Rorate Caeli

"Approaches to Ecclesial Radiography" - Archbishop Héctor Aguer

What do we see when we apply an x-ray to the body of the Church on earth? The emeritus Archbishop of La Plata, Argentina, tells us in this latest column from October 31, 2023. Translated for Rorate Caeli.

"The Death of a Pontificate" - by Aldo Maria Valli

Empty square and exhausted rituals: The Death of a pontificate
Aldo Maria Valli
October 26, 2023

The image speaks for itself. A Wednesday general audience. An empty square. Only a few dozen people. All right, it's raining. But once upon a time, when it rained, the square became a sea of umbrellas.

The image is bleak, and the Vatican media, starting with the TV center, no longer know how to hide the fact: no one goes to listen to Francis. They try to make up for it with close-ups, indeed very closed-up images, somewhat like the Polish TV did with John Paul II on his visit to his homeland. But if, in the case of Polish television, the problem was hiding the crowds flocking to Wojtyła, in the Vatican the problem is the opposite: hiding the embarrassing gaps.

“What does the Pope really want?” - Bishop Rob Mutsaerts

A post by Bishop Rob Mutsaerts, Auxiliary Bishop of 's-Hertogenbosch (Bois-le-Duc), Netherlands. Translated from his blog in Dutch here

What is the synod underway in Rome actually about? Over and again, official Vatican sources are telling us many things. That it is not about theology, nor about doctrinal matters, nor about LGBTQ+, the ordination of women and the issue of celibacy. Neither is it, they add, about seeking to undermine or replace the hierarchical nature of the church or democratize the decision-making process. No, it would seem to be dealing with the question of what synodality is. After all, this is a synod on synodality.

Contemporary Double Standards and the Church's Historic Preference for Sacred Languages in the Liturgy

By James Baresel

Some months ago, a generally excellent priest—an outspoken friend of the Traditional Latin Mass though not a traditionalist—mentioned two things in a conversation which demonstrate of how even Catholics whose orthodoxy and friendliness to the ancient Roman Rite are unimpeachable can unconsciously accept assumptions foreign to historical Catholicism and hold traditionalists to a double standard.

Wanda Półtawska (1921-2023), a Pro-Life Leader - By Roberto de Mattei

Wanda Półtawska. one of the leading pro-life figures of the 20th century and a close collaborator of John Paul II, died in Krakow at the age of 102 on October 25, 2023.

Wanda Półtawska was born in Lublin on November 2, 1921. After the German invasion of Poland, because of her involvement in the resistance, she was arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned in Lublin Castle. After being interrogated and tortured, she was deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp on November 21, 1941, where she was subjected to surgical experiments carried out by Karl Gebhardt, Himmler's personal physician later sentenced to death as a war criminal. She miraculously survived and, after liberation, participated in the work of the Commission of Inquiry into Nazi crimes in Poland. The nightmare of those days lives again in his book And I'm Afraid of My Dreams. My Days in the Ravensbrück Lager published in several languages (Edizioni San Paolo, Rome 2010).

How consoling that Francis is so concerned for women!

Pope Francis wrapped up this phase of the so-called “synod” with an address that handed out some mild praises and a bunch of bitter complaints, as usual (link). 

Eclipse of the Synod: New Catechism to Launch in Rome

Like the Latrocinium (“Robber Council”) of Ephesus in 449, the 2023 Rome phase of the Synod on Synodality is nearly over, and may already be safely consigned to the pages of Church history as the Vanitatum, “The Moot Synod.”

With His Scandalous Rehabilitation of Marko Rupnik, Francis Underscores the Linkage Between Discipline and Doctrine


Pope Francis is known for reversing the initiatives of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI: on the Latin Mass, on doctrine, and on the 'hermeneutic of continuity.' Now, we can add another major reversal: Pope Francis has undone Pope Benedict XVI's crackdown on sexual abuse among priests. 

Why We Have Not Covered the Synod on Synodality


A reader e-mails us to ask why we have not covered the proceedings of this first session of the Synod of Bishops on Synodality (the second session will be in the autumn of 2024).

