Rorate Caeli

“My Spiritual Testament” - Benedict XVI

My spiritual testament

When, at this late hour of my life, I look back on the decades I have wandered through, I see first of all how much reason I have to give thanks. Above all, I thank God Himself, the giver of all good gifts, who has given me life and guided me through all kinds of confusion; who has always picked me up when I began to slip, who has always given me anew the light of his countenance. In retrospect, I see and understand that even the dark and arduous stretches of this path were for my salvation and that He guided me well in those very stretches

Thank you, Joseph Ratzinger! We’ll always miss you, Benedict XVI!

 Good and faithful servant:

Intra in gaudium domini tui.

Some Examples of the Many Ways of Resisting, Resisting, Resisting ‘Traditionis Custodes’ — Scenes from France


(Translation of Paix Liturgique Letter 910 of 29 December 2022)


Since the promulgation of the motu proprio Traditionis custodes in 2021, various French bishops—in spite of the reality of dechristianization and the shortage of the faithful, as well as of clergy and financial means—have begun to hunt down their last (rather young) faithful and parish priests.

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


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

Five-day Silent Retreats with the Spiritual Exercises & TLM, June 2023, Ohio

Our friends the traditional Benedictine monks of the Monastery of Notre Dame in Tasmania have announced their USA retreats for 2023. Details in flyer below. Places are limited; register soon.

Cardinals block appointment of Heiner Wilmer as Prefect of the DDF

(Translation of German article by Giuseppe Nardi at

It seemed that everything was already fixed: Shortly before Christmas, the appointment of a new prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) was expected. But then everything turned out differently - at least for the time being.

A CHRISTMAS MEDITATION: 'A Spiritual Nativity' by Father Konrad zu Lowenstein


The Adoration of the Child by Antonio Correggio (early 16th century)

Every Christmas the light of God’s glory shines anew when the Infant Jesus is born once again spiritually into the world –  Christmas not only being the anniversary or  celebration of His Birth more than two thousand years ago, but a new birth, in a spiritual sense.

CHRISTMAS: Fontgombault Sermon for Christmas Day Mass: "The Child of the crib is truly God."

 Christmas Day Mass

Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau 
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault 
Fontgombault, December 25th, 2022

Et Verbum caro factum est.

And the Word was made flesh. (Jn 1:14)

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

My dearly beloved Sons,

Since last night the liturgy has been taking us with a dis-concerting easiness from a poor stable to the most unfathomable mysteries of the Trinity. The birth according to the flesh of a child in a stable rubs shoulders with the eternal generation of the second person of the Trinity in the bosom of the Father. The angels make themselves close to the shepherds. Very soon, we shall learn that a star has convoked three kings in the presence of the Divine Child. As the Word of God takes flesh in our earth, the laws of nature seem to be topsy-turvy.

What is then the divine plan carried out under our eyes? It is a plan of salvation, granted to men by God “not by the works of justice which we have done, but according to His mercy.” During Advent, the Church kept asking for this mercy, in the school of the people of the Old Testament: “Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam. — Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy.”

CHRISTMAS: Fontgombault Sermon for Christmas Midnight Mass

Midnight Mass

Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau 
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
Fontgombault, December 25th, 2022

Natus est vobis hodie Salvator.

This day is born to you a Savior. (Lk 2:11)

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

My dearly beloved Sons,

It is said that one of the chaplains of Elizabeth II, the late Queen of England called to God a few months ago, was once quite surprised when she told him that she hoped Christ would come back on earth during her lifetime. Nonplussed, he asked, “Why?” The Queen’s answer was immediate, revealing the depth of her spiritual life, and the outcome of a thinking process where all the elements had been carefully weighed up: “For I would like so much to lay down my crown at His feet.”

As, after chanting the genealogy of Our Lord Jesus Christ taken from St. Matthew’s gospel, we have just laid the Child Jesus down into the crib, as the overflowing mercy coming down from Heaven is once again poured out over mankind in the gift of the Emmanuel, God with us, are we ready to go to the crib, there to encounter the Lord? How shall we go there? Shall we lay down there our crowns? And which crowns?

The introit of tonight’s Mass is taken from Psalm 2, and begins with a question:

Why have the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together, against the Lord, and against his Christ. 

CHRISTMAS: Why the Birth of Jesus in a poor cave is relevant for faith in the Word Incarnate? - a Christmas Reflection


The Birth of Jesus in a poor cave:

Why is it so relevant for the faith in the Word incarnate?


