Rorate Caeli

The Antichrist - and the katechon
- 1 (Vittorio Messori)

The Antichrist
Vittorio Messori

What will the Antichrist be like? We know that in Paul, in John’s letters and in the Apocalypse, there are scattered throughout, various forewarnings of a reality Christian Tradition has identified as (and I’ll cite a theology book) “the Prince of evil who will come and reign over the world at the end of times, before the Son of Man’s definitive return establishes the New Heavens and New Earth.”

For the record: On Curial reform and Church decentralization
Secretariat of State and Congregation for Divine Worship face reform

NB: "G-9" and "C-9" are both used to refer to the Council of Cardinals.


Amidst everything that has been happening in the Church and the outside world, the latest meeting of the Council of Cardinals from February 8 to 9 went almost unnoticed. However this may yet prove to be one of the most important of the Council's meetings so far.

The Vatican Bollettino for February 9 carried a brief report by Fr. Lombardi on this meeting, while on the same day News.Va carried a fuller report (G-9 meeting: Decentralization and the new dicasteries). The short meeting had a full agenda. As previously announced it involved discussions about decentralizing the Church. 

Fontgombault Sermon for Ash Wednesday: Time for the Works of Mercy!


Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
(Fontgombault, February 10, 2016)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My dearly beloved Sons:

Exclusive Op-Ed: Pio Pace: "Conclave Preparations: Watch Out - Great Editorial Manoeuvres Signal Cardinal Tagle"

We are very honored to post this new very important warning piece, by a very wise, knowledgeable, and highly influential cleric, writing under the pen name of don Pio Pace.


Watch Out - Great Editorial Manoeuvres Signal Cardinal Tagle

by Father Pio Pace
At the time of the 2013 conclave, the Ratzingerians did not see coming the very efficacious shadow campaign led by the Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

Lent is coming: Time to prepare

Lent is coming ... soon.

In the past, you could find a traditional Lenten Mission at many parishes. Now, unless you are near a traditional parish, they are nearly extinct -- or worthless.

Fortunately, we are not meant to live in the past, we are meant to live in the now. And, now, we have the Internet. And, there is an abundance of good on the Internet, along with the bad.

As always, we bring to your attention this wonderful, traditional, five-part Lenten Mission by the holy and learned Fr. Isaac Mary Relyea. While it is not short, it does go by very quickly, and is easy to follow and understand. It's clear, concise and bold.

As the season nears, you would do well to listen to this, to pray on it and to use it to prepare for a fruitful Lent -- and be ready for it to change you for the better.

Click on each of the five themes of the mission: Prelude to the Mission * On Death * On Judgment * On Hell * On Heaven

    The Pope's Traditional Masterstroke to bring Crowds to the Jubilee

    So...the 2016 Mercy Jubilee was not the popular success that had been foreseen. What was the solution?

    New traditional Catholic college in three years

    We we alerted to a new traditional Catholic college starting in 2019 (there is already an online high school education being offered). The following was written for us by Rev. Mr. Edward Schaefer:

    By Deacon Edward Schaefer:

    Newman wrote about "the idea of a university" at a time when the universities of Europe had been largely secularized.  This is certainly the case in America today.  American Catholic colleges and universities today are largely built on unsustainable economic models; they are too costly for most to attend without either exorbitant loans or significant strains on family resources; and, sadly, too many of them have sacrificed their Catholic missions and identities in efforts to sustain enrollments.
    Collegium sanctorum angelorum has been born to change all of this.  The Collegium is a residential, four-year college providing a liberal arts education (A.A. and B.A.) that is faithful to the intellectual, moral, spiritual, and liturgical traditions of the Roman Catholic Church, and a formation in Catholic living – ore et labore, both at affordable rates (under $13,500) for tuition, room and board.  It is a traditional college serving traditional Catholics.  (It is the only such college offering a four-year degree since the demise of Fisher More College.)

    On Family Day, the God of Surprises surprised Pope Bergoglio and Prime-Minister Renzi (by Antonio Socci)


    “The Surprises From The Holy Spirit”

    Antonio Socci
    January 31, 2016

    There are those who are green with envy at yesterday’s immense and momentous Family Day, which, for the first time in Italian history filled up Rome’s Circo Massimo with no union, political or industrial organizational backing and no paid travel expenses. These were people who went to the Circo Massimo at their own expense, with enormous sacrifices, for an ideal, for their children, faced with a political class that has thrown ideals under the bus, seeing as it is only motivated by power. A political class that is quite incapable of representing these people and in reality, was never given any power by the electorate.

    There are “ envious individuals” in the “Palaces of Power” (political, ideological and journalistic), but even in the palaces of ecclesiastical power, who did all they possibly could to defuse Family Day.

