31 January 2024

Fiducia Supplicans: A Crisis of Trust

'How can young priests take older prelates seriously if the latter do not return the favor or, rather, if they do not begin with an advance of trust in the young clergy.'

From Crisis

By Msgr Hans Feichtinger, STD, PhD

The current reactions to Fiducia Supplicans constitute an outbreak of a crisis of trust toward the Holy See that has been lingering for years.

Iremain amazed and puzzled by how the publication of Fiducia Supplicans is affecting the Church—and by how the responses to it still seem to be under-perceived, downplayed, or ignored. Negative reactions to the document, and against specific contents of the document, have been strong, including those from entire bishops’ conferences and large numbers of priests and lay people. 

Ignoring the vehemence and the reasons behind these reactions is not the way forward. Neither is it promising to continue demanding that people just read the text again. And it also will not be enough to remind Catholics, and priests in particular, of their loyalty and obedience to the Holy Father. Some reactions may have sounded a bit hysterical—in our world this seems unavoidable—but it does not make the substantial problems less severe, which are both doctrinal and pastoral.

The document, as Cardinal Fernández himself has made clear, is substantially his own work and allegedly follows indications received from Pope Francis who, by approving it, is responsible for it anyway. Moreover, the ever-popular game to blame the media for misrepresenting Vatican texts must stop—first, because if anyone is continually misrepresented, that becomes his own problem; second, because in this case there actually was not much misrepresentation. The fact that secular media home in on certain aspects of the document is hardly surprising and not as bad as apologetic prelates want it to be.

The document has severe flaws, as numerous voices in the Church have explained. Its attempt to put a lot of distance between blessings “of couples” and “of unions” is a stretch, or even sophistic. You cannot convincingly separate the action (blessing of a couple) from its meaning (blessing two individuals). Even the alleged distinction between spontaneous, pastoral, non-scripted blessings and the more solemn, formal, liturgical ones, remains specious. Finally, such spontaneous blessings are not new, and—like the ritual ones—have always had descending and ascending aspects. Those different aspects, however, do not create two separate kinds of blessings.

Pastorally, the very serious question is what the blessings for irregular, and even more for homoerotic, unions are supposed to be good for. Stabilizing such unions, in many cases, is questionable. The most recent attempts by Cardinal Fernández to explain the new blessings as a prayer to liberate couples from anything contrary to the Gospel make them, in part, into something like an exorcism—is that really what we are going for? The hope that the solution proposed here will remove the issue from ongoing synodal and ecclesial debates will not be fulfilled.

In reality, as is evident from how this document is being debated and (not) received in the worldwide Church, this is not about pastoral care but about tensions among bishops, and between bishops (conferences) and the Holy See. It is about a pernicious crisis of trust among the members of the hierarchy, the College of Cardinals very much included. It is also about a lack of trust among priests toward bishops and the Holy See, which is the most relevant issue here, because, after all, these blessings are supposed to be given by priests. 

The lack of consultation among bishops and priests in the process of elaborating this text is tragic, revealing, and a bit terrifying. Becoming a “more synodal” Church cannot mean creating an ever less synodal Vatican. Neither must it mean excluding priests (in parish ministry) at the degree we see currently at the Synod of Bishops 2023-24 (otherwise significantly enlarged with laypeople and religious).

A number of bishops, also in Rome, view the younger generation of priests with skepticism and/or condescension. Often, what prelates criticize about them is psychologically shallow and theologically weak. Such disdain will not build up a culture of trust, cooperation, and obedience; and as a formation strategy, it will fail. 

How can young priests take older prelates seriously if the latter do not return the favor or, rather, if they do not begin with an advance of trust in the young clergy. After all, are we not praying for an increase in vocations? It seems very hard for some bishops to believe that God might call men to the priesthood who are not like they have been. It should be obvious that such an attitude pulls out the rug under anyone who claims to be close to the teachings of Vatican II or a proponent of synodality, not to mention that it may just be a lack of trust in God’s providence.

The current reactions to Fiducia Supplicans constitute an outbreak of a crisis of trust toward the Holy See that has been lingering for years. The document erodes the pope’s own influence (auctoritas). Exercising pastoral leadership based mostly on formal authority (potestas) never bears fruit; this applies to the ministry of the Holy Father, even when it comes with the threat of schism and its consequences.

For where we are today, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of Faith bears particular responsibility. The new document on blessings presents itself as doctrinally traditional while introducing a change of practice. Consciously or not, in doing so it introduces a problematic separation between what the Church does and what she believes/teaches. The Holy See cannot just issue policy changes like a civil government, not even if these changes are based on pastoral intentions and visions of the pope himself. 

The claim that the changes proposed are built, somehow, on a continual “development” of the Church’s doctrine and practice is not legitimate. First, because such a claim introduces the notion of a doctrinal change through the back door of a new practice; second, because the idea of a development of dogma/doctrine is a theological model to explain, retrospectively, how what the Church has come to believe over centuries is coherent with the Gospel, and with divine revelation more generally. 

Making this idea into a tool of the magisterium and of Church governance is theologically questionable. The role of the magisterium is not to create a balance between demands of older and contemporary views, or between more forward leaning and more conservative people: all these are political concepts or diplomatic methods inadequate to the ecclesial questions, which must be addresses with the firm conviction that doctrinal and pastoral considerations cannot be opposed to each other and can be resolved only with confident trust in the wisdom handed on to us through the sacred tradition. In our “rich white” countries, we also need more humility in how we involve the churches in poorer parts of the world: our “development,” societal and economic, comes with a lot of corruption.

I believe that behind the divergent positions taken vis-à-vis the document there are divergent views on what evangelization is. So, the good news here is that in the Church today evangelization is on everyone’s mind. But we need to agree more deeply on how evangelization is essentially tied to conversion, even if the Church can live with a certain spectrum of interpretations. But one thing needs to be clearer than it is right now: there is no Christendom without Christianity. If we talk about the Church’s “presence and relevance” in (postmodern) societies, we must recognize that this is the language of power, a political concept, based on a postmodern version of Christendom that prevents us from truly doing the work of evangelization. 

For our pastoral (and liturgical) ministry, considerations of moral relevance, pastoral or political influence are not primary; what comes first, instead, is trust in God’s revelation and providence. The current debate is not about theory vs. practice but about making sure that God’s will is normative and primary for us, both its challenges and its consolations. Unless we get that right, we will lose all our relevance and influence, and—what is more important and tragic—we will betray the mission Christ has entrusted to us, giving up faith in His saving truth and power. In short, we will sacrifice Christianity on the altar of (a misguided understanding of, or yearning for) Christendom. 

I am not convinced this document can be salvaged by more explanations trying to make up for its lack of lucidity. It will be hard to live with it if it simply remains in place. The way forward is to admit mistakes were made, also because synodal traditions of the Roman Curia were not observed, and thus give an example of how synodality itself is only fruitful if it is faithful. Doctrinal statements from Rome cannot be content with being “not heretical or blasphemous”; they must leave no doubt whatsoever about their fidelity to Scripture and Tradition. As Pope Francis himself recently said: What counts is “the Lord, not our own ideas or our own projects.”

