Rorate Caeli

The Wall Street Journal visits Clear Creek Abbey

The three-day American holiday weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal featured an article on the front page of its "Review" section looking at "a burgeoning movement among traditional Christians" to create "their own small communities".

It could have said "community", as the piece focused almost entirely on the work of the Benedictines at Clear Creek Abbey.  The article began:

Announcing the 2017 Summer Theology Program in Norcia -- Aquinas on the Sacraments

Agriturismo Casale - the base of our operations
The Albertus Magnus Center for Scholastic Studies is happy to announce that registration is now open for the July 2017 summer theology program in the town of Norcia. This will be our sixth summer program since 2011. We are especially excited to be studying the sacraments, with a close look at baptism and the Holy Eucharist, through the lens of Book IV of the Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard by St. Thomas Aquinas, which has some of the Angelic Doctor's most extensive and intriguing discussions of sacramental theology from his entire career. The program directors will be Fr. Thomas Crean, O.P., Christopher Owens, and Peter Kwasniewski. Fr. Cassian Folsom, O.S.B., the founding prior of Norcia, will join us for a lecture and conversation.

Conference on the Canonical Problem of the Deposition of Popes to be Held in Paris

For some reason, a certain provision of Gratian’s Decretals, an early collection of canon law, has been the subject of renewed interest in recent times. The relevant text runs: “No mortal shall presume to rebuke [the pope’s] faults, for he who is to judge all is to be judged by no one, unless he is found straying from the faith” (Dist. 40 c.6). The last condition “unless he is found straying from the faith” has sometimes been interpreted to mean that a pope who strayed into heresy could be deposed. At the end of March a scholarly conference on the canonical and theological problem of the deposition of heretical popes is to be held at the Center for Law and Religious Societies of the Legal Faculty Jean-Monnet of the University Paris-Sud, in the Parisian suburb of Sceaux. The conference will be considering a recently published book on the subject by legal scholar Laurent Fonbaustier: La déposition du pape hérétique : Une origine du constitutionnalisme ? [The Deposition of an Heretical Pope: An Origin of Constitutionalism?]. Fonbaustier traces the influence of Gratian’s decretal on political theories of limited government. 

Support the FSSP Saint Francis Xavier Mission Trip


Rorate has always been a proud supporter of these mission trips. Below, please see a short write-up, provided by a reader:

It is easy to get discouraged by all the maddening news that seems to come out about the Church on a daily basis. Especially for orthodox, conservative, traditional-minded Catholics it can be extremely frustrating when we get characterized as rigid, sick, or elitist. If you are not already aware of it, I want to draw your attention to an apostolate that both destroys these stereotypes and hopefully represents a real sign of hope for the future of the Church.

For five years now the Saint Francis Xavier Mission Trip of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter has been organizing missions for youth and families. On the one hand we could emphasize that these missions are rooted in the Traditional Latin Mass, but it may be better to simply say that these missions are grounded in the Catholic Faith, which has always had at its heart the Traditional Latin Mass. 


That's it. That's all we have to say.

On the other hand, we should never get tired of Saint Paul. He, like the good Jesuits of the 16th century (Xavier first of all, but so many others), suffered immensely, out of love for Christ and His Church and her true, everlasting, and unwavering Doctrine.

Is there a more beautiful epistle than this Sunday's in the Church year? Hardly any: the Autobiography of Saint Paul is a testament of love. If you heard it and read it thoughtlessly in Mass today, read it again. Thank you, Doctor Gentium!

Saint Paul's shipwreck in Malta

"You gladly put up with fools, because you are wise yourselves! For you suffer it if a man enslaves you, if a man devours you, if a man takes from you, if a man is arrogant, if a man slaps your face! I speak to my own shame, as though we had been weak. But wherein any man is bold - I am speaking foolishly - I also am bold. Are they Hebrews? So am I! Are they Israelites? So am I! Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I! Are they ministers of Christ? I - to speak as a fool - am more: in many more labors, in prisons more frequently, in lashes above measure, often exposed to death. From the Jews five times I received forty lashes less one. Thrice I was scourged, once I was stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I was adrift on the sea; in journeyings often, in perils from floods, in perils from robbers, in perils from my own nation, in perils from the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils from false brethren; in labor and hardships, in many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those outer things, there is my daily pressing anxiety, the care of all the churches! Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I am not inflamed? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that concern my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, Who is blessed forevermore, knows that I do not lie. In Damascus the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to arrest me, but I was lowered in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped his hands. If I must boast - it is not indeed expedient to do so - but I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago - whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows - such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man - whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows that he was caught up into paradise and heard secret words that man may not repeat. Of such a man I will boast; but of myself I will glory in nothing save in my infirmities. For if I do wish to boast, I shall not be foolish; for I shall be speaking the truth. But I forbear, lest any man should reckon me beyond what he sees in me or hears from me. And lest the greatness of the revelations should puff me up, there was given me a thorn for the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to buffet me. Concerning this I thrice besought the Lord that it might leave me. And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for strength is made perfect in weakness. Gladly therefore I will glory in my infirmities, that the strength of Christ may dwell in me." (2 Cor. 11:19-33; 12:1-9)