    Melkite Archbishop: French bishops too politically correct, afraid in the face of Islamists

    Many thanks to Gallia Watch for translating this important interview with Mgr. Jean-Clément Jeanbart, the Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo: The last Christians in Aleppo. We are reposting the full text below, with our emphases. 

    After describing the dramatic situation the Aleppines are living through, the bishop addressed the journalists who had come to hear him.

    IMPORTANT: Pope Francis, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow to meet in Cuba on February 12
    Moscow Patriarchate: main topic of discussion will be the persecution of Christians, Ukraine dispute no longer an obstacle to Pope-Patriarch meeting

    The Trinity Lavra of Saint Sergius in Sergiyev Posad -- Russia's largest and most venerated monastery for men. 

    Today the Vatican and the Patriarchate of Moscow jointly announced that Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow will meet in Cuba on the 12th of February, while both are enroute to separate trips to Latin America. Both the Holy See and the Moscow Patriarchate published the following press release:

    The Holy See and the Patriarchate of Moscow are pleased to announce that, by the grace of God, His Holiness Pope Francis and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia will meet on February 12 next. Their meeting will take place in Cuba, where the Pope will make a stop on his way to Mexico, and where the Patriarch will be on an official visit. It will include a personal conversation at Havana’s José Martí International Airport, and will conclude with the signing of a joint declaration. 

    Op-Ed: "The Conversation that must be had: a genuine Theological debate about the Church and the World"

    by Fr. Richard G. Cipolla

    [Rorate note: This is intended to be the beginning of a conversation among Rorate's contributors about the Reform of the Reform and its future..]

    What is so sorely needed in the Church today is genuine theological debate about important issues both within the Church and also within the world.  And this debate is sorely needed within the Traditional movement within the Church.  What is at stake is the very concept and understanding of the Tradition of the Church that encompasses both Scripture and the teaching of the Church to the present time.  For the Catholic, Scripture cannot be divorced from the Tradition, which must include the teaching of the Church and its binding nature.  You notice I did not invoke the term “Magisterium” with respect to the teaching office of the Church.  The Magisterium, as understood today, did not, at least in an explicitly defined sense, exist before Vatican I.   I would submit that the concept of the Magisterium as consisting of the Pope united with the bishops and the levels of Extraordinary and Ordinary teaching is a rather modern concept. This is not to say that this concept is in error or that it is not useful.  But this understanding of the teaching role and office of the Church defined in this narrow and legalistic way impoverishes the meaning of the Ecclesia Docens by overlooking the role of the Liturgy and of the piety of the people in the teaching of the Church as embodied in the Tradition. The omission of the role of the Liturgy and the piety of the people in the concept of the Magisterium is one of the chief reasons why we find ourselves in the parlous situation of the Church today. 

    On Family Day, the Catholic Majority spoke in Italy - despite Pope's silence (by Roberto de Mattei)


    Roberto de Mattei
    Corrispondenza Romana
    February 3rd 2016

    The Family Day of January 30th brought to light the existence of another Italy, quite different from the relativist and “pornomania” one proposed to us by the media as the only real one.

    The Italy of Family Day is that portion of the population, much larger than we can perhaps imagine, that has remained faithful, or has won back in recent years, what Benedict XVI defined as “the non-negotiable values”: life, the family, the education of children, with the conviction that only on these pillars can a well-ordered society be founded.

    Good News, Bad News:
    1. Bishop of Oruro formalizes ban on communion in the hand
    2. Sanctuary of Fatima gets ugly "modern" altar

    1. We reported in August last year about the intention of the Polish Verbite Bishop of the Diocese of Oruro, Bolivia to forbid communion in the hand in his Diocese. Bishop Krzysztof Białasik has now issued a decree (dated January 6, 2016) formalizing the ban. (Source). 

    H/t to our friends in Adelante la Fe / Rorate Caeli en Espanol.

    2.  On Candlemas (February 2), 2016, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fátima was reopened after having been closed for renovations for more than a year. Among the renovations was the installation of a brand-new altar designed by sculptor Bruno Marques, which was consecrated on that day by the Bishop of Fatima, Msgr. António Marto. The following photos are from the official, Portuguese-language Facebook page of the Sanctuary of Fatima:

    Ironically, Bishop Marto dedicated part of his Candlemas homily to lamenting the loss of the "transcendent dimension" in Europe. We would have loved to tell him that a good example of that loss was standing right in front of him. 

    Prior to the renovations, the Basilica's sanctuary had looked like this:

    At least, the tabernacle seems to have been refurbished and the carpeting removed.

