Traditional Mass

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


All the world's hatred and suffering are the results of sin, original or personal. To restore all things to love and order and joy, Jesus atoned for sin by His death and won the grace that effects forgiveness. His indwelling life is the basic sanctity of Christians, to be developed into acquired splendor. As His Old Testament prophets suffered the price of preparing for His coming, so the members of His Mystical Body suffer in order to continue His work of restoring all things. All anguish is personalized because consecrated to Christ, through Christ's priesthood exercised in His Church, Jesus did His best to reveal Himself as the world's savior, and then surrendered Himself to suffer and die for all men.

INTROIT Ps. 26:14

Wait for the Lord with courage; let your heart take courage and wait for the Lord.

Ps. 26:1.
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
Wait for the Lord . . .

May our fasting be acceptable to You, O Lord. Let it atone for our sins, make us worthy of Your grace and lead us to eternal life. Through Our Lord . . .

LESSON Dan. 14:27, 28-42

In those days, the Babylonians came to the king, and said: "Deliver us Daniel, or else we will destroy thee and thy house." And the king saw that they pressed upon him violently: and being constrained by necessity: he delivered Daniel to them. And they cast him into the den of lions, and he was there six days. And in the den there were seven lions, and they had given to them two carcasses every day, and two sheep: but then they were not given unto them, that they might devour Daniel. Now there was in Judea a prophet called Habacuc, and he had boiled pottage, and had broken bread in a bowl: and was going into the field, to carry it to the reapers. And the angel of the Lord said to Habacuc: "Carry the dinner which thou hast into Babylon, to Daniel, who is in the lions' den." And Habacuc said: "Lord, I never saw Babylon, nor do I know the den." And the angel of the Lord took him by the top of his head, and carried him by the hair of his head, and set him in Babylon, over the den, in the force of his spirit. And Habacuc cried, saying: "O Daniel, thou servant of God, take the dinner that God hath sent thee." And Daniel said, "Thou hast remembered me, O God, and thou hast not forsaken them that love thee." And Daniel arose, and eat. And the angel of the Lord presently set Habacuc again in his own place. And upon the seventh day the king came to bewail Daniel: and he came to the den, and looked in, and behold Daniel was sitting in the midst of the lions. And the king cried out with a loud voice, saying: "Great art thou, O Lord, the God of Daniel." And he drew him out of the lions' den. But those that had been the cause of his destruction, he cast into the den, and they were devoured in a moment before him. Then the king said: "Let all the inhabitants of the whole earth fear the God of Daniel: for he is the Saviour, working signs, and wonders in the earth: who hath delivered Daniel out of the lions' den."

GRADUAL Ps. 42:1, 3
Do me justice, O Lord; from the deceitful and impious man rescue me.
V. Send forth Your light and Your truth; they shall lead me on and bring me to Your holy mountain.

GOSPEL John 7:1-13
At that time, Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him. Now the Jews feast of tabernacles was at hand. And his brethren said to, him: "Pass from hence and go into Judea, that thy disciples also may see thy works which thou dost. For there is no man that doth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, manifest thyself to the world." For neither did his brethren believe in him. Then Jesus said to them: "My time is not yet come; but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you: but me it hateth, because I give testimony of it, that the works thereof are evil, Go you up to this festival day: but I go not up to this festival day, because my time is not accomplished." When he had said these things, he himself stayed in Galilee. But after his brethren were gone up, then he also went up to the feast, not openly, but, as it were, in secret. The Jews therefore sought him on the festival day and said: "Where is he?" And there was much murmuring among the multitude concerning him. For some said: "He is a good man." And others said: "No, but he seduceth the people." Yet no man spoke openly of him, for fear of the Jews.

Ps. 9:11-12, 13
Let them trust in You who cherish Your name, for You do not forsake those who seek You, O Lord. Sing praise to the Lord enthroned in Sion, for He has not forgotten the cry of the poor.

O Lord, we offer You as a sacrifice these gifts, which are symbols of our consolation in this life. May they keep us from ever losing hope in the promises of eternal life. Through Our Lord . . .

Redeem me, O God of Israel, from all my tribulations.

O Almighty God, may our ceaseless search of divine things make us worthy of the reward of heaven. Through Our Lord . . .

O Lord, grant that we may persevere in being obedient to Your will so that our own day may see an increase in the numbers and merits of Your faithful. Through Our Lord . . .

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Jesus, eternal God, became mortal man in order to mediate our redemption, to form a new people that would be His Mystical Self, and to bring all men into an eternal union with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There can be no living of Christ without living the price of mediation for souls. That price may vary, from mere fidelity in the performance of monotonous duty, to bearing with loneliness and misunderstanding, or even to suffering violence and death. Sin continues, and therefore suffering for sin must continue. Since Christians share Christ's priesthood through Baptism and Confirmation, His passion becomes their passion, for an "eternal inheritance."

INTROIT(Ps. 42:1-2)
Do me justice, O God, and fight against a faithless people; from the deceitful and impious man rescue me. For You, O God, are my strength.
Ps. 42:3
. Send forth Your light and Your truth; they shall lead me on and bring me to Your holy mountain, to Your dwelling place. Do me justice, O God . . .

O Almighty God, look with mercy upon Your family. Guide and guard us in body and soul by Your bounteous grace and protection. Through Our Lord . . .

EPISTLE (Heb. 9:11-15)
Brethren: But Christ, being come an high Priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hand, that is, not of this creation: Neither by the blood of goats or of calves, but by his own blood, entered once into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and of oxen, and the ashes of an heifer, being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled, to the cleansing of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who by the Holy Ghost offered himself unspotted unto God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God?
And therefore he is the mediator of the new testament: that by means of his death for the redemption of those transgressions which were under the former testament, they that are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

GRADUAL (Ps. 142:9, 10; 17:48-49)
Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord. Teach me to do Your will.
V. O Lord, who preserved me from the wrathful nations, You will exalt me above my adversaries,You will rescue me from the man of violence.

TRACT (Ps. 128:1-4)
Often they have fought against me from my youth.
. Let Israel now say, "Often have they fought against me from my youth.
. Yet they could not prevail over me. The wicked have furrowed my back.
. They have continued their iniquity, but the Lord, who is just, will humble the pride of the sinners."

GOSPEL (John 8:46-59)
At that time, Jesus said to the crowds of the Jews, "Which of you shall convince me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe me: He that is of God heareth the words of God. Therefore you hear them not, because you are not of God."
The Jews therefore answered and said to him: "Do not we say well that thou art a Samaritan and hast a devil?" Jesus answered: "I have not a devil: but I honour my Father. And you have dishonoured me. But I seek not my own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Amen, amen, I say to you: If any man keep my word, he shall not see death for ever."
The Jews therefore said: "Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets: and thou sayest: If any man keep my word, he shall not taste death for ever. Art thou greater than our father Abraham who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Whom dost thou make thyself?"
Jesus answered: "If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father that glorifieth me, of whom you say that he is your God. And you have not known him: but I know him. And if I shall say that I know him not, I shall be like to you, a liar. But I do know him and do keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it and was glad." The Jews therefore said to him: "Thou art not yet fifty years old. And hast thou seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them: "Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made, I AM." They took up stones therefore to cast at him. But Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart. Be good to Your servant, that I may live and keep Your words. O Lord, give me life according to Your word.