Guest Op-Ed - Waiting for the Bridegroom: The Nuptial Character of the Usus Antiquior

By Veronica A. Arntz

The parable of the ten virgins awaiting the bridegroom reveals a significant key for understanding our relationship with Christ: We are meant to be watchful, waiting for the hour of His coming with anticipation. Five virgins were wise, and five were foolish. Five had a sufficient amount of oil to meet the delayed bridegroom, while five did not. Some of us await the second coming of Christ with an awakened spirit, while others live our lives as if He does not exist. If we consider this parable within the context of sacred liturgy, we could say the following: The wise virgins are the ones who listen for the voice of the Lord within the texts; they are the ones who are prepared to meet the Bridegroom by listening to His words. In a particular way, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite can foster what Dietrich von Hildebrand calls the “spirit of awakenedness,” which he considers to be the spirit necessary to “conform to the sursum corda.”

This parable about the wise and foolish virgins appropriately sets the tone for discussing the spirit of waiting in the Extraordinary Form, because this form of the Roman Rite possesses a manifestly nuptial character. The words of the rite reveal both the love of the Bridegroom for us, but also, the love that we ought to give Him through praise and thanksgiving. While much has been said to men about the Extraordinary Form being the natural place to cultivate a priestly or religious vocation, it seems that women can relate very well to this nuptial character of the Mass. In a special way, women can discover the means and the grace for anticipating the Bridegroom, like the five wise virgins, through the sacred texts and form of the usus antiquior

NEW: Bishop Athanasius Schneider video interview

SSPX regularization, priests refusing Communion in the hand, heretic Martin Luther and Amoris Laetitia discussed

Today, along with our Spanish-language partners "Adelante la Fe," we release a video interview with His Excellency Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana. The interview, conducted by Mauricio Ponce, goes into many of the hot-button issues facing the Church today. This coincided with the Summorum Pontificum conference hosted by the FSSP in Guadalajara. The FSSP will post more of his conferences, Masses and interviews soon at 

Please see the video below. And, as always, we ask everyone to post this on their blogs and social media sites: 

A Sign of Hope

The newly completed chevet of Clear Creek Abbey Church
The monks of the traditionalist Benedictine abbey of Clear Creek recently sent out the following e-mail:

Op-Ed: "SSPX: the Personal Prelature will outlive the various succeeding Pontiffs"

SSPX : The Personal Prelature will outlive the various succeeding Pontiffs

A special Op-Ed by
Côme de Prévigny

Should the Personal Prelature presented by Rome to the Society of Saint Pius X be accepted? Some present their negative opinion, based on the circumstances, but that is a badly formulated quetion. What should be asked instead is this: Can a canonical recognition be rejected when no unacceptable condition is attached to this concession? Abp. Lefebvre never refused a canonical structure by itself, when he was alive. He refused solely the demands conditioning the structure that he had originally sought and obtained, and that was unjustly removed from him.

He never wanted to break, of his own will, the canonical liaison that linked him officially with Rome, and even to this Rome infested with Modernists. Quite the contrary, he refused it: he challenged the publication of the break of this link, and appealed the decisions of the ecclesiastical authorities. Consequently, Abp. Lefebvre never faced the situation in which we find ourselves: the Society is offered a canonical structure unconditionally. Incidentally, on what basis can it be refused if no condition is imposed (and even if the conditions were neutral), and if one considers that the Pope, due to the divine mandate granted by Our Lord to Peter and his successors, continues to possess the supernatural power of binding and unbinding, despite all his woes? Would the current crisis make the primacy of Peter and the power of the keys of Catholic truths which are embarrassing, optional, and superfluous?

IMPORTANT: Francis surrogate to answer the dubia on Amoris Laetitia tomorrow? [UPDATED]

UPDATE (Rome, 1200 PM):
Cardinal Coccopalmerio decided not to come to the official presentation. His own justification, as reported by Edward Pentin, was forwarded in the press conference: "Coccopalmerio can't make presser on his Amoris book due to diary clash, says he will give interviews in coming days." It was added by Conference presenters that, "Coccopalmerio's book on Amoris Laetitia is not a response to the dubia, just his own pastoral reflections."

We thank the Holy Ghost, Supreme Protector of the Orthodoxy of the Church of Rome. Coccopalmerio surely noticed his presence, as President of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legal Texts, in an official Vatican press conference, could surely be interpreted as an official response on the potential heterodox matters present in Amoris Laetitia and currently being questioned for clarification.

And, as we said yesterday on Twitter, and multiple times before: Are you really prepared for Francis to answer the dubia? Are you truly prepared? Think about it ...