    (Photo source)

    Unfortunately, the installation of ultra "modern" altars in traditionally-designed sanctuaries, implanting ugliness and disharmony in the very heart of beautiful and venerable churches, remains a trend in parts of Europe. We have a post from November 2013 recording more than 40 such cases from 2010 to 2013:  Basket case: The craze for strange new altars and "youth churches". We are well aware of many more cases from 2014 and 2015. 

    Reminder: Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society and logo design contest

    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. We now stand at 70 priests saying weekly or monthly traditional Latin Masses for the souls!

    REMINDER: The deadline for graphic designs to create a logo/coat of arms for the Society is February 15. Read more here

    Candlemas in Art : A pictorial Presentation - by Maureen Mullarkey

    by Rorate Contributor
    Maureen Mullarkey

    In the Latin Church, Christmastide reaches its canonical end today, on Candlemas. The name comes to us from the ancient custom of blessing candles in church this day for distribution to the congregation. Celebrated in the early Church simply as the Feast of the Fortieth Day, it is rich in liturgical significance and resonant with history. Candlemas is a double feast that binds Christian faith to its Judaic roots in the very act of proclaiming Jesus as a light for the Gentiles and, in the jubilant words of the Canticle of Simeon, “the glory of Thy people Israel.”

    Presentation of Christ in the Temple. Luttrell Psalter (14th C.)

    We know the story. In obedience to Jewish law, Mary—young Miriam—takes her weeks-old son to temple to undergo ritual purification on the day required of mothers of sons. The Book of Leviticus is firm: “She shall not touch any hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary until the days of her purification are fulfilled.”


    SSPX; Women and foot washing; consecrating Russia; anti-pastoral bishops and much more

    Last week, Rorate Caeli interviewed His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider, one of the most visible prelates working on the restoration of the traditional Latin Mass and faith, on numerous topics. 

    In this wide-ranging interview, His Excellency thoughtfully expounded on issues critical to the Church in this great time of crisis. Read the entire interview so you don't miss His Excellency's thoughts on the current status of the SSPX, women's participation in the Mass and the washing of women's feet, whether Russia was ever truly consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Summorum Pontificum and anti-pastoral bishops and much, much more. 

    All may reprint/repost this interview -- but you must credit Rorate Caeli. 

    *NB: words in bold by Rorate for emphasis:


    Rorate CaeliIn the recent Synod, we will not know the legal impact it will have on the Church for some time, as it’s up to Pope Francis to move next. Regardless of the eventual outcome, for all intent and purposes, is there already a schism in the Church? And, if so, what does it mean practically speaking? How will it manifest itself for typical Catholics in the pews?

    H.E. Schneider: Schism means according to the definition of the Code of Canon Law, can. 751: The refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with those members of the Church who are submitted to the Supreme Pontiff. One has to distinguish the defect in belief or heresy from schism. The defect in belief or heresy is indeed a greater sin than schism, as Saint Thomas Aquinas said: “Unbelief is a sin committed against God Himself, according as He is Himself the First Truth, on which faith is founded; whereas schism is opposed to ecclesiastical unity, which is a lesser good than God Himself. Wherefore the sin of unbelief is generically more grievous than the sin of schism” (II-II, q. 39, a. 2 c). 

    The very crisis of the Church in our days consists in the ever growing phenomenon that those who don’t fully believe and profess the integrity of the Catholic faith frequently occupy strategic positions in the life of the Church, such as professors of theology, educators in seminaries, religious superiors, parish priests and even bishops and cardinals. And these people with their defective faith profess themselves as being submitted to the Pope. 

    The height of confusion and absurdity manifests itself when such semi-heretical clerics accuse those who defend the purity and integrity of the Catholic faith as being against the Pope – as being according to their opinion in some way schismatics. For simple Catholics in the pews, such a situation of confusion is a real challenge of their faith, in the indestructibility of the Church. They have to keep strong the integrity of their faith according to the immutable Catholic truths, which were handed over by our fore-fathers, and which we find in in the Traditional catechisms and in the works of the Fathers and of the Doctors of the Church.   

    Interview with the only Bishop to take part at Rome's "Family Day" - "It's easy for the other bishops not to be here"

    Bishop on the battlefield says: too easy not to expose oneself

    Serena Sartini
    Il Giornale
    January 31st 2016

    The Archbishop of Campobasso scolds his absent colleagues and appeals to Mattarella: “If the Cirinnà Bill passes, don’t sign it.”
    He is one of the few bishops present at Family Day, perhaps the only one. Without fear of exposing himself or of being criticized by the other bishops, alongside the families, saying no to the Cirinnà  Bill on civil unions and with an appeal to the President of the Republic, [he says]: “I hope that the Bill will be examined by the Head of State, Sergio Mattarella and that he doesn’t sign the decree: it is in conflict with article 29 of the Constitution which states that the family is based on matrimony.”
    The Bill should be completely rewritten – or better still, withdrawn
    Monsignor Giancarlo Maria Bregantini, Bishop of Campobasso-Bojano, set out at 5 o’clock yesterday morning with a group of faithful from his diocese to be part of a demonstration at Circo Massimo. As a  shepherd does, not  abandoning his sheep.
    Your Excellency, why did you want to be part of Family Day?

