Rorate Caeli

- Rome, August 20, 1914, 1:30 a.m. -

It is 1:30 a.m., Central European Time (GMT + 1). In a neutral Italy amidst a continent ravaged by war, the bells are about to toll all through the City and throughout the world.

Exactly at this moment, exactly 100 years ago, the great Pope who still lives in our hearts, the simple parroco 
Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto 
gave up his soul to the LORD he had always served faithfully, leaving the travails of the earth for eternity in the Church Triumphant, in sempiternal glory.

Thank you, Saint Pius X! Please, intercede for us in Heaven above, that we may accomplish the words of the Apostle to the Gentiles you made your lifelong aspiration: "to restore all things in Christ"!

For the past 8 years, we have strived to cover each major centennial of Pope Saint Pius' amazing holy work for the Restoration of All Things in Christ in his relatively short but highly consequential pontificate. No one since Saint Pius V, and no one after him, has accomplished a similar global work of true Catholic reformation, that is always based on Our Lord Jesus Christ himself. In the encyclical in which he presented his pontifical program, Pius X was clear:

Now the way to reach Christ is not hard to find: it is the Church. Rightly does Chrysostom inculcate: "The Church is thy hope, the Church is thy salvation, the Church is thy refuge." (Hom. de capto Euthropio, n. 6.) It was for this that Christ founded it, gaining it at the price of His blood, and made it the depositary of His doctrine and His laws, bestowing upon it at the same time an inexhaustible treasury of graces for the sanctification and salvation of men. You see, then, Venerable Brethren, the duty that has been imposed alike upon Us and upon you of bringing back to the discipline of the Church human society, now estranged from the wisdom of Christ; the Church will then subject it to Christ, and Christ to God. If We, through the goodness of God Himself, bring this task to a happy issue, We shall be rejoiced to see evil giving place to good, and hear, for our gladness, " a loud voice from heaven saying: Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God and the power of his Christ." (Apoc. xii., 10.) But if our desire to obtain this is to be fulfilled, we must use every means and exert all our energy to bring about the utter disappearance of the enormous and detestable wickedness, so characteristic of our time - the substitution of man for God; this done, it remains to restore to their ancient place of honor the most holy laws and counsels of the gospel; to proclaim aloud the truths taught by the Church, and her teachings on the sanctity of marriage, on the education and discipline of youth, on the possession and use of property, the duties that men owe to those who rule the State; and lastly to restore equilibrium between the different classes of society according to Christian precept and custom. This is what We, in submitting Ourselves to the manifestations of the Divine will, purpose to aim at during Our Pontificate, and We will use all our industry to attain it. [E Supremi Apostolatus, Oct. 4, 1903]

And in eleven years, he did it. And his work was so magnificent that the "wickedness so characteristic of our time" that he mentioned above was almost unbelievably kept at bay from the Church during the bloodiest period of human history in the 50 years that followed his death, and that all good things that subsist in the Church after the debacle of the past half-century are imbued with his concern and passed through his hands. It is true that we often see the glass half-empty when we view the Church of our age, and the terrible years of her passion in the past half-century, during which, as one of his successors admitted, "the smoke of Satan enter[ed] into the Temple of God"  -- but we must instead glorify God for the great man whose truly Catholic reforms built up the defenses that kept her integrity safe during her time of need. A sane liturgical movement, a strong Catholic identity, a safe doctrinal environment, an unsurpassed time of Eucharistic devotion, a rationalization of the law, the promotion of sound sacred music, and the greatest vocational explosion in modern history beginning in his pontificate -- all accomplishments of the first pontificate of the 20th century, achievements which would collapse (but not totally!) only in the 1960s. So, instead of lamenting the recent past, we must celebrate the almost unsurpassed influence of one holy man whose work on this earth was a gift for God's Church, and whose eternal reward began exactly 100 years ago: Happy Birthday in Heaven, Saint Pius X, and thank you for everything.


Transcribed below is the article on the death of Pope Pius X published in the August 22, 1914, edition of The Tablet, with links to our various posts and series on several aspects of the Sarto Pontificate. The text also provides a general tone of how the holy Pope was viewed -- loved and revered in an unsurpassed way -- by his contemporaries in the Church in that, the first month of what would be a long and devastating war.

It is with inexpressible sorrow that we have to announce the death of the Pope.