I am a Culturalist

Yesterday, I shared Gary Potter's essay on 'civilisationists'. As I mentioned, I've been using 'culturalist' in the same sense for years. My use of the word goes back to my early days as a man of the legitimist monarchist Right.

Mr Potter defined 'civilisationist' as 'an individual who embraces the history, customs and traditions of a place and people — his homeland or region and countrymen — in contrast and opposition to the economic and political globalist. He believes in rootedness and identity. He also thinks fences make for good neighbours.'

I would go farther. My definition of a 'culturalist' is an individual who is convinced that the Græco-Roman Catholic Civilisation and Culture of Christendom is the highest point that mankind has ever reached in his development. 

In those early days on the Right, I was publishing a small 'review' of my own and had a few articles published in other Catholic Counter-Revolutionary publications. I was contacted by the founder of the 'World Union of Europeans' who hoped to recruit me.

I did my due diligence research and discovered that the WUE was a neo-Nazi group founded by an ex-Wehrmacht soldier. I told him I wasn't interested in co-operating and he accused me of being afraid of being called a racist.

I responded, saying that I had been called a racist, a fascist, and other choice epithets used by the Left to attack those they disagreed with without it affecting me in the least.

I then added that the basic difference between us is that he would consider an Albanian Muslim who ritually slaughtered his goat in his living room a 'European' and I would not.

On the other hand, I would consider a black man from the old French colony of Equatorial Africa, educated in a French-style lycée, steeped in the classics and French history and literature and who attends the Traditional Latin Mass a European and he would not.

At about the same time, I was contacted by Alain de Benoist, one of the founders of the French Nouvelle Droit and leader of the ethno-nationalist think tank GRECE, another neo-Nazi racist movement with a dollop of paganism thrown in, again soliciting my co-operation. I responded to him in much the same terms.

My Apologies

Since I'm sharing these in reverse chronological order, I must say I haven't noticed any particular lack of posts after Christmas 2011.

From The Mad Monarchist (23 December 2011)

My apologies to all but it may be fairly slim pickings here at the Mad Monarchist for a while. With everyone else on Christmas vacation around here, I'm having to work overtime and have had little time to make much progress on the blog. I have exhausted my 'ready to post' articles, which I try to have done ahead of time to allow for the occasional hiccup, so while I will try to do what I can, with all of the extra demands on my time (and a few minor family disasters) it might take until after the holiday break for things to get back to normal. I am sorry if this disappoints anyone and I appreciate everyone for your attention and your understanding.
-The Mad Monarchist

Bishop Challoner's Meditations ~ February 1st


Consider first, that although there be no manner of comparison between the guilt of a mortal sin and that of a venial sin, as there is no manner of comparison between a mote and a beam, Matt. vii. 3, yet the guilt even of the venial sin, considering that it is an offence to a God infinitely great and infinitely good, is so displeasing in his sight that no soul that is stained with it can ever be admitted into his presence till this guilt is purged away, and no man living can be allowed, by any power in heaven or on earth, to commit any one venial sin, no, not to save a kingdom, or even to save the whole world; because the offence to God is a greater evil than the loss of the whole world; and we are not to do anything that is evil to save the whole world. Christians, do you think of this when, upon every trifling apprehension of incurring the displeasure of man, you take refuge in a lie, which is sure to displease your God? Do you think of this when you go on with so little concern, indulging yourselves in vanity, curiosity, sensuality, loss of your precious time, anger, impatience, and other sinful habits, upon the notion that these are but venial sins, and therefore need not be regarded? Oh! you will find one day to your cost how much you have been deceived if you do not correct in time this dangerous and pernicious error.

Consider 2ndly, the danger to which the soul exposes herself when she makes light of venial sins; even the danger of the very worst of evils, that is, of mortals in, and of all its dreadful consequences, both for time and eternity: according to that of the wise man, Ecclus. xix., 'He that contemneth small things shall fall by little and little.' It is true, venial sin does not of itself immediately destroy, or drive away from the soul, the grace and love of God, and therefore does not of itself bring present death to the soul, as mortal sin does; but then it weakens and cools the fervour of divine love; it lessens devotion; it hinders the inspirations of the Holy Ghost from working effectually in the soul; it leaves the soul feeble and drowsy, sick and languishing; so that upon the coming of a greater temptation she easily yields, and quickly falls into mortal sin. and how can we expect it should be otherwise when we have so little regard for God, or his friendship and love, as not to care how much we displease him, provided we can but escape his avenging justice? Or how can the fire of the love of God be kept alive for any long time in the soul when, instead of being nourished with its proper fuel, it is continually losing ground by a diminution of its heat and strength? 

Consider 3rdly, that this danger of falling quickly into mortals sin, by making little or no account of venial sins, is the greater because of the difficulty there often is in distinguishing between what is mortal sin and what is only venial; since even the best divines are often at a loss to find the limits between the one and the other. So that all such as are in the unhappy disposition of venturing, without scruple, as far as the utmost limit of venial sin can be extended, are daily exposed to an evident danger of slipping beyond the bounds, and falling into the pit of mortal sin; the more because of the manifold subtleties and deceits of self-love, which is ever ready to favour and to excuse the inclinations of corrupt nature, and in all such cases to make that appear slight which is really grievous; and the more so when persons give themselves up to a tepid, negligent life, as they generally do who make light of venial sins; for this negligence takes the soul off her guard, disarms her, and lays her interior open to the spiritual sins of pride, envy, and such like disorders, which are mortal sins, and which easily prevail over careless souls, and are seldom thoroughly cured.

Conclude with a sincere resolution of never wilfully, and with full deliberation, consenting to anyone known sin, how venial soever it may seem to be, and much more, of never indulging any habit or custom of any such sin. 'Tis hard to reconcile the indulging such habits as these with the great commandment of the love of God above all things; at least it cannot be expected that divine love should abide to dwell for any long time in a heart where God is so often slighted.

1 February, Antonio, Cardinal Bacci: Meditations For Each Day

True Peace

1. Everybody desires peace, but very few people possess it. A good many profound and beautiful definitions have been attempted. Cicero called it "tranquilla libertas," which one might translate as "undisturbed freedom." His general idea was that there can be no peace without liberty. St. Augustine defined it as "hominum ordinata concordia" (De. Civ. Dei, XIX, 13) or "ordered agreement among men." St. Thomas followed on the same lines when he said that peace was "tranquillitas ordinis" (Summa, II-II, q. 29, a. 1 ad. 1) or "tranquillity of order." There are three necessary elements in peace. They are order, harmony, and liberty. Right order is the most important. Everything in us must be in its proper place. As we have shown in the preceding meditation, our lower faculties must be entirely subordinate to right reason, and this must be completely subject to the law of God.

