF, and on ISSUU, optimised for mobile devices.

In this edition:

Reactions to Traditionis Custodes

Fontgombault Sermon for the Dedication of the Abbey Church: "The Church is buffeted by all the waves, but she doesn’t founder."

Dedication of the Abbey Church

Homily of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau 
Father Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault 
Fontgombault, October 12, 2021

Ecce nova facio omnia.

Behold, I make all things new.

(Ap 21:5)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

My dearly beloved Sons,

The feast of the Dedication in the liturgical year belongs neither to the temporal cycle, which goes through the mysteries in Christ’s life, the times of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter and Pentecost, nor to the Sanctoral cycle, in which the Church invites her children, through a public worship, to imitate the life of those who have lived their lives listening to grace, and according to God’s law, and whom she has proclaimed saints.

COLUMBUS IS OURS -- Let us rejoice!

A Happy Columbus Day for All our Readers! 
¡Feliz Día de la Hispanidad!

Monastery of Sant Jeroni de la Murtra, near Barcelona,
where the Catholic Monarchs welcomed Columbus back from the Indies in 1493
Now that four centuries have sped since a Ligurian first, under God's guidance, touched shores unknown beyond the Atlantic, the whole world is eager to celebrate the memory of the event, and glorify its author. Nor could a worthier reason be found where through zeal should be kindled. For the exploit is in itself the highest and grandest which any age has ever seen accomplished by man; and he who achieved it, for the greatness of his mind and heart, can be compared to but few in the history of humanity.

The Feast of St. John Henry Newman: The Smile of Sadness and Hope for the Future

 Even though the feast of St. John Henry Newman is officially only on the calendar of England and Wales, how could not one celebrate his feast on October 9 wherever one is given  the state of the Church in which we find ourselves?  Newman is one of the great Catholic intellects and saints of the 19th century and a man of deep and thoughtful faith. 

BOMBSHELL—New internal CDF information shows Pope Francis flagrantly lying about bishops’ TLM survey

The full transcript of Diane Montagna's revelatory lecture at the Catholic Identity Conference 2021, held in Pittsburgh this past weekend, has just been published at The Remnant, enriched with additional material. "Traditionis Custodes: Separating Fact from Fiction" includes extensive quotations from the internal CDF document in which the bishops who responded predominantly spoke favorably of Summorum Pontificum and the TLM in their dioceses (some even requested help with establishing the Mass). It also includes inside information about the crooked path by which Traditionis Custodes was pre-designed, with the survey used as a convenient screen for a foreordained decision.


"Sometimes things are not as they seem. And sometimes, there are two 'realities': one that is officially given by those in power, and one that we then discover to be the truth....

"According to Pope Francis, the consultation of bishops played a fundamental role in his decision to severely restrict the traditional Mass. As he said himself, the results so 'preoccupied and saddened' him, that they 'persuaded' him to 'intervene.' And he ordered that the decree take immediate effect. Following the promulgation of Traditionis Custodes, considerable speculation was therefore swirling about the survey, but the Vatican has not published its results....

"But does Traditionis Custodes truly reflect what the real situation is? Was the survey on which Pope Francis said he based his decision a fair consultation of the world’s bishops? Would this consultation be considered fair if some of the content of Traditionis Custodes had already been suggested during a plenary meeting of the CDF, at the end of January 2020, that gave way to a consultation that was meant to justify the decisions reached in Traditionis Custodes? Could it be called fair if it came to light that there was a second, parallel report created within the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, which was completed before all the responses from bishops had been received by the CDF? And could it be called fair if Traditionis Custodes did not accurately represent the main, detailed report prepared for Pope Francis by the CDF’s fourth section, i.e., the former Ecclesia Dei? Many people, in fact, knew that this report was being prepared.

"Let’s examine what has now come to light about each of these three questions."

Thank you, Diane Montagna, for your tireless work in uncovering the truth, unsavory as it too often is, of what is really going on in the Vatican. (Read the whole exposé here.)

