Rorate Caeli

It's coming! The 33rd Pentecost Paris-Chartres Pilgrimage

Notre-Dame de Chrétienté, the organizers of the Chartres Pilgrimage, the largest Traditional Catholic event of the year, have just released the names of the celebrants of the main collective events this year:

The TLM and Africa

Today I am publishing the latest FIUV Position Paper, on the Traditional Mass in Sub-Saharan Africa. I am particularly grateful to our African contacts for help in preparing this paper.

Catholics of the older generation often tell me that at the time of the introduction of the reformed liturgy, it was frequently justified as being necessary for 'the missions'. This paper points to a number of difficulties with the idea that the reformed liturgy is particularly suited to Africa.

I will mention just one in this brief introduction: the implementation of a vernacular liturgy in Africa has presented the Church with peculiarly difficult challenges, because of the vast number of languages found in Africa, and the peculiarly limited resources, of money and numbers of clergy, to address these challenges. One can fairly say that, as far as many Africans are concerned, the project has been a failure in its own terms: vast numbers of African Catholics do not have access to a liturgy in their mother tongue. If that was what the Reform was all about, it simply hasn't taken place.

I have addressed another aspect of the situation, the problem of inculturation, on my own blog here.

This paper can be downloaded as a pdf here; the whole series can be seen herethe series (not including this one) are published in hard copy: click on the button.Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.


The Extraordinary Form and Sub-Saharan Africa

   The post-Conciliar Papal Magisterium[1] identify a number of challenges facing the rapidly growing Church in Africa. On the one hand, Africa’s traditional religions, culture, and tribal social structure pose both opportunities and challenges to the evangelising Church and to social stability and development. On the other hand, the rapid economic development, urbanisation, and exposure to Western culture also create challenges for the Church, as well as opportunities for Africans seeking to escape poverty.

Traditional African culture

An important theme is the importance of traditional African culture, including religious culture. Pope St John Paul II expressed this powerfully when he acknowledged, in his 1995 Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Africa, that
these [sc. traditional] religions are the living expression of the soul of vast groups of people.[2]
In relation to the influence of Western culture, which is frequently corrosive of any kind of spirituality, he continued by urging Africans:
look inside yourselves. Look to the riches of your own traditions; look to the faith which we are celebrating in this assembly.[3]

On the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide, set in place by Turkish authorities - (plus video suggestion)

Armenians executed by Ottoman authorities in Aleppo, 1916
(Aleppo, where Christians are being exterminated once again 100 years later)
This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do the things that I command you. I will not now call you servants: for the servant knoweth not what his lord doth. But I have called you friends: because all things whatsoever I have heard of my Father, I have made known to you.

You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you; and have appointed you, that you should go, and should bring forth fruit; and your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that you love one another. If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.

FSSP pilgrimage to Washington, D.C.

The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter organizes a three-day pilgrimage each year to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., "to do penance for our sins and for the sins of our nation."

This year's pilgrimage will begin on Thursday, 4 June, in Barnesville, Maryland, with Low Mass, and conclude on Saturday, 6 June, in Washington, with a Solemn High Mass.

In the past, brief announcements have been made on the pilgrimage, which Rorate has often covered.  A new effort has been made this year to better communicate the times and locations during these three days, with a detailed website.  It is designed to give information to those who are able to make the entire pilgrimage or to those who are able to make only some of the pilgrimage and concluding Mass.  On the third and final day, there is an opportunity to join the pilgrimage in Georgetown or the cathedral before ending at the basilica shrine.

The Glory of the Low Mass - Together with the Martyrs in the Catacombs

The tiny transept had its little altar, with a Greek cross in relief against a purple disk. Overhead the enormous curve of the vaulting hung heavy, and so low that a man could touch it by stretching an arm; it was as black as the mouth of a chimney, and scorched by the fires that had consumed the cathedrals built above it.

Presently the clap-clap of sabots became audible, and then the smothered footfall of nuns; there was silence but for sneezing and nose-blowing stifled by pocket-handkerchiefs, and then all was still.

Video Suggestion: "Archbishop Lefebvre - A Documentary" online

From a reader:

Many are aware of the role of French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre as the consecrator of bishops in the events that took place in Écône, Switzerland, on June 30, 1988, in a climate of extreme tension with the Holy See. What is less well known is his work as the most important character of the Church in the continent where its growth is truly explosive in our age -- Africa -- in the crucial decades of deconolization, and that he set in place around forty dioceses in the continent, before being a leading figure during the Second Vatican Council.

For the record: Bishop Robert Finn steps down (something is not right ...)

Bp. Robert Finn
The Pope today accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City - St. Joseph, presumably over his handling of the "Ratigan affair". The resignation comes after a long and sustained media campaign for the bishop's resignation, led primarily by the National Catholic Reporter (based in the diocese) and other liberal US Catholic journals, not to speak of the New York Times, which took an inordinate amount of interest in this matter.