By Fr Serafino M. Lanzetta


The testimonies of tradition

From the Gospels we have few historical data about Jesus’ birth, necessary and indeed sufficient to hold firmly to the mystery. From St Matthew and St Luke, we learn that Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Juda (cf. Mt 2:1; Lk 2:4). From St Luke we learn only that there was no room “at the inn”, and that for this reason, the child was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger (cf. Lk 2:4-7). The traditional view holds that Jesus was born in a cave. The only literalbiblical reference to this is the fact that Our Lord was laid in a “manger” (cf. Lk 2:7: phátne). However, there are historicalwitnesses among the early Church Fathers who attest to Jesusbeing born in a cave: St Justin Martyr (150 A.D.), according to whom Jesus was born in a cave that was used as a stable, though not the typical stone and wooden stable so commonplace in our Christian art; then there is Origen (250 A.D.), followed by St Jerome (325 A.D.). In 335 A.D, Emperor Constantine built the Basilica of the Nativity on the spot where the cave of Jesus’ nativity had been identified in Bethlehem, thanks to the historical testimonies of these early Church Fathers

Benedictines of Mary: New Monastery

This is the time of year when so many fundraising pitches are made -- some for worthy endeavors from the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter and Institute of Christ the King, for instance; and others for hobbies such as websites and videos. (One of the many things about Rorate Caeli that I appreciate is contributors are volunteers who write as an extracurricular activity; never has a solicitation been made for the blog, and never has money been accepted.)

“It is the traditional diocesan priests that ‘Traditionis Custodes’ is murdering”: Interview with Louis Renaudin

The following is Letter 906 of Paix Liturgique, published in French on December 21, 2022.

Paix Liturgique: More than a year and a half after the publication of the motu proprio Traditionis custodes, can you tell us to what extent traditionalists have been the victims of this iniquitous decision

Louis Renaudin: Forgive me for contradicting preconceived ideas, but I do not think that traditionalists were the real victims of this iniquitous decision. I would even say that the most "hard-line" among them were not at all concerned.

PL: Explain yourself...

The Rupnik Affair: How Deep Priestly Perversion Was Normalized By Francis and His Jesuits

A Guest-post 

by Mark Lambert 

You could be totally forgiven for not having the slightest idea who Marko Rupnik SJ is, but you are more likely to remember some of his strange contributions to the Franciscan papacy.

As Dr. Peter Kwasniewski remarked this week “I'm not the only one who finds Fr. Rupnik's art creepy? It's just plain weird, these bulbous pop-eyed slinky figures with cartoon cut-out profiles... to me there's something inhuman about it. I'm not saying one can deduce from his art that he was a mega-pervert who, in spite of being a priest sworn to celibacy, slept with 20-something nuns (sometimes 2 at a time), blasphemed the Trinity and the Eucharist, and abused the sacrament of confession, but I *am* saying that his art should never have been so celebrated, as if he was some kind of great church artist of our times.”

In case you haven’t guessed, Rupnik is the man responsible for recent Vatican favourites like the three eyed figure chosen for the world meeting of families earlier in this pontificate:

The O Antiphons: History, Theology and Spirituality

Note: this is a slightly revised version of an unpublished catechetical talk, given by the author in December 2015.

History of the O Antiphons

The history and origins of the O Antiphons is unclear. Though we possess a large number of early liturgical texts, comparatively few of them go back to before the seventh century. It is possible that a passing reference to the antiphons is made by Boethius (c. 480-524) in his work The Consolation of Philosophy, [1] which would indicate that the antiphons were known in northern Italy in around the sixth century. However, what we can say for certain is that the antiphons were known by Amalarius of Metz, a monk and scholar of the ninth century (c. 780-850). Amalarius attributes them to an anonymous cantor who probably lived in the 7th or 8th century. By the ninth century, they had also been known in Rome for some time, as they appear in the Roman antiphonaries of the period. Numerous other liturgical books of the Middle Ages from around the ninth century onwards also contain the antiphons.

Lamont responds to Harrison & Fastiggi on the Eucharistic teaching of Pope Francis

On November 17 and 24, 2022, the American Catholic newspaper The Wanderer published articles by Fr. Brian Harrison about the statement ‘The Teaching of the Catholic Faith on the Reception of the Holy Eucharist,’ concerning Pope Francis’s Apostolic Letter Desiderio Desideravi (DD). The statement in question was signed by 56 Catholic clerics and scholars, and was issued on September 16, 2022. It accused Pope Francis of teaching heresy in the Apostolic Letter, as follows:

The Liturgy of Ember Saturday in Advent: Israel’s Longing for the Messiah

The singing of the young men in the furnace is central to the day's liturgy

We present a translation of Michael Charlier's article published today in German.

In the traditional liturgy, the Masses of the Ember Days in Advent are characterized by an extraordinary richness of readings and chants -- especially the Ember Saturday. While Wednesday has only two readings in addition to the Gospel, this Saturday has as many as 6 additional readings. With one exception, these Advent readings are all taken from the prophet Isaias, the great herald of the coming Messiah from the time of the 8th century BC. Then, on Saturday, there is the reading from the 2nd Epistle of St. Paul to the Thessalonians, in which the apostle prepares the congregation for the Second Coming of the Lord. Between these readings there are psalm chants (Graduale) and intercession-like orations, as on Good Friday; they are also introduced, as there, with the Oremus -- flectamus genua -- levate.

