Rorate Caeli

Worldwide Petition for the Preservation of the Latin Mass -- Sign

New Book: “Ever Ancient, Ever New: Why Younger Generations are Embracing Traditional Catholicism”

The following description was partly adapted from the publisher's.

TAN Books has released a new book to address a question that seems to have stumped both faithful and secular pundits alike: Why are so many young people flocking to the Traditional Latin Mass? In Ever Ancient, Ever New: Why Younger Generations are Embracing Traditional Catholicism, readers will see that despite a rapid decline in Catholic demographics, there is hope -- parishes that offer the Latin Mass are growing, and at an incredible rate.

In Ever Ancient, Ever New, millennials enthralled with the traditional devotions of our Faith which have been left largely abandoned since Vatican II explain this phenomenon. These authors include Alexander Tschugguel, Stefanie Lozinski, and Timothy and Stephanie Gordon. Some nuggest from inside:

“During this current crisis within the Church, anyone who is in favor of tradition is on the same side.” (Foreword)

“The future of the Church lies in her past.” (Introduction)

“Authority cannot change the essential patrimony and purpose” of religious institutes: Fr de Blignières’ incisive canonical demonstration

Visit of Cardinal Sarah to the Fraternity of Saint Vincent Ferrer (the founder is second from the left)

Father Louis-Marie de Blignières, founder and Prior of the Fraternity of Saint Vincent Ferrer in Chémeré-le-Roi, France, offers here a reflection on the “Proper Law of Religious,” in the context of the publication of
Traditionis Custodes and of the CDW’s Responsa, which render almost impossible the celebration of all the sacraments according to the preconciliar liturgical books (except Mass, with certain limits).

The Pope and the Proper Law of Religious
Father Louis-Marie de Blignières [1]

Pursuant to the Responsa of the Congregation for Divine Worship, I argued,[2] as have other superiors, that the norms laid out by these Responsa do not apply to us, since our proper law guarantees us the use of the four traditional liturgical books. Indeed, “a universal law does not in any way derogate from a particular or from a special law, unless the law expressly provides otherwise” (CIC, can. 20).

Proper law is a notion in perfect continuity with the principle of subsidiarity, with the social doctrine of the Church and with canonical practice, and yet it is seriously misunderstood today, both by progressive theologians and by some traditionalists. This has several causes: the almost Jacobin centralism of modern societies, an overly positivistic philosophy of law, and an ultra-Roman ecclesiology which sees the Church as an “absolute monarchy,” and the Pope as a potentate holding unlimited powers.

This failure to understand the notion of proper law has led to the following objection being put to us: “The Pope is perfectly able to modify the Constitutions of communities or associations, and may even suppress them, if he deems it prudentially right: these communities emanate from him, since it is either he or one of his predecessors who erected them when they deemed it right.”

A Poem in Honor of St. Agnes

On January 28th, the traditional “second feast” of St. Agnes (see here to learn more about this ancient and beautiful feature of the calendar), we publish the following poem by Christian Browne, author of The Pearl of Great Price: Pius VI and the Sack of Rome (Arouca Press).—PAK

Upon St. Agnes’ Day

When the cruel winds blow across the barren trees
And weather is unfair, 
The saints of Rome remember the girl with golden hair. 

The little lamb unspotted, in flower of her youth
O’er the wolves she held no power but knowledge of the Truth
When to the stake they tied her at Domitian’s place
The wood refused to burn, flames parted from her face.

There her blood was spilled so even the pagans cried
Her head cut down in testament to the Crucified. 
An unknown little child ‘till death inscribed her name
And he who conquered by the sign built in honor of her fame.

Forever hence her name is said, whispered low each morn
In that ever-fixed prayer, where sinners beg to be re-born.

And you, O daughter Agnes!
Like her so young, so fair
Blue the fire in your eyes and flaxen is your hair.

What fate awaits I cannot say, nor did Agnes know
That to the sword the Lord would bid her there to go
When Fortune’s wheel does turn in the tearful vale
May you recall your namesake and her wondrous tale.
O Agnes, Agnes, as the lamb today in silence gives 
Its wool to be a sign that Peter’s power lives 
Bear up in peace whene’er the cross onto you is cast,
And carrying the burden, attain the crown that will forever last. 

Andrea Riccardi, the influential liberal messenger between the Vatican and Italian politics - by Roberto de Mattei

 Andrea Riccardi, between the Quirinale and the Apostolic Palaces

Between January 22 and 23 the main Italian news agencies and blogs reported that the center-left parties had selected professor Andrea Riccardi as candidate for the presidency of the Republic. News that surprised many, because Riccardi’s name is of no great repute in the university world and his political experience is modest, having been minister for international cooperation in the Monti government from November 2011 to April 2013. Yet his influence is far greater than one might imagine, if one considers that Time magazine, back on April 21 1997, placed him at the top of the ten persons who matter most on our peninsula. His strength does not come from his academic or political merits, but from the powerful lobby he founded and directs: the Community of Sant’Egidio.

Debunking Dialogue in the Pontificate of Pope Francis — A Response to Austen Ivereigh’s article “The Limits of Dialogue”

Traditional Latin Mass in Kampala, Uganda (Photo: New Vision, Uganda)

The author of this guest post, Michael Kakooza, is a Ugandan Catholic who discovered the Traditional Latin Mass while studying in the UK (see
Una Voce Scotland Newsletter, 19th April 2019, pp. 5-6). He is a member of the Traditional Latin Mass Community in Kampala which is ministered to by the Institute of the Good Shepherd. Dr. Kakooza holds a PhD in Communication and Ideology from the University of Wales; his doctoral thesis was on the topic of ideological anti-Catholicism in modern English identity.