O Lord, may these offerings free us from the bondage of sin and win for us the gift of Your mercy. Through Our Lord . . .

Preface of the Holy Cross

"This is My Body which shall be given up for you; this cup is the New Covenant in My Blood," said the Lord. "Do this as often as you receive it, in remembrance of Me."

Be close to us, O Lord our God, and with Your unfailing help defend those who have been renewed through Your Sacrament. Through Our Lord . . .

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Rose Chasable





Lent is half over, and Easter is enticingly near. This Sunday is a foretaste of Easter joy. Knowing the ebb and flow on intensity even in our best efforts, God deals with us tenderly in rhythms of consolation and desolation. So today, the thoughts of freedom and joy come in the middle of Lent. But the joy does more than cushion our failing energies and needle our lagging spirits. It is a positive, meaningful joy, born of our fruitful life in Christ and of our sweet freedom as His purchased children. The Eucharistic banquet of heavenly Bread, foreshadowed by the multiplied loaves and fishes and become now the Bread of Life for the whole Christian world, adds to our Laetare joy the quiet gladness of every festive meal.

INTROIT (Isa. 66:10-11)
Rejoice, O Jerusalem, and come together all you who love her. rejoice with joy, you who have been in sorrow, that you may exalt, and be filled from the abundance of your consolation.
Ps. 121:1. I rejoice at the tidings that were told me, "We shall go into the house of the Lord."
. Glory be . . .

O Almighty God, we are being justly punished for our sins, but comfort us with Your grace, that we may live. Through Our Lord . . .

Commemoration of SAINT ISIDORE
In the twelfth century, Isidore earned his living as a day laborer on an estate just outside Madrid. Because he attended Mass daily, some fellow laborers, reported to the owner that Isidore was neglecting his work. St. Isidore was not troubled by what was said of him, because he knew that the Christian must have patience and must keep up his courage, "for the coming of the Lord is at hand"

O Merciful God, shield us from the pride that comes from learning, through the intercession of Your holy farm worker Isidore. May his merits and example help us to please You by our humble service. Through Our Lord . . .

EPISTLE (Gal. 4:22-31)
Brethren: For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman and the other by a free woman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh: but he of the free woman was by promise. Which things are said by an allegory. For these are the two testaments. The one from Mount Sinai, engendering unto bondage, which is Agar. For Sina is a mountain in Arabia, which hath affinity to that Jerusalem which now is: and is in bondage with her children. But that Jerusalem which is above is free: which is our mother. For it is written:

Rejoice, thou barren, that bearest not: break forth and cry thou that travailest not: for many are the children of the desolate, more than of her that hath a husband.

Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born according to the flesh persecuted him that was after the spirit: so also it is now. But what saith the scripture? "Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman." So then, brethren, we are not the children of the bondwoman but of the free: by the freedom wherewith Christ has made us free.

GRADUAL (Ps. 121:1, 7)
I rejoice at the tidings that were told me, "We shall go into the house of the Lord." V. May peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your towers.

TRACT (Ps. 124:1-2)
They who trust in the Lord are like Mount Sion; he who dwells in Jerusalem shall never be moved.
. Mountains are round about it, and the Lord is round about His people, from henceforth and forever.

GOSPEL (John 6:1-15)
At that time, After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw the miracles which he did on them that were diseased. Jesus therefore went up into a mountain: and there he sat with his disciples.
Now the pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand. When Jesus therefore had lifted up his eyes and seen that a very great multitude cometh to him, he said to Philip: "Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" And this he said to try him: for he himself knew what he would do.
Philip answered him: "Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them that every one may take a little." One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, saith to him: "There is a boy here that hath five barley loaves and two fishes. But what are these among so many?" Then Jesus said: "Make the men sit down."
Now, there was much grass in the place. The men therefore sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves: and when he had given thanks, he distributed to them that were set down. In like manner also of the fishes, as much as they would. And when they were filled, he said to his disciples: "Gather up the fragments that remain, lest they be lost." They gathered up therefore and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which remained over and above to them that had eaten.
Now those men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had done, said: "This is of a truth the prophet that is to come into the world." Jesus therefore, when he knew that they would come to take him by force and make him king, fled again into the mountains, himself alone.

Praise the Lord, for He is good; sing praise to His name, for He is sweet. All He has willed, He has done in heaven and on earth.

Look with favor upon these offerings, O Lord, that they may be an aid to our devotion and to our salvation. Through Our Lord . . .

Commemoration of SAINT ISIDORE
Let our prayers win peace for Your people, O Lord, so that their offerings may be pleasing in Your sight. Grant the requests we confidently make of You through the intercession of Your blessed confessor Isidore. Through Our Lord . . .

Jerusalem was built as a city with compact unity; to it the tribes went up, the tribes of the Lord, to give praise to Your name, O Lord.

O merciful God, we never fail to be nourished by Your Sacrament. May we offer it with true devotion and receive it always with faith. Through Our Lord . . .

Commemoration of SAINT ISIDORE
May this Heavenly Sacrament bring us health of soul and body, O Lord, and through the intercession of Your blessed confessor Isidore make us feel the power of the sacred rite that we have celebrated. Through Our Lord . . .

Friday, March 20, 2009


Show me, O Lord, a sign of Your beneficence, that my enemies may see, to their confusion, that You, O Lord, have helped and comforted me. Ps. 85:1. Incline Your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am needy and poor. V. Glory Be . . .

May our Lenten fast please You, O Lord. May we keep our minds free from sin as we deprive our bodies of food. Through our Lord . . .

READING (Num. 20:1-3, 6-13)
In those days, the children of Israel, and all the multitude came into the desert of Sin, in the first month: and the people abode in Cades. And Mary died there, and was buried in the same place.
And the people wanting water, came together against Moses and Aaron: And making a sedition, they said: "Would God we had perished among our brethren before the Lord." And Moses and Aaron leaving the multitude, went into the tabernacle of the covenant, and fell flat upon the ground, and cried to the Lord, and said. "O Lord God, hear the cry of this people, and open to them thy treasure, a fountain of living water, that being satisfied, they may cease to murmur." And the glory of the Lord appeared over them. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: "Take the rod, and assemble the people together, thou and Aaron thy brother, and speak to the rock before them, and it shall yield waters. And when thou hast brought forth water out of the rock, all the multitude and their cattle shall drink."
Moses therefore took the rod, which was before the Lord, as he had commanded him, And having gathered together the multitude before the rock, he said to them: "Hear, ye rebellious and incredulous: Can we bring you forth water out of this rock?" And when Moses bad lifted up his hand, and struck the rock twice with the rod, there came forth water in great abundance, so that the people and their cattle drank, And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron: "Because you have not believed me, to sanctify me before the children of Israel, you shall not bring these people into the land, which I will give them." This is the Water of contradiction, where the children of Israel strove with words against the Lord, and he was sanctified in them.