Every act of rebellion against this proper order creates confusion in our nature and makes peace impossible. Furthermore, there must be harmony and agreement. This means that our minds must voluntarily accept and embrace this just order, and not merely endure it with reluctance. As St. Thomas says, peace is an act of charity; it comes indirectly from justice and directly from charity. (Summa, II-II, q. 29; a. 1, ad. 3) We have perfect peace when this just order holds sway within us, provided that we are not enduring it as if it were a yoke, but lovingly accepting it under the inspiration of divine charity. This is that genuine peace which gives us the liberty of the sons of God, that freedom from evil with which Christ has set us free. (Cf. Gal. 4:31; 2 Cor. 3:17) True peace flourishes in an atmosphere of goodness and perishes when it encounters evil. Whether it is in the field of social relations or in the spiritual life, peace without liberty is not peace at all, but slavery and death.

2. When He came into the world, Jesus proclaimed peace. The Angels hovering over His humble manger sang songs of glory to God on high and of peace to men of good will on earth. During His earthly pilgrimage He often spoke of peace. When He forgave sinners their faults, He said to each of them: “Go in peace,” and “sin no more.” (Luke 7:50; 8:48; John 8:11) When He was leaving this earth He bequeathed His peace to His Apostles as if it were a sacred heirloom: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. (John 14:27) We can see from these words that the peace of Jesus is not the same as worldly peace. The Church in its liturgy implores from God that peace which the world cannot give. When the world speaks of peace, it means normally the external, public peace which flows from respect for the law and for the established regime. This is peace; there is no doubt about that. It is necessary and is a gift from God. But it is not enough. We need the inner peace of soul of which we have already spoken, for it is the only true and solid foundation for external peace. Without this peace of soul, external peace is uncertain and fleeting. We have said that true peace is based on three things: Right order, harmony, and liberty. But in order to obtain full and perfect peace still one more thing is necessary; complete and loving abandonment to the will of God. The beginning of real peace and holiness lies in doing the will of God in every detail. The perfection of peace and holiness is to do the will of God in everything purely from love for Him. Dante expresses this profound idea when he describes the peace of the blessed in Heaven, now unshakable in their joyful compliance with the divine will.

"E la sua volontate é nostra pace:
Ella é quel mare, al qual tutto si move
ciò ch' ella crea e che natura face."
(Paradiso, III, 85-87)

"His will is our repose:
He is the ocean into which everything flows
Which He has created in the universe."

3. This absolute and loving abandonment to the will of God in all things brings complete inner peace, but it does not exclude conflict. Interior peace is the result of the practice of virtue and therefore of the struggle against evil. When Our Lord had repeated several times that He had given us His peace, He said also: “Do not think that I have come to send peace upon the earth; I have come to bring a sword, not peace.” (Mt. 10:34) These apparently contradictory words of Our Lord are explained by the fact that the peace of Jesus does not consist in inactivity, but demands action and strife and the conquest of evil. It is a militant peace which Our Lord desires us to possess. Only when we have controlled our passions, when we have made our wills entirely subject to the will of God and have renounced ourselves so that the justice and charity of Jesus Christ can triumph in us, only then shall we reach those serene heights where storms from below cannot come near us and the peace of God reigns supreme.

We find examples of this true and perfect peace among the Saints, Martyrs and Apostles. We read of the Apostles that “they departed... rejoicing that they had been counted worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.” (Acts 5:41) This is an example of that genuine peace which is the result of victory in the combat against evil and of complete and loving submission to the will of God.

Eastern Rite - Feasts of 1 February AM 7532

Today is the Forefeast of the Encounter and the Feast of the Holy Martyr Tryphon.


The Typikon should be consulted if the Forefeast falls on the Sunday of the Pharisee, the Publican, or Meatfare.

Because of the Forefeast of the Meeting of the Lord, the service to Saint Tryphon (February 1) may be moved to Compline or to another day, as the Pastor decides, unless the parish is dedicated to Saint Tryphon, or there is a particular devotion to him.

Troparion — Tone 1

The celestial choir of heavenly angels / bends down to the earth / and sees the First-born of all creation / being carried into the Temple as a babe / by a Mother who has not known man, / and in amazement sings with us / a pre-festal hymn.

Kontakion — Tone 6

The Word, unseen with the Father, / now is seen in the flesh, ineffably born of the Virgin, / and is given into the arms of the priest and Elder. / Let us worship Him, our True God.

The Martyr Tryphon was born in Phrygia, one of the districts of Asia Minor, in the village of Lampsacus. From his early years, the Lord granted him the power to cast out demons and to heal various maladies. He once saved the inhabitants of his native city from starvation. Saint Tryphon, by the power of his prayer, turned back a plague of locusts that were devouring the grain and devastating the fields.

Saint Tryphon gained particular fame by casting out an evil spirit from the daughter of the Roman emperor Gordian (238-244). Helping everyone in distress, he asked only one thing from them: faith in Jesus Christ, by Whose grace he healed them.

When the emperor Decius (249-251) assumed the imperial throne, he began a fierce persecution of Christians. Someone reported to the commander Aquilinus that Saint Tryphon was boldly preaching faith in Christ and that he led many to Baptism. The saint was arrested and subjected to interrogation, during which he fearlessly confessed his faith.

He was subjected to harsh tortures: they beat him with clubs, raked his body with iron hooks, scorched his flesh with fire, and led him through the city after iron nails were hammered into his feet. Saint Tryphon bravely endured all the torments without complaint.

Finally, he was condemned to beheading with a sword. The holy martyr prayed before his execution, thanking God for strengthening him in his sufferings. He also asked the Lord to bless those who should call upon his name for help. Just as the soldiers raised the sword over the head of the holy martyr, he surrendered his soul into the hands of God. This event occurred in the city of Nicea in the year 250.

Christians wrapped the holy body of the martyr in a clean shroud and wanted to bury him in the city of Nicea, where he suffered, but Saint Tryphon in a vision commanded them to take his body to his native land to the village of Lampsacus. Later on, the relics of Saint Tryphon were transferred to Constantinople, and then to Rome.

In Russia, Saint Tryphon is regarded as the patron saint of birds. There is a story that when Tsar Ivan the Terrible was out hunting, his falconer carelessly allowed the Tsar’s favourite falcon to fly away. The Tsar ordered the falconer Tryphon Patrikeiev to find the bird within three days, or else he would be put to death. Tryphon searched all through the forest, but without luck.

On the third day, exhausted by long searching, he returned to Moscow to the place called Marinaya Grove. Overcome with weariness, he lay down to rest, fervently praying to his patron saint, the Martyr Tryphon, for help.