    This is a civic and secular battle, a battle of basic dignity for three reasons: first of all, because the family is of perennial significance; second, because the snares regarding certain  secular positions of some days ago are in the increase; and third, if we give in on the family, we are giving in also on the social level.”

    Ecumenism, Love, Hatred, and St. John the Evangelist

    Tilman Riemenschneider, The Last Supper, detail showing St. John the Evangelist

    In his encyclical Mortalium Animos, Pope Pius XI makes notable appeal to the teaching of the Apostle and Evangelist John to distinguish between true and false charity toward non-Catholic Christians:

    Rome's "Family Day" - Defiant Catholic Laity against "same-sex unions", despite little support from the Vatican

    The "Cirinnà Bill" being debated in the Italian Parliament to allow "same-sex unions" in that central nation of Catholicism managed to bring Catholics from all over Italy to Rome this Saturday.

    The image from the Circo Massimo is unmistakable: on this "Family Day", a huge multitude of Italian families (including many friends of this blog) gathered to protest the government's support of the counternatural bill.

    Fr Cipolla presents the new Norcia venture in the United States: Birra Nursia Monastic Beer

    By Father Richard Cipolla

    There are few places in this world that mean more to me spiritually than the monastery of St. Benedict in Norcia, Italy.

    Cardinal Zen on the Traditional Mass:
    School of adoration, strength for martyrs.

    Just before retiring in 2009 Joseph Cardinal Zen celebrated his last Mass in public as Bishop of Hong Kong in the Traditional Roman Rite. He told the many journalists who attended the ceremony that he wanted to devote part of his retirement life to the faithful who are attached to the traditional liturgy of the Church. (See our report on that event.) Since then he has kept his promise; Rorate has reported on many of his Masses (see our collection of posts about him) and we understand that there have been many, many more that have gone unreported on liturgical or Traditional Catholic blogs and websites.

    Institute of Christ the King's Constitutions receive definitive approval from the Holy See

    On this 29th of January, feast of St. Francis de Sales in the 1962 Missal, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest has received the definitive approval of its Constitutions from the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. 

    The rescript conveying the approval was signed by Gerhard Cardinal Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. 

    Op-Ed: "Penance: requested by Heaven and hated by the world" - by Roberto de Mattei

    Roberto de Mattei
    Corrispondenza Romana
    January 27, 2016

    It there’s one concept that is radically foreign to contemporary mentality it’s that of penance. The term and the notion of penance evoke an idea of suffering we inflict upon ourselves to expiate our faults or those of others, and to unite us to the merits of the Redeeming Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The modern world rejects the concept of penance because it is immersed in hedonism and professes relativism, the negation of any good which is worth sacrificing oneself for, unless it is in search of some pleasure.  Only this can explain episodes such as the present furious media attack against the Franciscans of the Immaculate, whose monasteries are depicted as places of torture, just because an austere penitential life is practiced there. Using the hair-shirt or impressing the monogram of the name of Jesus on one’s chest are considered barbaric, whereas the practice of sadomasochism or indelibly tattooing one’s body are considered an inalienable right of the person.

    The Church’s enemies repeat, with all the power the media is capable of, the anticlerical accusations of all times. What is new is the attitude of the ecclesiastical authorities, who, instead of defending the defamed nuns, abandon them - in secret satisfaction - to the persecution of the media. This satisfaction has its origins in the incompatibility that exists between the rules which these religious persist in conforming to and the new standards imposed by “adult Catholicism”.

    Event: Palestrina's Missa Brevis on Candlemas - Jersey City, New Jersey

    Event notice sent by a local reader:

    Palestrina's Missa Brevis will be performed for Candlemas on Tuesday, February 2nd at a 7:00 PM Traditional Latin Solemn High Mass in downtown Jersey City’s historic St. Anthony’s Church, located at Monmouth St. between 6th and 7th. The renowned Cantantes in Cordibus choir, which is under the direction of Maestro Simone Ferraresi, the noted composer, pianist and conductor, will sing this deeply moving and beautiful work.

    For the record: the Russian No
    1. No to change of date for Easter
    2. No imminent meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow

    These should put an end, at least for the time being, to the never-ending rumors of a change in the observance of Easter for the entire Christian world, and of the meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow that never, ever materializes. 