Debunking Dialogue in the Pontificate of Pope Francis
A Response to Austen Ivereigh’s article “The Limits of Dialogue”
Michael Kakooza, Ph.D

The Council and the Eclipse of God by Don Pietro Leone – SECTION II – CHAPTER VI - MAN– second part– Man’s Choice of Life - MARRIAGE


At the end of this second part addressing the effects of the Council’s teaching on Catholic Marriage, Don Pietro highlights ten points of variance between Traditional and Council teaching, placing the former teaching in first place and the latter in second place.                                                                                                    

Una Voce International: Guide to taking part in the Synod

Votive Mass of Our Lady, Oxford Oratory, England

Cross-posted from the FIUV blog.

Pope Francis has called on all members of the Church to contribute to a Synod to take place in Rome in 2023. Contributions are sought on where the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church.

At the same time testimonials have been requested by the 'Mothers of Traditional Priests' who are walking from Paris to Rome to present their concerns to the Holy Father.

Modernism, Not Ultramontanism, Is the “Synthesis of All Heresies” — A Response to Stuart Chessman

The following article was submitted to Rorate Caeli by José Antonio Ureta, co-founder of Fundación Roma (Chile) and advisor of its pro-life and pro-family project Acción Familia, a senior researcher at Société Française pour la Défense de la Tradition, Famille et Propriété (Paris), and author of Pope Francis’s Paradigm Shift: Continuity or Rupture in the Mission of the Church? (Spring Grove, PA, 2018). We publish it in the interests of open discussion of topics of grave importance in the Church.

Modernism,  Not Ultramontanism, Is the “Synthesis of All Heresies”

José A. Ureta

“The Sacrament of Confirmation: What Should Be Done After the Responsa?” - a canonical response, by Father Pierre Laliberté, Doctor of Canon Law

Sacramentum Confirmationis: Quid Sit Faciendum Post Responsa?

“The Sacrament of Confirmation: What Should Be Done after the Responsa?”

by Fr. Pierre Laliberté, J.C.L.

Upon hearing the most distressing news of His Eminence, Vincent Cardinal Nichols, attempting to ban confirmations according to the traditional rites in England and Wales, a few remarks are necessary from a canonical viewpoint. 

The New Doctor of the Church, or, Does Pope Francis Know What He Is Doing? — Guest Article by Tomasz Dekert

Dr. Tomasz Dekert, a professor of religion in Poland, returns to Rorate with a new contribution for which we are grateful; it was first published in Polish at the review 
Christianitas. Translation provided by author. See also his essay “At variance with Conciliar reform, or the anachronisms of Archbishop Arthur Roche,” published here on November 16, 2021.

The Joy of the Traditional Roman Mass: They can't take that away from us.

Last week at Mass we heard the gospel from St. John that recounts Jesus’ first miracle, the changing of water into wine.  Today on the Third Sunday after the Epiphany we hear of two more miracles performed by our Lord:  the healing of the lepers and the healing of the centurion’s servant.  The gospels in the season of the Sundays after Epiphany concentrate on the miracles of Jesus as the answer to the seminal, the basic question asked and answered in the gospels: who is this man Jesus?  These miracles are not offered as proof to the gospel answer to this question, that he is the Son of God, the Word of God the Savior of the world. But they are offered—and they are offered in a historical sense, not in some sort of symbolic sense—to point to the answer to the seminal question.  Many who call themselves Christians have been having problems with these miracles for a long time, and they have done so because they have succumbed well over a century ago to a rationalistic and moralistic understanding of the person of Jesus Christ. And they are locked into a totally outdated and false understanding of the physical world: they live in an imaginary Newtonian world in which surprise is absent. It is absent by decree, since there can be no surprises in a clock world understanding of the physical universe.  One does not have to be conversant with the ins and outs of contemporary physics to know that physical reality is full of surprises and that these surprises happen with alarming frequency.  The irony is that in an age in which science is seen to be the basis and the touchstone of what is real, most people, certainly including theologians, are locked into a view of reality that corresponds in no way to the mysterious and in a way crazy picture of physical reality that contemporary physics paints for us.  And the verb paints is very apt, for physical reality is much more like a painting whose meaning can never be fully grasped than the rather boring view of reality that is like a Patek Phillipe watch: expensive, keeps good time, but in the end not very interesting.

A reply: the unforgivable sin of Traditionalism

Mass of Reparation, celebrated in response to clerical abuse revelations in 2018.

Cross-posted on LMS Chairman.

Austen Ivereigh writes that he has been troubled by a criticism of the restrictions on the Traditional Mass brought in last July by Pope Francis' Traditionis Custodes. This is the point, made even by people with no particular interest in the ancient Mass, that it was an example of collective punishment: the innocent were being deprived of the Mass alongside those, whoever they are, who are truly guilty, of whatever it is they are supposed to be guilty of. Even if we accept Pope Francis' characterisation of Bad Trads, it can't be true of everyone who has derived solace from the old Mass. It can't, in fact, even be true of most, because it implies a degree of theological engagement which is unusual. Most Catholics don't spend their time talking about Vatican II's teaching on Religious Liberty, for example, because most Catholics, whether they have encountered the old Mass or not, don't have a very clear idea of what it is -- the idea is absurd.

The Outrageous Propaganda of Archbishop Roche

“Where do you get your stuff?”  “Oh, in the wild blue yonder.”

As I was reading the other day the page proofs of Fr. Bryan Houghton’s autobiography Unwanted Priest—long believed lost but recently rediscovered and just now published by Angelico Press—I was struck by the following passage (among many others). He is talking about anti-religious posters he came by on a trip to Russia:

"The Battle for the Mass is Won" - Interview with Fr. Philippe Laguérie


Fr. Philippe Laguérie

Interview granted to Anne Le Pape for the daily Présent, on January 18, 2022. 

[Translation by Jerome Stridon.]