GRADUAL (Ps. 27:7, 1)
My heart has trusted in God, and I have found help. I have thrived once again, and with all my will I shall give praise to Him. V. To You, O Lord my God, I cry; be not deaf to me, nor depart from me.

TRACT (Ps. 102:10; 78:8-9)
O Lord, repay us not according to the sins we have committed, nor according to our iniquities. V. O Lord, remember not our iniquities of the past; let Your mercy come quickly to us, for we are being brought very low. (All kneel.) V. Help us, O God our Savior, and for the glory of Your name, O Lord, deliver us; and pardon us our sins for Your names sake.

GOSPEL (John 4:5-42)
At that time, Jesus cometh therefore to a city of Samaria, which is called Sichar, near the land which Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well. It was about the sixth hour.
There cometh a woman of Samaria, to draw water. Jesus saith to her: "Give me to drink." For his disciples were gone into the city to buy meats. Then that Samaritan woman saith to him: "How dost thou, being a Jew; ask of me to drink, who am a Samaritan woman? For the Jews do not communicate with the Samaritans." Jesus answered and said to her: "If thou didst know the gift of God and who he is that saith to thee: Give me to drink; thou perhaps wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water."
The woman saith to him: "Sir, thou hast nothing wherein to draw, and the well is deep. From whence then hast thou living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank thereof, himself and his children and his cattle?" Jesus answered and said to her: "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but he that shall drink of the water that I will give him shall not thirst for ever. But the water that I will give him shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting."
The woman said to him: "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come hither to draw." Jesus saith to her: "Go, call thy husband, and come hither." The woman answered and said: "I have no husband." Jesus said to her: "Thou hast said well: I have no husband. For thou hast had five husbands: and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband. This, thou hast said truly."
The woman saith to him: "Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers adored on this mountain: and you say that at Jerusalem is the place where men must adore." Jesus saith to her:"Woman, believe me that the hour cometh, when you shall neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, adore the Father. You adore that which you know not: we adore that which we know. For salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh and now is, when the true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father also seeketh such to adore him. God is a spirit: and they that adore him must adore him in spirit and in truth." The woman saith to him: "I know that the Messias cometh (who is called Christ): therefore, when he is come, he will tell us all things." Jesus saith to her: "I am he, who am speaking with thee."
And immediately his disciples came. And they wondered that he talked with the woman. Yet no man said: "What seekest thou?" Or: "Why talkest thou with her?" The woman therefore left her waterpot and went her way into the city and saith to the men there: "Come, and see a man who has told me all things whatsoever I have done. Is not he the Christ?" They went therefore out of the city and came unto him.
In the mean time, the disciples prayed him, saying: "Rabbi, eat." But he said to them: "I have meat to eat which you know not." The disciples therefore said one to another: "Hath any man brought him to eat?" Jesus saith to them: "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, that I may perfect his work. Do not you say: There are yet four months, and then the harvest cometh? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes, and see the countries. For they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages and gathereth fruit unto life everlasting: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. For in this is the saying true: 'That it is one man that soweth, and it is another that reapeth.' I have sent you to reap that in which you did not labour. Others have laboured: and you have entered into their labours."
Now of that city many of the Samaritans believed in him, for the word of the woman giving testimony: "He told me all things whatsoever I have done." So when the Samaritans were come to him, they desired that he would tarry there. And he abode there two days. And many more believed in him, because of his own word. And they said to the woman: "We now believe, not for thy saying: for we ourselves have heard him and know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world."

Hearken to the voice of my prayer, O my King and my God; for to You I pray, O Lord.

O Lord, look kindly upon these gifts we offer, so that they may please You and always prove helpful to us. Through Our Lord . . .

COMMUNION HYMN (John 4:13, 14)
"He who drinks of the water that I will give him," said the Lord, "it shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up unto life everlasting."

O Lord, cleanse us from sin through the reception of this Sacrament and lead us toward the kingdom of heaven. Through Our Lord . . .

O Almighty God, we trust in Your protection. Help us to overcome all the difficulties that face us. Through Our Lord . . .

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Here, now, is the full text of the Pope's letter regarding the lifting of the SSPX excommunications itself, which has already been published in the most prestigious and reliable German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, in an NLM translation:

Dear brethren in the Episcopal ministry!

The lifting of the excommunication of the four bishops ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre in 1988 without a mandate of the Holy See has led, both within and outside the Catholic Church, for a variety of reasons, to a discussion of such vehemence as we had not experienced for a long time. Many bishops felt at a loss before an event which came unexpectedly and could barely be integrated positively among the questions and tasks of the Church of today. Although many pastors and faithful were willing in principle to value positively the Pope's desire for reconciliation, against this was the question of the appropriateness of such a gesture, given the real urgency of a believing life in our time. Several groups, however, accused the Pope openly of wanting to return behind the Council. An avalanche of protests was set into motion, the bitterness of which made injuries visible which transcended the moment. Therefore I feel pressed to address to you, dear brethren, a clarifying word, which is meant to help to understand the intentions which have guided me and the competent organs of the Holy See in this step. I hope in this way to contribute to peace in the Church.

One mishap for me unforeseeable, was the fact that the Williamson case has superimposed itself on the remission of the excommunication. The discreet gesture of mercy towards the four bishops ordained validly but not legitimately, suddenly appeared as something entirely different: as a disavowal of the reconciliation between Christians and Jews, and therefore as the revocation of what in this area the Council had clarified for the way for the Church. The invitation to reconciliation with an ecclesial group separating itself had thus become the opposite: an apparent way back behind all the steps of reconciliation between Christians and Jews which had been made since the Council and which to make and further had been from the outset a goal of my theological work. The fact that this superposition of two opposing processes has occurred and has disturbed for a moment the peace between Christians and Jews as well as the peace in the Church I can only deeply regret. I hear that closely following the news available on the internet would have made it possible to obtain knowledge of the problem in time. I learn from this that we at the Holy See have to pay more careful attention to this news source in the future. It has saddened me that even Catholics who could actually have known better have thought it necessary to strike at me with a hostility ready to jump. Even more therefore I thank the Jewish friends who have helped to quickly clear away the misunderstanding and to restore the atmosphere of friendship and trust, which - as in the time of Pope John Paul II - also during the entire time of my pontificate had existed and God be praised continues to exist.

Another mishap which I sincerely regret, is that the scope and limits of the measure of 21 January 2009 have not been set out clearly enough at the time of the publication of the procedure. The excommunication affects persons, not institutions. Episcopal consecration without papal mandate means the danger of a schism, because it calls into question the unity of the Bishops' College with the Pope. The Church must, therefore, react with the harshest punishment, excommunication, and that is to call back the persons thus punished to repentance and into unity. 20 years after the ordinations this goal has unfortunately still not been achieved. The withdrawal of the excommunication serves the same purpose as the punishment itself: once more to invite the four bishops to return. This gesture was possible after the affected had expressed their fundamental recognition of the pope and his pastoral authority, albeit with reservations as far as obedience to his magisterial authority and that of the Council is concerned. This brings me back to the distinction between person and institution. The releasing of the excommunication was a measure in the field of ecclesial discipline: the persons were freed of the burden of conscience of the heaviest ecclesial censure. From this disciplinary level one has to distinguish the doctrinal area. That the Fraternity of Saint Pius X does not possess a canonical position in the Church is not based ultimately on disciplinary grounds but on doctrinal ones. As long as the Fraternity does not possess a canonical position in the Church, its officials do not exercise legitimate offices in the Church. One has therefore to distinguish between disciplinary level affecting the persons as persons, and the level of doctrine, at which office and institution are concerned. To say it once again: As long as the doctrinal issues are not resolved, the Fraternity has no canonical status in the Church and its ministers, even if they are free from ecclesiastical censure, do not exercise in a legitimate way any ministry in the Church.