Mass outside the church in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, at 28° F... Whose fault is that?

The following is Paix Liturgique Letter 905 of December 16, 2022. Translated for Rorate. 

For almost two years, the faithful of Saint-Germain who are attached to the traditional liturgy, who attend Mass on the square in front of an empty church that has been closed for almost the hundredth time, have been led astray. Certainly, on Friday, December 9, there was a dramatic turn of events: Mgr Luc Crepy, the bishop of Versailles, THEIR BISHOP, finally agreed to receive those whom he had until then considered as a kind of terrorist. At the end of a one and a half hour meeting, a common communiqué was even signed, lenient but vague. We asked our friend Germain, a good source on the local situation, to enlighten us on the reality of the situation.

Ember Days for the Beginning of Winter - Article by Michael Charlier

Posted at on December 14, 2022 and translated for Rorate. Link to original.

According to tradition, the Wednesday after the 3rd Sunday of Advent, shortly before the onset of astronomical winter time, marks the beginning of Winter Ember Days. In the course of the post-conciliar liturgical ruptures, the traditional dates were abandoned or left to the discretion of local bishops' conferences. In Germany, Winter Ember Days moved to the week after the first Sunday of Advent. No factual reason for this "shift" can be discerned. It took place probably above all from desire to do "everything differently," and to "self-determine" -- so it is in the long run only consistent that the millennia-old custom so kindly detached from the cosmic reference and made arbitrary was almost completely forgotten and got lost.

Two New Books: Best Canonical Critique of "Traditionis Custodes" to Date; Clearest Account of the Dogma of Papal Infallibility

The inaccuracies, difficulties of interpretation, and problems of concrete application of Traditionis Custodes and the Responsa ad Dubia have raised many questions among canonists, pastors, and institutes whose proper law binds them to the liturgical forms of the Latin tradition.

“The Current Crisis of Faith in the Church Has Its Ground in the New Mass” — Analysis by Fr. Michael Gurtner

The following superb article by Austrian priest Fr. Michael Gurtner 
appeared in German at the site on November 27, 2022; the translation is published here with permission.—PAK

At present, the modern Church is working to change its internal constitution, transforming itself and by its own initiative from a hierarchical Church, as willed and instituted by God, to a “synodal” (and therefore humanly constructed) Church. In the one and only Church of Jesus Christ, which is the Catholic Church, a process of successive detachment from divine revelation and from Christ Himself has been underway for decades: it is thus a process of self-destruction. The Church is currently tearing itself apart from within. Unfortunately, the question is now very legitimate as to how Catholic the Catholic Church on earth still is. Is it really still as Christ intended and wanted it to be?

A Christmas Surprise? - Francis to name Über-Modernist German Bishop as Prefect for Doctrine of the Faith

Bishop Heiner Wilmer, of Hildesheim, Germany

The German Hierarchy, with its revolutionary “Synodal Path”, is leading the charge to destroy Catholic unity.

What better way to encourage this than for the pope to elevate one of their bishops to the most prominent doctrinal position of the Church? And this might happen very soon, according to the highest sources of our friends at Italian traditional blog Messa in Latino:

News - a Christmas present: new modernist Prefect at the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith?

Our sources "in the highest places" would now confirm (though we know that the Holy Father is unpredictable to the last) that the next Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith will be Bishop Heiner Wilmer [whose doctoral thesis deals with none other than the Modernist-adjacent Maurice Blondel, and not in a critical way], current Bishop of Hildesheim, replacing current Prefect Card. Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, in prorogatio since July 1, 2022.

Reposting: A most important historical document:
the 1969 Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani (the original GIRM) - "The Lord's Supper, or Mass, is the sacred meeting or congregation of the people of God assembled, the priest presiding, to celebrate the memorial of the Lord..."

Eleven years ago, in 2011, we in RORATE were proud to be the first to make available online, for the first time, a document that had then become extremely rare: the very first GIRM (General Instruction of the Roman Missal), published together with the 1969 Novus Ordo Missae.

From our post:


7. Cena dominica sive Missa est sacra synaxis seu congregatio populi Dei in unum convenientis, sacerdote praeside, ad memoriale Domini celebrandum. Quare de sanctae Ecclesiae locali congregatione eminenter valet promissio Christi: "Ubi sunt duo vel tres congregati in nomine meo, ibi sum in medio eorum" (Mt. 18, 20).

"7. The Lord's Supper, or Mass, is the sacred meeting or congregation of the people of God assembled, the priest presiding, to celebrate the memorial of the Lord. For this reason, Christ's promise applies eminently to such a local gathering of holy Church: 'Where two or three come together in my name, there am I in their midst' (Mt. 18:20)."