Father Philippe Laguérie needs no introduction. He was ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre, named pastor of Saint Nicolas du Chardonnet (the SPPX’s flagship church in Paris) in 1984, where he served until 1998. He left the SSPX in 2004 and was one of the cofounders of the Institute of the Good Shepherd (Institut du Bon Pasteur, “IBP”) in 2006. He was its superior for two mandates, until 2019.

Father, did you ever think that some day you would once again live through a witch-hunt (if I dare use the expression) against the traditional rite?

Yes and no! If you consider the deep causes of the liturgical revolution of the sixties, the modernist-infested railroading of Vatican II (more sinister even than at Ephesus!), [1] and since the same causes produce the same effects: yes, I did! In spite of the attempt under Benedict XVI, which can be said to have failed today, to restore the Church's bimillennial liturgy to its former glory, the Church's personnel remained and remain fundamentally revolutionary. "A bad tree cannot bear good fruit . . . .” But considering the violence of the last two Roman documents (Traditionis custodes and the responses to the dubia), their contempt for liturgical tradition, the cynicism of the measures they’ve adopted, their hatred-oozing rage for systematic destruction, then one is inclined to think that the pope is no longer working "on the peripheries"; but rather on another galaxy. As you well know from his many trips, his orthodoxy is inversely proportionate to his altitude squared! Yes: consternation. Here we are, back in the 70s, with its suspension a divinis, its "rogue seminary"; its "excommunications"; I smell gunpowder.

“A permanent parliament in which Jesus Christ is no longer preached, conversion to Truth and Grace no longer called for”: Bishop Aguer on the Synod on Synodality

The Synodality of the Church
by Most Rev. Héctor Aguer
Archbishop Emeritus of La Plata, Argentina
January 21, 2022

The [preparatory phase of the] XVI session of the Synod of Bishops was recently inaugurated with a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica [October 10, 2021].

“He is damaging the entire series of his predecessors…and thus himself and the papacy”: The insoluble contradiction between Francis and Paul VI

The following analysis was written by Michael Charlier, moderator of the German blog Part of the brilliance of the piece is that it shows how massive a problem there is whether Paul VI or Francis is correct: “damned if you do, damned if you don’t...” Translated for Rorate Caeli.—PAK

Francis Against Paul
Michael Charlier,
January 20, 2022

At the center of the efforts pursued by Pope Francis and his supporters to expel the traditional liturgy from the Roman Church is the claim, made in a normative tone in Traditionis Custodes, that this liturgy no longer corresponds to the lex orandi of Rome, which has now found its only expression in the Novus Ordo Missae of Pope Paul VI. With this assertion, Francis, his liturgical prefect Roche, and Prof. Grillo as the “spiritual backer,” have placed themselves in a logically and theologically untenable situation.

They directly contradict papal predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI, both of whom recognized the traditional rite as a legitimate expression of the Church’s lex credendi even after the 1969 reform, though they also tied its practice to certain conditions—conditions, be it clear, that did not express a fundamental reservation, as Francis does now, but rather had the goal of steering the coexistence of two ritual forms into regulated channels through disciplinary guidelines and, in the longer term, to enable a reconciliation, perhaps even a convergence.

In this way, both John Paul and Benedict ultimately only followed the approach already given by Pope Paul VI as promulgator of the new Missal. He, too, did not dare to “abolish” the liturgy used until then or to declare it void—his sense of the context of tradition was too strong for that. Instead, he made the use of the Tridentine rite, which in principle was still possible, subject to strict conditions. From the beginning, there was the possibility of dispensation for priests who felt unable to cope with the change for reasons of age. Then, as early as 1971, the “Agatha Christi Indult” was added, with which the Pope responded not only to the request of clerics in England and Wales, but also of believers (and non-believers). This very limited concession was undoubtedly connected in Paul VI’s mind with the expectation that such indults were only a transitional phenomenon that would take care of itself after a few years in view of the evident superiority of the reformed rite that he took for granted. The pope was also well aware that continued opposition to the reform could very well challenge his own authority and serve as a focal point for continued opposition to Vatican II; hence he was not prepared to make any further concessions.

On this point—the use of papal power to discipline supposed dissenters—Francis’ approach is quite similar to that of Paul VI. With regard to the lex orandi, however, it is fundamentally different.

Where Francis tries to deprive the traditional liturgy of its theological legitimacy by his construction “there is only one lex orandi,” Paul VI, on the contrary, tried to underline the legitimacy of his new Missal by emphasizing (whether correctly or not) that the reformed Missal corresponds to the same lex orandi as that of its predecessor. Thus, on this axial point, he affirms the continuity that his successor Francis now declares abolished.

In his address of November 19, 1969, shortly before the going-into-effect of the new Missal, Paul VI objects to the critics of his missal:

Nothing has been changed of the substance of our traditional Mass.


The unity of the Lord’s Supper, of the Sacrifice on the Cross, and of the re-presentation and the renewal of both in the Mass, is inviolably affirmed and celebrated in the new rite just as they were in the old. The Mass is and remains the memorial of Christ’s Last Supper. At that Supper the Lord changed the bread and wine into His Body and His Blood, and instituted the Sacrifice of the New Testament. He willed that the Sacrifice should be identically renewed by the power of His Priesthood, conferred on the Apostles.

Paul VI thus takes up the line of thought of his 1965 encyclical Mysterium Fidei, which is characterized throughout by the effort to defend the Church’s traditional teaching on the Eucharist, epitomized at Trent, against the reinterpretations of modern theology. For Pope Paul, the “Last Supper” is not just a solemn meal, but the anticipation of the sacrifice of the Cross on Good Friday.