In a dream he saw a youth on a white horse, holding the Tsar’s falcon on his hand. The youth said, “Take the lost bird, go to the Tsar and do not grieve.” When he awakened, the falconer actually spotted the falcon on a pine tree. He took it to the Tsar and told him about the miraculous help he received from the holy Martyr Tryphon. Grateful to Saint Tryphon for saving his life, Tryphon Patrikeiev built a chapel on the spot where the saint appeared. Later on, he also built a church dedicated to the holy Martyr Tryphon in Moscow.

The holy martyr is greatly venerated in the Russian Catholic Church as the heavenly protector of Moscow. Many Russian icons depict the saint holding a falcon on his arm.

Troparion — Tone 4

Your holy martyr Tryphon, O Lord, / through his suffering has received an incorruptible crown from You, our God. / For having Your strength, he laid low his adversaries, / and shattered the powerless boldness of demons. / Through his intercessions, save our souls!

Kontakion — Tone 8

By the power of the Trinity you destroyed polytheism to the ends of the earth, / and you were honoured by Christ, all-glorious Tryphon; / having conquered tyrants through Christ the Savior, / you received your crown of martyrdom and the gift of divine healing, for you are invincible.


IN LUMINE FIDEI: 1 FEBRUARY – SAINT IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH (Bishop and...: Ignatius was the third Bishop of the Church of Antioch, Saint Peter the Apostle being the first. During the persecution under Trajan he...


IN LUMINE FIDEI: 1 FEBRUARY – THURSDAY OF SEPTUAGESIMA WEEK: Lesson – Genesis iv. 1‒16 And Adam knew his wife, and she conceived and bare Cain, and said: “I have gotten a man from God.” And she...

1 February, The Chesterton Calendar


Many modern Englishmen talk of themselves as the sturdy descendants of their sturdy Puritan fathers. As a fact, they would run away from a cow. If you asked one of their Puritan fathers, if you asked Bunyan, for instance, whether he was sturdy, he would have answered with tears, that he was as weak as water. And because of this he would have borne tortures.


1 February, The Holy Rule of St Benedict, Patriarch of Western Monasticism


CHAPTER VII. Of Humility

1 Feb. 2 June. 2 Oct.

The fourth degree of humility is, that if in this very obedience hard and contrary things, nay even injuries, are done to him, he should embrace them patiently with a quiet conscience, and not grow weary or give in, as the Scripture saith: “He that shall persevere to the end shall be saved.” And again: “Let thy heart be comforted, and wait for the Lord.” And shewing how the faithful man ought to bear all things, however contrary, for the Lord, it saith in the person of the afflicted: “For Thee we suffer death all the day long; we are esteemed as sheep for the slaughter.” And secure in their hope of the divine reward, they go on with joy, saying: “But in all these things we overcome, through Him Who hath loved us.” And so in another place Scripture saith: “Thou hast proved us, O God; Thou hast tried us as silver is tried by fire; Thou hast led us into the snare, and hast laid tribulation on our backs.” And in order to shew that we ought to be under a superior, it goes on to say: “Thou hast placed men over our heads.” Moreover, fulfilling the precept of the Lord by patience in adversities and injuries, they who are struck on one cheek offer the other: to him who taketh away their coat they leave also their cloak; and being forced to walk one mile, they go two. With Paul the Apostle, they bear with false brethren, and bless those that curse them.

2 February, The Roman Martyrology

Quarto Nonas Februárii Luna vicésima secúnda Anno Dómini 2024

The morrow is the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which by the Greeks is called the Hypapante that is, the Presentation of the Lord.
February 2nd 2024, the 22nd day of the Moon, were born into the better life:

At Rome, upon the Salarian Way, (in the fourth century,) the holy martyr Apronian. He was a notary, who, while he was a Gentile, was leading the holy Licinius out of prison to present him before the Prefect Laodicius, when he heard a voice from heaven saying, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom which is prepared for you from the foundation of the world," whereupon he believed, and was baptized, and was afterwards put to death confessing the Lord.
Likewise at Rome, the holy martyrs Fortunatus, Felician, Firmus, and Candidus.
At Caesarea, in Palestine, (in the first century,) the holy centurion Cornelius, who was baptized by the holy Apostle St Peter, and by him also raised to be Bishop in that city.
At Orleans, holy Flosculus, (about the year 500), Bishop of that see.
At Canterbury, in England, holy Laurence, (in the year 619,) Archbishop of that see, which he governed in succession to holy Augustin, and converted king Ethelbert himself to the faith. We keep his feast upon the morrow after.
At Prato, in Tuscany, the holy Florentine Virgin Katherine di Ricci, of the Order of Friars Preachers, eminent for the abundance of her gifts from heaven, whose name the Supreme Pontiff Bendict XIV. enrolled among those of holy virgins.
℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.
℟. Thanks be to God.

Meme of the Moment ~ Secundus

A lesson the Left has taken to heart!

Meme of the Moment ~ Primus

Today is his Feast Day.

Ss John & Cyrus, the Physicians: Butler's Lives of the Saints


From St Thomas Aquinas Seminary. You may follow the Office at Divinum Officium.

St Francesco Saverio Maria Bianchi: Butler's Lives of the Saints

St John Bosco: Butler's Lives of the Saints

Possible Pope Francis II Demands The Faithful Submit To Fiducia Supplicans

The Holy Rosary

Wednesday, the Glorious Mysteries, in Latin with Cardinal Burke.

Crusader Kings: Richard the Lion Heart, Stupor Mundi and Saint Louis

The Catholic Vision Of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings

With Paul Gondreau, STD, Professor of Theology, Providence College.

Diabolical Bishops Prepare For Lent With New Blasphemy And Sacrilege

Prayer for the Conversion of England

"With full confidence we call upon these (Our Lady, St Peter and St George) to be our pleaders before the throne of God that receiving the joy of ancient days, it may fill you with all joy and peace in believing" Apostolic Letter of Pope Leo XIII to the English People, 14 April 1895."

The following prayer was also indulgenced on the same occasion.

O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and our own most gentle Queen and Mother, look down in mercy upon England, thy Dowry, and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in thee. Through thee it was that Jesus our Saviour and our Hope was given unto the world; and he hath given thee to us that we might hope still more. Plead for us thy children, whom thou didst receive and accept at the foot of the Cross, O sorrowful Mother. Intercede for our separated English brethren, that they may be united with us in the one true Fold. Pray for us all, dear Mother, that by faith fruitful in good works, we may all deserve to see and praise God together with thee in our heavenly home. Amen.

Ad sanctissimom Virginem pro Anglis fratribus precatio. O beata Virgo Maria, Mater Dei, Regina nostra et Mater dulcissima bcnigna oculos tuos convcrto ad Angliam, quae “Dos” tua vocatur; a convorto ad nos, qui magna in te fiducia confidimus. Per te datus est Christus Salvator mundi, in quo spes nostra consisterct; ab Ipso autem tu data es nobis, per quam spes eadem augeretur. Eia igitur, ora pro nobis, quos tibi apud crucem Domini excepisti filios, o perdolens Mater: intercede pro fratribus dissidentibus, ut nobiscum in unico vero Ovili adjungantur summo Pastori, Vicario in terris Filii tui. Pro nobis omnibus depreccare, o Mater piissima, ut per fidem, bonis operibus fecundam, mercamur tecum omnes contemplari Deum in coelesti patria et collaudare per secula. Amen.