There is no question that Bishop Finn's handling of this scandal, particularly his failure to report a suspected case of child abuse that led to his misdemeanor conviction, was truly lamentable. At the same time we ask why he has been singled out for punishment. Would matters have proceeded in the same way if he were a known "progressive" -- for instance an open defender of the Kasperite doctrines of communion to remarried divorcees?

Bishops must have an exemplary behavior. As do priests and, for that matter, religious orders. But the succession of only bishops considered "conservative" being sacked in this pontificate leaves a bitter taste behind each additional example. There is more scandal in each of several Jesuit-run universities in the United States than in all sacked conservative bishops combined. One can think of even worse cases of sexual abuse mishandling in liberal-run dioceses. But yet, no punishment for them. No sacking. No intervention. Not to mention the strange affair of Bishop Juan Barros, named by Francis himself for Osorno, in Chile.

The Pope greeting Bishop Juan Barros Madrid
Something is not right...

This is the Mass: Hanc igitur...

click for larger view
Easter Mass celebrated by the prefect of studies of the Wigratzbad Seminary (Fraternity of St. Peter), Fr. Leclère, in the Opfenbach parish church, near the Seminary. (Source)

Radicati Editorial: Protestantism halfway is Protestantism all the way

Protestantism halfway is Protestantism all the way
Editorial: Radicati nella fede, April 2015
Newsletter of the Catholic community of
Vocogno, Diocese of Novara, Italy
The 19 Holy Martyrs of Gorkum,
hanged and mutilated by Protestants on July 9, 1572, in Brielle, Holland
Presently we are watching, resigned, at the vertiginous decline of priestly vocations and the related diminution of the priests’ presence among us. Day after day, parishes without the stable presence of a priest are increasing; undeniably, priests are becoming scarcer. More and more churches are now opened sporadically for the celebration of Holy Mass and closed for most of the year. Moreover, even when the priest is still resident in some big parish, his effective presence is progressively diminished, overloaded as he is, by having to guarantee services to innumerable small communities in the area. In many mountain valleys there isn’t even one priest left.

What is there to say? It is a sadly disheartening picture.

What it the greatest danger though? In our view, it is that the solution to all this is being dictated by those who have caused and accelerated the problem! “Protestantized” Christianity started this disaster decades ago and is now offering us the remedies!

Ten Years Ago Today: Pope Benedict's First Message

Ten years ago today, on April 20, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI delivered the first message (that is, formal address) of his pontificate, after he celebrated Mass with the Cardinals. Notably, his message was delivered in Latin -- in retrospect, a significant symbol of his intention to promote a "hermeneutic of continuity" and to restore some measure of gravitas and auctoritas to the Apostolic See and to the Roman Church in general. It is worthwhile, especially in these very different days of 2015, to ponder what he had to say on that occasion.

* * *


Wednesday, 20 April 2005

1. “Favour and peace be yours in abundance” (I Pt 1:2)! At this time, side by side in my heart I feel two contrasting emotions. On the one hand, a sense of inadequacy and human apprehension as I face the responsibility for the universal Church, entrusted to me yesterday as Successor of the Apostle Peter in this See of Rome. On the other, I have a lively feeling of profound gratitude to God who, as the liturgy makes us sing, never leaves his flock untended but leads it down the ages under the guidance of those whom he himself has chosen as the Vicars of his Son and has made shepherds of the flock (cf. Preface of Apostles I).

Abbot of Monastery that switched to Traditional Mass: "With old Mass, the Priest become more Priest, and the monk more monk."

Pontifical Mass at Mariawald (source)

In 2008, the sole Trappist Monastery in Germany, the Abbey of Mariawald, became the first (and, so far, the only) Trappist monastery to completely return to the pre-Conciliar liturgical books since the liturgical reforms of the 1960s. It was one of the few houses in the world to make use of what is stated at Art. 3 of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum (allowing for whole religious houses to become exclusively traditional), and this only after, it was repeatedly reported then, the personal intervention of Pope Benedict XVI.

A couple of years ago, Father Abbot Dom Josef Vollberg granted an admirable interview to German Catholic paper Tagespost, and it had never been translated. The Rorate translation follows:

Die Tagespost
May 23, 2013

Most Reverend Father Abbot, four years ago, you changed your abbey over to the Extraordinary Form. What changes did this bring to your monastery?

We were able to celebrate the first Solemn Mass in the classical Roman Rite here in Mariawald, in January 2009. And then, one month later, we began to celebrate Conventual Mass in the Extraordinary Form. At first, not all the Brethren welcomed this change. But in the meantime, the situation has somewhat improved. Of course, as a Priest, one had to learn how to celebrate the Rite, which was demanding and far from easy. An also, one had to refamiliarize oneself with Latin. Little by little, we completed the change. The second step was to sing the office of Terce in the traditional form, on Sundays, before Holy Mass. In this way we were able to establish liturgical unity. And then, we gradually changed over the Little Hours, Sext, None and Compline. Later, we did the same with Vespers and Laudes. And then, finally, from 2009 to 2010 we did the same with Vigils. This meant giving ourselves wholly to this Liturgy, with its more intensive theocentric character, which suites our contemplative vocation in a special way.