Given this situation, I intend to connect the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", which since 1988 is responsible for those communities and individuals who, coming from the Fraternity of Pius X or similar groups, want to return into full communion with the Pope, in the future with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This shall make it clear that the problems now being treated are essentially doctrinal in nature, especially those concerning the acceptance of the Second Vatican Council and the postconciliar Magisterium of the Popes. The collegial organs through which the Congregation works on the questions arising (especially the regular assembly of the Cardinals on Wednesday and the General Assembly every one or two years) guarantee the involvement of the prefects of various Roman congregations and of the worldwide episcopate in the decisions to be made. One cannot freeze the magisterial authority of the Church in 1962 and - this must be quite clear to the Fraternity. But to some of those who show off as great defenders of the Council it must also be recalled to memory that Vatican II contains within itself the whole doctrinal history of the Church. Who wants to be obedient to it [sc. the Council] must accept the faith of the centuries and must not cut the roots of which the tree lives.

I hope, dear brethren, that with this both the positive meaning as well as the limit of the measure of 21 January 2009 is clarified. But now the question remains: Was this necessary? Was this really a priority? Are there not much more important things? Of course, there are more important and urgent things. I think that I have made clear the priorities of the pontificate in my speeches at the beginning of it. What I said then remains my guideline unchangedly. The first priority for the successor of Peter, the Lord has unequivocally fixed in the Room of the Last Supper: "You, however, strengthen your brethren" (Lk 22, 32). Peter himself rephrased this priority in his first letter: "Be ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you." (1 Peter 3, 15). In our time, in which the faith in large parts of the world threatens to go out like a flame which can no longer find food, the first priority is to make God present in this world and to open to men the access to God. Not to just any god, but to the God who spoke on Mount Sinai, that God whose face we recognize in the love unto the end (John 13, 1)- in the crucified and risen Jesus Christ. The real problem of our historic hour is that God is disappearing from the horizon of men and that with the extinguishing of the light coming from God disorientation befalls mankind, the destructive effects of which we are seeing ever more.

To lead men to God, to the God speaking in the Bible, is the supreme and fundamental priority of the Church and the successor of Peter in this time. From it then it follows on its own that we have to be concerned for the unity of believers. For their strife, their internal dissent, calls their talking about God into question. Therefore, the effort for the common witness of faith of the Christians - for ecumenism -is included in the highest priority. Then there is also the necessity that all who believe in God seeking peace with each other, trying to become closer to each other, in order to walk, in the different-ness of their image of God, yet together towards the source of light - inter-religious dialogue. Those who proclaim God as love unto the end, must give the witness of love: devoted to the suffering in love, fending off hatred and enmity - the social dimension of the Christian Faith, of which I have spoken in the encyclical "Deus caritas est".

If then the struggle for Faith, hope and love in the world is the true priority for the Church in this hour (and in different forms always), then still the small and medium-sized reconciliations also belong to it. That the quiet gesture of a hand stretched out has become a great noise and thus the opposite of reconciliation, we have to take note of. But now I have to wonder: Was and is it really wrong, also in this case, to go to meet the brother, who "hath any thing against thee" and to try for reconciliation (cf. Mt 5, 23f)? Does not civil society, too, have to try to prevent radicalizations, to bind their possible supporters - if possible - back into the major creative forces of social life to avoid isolation and all its consequences? Can it be entirely wrong to strive for the lessening of tensions and constrictions and to give room to the positive which can be found and integrated into the whole? I myself, in the years after 1988, have experienced how by the return of communities previously separating themselves from Rome the interior climate there has changed, how the return to the great, wide and common Church overcame onesided-ness and lessened tensions, so that now they have become positive forces for the whole. Can a community leave us totally indifferent in which there are 491 priests, 215 seminarians, 6 seminaries, 88 schools, 2 university institutes, 117 brothers, 164 sisters? Should we really calmly leave them to drift away from the Church? I am thinking, for example, of the 491 priests. The plaited fabric of their motivations we cannot know. But I think that they would not have made their decision for the priesthood, if next to some askew or sick elements there hot not been there the love of Christ and the will to proclaim Him and with Him the living God. Should we simply exclude them, as representatives of a radical marginal group, from the search for reconciliation and unity? What will then be?

Certainly, we have long and have again on this occasion heard many dissonances from representatives of this community - pride and a patronizing know-it-all attitude, fixation into onesidedness etc. For the love of truth I must add that I have also received a series of moving testimonials of gratitude, in which was made perceptible an opening of hearts. But should the great Church not also be able to be magnanimous [in German its a play on words: "great Church - great of heart"] in the knowledge of the long wind she has; in the knowledge of the promise which she has been given? Should we not, like good educators, also be able not to hear some bad things and strive to calmly lead out of the narrowness? And must we not admit that also from ecclesial circles there have come dissonances? Sometimes one has the impression that our society needs at least one group for which there need not be any tolerance; which one can unperturbedly set upon with hatred. And who dared to touch them - in this case the Pope - lost himself the right to tolerance and was allowed without fear and restraint to be treated with hatred, too.

Dear brethren, in the days in which it came into my mind to write this letter, it so happened that in the seminary of Rome I had to interpret and comment the passage of Gal 5, 13-15. I was surprised at how directly it speaks of the present of this hour: "Do not make liberty an occasion to the flesh, but by charity of the spirit serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. But if you bite and devour one another; take heed you be not consumed one of another." I was always inclined to regard this sentence as one of the rhetorical hyperbole which occasionally there are with St. Paul. In some respects it may be so. But unfortunately, the "biting and devouring" is there in the Church even today as an expression of a poorly understood freedom. Is it surprising that we are not better than the Galatians? That we at least are threatened by the same temptations? That we have always to learn anew the right use of freedom? And that we have always to learn anew the first priority: love? On the day on which I had to speak about this in the seminary, in Rome the feast of the Madonna della Fiducia - our Lady of Trust - was celebrated. Indeed - Mary teaches us trust. She leads us to the Son, in Whom we all may trust. He will guide us - even in turbulent times. So at the end I would like to thank from my heart all the many bishops who have given me in this time moving signs of trust and affection, but above all the gift of their prayers. This thank I extend to all the faithful who have shown me during this time their unchanged fidelity to the successor of St. Peter. The Lord preserve us all and lead us on the path of peace. This is a wish that spontaneously rises from my heart, especially now at the beginning of Lent, a liturgical time particularly propitious to inner purification, and which invites us all to look with new hope towards the radiant goal of Easter.