Even more important than these general affirmations of doctrinal continuity, however, is the fact that in this address the Pope expressly insists that there is no difference in the lex orandi and the lex credendi between the old and the new Missal. After admitting that the renewed forms will at first seem unfamiliar to many and not very conducive to worship, he says:

[S]ome may allow themselves to be carried away by the impression made by a particular ceremony or additional rubric, and thus think that they conceal some alteration or diminution of truths which were acquired by the Catholic faith for ever, and are sanctioned by it. They might come to believe that the equation between the law of prayer, lex orandi, and the law of faith, lex credendi, is compromised as a result. It is not so. Absolutely not.

The same statement is then found in the Institutio Generalis to the Editio Typica of the new missal, where it says in the second section, “A Witness to Unchanged Faith,” following the exposition of the doctrine of Trent on the Sacrifice of the Mass:

In this new Missal, then, the Church’s rule of prayer (lex orandi) corresponds to its constant rule of faith (lex credendi). This rule of faith instructs us that the sacrifice of the Cross and its sacramental renewal in the Mass, which Christ instituted at the Last Supper and commanded His apostles to do in His memory, are one and the same, differing only in the manner of offering and that consequently the Mass is at once a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, of reconciliation and expiation.

The will of Paul VI as legislator of the reform and promulgator of the new Missal is thus absolutely unequivocal: lex orandi and lex credendi are to be identical in the old and new forms. To what extent the rite he promulgated actually fulfills this demand is not to be examined here—there are plenty of indications that the weaknesses in the work of the reform have, since then, offered clear starting points for an intensified contrary development (i.e., that a flawed or omissive or ambiguous lex orandi has in fact fostered a flawed lex credendi), but that is another topic for another time.

That Francis, however, contradicts his predecessor so harshly on this central point, even in his very choice of words, is neither understandable nor acceptable. He is not only destroying the “liturgical peace” that has been painstakingly achieved in many parts of the Catholic world. He is damaging the entire series of his predecessors since the reform—and thus himself and the papacy in general.

And he is encouraging all the more what he and the other advocates of the reform, now recognized as a failure, want least of all: the thorough investigation of the errors that crept into the work of the Bugnini Consilium from the beginning, and which have ultimately led to the strange situation that the fourth successor of Paul VI today says exactly the opposite of what the latter had solemnly affirmed with regard to the relationship between the lex orandi and the lex credendi before and after the reform.

An edifying message in the aftermath of Traditionis Custodes and the other orders from Rome on December 18th 2021:

I received the following reflection from a religious who wishes to remain anonymous.  It was penned after scripture reading, prayer and meditation – it is meant to lift up our hearts during this period of great adversity when Holy Mother Church is being beaten on all sides – both externally and internally.       F.R.

Viriliter agite

‘Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous, be strong

(1 Corinthians : 16:13)

With regard to the December 18th document from Rome clamping down even more on the Latin Mass and Sacraments:

Msgr. Stefan Heid: “A sacred rite, in a sacred space, on a sacred table, and facing east: This is how the early Christians celebrated Mass”

Translated from the blog Messeinlatino, which in turn credits Il Timone for excerpts from a recent and very interesting interview with Msgr. Stefan Heid, Rector of the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology, on how the early Christians celebrated. Note that all of our information now definitively undermines the assumptions of the liturgical reformers.—PAK

How the First Christians Celebrated the Mass
Luisella Scrosati
Il Timone, January 2022

“A profound de-rationalization of Catholicism” is under way: Polish professor of philosophy

A contributor to the Polish traditionalist journal Christianitas, Justyna Melonowska is a philosophy lecturer from Poland who published the following text in the Polish bulletin “Filozofuj!” The translation was sent to Rorate by the author. - PAK

Filioque XXI
Justyna Melonowska

It is difficult to disagree with historians—such as Donald Kagan[1]—who emphasize that we do not know a single example of an areligious civilization until modern times. Civilization stands—at least this is the experience of history—on religion as its primary source of vitality and strength, and as a reservoir of goals.

Holiness: The Only Solution to the Crisis of Our Time (Roberto de Mattei)

The crisis of our time has moved as of now from the cultural and moral field to the psychological, meaning psychology in its etymological sense, which is that of “science of the soul.” If morality establishes the laws of human behavior, psychology investigates the cognitive and affective life of man. Man is a composite of soul and body, and the soul, which is the vital principle of the body, has two main faculties, intellect and will. As a corporeal being, man is also endowed with internal and external senses that participate in his cognitive process.  When man’s primary and secondary faculties are well ordered, his personality develops harmoniously. But when, in the obscure meeting place between sense impressions and the spiritual faculties disordered passions develop, the soul experiences a situation of imbalance that can lead to moral and psychological ruin. Man risks psychological breakdown when he becomes unaware of the one true end of his life, which is our sanctification and the glory of God.

Dr. Alice von Hildebrand (1923-2022): "We must love the Church more than ever."

 Requiescat in pace

(In permanent youth forever)

Our latest post mentioning her: her 2018 interview on the crisis of the Church - "We must love the Church more than ever."

RORATE EXCLUSIVE — Leaked Document of Slovenian Bishops’ Conference Attacking Traditionalists: A Window into the Bergoglian Hive-Mind

Rorate has received this information from Slovenia. We extend our commiserations to the ill-treated traditional faithful there and hope and pray for a resolution of their long-standing difficulties.


The following letter was sent to the main representative of the Group of St. Joseph for the promotion of Catholic Tradition, located in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on the feast day of Pope St. Hygnius. It is a response from the Slovenian Conference of Catholic Bishops to multiple letters, which were sent to them last year regarding the application of the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes.

The Pope and “Cancel Culture”

The following article appeared at the German website Motu-proprio: Summorum-Pontificum and has been translated for Rorate Caeli. Its publication here does not necessarily signify agreement with all of its points.—PAK

The Pope and “Cancel Culture”
Michael Charlier
January 13, 2022

The Tablet—one of the great platforms of the self-understanding of ecclesiastical modernism—deals in its latest issue with the continuing swelling movement of opposition to Traditionis Custodes, taking particular aim at the view expressed by Joseph Shaw that the Responsa issued by Archbishop Roche are irrelevant if only because the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship does not, by virtue of his office, have the competence to interpret a papal legislative act in this authoritative way.