What Kind of spiritual development have you noticed since then? What has been the effect of this change to the Extraordinary Form on your Community?

"Straw" subdeacon PCED letter

One of the challenges concerning the traditional Latin Mass in modern times is how to reconcile 1962 rubrics and disciplines with current law.  Often times it can be like fitting a square peg into a round hole, but #28 of the instruction Universae Ecclesiae establishes a general principle:  "Furthermore, by virtue of its character of special law, within its own area, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum derogates from those provisions of law, connected with the sacred Rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962."

The role of subdeacon at a Missa Solemnis is certainly to be included in the short list of frequently asked questions by priests and organizers of Solemn High Masses.

Who can serve as subdeacon without the ritual differences required of a "straw" subdeacon?  That is an easy one -- priests, deacons and subdeacons.

Who can serve as a "straw" subdeacon?  That is a more difficult question, although it has been addressed by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (PCED) on several occasions.  The answer seems to be: 1) most seminarians; and 2) instituted acolytes (the rare case of a bishop instituting a non-seminarian layman as an acolyte).  The differences between an ordained subdeacon and a "straw" subdeacon are that the "straw" subdeacon does not wear the maniple; he does not pour the water into the chalice at the offertory, but must let the deacon do so; he must not touch the chalice infra actionem, nor cover it with the pall, nor uncover it; and after the communion he does not purify the chalice, as the celebrant must purify it, after which the "straw" subdeacon covers it with the veil and burse and carries it to the side table.

The seminarian answer was clarified in November 2012 to include any (diocesan or otherwise) seminarian who wears clerical clothing (basically, the equivalent of a tonsured seminarian).  See here for that letter.

A month after that question was answered, a follow-up to PCED was made on the issue of laymen who are not seminarians.  In a letter, the exact question was:  "May a layman who is not a seminarian serve as a subdeacon at a Solemn High Mass?"

Liturgies at Sacra Liturgia USA 2015 - Program Announced - Masses in the Extraordinary Form - Registration deadline May 1

The organizers of Sacra Liturgia USA 2015 are pleased to announce the program of liturgical celebrations for the conference to be held in New York City from 1-4 June 2015. 
On Monday, June 1st, Solemn Vespers in the presence of a Greater Prelate, His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke (Breviarium Romanum 1961) will be celebrated at 7.30pm.

A Solemn Mass (Missale Romanum 1962) will be celebrated on Tuesday, June 2nd at 5.15pm.

Leadership Conference of Women Religious: The Heterodox Sisters Won - but with an expiration date in sight

And the word of the Lord came to me, saying: "Son of man, what shall be made of the wood of the vine, out of all the trees of the woods that are among the trees of the forests? Shall wood be taken of it, to do any work, or shall a pin be made of it for any vessel to hang thereon?" Behold it is cast into the fire for fuel: the fire hath consumed both ends thereof, and the midst thereof is reduced to ashes: shall it be useful for any work? Even when it was whole it was not fit for work: how much less, when the fire hath devoured and consumed it, shall any work be made of it?

Therefore thus saith the Lord God: "As the vine tree among the trees of the forests which I have given to the fire to be consumed, so will I deliver up the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And I will set my face against them: they shall go out from fire, and fire shall consume them: and you shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall have set my face against them. And I shall have made their land a wilderness, and desolate, because they have been transgressors," saith the Lord God.
Ezekiel, chapter 15


The investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), the confederation of mostly disappearing female religious orders in the United States, by the Holy See ended today in a huge pile of nothingness or weak measures. As the mainstream media has rightly ascertained, it was the "end" of the "Vatican takeover", with a sign of "appreciation" for the heterodox sisters:

Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, President of the Polish Episcopal Conference on the divorced and remarried and spiritual communion

Corrispondenza Romana
April 14, 2015

“The divorced and remarried cannot make spiritual communion” , Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, President of the Polish Episcopal Conference affirmed in an intervention at the Convention “What God joined together…” Marriage, Family and Sexuality in the Context of the Synod of Bishops 2014-2015” which took place on April 14that the Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw. Archbishop Gadecki, who stood out during the Synod of Bishops in 2014 for his defense of Catholic morality, wanted to respond to those, such as Cardinal Kasper who sustain that if the divorced and remarried can receive spiritual communion, they can also receive the Sacrament. The use that is made of the term “spiritual communion” in order to justify the admittance of the divorced and remarried to the Sacraments is absolutely improper, explained Archbishop Gadecki. Spiritual communion refers, in fact, to people in a state of grace, who, on account of a physical impediment, cannot receive Communion (as happened for example, in the part of Poland occupied by the Soviets after the Second World War).

On Marriage as in everything else, no sugarcoating - Robert Spaemann: "When Jesus spoke, people were shocked and ran away."