With a special Apostolic Blessing, I remain

Yours in the Lord

Benedictus Pp. XVI

From the Vatican, on 10 March 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bishop Bernard Fellay, current Superior Genera...Bishop Bernard Fellay


The Pope's reasons for "un-excommunicating" the four bishops of the Society of St. Pius X on January 24 have not been properly understood. This is in part due to the uproar which accompanied the revelation of the revisionist views on the Holocaust of one of the four, Bishop Richard Williamson. So questions remain. What did Benedict really intend? Why did he take this decision? What next?
We decided to ask an authority at the Pope's right hand, Swiss Cardinal Georges Cottier.
Cottier was for many years the theologian of the pontifical household, or the Pope's personal theological advisor, with his residence inside the Apostolic Palace a short distance from the Pope's own rooms. During a candid interview with the Inside the Vatican journalist Wlodzimierz Redzioch a few days ago, Cottier discussed at length the meaning of the lifting of the excommunications. The interview will appear in the March 2009 issue of Inside the Vatican, now at the press. This same issue also includes a detailed report on the latest developments in the "Williamson affair."—The Editor

by Wlodzimierz Redzioch

Your Eminence, let us first look at the whole question in historical perspective: How did Archbishop Lef­ebvre’s schism come about?

Cardinal Georges Cottier: It took place during the pontificate of Paul VI (1963-1978), after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Archbishop (Marcel) Lefebvre began by establishing a seminary at Ecône, Switzerland. At first the bishops of Fribourg and Sion gave their consent to this initiative, seeing it as an opportunity to keep some traditional values alive which were being lost in the turmoil that followed the Second Vatican Council. Unfortunately, this initiative turned out to be a rejection of the Council.
Monsignor Lefebvre, emeritus bishop of Dakar, Africa, had participated in the Council, but he opposed its teachings in several fields: religious liberty, ecumenism, the liturgy, and, later on, interreligious dialogue. Many people followed Monsignor Lefebvre as a reaction to liturgical abuses taking place in the post-conciliar period. Monsignor Lefebvre’s movement grew in several countries and within several circles, but most of all within the French far right (the old Action Française movement was inspired by religious values). Monsignor Lefebvre’s seminary received many seminarians and in time began ordaining priests. At a certain point (1988) he took a further step, ordaining bishops. In the Catholic Church bishops are appointed by the Pope and they cannot be ordained without his consent (in the Eastern Catholic Churches, the bishops are elected by the synod, but they need the approval of the Holy Father). With the illicit but valid ordination of bishops, Monsignor Lefebvre fell under latae sententiae excommunication.

What is meant by excommunication latae sententiae?
Cottier: It means that on having committed the grave offense, the faithful is automatically excommunicated. In the case of the Society of St. Pius X, the offense was that listed in canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law, i.e., the consecration of a bishop without papal mandate. The excommunication concerns both the consecrating bishop and the consecrated bishops.

Monsignor Bernard Fellay the superior of the Society of Saint Pius X, ordained several deacons and announced the ordination of new priests. Are these ordinations valid?
Cottier: They are valid, but illicit. It is surprising therefore that Monsignor Fellay announced new ordinations to the priesthood after the repeal of his excommunication.

John Paul II was greatly pained by this schism and tried to bring them back…
Cottier: A schism within the Church is a highly painful wound. When today we speak of ecumenism, of the will to find anew the unity of Christians, we cannot accept the existence of a new schism. For this reason John Paul II established the Ecclesia Dei Commission, a Vatican body with the set mission of maintaining a relationship with the Society of Saint Pius X and with those who have left it so as to remain in communion with the Pope and so as to work towards the ending of the schism. The commission is presided over by Columbian Cardinal Dario Castrillòn Hoyos, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy.

The four excommunicated bishops asked Benedict XVI to repeal the excommunication, stressing their desire for unity and showing the pain caused to them by the present situation. Did the Holy Father repeal the excommunication of the four bishops ordained by Monsignor Lefebvre so as to respond to this request of theirs?

Cottier: In the discussions these bishops always declared themselves to be Catholics and said how they suffered as a result of the excommunication. But they wished to preserve the old liturgy. Benedict XVI took the first step by issuing the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, which extended the existing possibility to celebrate Mass and to administer the sacraments according to the old rite. (This rite is hurriedly and superficially referred to as the Latin Mass, but in fact it is the use of Saint Pius V’s missal in the version reformed by Blessed John XXIII – W.R.)

The Pope’s repeal of the excommunications does not mean that the four bishops have been reintegrated within the Catholic Church; they remain suspended a divinis, (i.e. from the exercise of their functions), but an obstacle in the progress of discussions has been removed. The central issue, i.e. the negation of the validity of the Second Vatican Council, is extremely difficult. Catholic communion implies the acceptance of this Council that is so important for the Church’s life.

The focal point of the Society of St. Pius X seems to be centered on the interpretation of the Second Vatican Council. Some Catholics regard this Council as a break with the past; they speak of the hermeneutics of discontinuity (hermen­eutics refers to the interpretation of ancient texts, the Bible in particular). Benedict XVI, on the contrary, maintains that “the Church and her faith can neither change nor have they ever changed,” and he is taking pains to explain “how the Catholic faith, though undermined by the temptation of discontinuity and departure from the past, has never undergone any transmutation.” (This is what the Pope stated in the important speech addressed to the Roman Curia on December 22, 2005.) Do you not think that behind the hostility that some liberal or progressive Catholic circles show towards Lefebvre’s movement there is a certain degree of antagonism towards the Pope, who insists upon the “hermeneutics of reform and continuity”?
Cottier: Since the Second Vatican Coun­cil there have been abuses in both directions, the conservative and the progressive; but a progressive Church has never come into being.

But one could object that wherever bishops gave a markedly progressive interpretation of the Council, the Church has almost disappeared, as in Holland, Belgium and some parts of France...
Cottier: The so-called progressives were imprudent bishops or theologians who spoke in their own name. But the Magisterium was not silent in the face of these abuses. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has declared that many of their ideas or books are incompatible with Catholic doctrine.

Returning to hermeneutics, the authentic interpretation of the Second Vatican Council is provided by the Magisterium itself of great Popes. Paul VI ended the Council and did a great deal to put its teachings into practice: he set up a number of new institutions, issued a great many documents and preached every Wednesday to expound the true her­meneutics of the Council. Also John Paul II always pointed out that his mandate involved the faithful application of the Council’s teachings. This is the way taken by Benedict XVI too. You referred to the Holy Father’s great speech on the interpretation of the Second Vatican Council and its correct hermeneutics addressed to the Roman Curia on December 22, 2005. This was a critique of the claim that in the history of the Church there was a period before and a period after the Council. To insist that the Council was a break with the past is nonsense: suffice it to say that the Pope most frequently quoted in the conciliar documents is Pius XII, regarded as a preconciliar Pope! Without Pius XII the Council would have never taken place. This is one of the proofs of its continuity.