Now a word to Diane and any Vaticanistas who have access to the CDF internal report: please, for the love of God and the love of Holy Mother Church, find a way to publish this report IN FULL, so that all the world can see the lies exposed, and with them, the mettle of the people who are assaulting the tradition of the Roman Church. Its full publication would be as great a moment of clarity as Archbishop Viganò's McCarrick revelations in August 2018. This is an urgent duty of conscience: the pontifical secret cannot be invoked for hiding malice and mendacity.

Pope Pius V and the Mass

Traditional High Mass of Requiem in Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane, in London

 Reproduced with permission from the Voice of the Family Digest. To subscribe to this weekly newsletter, scroll to the bottom of this page and enter your email address.


In 1570 Pope St Pius V promulgated a new edition of the Missale Romanum, the Roman Missal, as mandated by the Council of Trent (1545-1563). The event was an important one, but it has often been misunderstood. At a moment of liturgical crisis, it would be good to remind ourselves of its real significance.

Superficially, there is a strong parallel with what happened in 1969, when the Novus Ordo Missae was published following the Second Vatican Council. Each General Council mandated a revision of the liturgical books, without going into great detail about what this revision would involve. The reigning Pontiff in each case appointed a commission to carry out the necessary work, and promulgated the result.

However, there are three important areas in which the parallel breaks down: indeed, assuming the parallel holds true has created myths which often attach to the 1570 Missal.

Myth 1. In 1570, the Tridentine Mass was new.

Roberto de Mattei: Speech on the 450th Anniversary of the Victory of Lepanto, in the Church of St. Ignatius, Rome - "A moment engraved in golden letters in the history of the Christian West."

Rome, Church of Saint Ignatius
October 7 2021

On October 7 2021, on the occasion 
of the 450th anniversary of the battle of Lepanto, 
the Roman Philharmonic Choir, 
conducted by Maestro Mons. Pablo Colino,
 performed in Rome, in the church of Saint Ignatius, 
a celebratory concert dedicated to 
Mary Most Holy. St. Pius V. The Holy Rosary.
Professor Roberto de Mattei, president 
of the Lepanto Foundation, 
spoke the words presented here.

  We are here to remember and celebrate an event and its protagonists.
The event is the victory of Lepanto on October 7 1571, the 450th anniversary of which occurs today.
Who were the protagonists and the architects of the victory to which we dedicate this concert today?
To understand this we must go back in time, to that day of October 7, which is engraved in golden letters in the history of the Christian West.

Pontifical High Mass in California

Some bishops just talk.  Some demonstrate pure evil or hatred.  Some -- even typically good ones -- panic when the going gets tough.  But the best ones lead by example.

Fontgombault Sermon for the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary: "Mary, Eternal Fountain of Love"

Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau 
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault 
Fontgombault, October 7, 2021

Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.
Be it done to me according to thy word. (Lk 1:38) 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

My dearly beloved Sons, 

The richness of the feast of the Holy Rosary, which unfolds both in the texts of the Mass and in those of the office, leads us to ponder all the mysteries of the Lord’s life through Mary’s eyes and heart. Pius XII wrote on August 7th, 1947, to the members of a congress which took place in Paris, and then in Lisieux between September 23rd and 30th, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus: 

Whereas in the order of nature a child, as he grows, should learn to become self-sufficient, in the order of grace, the child of God, as he grows, understands ever better that he will never be able to be self-sufficient, and that he should live in a superior docility and dependence. 

Who might forget that if Mary gave birth without pain to Jesus in the Bethlehem stable, the all-sorrowful Virgin received all of us as her children and gave birth to us at the foot of the Cross: “Woman, behold thy son… behold thy mother.” (Jn 19:26-27) John the Evangelist, to whom these words were addressed, adds consequently: “And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.” 

450 Years of LEPANTO!
"The highest moment that the centuries ever witnessed."
All Hail the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

"The highest moment that the centuries ever witnessed." (Cervantes)

We cannot but recall that four great Roman Pontiffs came from the Dominican ranks. Of these, the last, St. Pius V, won undying gratitude from Christianity and civil society. He joined together, after unceasing efforts, the arms of the Catholic princes, and under the patronage of the Virgin Mother of God, whom, therefore, he ordered to be saluted in future as Help to Christians, destroyed forever at Lepanto the power of the Turks.