1,000 Catholic Faithful Answer the Dubia Sent to Pope Francis

Missae pro Missa issued the following press release.

In a worldwide witness to the Catholic Faith, more than 1,000 Catholic faithful from 50 countries have taken it upon themselves to answer the recent dubia sent by five Cardinals to Pope Francis on key areas of doctrine currently being undermined at the highest levels of the Church. Organized by the campaign Missae pro Missa, this grassroots initiative has called upon all Catholics to provide the correct responses to the dubia, thereby reaffirming the unchanging Catholic Faith "regardless of the Supreme Pontiff's willingness to do so."

As of Oct. 20, the Missae pro Missa website reports 1,003 correct responses to the dubia accompanied by the following message: "Dear Pope Francis: Here are the answers to the dubia! If you won't respond, we will!" Of special additional note:

The dubia were correctly answered by over 90% of participants. That so many simple Catholic faithful had no problem providing the correct responses while the highest prelates in Rome are either unable or unwilling to do the same demonstrates both the magnitude of the current crisis of faith among the hierarchy and the role of the sensus fidelium in maintaining authentic Catholic doctrine (not unlike during the Arian crisis).

In addition to correctly answering the dubia, hundreds of faithful have contributed to a spiritual bouquet for the good of the Church, pledging their prayers and sacrifices for Pope Francis and the triumph of the Catholic Faith over the present darkness manifested especially at the "Synod on Synodality."

By responding to the dubia, these Catholic faithful in no way wish to deny or usurp the duty of the pope and bishops to confirm the brethren in the faith, but rather to serve as a witness to the unchanging Catholic Faith in light of the command of Christ: "Let your word be 'Yes, Yes' or 'No, No'; anything more than this comes from the evil one" (Matt 5:37). To anyone who would tell the simple faithful to be silent while their Holy Mother Church is derided by errors and confusion, we would recall the reply of Our Lord to the Pharisees before His own Passion: "I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out!" (Luke 19:40)

To respond to the dubia, please visit:

Congratulations to the FSSP on their 35th Anniversary!

What started as just a handful of priests and was recognized by the Holy See through the personal effort of Cardinal Ratzinger, is now a mighty Fraternity of almost 400 priests and almost 200 seminarians.

Congratulations to the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter!

Ad multos annos!

Artistic Glory in Churches is Still Perfectly Possible today: the New Altarpiece of Chéméré-le-Roi (Video)

 The Fraternity of Saint Vincent Ferrer, the traditional Catholic community of Dominican heritage and liturgy in Northwest France, officially consecrated this past weekend the new altar and altarpiece of their new conventual church, in Chéméré-le-Roi.

The consecration was celebrated by Bp. Alain Castet, Emeritus of Luçon.

See the video below as this glorious majestic contemporary masterpiece, the Altar of the Rosary, is opened to public view for the first time:

Marie Antoinette of Austria, Queen of France - Martyr: 230 years of Martyrdom

The Royal Abbey and Basilica of Saint-Denis was filled with faithful today for the Traditional Mass of Requiem for the soul of Queen Marie Antoinette, martyr, murdered by the French Republic on this day exactly 230 years ago:

A faithful wife.
A loving mother.
A devout and pious Catholic.

SSPX Bishop Celebrates Mass and Confirmations in Diocesan Church in Florida (Update: Video added)

 In the Diocesan Parish Church of All Souls, in Sanford (Orlando Diocese, Florida), by Bp. Tissier de Mallerais. The local diocese gave permission to the use of the parish church.

Update - Full video below:


Fryderyk Chopin: "His Edifying Death" by Don Pietro Leone

Chopin’s conversion  

October 13th  1849   

The Feast of St. Edward the Confessor

Portrait of Frydeyrk Chopin


Eugène Delacroix. 

Angelus Press does it again: the beautiful 2024 Calendar and Planners

 They did it again: gorgeous images printed on neigh quality paper, and all the basic information a Traditional Catholic may need for each day of the year.

This year, the Angelus Press 2024 Calendar (starting in October 2023) is illustrated with gorgeous Stations of the Cross painted by Martin Feuerstein for the Church of Saint Ann, in Munich. A devout Catholic, Feuerstein was one of the greatest representatives of the Nazarene Movement, and his work at Saint Ann's is also filled with some of the brightest aspects of the then-burgeoning Beuronese style.