The renowned and arguably the most famous living Catholic philosopher in Germany, Professor Robert Spaemann, gave an interview to Julia Wächter for the Diocese of Regensburg, Germany, on matters related to the upcoming Synod of Bishops. The main excerpts are translated below:

Question: Marriage cannot any more be taken for granted in certain circles today. The Church's idea of marriage is questioned more and more. How should one now act? Would you say that the Church abandons her ideal of marriage if she more and more adapts to present trends?

Spaemann: Yes. The tendency is strong to adapt to all trends, so that the people do not run away. But one always has to look into the Gospels. The masses ran after Jesus, but then he spoke about giving His Body to eat and His Blood to drink. He did not try to make it look attractively pleasant, and the people were shocked and ran away. Jesus asked the apostles: "Do you also want to run away?" But St. Peter answered: "No, Lord, even though we did not understand you, either, but you have words of eternal life, and where else should we go?" That should be the reaction of the people.

Also in the question of divorce it should not be about following the great masses and strong tendencies, but to give witness about the fact that there are other and much more beautiful ways of life. One also should not only start with it at marriage-preparation courses, but rather much earlier. Already in school one has to be taught what the Christian manner of living is. Then also such a prohibition of divorce, as it has been very clearly and unambiguously taught by Christ, would become attractive.

Father Ernest (Emmanuel) André and a Lesson for the Contemporary Church

For many years I have been receiving the excellent newsletter of the monks of Saint Joseph de Clairval Abbey. It always focuses on the life of a particular saint, often very obscure ones, and what we can learn from their life and teaching and the times in which they lived. 

The March 2015 letter features a priest of whom I had never heard: Père Ernest André (1826–1903), who later took the name Emmanuel as a Benedictine monk, the originator of the devotion to Our Lady of Holy Hope. 

What I found most striking is how tirelessly Father André worked to catechize his rural flock, which he found in a state of unbelievable ignorance, error, and apathy. Here are his own words, explaining his policy, which was to preach and teach the unadulterated Catholic faith, week in, week out:

Helder Câmara: a lifetime of working against the Church from the inside. - And they want to beatify him?...

Who was Dom Helder Câmara?

Corrispondenza Romana
April 7, 2015

There has been a lot of talk recently about Dom Helder Camara, whose process for beatification has been recently approved by the Vatican.  For the average Italian, the figure of Monsignor Helder Pessoa Camara (1909 – 1999) , auxiliary Bishop of Rio de Janiero and subsequently Metropolitan Archbishop of Olinda and Recife is practically unknown.

Who was Dom Helder?

Propaganda bordering on the  ridiculous

Pontifical Low Mass and sobering words from Cardinal Burke

Tonight, at St. John the Beloved Roman Catholic Church in McLean, Virginia, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke (who was recently interviewed by Rorate, see here) celebrated a Pontifical Low Mass and visited with students from Georgetown University.

His sermon, based on today's saint, the martyred Hermenegild, was prophetic and classic Burke.

IMPORTANT: SSPX clarification on the Argentine recognitions

Argentina formally recognizes SSPX as part of the Catholic Church - at the request of the Archbishop of Buenos Aires (and Pope Francis?)

Our partners at Adelante de la Fe have broken the news that the Argentinian government has recognized the SSPX as part of the Roman Catholic Church: La FSSPX reconocida en Argentina como parte de la Iglesia Católica Romana. In the words of the official state Resolution granting this recognition:

Resolution N. 25/2015

Bs. As. [Buenos Aires], 17/3/2015

HAVING SEEN the Procedure N. 9028/2015 of the Registry of the MINISTRY OF FOREIGN RELATIONS AND WORSHIP, Law 24483, and its Regulation Decree N. 491, of September 21, 1995, and


That according to Protocol N. 084/15, of February 23, 2015, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Mario Aurelio Cardinal POLI, requests that the "FRATERNITY OF THE APOSTLES OF JESUS AND MARY" (PRIESTLY FRATERNITY OF SAINT PIUS X) be held, up to the moment in which it finds its definitive juridical framing within the Church Universal, as an Association of Diocesan Right, according to what is established by canon 298 of the Code of Canon Law, being in fieri [henceforth and in the meantime] a Society of Apostolic Life, with all the benefits that correspond to it, and complying with all obligations to which the same refers, also accepting all responsibilities that belong to the diocesan Prelate. [emphasis added]

That to the aforesaid fraternity be accredited its character as a public juridical person within the ROMAN CATHOLIC APOSTOLIC CHURCH, according to the norms of the Code of Canon Law. [emphasis added]

Notes on Misericordiae Vultus
1. The defense of Vatican II goes into high gear.
2. Has the Church forgotten to be merciful? Francis seems to think so.
3. Urgent questions about the "Missionaries of Mercy."