Amantissimae Voluntatis ~ Pope Leo XIII's Apostolic Letter to the English People, 1895


Health and Peace in the Lord.

Some time since, in an Apostolic letter to princes and peoples, we addressed the English in common with other nations, but we have greatly desired to do this by a special letter and thus give to the illustrious English race a token of our sincere affection. This wish had been kept alive by the hearty good will we have always felt towards your people, whose great deeds in olden times the history of the Church declares. We were yet more moved by not infrequent conversations with your countrymen, who testified to the kindly feel­ing of the English towards us personally, and above all to their anxiety for peace and eternal salvation through unity of Faith. God is our witness how keen is our wish that some effort of ours might tend to assist and further the, great work of obtaining the re­union of Christendom; and we render thanks to God, who has so far prolonged our life, that we may make an endeavour in this direction. But since, as is but right, we place our confidence of a happy issue principally and above all in the wonderful power of God’s grace, we have with full consideration determin­ed to invite all Englishman, who glory in the Christian name, to this same work, and exhort them to lift up their hearts to God with us, to fix their trust in Him, and to seek from Him the help necessary in such a matter by assiduous diligence in holy prayer.

Papal Solicitude for England.

The love and care of the Roman Pontiffs for England has been traditional from the days of our holy pre­decessor Gregory the Great. Religion and humanity generally, and especially the English nation, owe him a deep debt of gratitude. Although prevented, by the Divine call to yet higher duty, from himself undertaking the apostolic labour “of converting the Anglo-Saxons, as he had proposed to do whilst still a monk, his mind remained intent upon this great and salutary design” (Joann. Diac. in vita ejus, c. ii. 33), nor did he rest until it was accomplished. For from that monastic family which he had formed in learning and holiness of life in his own house he sent a chosen band under the leadership of Augustine to be the messengers of grace, wisdom, and civilization to those who were still buried in paganism. And relying as he did on Divine help his hope grew stronger under difficulty, until at length he saw his work crowned with success. He himself writes of this in tones of triumphant joy in reply to St. Augustine, who had sent him the news of the happy result: “Glory be to God on high and on earth peace to men of good will. To Christ be the glory in whose death we live; by whose weakness we are strong, in the love of whom we seek in Britain those brethren whom we knew not; by whose mercy we have found those whom knowing not we sought. Who can tell what gladness filled the hearts of all here to know that the English race, by the workings of the grace of God Almighty, and by your labours, my brother, has been illuminated by the light of our holy Faith, which expels the darkness of error, and has with free mind trodden underfoot those idols to which aforetime they were subject in ‘foolish fear” (Epist. c. xi., 28, al c. xi., 58). And congratulating Ethelbert, King of Kent, and Bertha his Queen, in a letter ful1 of affection, in that they imitated St. Helen, of illustrious memory, and Constantine, the devout Emperor” (ib. c. xi., 66, al. c. xi., 60, c. xi., 29, al c. ix., 59), he strengthens them and their people with salutary admonitions. Nor did he cease for the rest of his life to foster and develop their faith in instructions dictated by holy prudence. Thus Christianity, which the Church had conveyed to Britain, and spread and defended there against rising heresy;” after having been blotted out by the invasion of heathen races, was now by the care of Gregory happily restored.

Having resolved to address this letter to the English people, we recall at once these great and glorious events in the annals of the Church, which must surely be re­membered by them in gratitude. Moreover, it is note­worthy that this love and solicitude of Gregory was inherited by the Pontiffs who succeeded him. This is shown by their constant interposition in providing worthy and capable teachers in learning, both human and divine, by their helpful counsels, and by their affording in abundant measure whatever was necessary for establishing and developing that rising Church. And very soon was such care rewarded, for in no other case, perhaps. did the Faith take root so quickly, nor was so keen and intense a love manifested towards the See of Peter. That the English race was in those days devoted to this centre of Christian unity divinely constituted in the Roman Bishops, and that in the course of ages men of all ranks were bound to them by ties of loyalty, are facts too abundantly and plainly testified by the pages of history to admit of doubt or question.

The Holy League for England’s return to union

But, in the storms which devastated Catholicity throughout Europe in the sixteenth century. England, too, received a grievous wound; for it was first unhap­pily wrenched from communication with the Apostolic See, and then was bereft of that holy Faith in which for long centuries it had rejoiced and found liberty. It was a sad defection; and our predecessors, while lamenting it in their earnest love, made every prudent effort to put an end to it, and to mitigate the many evils consequent upon it. It would take long, and it is not necessary, to detail the sedulous and increasing care taken by our predecessors in those circumstances. But by far the most valuable and effective assistance they afforded lies in their having so repeatedly urged on the faithful the practice of special prayer to God that He would look with compassion on England. In the number of those who devoted themselves to this special work of charity there were some venerable and saintly men, especially Saint Charles Borromeo and Saint Philip Neri, and, in the last century. Paul, the founder of the Society of the Passion of Christ, who, not without a certain Divine impulse, it is said, was instant in supplication “at the throne of Divine Grace:” and this all the more earnestly that the times seemed less favourable to the realization of his hopes. We, indeed, long before being raised to the Supreme Pontificate, were deeply sensible also of the importance of holy prayer offered for this cause, and heartily ap­proved of it. For, as we gladly recall, at the time when we were Nuncio in Belgium, becoming acquainted with an Englishman, Ignatius Spencer, himself a devout son of the same St. Paul of the Cross, he laid before us the project he had already initiated for extending a society of pious people to pray for the return of the English nation to the Church.

We can hardly say how cordially we entered into this design, wholly inspired by faith and charity, and how we helped forward this cause, anticipating that the Eng­lish Church would obtain abundant assistance thereby. Although the fruits of Divine Grace obtained by prayer had previously manifested themselves, yet as that holy League spread they became notorious. Very many were led to follow the Divine call, and among them not a few men of distinguished eminence, and many, too, who in doing so had to make personal and heroic sacrifices. Moreover, there was a wonderful drawing of hearts and minds towards Catholic Faith and practice, which rose in public respect and esteem, and many a long-cherished prejudice yielded to the force of truth.

Looking at all this, we do not doubt that the united and humble supplications of so many to God are hasten­ing the time of further manifestations of His merciful designs towards the English people when “the Word of the Lord may run and be glorified” (Thess. iii. I)”. Our confidence is strengthened by observing the legislative and other measures which, if they do not, perhaps, directly, still do indirectly help forward the end, have in view by ameliorating the condition of the people at large, and by giving effect to the laws of justice and charity.