    Terrifying: Post-Synod document written by Pope's friend, Ultra-Liberal Tucho Fernandez - will call into question natural moral law

    Tucho Fernandez in a striking pose
    The president of the Pontifical Council for the Family [Abp. Paglia] has confirmed that Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation devoted to the family will be published by the end of March.

    Events: Traditional Latin Masses during the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu, Philippines
    Update - Pictures of Cardinal Zen's Mass, additional TLM included

    UPDATE (1/26/16):

    Friends from the Philippines have sent us the following pictures of the Traditional Latin Masses on January 25 and 26, and even the surprise announcement today at the International Eucharistic Congress, of Cardinal Zen's Mass.

    1. Invitation to IEC delegates to attend the TLM of Cardinal Zen.

    Event: Announcing the 2016 Summer Theology Program in Norcia, Italy (July 10-24)

    We have been asked to announce the following event:
    The St. Albertus Magnus Center for Scholastic Studies [AMCSS], in partnership with the Monastero di San Benedetto, will hold its fifth annual summer theology program in Norcia, Italy, from July 10–24, 2016.

    Septuagesima: In the beginning

    The lessons for Matins introduce the theme of the penitential pre-lenten season of Septuagesima: Creation and Fall, and Original Sin; and God's intervention in human History to purify mankind through a remnant in an ark (Sexagesima week) and to choose a People for himself; and the will of the unfathomable Divinity to reveal himself through his chosen people of Israel; and the Mystery of the Incarnation, through which the promise to Abraham ("in thee shall all the kindred of the earth be blessed", First Lesson in the Matins for Quinquagesima Sunday) would be fulfilled by the Divine Son of the Blessed Virgin ("I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel", Third Lesson in the Matins for Wednesday in Septuagesima week).

    The reality of Original Sin ("I am the Immaculate Conception") and the great need for penitence in our times ("Penance! Penance! Penance!") were also the messages of the memorable events which began on February 11, 1858:

    A job for a true Journalist: Who can find "The Kolvenbach Report" on Father Bergoglio?

    The superiors of religious orders and societies are consulted by the Congregation for Bishops when their priestly members are considered for an appointment as bishop.

    It is a well known and established information in the Holy See (as it was in Buenos Aires before) that, when Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ, was tipped by the then-Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Quarracino, to become his auxiliary, in 1992, the then-Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach -- who was struggling to recover some credibility to his order after the severe intervention by Pope John Paul II and the removal of Arrupe and Arrupists who had run the great Society to the ground following the Council -- wrote an unfavorable report on the possible nomination.

    Event: Retreat for Young Men in New Jersey - Feb. 19-21 - Traditional Mass exclusively

    You are cordially invited to a retreat for young men based on the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola on the week-end of 19-21 February 2016. It shall be directed by Rev. Carlos Hamel of the Fraternity of St Joseph Guardian, pastor of the parish of La Londe, France; and held at the Church of St John the Baptist, 1282 Yardville-Allentown Road, Allentown, N. J. It is the third time we host this kind of retreat, and the second one in Allentown.

    A Clamorous (and Blessed!) Turnaround by Pope Francis on Marriage and against Same-Sex "Unions"?

    Antonio Socci on Facebook

    In Pope Francis’ intervention to the Roman Rota [today - in English here], there was a passage that was immediately re-launched by the media because of its topical impact.

    “During the Synod on the Family, which the Lord granted us the past two years, we were able to carry out in a spirit of effective collegiality, in-depth and sapiential discernment, through which the Church – among other things – indicated to the world that there can be no confusion between the family willed by God and any other type of union.”

    This was immediately connected to the debate in the Italian Parliament on “civil unions” and the upcoming “Family Day”.

    For the record - the never-ending quest for more reforms.
    1) CDW Secretary: Non-Catholic spouses of parishioners could be selected for foot-washing rite.
    2) Lutherans given communion during Mass in St. Peter's Basilica

    1. Even as the reform of Maundy Thursday foot washing was being announced, its loopholes were already being explored by the supporters of further reform. Buried in Catholic News' Agency's report on yesterday's change (Women may now have their feet washed at Holy Thursday Mass, Pope says) we find the following interpretation from Archbishop Arthur Roche, Secretary of the CDW (our emphases):

    Although the Pope has previously chosen to wash the feet of both non-Catholics and non-Christians, Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, cautioned that the new change does not necessarily include them.

    In Jan. 21 comments to CNA, the archbishop said that the changes are meant for “the local community,” and members of “the local parish.” 

    He said that reading the decree as an invitation for non-Catholics to participate would be a “selective interpretation” of the text, and that while this could be something that happens “in the future,” it’s probably not what the Pope’s decision intended. 