We are told to watch for a press conference tomorrow focused on Amoris Laetitia. It is said to be the official reply to the four cardinals' dubia, which will be answered by Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legal Texts.

In terms of how it will happen, we are told that Cardinal Coccopalmerio's new book on Amoris Laetitia, written at the request of Pope Francis, will be released. Here is an excerpt: 

"The divorced and remarried, de facto couples, those cohabiting, are certainly not models of unions in sync with Catholic Doctrine, but the Church cannot look the other way. Therefore, the sacraments of Reconciliation and of Communion must be given even to those so-called wounded families and to however many who, despite living in situations not in line with traditional matrimonial canons, express the sincere desire to approach the sacraments after an appropriate period of discernment... Yes, therefore, to admission to the sacraments for those who, despite living in irregular situations, sincerely ask for admission into the fullness of ecclesial life, it is a gesture of openness and profound mercy on the part of Mother Church, who does not leave behind any of her children, aware that absolute perfection is a precious gift, but one which cannot be reached by everyone."

Article: "On the Formal Correction of Pope Francis"

[Editor's note: rumors gave been circulating about a supposed "private" correction of the Pope. These rumors are almost certainly false, and this article had already been written long before those false rumors appeared, and is completely unrelated to said rumors.]


On the formal correction of Pope Francis

John R. T. Lamont, DPhil
St.Catherine pleads with Pope Gregory XI in Avignon ( Sebastiano Conca)

It is more than four months since the dubia concerning the teaching of the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia were sent to Pope Francis by Cardinals Brandmüller, Burke, Caffarra and Meisner. As is well known, the dubia requested the Pope to dispel doubts about the content of Amoris Laetitia by authoritatively confirming that the document did not make five claims that contradicted Catholic tradition and divine revelation. After these dubia were made public, Cardinal Burke stated that 'if there is no response to these questions, then I would say that it would be a question of taking a formal act of correction of a serious error.'

Penance! Penance! Penance!

In a society which is barely conscious of the ills which assail it, which conceals its miseries and injustices beneath a prosperous, glittering, and trouble-free exterior, the Immaculate Virgin, whom sin has never touched, manifests herself to an innocent child. With a mother's compassion she looks upon this world redeemed by her Son's blood, where sin accomplishes so much ruin daily, and three times makes her urgent appeal: "Penance, penance, penance!" She even appeals for outward expressions: "Go kiss the earth in penance for sinners." And to this gesture must be added a prayer: "Pray to God for sinners."

As in the days of John the Baptist, as at the start of Jesus' ministry, this command, strong and rigorous, shows men the way which leads back to God: "Repent!" Who would dare to say that this appeal for the conversion of hearts is untimely today?
Pius XII
July 2, 1957

Saint Joan of Arc, Intercede for the Catholic Faithful

Saint Joan of Arc,
Condemned by Evil Prelates,
Burned by Evil Powers,
Pray for the Church of God,
Intercede for the Catholic Faithful!

More on St. Joan of Arc's persecution by evil Church authorities in our series for her 600th anniversary:

Opinion: Despite all problems, the SSPX still should reach an agreement with the Vatican

Some readers have asked us if we agree with these words in the last piece by dear Professor Roberto de Mattei published by Rorate last Sunday:

The wish of Bp. Bernard Fellay to regularize the canonical position of the Society of St. Pius X with an agreement that nothing will undermine the identity of his institute is certainly commendable, but the question arises: Is it opportune to be placed under the legal umbrella of Rome in the very moment when the law is being ignored, or worse yet, being used as a means to crack down on those who want to remain faithful to Catholic faith and morals?

Now, Rorate is second to none in its realistic view of Pope Francis and the Bergoglian Pontificate. Minutes after his name was announced, literally as he appeared on the loggia on that fateful March 13, 2013, we were the first in the world to warn about his Pontificate -- and we suffered great criticism and even persecution for it.

It has been bad for the Church, but good for our credibility, to slowly see all Traditional-leaning Catholics first, then almost all serious Catholics, reach the conclusion we had reached on the first instant of the papacy. We have worked to inform our readers realistically since then.

However, viewing this pontificate as it is does not mean being against an eventual agreement which recognizes the full regularity of the Society of Saint Pius X.

Sermon for the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany: Be Patient

Father Richard G. Cipolla

From the Epistle, Paul to the Colossians:  Brethren: Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, patience.

The last in St. Paul’s list in today’s epistle, describing what the Christian should take on, become,  is patience.  It may be last but it is not least.  Patience can be trivialized.  Someone is doing a job that requires time and meticulousness.  This needs patience, in the sense that things have to go slowly and what is needed is attention to detail and the time it takes to make that detail perfect.  But St Paul is not talking about that kind of patience.  He is talking about that patience whose etymology comes from the Latin verb, patior, whose first meaning is to suffer.  

Op-Ed: "A Violent Pope" - by Roberto de Mattei

A Violent Pope?

Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
February 3, 2017

Against the evidence there is little to argue. The outstretched hand of Pope Bergoglio to the Society of St. Pius X is the sam,e which has recently dealt blows to the Order of Malta and the Franciscans of the Immaculate.

Unheard-of since the Papal States fell: Rome covered in posters critical of the Pope

Rome woke up this Saturday with something quite new, and very old, in its streets: posters throughout the City (in the style of the old "pasquinate") critical of the Pope.

In English, from the Romanesco-inspired Italian:

ICR Pilgrimage to Holy Lands in April

Rorate on the Road: Honolulu

The 50th of the United States is perhaps the most beautiful. On Oahu, the island in Hawaii containing the capital city Honolulu, Blessed Sacrament parish is the home of a traditional Latin Mass offered every Sunday at 10 a.m.

Rorate recently attended Mass there -- a sanctuary within paradise on earth -- and met numerous members of the congregation afterward. The diocese was not always friendly toward the TLM, as infamously demonstrated decades ago. But times have changed, and the TLM community there is quite strong, with several happy families and friendly young adults in the pews of the diocesan church.

Sunday Mass at Blessed Sacrament church in Honolulu

SSPX-Vatican: "Two dates are mentioned in Rome: May 13 or July 7"

French conservative daily Le Figaro's religious correspondent Jean-Marie Guénois mentions in an article today the current status of negotiations between the Society of Saint Pius X and the Holy See (both of which we have covered: SSPX's Superior-General Fellay's interview and Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei's Secretary Pozzo's comments).

In the end, through, he adds the following new information:

Liturgy as the Court Ritual of the Heavenly Kingdom

(cross-posted from New Liturgical Movement)

Fr. Anthony Ruff, O.S.B., regnant spirit of PrayTell and heir to Collegeville’s long line of liturgical iconoclasts and modernizers, has this to say about the “paradigm shifts” inaugurated by the Second Vatican Council:

The Council fathers didn’t get into all the specifics of the reform of the liturgy. They left most of that to a future commission under the pope. The fathers approved a major paradigm shift — from liturgy as Carolingian clerical drama to liturgy as act of all the people — and then left open what the implications of that shift would be. No doubt some or many of the fathers didn’t yet have in mind all the possible implications of the paradigm shift. Nor did they need to.

Reminder: Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society

This is our monthly reminder to please enroll Souls of the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society. We now stand at 78 priests saying weekly or monthly traditional Latin Masses for the Souls. 

** Click here to download a "fillable" PDF Mass Card to give to the loved ones of the Souls you enroll. It's free for anyone to use. **

Priests: The Souls still need more of you saying Mass for them! Please email me to offer your services. There's nothing special involved -- all you need to do is offer a weekly or monthly TLM with the intention: "For the Souls enrolled in the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society." And we will always keep you completely anonymous unless you request otherwise. 

How to enroll souls: please email me at and submit as follows: "Name, State, Country." If you want to enroll entire families, simply write in the email: "The Jones family, Ohio, USA". Individual names are preferred. Be greedy -- send in as many as you wish and forward this posting to friends as well.

Don Barsotti: The soul that leans on God alone, experiences a peace that transcends all suffering

“We have to remember that man lives in a triple dimension: physical, psychological and spiritual. The dimension of a purely physical life makes us slaves to nature and all its demands:  cold, heat, illness, instincts and death. The psychological dimension makes us subject to the highs and lows of feelings and sensations. We are never entirely free. Nevertheless, if we live in the spiritual dimension, the soul transcends itself and reaches God. This is the life of pure faith, which leans on nothing other than God Himself. It is the life of infallible hope, which seeks no other support than in Him.  It is a life of boundless charity, which doesn’t capitulate when faced with evil. In this dimension, no trial can disturb the soul and take away its innermost peace. It may be a “black” peace as the mystics call it, given that on the physical and psychological levels the soul may experience abandonment and trials, but it doesn’t capitulate. It experiences a peace that transcends all suffering”. 

- Don Divo Barsotti 

Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana

Project: CD of choral music dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima.

From a reader of Rorate:

Smooth Stone Foundation, a non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting Catholic culture, is working on a project in which your readers may be interested.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima, we are commissioning a CD of choral music dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima. The music will be performed by professional choir singers conducted by Dr. Tim McDonnell, a professor of Sacred Music at Catholic University of America. The music will be traditional Catholic music drawn largely from Portugal. We hope to have the music recorded and CDs produced by May 13th, the 100th anniversary of the first appearance of the Blessed Virgin at Fatima. Here is the project page.

(We previously produced a CD of choral music for Christmas of 2015. Links to videos from that project may be found at the foundation's FB page.)

Ecclesia Dei confirms Fellay: "Full communion with SSPX is near."