On the other hand the Magisterium has to offer answers to problems posed by every age (nowadays, for instance, we are confronted with the problem of Church-State relations all over the world) and to challenge the new threats which face the Church. But these are pastoral issues. Benedict XVI explained this very clearly. Unfortunately, after the Council, many bishops did not expect such strong reactions and did not know how to respond decisively against abuses (at the time they were referred to as “creativity”). The serious crisis that followed took everyone by surprise, even though history should teach us that periods of turmoil came after every Council.

Every schism inside the Church is a very tragic event; it is as though the body of Christ, who commanded us to be united, were torn apart. Should not all Catholics receive with great enthusiasm the attempt to put an end to Lefebvre’s schism, the latest schism of the modern age?
Cottier: The trouble is that Lefebvre’s schism occurred recently and that people see it as a present, not as a historical event, often with great emotionality. I could see this in the Valais Canton of my Switzerland, where the Ecône seminary is situated and where Monsignor Lefebvre’s movement has divided families. On the occasion of weddings or funerals, for example, there are often dramatic arguments and tensions if a part of the family supports Lefebvre’s movement.

At present there is the paradox that it is easier for us to speak peacefully with the Protestants, who are further away from the Catholic Church, and who often feel nostalgic about unity, than with the traditionalists, who have remained militant and aggressive (in Paris they went as far as to occupy a church by force). But this attitude of theirs does not change the fact that they remain our brothers in faith. We must therefore support the Holy Father’s attempt to put an end to this schism, which is a great and courageous act. History teaches us that when a schism lasts too long, it will become irreversible: Lefebvre’s movement may turn into a sect. Action needs to be taken without losing time.

Let us now talk of reactions outside the Church. Is it not astonishing that liberal circles, in theory opposed to every censure, limitation of freedom of speech and excommunication, should have criticized the Pope’s charitable gesture shown to the bishops belonging to Lefebvre’s movement and have called for a censure?

Cottier: It is obvious that, when led by partisanship, liberals become illiberal.

The negationist theses of Bishop Richard Williamson, one of the four bishops belonging to Lefebvre’s movement, have completely distorted the meaning of the repeal of the excommunication. Jewish circles reacted to Benedict XVI’ s decision with unprecedented virulence, as if they had not taken into consideration the various aspects of the whole question, i.e. the ecclesial aspect, falling within the Church’s competence, and the personal aspect, i.e. private opinions, highly questionable and condemnable though they might be. Did this result from a lack of understanding of ecclesiastical matters or rather from bad faith?

Cottier: I think that above all there is incomprehension. People do not know what the repeal of an excommunication implies. Even many Catholics thought that the repeal of the excommunication means the Lefebvrists have been reintegrated into the Catholic Church.

The Church uses a number of “technical” terms that could be explained to the people better. As it is impossible to understand football without knowing the meaning of such terms as penalty, warning, offside, etc., so it is impossible to understand the Church’s action without knowing her terminology. This ignorance of ecclesiastical matters gave rise to serious misunderstandings. In short, everything should have been explained sooner and more clearly. What troubles me so much is the coincidence of the repeal of Bishop Williamson’s excommunication with the declarations he made several months ago, of which the Vatican was unaware.
No one in the Vatican knew about Williamson’s views, but somebody knew about them, and revealed them in an “appropriate” moment, i.e. in conjunction with the repeal of the excommunication....

Cottier: We can put forward various hypotheses, but one thing is certain: the Church will always be criticized and slandered. Jesus said: “They persecuted me, they will persecute you too,” so we must not be surprised. The Evil One is the father of all falsehood.

I am in contact with many Jewish friends. We must admit that the Church has taken many positive steps in the dialogue with the Jews, but the tragedy of the Shoah has left a tremendous mark on the present generation of the Jews. In Hitler’s plans the elimination of the Jewish people was a prelude to the destruction of the Catholic Church; there is a great mystery in this attempt to destroy God’s plan. Denying all this creates uneasiness not only for the Jewish, but also for the Christian conscience.

As a result of Williamson’s declarations, many Jews not only criticized the Church, but also called for the breaking off of relations with the Catholic Church. I know some Jews who say: “You need us, but we don’t need you,” stressing that Christians cannot renounce the Jewish roots of their faith. One sometimes gets the impression that Jewish circles use dialogue with Catholics for their own contingent purposes: as a means for obtaining the recognition of the State of Israel by the Holy See, for establishing diplomatic relations between the two states, for the sending of the Carmelite nuns away and the removing of crosses from the area close to Auschwitz, for fighting anti-Semitism, etc. How then can the Church dialogue with the Jews? (I am putting this question to you, since, as a member of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with Judaism, you are one of those most involved, inside the Vatican, in official negotiations with the Jewish world).

Cottier: Dialogue should not be reduced to current affairs. Our dialogue with the Jews is conducted on a religious basis. We are in contact with the Grand Rabbinate of Israel and we talk on religious questions aimed at a common search. The assumption that Christians need Jews, whilst Jews do not need Christians, is incorrect. The Church has received the Old Testament, but the Catholic and Protestant tradition reads the Bible in a different way than the rabbis and the Talmudic tradition. Our link with Judaism cannot be accounted for in historical terms alone, as Jesus was a Jew and the Church originated in Israel; Jesus was the Messiah of Israel and, in my opinion, a real theological dialogue must be based on chapters 9-11 of Paul’s Letter to the Romans. The fact that many Jews do not recognize Jesus is a theological problem. Saint Paul’s hope in the day of reconciliation is also the Church’s hope. The Church does not deny the people of the Covenant; on the contrary she has a strong connection with them. John Paul II referred to the Jews as “our elder brothers.” Many interesting books are being published on the theological significance of the chosen people for Christians.

The problem is that Jews – as also traditionally Christian peoples – are becoming more and more secularized, and they no longer regard the sacred books as God’s word. When there is no longer any faith, dialogue becomes political. On the contrary, dialogue with Jewish believers is always fruitful, and despite some misunderstandings there is always a joint effort to comprehend God’s will.

In her latest book, Anna Foa, historian and granddaughter of the Chief Rabbi of Turin, suggests that the new Jewish identity is not based on religion, but on the Shoah and the State of Israel …

Cottier: This is very serious because it means that the Jewish world too is getting secularized. Jews are not looking for their identity in the Bible, but elsewhere, as French intellectual Alain Besançon formulated it, in the “religion of the Shoah.” For them the establishment of the State of Israel is a fact of epochal significance with which they identify. If there is no transcendence left, all that matters is history and politics.

According to Gary L. Krupp, a Jew presiding over the New York-based Pave the Way Foundation, an organization devoted to furthering tolerance and mutual understanding between religions through cultural and intellectual exchange, “the media all over the world have presented the case of the bishops connected to Lefebvre’s movement in an incomplete and sensationalist way, thus fueling controversy and negative reactions.” Do you not think that the media have once more reacted with prejudice and hostility towards the Catholic Church? (Professor Jenkins defines anti-Christian feeling as the one acceptable prejudice of the modern world.)

