Rorate Caeli

Aldo Maria Valli interviews Pope Gregory the Great

January 16, 2018

Francisco de Zurbarán 040.jpg  

Good day Your Holiness.

Good day to you too.

Might I disturb your Holiness for a moment?

Of course.

Your are Pope Gregory, aren’t you? Gregory The First, called Gregory The Great?

In person.

Please pardon my boldness, but I’d like to interview Your Holiness.


Yes, just ask you a few questions.

Go ahead, I’ll be happy to answer them if I’m able.

Thank you, Your Holiness.  I don’t know if you’ve heard that the Equestrian Order carrying your Holiness’ name was given to a Dutch lady….

Newest U.S. basilica offers the TLM

His Excellency Michael Burbidge, bishop of Arlington, Virginia, in the U.S. announced this morning minor basilica status has been approved for the parish of Saint Mary in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.

The parish offers the traditional Latin Mass once a month, in a diocese where 15 of the 70 diocesan parishes offer a TLM, the highest percentage in the world (up from zero parishes as recently as 2006).

Rorate attended the announcement today, the culmination of an effort aided by supporters of the TLM at the first Catholic parish in the Commonwealth of Virginia. One of the many justifications for minor basilica status was George Washington's financial contribution of $1,200 (in 2018 dollars) at a 1788 fundraiser for the construction of the church, hosted by his former aide-de-camp, Colonel John Fitzgerald.

De Mattei: Is “deep sedation” a masked form of assisted suicide?

Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
January 10, 2017

Marina Ripa di Meana, the provocative exponent of the Italian jet-set who died in Rome on January 6, 2018, chose to die through deep palliative sedation, manifesting her last will and testament in a video: “After Christmas my health conditions precipitated. Breathing, speaking, eating and getting up: everything now is difficult for me, and causes me unbearable pain: the tumour has now taken complete possession of my body. Not of my mind though, or my conscience. I telephoned Maria Antonietta Farina Coscioni, a person I trust and esteem because of her personal story, to tell her that the end indeed had arrived.  I told her of my interest in assisted suicide in Switzerland. She told me that I could go the Italian way of palliative treatment through deep sedation. I, who have travelled with my mind and my body all my life, didn’t know about this way. I want to launch this message to say that even here at home or in hospital, with a tumor, people have to know that they can choose to return to the earth without [having to go through] ulterior and useless suffering. “Let it be known. Let it be known.”

Benedicite, glacies et nives, Domino . . .

Father Brian Hess offers Holy Mass ad orientem amidst the beauty of God's Creation upon an altar made of snow in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, during this week's winter expedition for the freshman class of Wyoming Catholic College.

Post title from the Benedicite, the Canticle of the Three Hebrew Children (Daniel chapter 3) -- "Bless ye the Lord, ice and snow . . . ."

Photo reposted from Diocese of Cheyenne's Facebook page to which it was supplied by Father Hess.

Basking in the glow of Epiphany: The wedding feast at Cana

In the giant new lectionary, poster-child of the liturgical reform, we find very strange things if we take pains to scratch beneath the surface. One of the most surprising, to me, was the discovery that the passage from the second chapter of the Gospel of St. John about the wedding feast at Cana—among the most picturesque, moving, and theologically profound passages in all the Gospels—is read only once every three years in the Novus Ordo (in “Year C”). In contrast, it is read every year in the old Mass, on the Second Sunday after Epiphany, where it has appeared for centuries without interruption.

March for Life TLMs in Washington, D.C.

Friday, 19 January 2018, will be the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. Pro-life speeches begin on the National Mall at 12 Street, NW, at 12 noon, followed by the peaceful walk up Constitution Avenue to the U.S. Supreme Court. Last year Vice President Mike Pence addressed the March for Life in person -- the first time any of America's top two leaders has done so in person. It is expected there will again be very high-level officials speaking in person at the March for Life at noon. (Get there early.)

UPDATE; 17 Jan.: President Trump will address the March for Life via satellite.  Speaker Paul Ryan will address the March for Life in person.

Many, many American Catholics who attend the traditional Latin Mass will be at the March for Life. To that end, Saint Mary, Mother of God church at 5th and H streets, NW, becomes the de facto hub for the day (and Sunday morning at 9 a.m. for a Missa Cantata). Several visiting priests each year offer traditional Latin Masses at the four altars in the church on the day of the March for Life.

There will be at least four traditional Latin Masses at Saint Mary's on Friday, 19 January:

1st Latin Mass in Dallas Cathedral in decades -- PLUS: Help build new FSSP church for its largest apostolate

On December 30, 2017, the Rev. Fr. Thomas Longua, FSSP, offered the first traditional Latin Mass at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Dallas, Texas. Fr. Longua is the pastor of Mater Dei in Irving, Texas, an apostolate of the Fraternity of St. Peter under the diocese of Dallas.