Fr. Claude Barthe: “What is at stake here is the continuation of the lex orandi and the salvation of many souls”

Salus animarum, suprema lex [the salvation of souls is the highest law].

Following Francis’ motu proprio of 16 July 2021, the Congregation for Divine Worship issued on 18 December a response to the dubia concerning Traditionis custodes in answer to questions they had allegedly received. This widely discussed text1 clarifies the intention of the motu proprio, viz., eventually to abolish the traditional liturgy by maintaining a transitory tolerance with strictly set limits for the use of the traditional missal for those still attached to it, while at the same time banning the use of the other liturgical books, especially the Ritual and the Pontifical.

The Radical Claim and Fatal Flaw of TC’s Article 1 — Article by a French Priest

Rorate is pleased to bring to its readers an English translation of a critique of
Traditionis Custodes written by a priest of the Institute of Christ the King, published initially behind a paywall in Revue Catholica on November 10, 2021, but now available online for free. Fr. Jestin addresses the theological radicalness of the motu proprio and exposes its fatal weakness by concentrating on the infamous Article 1, with Francis’s accompanying letter and articles by Andrea Grillo dated July 16, July 19, July 21, and July 24. Since Grillo is the doyen of the liturgical progressives currently in power, the attention paid to his work is both right and revealing (see also this related article). My thanks to Zachary Thomas and John Pepino for assistance with the translation.—PAK

The End of Conciliation Efforts
Fr. Laurent Jestin, ICKSP, La Rochelle
November 10, 2021
[English translation: January 10, 2022]

Bishop Rob Mutsaerts on the Vatican policy against Traditionalists: "The 'pope of mercy' shows little mercy for those who embrace the Traditional Latin Mass. The loss of confidence not only affects the traditionalists themselves, but also increases the uncertainty of the faithful. "


Bishop Rob Mutsaerts

2021 was an insane year. When the majority abandons normality, abnormality becomes the new normal. For example, feminists were scolded by trans-ideologues for believing there should be room for feminist views. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is one such feminist whose books were burned at various universities. Mind you, at universities, centers of free minds. Professor Kathleen Stock, philosophy lecturer at the University of Sussex, was forced to resign. What was her crime? She had dared to defend in her latest book the thesis that there are demonstrable genetic and biological differences between the sexes. And then we had the trans women who went on to swim and run races. Nobodies in the sports world as men, now they win gloriously. When they cross the finish line, by the way, it is remarkably quiet in the stadiums. Everyone realizes that it is not right, but no one dares to say anything. They protest by being conspicuously silent. And, oh yes, the real women went home to shower. You don't feel comfortable with a guy like that around.

2021 was also the year of the foolish "cancel culture." Even the self-respecting newspaper The New York Times goes along with this. The founding date of the United States of America is no longer July 4, 1776 - the date of the Declaration of Independence, Independence Day - but the year 1619 when the first ships arrived on the coast of Virginia with African slaves on board. Meanwhile, Peter Boghossian, a heavyweight in the field of philosophy, announced his retirement from Portland State University: "Students are no longer taught to think; they are only taught ideologies. Most of them no longer dare to say what they think."

Online Latin Courses from the Latin Mass Society

There are many such courses and I encourage readers to seek them out. Since they can be done from anyone on the planet, I would like to draw attention to this which has the support of the Latin Mass Society: priests, deacons and seminarians from in based in England and Wales benefit from an 80% discount. Cross-posted from

The new year will see a new set of online Latin Courses from Matthew Spencer. The Latin Mass Society is happy to sponsor clergy (priests and deacons) and seminarians (or those preparing for the diaconate) to tune of 80% of the course fees. For non-clerics, there is an discount if you book before the 15th.

Yes, we are serious about promoting Latin! It is not only the key to the celebration of the ancient Latin Mass: this language is, within the Latin Church, an abundant well-spring of Christian civilisation and a very rich treasure-trove of devotion (Paul VI).

We have even arranged a way for your grasp of Latin to be certified by a senior academic Latinist at a British university: if you need to show anyone you have it.

Details here.

More from Matthew Spencer.

Do you wish you had better Latin — to follow the liturgy, or immerse yourself in the theology and history of the Church? 

Ultramontanism: Its Life and Death

We cannot understand the crisis in the Catholic Church today or how to escape from it unless we understand how the ecclesiological distortion popularly known as ultramontanism originated, how it functions as a kind of hyperclericalism, and finally how it has consumed itself like the ouroboros. Stuart Chessman published the following very insightful historical analysis in four installments (December 20, 23, 27, and 31) at the Society of St. Hugh of Cluny’s blog. With his permission they are published here as a single essay.—PAK

Ultramontanism: Its Life and Death 
Stuart Chessman
The Society of St. Hugh of Cluny

The actions of present Pope have put incredible stress on the Church’s constitution—the papal absolute monarchy. I’d like to offer some reflections on this system of government: ultramontanism. To understand it, though, we have to go back in history, starting with the reign of Pius IX when the ultramontanist regime received its “classic” form. I will focus on history—what actually happened—as opposed to theological considerations.