This is the original complete definition of the Mass according to the 1969 Novus Ordo Missae: they were arguably the most influential liturgical words written in the 20th century and signaled a watershed moment - in a sense, closing the book written since late antiquity and the chapter begun in Sessions XIII and XXII of the Council of Trent. 

The primacy of Mary as Immaculate Conception - By Fr Serafino M. Lanzetta

In omnibus Ipsa primatum tenens

The primacy of Mary as Immaculate Conception

By Fr Serafino M. Lanzetta

Christ is first

In order to execute a project, or to turn a vision into action, one first needs to have an idea or a plan. The idea precedes the action, as the intention precedes the actual achieving of the goal. Likewise, an artist, to give an example very expressive of this reality, must first conceive in mind what he wants then to depict on a canvas. If his intelligence is uninspired, it is higly likely that the canvas will not represent anything. And in order to paint something in on a large scale, the artist will also need to portray that idea realized on a very small scale: he needs to make a sketch. When God created all things he also needed to have an idea, and he did indeed have a vision. This idea was his very reason for making all things. And God’s idea could not but be as perfect as He Himself is. In fact, in God ideas are not something (as they are in us) but Himself. Who, then, was God’s original idea, guiding Him in carrying out his project of creation? It could be none other than Christ, His Son, the Word incarnate. 

St Paul, in his Letter of to the Colossians (1:15-20), speaks about this centrality of Christ, who through his human nature manifests the perfection of the divine nature. Christ, he says,

“Innumerable miracles”, reduced to none: Saint Nicholas in the Traditional and Modern Roman Missals

Today is the feast day of Saint Nicholas, and his collect in the traditional Roman Missal alludes to his Greek title of "wonderworker", and the "innumerable miracles" he worked during his life: 

Deus, qui beátum Nicoláum Pontíficem,
innúmeris decorásti miráculis:
tríbue, quǽsumus;
ut eius méritis et précibus
a gehénnæ incéndiis liberémur. (CO 1463)

O God, who made the holy Bishop Nicholas
renowned for innumerable miracles,
grant, we beseech you,
that by his merits and prayers
we may be saved from the fires of hell.

Keeping Faith Traditions Alive Throughout the Year

With Christmas around the corner, traditional Catholics are looking for resources that are true to the Faith for themselves and loved ones. Here are some new titles that I recommend. Share the gift of Faith with family and friends and “cozy up” with these fine books.

The Springtime that Never Came

This riveting and climactic interview with Bishop Schneider tackles every controversial issue of our time. It is a compendium of straight, authoritative answers that elucidate the truths of our Faith with a piercing light and offer real-world solutions to combat the darkness. The Springtime that Never Came will make you cheer as it reorients you on your journey with Christ. Be encouraged as Bishop Schneider provides inspiring insights for the battle, with trust in God and following the examples of the saints in our chaotic times.

The Catholic Mass

Interview with New Abbot of Triors, 35: Benedict XVI told me that, "in the present confusion, the important thing is to live according to the tradition." "Future belongs to those who esteem brothers with other liturgical sensibilities."


Triors is a beautiful village outside of Romans-sur-Isère, in the Drôme department in Southeast France, not far from where the Rhône and Isère rivers meet. In the 1980s, the heir of a beautiful property including a chateau and the remains of an old abbey decided to donate it for the foundation of a new daughter-house of Fontgombault.

Notre Dame de Triors (Our Lady of Triors) is one of the most beautiful new abbeys of France and, following the lead of Fontgombault, has always kept the Traditional Mass. Its work in the recording of the entire Gregorian music of the liturgical year in a CD collection made it very famous among many Traditional Catholics worldwide.

Just recently, the community elected their new Abbot, Dom Louis Blanc, just 35 years old -- a living example of how Traditionalist families are revitalizing the Church in France, as a smaller but much more vibrant and faithful church. Dom Blanc granted an interview to the latest edition of French Catholic monthly La Nef:

Triors: a path marked out by the centuries

La Nef
December 2022
Interview by Christophe Geffroy

Triors was founded by Fontgombault in 1984 and erected as an abbey in 1994 with Dom Hervé Courau as its first Abbot. Elected Father Abbot of Triors on November 30, 2021, Dom Louis Blanc, 35 years old, received the abbatial blessing on February 2, 2022.

La Nef - Could you first tell us about your itinerary and the reasons for your entry into Triors?

St. Junipero Serra Institute: Spanish immersion course for seminarians and clergy, in a traditional environment

Rorate is pleased to share the following information.

The St. Junipero Serra Institute offers a unique curriculum that has been developed for the specific purpose of equipping those in pastoral leadership with both a secular and a Catholic vocabulary in Spanish, so often needed today in the daily pastoral, sacramental, and evangelical aspects of the priestly vocation.