From Andrea Tornielli, who has been one of the unofficial spokesman for Pope Francis in his pontificate, in an article this morning for La Stampa:

"We are working at this moment in the completion of some aspects of the canonical frame, which will be the Personal Prelature." Archbishop Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Ecclesia Dei commission, charged with dialogue with the Society of Saint Pius X, confirms [SSPX Superior-General Fellay's words] to Vatican Insider that the stage of full communion with the Lefebvrians is near. The accomplishment of the agreement is now in plain sight, even if some time is still needed.

Socci: Why Bergoglio has been so affectionate with Chinese despots and Castro, but ferocious with Trump

Here is what might happen

Antonio Socci
‎January 22, 2017

In his inaugural speech, Donald Trump made reference a number of times to God and the Bible (on which he was sworn in as President). Christian inspiration is emblematic of American popular tradition, and Trump – who usually touches on very concrete subjects in his speeches, such as the everyday lives of people – on this solemn occasion, chose to tune in with the deep religious sense of the American people.

This is a political sign of opposition to the strongly secular ideology of the “liberal” establishment, which in recent years has ruled, and which - in that speech - has been brutally evicted from the “palace” with the slogan: let’s give the power back to the people.

SSPX Superior-General Fellay: "An agreement is possible without further wait."

From the interview granted by the Superior-General of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay, to the program "Terres de Mission" by TVLibertes, a conservative French network, as reported by Italian website Radio Spada:

Bishop Fellay confirmed in the program Terres de Mission of TVLibertes broadcast minutes ago: on the factual level, relations with the Vatican are already normal, and only the seal is missing on the agreement (video below):

De Mattei - Last Chance: Will the Malta Knights fold or resist? - Cardinal Parolin's Unconstitutional Letter

Corrispondenza Romana
Special Edition
January 27, 2017

The following letter we are publishing constitutes the latest slap in the face to the Order of Malta; it is an offence to its constitution, history and dignity.

All scholars of the law agree in attributing the Order of Malta’s complete independence from the Holy See as far as its internal governance is concerned. The Holy See cannot interfere in the administrative affairs of the Order, but only intervenes in what regards the religious life of its professed Knights.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State, in a letter dated January 25, addressed to the Members of the Sovereign Council of the Order, who, on January 28 are to gather together in Rome at their headquarters in Via Condotti, writes, that Pope Francis:

• will nominate a “papal delegate”; an utterly odd figure for the Order of Malta
• confirms the resignation of the Grand Master, which will not be official until ratified by the Sovereign Council
• attributes to himself the power to render null and valid, all of the Grand Master’s and the Sovereign Council’s acts carried out after December 6 2016, re-integrating therefore Albrecht von Boeselager and dismissing the new Grand Chancellor Fra John Critien.

The position that each of the components of the Supreme Council will take on January 28 is to be made public. If they accept the diktat without a murmur, they will go down in history for having surrendered completely; if, with due respect toward the Vicar of Christ, they resist, they will show to the world that their Catholic and chivalrous spirit is still alive and is able to oppose the unjust exercise of power.

Roberto de Mattei


A translation of Cardinal Pietro Parolin’s letter:

Money Money Money! This explains Malta!

What a major coincidence! 

Exactly one week before (Dec. 15, 2016) the naming of the illegitimate commission (Dec. 22, 2016) created by the Pope in the Vatican Secretariat of State to "investigate" the dismissal of the Condom-Chancellor Von Boeselager, his brother had been named by the same Pope member of the Board of Superintendents of the Vatican Bank (the IOR, that carries the Vatican monies).

Yes, mere coincidence! Maybe we can now call His Holiness FRANCI$CU$...

A Note on the Sovereignity of the Order of Malta and the Temporal Power of the Pope

In his op-ed on the Holy See's intervention in the affairs of the Order of Malta here at Rorate, Prof. de Mattei states that the Holy Father “knew he hadn’t any legal title to intervene in the internal affairs of a sovereign Order,” and our editor, New Catholic, stated that the Holy See’s intervention was “absolutely contrary to the Constitutional Charter of the Sovereign Order.” Certain person, however, have noted that the Holy See has claimed the right to depose sovereign rulers in the past, and therefore a certain amount of explanation and defense of our position is in order.

Francis: a Pontificate of Violence and Irrationality - and remembering Pope Benedict

The details of the naked and unconstitutional (absolutely contrary to the Constitutional Charter of the Sovereign Order) intervention of the Holy See in another Sovereign Entity (the Sovereign Order of Malta), revealed this evening by Edward Pentin, are nothing short of astonishing.


The Pope summoned Fra’ Festing to the Vatican on Jan. 24 on the strict instruction not to let anyone know about the audience — a modus operandi that has been used frequently during this pontificate, the Register has learned. During the meeting, Francis asked Fra’ Festing to resign immediately, to which the Grand Master agreed. The Pope then ordered him to write his resignation letter on the spot, according to informed sources.

Op-Ed: "Francis destroys the Sovereign Order of Malta" - by Roberto de Mattei

The Pope and the Order of Malta: a Pyrrhic Victory*?

Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
January 25, 2017
(Malta Knights at Lepanto - Francis did what the Turks couldn't do)

The resignation of Fra Matthew Festing, Grand Master of the Order of Malta, imposed on him by Francis on January 23rd, risks being a Pyrrhic victory for the Pope.

March for Life, Solemn High Mass in D.C.

This Friday, 27 January, will be the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.  Mrs. Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, will speak during the noon rally, which marks the first time a presidential administration has sent an official to speak at the march.  (Presidents Reagan, Bush and Bush would address marchers via telephone.) Hundreds of thousands of Americans are expected to attend, many of them Roman Catholic.  Traditional Catholics have a large presence among the crowd. [26 Jan. update: Vice President Mike Pence will also speak, in person, at the March for Life.]

Toward the end of the march, at 3 p.m., there will be a Solemn High Mass at Saint Mary, Mother of God church at 5th and H streets, NW.  This will be the 5th annual Nellie Gray Mass, sponsored by the Paulus Institute, for the repose of the soul of the Saint Mary's parishioner who founded the March for Life.

The Gospel, from the 2015 Nellie Gray Mass.  Father Scalia, subdeacon here, will be the 2017 celebrant.

The Temple is too rich - The Temple must die
Updated - Confirmed: Order of Malta's Grand Master Resigns


Infovaticana first reported it last night -- and now it has been confirmed by Reuters and Edward Pentin: in a move that destroys in practice the sovereignty of the sole remaining Sovereign Military Order, the Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Fra Matthew Festing, was removed by Pope Francis (in euphemistic terms, in order to keep up appearances, he was "asked by the Pope to resign from his post and agreed to do so.")

Additional details: 

“The Pope asked him to resign and he agreed,” the spokesperson said, adding that the next step was a formality in which the group's Sovereign Council would approve the highly unusual resignation. Normally grand masters serve for life.

The Order will now be run by its number two, or Grand Commander, until a new head is elected.

The Order of Malta and the Vatican clashed last month when Fra’ Festing dismissed Grand Chancellor Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, the Order’s third most senior leader. Boeselager was asked to resign and when he twice refused, was dismissed on grounds of insubordination.

The ostensible issue behind the call for Boeselager’s resignation was that he was deemed ultimately responsible, following a commission of inquiry, for allowing contraceptives to be distributed by the Order’s humanitarian arm. But the Order also said there had been other "confidential" factors in play, as well as a “failure of trust.”

Boeselager protested the charges, and argued against the manner of his dismissal. He appealed to the Pope who appointed a five-member commission to look into the unusual circumstances of his sacking. Fra’ Festing refused to cooperate, saying the commission was interfering in the Order’s sovereignty and right to govern its internal affairs.

Also behind the dispute were allegations of an ambitious German association vying for control of the Order, accusations that the Grand Master was being overly authoritarian, and conflicts of interest among members of the Holy See commission.

Three members of the commission along with Boeselager have also been involved in a $118 million donation held in a trust in Switzerland. Despite documentation proving the contrary, the trust denied any connection with the Order. 

We can honestly say that this is the end of the Order as a special Sovereign entity -- it has become, in actual practice, an order like any other.

UPDATE 2 (1100 GMT): The full communiqué by the Holy See Press Office:
Yesterday, 24 January 2017, in audience with the Holy Father, His Highness Fra’ Matthew Festing resigned from the office of Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Today, 25 January, the Holy Father accepted his resignation, expressing appreciation and gratitude to Fra’ Festing for his loyalty and devotion to the Successor of Peter, and his willingness to serve humbly the good of the Order and the Church.

The governance of the Order will be undertaken ad interim by the Grand Commander pending the appointment of the Papal Delegate.

NOTE that, as a sovereign entity, there is no provision whatsoever, and no possibility, for a Papal Delegate -- the foundational documents of the Sovereign Order allow for the interim government of the Grand Commander until the election of a new Grand Master. What has happened is a coup d'état. What was the threat that made Grand Master Festing fold so thoroughly? We don't know -- but he should speak up.

Dictionary of Contemporary Theology: "Bergoglianism"


A spiritual disease of Argentinian origin first found in the early twenty-first century and thought to be the result of a localization and intensification of various strains of mid-late twenty-century modernism. Initial symptoms include institutional and ritual iconoclasm, incomprehension of the nature, duties and limits of one’s office, irresponsible utterances in public, incessant nepotism and a propensity gratuitously to insult one’s collaborators, officials and clergy.

URGENT - Bergoglian Persecution Begins: Priest is Suspended a divinis in Colombia for criticizing the new papal doctrine on Marriage and the Eucharist

The document is provided by Rorate's Spanish-language partners "Adelante la Fe" -- and the news is explosive. A priest in the Diocese of Pereira, Colombia, was admonished and suspended by his Bishop because he criticized in public the new doctrine invented by Pope Francis on Marriage and the reception of the Blessed Sacrament.*

Father Luis Alberto Uribe Medina is the victim of this startling act by his bishop, Rigoberto Corredor.