Cottier: It goes without saying that someone intended to use a very sensitive issue like the denial of the Shoah so as to attack the Church and create anti-Catholic feeling. The media have the greatest responsibility for this situation. Publishing titles like: “The Pope repeals the excommunication of a negationist bishop” on the front page is an abuse. This is not information, but manipulation! If the Pope had known that this bishop was a negationist, he would not have repealed the excommunication.


The Hermeneutic of Reform

The correct key to interpretation and application of the Second Vatican Council

(Address of Benedict XVI to the Roman Curia offering the his Christmas Greetings, Thursday, December 22, 2005)

By Pope Benedict XVI

What has been the result of the Council (Second Vatican Council)? Was it well received? What, in the acceptance of the Council, was good and what was inadequate or mistaken? What still remains to be done?
No one can deny that in vast areas of the Church the implementation of the Council has been somewhat difficult, even without wishing to apply to what occurred in these years the description that St Basil, the great Doctor of the Church, made of the Church's situation after the Council of Nicea: he compares her situation to a naval battle in the darkness of the storm, saying among other things: "The raucous shouting of those who through disagreement rise up against one another, the incomprehensible chatter, the confused din of uninterrupted clamoring, has now filled almost the whole of the Church, falsifying through excess or failure the right doctrine of the faith..." (De Spiritu Sancto, XXX, 77; PG 32, 213 A; SCh 17 ff., p. 524).

We do not want to apply precisely this dramatic description to the situation of the post-conciliar period, yet something from all that occurred is nevertheless reflected in it.

The question arises: Why has the implementation of the Council, in large parts of the Church, thus far been so difficult? Well, it all depends on the correct interpretation of the Council or — as we would say today — on its proper hermeneutics, the correct key to its interpretation and application. The problems in its implementation arose from the fact that two contrary hermeneutics came face to face and quarreled with each other. One caused confusion, the other, silently but more and more visibly, bore and is bearing fruit.

On the one hand, there is an interpretation that I would call "a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture"; it has frequently availed itself of the sympathies of the mass media, and also one trend of modern theology.

On the other, there is the "hermeneutic of reform", of renewal in the continuity of the one subject-Church which the Lord has given to us. She is a subject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God.

The hermeneutic of discontinuity risks ending in a split between the pre-conciliar Church and the post-conciliar Church. It asserts that the texts of the Council as such do not yet express the true spirit of the Council. It claims that they are the result of compromises in which, to reach unanimity, it was found necessary to keep and reconfirm many old things that are now pointless.

However, the true spirit of the Council is not to be found in these compromises but instead in the impulses toward the new that are contained in the texts. These innovations alone were supposed to represent the true spirit of the Council, and starting from and in conformity with them, it would be possible to move ahead. Precisely because the texts would only imperfectly reflect the true spirit of the Council and its newness, it would be necessary to go courageously beyond the texts and make room for the newness in which the Council's deepest intention would be expressed, even if it were still vague.

In a word: it would be necessary not to follow the texts of the Council but its spirit. In this way, obviously, a vast margin was left open for the question on how this spirit should subsequently be defined and room was consequently made for every whim.

The nature of a Council as such is therefore basically misunderstood. In this way, it is considered as a sort of constituent that eliminates an old constitution and creates a new one. However, the Constituent Assembly needs a mandator and then confirmation by the mandator, in other words, the people the constitution must serve. The Fathers had no such mandate and no one had ever given them one; nor could anyone have given them one because the essential constitution of the Church comes from the Lord and was given to us so that we might attain eternal life and, starting from this perspective, be able to illuminate life in time and time itself.

Through the Sacrament they have received, Bishops are stewards of the Lord's gift. They are "stewards of the mysteries of God" (I Cor 4: 1); as such, they must be found to be "faithful" and "wise" (cf. Lk 12: 41-48). This requires them to administer the Lord's gift in the right way, so that it is not left concealed in some hiding place but bears fruit, and the Lord may end by saying to the administrator: "Since you were dependable in a small matter I will put you in charge of larger affairs" (cf. Mt 25: 14-30; Lk 19: 11-27).

These Gospel parables express the dynamic of fidelity required in the Lord's service; and through them it becomes clear that, as in a Council, the dynamic and fidelity must converge.
The hermeneutic of discontinuity is countered by the hermeneutic of reform, as it was presented first by Pope John XXIII in his Speech inaugurating the Council on 11 October 1962 and later by Pope Paul VI in his Discourse for the Council's conclusion on 7 December 1965.

I shall cite only John XXIII's well-known words, which unequivocally express this hermeneutic when he says that the Council wishes "to transmit the doctrine, pure and integral, without any attenuation or distortion." And he continues: "Our duty is not only to guard this precious treasure, as if we were concerned only with antiquity, but to dedicate ourselves with an earnest will and without fear to that work which our era demands of us...". It is necessary that "adherence to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness..." be presented in "faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine, which, however, should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought. The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another...", retaining the same meaning and message (The Documents of Vatican II, Walter M. Abbott, S.J., p. 715).

It is clear that this commitment to expressing a specific truth in a new way demands new thinking on this truth and a new and vital relationship with it; it is also clear that new words can only develop if they come from an informed understanding of the truth expressed, and on the other hand, that a reflection on faith also requires that this faith be lived. In this regard, the program that Pope John XXIII proposed was extremely demanding, indeed, just as the synthesis of fidelity and dynamic is demanding.

However, wherever this interpretation guided the implementation of the Council, new life developed and new fruit ripened. Forty years after the Council, we can show that the positive is far greater and livelier than it appeared to be in the turbulent years around 1968. Today, we see that although the good seed developed slowly, it is nonetheless growing; and our deep gratitude for the work done by the Council is likewise growing.


Georges Marie Martin Cottier, O.P., 87, was born on April 25, 1922, in Carouge, Switzerland. He joined the Dominican Order in 1945 and was ordained a priest in 1951. He was a professor at the Universities of Geneva and Fribourg, and became secretary of the International Theological Commission in 1989. Pope John Paul II named him Theologian of the Pontifical Household in 1990. He was created a cardinal in the Consistory of October 21, 2003.
Wlodzimierz (Vladimir) Redzioch, a Polish journalist who lives in Rome, is a regular contributor to Inside the Vatican magazine.

"Inside the Vatican magazine is one of my favorite magazines. I love it!” —Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR
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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Traditionalists train priests for Tridentine Mass

When the Society of St. Pius X broke away from the Catholic Church in 1988, many followers stayed with the traditionalist group because of its Latin Mass. Yet just before the schism, the Vatican created an international body precisely for those Catholics who wanted to celebrate the older Tridentine liturgy while remaining in communion with Rome. Thus was established the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter — a society of apostolic life that grew in prominence when Pope Benedict XVI permitted wider use of the extraordinary rite in 2007.

"The Fraternity of St. Peter, as a whole, has put a lot of effort into training priests to say the extraordinary form. The mind of the Holy Father is that the extraordinary form goes back into the mainstream of the Church, into the normal life of the Church. And that means that priests in dioceses and religious orders and usually saying the new Mass are learning--and want to learn--how to say the old form. And our job is to help them do precisely that."