The Bull of Indiction for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy was published today (April 11) at St. Peter's Basilica, just before First Vespers for Divine Mercy Sunday celebrated by Pope Francis. The full text can be found on the Vatican website:


The quintessential Jesuit devotion, the merciful and Most Sacred Heart of Jesus,
("have mercy on us!"), is forgotten in the indiction bull

We do not intend to post an exhaustive analysis of this document, which seems all but assured of going down in history as one of the programmatic documents of the pontificate of Francis. We will limit ourselves here to commenting on three things:

I. The defense of Vatican II goes into high gear.
II. Has the Church forgotten to be merciful? Francis seems to think so.
III. Urgent and disturbing questions about the "Missionaries of Mercy."


I. The defense of Vatican II goes into high gear.

The "punishment" of Fr. Costadoat: a slap on the wrist?
An important clarification from Chile

At the beginning of Holy Week, Rorate posted about the action of Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati SDB in refusing to renew the mandatum of the liberal Jesuit theologian Jorge Costadoat SJ: For the record: Cardinal Ezzati's letter announcing the removal of a dissident Jesuit theologian from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.

Shortly afterwards, Rorate received the following clarification from an academic in the Pontifical University of Chile. For prudential reasons we can neither reveal his name nor his teaching position in the University. The clarification has also been slightly edited for this posting.

The situation regarding Jorge Costadoat is far more complicated than it appears. The academic authorities have declared that Costadoat is and will continue to be a member of the PUC of Chile, as researcher and in other academic capacities (including the so-called "extension", which are the activities in which we give lectures, seminars, etc., to the general public), but simply will not teach theology; and that his name can be proposed for the mandatum "in the future" (according to the Dean of Theology) or "within a year" (according to the Rector). So he has not been removed or dismissed. And this has been confirmed by the Cardinal.

Liberal World Order and Jihadists: Different Struggles, Same Victim
- History's light of hatred against the Church of God



Juan Manuel de Prada
[Spanish daily] ABC
April 6, 2015

The Jihadists, who know quite well that the New World Order is antichristical, do not direct their attacks against organizations and authorities, but against Christians.

It will not have failed to call the attention of anyone that the recent slaughter in Garissa University, Kenya, did not lead to the same lamentations among Western leaders as, for example, the murder of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists; it did not unleash the explosion of outcries and manifestos to which the annoying intellectuals, of both left and right, have got us used to; and not even were large protests assembled with solidarity posters ("Je suis This or That"), so that the dumbed-down masses could release their little tear and go back home very proud of getting to know each other.

Cardinal Danneels (family "expert" chosen by Francis) tried to convince King Baudouin to Sign Abortion Law - and shocking news of Brussels succession

Pro-life sovereigns: Queen Fabiola, Pope John Paul II, King Baudouin (Danneels walks behind them)
Two Belgian politicians admit for the first time openly that Cardinal Godfried Danneels tried to convince King Baudouin to sign the law on abortion in 1990. Former politicians Philippe Moureau (PS, Parti Socialiste) and Mark Eyskens (CVP, Flemish Christian Democrats) said this in a documentary for the Flemish Broadcasting Corporation VTM on April 6, 2015 (, at 2:05). According to VTM, cardinal Danneels did not want to comment.

Easter 2015: In Kenya and around the world, Martyrs, Martyrs, Martyrs, and more Martyrs
- Roberto de Mattei

Names of some of the nearly 150 victims of the Garissa University massacre -
 from Faith to Jacinta, from Peter to Philomena, a constellation of Christian names
Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
April 8, 2015

The stars of 148 new martyrs are shining brightly in the firmament of the Church. The young Christian victims of Islam, last Holy Thursday in Kenya, must not be pitied, but envied as they were given the immense grace of martyrdom.

They are martyrs inasmuch as they were Christians killed by Allah’s soldiers. What makes a martyr such, is not the violent death in itself, but the fact that it was inflicted in hatred of the Christian Faith. It is not death itself that makes the martyr, says St. Augustine but that their suffering and death be ordered to the truth. Not all of the victims of a persecution may be called martyrs, [but] only those who meet death at the hands of killers who hate the Faith.

The martyrs of the University campus in Garissa, join the countless legions of witnesses to the Faith that have been massacred over the last two centuries by the persecutors of the Church. The first genocide of modern times was conducted by the French Revolution. At least 438 religious, nuns and simple lay folk are already venerated as “blessed” and for the other 591 the processes are now in course for the recognition of their martyrdom “in odium fidei”. We can add the Spanish Civil War’s holocaust to this  (1936-1939) where 1,512 were beatified and 11 canonized, but the number of victims at the hands of the anarchists and communists is in the tens of thousands.

On October 13th 2013 at Tarragona in Catalonia, 522 people killed in hatred of the Faith, before and during the religious war in Spain, were beatified. It was a ceremony with the greatest number of Beatified – 522 – and surpassed the one held in Rome, in St. Peter’s Square on October 27th 2007. Their names are added to the innumerable martyrs of communism, secularism and now by Islam, in countries all over the world.