Dubia answered: Warning for priests treating afflicted souls, guidance on blessings by deacons

The following responses to dubia by the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" (PCED) was provided to Rorate by a source with a deep concern for the spiritual welfare of priests. We post the responses below, with an explanatory note following it, written by our source. There's also an interesting response from the PCED to whether deacons can bless using the traditional Rituale. We have edited the document only to protect the privacy of the priest who submitted the dubia:

Note from our source:

Priests that pray over afflicted souls should be aware of a potential open door.

Sermon for the Epiphany: A King of Orient tells us what the journey to Bethlehem was like

by Fr. Richard Cipolla

From the Gospel: “And they fell down and worshipped Him.”

It was one of the worst trips I had ever taken.  The snow, the cold, and then rain as soon as we got out of the mountains.  They robbed us at one of the inns; in some towns the food was not even edible. But we went on, somehow we did not give this all up, for it was still there, that star that we had seen that night many week ago now.  We searched our charts, we consulted others, and that star—there was nothing like it we had ever seen.  And so we set out, we set out in some sort of faith, looking for something, for surely that star was meant to announce something great.  We were not even sure what we were looking for.  Some said a king was to be born in the land of the Jews.  That is what one of my companions had heard, and it was this king that we set out to find.  Or was it? 

Mass for Vocations at the Pantheon

Mass will be offered in Rome at the Basilica of St. Mary and All Martyrs on the Feast of St. Polycarp, January 26, at 6:00 pm. The Basilica is housed in the historic Pantheon - a temple erected by the ancient Romans to venerate all pagan gods. It has been a Catholic church since A.D. 609 when Byzantine emperor Phocas donated it to Pope Boniface IV who had it consecrated. The Mass will be offered by Fr. Matthieu Raffray of the Institute of the Good Shepherd. Those who will be in Rome at the time are urged to show their support for this worthy intention by assisting at the Mass.

Archbishop Sample to offer TLM at basilica shrine in D.C.

A few months ago we shared the news on a pontifical High Mass to be celebrated on 28 April 2018 in the upper church at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.  We are pleased to now be able to make public the celebrant, His Excellency Alexander Sample, the archbishop of Portland, Oregon.

[UPDATE]: A new Mass -- and an amazing story

Rorate disclaimer: as it has happened in such occasions in the past, our readers know that we post information we consider useful even if we deeply disagree, in fundamental and non-negotiable principles, with their authors. That is the case, for instance, when we post encouraging news from the Eastern Orthodox. Or Sedevacantists.


By Rev. Anthony Cekada

In an August 31, 2017 article on Rorate, I told the rather amazing story of how at age 15 our young organist, Andrew Richesson, had composed an impressive and stirring musical setting of the Ordinary of Mass.

At the time the article appeared, only two sections of the Mass, the Kyrie and the Sanctus, had been recorded by a choir. For the rest of the work, Rorate readers were provided with a computer-generated audio of the score on Andrew’s YouTube channel.

I am happy to report that our choir at St. Gertrude the Great Church in West Chester, Ohio, has now recorded the entire work. We premiered it at Midnight Mass on Christmas 2017, and sang it again the following Sunday, December 31. 

[UPDATE]: IMPORTANT: Bishop Athanasius Schneider interview with Rorate Caeli on "Profession of the Immutable Truths", communion for "divorced and remarried"

SECOND UPDATE 1/6/18: His Excellency Andreas Laun, former Auxiliary Bishop of Salzburg, has now signed on.

UPDATE 1/5/18: Bishop Schneider tells us that Cardinal Janis Pujats, Archbishop Metropolitan of Riga/Latvia, added his signature to the text of the "Profession of Immutable Truths." Good Bishops and Princes of the Church, stand up up for the truth. Stand up for Christ and sign on!

Bishop Athanasius Schneider -- auxiliary of Astana, Kazakhstan, and one of the original three drafters of this week's Profession of the Immutable Truths in response to Amoris Laetitia and Pope Francis' official approval granting Holy Communion to some "divorced and remarried" Catholics -- participated in an interview with Rorate Caeli after the document's release.

You can read more on the original document here. We urge all Catholic media and blogs to run this interview in full -- but please reference Rorate Caeli as the source. 

RORATE CAELI (RC): Your Excellency has personally been out in front in terms of restoration of the traditional liturgy for many years. Now Your Excellency, Archbishop Peta and Archbishop Lenga have come out publicly, and forcibly, in defense of marriage in the aftermath of Amoris Laetitia. Why did the three of you decide now was the time to respond? 