The Calendar has all the dates a Traditional Catholic may need, and, as usual, Angelus Press took great care with the printing itself, which is gorgeous. Available here.


Many of us still use and need daily a physical reminder for our activities -- online-based calendars can be both not very trustworthy, and not appropriate to be used at all times. 

We highly recommend these two additionalAngelus Press's 2024 seasonal items:

Dr Kwasniewski's Lectures in Virginia, October 16 & 18, 2023

Next week I'll be visiting the lovely state of Virginia for two events that are free and open to the public: 

“Liturgical Obedience, the Imitation of Christ, and the Seductions of Autonomy”
Monday, October 16, 2023, at 6:30pm
Holy Family Academy
10580 Pineview Rd,
Manassas, VA 20111

“Our Response to God’s Greatest Gift: Eucharistic Reverence and Reparation”
Wednesday, October 18, 2023, at 7:00pm
St Joseph’s Catholic Church (FSSP)
828 Buford Rd.
Richmond, VA 23235
(preceded by Low Mass at 6pm)

Each talk will be followed by a Q&A and a booksale.

Hope to see some Rorate readers at one or the other event!

“Thou Shalt Not Kneel”: Guest Article by Leo Darroch

Background to this guest article: As LifeSiteNews reported on October 7, 2023: “A Catholic family of eight was recently denied Holy Communion while kneeling while attending Mass at a church in the Diocese of Boise. Both the local priest and bishop refused to acknowledge that the denial of the sacrament was a grave violation of canon law. Scott Smith, a Catholic attorney, author, theologian, and father of six, was on vacation with his family in Idaho in August and went to Sunday Mass at St. Charles Borromeo in Hailey. ‘After driving two hours out of the mountains to attend Holy Mass, the parish priest denied all of us, my children and my in-laws, Holy Communion because we knelt to receive the Eucharist,’ Smith recounted… ‘It was so sad to see my little children, kneeling reverently to receive the Eucharist, and then to see the priest wagging his finger at them. Irony of ironies: before denying my whole family Holy Communion, father had just preached a homily on inclusion, warning about exclusivity.’”

In 2003, the Vatican ruled that the USCCB could publish an adaptation of the General Instruction on the Roman Missal stating that standing is the norm for Holy Communion in its region on condition that the same document also stated that no one is to be refused Communion if he chooses to kneel. Apparently, this important condition has been forgotten by many US bishops and pastors, who continue to psychologically abuse the faithful. But let’s not forget, they have been at this for a long time.

The "Unique Expression of the Roman Rite" in the Wild: New Zealand Priest Ad-libbing Eucharistic Prayer

Recently a priest in New Zealand offered a NOM where he completely ad-libbed the Eucharistic Prayer at the funeral Mass for a religious Sister of Mercy. This happened in the Palmerston North diocese, which, in a moment of supreme irony, recently had its only diocesan TLM (apart from the SSPX) suppressed by the modernist Cardinal John Dew and retired bishop Peter Cullinane. The Roman Rite was canceled, and in its place, the "unique..." something or other is allowed to express itself.

Laudate Deum and the Eclipse of the Church

What to make of Pope Francis's latest apostolic exhortation, Laudate Deum? Like other Francis encyclicals, it is hardly recognizable as a Catholic document. The central portion of the letter addresses the "progress and failures" of various "climate conferences" held in the last decades. It features an entire section vaguely prognosticating on a upcoming conference in Dubai. 

Traditional Liturgy: How many Faithful in France? And in the World? "Many of today's Catholics are 'Hidden Traditionalists,' waiting for a Mass worthy of the name."-- An Interview

By Paix Liturgique

October 4, 2023

Although we haven't published a review of traditional liturgy in France and around the world since 2019... we felt it necessary to return to the question of the number of Catholic faithful who wish to live their faith to the rhythm of traditional liturgy. We asked Christian Marquant, who has been interested in this subject for many years, to return to this theme which, as we shall see, remains a burning issue.