Event: Solemn Pontifical High Mass on Low Sunday - Hong Kong

His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Zen, S.D.B., Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong will celebrate a Pontifical High Mass for us this upcoming Sunday (12th April, Low Sunday), at 3:00pm in St. Teresa's Church, Kowloon, Hong Kong. (Additional details below.)

All are welcome!

Same Spot, Same Weather, Same Feast Day - A different pope and a much emptier St. Peter's Square

From Italian journalist and writer Antonio Socci's Facebook account, a comparison of two rainy Easter Sundays in Rome, in 2010 and in 2015:

It's worth a thousand words.

Reminder: Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society

This is our monthly reminder to please enroll Souls of the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society. And, please remember our new policy change, that the names of Souls you enroll will no longer be made public. And we are now at 54 priests saying weekly or monthly traditional Latin Masses for the souls.

Two New Traditional Catholic Sisterhoods in Formation

1. The Facebook page of the Institute of the Good Shepherd's (IBP) apostolate in Colombia reports on a new Traditional Catholic community in formation, the Esclavas Reparadoras de la Sagrada Familia:

The first two members received their novitiate uniform (not yet a "habit") on the Feast of St. Joseph, March 19, 2015. The community is being formed with the help of the IBP. 

2. The Catholic Exponent of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio reported last month on the launching of the Missionary Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi, formed initially by three women under the guidance of the FSSP pastor of their (personal) parish, Queen of the Holy Rosary in Vienna, OH.

VIENNA – With the blessing of Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., a small group of women is preparing to launch the Missionary Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi here.The three, including superior Mother Mary Francis and two candidates, have been approved as a private association of the faithful, a group who come together for ministry and who hope to, over time, develop into a diocesan religious institute of sisters.

Fontgombault Sermons for Easter Vigil and Easter Day: "The Modern World has no reasons to hope - Christians do."


Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
(Fontgombault, April 4, 2015)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My dearly beloved Sons,

The Church invites us during this holy night to consider a great vista, that of the history of salvation. The key to this history is proffered as soon as the celebrant cuts into the wax of a candle a cross, the alpha and omega letters (first and last letter of the Greek alphabet), and the four numerals of the current year; meanwhile he says:

Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega. All time belongs to Him, and all the ages. To Him be glory and power, through every age for ever. Amen. 

The key is Christ, present to all times, present to each human story. The five grains of incense inserted into the wax are the symbol of the sweet spices that were poured into the five wounds to embalm and preserve the body of the Lord. The candle then symbolises Christ in His tomb.

- Dominica Paschæ in Resurrectione Domini
- A Meditation of Saint Alphonsus on Paradise

Osanna, Sanctus Deus Sabaoth,
superillustrans claritate tua
felices ignes horum malacoth!

L'anima d'ogne bruto e delle piante
di complession potenziata tira
lo raggio e il moto delle luci sante;

ma vostra vita sanza mezzo spira

la Somma Beninanza, e la innamora
di sé sì che poi sempre la disira.

E quinci puoi argomentare ancora

vostra resurrezion, se tu ripensi
come l'umana carne fessi allora

che li primi parenti intrambo fensi.*

Commedia, Paradiso (c. VII)

Salve, Festa Dies: Hail, O Festive Day!

Holy Saturday: ...descendit ad inferos...

By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions. It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.
Saint John Chrysostom
Catechetical Sermon for Easter [Sermo catecheticus in Pascha / Κατηχητικὸς εἰς τὸ Ἅγιον Πάσχα]

Consummatum est: "The chalice which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?"

Dixit ergo Iesus Petro: "Mitte gladium tuum in vaginam. Calicem, quem didit mihi Pater, non bibam illum?" ... "Sitio." Vas ergo erat positum aceto plenum. Illi autem spongiam plenam aceto, hyssopo circumponentes, obtulerunt ori eius. Cum ergo accepisset Iesus acetum, dixit: "Consummatum est." Et inclinato capite, tradidit spiritum. (From the Gospel for Good Friday, the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Saint John: "Jesus therefore said to Peter: 'Put up thy sword in the scabbard. The chalice which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?'...'I thirst.' Now there was a vessel set there, full of vinegar. And they, putting a sponge full of vinegar about hyssop, put it to His mouth. Jesus therefore, when He had taken the vinegar, said: 'It is consummated.'And bowing His head, He gave up the spirit.")

Chalice - Lily. The chalice is the lily, stylized and adapted to our use, and which, born from water, is proper for us to take to our lips.

A very moving Fontgombault Sermon - Maundy Thursday: Christ in the Host asks: "Do you love me?"


SAINT PETER: "Woman, I do not know Him!"

Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
(Fontgombault, April 2, 2015)

Cum dilexisset eos... in finem dilexit eos.
Having loved his own… He loved them unto the end.
Jn 13:1

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My dearly beloved Sons,

The Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, the institution of which we commemorate tonight, the Paschal mystery, death and rise of Jesus: are these something that God gives us or owes us? 