Social Movements in England

We have heard with singular joy of the great atten­tion which is being given in England to the solution of the social question, of which we have treated with much care in our Encyclicals, and of the establishment of benefit and similar societies, whereby on a legal basis the condition of the working classes is improved. And we have heard of the vigorous and persevering efforts made to preserve for the people at large an education based on religious teaching, than which there is no firmer foundation for the instruction of youth and the maintenance of domestic life and civil polity; of the zeal and energy with which so many engage in for­warding opportune measures for the repression of the degrading vice of intemperance; of societies formed among the young men of the upper classes for the pro­motion of purity of morals and for sustaining the honour due to womanhood. For, alas, in regard to the Christian virtue of continence pernicious views are subtly creeping in, as though it were believed that a man was not so strictly bound by the precept as a woman.

Moreover, reflecting men are deeply concerned at the spread of Rationalism and Materialism, and we ourselves have often lifted up our voice to denounce these evils, which weaken and paralyze not religion only, but the very springs of thought and action. The highest credit is due to those who fearlessly and un­ceasingly proclaim the rights of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the laws and teachings given by Him for the establishment of the Divine Kingdom here upon earth; in which teachings alone strength, wisdom, and safety are to be found. The various and abundant manifestations of care for the aged, for orphans, for incurables, for the destitute, the refuges, reformatories, and other forms of charity, all which the Church as a tender Mother inaugurated and from the earliest times has ever inculcated as a special duty, are evidences of the spirit which animates you.

Nor can we omit to mention specially the strict public observance of Sunday and the general spirit of respect for the Holy Scriptures. Everyone knows the power and resources of the British nation and the civilizing influence which, with the spread of liberty, accom­panies its commercial prosperity even to the most remote regions. But, worthy and noble in themselves as are all these varied manifestations of activity, our soul is raised to the origin of all power and the perennial source of all good things, to God our Heavenly Father, most beneficent. For the labours of man, whether public or private, will not attain to their full efficacy without appeal to God in prayer and without the Divine Blessing. “For happy is that people whose God is the Lord” (Ps. cxliii. 15). For the mind of the Christian should be so turned and fixed that he places and rests the chief hope of his undertakings in the Divine help obtained by prayer, whereby human effort is supernaturalized and the desire of doing good, as though quickened by a heavenly fire, manifests itself in vigorous and service­able actions. In this power of prayer God has not merely dignified man, but with infinite mercy has given him a protector and help in the time of need, ready at hand to all, easy and void of effect to no one who has resolute recourse to it. “Prayer is our powerful weapon, our great protection, our storehouse, our port of refuge, our place of safety.” (Chrys. Horn 30in Gen.)

But if the prayer of the righteous man rightly avail so much with God even in earthly concerns, how much more will it not avail one who is destined to an eternal existence for obtaining those spiritual blessings which Christ has procured for mankind by “the sacrament of His mercy.” For He “Who of God is made unto us wisdom and justice and sanctification and redemp­tion” (I Cor. i. 30), in addition to what He taught, instituted, and effected, gave also for this purpose the salutary precept of prayer and in His great goodness confirmed it by His example.

These simple truths are indeed known to every Christian, but still by many they are neither remember­ed nor valued as they should be. It is for this reason that we insist the more strenuously on the confidence which should be placed in prayer, and recall the words and example of the fatherly love of the same Christ our Lord; words of deepest import and highest encouragement; words also which show forth how in the counsels of God prayer is at the same time the expression of our helplessness and the sure hope of obtaining the strength we need . “And I say to you, Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you; for everyone that asketh, receiveth, and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (St. Luke xi. 9, 10) and the Son of God Himself shows us that if our prayers are to be acceptable to the Divine Majesty they must be united with His Name and merits. “Amen, amen, I say to you if you ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it you. Hitherto you have not asked anything in My name. Ask and you shall re­ceive, that your joy may be full” (St. John xvi. 23, 24). And He enforces this by reference to the tender love of parents for their own children. “If you, then, being evil,” He says, “know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father from Heaven give the good Spirit to them that ask Him” (St. Luke xi., 13). And how abundant are the choice gifts contained in that good Spirit! The greatest of them all is that hidden power of which Christ spoke when He said: “No man can come to Me except the Father who hath sent Me draw him” (St. John. 4.).

It is impossible that men grounded in this teaching should not feel drawn and even impelled to the habit of faithful prayer. With what steady perseverance will they not practise it; with what fervour pursue it, having before them the very example of Christ Himself, who, having nothing to fear for Himself and needing nothing, for He was God, yet passed the whole night in prayer (St. Luke vi. 12), and with a strong cry and tears offered up prayers and supplications (Heb. v. 7), and doing this” He wished to stand pleading before His Father as if remembering at that time that He was our teacher,” as Venerable Bede that ornament of your nation, wisely considers (in ev. S. Joann. xvii). But nothing proves so clearly and forcibly both the precept and the example of our Divine Lord in regard to prayer as His last discourse to the Apostles during those sad moments that preceded His passion, when, raising His eyes to Heaven, He again and again entreated His Holy Father, praying and entreating Him for the most intimate union of His disciples and followers in the truth, as the most convincing evidence to the world of the Divine mission on which He was about to send them.

The Yearning for Unity

And here no thought is more welcome to our soul than that happy unity of Faith and will for which our Redeemer and Divine Master prayed in that earnest supplication a unity which, if useful at all times even for temporal interests, both at home and abroad, is shown by the very divisions and confusions of these days to be more than ever needful. We on our part, watching the signs of the times, exhorting and taking thought for the future, urged thereto by the example of Christ and the duty of our Apostolic office, have not ceased to pray, and still humbly pray, for the return of Christian nations, now divided from us, to the unity of former days. We have more than once of late years given expression to this object of our desires, and have devoted sedulous care to its realization. The time cannot be far distant when we must appear to render an account of our stewardship to the Prince of Pastors, and how happy, holy blessed should we be if we could bring to Him some fruit-some realization of these our wishes which He has inspired and sustained. In these days our thoughts turn with love and hope to the English people, observing as we do the frequent and manifest works of Divine Grace in their midst; how to some, it is plain, the confusion of religious dissensions which divide them is a cause of deep concern, how others see clearly the need of some sure defence against the inroad of modern errors which only too readily humour the wishes of fallen nature and depraved reason; how the number of religious and discreet men, who sincerely labour much for reunion with the Catholic Church, is increasing. We can hardly say how strongly these and other signs quicken the charity of Christ in us, and redoubling our prayers from our inmost soul we call down a fuller measure of Divine Grace, which, poured out on minds so well disposed, may issue in the ardently desired fruit, the fruit, namely, that we may all meet into the unity of faith and of the knowledge of the Son God (Eph, iv, 13), careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, one body and one Spirit, as you are called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism (ib, 3-5).