Led by the Star of Beauty to the Love of Beauty Unseen: The Epiphany of Christ in the Ancient Roman Liturgy

Photo by John Aron: LMS Pilgrimage to Chideock, England, with the ICKSP

In Plato’s famous dialogue on love, the Symposium, Socrates relates the “tale” he learned from his teacher Diotima of Mantineia. She tells him that love is caused by the beautiful, and that the ultimate goal of our love is absolute Beauty itself:

He who has been instructed thus far in the things of love, and who has learned to see the beautiful in due order and succession, when he comes toward the end will suddenly perceive a nature of wondrous beauty (and this, Socrates, is the final cause of all our former toils)—a nature which in the first place is everlasting, not growing and decaying, or waxing and waning; secondly, not fair in one point of view and foul in another, or at one time or in one relation or at one place fair, at another time or in another relation or at another place foul, as if fair to some and foul to others… but beauty absolute, separate, simple, and everlasting, which without diminution and without increase, or any change, is imparted to the ever-growing and perishing beauties of all other things….

“This liturgy of Christendom spiritually energizes the remnant of faithful in secularized nations”—Christian Marquant

Rorate is pleased to offer a translation of a message from Christian Marquant and we give thanks to God for his recovery from hospitalization with Covid.

Our Wishes for the Year of Our Lord 2022
Paix Liturgique, Letter 842, January 3, 2022

Dear Friends,

May the freedom of the traditional liturgy come! This is the wish of Paix Liturgique for the year 2022. It may seem utopian or very wilful to you to hear me say this, bruised as we are by the persecutions that have been raining down on us again since this summer.

But all this will last only for a short time, even if it is very painful to live through it. The defenders of the liturgical revolution, which has oppressed the Church for half a century, are fighting their last battle: they have potentially lost, even if they still seem very strong, because not only have they not been able to make us disappear despite all their efforts, but we are now more numerous and alive than ever, while their ranks and places of worship are thinning out.

I form this wish, together with the whole Paix Liturgique team, first of all for those who make use of this traditional liturgy, and also for all Roman Catholics and for the entire Church, which, when it begins to recover from the terrible crisis that has overwhelmed it, will do so first of all by rediscovering this cultic treasure that has been preserved as a living reality.

I hope that this holy and venerable liturgy, which was generated by Rome our Mother, and which therefore cannot be tainted by error, will continue to produce, for the times in which we live, the fruits it has dispensed from century to century and from generation to generation:

- Fruits of growth in faith for those who practice this most pure law of prayer;

- Fruits of a call to holiness in the faithful, priests, and religious;

- Fruit of vigor in preaching and catechesis, of which this traditional Roman cultus is the backbone;

- Fruit of stimulating the missionary outreach to our contemporaries—especially the young people that this worship attracts—to help them to find or to rediscover the religion of Jesus Christ;

- Fruits of reform—of a true reform such as were the Gregorian reform and the Tridentine reform, the like of which the Church today impatiently awaits;

- Fruits of the cultivation of priestly and religious vocations to come to the rescue of the deserted and waterless land that is our society;

- Fruits also of support for a Western civilization in grave danger, for which this Roman worship represents a religious and cultural treasure;

- Finally, political fruits, I dare say, since this liturgy of Christendom is able to spiritually energize the small remnant of the faithful in the formerly baptized but now apostate Christian nations.

In the catastrophic situation of a Church that seems to be disappearing in the midst of secularized societies, I hope that the eyes of those pastors who have become persecutors of their flock will be opened: more than ever, the Church of Christ needs all of its living forces.

And in any case, I hope that the new tyrannical Roman dispositions will be put on hold by the other pastors who are aware of their duties; that there will be many diocesan bishops who understand that peace is too precious a good to be gratuitously jeopardized; and that the bishops who are friends of the Tridentine liturgy will continue to help the faithful, the priests, and the communities that live by it, especially in matters of ordinations.

I wish that all priests and communities who celebrate the traditional liturgy continue to do so, distributing all the sacraments in the traditional form as usual for the greater glory of God and for the good of souls.

But above all, I hope that, as soon as possible, the upper hierarchy of the Church will take a different path and decide to let everything that lives and bears fruit develop freely in the Church, especially the Tridentine liturgy and the lex orandi that it represents. Not freedom to do just anything, but freedom to do what is good: the very freedom of the Church is at stake.

These vows are so many prayer intentions that we will raise to heaven with urgency during this time of the feast of the Incarnation, and also every day of the year.

Finally, I would like to add a personal expression of thanks to all those who have supported me with their prayers during these last weeks in my serious health problems. With them, and to the Lord first of all, I give thanks, for Whose service and together with you I will continue to devote all my strength, as it returns to me, in the good fight for liturgical peace.

Christian Marquant

“Bishop, know thy dignity!”: On overcoming episcopal diminishment

The following essay was written by a priest and published in the latest issue of the periodical
Calx Mariae published by Voice of the Family. Reprinted here with permission.

IN THE YEAR 372, when a “second wave” of Arianism was sweeping over the eastern part of the Catholic Church, an extremely powerful and aggressive man came to visit the bishop of a city in what is now called Turkey. The name of this powerful man, somewhat ironically, was Modestus. He was the praetorian prefect. This meant that he governed most of the eastern part of the Roman empire, having his seat in the imperial capital, Constantinople, and being second only to the emperor himself. Modestus had come to tell the bishop, whose name was Basil, that the emperor in person would soon be coming to visit him, and that he, the emperor, would no longer tolerate Basil’s insistence that Jesus Christ was to be called homoousios, or having the same substance, as the Father. Basil must accept the emperor’s decision on this matter, like everyone else. If Basil was recalcitrant to properly constituted authority, Modestus informed him, then he could expect to suffer; the majesty of the emperor would be obliged to inflict upon him confiscation of his property, followed by exile, and perhaps even by torture and by death itself.

Basil listened to the praetorian prefect with due courtesy, and then gave him this reply:

You must think of some other threat - these have no influence on me. He who has nothing to lose, except some poor garments, and a few books, is not in danger from confiscation! Exile is not a threat to someone who is at home wherever he is, or rather who dwells everywhere in God’s home, whose pilgrim and wanderer he is. Tortures cannot harm a body that is so frail that it would break under the first blow: if you struck me only once, I should die. And that would but send me sooner to Him for whom I live and labour, for whom I am already more dead than alive, and to whom I have long been journeying.