    However, Archbishop Roche did say that although the decree is meant for the local community, it’s possible that a non-Catholic spouse of a parishioner who regularly attends the Catholic liturgy could be chosen to participate

    Appeal: New small private traditional catholic high school in 'ultra-progressive' Belgium needs your help

    New small private traditional catholic high school in 
    'ultra-progressive' Belgium needs your help

    (Only a very small part of the buildings being currently used.)

    For fans of Asterix comic books, the storyline might sound familiar: “All of Belgium is occupied, either by atheism or by a Church that has been on the international avant-garde of ‘progressivism’ for at least 50 years. (As usual, ‘progressivism’ leads to collapse.). Not to mention, of course, the abuse scandals and their cover-up. All of Belgium? No, not all of Belgium. Some small pockets of resistance by traditional catholics still exist.”

    Cardinal Bagnasco, Italian Bishops' Conference chairman, in favor of Natural Marriage - Pope humiliates him

    [Background: the Italian Parliament is about to approve the civil recognition of same-sex "couples". Only a few faithful bishops are supporting the millions of Catholics who are protesting it - led by the president of the Italian Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Bagnasco. Pope Francis does not like it.]

    The Pope “cancels” Bagnasco, supporter of “Family Day”

    by Carlo Tecce
    Il Fatto Quotidiano
    20th January 2016

    Tomorrow [today] Francis will not meet the President of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) as planned. He was not pleased at being drawn into Italian political issues. Jorge Mario Bergoglio has eliminated Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco from his agenda of official meetings, so, [there will be] no audience tomorrow morning. The private meeting fixed a week ago by the permanent Episcopal Council, appeared and then disappeared from the internal “Bollettino - Prefettura della Casa Pontificia". The is the umpteenth episode and perhaps the most clamorous, which sanctions the distance between the Church of Francis and the Church of the Bishops presided over by Bagnasco himself.

    The inevitable: Pope Francis decrees that Maundy Thursday foot-washing can include women

    When, within two weeks of his election, Francis chose to include women (including a Muslim) among the "viri" whose feet he washed as part of the Maundy Thursday Mass, we immediately grasped its significance and posted that it was "The Official End of the Reform of the Reform - by example". He repeated the inclusion of women in the foot-washing rite in 2014 and 2015, which could only have meant that he desired to normalize the practice. Today's reform was inevitable. It was only a matter of time. 

    We predict that before long, like many other “options” such as communion in the hand, female altar boys, “extraordinary” ministers of holy communion and “ad populum” celebrations, having women take part in the Maundy Thursday washing of the feet will become virtually obligatory, with the priests who refuse it being stigmatized as “reactionaries” and punished in a variety of ways. 

    Francis pushing this decree through Robert Cardinal Sarah is another reminder that, no matter what the highest officials of the CDW say and do in their private capacity, it is still the express will of the Pope that matters in the end. Beautiful reflections, edifying personal example and words of encouragement are no substitutes for clear legislation. As long as the “Reform of the Reform” is not embodied in clear legislation that is vigorously enforced from the very top, it will never take off the ground and will never be more than the hobby of a tiny minority. No amount of brave talk from a handful of bloggers will change this.

    At the same time this "reform" should not be surprising, as it flows from the intrinsic malleability of the “Novus Ordo” (by which we mean not only the Mass but also the entire range of liturgical books associated with it.) The reality of the Novus Ordo makes slogans such as “say the black and do the red” and the entire concept of “liturgical abuse”, essentially meaningless. When the “black” and “red” could be changed anytime under the pressure of clerical and lay disobedience and the whims of those in power, today’s “disobedience” could end up being tomorrow’s obedience to the “God of Surprises”. 

    One last point: the new rubrics for foot washing still limits it to the "faithful", members of the "People of God". Muslims are definitely not part of the "People of God", no matter how much one tries to stretch the meaning of the term without losing all coherence. Next Maundy Thursday, will the Pope still wash the feet of an unbaptized woman or two?

    There is a silver lining to all this, of course: our fellow Rorate contributor Joseph Shaw explains in his Statement on allowing the washing of the feet of women at the OF mandatum:

    These concessions have moved many to reconsider the Extraordinary Form, which is not affected by this decree, or similar concessions to liturgical abuses in the past. It is in the Extraordinary Form that the Church's liturgical traditions are maintained.



    From Vatican Information Service:

    The Pope decrees that not only men may be chosen for the washing of the feet in the Liturgy of Holy Thursday
    Vatican City, 21 January 2016 (VIS) – The Holy Father has written a letter, dated 20 December and published today, to Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, in which he decrees that from now on, the people chosen for the washing of the feet in the liturgy of Holy Thursday may be selected from all the People of God, and not only men and boys.