At the beginning of the Triduum Paschale, which covers the period extending from the morning of Maundy Thursday to that of Easter, this is a crucial question. The actions of our Christian lives will depend on our answer as we face these mysteries that underlie our faith: “If Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain: and your faith is also vain.” (1 Co 15:14) 

If the Paschal mystery is my due, basically I don’t have to worry about it. It is, so to speak, in the order of things. God takes care of me, and it is normal. God carries out, as it were, His job of God. 

But if the Paschal mystery is a gift, and if its author is God, then the standpoint shifts radically. God, the Maker of the universe, gives Himself to His creature, the Almighty to him who is powerless. A new dimension opens up in our relationship with God, and consequently in our relationship with others, the dimension of freely given love. The washing of the feet, that the liturgy invites us to reenact today, is part of this viewpoint.

The Reform of Holy Week in the Years 1951-1956

Rorate Caeli first presented the following translation of Fr. Stefano Carusi's work on the reform of Holy Week under Pope Pius XII five years ago. As our readership has grown dramatically over that time we are compelled to bring it back and share with new readers. This translation is the work of Fr. Charles W. Johnson, a U.S. military chaplain, and one of the first priests in the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society:

From Disputationes Theologicae:


by Stefano Carusi

"It was felt necessary to revise and enrich the formulae of the Roman Missal. The first stage of such a reform was the work of Our Predecessor Pius XII with the reform of the Easter Vigil and the rites of Holy Week (1), which constituted the first step in the adaptation of the Roman Missal to the contemporary way of thinking"

(Paul VI, Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum, April 3, 1969)

In the course of recent years, the publication of numerous studies concerning the history of the theological and liturgical debate of the 1950's has cast new light on the formation and the intentions (which were not always openly declared at the time) of those who were the actual composers of certain texts.

For the record: Cardinal Ezzati's letter announcing the removal of a dissident Jesuit theologian from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile

{UPDATE 04/11/15: The "punishment" of Fr. Costadoat: a slap on the wrist? An important clarification from Chile}

The Salesian Archbishop of Santiago de Chile, Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, made waves last week in the Hispanic Catholic world when he refused to renew the mandatum of one of South America's most high-profile and liberal theological dissidents, Fr. Jorge Costadoat SJ - yes, a Jesuit, like the Pope. The decision effectively bars the Jesuit from continuing to teach theology in the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, of which Cardinal Ezzati is also the Grand Chancellor. The Cardinal communicated his reasons for taking action against Costodoat in a letter to the University's Superior Council:

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile
Office of the Grand Chancellor

Santiago, March 24, 2015

Esteemed members of the Honorable Superior Council,

The Faculty of Theology has a central role within the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (cf. ECE [Statutes] 19), placed under the foremost and direct guardianship of the Grand Chancellor -- as is the case in the other schools of Catholic theology in the world --, among other reasons because the future consecrated persons are formed in it and because it carries out a fundamental task at the service of the entire academic community. The right to confer the canonical mandatum belongs exclusively to the Grand Chancellor and is an indispensable requirement for the teaching of theology in our Faculty.

EVENT: Chrism Mass - Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite

If you are nearby, in Southern Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Northeastern Italy, this is a rare event which you are able to attend: for the third time (as in 2013 and 2014), Archbishop Wolfgang Haas, of Vaduz (Liechtenstein) will celebrate in 2015 the Chrism Mass of Maundy Thursday in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, aided by the priests of his own diocese and by priests and seminarians of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, whose European seminary in Wigratzbad is not far from Liechtenstein.

(Other images from last year's celebration here, via the Wigratzbad blog.)
(Tip: Riposte Catholique)

Damned Lies: On the Destiny of Judas Iscariot

From the traditional Collect for Holy Thursday (Missale Romanum 1962), it is clear past all doubt that the centuries-old lex orandi of the Church teaches that Judas is lost, condemned forever to the fires of hell: 

O God, from whom Judas received the punishment of his guilt, and the thief the reward of his confession: grant unto us the full fruit of Thy clemency; that even as in His Passion our Lord Jesus Christ gave to each retribution according to his merits, so having cleared away our former guilt, he may bestow on us the grace of His resurrection: Who with Thee liveth and reigneth…

This conclusion was once taken for granted by everyone. Why, then, do so many people nowadays say that we “do not know” about Judas’s final destiny? To show that I am not exaggerating, take the former Father Thomas Williams of the Legionaires of Christ, in a ZENIT interview:

Historically, many have thought that Judas is probably in hell, because of Jesus’ severe indictment of Judas: “It would be better for that man if he had never been born,” as he says in Matthew 26:24. But even these words do not offer conclusive evidence regarding his fate. In his 1994 book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, Pope John Paul II wrote that Jesus’ words “do not allude for certain to eternal damnation.”

The Witness of Scripture

Fontgombault Sermon - Palm Sunday: "Obedience is at the core of the Incarnation and Passion"


Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
(Fontgombault, March 29, 2015)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My dearly beloved Sons,

St. Paul asks the Philippians in the Epistle to have between them the same mind as Christ had. At the beginning of the Holy Week, the Church reminds us of this duty.