BISHOP ATHANASIUS SCHNEIDER (BAS): After the publication of Amoris Laetitia, several bishops and Bishops’ Conferences started to issue “pastoral” norms regarding the so-called “divorced and remarried”. One has to say that, for a Catholic, there is no divorce because a valid sacramental bond of a ratified and consumed marriage is absolutely indissoluble and even the bond of a natural marriage is per se indissoluble as well. Furthermore, for a Catholic, there is only one valid marriage being his legitimate spouse still alive. Therefore, one cannot speak of a “re-marriage” in this case.

The expression “divorced and remarried” is consequently deceptive and misleading. Since this expression is commonly known, we use it only in quotation marks and with the previous remark “so-called”. The mentioned pastoral norms regarding the so- called “divorced and remarried” -- norms masked with a rhetoric bordering on sophism -- foresee ultimately the admittance of the “divorced and remarried” to Holy Communion without the requirement of the indispensable and Divinely established condition that they may not violate their sacred marriage bond through their habitual sexual relationship with a person who is not their legitimate spouse. A certain peak has reached in this process of implicit recognition of divorce in the life of the Church, when Pope Francis ordered to publish in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, his letter of approval of similar norms which issued the bishops of the Pastoral Region of Buenos Aires.

This act was followed by a declaration that this papal approval would belong to the authentic Magisterium of the Church. In view of such pastoral norms which contradict Divine Revelation with its absolute disapproval of divorce and contradict also the teaching and sacramental practice of the infallible Ordinary and Universal Magisterium of the Church, we were forced by our conscience, as successors of the Apostles, to raise our voice and to reiterate the immutable doctrine and practice of the Church regarding the indissolubility of the sacramental marriage.

Guest Op-Ed: Epiphany reflections on the Christian vocation

By Veronica A. Arntz

The Gospels tell us very little about the wise men, or the Magi, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, who came from the East to worship the newborn Christ Child. While tradition says that there were three of them, named Balthasar, Melchior, and Jaspar, we do not even have knowledge of that from the Scriptures.[1] What we do know is that these wise men, who were Gentiles, followed a star in the heavens so that they could come to Bethlehem to worship Christ, the King of Israel. In reflecting on the event of the Magi, we can learn something about our own vocation, namely, that God calls us out of our comfort to pursue him in a radical way, following the royal road of the Cross. 

EVENT: Pontifical High Mass with Bishop Libasci for the Epiphany

The first pontifical Mass in the U.S. Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, since the creation of the novus ordo will be offered tomorrow on the feast of the Epiphany of our Lord.

His Excellency Peter A. Libasci, the local ordinary, has been a great friend of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter there, inviting them into his diocese in 2016 and visiting the newly established personal parish of Saint Stanislaus in Nashua, New Hampshire, several times, even sitting in choir on Good Friday last year.

EVENT: Solemn High Mass with Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in Kansas City

EVENT: Pontifical Mass with Card. Burke for the Epiphany - Tomorrow, in Rome

On the Feast of the Epiphany, Saturday 6 January 2018 at 11 a.m., His Eminence the Most Reverend Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke will celebrate a Pontifical Mass at the Parish of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) in Rome, Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini.

#TBT: Lex orandi, lex credendi

On "Throw Back Thursday," a gentle reminder that none of what's happening during this pontificate should come as a surprise to you, as it has never been a surprise to us. 

Pope Francis and the Perplexed Secularists

Bergoglio has been criticized by traditionalists for his Christmas homily, but over the years some [noted] secularists have raised some perplexity about the Pontiff’s actions

Francesco Boezi

Pope Francis is at the center of controversy because of his Christmas homily. His combination of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem for the Birth of Jesus and the theme of immigrants has been questioned by traditionalists.

Reminder: Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society

This is our monthly reminder to please enroll Souls of the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society. Over the last 30 days we've added one new wonderful priest dedicated to bringing relief to loved ones enrolled by our readers. We now stand at 86 priests saying weekly or monthly traditional Latin Masses for the Souls. Come on Fathers, let's get this to 100! 

** 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.

For the Record: Full translation of Benedict XVI letter of support to Müller after dismissal by Francis -- plus: Ratzinger explains the liturgical revolution

A happy 2018 to all our readers!

Full translation below:

Your Eminence, dear Confrere

Your seventieth birthday is approaching and even if I’m no longer able to write a true scientific contribution to the miscellany that will be dedicated to you on this occasion, I’d like nonetheless to participate with some words of greeting and gratitude.