Full document in our own translation below:

DECREE no.1977
Of January 16, 2017
By which a priest is suspended



Bishop of Rockford repeals Summorum Pontificum

Bishop Malloy of Rockford, which is in Illinois in the USA, has sent a rather remarkable letter to his priests. Rorate Caeli received a copy on 16th January, and it is reproduced in full here.

The letter reads, in part, as follows:

As you will recall, at our Presbytery Day in September, I spoke to you about some of the challenges confronting us as priests and as a diocese. I highlighted the particular need for us to have unity in the celebration of the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist. Our unity during the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy is a continuing fulfillment of the prayer of Jesus on Holy Thursday night. On a practical level, the unity of our sacramental celebration strengthens our shared faith and limits confusion among the faithful throughout the Diocese.

Following that talk, I write now to ask for your cooperation on several matters that have since been referred to me in connection with my comments last September:

First, as I noted at that time, we are all aware of the on-going discussion surrounding the celebration of the Mass “ad orientem“. However, for the reasons I discussed at that time, and in order to underscore our unity in prayer and to avoid differences between and even within parishes on this point, I ask that no Masses be celebrated “ad orientem” without my permission.

Second, for similar reasons, in keeping with Art. 5 §1 of Summorum Pontificum, and with due regard to Art. 2 of that same document, Masses are not to be celebrated using the Extraordinary Form without my permission.

"The Lord sent us a treasure to lead us safely home": it's Pope Francis

"Song for Pope Francis composed and performed by Emily Clarke ahead of the 2018 Papal Visit to Ireland."

3 prelates appeal to prayer:

"That Pope Francis may confirm the unchanging praxis of the Church with regard to the truth of the indissolubility of marriage"

Note: We were asked to promote the following text and prayer with you, our readers, and ask you and other media to please share it far and wide. It was written by Tomash Peta, Metropolitan Archbishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana; Jan Pawel Lenga, Archbishop-Bishop emeritus of Karaganda; and Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana:

Following the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia, in some particular churches there were published norms for its application and interpretations whereby the divorced who have attempted civil marriage with a new partner, notwithstanding the sacramental bond by which they are joined to their legitimate spouse, are admitted to the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist without fulfilling the duty, established by God, of ceasing to violate the bond of their existing sacramental marriage.

Cohabitation more uxorio with a person who is not one's legitimate spouse represents, at the same time, an offense to the Covenant of Salvation, of which sacramental marriage is a sign (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2384), and an offense to the nuptial character of the Eucharistic mystery itself. Pope Benedict XVI revealed such a correlation when he wrote: "The Eucharist inexhaustibly strengthens the indissoluble unity and love of every Christian marriage. By the power of the sacrament, the marriage bond is intrinsically linked to the Eucharistic unity of Christ the Bridegroom and his Bride, the Church (cf. Eph. 5:31-32)" (Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, 27).

Pastors of the Church who tolerate or authorize, even in individual or exceptional cases,  the reception of the sacrament of the Eucharist by the divorced and so-called "remarried,” without their being clothed in the "wedding garment," despite the fact that God himself has prescribed it in Sacred Scripture (cf. Matt. 22:11 and 1 Cor. 11:28-29) as the necessary requirement for worthy participation in the nuptial Eucharistic supper, such pastors are complicit in this way with a continual offense against the sacramental bond of marriage, the nuptial bond between Christ and the Church and the nuptial bond between Christ and the individual soul who receives his Eucharistic Body.

Several particular Churches have issued or recommended pastoral guidelines with this or a similar formulation: "If then this choice [of living in continence] is difficult to practice for the stability of the couple, Amoris laetitia does not exclude the possibility of access to Penance and the Eucharist. That signifies something of an openness, as in the case where there is a moral certainty that the first marriage was null, but there are not the necessary proofs for demonstrating such in the judicial process. Therefore, there is no reason why the confessor, at a certain point, in his own conscience, after much prayer and reflection, should not assume the responsibility before God and the penitent asking that the sacraments be received in a discreet manner."

The previously mentioned pastoral guidelines contradict the universal tradition of the Catholic Church, which by means of an uninterrupted Petrine Ministry of the Sovereign Pontiffs has always been faithfully kept, without any shadow of doubt or of ambiguity, either in its doctrine or its praxis, in that which concerns the indissolubility of marriage.

The norms mentioned and pastoral guidelines contradict moreover in practice the following truths and doctrines that the Catholic Church has continually taught as being sure: 

Malta sinks

Cathedral of the Assumption, Gozo, Malta
In World War II, Malta was described as the 'unsinkable aircraft carrier'. Well, it has sunk now. The Bishops of Malta (both of them) have stated that anyone in an irregular union who feels 'at peace with God' should not be excluded from Holy Communion or from Sacramental Absolution: at least, that's what they seem to say. Readers can judge for themselves.