With loving heart, then, we turn to you all in Eng­land to whatever community or institution you may belong, desiring to recall you to this holy unity. We beseech you, as you value your eternal salvation, to offer up humble and continuous prayer to God, the Heavenly Father, the Giver of all Light, who with gentle power impels us to the good and the right, and without ceasing to implore light to know the truth in all its fullness and to embrace the designs of His mercy with single and entire faithfulness, calling upon the glorious name and merits of Jesus Christ, who is “author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. xii. 2), who loved the Church and delivered Himself for it that He might sanctify it and might present it to Himself a glorious Church (Eph. v. 25-27.) Difficulties may be for us to face, but they are not of a nature which should delay our apostolic zeal or stay your energy Ah, no doubt the many changes that have come about, and time itself, have caused the existing divisions to take deeper root. But is that a reason to give up all hope of remedy, reconciliation, and peace? By no means if God is with us. For we must not judge of such great issues from a human standpoint only, but rather must we look to the power and mercy of God. In great and arduous enterprises, provided they are under­taken with an earnest and right intent, God stands by man’s side, and it is precisely in these difficulties that the action of His Providence shines forth with greatest splendour. The time is not far distant when thirteen cen­turies will have been completed since the English race welcomed those apostolic men sent, as we have said, from this very city of Rome, and, casting aside the pagan deities, dedicated the first fruits of its faith to Christ our Lord and God. This encourages our hope. It is, indeed, an event worthy to be remembered with public thanksgiving; would that this occasion might bring to all reflecting minds the memory of the faith then preached to your ancestors, the same which is now preached – Jesus Christ yesterday, today and the same for ever, as the Apostle says (Heb. xiii. 8), who also most opportunely exhorts you; as he does all, to remem­ber those first preachers “who have spoken the word of God” to you, whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation (ib. 7).

To the Catholics of England

In such a cause we, first of all, call to our assis­tance as our allies the Catholics of England, whose faith and piety we know by experience. There can be no doubt that, weighing earnestly the value and effects of holy prayer, the virtue of which we have truly declared, they will strive by every means to suc­cour their fellow-countrymen and brethren by invoking in their behalf the Divine clemency. To pray for one’s self is a need, to pray for others is a counsel of brotherly love; and it is plain that it is not prayer dictated by necessity so much as that inspired by fraternal charity which will find most favour in the sight of God. The first Christians undoubtedly adopted this practice. Especially in all that pertains to the Rift of faith the early ages set us a striking example. Thus it was the custom to pray to God with ardour that relations, friends, rulers, and fellow-citizens might be blessed by a mind obedient to the Christian faith (S. Aug. de dona per­sev. xxiii. 63).

And in regard to this there is another matter which gives us anxiety. We have heard that in England there are some who, being Catholics in name, do not show themselves so in practice; and that in your great towns there are vast numbers of people who know not the elements of the Christian faith, who never pray to God, and live in ignorance of His justice and of His mercy. We must pray to God, and pray yet more earnestly in this sad condition of things, since He alone can effect a remedy. May He show the measures proper to be taken; may He sustain the courage and strength of those who labour at this arduous task: may He deign to send labourers into His harvest.

Whilst we so earnestly press upon our children the duty of prayer, we desire at the same time to warn them that they should not suffer themselves to be wanting in anything that pertains to the grace and the fruit of prayer, and that they should have ever before th.eir minds the precept of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians: “Be without offence to the Jews and the Gentiles, and to the Church of God” (I Cor. x. 32). For besides those interior dispositions of soul neces­sary for rightly offering prayer to God, it is also needful that they should be accompanied by actions and words befitting the Christian profession – first of all, and chiefly, the exemplary observance of uprightness and justice, of pitifulness for the poor, of penance, of peace and concord in your own houses, of respect for the law – these are what will give force and efficacy to your prayers. Mercy favours the petition of those who in all justice study and carry out the precepts of Christ, according to His promise: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you shall ask whatever you will and it shall be done unto you” (St. John xi. 7). And therefore do we exhort you that, uniting your prayer with ours, your great desire may be that God will grant you to welcome your fellow citizens and brethren in the bond of perfect charity. Moreover, it is profitable to implore the help of the Saints of God, the efficacy of whose prayers, especially in such a cause as this, is shown in that pregnant remark of St. Augustine as to St. Stephen: “If holy Stephen had not prayed, the Church to-day would have had no Paul.”

Invocation of England’s Saints for Mary’s Dowry

We therefore humbly call on St. Gregory, whom the English have ever rejoiced to greet as the Apostle of their race, on Augustine his disciple and his messenger, and on those other Saints of God, through whose wonderful virtues and no less wonderful deeds England has merited the title of “Island of the Saints;” on St. Peter and St. George, those special patrons, and above all on Mary, the Holy Mother of God, whom Christ Himself from the Cross left to be the mother of man­kind, to whom your kingdom was dedicated by your forefathers under that glorious title ., The Dowry of Mary.” All these with full confidence we call upon these our pleaders before the Throne of God that, renewing the glory of ancient days, He May “fill you with all joy and peace in believing: that you may abound in hope and in the power of the Holy Ghost” (Rom. xv. 13). Care should be taken that the prayers for unity already establish amongst you Catholics on certain fixed days should be made more popular and recited with greater devotion. Especially that the pious practice of the Holy Rosary, which we ourselves have so strong­ly recommended, should flourish, for it contains as it were a summary of the Gospel teaching, and has always been a most salutary institution for the people at large. Moreover, we are pleased of our own will and authority to add still another to the sacred Indulgences which have been granted from time to time by our prede­cessors. We grant, that is, to all those who piously recite the prayer appended to this Letter, to whatever nation they may belong, an Indulgence of 300 days; moreover, a Plenary Indulgence once a month on the observance of the usual conditions to those who have recited it daily.

Finally, may the Divine prayer of Christ Himself for unity fill up the full measure of our desires, a prayer which on this day, through the Mystery of His most Holy Resurrection, we repeat with the utmost confi­dence: “Holy Father, keep them in Thy name whom Thou hast given Me; that they might be one as We also are one. . . . Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth ..”. And not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in Me, that all may be one, as Thou, Father. in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us. . . . I in them and Thou in Me; that they might be made per­fect in one; and the world may know that Thou hast sent Me and hast loved them as Thou hast also loved Me” (St. John xvii.)

Finally, we desire all manner of blessings from God for the whole of the British people, and with all our heart we pray that those who seek the kingdom of Christ and salvation in the unity of faith may enter on the full realization of their desires.

Given at St. Peter’s in Rome on the 14th of April, 1895, in the 18th year of our Pontificate.


O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother, look down in mercy upon England “thy Dowry” and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in thee. By thee it was that Jesus, our Saviour and our hope, was given unto the world; and He has given thee to us that we might hope still more. Plead for us thy children, whom thou didst receive and accept at the foot of the Cross, O sorrowful Mother. Intercede for our separated brethren, that with us in the one true fold they may be united to the Supreme Shep­herd, the Vicar of thy Son. Pray for us all, dear Mother, that by faith fruitful in good works we may all deserve to see and praise God, together with thee, in our heavenly home. Amen.