    Luther and the Holy Roman Church in His Own Words (Strong Language) - Guest-post

    Martin Luther and the Catholic Church

    a guest-post by John R. T. Lamont

    Luther's version of the "NON SERVIAM"(Gedaechtniskirche, Speyer)

    A number of favourable comments about Martin Luther have been made by Catholic authorities to mark the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. In particular, the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, whose president is Cardinal Kurt Koch, has issued a Catholic-Lutheran ‘Common Prayer’ for 500 years of Reformation together with the Lutheran World Federation. This ‘Common Prayer’ includes the following prayers: ‘Help us to rejoice in the gifts that have come to the Church through the Reformation’, and ‘The ecumenical journey enables Lutherans and Catholics to appreciate together Martin Luther’s insight into and spiritual experience of the gospel of the righteousness of God, which is also God’s mercy’; ‘Thanks be to you O God for the many guiding theological and spiritual insights that we have all received through the Reformation.’ This is not of course an initiative of the magisterium of the Church, but it is as effective in forming the beliefs of Catholics as a magisterial statement, since it is presented in the media as a position of the Church. This initiative urgently requires comment and criticism from faithful Catholics.

    The Mystery of ISIS

    The Great Powers that can destroy a nation in days apparently have not ended their strange experiment of letting the "Islamic State" do whatever they want in most of Syria and half of Iraq.

    After the genocide of Christians from the lands occupied by ISIS, they will not stop until every sign of Christian heritage is wiped out. Why, why do the Great of this world allow this?

    "The mystery of iniquity already worketh; only that he who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of the way."... (II Thess.)

    A fixed, "unified" Easter? Not so fast!
    Part I: Why a unified Easter will not be implemented in the foreseeable future.


    Last year, Pope Francis reportedly spoke of the need to unify the date of Easter among Christians during the meditation that he preached to the World Retreat of Priests at the Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome. The text of the meditation itself seems to be missing from the Vatican website (although there is a video) and Zenit's own translation of the meditation (Part 1, Part 2) does not include any references to Easter. The Pope's call to spread the charismatic-pentecostalist practice of "Baptism in the Spirit" (his third and most explicit endorsement of it, by our count) actually warrants far more attention, although none has been forthcoming.

    Now we have Justin Welby, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury speaking of the need to put Easter Sunday on a fixed date. Various news reports (such as this) quote him as saying that it should be fixed on the second or third Sunday of April and that he expects the change to happen between 5 and 10 years' time. Although the reports don't mention it, he is echoing a proposal first made by Paul VI in 1975. (See below.) Some of these reports mention Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II as a proponent of a unified Easter, specifically on the third Sunday of April. It is true that Tawadros II has been vocal about the ideabut it remains to be seen if his fellow Oriental Orthodox (especially the more numerous Ethiopians) are willing to follow him on this matter. Welby reportedly mentioned the support of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople for a unified Easter, but for reasons explained further in this article this support seems to be overstated.

    Sermon for the Second Sunday after Epiphany

    Sermon for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany

    Fr. Richard G. Cipolla
    St. Mary's Norwalk
    January 17, 2016

    Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg
    The Wedding Feast of Cana
    “At a certain point the wine ran out, and Jesus’ mother told him, ‘They have no more wine.’ Jesus replied, ‘Woman, how does this concern of yours involve me?  My hour has not yet come’.  His mother instructed those waiting on table, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’” (John 2: 3-5)

    Guest Op-Ed: The Need to Close One’s Ears to the Rehashed Messages of the Pope

    Last year, when we interviewed Raymond Cardinal Burke (see here) he confirmed Catholics can no longer look towards Rome -- towards Pope Francis -- for guidance on critical issues. The good Cardinal said, instead, to turn to the catechism and tradition.  

    With that sage advice in mind, we bring you this guest Op-Ed, written by the highly-esteemed John Rao who, among numerous other things, was Rorate Caeli's first-ever credentialed Conclave correspondent in 2013:

    A Not So Surprising Surprise of the Holy Spirit:

    The Need to Close One’s Ears to the Rehashed Messages of the Pope

    Those who resist change are obstinate rebels and idolaters and are guilty of "divination"!

    Thus says Pope Francis in his latest screed from Casa Santa Marta. 

    From News.Va (with our emphases).

    Pope Francis: obstinate Christians are rebels and idolaters
    2016-01-18 Vatican Radio

    (Vatican Radio) Christians who stop at “it’s always been done that way” have hearts closed to the surprises of the Holy Spirit. They are idolaters and rebels will never arrive at the fullness of the truth. That was the message of Pope Francis at Mass on Monday morning at the chapel in the Casa Santa Marta.