His Holiness had so far recovered from the serious illness which attacked him last year that hopes had been entertained that he might still be spared for the welfare of the Church. But he was in his eightieth year, and there can be no question that his powers, already weakened by his illness, were still further reduced by the sorrow with which, as he said, his heart was wrung at the outbreak of the great conflict in Europe [cf. centennial of exhortation Dum Europa]. On the fourteenth of this month, His Holiness contracted a slight bronchial cold, which, though accompanied by a rise in temperature, at first gave no anxiety. On Sunday he rose as usual, but was so weak that he was ordered back to bed. But Monday [Aug. 17] night was a bad one, and on Tuesday [Aug. 18] he was so much worse that it was decided to issue bulletins morning and evening. Unfortunately, the bronchitis trouble developed, and was accompanied by increased feverishness. On Wednesday [Aug. 19] his state had become so critical, owing to a sudden relapse, that by evening death seemed imminent, and a telegram from our Rome correspondent informed us that it was "now only a question of hours." That was only too true. At half-past two on Thursday morning death came, and released the sufferer from the heavy weight of the great burden of the Supreme Pontificate.

The power of the chapel veil

View video below:

August 1914: Kulturkampf reaches a whole new level

On August 19, 1914, the advancing German armies that had grievously violated Belgian neutrality earlier in the month, occupied the city of Louvain (Leuven), Brabant.

Saint Walburge's: Here to Stay!
The Tallest Traditional Church in the World - in the Diocese of Lancaster

Saint Walburge's in Preston, Lancashire, the tallest Parish Church in the United Kingdom (and the tallest Catholic church in the UK or Ireland), will become the tallest church dedicated to the Traditional Latin Mass and Sacraments (Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite) in the world on September 27, 2014. As a shrine, it will also be especially dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament and Eucharistic Devotion.

We had first mentioned it in April. Now, it's just weeks away, with the presence of the local Bishop, the Bishop of Lancaster Michael Campbell, whose foresight must be praised in granting the Institute of Christ the King the opportunity to re-evangelize this region, much of which remained faithfully Catholic after the unfortunate events of the 16th century, with the added responsibility of taking care of a magnificent monument. Saint Walburge's went up as a true marker of the surrounding areas after Catholic emancipation in the 19th century almost as a statement in this region so marked by Recusancy: "we have never left, and we are here to stay." It is therefore a perfect place for the Traditional Mass: we are here to stay.

The inaugural ceremony of this bright new time for the church of Saint Walburge will be on Saturday September 27, at noon: a Solemn High Mass celebrated by the Prior-General of the Institute, with the Pontifical assistance of Bishop Campbell. A reception will follow. Preston is in a perfectly central location in the island of Great Britain, also not far from Ireland -- traditional Catholics throughout England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland can show their support for this magnificent event.

(Tip: reader.)

"Dear Father": Answers for Troubled Times
II - In these times, can I be critical or skeptical of hierarchy pronouncements?

"Dear Father,

Can I be a good Catholic and still be skeptical or even critical of certain things said or done by bishops and popes that appear to contradict all the Tradition of the Church?

Thank you,

Confused in Ontario"


Dear Confused in Ontario,

This is a question that I am asked many times.  It is, of course, the result of disquiet over what is said by Church authorities mainly in Rome but elsewhere as well.  So many “off-the-cuff” pronouncements by members of the hierarchy and the reappearance of theologies that we thought were dead because they lead to dead ends have had this disquieting effect on many of the faithful. 

Archbishop of Mosul: "I have lost my Diocese to Islam - You in the West will also become the victims of Muslims"

Armenian Orthodox church in Raqqa, Syria, now an ISIS office
Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer in the near future. I lost my diocese. The physical setting of my apostolate has been occupied by Islamic radicals who want us converted or dead. But my community is still alive.

Please, try to understand us. Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here. You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims. Also you are in danger. You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles. You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home.

Archbishop Amel Nona
Chaldean Catholic Archeparch of Mosul, now exiled in Erbil
August 9, 2014

[Updated: Date has been corrected; full translation of the relevant paragraph from original article below:]

Save Holy Innocents

A reader sent us this link. Watch it below, and weigh in:

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch and Holy See Envoy to Iraq:
An Appeal to the International Community

Press Release of the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans

[August 16, 2014]

The Special Envoy of the Holy Father in Iraq, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, accompanied by Patriarch Sako, by the Apostolic Nuncio, and the local bishops, met with the political authorities of the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan and visited the Christian refugees as well as the Yezidi and others in the provinces of Duhoq and Erbil.