St John Bosco’s Prophetic Vision of the Church During Times of Trial

Today is the Feast of St John Bosco. He said, "Only two things can save us in such a grave hour: devotion to Mary and frequent Communion."

"Only two things can save us in such a grave hour: devotion to Mary and frequent Communion."

In 1862, St. John Bosco related to his students a vivid dream he had a few nights before. He described it to them as an “allegory” with profound spiritual lessons embedded in it.

Since then many people have found his dreams to be “prophetic,” describing a future time of trial in the Church. As with many supernatural dreams, the contents of the dreams don’t necessarily apply to one particular period in time, but serve as a general reminder of what is truly important during any time of crisis in the world.

Below are a few short excerpts from Bosco’s dream that envisions the Church as a large ship, being tossed about by waves and enemy attacks. Yet, in the midst of it all, the ship stays the course and remains focused on two pillars that save it from sinking.

Try to picture yourselves with me on the seashore, or, better still, on an outlying cliff with no other land in sight. The vast expanse of water is covered with a formidable array of ships in battle formation, prows fitted with sharp spear-like beaks capable of breaking through any defence. All are heavily armed with cannons, incendiary bombs, and firearms of all sorts — even books — and are heading toward one stately ship, mightier than them all. As they try to close in, they try to ram it, set it afire, and cripple it as much as possible.This stately vessel is shielded by a flotilla escort. Winds and waves are with the enemy. In this midst of this endless sea, two solid columns, a short distance apart, soar high into the sky: one is surmounted by a statue of the Immaculate Virgin at whose feet a large inscription reads: Help of Christians; the other, far loftier and sturdier, supports a [Communion] Host of proportionate size and bears beneath it the inscription Salvation of believers.The entire enemy fleet closes in to intercept and sink the flagship at all costs. They bombard it with everything they have: books and pamphlets, incendiary bombs, firearms, cannons. The battle rages ever more furious. Beaked prows ram the flagship again and again, but to no avail, as, unscathed and undaunted, it keeps on its course. At times a formidable ram splinters a gaping hole into its hull, but, immediately, a breeze from the two columns instantly seals the gash.Very grave trials await the Church. What we have suffered so far is almost nothing compared to what is going to happen. The enemies of the Church are symbolised by the ships which strive their utmost to sink the flagship. Only two things can save us in such a grave hour: devotion to Mary and frequent Communion. Let us do our very best to use these two means and have others use them everywhere.

Traditionalism is Not a Home

 '[T]raditionalism is a refuge. We take shelter in it until the Modernist “bombing” ends. We must be very careful that it does not become a home...'

From One Peter Five

By Aurelio Porfiri

“Catholic Traditionalism” is a reaction to the crisis of the Catholic Church. How can anyone fail to understand this reaction, when almost every day we are subjected to evidence that tells us about the serious situation in which the Catholic Church finds herself?

Yet for traditionalists, it is important that this movement avoids its own dangers. Sometimes traditionalism can be a trap no less than the one you intend to escape from. First of all, “traditionalism” an equivocal term and thus the movement itself is complex. It is a multifaceted phenomenon, often with marked differences between the various groups and protagonists. There are various traditionalisms that are affected by different theological positions and different specific interests in the field of tradition.

Then we need to ask what the essential purpose of traditionalism is: no one will dispute that its goal is for the Catholic Church to recover her identity. Therefore the position of the traditionalists is one of waiting, waiting for the current crisis to pass and for the Catholic Church to shine again with all her glory.

Therefore, it follows that we must be very careful that traditionalism does not become a home. Let me explain what I mean. At most, traditionalism is a refuge. We take shelter in it until the Modernist “bombing” ends. We must be very careful that it does not become a home, because the traditionalist first should know that outside the Church there is no salvation and the Church is the institution led by the legitimate successor of the apostle Peter. Now, here there is naturally a further fragmentation of Catholic traditionalism, because some recognize the present Pontiff as the legitimate successor of Saint Peter while criticizing his actions while others take refuge in alternative theological positions to that of “recognise and resist”: sedevacantists, sedematerialists and so on. These theories attempt to make traditionalism into a “home” and an alternate Church.

But Catholic traditionalism cannot be elevated to a system. It is an emergency refuge. We must be very careful that it does not become a complete and alternative system to the official Catholic Church for various reasons. The first is that systems tend to perpetuate themselves and this should not be the aim of traditionalism, so the maximum aspiration should be to no longer be necessary as the Catholic Church will finally return to being what it should be. The risk of isolationism then leads to the belief that it is a substantial alternative to the official Catholic Church.

Let me explain better: certainly at the moment traditionalism is a de facto alternative, in practice, which allows one to live one’s faith without having to be subjected to the deviations which unfortunately are so present in the Church today, but it must not become a de jure alternative, that is, a kind of “new Church.” If you believe in a Catholic way, despite everything, you must believe that the only one who can legislate in this sense is the Pope. I know for many it is painful to read these lines, but if you believe in the Catholic tradition you must also believe that only in the Church we can be saved. The alternative is not between the Church and her surrogates, but between believing or not believing. I know that the Church is so disfigured that she is not recognizable but this is precisely the cross to which we are all nailed.

I understand that this is a painful situation for many and I also understand that often some solutions that seem easy are temptations within reach: but if the traditionalist wants to be coherent with himself he must remember what was said above, extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, outside the Church there is no salvation and this Church is not an ideal construction of our thoughts, but is the one established by Christ and guarded (in theory) by the Pope. I know, humanly we seem trapped, but never more than in these moments must we trust in God and continue our path as warriors to regain what is ours.

But how can we follow the Church today? I understand well this question which is legitimate and painful. We know that the doctrine is defaced, the liturgy disfigured, the Faith is in danger. Current traditionalism originates from all this which is undeniable. The problem is not the analysis of the situation – which can be merciless – the problem is the solution that some seem to suggest, that is, that the definitive solution is traditionalism. No, what a true traditionalist should desire is to be Catholic, not to be a traditionalist. But how is it done in the Church today? We know well that the solution to the crisis will not be immediate and therefore quite a few generations will still have to experience this drama. People say “tradition is beautiful.” But traditionalism qua traditionalism is not beautiful at all, because it arises from pain and is lived with suffering. It is the Catholic beauty defended by traditionalism that is beautiful.

What’s the solution? I’d like to say I have an answer, but sadly I don’t. Together with my friend and journalist Aldo Maria Valli we have tried to represent this drama in a book that not a few people have found suitable for representing their drama as Catholics in today’s Church: Uprooted.

Indeed, many today feel uprooted from their home, as if it has been invaded by hostile forces and is no longer habitable. But it remains our home and we must strongly resist easy solutions and false alternatives.