A new generation of Catholics is changing attitudes about the 1962 Missal, according to the pastor of the sole parish in Rome regularly celebrating the extraordinary rite. After three or four lessons, priests celebrate the Tridentine Mass with a diverse congregation that includes parishioner Magdalen Ross, who perceives a connection between the liturgy and her Jewish heritage.

"This particular form of mass, being as ancient as it is, is actually closer to the Jewish roots of Christianity. (...) I think there's even a closer relationship to the ancient form of Temple sacrifice, before the Temple was destroyed. (...) So that, of course, is of great value for me."

Watch short video here:

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009



Pope and Martyr

God gives the very grace by which men seek Him throughout a fervent Lent, just as He called Moses to the mountain top of revelation for a stay of forty days and nights, and as He fed Elias for a walk of forty days and nights to the mount of God. The lenten Ember Days have a double purpose: to offer to God the spring season with its sowing and planting, and to pray and fast for those to be ordained this coming Saturday.

INTROIT (Ps. 24:6, 3, 22)
Remember, O Lord, Your compassion and Your mercy are from of old, that our enemies may never rule over us. Deliver us from all our distress, O God of Israel. Ps. 24:1-2) I have lifted up my soul to You, O Lord; in You, O my God, I place my trust. Let me not be put to shame. V. Glory be . . .

V. Let us pray. Let us kneel.
R. Arise!
O Lord, mercifully hear our prayers and let Your right hand of power shield us against our enemies. Through Our Lord . . .

LESSON (Ex. 24:12-18)
In those days, the Lord said to Moses: "Come up to me into the mount, and be there; and I will give thee tables of stone, and the law, and the commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them."
Moses rose up, and his minister Josue: and Moses going up into the mount of God, Said to the ancients: "Wait ye here till we return to you. You have Aaron and Hur with you: if any question shall arise, you shall refer it to them."
And when Moses was gone up, a cloud covered the mount. And the glory of the Lord dwelt upon Sinai, covering it with a cloud six days: and the seventh day he called him out of the midst of the cloud. And the sight of the glory of the Lord, was like a burning fire upon the top of the mount, in the eyes of the children of Israel. And Moses entering into the midst of the cloud, went up into the mountain: And he was there forty days and forty nights.

GRADUAL (Ps. 24:17-18)
The cares of my heart are multiplied; deliver me from my distress, O Lord. V. See my wretchedness and my suffering, and forgive all my sins.

O Lord, look with favor upon the devotion of Your people. As we mortify our bodies through abstinence, may our souls be refreshed by this good work. Through our Lord . . .

Commemoration of SAINT CASIMIR
Amid the luxuries of court life in 15th-century Poland, Prince Casimir managed to practice heroic virtue. Such was his love of the needy that the Polish people called him "the father and defender of the poor and unfortunate." He would neither break his vow of celibacy for marriage, nor accept the proffered throne of Hungary--much to the displeasure of his father, King Casimir IV. He also refused to bear arms, believing resolutely in the folly of war among Christians, and is thus referred to as the "Peacemaker." Devoting his days to contemplation and charity, he died at 23. "Being made perfect in a short space, he fulfilled a long time, for his soul pleased God" (Wisdom 4:13,14).

O God, You strengthened blessed Casimir to persevere in virtue even among royal surroundings and worldly pleasures. May all Your faithful despise earthly things and seek those of heaven through the intercession of this saint.

Commemoration of SAINT LUCIUS
Pope Lucius I was a true shepherd of his flock during a time of violent persecution. He laid down his life for Christ in the year 254.

O Eternal Shepherd, who appointed blessed Lucius shepherd of the whole Church, let the prayers of this martyr and supreme pontiff move You to look with favor upon Your flock and to keep it under Your continual protection. Through our Lord . . .

LESSON (III Kings 19:3-8)
In those days, Elias came to Bersabee of Juda, and left his servant there, And he went forward, one day's journey into the desert. And when he was there, and sat under a juniper tree, he requested for his soul that he might die, and said: "It is enough for me, Lord; take away my soul: for I am no better than my fathers." And he cast himself down, and slept in the shadow of the juniper tree: and behold an angel of the Lord touched him, and said to him: "Arise and eat." He looked, and behold there was at his head a hearth cake, and a vessel of water: and he ate and drank, and he fell asleep again. And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said to him: "Arise, eat: for thou hast yet a great way to go." And he arose, and ate and drank, and walked in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights, unto the mount of God, Horeb.

TRACT (Ps. 24:17, 18, 1-4)
Deliver me from my distress, O Lord. See my affliction and my suffering, and forgive all my sins. V. I have lifted up my soul to You, O Lord; in You, O my God, I place my trust. Let me not be put to shame, nor let my enemies exult over me. V. No one who waits for You shall be left in confusion; let all those be confounded who trust in vain things.

GOSPEL (Matt. 12:38-50)
At that time, certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying: "Master, we would see a sign from thee." Who answering said to them: "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh a sign: and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was in the whale's belly three days and three nights: so shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. The men of Ninive shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they did penance at the preaching of Jonas. And behold a greater than Jonas here. The queen of the south shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold a greater than Solomon here. "And when an unclean spirit is gone out of a man he walketh through dry places seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith: 'I will return into my house from whence I came out.' And coming he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then he goeth, and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is made worse than the first. So shall it be also to this wicked generation."
As he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold his mother and his brethren stood without, seeking to speak to him. And one said unto him: "Behold thy mother and thy brethren stand without, seeking thee." But he answering him that told him, said: "Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?" And stretching forth his hand towards his disciples, he said: "Behold my mother and my brethren. For whosoever shall do the will of my Father, that is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother."

I will meditate on Your commandments, which I love dearly; and I will lift up my hands to Your commands, which I cherish.

We offer this sacrifice to You, O Lord, to atone for our sins. Mercifully absolve us from our wrong-doing and exert Your power over the inconstancy of our hearts. Through our Lord . . .

Commemoration of SAINT CASIMIR
We offer You, O Lord, this Sacrifice of praise in memory of Your saints. Free us from evil now and in the future through their intercession.

Commemoration of SAINT LUCIUS
We have offered our gifts to You, O Lord. Let Your light graciously shine upon Your Church, so that this flock may everywhere prosper, and its pastors, under Your guidance, may be truly pleasing to You. Through our Lord . . .

Hear my call for help and hearken to the voice of my prayer, O my King and my God; for to You I pray, O Lord.

O Lord, may the reception of Your Sacrament cleanse us from our hidden faults, and guard us against the deceptions of our enemies. Through our Lord . . .

Commemoration of SAINT CASIMIR
Refreshed with heavenly Food and Drink we humbly pray You, our God, that we may be strengthened by the prayers of Your saint, in whose memory we have received this Sacrament.

Commemoration of SAINT LUCIUS
O Lord, govern the Church, which You have been pleased to nourish with Your heavenly Food. Guide her by Your powerful direction, so that she may enjoy greater freedom and remain unshaken in the fullness of faith. Through our Lord . . .

O Lord, enlighten our minds with Your own clear light, that we may understand our duties and fulfill them with courage. Through Our Lord . . .
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