    Graphic designers: help the Purgatorial Society

    UPDATE: We are already getting submissions, so thank you! But please, take your time. Let's set a deadline of February 15. Those of you who have submitted, go back and think about it and take some more time. Those of you who haven't, don't rush it. We're looking for the best logo/coat of arms we can have to represent the Society.

    For those of you who are experts -- or at least proficient -- with graphic design, the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society is asking for your help.

    When we started the Society five years ago, we didn't have anything big in mind. He hoped to find a couple of priests to pray a weekly or monthly traditional Latin Mass for souls that readers would enroll, to make up for the canonizations that happen from the pulpit at most Novus Ordo requiem Masses, which rob the deceased of prayers. Fast forward to today, and we have 70 priests saying weekly and monthly TLMs for the Society, and hundreds of thousands of enrolled souls!

    Should Any Catholic Praise Luther? (A cross-post)

    Blogger Dr. Christopher Malloy has written an eloquent piece on why we absolutely should not praise Luther as we draw near to the 500th anniversary of his initial public act of rebellion. Rorate thanks Dr. Malloy for his permission to cross-post this timely collection of quotations here.

    We praise someone who fundamentally deserves praise. No one is without fault, and no one without some merit. But only those are worthy of praise who fundamentally deserve praise, whose pith and marrow is good.

    Coptic Orthodox Bishop attends Traditional Latin Mass

    Bishop Arsany (or Arsenios), the Coptic Orthodox Bishop for the Netherlands, attended today a Sung Mass  (1962 Missal) celebrated at the Sint-Agneskerk in Amsterdam, where a personal parish dedicated to the Traditional Latin Mass is under the care of the FSSP. He might not be the first Orthodox prelate to attend a TLM in recent years, but as far as I know he is the first one to do so while seated on a throne inside the sanctuary.

    UPDATE: A note on where to find the text of the "Common Prayer", and the letter co-signed by Cardinal Koch promoting it.
    Important - Lutheran World Federation, Pontifical Council for Christian Unity launch "Common Prayer" service extolling Martin Luther and the Reformation

    By their fruits...

    UPDATE: In my original post I neglected to mention where the text of the "Common Prayer" can be found. It can be downloaded via a link at the bottom of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) webpage containing the press release we reposted below: Press Release: A joint Catholic-Lutheran “Common Prayer” for 500 years of Reformation

    OP-ED: "To Ross Douthat, With Affectionate Correction", by Fr. Richard Cipolla - Church Crisis, the True Battle, and Sacred Liturgy

    To Ross Douthat, With Affectionate Correction

    Fr. Richard G. Cipolla, DPhil

    Paolo Veronese - The Wedding Feast at Cana (1563) - Musée du Louvre

    It is certainly true, as has been observed on Rorate Caeli, that Ross Douthat’s Erasmus Lecture for First Things has caused quite a stir in traditional Catholic circles.  Msgr. Pope’s article bemoaning the lack of growth in the presence of the Traditional Mass in the Church has also gained the attention of Traditional Catholics, but that article lacks the depth and urgency that is contained in Douthat’s lecture. Many of us have admired his Op-Ed pieces in the New York Times, often wondering how he achieved his position amidst the quintessential Liberal Establishment embodied by that paper of record.  His skirmish with the Catholic theologians (and I have refrained from putting theologians in quotation marks out of some sense of objectivity, despite my belief that there may no longer be any Catholic theologians, for Catholic theologians have to be immersed in the Tradition, and there do not seem to be any who are so today) is an example of the proper role of the laity in the Church as encouraged by the Second Vatican Council. 

    "True or false pope?" - Book review on work refuting Sedevacantism

    The following brief book review on this work that refutes the error of Sedevacantism was written for Rorate by Fr. François Laisney who, among many other things, was the former United States District Superior for the Priestly Society of St. Pius X (SSPX):

    De Mattei on the Pope's pronouncements and video: It's not only heresy that offends the Catholic Faith

    Not Only Heresy Offends The Catholic Faith

    Roberto de Mattei
    Corrispondenza Romana
    January 13, 2016

    In a long interview published on December 30th in the German weekly Die Zeit, Cardinal Ludwig Müller, Prefect for the Congregation of the Faith, raised a question of crucial relevance today. When the interviewer asked the Prefect what he thought of those Catholics who attack the Pope defining him “a heretic”, he replied: “Not only because of my office, but from personal conviction, I must disagree. A heretic in the theological definition, is a Catholic who denies obstinately a revealed truth proposed by the Church that they are obliged to believe. It’s another thing when those who are officially charged to teach the faith express themselves in a somewhat inappropriate, misleading or vague way. The teachings of the Pope and bishops are not above the Word of God, but serve it. (…) Moreover, papal pronouncements have a different binding nature – ranging from a definitive decision pronounced ex-cathedra to a homily which is used rather for spiritual analysis.”