Louis Renaudin - Dear Christian, why is it important to ask the question of the size and therefore the number of the Catholic faithful who are attached to the traditional Roman liturgy?

Christian Marquant - In theory, it doesn't matter... no one, apart from learned researchers, is going to be interested in the number of Syro-Malabar or Syro-Malankar faithful... nor in the number of priests and faithful who still participate in the Ambrosian (reformed) rite in Milan, or the Mozarabic (cobbled-together) rite in Toledo and Salamanca, because in all these cases there is no controversy or underlying problem. However, when we consider the number, and therefore implicitly the importance, of those who wish to remain attached to the usus antiquior, i.e., to the Mass that has been the Mass of all Latin Christendom for over 1,000 years, we immediately find ourselves in a polemical field whose stakes are quite considerable for a large number of pastors and for members of the "modern" lobby. We are touching on the great division that has afflicted the Church since Vatican II, and to which the Holy Father indirectly alluded at the last consistory in his appeal for unity. A pathetic appeal to an almost empty St. Peter's Square...

Louis Renaudin - What division are you referring to?

Full Letter by Cardinal Zen to Cardinals and Bishops on the Synod - How can Synodality be a "constitutive element of the Church" when it is clearly a novelty?

 The following letter was sent by His Eminence Cardinal Zen, Emeritus of Hong Kong, to Cardinals and Bishops all over the world. A recipient was kind enough to share this historic document with us.

(Click on each image of the six pages for larger view.)

When Doubt Becomes Certainty

When Doubt Becomes Certainty
Michael Charlier
4 October 2023

Image: Titian, National Gallery London. Christ instructs Peter: "Go behind me, Satan, thou art a scandal unto me: because thou savourest not the things that are of God, but the things that are of men." Mt 16,23

The question we asked on the occasion of the "Dubia" by five cardinals, "But where is Peter?" requires an update. In the meantime, the first answer of Francis (of July 11) is available. The text bristles with woolly "on the one hand, on the other hand" statements that avoid any clear orientation and seemingly open up unlimited scope. In this perception, literally all directions within the Church agree.

"The Synod, the Dubia, and the Pope to come" - by Roberto de Mattei

 Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
October 4, 2023

On Oct. 4, the solemnity of St. Francis of Assisi, the 16th Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on "synodality" opened. Many opposing statements and controversies have preceded and are accompanying the event.  On October 2, in the face of "various statements by some senior prelates (... ) blatantly contrary to the constant doctrine and discipline of the Church, and which have generated and continue to generate among the faithful and other people of good will great confusion and the fall into error," five cardinals made it known that they had expressed their "deepest concern to the Roman Pontiff." submitting to Pope Francis five dubia on certain issues concerning the interpretation of Divine Revelation, the blessing of same-sex unions, synodality as a constitutive dimension of the Church, the priestly ordination of women and repentance as a necessary condition for sacramental absolution.

The Sun Pope?

The Sun Pope?
Philippe de Labriolle
Paix Liturgique Letter 962
October 3, 2023

When Cardinal Müller, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, makes it known in the media that "The Pope is not authorized by Christ to harass good bishops," among whom he includes Bp Strickland, Bp Schneider and probably Bp Rey, it's worth pointing out that this strong support is simply a reiteration of the spirit and letter of Lumen Gentium, the dogmatic constitution of the Second Vatican Council.

Great Moments of Petrine Teaching

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Saint Peter

1 Peter 1:24-25


Let us flee earthly desires, and let none of the things of this world be able to seduce us, who have a Father in heaven. Let us consider that the one who has risen to the all-peaceful sky will be terrible when he returns, and that all that he commanded us with gentleness, he will then exact with rigor. Let us, therefore, take great care of the time allotted to us to do penance; take care of our souls as long as it is possible. For our Redeemer will come back to judge us all the more severely because he will have been more patient before the judgment. So be careful of these things, my brethren, and reproach them with all sincerity. Although your soul is still tossed by the swirl of business, yet cast anchor of your hope in the eternal homeland.