Events: Holy Week Schedules (constantly updated) - Louisiana, New Jersey, Madrid, Ontario, California, Preston, Melbourne, New York City, Montreal, Vancouver, Washington, Amsterdam, Rhode Island, Hong Kong, Baltimore, Miami, Illinois, Nebraska, Philippines, Mexico (DF, Jalisco, Coahuila), Alabama, etc...

If you wish us to post the Holy Week Schedule of your community, anywhere in the world, just send it to us.

A very blessed Holy Week to all our readers!



Albenga-Imperia Update:
Bishop Oliveri stripped of all authority, will remain bishop of the diocese in name only; Coadjutor appointment "begins a Copernican revolution" in the diocese

What was predicted by Italian media in October last year, as reported by Rorate at the time, has taken place exactly as foretold: Msgr. Mario Oliveri, 71, the exceptionally Traditionalist-friendly Bishop of Albenga-Imperia, has been stripped of all powers and is now Ordinary of the diocese in name only.

On the 5th Centenary of the Birth of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Catholic Reformer - Guest-post by Don Pietro Leone

I - The Life

St. Teresa was born in Gotarrendura, Avila, Castile, of Alonso Sanchez de Cepeda and Beatrice (Beatriz) de Ahumada on 28th March, 1515, 500 years ago. As a child she ran away from home in search of martyrdom at the hands of the Moslems Her desire was 'to see God', which was later to be realized in her exercise of mental prayer, which particularly in the form of contemplation, is of course nothing else than the knowledge and love of the Most Blessed Trinity as a foretaste of the Beatific Vision.

After a period of a certain levity and frivolity, although in innocence, she was entrusted by her father to the educative care of the Augustinian nuns of Avila, whence she later entered in the order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Rapprochement between Rome & the SSPX close? Depends on who you ask

We post this for the record, from the FSSPX:

In response to some interview answers made by Archbishop Pozzo of the Ecclesia Dei Commission about the SSPX's relations with the Holy See, DICI has offered the commentary below to clarify the reality of the situation.

The SSPX’s relations with Rome, according to Archbishop Pozzo

After the consecration of Fr. Jean-Michel Faure by Bishop Richard Williamsonon March 19, 2015, at the monastery of Santa Cruz de Nova Friburgo (Brazil), the Roman press agency I.Media questioned Archbishop Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Ecclesia Dei Commission. The latter took advantage of the opportunity to make a statement on the state of the relations between the Society of St. Pius X and Rome, declaring that beyond the doctrinal difficulties that exist, the problems are “within the Society”.

According to the Roman prelate quoted by I.Media: “The pope expects the Society of St. Pius X to decide to enter [the Church—Ed.], and we are ready at any time with a canonical plan that is already known,” namely the creation of a personal prelature. It will take a little time for things to be clarified internally and for Bishop Fellay to be able to obtain a broad enough consensus before making this step.”—It is we who put this claim in bold.

At the Society of St. Pius X’s General House, they are wondering about Archbishop Pozzo’s intention in the last statement, which does not correspond to reality: Is this his view of the situation? A personal wish? Or an attempt to introduce division within the Society?

For the Record: The 2015 British Priests' Letter in Defense of Marriage
- Plus, divorce is not the issue, marriage is the issue

This historic letter, sent to the editor of the Catholic Herald, will once again bring great honor to the Church in those islands. 

For the record of historic events related to the 2015 Extraordinary Synod on the Family, it is reproduced below, followed by the comment of one of its signatories on why the Synod is focusing on the wrong problem entirely, and why this needs to be avoided, and why Parish Priests know better:

SIR – Following the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in Rome in October 2014 much confusion has arisen concerning Catholic moral teaching. In this situation we wish, as Catholic priests, to re-state our unwavering fidelity to the traditional doctrines regarding marriage and the true meaning of human sexuality, founded on the Word of God and taught by the Church’s Magisterium for two millennia.

On Marriage and Bishops' Conferences, Cardinal Müller teaches Cardinal Marx the true Catholic lesson

Excerpt of interview granted by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, to French Catholic weekly Famille Chrétienne.

[FC:] In a book of conversations on the family [The Hope of the Family, Ignatius Press; La speranza della famiglia, Edizioni Ares], recently published in Italy and in the United States, you encourage Christians to, "choose the prophetic boldness of martyrdom." Why?

[Müller:] The Church is not a philanthopic organization. To say that we respect the opinions of all, that we wish for the good of all, is not enough. To present the Gospel as a simple therapeutic message is not very hard, but it does not respond to the demands of Jesus. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me," Jesus says. The first apostles, the Fathers of the Church, the great bishops in the History of the Church very often sailed against opposing winds. How could it be any different for us?

[FC:] Could certain doctrinal or disciplinary decisions on marriage and family be delegated to the episcopal conferences?