A Meditation on the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi


Each age has its own distortion of God, what people imagine Him to be.  This present age, at least in these United States among Catholics, is tempted to romanticize God, make Him warm and fuzzy, and in that way really neutralize His presence in one’s personal life.  It is almost a Catholic way of secularizing God.  God has become the product of the community, a predictable pet—yes, still a powerful pet, someone beyond the sunset, but still in His box, and that box we keep Him in is called "the community".  Those many passages in the Old Testament that speak of the wildness of God, of the unpredictability of God, of the God who is a jealous God, the God who is the judge of all, the God who displays wrath: any of these attributes of God that we find unpleasant or threatening to our religious complacency and happiness are denied, and we say:  Oh, that is not MY God!” Or, “We have out-grown that picture of God.  All that stuff is the God of the Old Testament. The New Testament God is very different, much more likable, more lovable. Jesus’ God is quite different: a God of mercy, of compassion, of love.”

"All the Elements of the Roman Rite"?

Dispelling the Myths of the Post-Vatican II Liturgical Reforms

Over the last decade in particular, the figure of 17% has been quoted as the proportion of prayers that survived intact from the traditional Roman Missal into the novus ordo of Paul VI. [1] However, in the wake of Traditionis custodes, with renewed attention being given to the comparison of ‘forms’ of the Roman Rite as well as the canonical and theological controversy over what counts as its lex orandi[2] it seemed opportune to build on some of my previous efforts and revisit this percentage through a careful and exhaustive analysis of all the orations. By doing this, not only can we arrive at a definitive number, but we can also now have all the relevant data freely and easily accessible in the public domain, so that everyone can see which prayers were preserved, edited or discarded. [3]

The result of this work not only vindicates the labours of those such as the late Rev Fr Anthony Cekada, but it also shows the figure to be too generous. For the actual number, unbelievably, is only 13%.

Yes, a mere 13% (165) of the 1,273 prayers of the usus antiquior [4] found their way unchanged into the reformed Missal of Paul VI. Another 24.1% (307) were edited in some way before their inclusion. A further 16.2% (206) were centonised with other prayers - effectively combining parts of multiple prayers together into a new oration. Fully 52.6% (669) of the prayers in the traditional Roman Rite have been excised from the modern liturgy, memory-holed by the Consilium ad exsequendam[5] How has this happened? And how did so few notice at the time?

Figure 1: Orations of the 1951/1962 Missal in the 1970/2008 Missal
(duplicates excluded)

Catholic Publishers Freely Passing on the Traditions of the Church in Sale on October 4th

Rorate has received this news of a major buy-one-get-one-free sale at a number of Catholic publishers for October 4th, in honor of St. Francis.

When the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes was released on July 16 of this year, many Catholics were perplexed and dismayed. After all, Pope Benedict XVI had officially opened up the celebration of the Mass according to the 1962 Missal in his 2007 motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum. He even stated then that this “form of the Roman rite” was “never juridically abrogated,” indicating that it had been unofficially open prior to his motu proprio. Pope Benedict’s action resulted in many more Catholics participating in the same rituals that had sanctified Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, and nearly every other holy man and woman in the Western Church. Even modern saints, such as John Paul II and Mother Teresa, had a traditional sacramental foundation long before any new forms of rites became widespread.

11th Anniversary of the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Soceity

This month marks the 11th anniversary of the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society. With 110 priests saying weekly or monthly traditional Latin Masses for the millions of souls enrolled, it is good to look back with thanksgiving to the success God has granted to our important mission. But we also must double down on our efforts! So many poor souls need relief and we must continue our work with more zeal than ever.

** 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.

Courage and Virtue: St. Michael the Archangel

 From the Alleluia for the Feast of Saint Michael the Archangel:

Holy Archangel Michael, defend us in battle: that we may not perish in the dreadful judgment. Alleluia. 

