Sunday, November 1, 2015

Rorate Caeli Is In For A Big (And Distressing) Surprise

The new Archbishop, Don Matteo
celebrating (not the Traditional
Latin) Mass.  

Most of the Katholik Krazy blogs are run by white post-menopausal matrons with too much time and too little understanding of our authentic Tradition and consequently are a bit down at the heels when it comes to any theological élan.  An exception used to be Rorate Caeli which, at one time had contributors who could present some cogent arguments for the neo-Traditionalist position.  Over the past three or four years however Rorate Caeli has retained the superciliousness of its glory days but due to contributors like the Reverend Doctor Richard Cipolla  and Francesca Romana and the increasingly pretentious Professor Peter Kwasniewski of Wyoming Catholic College has let the intellectual ground beneath it give way to the most vapid of neo-Traditionalist mush.    
In light of all this, I got a particular kick out of a Rorate posting by “New Catholic” entitled
New Archbishop of Bologna a friend of the Traditional Mass
Pope Francis named today as new Archbishop of Bologna Matteo Zuppi, up to now Auxiliary Bishop of Rome. He has been mentioned here in Rorate for his visits to Santissima Trinita dei Pellegrini, the Personal Parish of the Traditional Mass in Rome (run by the Fraternity of St. Peter) - for instance, in 2014 - and his discreet attempts to help the Franciscans of the Immaculate.
May God keep him faithful, and may he be a worthy successor of the faithful Cardinal Caffarra in the defense of Christian morality. 
First of all, all due respect to those who have entered the Catholic Church as adults, but you don’t let “new converts” speak authoritatively about all things Catholic.  It takes time to plumb the depths of our doctrine, our practices, and our culture.  It takes time and practice—and integration into the community of those who have been born and raised in Catholicism—to absorb a genuine experience of the faith.  Some of the clerical voices of the neo-trads—such distinguished priests as Father Z or the above referenced Rev. Dr. Cipolla or the English Father Hunwicke are all examples of converts who confuse incense with blowing smoke. They want to teach before they have even learned.  “New Catholic” is no different but this time unfamiliarity with Catholicism left egg all over New Catholic’s face and spattered onto the rest of Rorate.  Despite his having celebrated, as an auxiliary bishop of Rome, the Traditional Latin Mass for the FSSP parish at Santissima Trinita, Archbishop Matteo Zuppi is no friend of neo-traditionalism.   Quite to the contrary.  Don Matteo is a protégé Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the President of the Holy See’s Pontifical Council For the Family and a leading architect of the recent Synod and pusher of the “Kasper Agenda.”  Moreover Archbishop Zuppi has been life-long member of the left-wing Catholic Movement, the Community of Sant’Egidio.
In my Rome days I regularly attended Mass with the Sant’ Egidio Community.  In the early years when they were still in the Church of Sant’Egidio the Saturday night Eucharists were anything but rubrical.  Reverent, yes; beautiful, yes—but very unique liturgically.  Don Matteo was frequently the presider and very relaxed in his style of presiding over the two-hour plus Mass followed by the communal supper.  When the community outgrew the church of Sant’Egidio and moved into the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, the community began inviting various bishops and cardinals—invariably of the left wing of the Church—to preside and preach.  I remember often hearing Cardinal Kasper preach and in particular I remember the remarkable homily on the eve of the 2005 Conclave in which Kasper outlined what the Church needed in a “Good Shepherd.” (It was Good Shepherd Sunday) It was clear from his homily that Cardinal Kasper didn’t consider Cardinal Ratzinger as meeting the bill.  Very clear.  At Santa Maria in Trastevere liturgies became more “high church” and for the most part conformed to the Roman Missal  but remained good examples of Vatican II style liturgy with much contemporary music, communion in both kinds, and both men and women active in various lay ministries. 
Sant’Egidio was the main agency behind the Assisi Interfaith meetings which drew Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and others to Assisi in1986 and again in 2002.  The Community also sponsored yearly interfaith “prayers for peace” at various sites around the world.  John Paul II was an enthusiastic supporter of these prayer services and of the Community itself, but Cardinal Ratzinger had serious issues about what he perceived to be common worship with those not of Christian faith.  An interfaith meeting was held in Assisi in 2011 with Pope Benedict present but without a common worship service. 
The Community of Sant’Egidio has also been the principle Catholic voice calling for an end to the Death Penalty in the United States and those other countries which still resort to it.  In addition the Community of Sant’Egidio has maintained ties with dozens of organizations that promote a “peace and justice” agenda.  Both theologically and politically it sits on the far left side of the Catholic spectrum.  So while Archbishop Zuppi may know how to say the TLM he comes from a Church that is thoroughly in the Pope Francis model.  Good Luck, Rorate with men like Zuppi in key sees, the Church is getting tied in closer and closer to Pope Francis’ vision.  Let’s hope he gets to fill a few more sees and leave his stamp on the Church.  


  1. I really can't understand why you papists just can't get along. I remember when I was sacristan in a high church in New England how we had to be ready for any style of celebration. The American Missal, The Anglican Missal, the 1928 Altar Book, and the 1979 Altar Book were available for the use of the celebrant. We even had a nouus ordo book for a Jesuit who liked to use our Marian altar.

    I do remember being quite amused one Septuagesima Sunday when mass at the high altar was in green while mass in the lady chapel was in purple. No problems at all!

    Perhaps Archbishop Zuppi is of the same mind.

  2. that's because for you high-church Episcopalians its all form over substance. You lost the connection between liturgy and doctrine way back in the Latitudinarian years following the Glorious Revolution. Reminds me of the old joke about the Catholics who went to hell for eating meat on friday; the Baptists for dancing; the Methodists for drinking and the Episcopalians for using the salad fork for fish course. What we are fighting over is not liturgy but ecclesiology and ultimately the relationship between God and humankind. What is at stake is not a matter of smells and bells but the very nature of the Incarnation and giving equal weight to the two natures in the one Person of Jesus Christ. My point is that the neo-trads are not orthodox but monophysites but then most liberal Protestants today, including Episcopalians, are semi-Arians.

    1. Spot on. It isn't only the humor in poking fun at the KKs, it's that important (for me, anyway) tenets are being ignored in favor of fluff. What Texans might say is "all hat and no cattle".

  3. I have resisted adding to the rogues gallery one Dom Mark Kirby of Silverstream Priory since I have often found his website Vultus Christi to contain very helpful spiritual offerings -- though on occasion I have thought him to be overly eccentric. Sadly, a recent entry has led me to think he is yet another middling opponent of Francis where he wrote: "Is it permitted to remember happier days and to rejoice in what was given the Church for too short a season? “Jerusalem, if I forget thee, perish the skill of my right hand! Let my tongue stick fast to the roof of my mouth if I cease to remember thee, if I love not Jerusalem dearer than heart’s content!” In other words, he is comparing the current pontificate -- relative to the previous one -- to the Babylonian Exile. It saddens me to think that, though a neo-traditionalist attached to the pre-conciliar liturgy, he might have resisted the siren song of selective ultramontanism now prevalent among that crowd.

  4. well, I think we need to keep in mind that what draws people to that pre-conciliar sort of monastic life is often an attachment to the romanticism of certain forms--what I refer to as the colonial Williamsburg approach to religious life--rather than the desire for the direct and unmediated desire for God of which John Cassian wrote all those centuries ago. Where there is an attachment to forms--even good forms (the problem being the attachment rather than the forms themselves) there is bound to be a certain spiritual immaturity it becomes a monasticism of escape rather than the journey into the depths of God.