The praetorian prefect was rather taken aback. “No one has ever dared to speak to Modestus like that before”, he sternly told him. “Perhaps,” replied Basil, “that is because you have never met a bishop before.”

The bishop in question is celebrated by the Church as St Basil of Caesarea, sometimes called St Basil the Great. His encounter with Modestus is related, though at greater length, by his friend St Gregory Nazianzen, in the funeral oration that he preached after Basil’s death. (This is Oration 43 in St Gregory’s works.)

St Basil knew very well that most bishops in his time had allowed themselves to be intimidated into some degree of compromise with Arianism. But in his humility, rather than ascribe his own resistance to an unusual degree of virtue, he preferred to say that his behaviour was simply that which became any member of the episcopal order. “Though we are obliged by our law to be modest and submissive to all”, he told Modestus, “and to treat no man haughtily, let alone so great a person as yourself; nevertheless, where the interests of God are at stake, we care for nothing else, and make these our sole object.”

All Christians, of course, are obliged to profess the orthodox faith in public when it is threatened: this is what the sacrament of confirmation is for. But this duty is incumbent most of all upon those who are the ‘high priests’ of the new covenant, and the successors of the apostles. “When bishops come among men,” declared the last council, “let their words about salvation be outstanding for their clarity” (Christus Dominus, 13).

To this end, our Lord endows His bishops with an abundance of graces. They have received the fullness of the sacrament of orders. He even gives them, as He did on earth to the twelve and to the seventy-two, power over unclean spirits. This is why a diocesan bishop is the principal exorcist in his own diocese.

Bishops are subject to the bishop of Rome, of course. Yet they are not his vicars. That is to say, although a pope may, where necessary, appoint or even depose a bishop, as well as legislate for the universal Church, their task is not to copy his preferences or to adopt his policies in contingent matters. A bishop must put on not the mind of the pope but the mind of Christ. When Bismarck, chancellor of Germany, protested that the first Vatican Council had reduced the world’s bishops to the rank of papal spokesmen, the German episcopacy strongly denied this, and their denial was seconded by Blessed Pius IX himself.

Do bishops today always fully understand this, I wonder? Several years ago, I read some words from a bishop who has a certain reputation for orthodoxy. He was expressing concern over Catholic politicians who vote to permit abortions and then go to Mass to receive the body of Christ. He said that something should be done about this; but then he added, “Of course, I cannot act by myself, without the bishops’ conference.” My Lord, you can so act, and indeed, you must: for you are not the vicar of the bishops’ conference, but of Christ, within your diocese. It is not by our fidelity to any bishops’ conference that we shall be judged. When confronted with the praetorian prefect and his tortures, St Basil the Great did not fudge the question. He did not ask himself, for example, whether the doctrinal committee of the bishops’ conference of Cappadocia was recommending pastoral flexibility about the homoousios. He looked to the Master whom he served, and the faithful for whose souls he was responsible, and he told the truth. “When bishops come among men, let their words about salvation be outstanding for their clarity.”

Why is it that such clarity is so cruelly wanting today? In part, perhaps, from a lack of good education in seminaries. Yet by the time a man has become a bishop, he has had ample chance to make up for whatever was deficient in his teachers. Partly, no doubt, because of fear: but even today, in our western countries, a bishop is unlikely to suffer exile, torture or death because he tells the truth. Even Cardinal Pell was finally vindicated by his country’s highest court. Lack of holiness? But that is always true of all of us – if we were holier, we should do more good.

I suggest that there are two special causes of the diminishment of bishops which they, but only they, can overcome. I am not thinking here of modernist bishops, but of men who have the Catholic faith in their hearts and who have a love for Jesus Christ and His people, but who are not yet teaching and governing as they might. I suspect that such bishops often feel trapped by the present ecclesial state of things, but it is not so. The door is locked and bolted, but they have the key.

What are these two causes of which I speak?

The first is the habit of always looking to Rome to give the lead, in other words, of thinking of oneself, albeit unconsciously, as a vicar of the pope. It is understandable that such an attitude should have grown up in the past century or so: it was occasioned by Vatican I, with its definition of the dogmas of papal infallibility and universal jurisdiction, and it was reinforced by the need for a strong central authority to deal with errors that can now spread rapidly through the Church, owing to modern means of communications. For as long as the popes themselves were generally dependable in their everyday (so called “merely authentic”) public utterances about faith and morals, such a policy didn’t work too badly. In the case of a pope who seems actively to dislike the Catholic religion, this policy of letting Rome take the initiative in teaching is disastrous.

Even if the orthodox bishops of whom I am thinking cannot bring themselves to investigate Pope Francis for heresy, which I believe to be the correct action to take, they can at least issue declarations of true doctrine, require that all office-holders in their diocese subscribe to them, and send pastoral letters to their parishes explaining them. The Declaration of truths issued by five bishops in 2019 could serve as a model here. But please, no pastoral letters just telling the faithful that racism is bad or that welcoming the stranger and caring for the environment is good; they can hear those things from the world. We need letters telling us that, say, IVF and heresy are bad, that virginity and prayer and fasting are good, that confession is the only appointed way for the baptised to get rid of grave sins, that life is short, eternity is long, and that heaven is real and near, but that so also is hell.

Yet I believe there is a second reason why our orthodox bishops do not wield their apostolic power as effectively as they might. They are not saying the Mass of ages, except occasionally, but the Mass of the 1960’s. It is not sufficient to say “the Mass is the Mass”, or “Christ is present whatever the rite”. Christ is really present in the Blessed Sacrament, and so the faithful receive sacramental grace in proportion to their dispositions when they receive Holy Communion, no matter what the rite. But the Mass as a sacrifice is not only the act of Christ, but also the act of the Church. As the act of the Church, this sacrifice will be more or less pleasing to God in function of the holiness of the rite, and in this way it will bring down more or less grace and mercy upon each local church. Can it really be pleasing to God if His bishops use a rite that has been partly Protestantized, in comparison to the immemorial Mass? By contrast, if our bishops resolve to honour Him by offering Mass in the most perfect manner that they can, graces that He is now withholding from their dioceses will be unlocked, and places that are now like deserts will begin to flower anew.