St. Gregory the Great

Action Item: Calling Upon All Catholics to Respond to the Dubia

In light of the recent dubia of five Cardinals to Pope Francis and the latter's unwillingness to provide clear responses in accord with the Catholic Faith, the organizers of the Missae Pro Missa campaign issue the following statement calling upon all Catholic faithful throughout the world to respond to the dubia as a testament to the Church's constant and unchangeable teaching.

Whereas, five Cardinals of the Catholic Church submitted dubia to Pope Francis asking for clarification of Catholic doctrine on matters of critical importance for the salvation of souls, especially in light of confusion surrounding the "Synod on Synodality."

Whereas, Pope Francis' initial response did not resolve the doubts raised but "if anything, deepened them," hence requiring the Cardinals to issue reformulated dubia requesting simple, yes/no answers "to elicit a clear response based on the perennial doctrine and discipline of the Church" (Aug. 21, 2023 letter of the Cardinals to Pope Francis).

Whereas, Pope Francis has not, to date, responded to the Cardinals' reformulated dubia, thus enabling confusion and error to spread, to the harm of souls.

We, simple Catholic faithful, wishing to testify to the truth of the Catholic Faith regardless of the Supreme Pontiff's willingness to do so, hereby provide the correct responses to the dubia in light of the Church's constant and unchangeable teaching.

We furthermore pledge our prayers and sacrifices, in the form of a spiritual bouquet, for the good of the Church and triumph of the Catholic Faith over the darkness of the present age, praying especially for the day when Peter will cease to be a scandal unto Christ because he "savourest not the things that are of God, but the things that are of men" (Matt. 16:23) but rather fulfill the divine command: "being once converted, confirm thy brethren" (Luke 22:32).

To respond to the dubia, please visit:

"True Devotion to the Angels", by Roberto de Mattei

The month of October, besides being the month of the Rosary is traditionally dedicated to the Angels.  Today we hear a lot about angels, but from a perspective that is not that of the Church. 

There is a false devotion to the Angels, which consists in imagining them as mythological creatures attributing to them almost magical potentialities to fulfill our desires, appease our feelings, regardless of the observance of God's universal law, that is, respect for the objective order of creation.

Full Text of New Dubia Sent to Francis by Cardinals Brandmüller, Burke, Sandoval, Sarah, and Zen

Notification to Christ’s Faithful (can. 212 § 3)

Regarding Dubia Submitted to 

Pope Francis

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We, members of the Sacred College of Cardinals, in accord with the duty of all the faithful “to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church” (can. 212 § 3) and, above all, in accord with the responsibility of Cardinals “to assist the Roman Pontiff … individually … especially in the daily care of the universal Church” (can. 349), in view of various declarations of highly-placed Prelates, pertaining to the celebration of the next Synod of Bishops, that are openly contrary to the constant doctrine and discipline of the Church, and that have generated and continue to generate great confusion and the falling into error among the faithful and other persons of good will, have manifested our deepest concern to the Roman Pontiff. By our letter of July 10, 2023, employing the proven practice of the submission of dubia [questions] to a superior to provide the superior the occasion to make clear, by his responsa [responses], the doctrine and discipline of the Church, we have submitted five dubia to Pope Francis, a copy of which is attached. By his letter of July 11, 2023, Pope Francis responded to our letter.

Having studied his letter which did not follow the practice of responsa ad dubia [responses to questions], we reformulated the dubia to elicit a clear response based on the perennial doctrine and discipline of the Church. By our letter of August 21, 2023, we submitted the reformulated dubia, a copy of which is attached, to the Roman Pontiff. Up to the present, we have not received a response to the reformulated dubia.

Given the gravity of the matter of the dubia, especially in view of the imminent session of the Synod of Bishops, we judge it our duty to inform you, the faithful (can. 212 § 3), so that you may not be subject to confusion, error, and discouragement but rather may pray for the universal Church and, in particular, the Roman Pontiff, that the Gospel may be taught ever more clearly and followed ever more faithfully.

                                   Yours in Christ,

           Walter Cardinal Brandmüller

           Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

           Juan Cardinal Sandoval Íñiguez

           Robert Cardinal Sarah

           Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun

Rome, 2 October 2023


[link to Response to First Dubia]

(Submitted July 10, 2023)