If, as a result of the process of discernment, undertaken with “humility, discretion and love for the Church and her teaching, in a sincere search for God’s will and a desire to make a more perfect response to it” (AL 300), a separated or divorced person who is living in a new relationship manages, with an informed and enlightened conscience, to acknowledge and believe that he or she are at peace with God, he or she cannot be precluded from participating in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (see AL, notes 336 and 351).


there are complex situations where the choice of living “as brothers and sisters” becomes humanly impossible and give rise to greater harm (see AL, note 329).

I wonder what would happen of a priest decided that an adulterer had not undertaken a process of discernment with the requisite humility? If he'd had humility, but not 'love for the Church'? Or maybe that his 'search for God's will' was not, as required, 'sincere'? Would Archbishop Scicluna congratulate such a priest for his pastoral sensitivity?

Saints of the Old Testament: Sts. Habacuc and Micheas, prophets

Even as the traditional Roman Martyrology yesterday commemorated the heavenly birthday of the prophet St. Malachias, so today the Martyrology again marks the holy deaths of two other Old Testament saints. Heading the list of this day's saints are St. Paul, the first hermit, followed by the abbot St. Maur, disciple of St. Benedict. Third in order for This Day, the Fifteenth of January, we read:

In Judaea, the holy prophets Habacuc and Michaeas, whose bodies were found by divine revelation in the days of Theodosius the Elder.

St. Ambachoum (Habacuc)

St. Augustine: "All Catholics know: Divorce is of the devil!"

At this time of immense doctrinal confusion on the indissolubility of the sacred bond of Holy Matrimony, confusion started and furthered by the uppermost echelon of the hierarchy, let us recall the words of the great Doctor of the Church, St. Augustine, in the readings for Matins of this Second Sunday after the Epiphany (unfortunately partly removed after the 1960/61 rubrical reform), whose Gospel is dedicated to the Wedding Feast of Cana:

Saints of the Old Testament: St. Malachias, prophet

With the conclusion of the Octave of the Epiphany of Our Lord yesterday, the Church now recalls a courageous defender of the doctrine of the Trinity, St. Hilary of Poitiers, and the martyr priest St. Felix of Nola. But third on the list of today's saints in the traditional Roman Martyrology is the heavenly birthday of an Old Testament saint, the holy prophet Malachias:

Vote in our new Poll: What is the true goal of Francis' 2018 "Youth and Vocation" Synod?

The Vatican today released the Pope's letter to "young people" on the 2018 Synod's preparatory document.

We make use of this occasion to ask you what the Pope and his courtly entourage are planning to use the Synod for: If two Synods for "Family" can be used to promote adultery and attack the indissolubility of marriage, what on earth can one expect from a Synod on "Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment"?

January 13: 470 years of the Decree on Justification of the Council of Trent - a Permanent Bulwark againt Protestant Heresy

The Cathedral of San Vigilio, in Trent, home of the
Sixth Session of the Council of Trent (1546-1547), in the morning of January 13, 2017

On this day, exactly 470 years ago, the August Fathers of the Sacrosanct Ecumenical Council of Trent, at the end of the sixth session, issued one of their most decisive and extensive documents, the Decree on Justification.

Justification, of course, had been the central issue of the Protestant heresies ravaging the Church in Europe since the malevolent actions of the renegade monk Martin Luther, thirty years earlier. After long debates, the Conciliar Fathers clarified all points and reaffirmed the unchangeable doctrine of the only Church of Christ on the Salvation of Souls.

The full text of the Decree is available here. The main points dealt with in the Decree can be summarized thus:

1. The Catholic Faith is the foundation of all Justification.

Motu Proprio under Threat: Traditionalists must make so much noise no one would dare touch Summorum Pontificum

Don't touch me - Noli me tangere
This from the latest blog post by Italian vaticanist Sandro Magister (along with Marco Tosatti, the top vaticanist in the current pontificate):

There are those who fear that after the demolition of “Liturgiam Authenticam,” the next objective, of this or another commission, will be the correction of “Summorum Pontificum,” the document with which Benedict XVI liberalized the celebration of the Mass in the ancient rite.

The time to agitate is now: Traditionalists around the world must make clear the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum (which was not an act of "mercy," but a mere recognition of justice and logic) cannot be touched.

Sermon for the Feast of the Holy Family - The Family under the shadow of Amoris Laetitia

Fr. Richard G. Cipolla

This is the first year that the feast of the Holy Family is being celebrated in the context and shadow of Pope Francis’  Apostolic Exhortation,  Amoris Laetitia, the Joy of Love.  The Feast of the Holy Family was added to the Church’s calendar in the first decade of the twentieth century.  To contemplate the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is indeed a good thing to do within the celebration of the Christmas season.  The bond of love that existed within this totally unique family is an example for every family to emulate.  But, as I have preached about many times, to hold up the Holy Family as a model for the what we can call normal family, is not an easy thing to do.  And when we try to apply our own situation to that of the Holy Family without acknowledging that uniqueness, we are always disappointed.