Michaelmass;  just the sound of the word evokes images, thoughts, echoes.  The first time I ever heard the term was when I arrived in Oxford as a student now many years ago and was told that in a few days the Michaelmas Term would begin.  I was charmed and delighted to think that a university would name its terms in specifically Christian terms:  Michaelmas, Hilary and Trinity, the three terms of the academic year. But this was part of the paradox of a place like Oxford where the cloud of secularism has penetrated the very stones of which the colleges are built and still the term Michaelmas is used, a term that evokes a time, a time when Catholic culture and faith infused the life of a university.  And there are Michaelmas daisies, something like our mums, flowers that herald the time of autumn, of falling leaves, but also of the fall towards winter, the time of quiet and cold, of remembering, of hoping, the time when the light fades fast, but also the time when the celebration of the true Light that came into the world is taken up with such fervor in a world that denies the Light.  One could go on further about what Michaelmas meant in the time of Catholic culture.  But this would not be good to do, for nostalgia is deadly to true religion.

We must remember, or rather call to remembrance, on this Solemnity, the feast of the warrior angel, “he who is like God”, he who leads the charge against the forces of evil, he, who with the heavenly host still fight that war, even if silently, silently at least from our point of view. This is the time to remember that there is a war—no, not the wars that constantly rage in the world and have no end.  We live in the time of in -between, the time of the Church on earth, of the not -yet, of the incomplete, the time when the real effects of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ are transforming the creation bit by bit, inevitably, but whose consummation is not yet, not yet. And even if we do not see the angels waging this war in our behalf. we do see around us the signs of what this war is about.  The war is against those real and powerful forces in the world that not only deny the truth of the living God but also militate against that truth in so many ways.  This is surely a religious war but it is a spiritual war. It is not a matter of jihad. It is much more subtle and dangerous.  For the forces of the religion of secularism, a secularism that tolerates religious faith only in a closed off individualistic way, does not so much as  to deny the existence of God but rather to banish Him from the discourse of the world.  These forces are determined to conquer, and if one looks with realistic eyes, they have won important cultural battles that have weakened the real presence of the Christian faith in today’s culture.

All this image of war. Can this be congruent with the religion of peace?  Of course it can and it must. Jesus said:  “ I did not come to bring peace but a sword.”  Conflict is part of being a follower of Jesus Christ, part of what it means to be a Christian.  To deny this is to deny the Gospel and Church history.  Charles Williams, a strange literary figure, Anglican by persuasion, says something in his idiosyncratic history of the Church to the effect that when the dogma of infallibility of the Pope was defined in that famous thunderstorm in Rome in 1870 by Blessed Pio Nono: he says that the Church regained her manhood.  A wonderful phrase: her manhood. For what we are talking about here is virtus, a Latin word that is often translated only as “virtue” and thereby made harmless by the virus of moralism.  But the root meaning of this word virtus is vir, the man as hero.  On the feast of the Warrior Angel, the Prince of the heavenly host, we remember, or we should remember, that we are all called as Christians to show courage, which is the second meaning of virtus, that we are all called to be men and women of virtue, which is the third meaning of virtus:  all three meanings bound to each other, all necessary for the task of the evangelization of the world. 

To be a Christian is not for wimps, is not for religious couch potatoes who confuse Christian faith with Brady Bunch Catholicism. No.  What is called for today is manly men who are faithful husbands and fathers. What is called for today are manly men who are faithful priests who have the courage to make the Cross of Christ as the center of their lives.  What is called for today are women who have the true virtus of Mary, the Mother of God, of St. Catherine of Siena, of St. Teresa of Avila, of St. Birgitta, of Mother Cabrini.  

Oxford spires are beautiful. Daises are lovely. But they have little to do with the saint we celebrate at this Mass today, Saint Michael, the Archangel, who is fighting the battle against the prince of darkness on our behalf.  And for this we are grateful and for this we sing his praises. But we must remember that it is we, you and I, who must also join this battle, a battle that will be won by the love of God for us shone in the Cross of Jesus Christ.  And the first step is what we do here today. In this Mass we remember and commemorate and there is made present that event that is the sign of the sure outcome of the triumph of God: the battle that was fought on the Tree of Life.  And every time Mass is offered we strike a blow in the words:  Hoc est enim corpus meum.  These words make the powers of the world tremble, for these words do what they say, are what they say, and by their transformative power advance the battle for goodness, truth and beauty every time they are said.  For they make present from eternity in this our time the love of the infinite God who loved us so much that he gave his only begotten Son to die so that we may live. 

St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us.

Father Richard Gennaro Cipolla