“What the Fathers and Saints valued and defended, we also feel called to value and defend”: Interview with Dr. Joseph Shaw

The following interview first appeared in the pages of the latest issue (no. 15, Winter 2021) of Calx Mariae, a beautiful journal published by Voice of the Family. Rorate Caeli is grateful for VOTF's permission to republish it here for the benefit of our readers, whom I would encourage to subscribe to the print publication.  

Calx Mariae: Congratulations on your election as President of the Una Voce Federation. For people who dont know about the Federation how would you describe it to them?

Reminder: Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society

This is our monthly reminder to please enroll Souls of the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society. In the last month we've added two new priest to the Society and we now stand at 112 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.

How Different Are the Pre-1955, 1962, and 1969 Calendars Around Christmas and Epiphany? (2022 Edition)

More and more Catholics are waking up to the huge differences between the old and new Roman liturgical calendars—the one, a product of two millennia of organic development; the other, brainchild of a 1960s committee. A subcategory of these folks are waking up to the significant differences between the calendar of the pre-1955 Missale Romanum and the one observed with the 1962 Missale Romanum. The chart above compares all three for the period from December 25th to January 19th.

In the period from Christmas to Epiphany, one can see at a glance the variations in logic and emphasis. The old calendars place great emphasis on Christmas, which is commemorated throughout the Octave, with the daily use not only of the Gloria but also of the Creed. Even more, the old calendars place massive emphasis on Epiphany, which is a feastday older than Christmas and of loftier pedigree—although one would never know that from how it was demoted in recent decades, shoved to a nearby Sunday for convenience, and shorn of its octave. In the old calendars, the Most Holy Name of Jesus (an 18th-century addition) is an obligatory Sunday celebration, but in the new, an optional weekday celebration for January 3, which is impeded in 2021.

In terms of the “psychology” of the season, one notes that the more modern feast of the Holy Family is not permitted to “intrude” until the great event of the Nativity in all its facets—including its cluster of special companion saints who, as it were, surround the cradle of the infant King—has been given plenty of room to shine. Our gaze is intently focused on the mystery of the Incarnate Word: Christmas for eight days, the Circumcision when the Redeemer first shed His blood, the Holy Name He was given and by which we are saved, the Epiphany or revelation of God as savior of the Gentiles. Only after this do we turn expressly to the family in which Our Lord grew up, His baptism in the Jordan, His first miracle at Cana (Second Sunday after Epiphany: see my article “Basking in the glow of Epiphany: The wedding feast at Cana”), and the start of His preaching and miracles (subsequent Sundays).

It’s not that Our Lady and St. Joseph are neglected, for they are always present in the readings, prayers, and antiphons, especially those of January 1st. Besides, they have their own major feastdays elsewhere in the liturgical year. It’s a matter, rather, of allowing the central mystery of the Incarnation of the Eternal Son of the Father to “breathe,” to occupy center stage. In the new calendar, on the other hand, there is a bureaucratic breathlessness by which we efficiently rush from one thing to the next, almost as if we’d like to get back to “Ordinary Time” as quickly as possible—and with as little interruption of our workaday schedule as possible.

An attentive study of these three columns indicates how the 1962 calendar is transitional to the new calendar of 1969. For example, the Sunday of the Octave of Christmas, instead of being transferred when it collides with one of the feasts of the great saints of the octave, supplants it; the beautiful contrast between the original day and the octave day of the Holy Innocents is lost (“useless repetition”?); the once-universal proper celebrations of the beloved bishop St. Thomas Becket and of the pivotal Roman pontiff Silvester are stifled. More gravely, the feast of the Circumcision is no longer given that title, but simply called the Octave of Christmas; the Vigil of the Epiphany is gone; the full-scale octave of Epiphany is gone, although the ferias continue to use the Epiphany Mass in a vestigial or placeholding way, which made the later introduction of “Ordinary Time” that much easier.

Although the 1962 calendar of the Pacellian-Roncallian Roman Rite is far superior to the 1969 calendar of the modern rite of Paul VI, the pre-1955 classical Roman Rite is superior to both. As with Holy Week, as with Pentecost, so too with Christmastide: this chart gives us yet another angle from which to see the importance of a principled return to the liturgical books prior to the hasty modernizations and clumsy simplifications of Pius XII and John XXIII. It is the next great step in the ongoing restoration of Catholic tradition. And there is no better time than now to take up the pre-55 rites and calendar: we can see how little we can and should rely on the “guidance” (such as it is) of churchmen who are supposedly in charge but who have announced their intention to liquidate all memory of tradition. (And need I add that the concept of official “permission” has received its coup de grâce in our times?)

Now all we need is a good republication of a pre-55 altar missal . . . 

A couple of errors have been corrected in the calendar. Thank you to those who pointed them out.

Sermon for the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

Some years ago a novel was published to great acclaim despite the difficulty of its thought and despite its taking place in a medieval monastery.  The novel is The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.  Its most famous line is the last line in the novel: Stat rosa pristina nomine, nomina nuda tenemus. The translation of this line is somewhat difficult, but it means something like this:  “Yesterday’s rose stands only in name, we hold only empty names”.  What this means is that there is no real connection between the name, the word we use, and what we are trying to refer to by that name.  Names are in the end empty words. This is a  terrible and false understanding of reality itself, and, tragically, is an understanding of reality that is all too common in our culture.