They heard about and saw for themselves the tragedy and suffering of so many families that have left their villages, their homes and property, above all in Mosul, on the plain of Nineveh, and in Sinjar.  What they heard and saw has compelled them to join in a new appeal from the Patriarch in asking the International Community, and in particular to countries and international organizations that take their moral responsibilities seriously:

1.     To intervene immediately in bringing help in providing basic necessities: water, food, medical supplies,  sanitary services, etc.

2.     To liberate the villages and other places that have been occupied as soon as possible and with a permanent result.  The hope of these people must not be allowed to die!

3.     To assure that there is international protection for these villages and so to encourage these families to go back to their homes and to continue to live a normal life in security and peace.  Many times did the people cry out to us:   help us to return to just living our lives!

[See also: Help Iraq, a direct Chaldean Catholic donation project]

Original text  in Italian. Translated by Fr. Richard G. Cipolla

IMPORTANT - IRAQ DONATIONS: alms for refugees in Iraq
A Chaldean Catholic Project

A traditional Roman Catholic priest has passed along a site for our readers to give alms to help the Chaldeans suffering unimaginable evil in Iraq - it is a project sponsored directly by the Saint Thomas the Apostle Chaldean Catholic Eparchy in the United States.

We cannot take up physical arms -- but we can wage a spiritual battle of fasting, penance and prayer. And we can help with our wallets as well.

Image of the Day: Pope prays in Aborted Children's Symbolic Cemetery
"The Great Destroyer of Peace is Abortion"

Pope Francis visits the symbolic cemetery for abortion victims in Kkottongnae, Korea, this Saturday.


I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing - direct murder by the mother herself. And we read in the Scripture, for God says very clearly: Even if a mother could forget her child - I will not forget you - I have carved you in the palm of my hand. We are carved in the palm of His hand, so close to Him that unborn child has been carved in the hand of God. And that is what strikes me most, the beginning of that sentence, that even if a mother could forget something impossible - but even if she could forget - I will not forget you. And today the greatest means - the greatest destroyer of peace is abortion. And we who are standing here - our parents wanted us. We would not be here if our parents would do that to us. Our children, we want them, we love them, but what of the millions. Many people are very, very concerned with the children in India, with the children in Africa where quite a number die, maybe of malnutrition, of hunger and so on, but millions are dying deliberately by the will of the mother. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today. Because if a mother can kill her own child - what is left for me to kill you and you kill me - there is nothing between.

Mother Teresa
December 11, 1979

Iraq and Syria News Roundup - Aleppo's Christians under grave threat of genocide

Church in Aleppo, Syria, destroyed in 2012

In a small way, it is good that the news from Iraqi and Syrian Christians under threat is now so abundant that it has become hard to select worthwhile items - it shows a concern for their fate that wasn't there just weeks ago. Let us keep praying to the Mother of God for deliverance and a safe way out of this unbelievable situation for our wronged brethren. 


1. On Friday evening, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) at last edited its first resolution on the Islamists who have expelled hundreds of thousands, and raped and killed an unknown number, of Christians and other minorities in Iraq and Syria. Those countries and individuals (most reports had been pointing to the Gulf region, of course) financing these groups are the object of sanctions.

It is a complex resolution, because many items are new applications of items already present in prior anti-terrorist resolutions, but it is a very good sign (despite its ridiculous lateness) of a response. Whether we like it or not, international coordination on security matters after World War II almost always depends on the UNSC and on the acceptance of the facts by its five permanent members. So this is a start, as it provides a legal footing for further actions.


2. This Times report on the first major village reoccupied after ISIS left shows how difficult it will be to repopulate these areas (including those left by Christians in the Nineveh Plains) until this terrorist force is completely vanquished.


3. The most frightening news comes from the Christian community that has been suffering for the longest time, in Syria. The great city of Aleppo, where Christians have also been present for two millenia and that had immense Christian communities living in peace just before the outbreak of the civil war, has been in the center of the war. But in the past couple of days, ISIS has advanced closer and closer to Aleppo, where thousands of Christians, the original inhabitants of the city before the Muslim invasions of the 7th century, still remain.

Please, keep in your prayers and sacrifices the Christians of Aleppo and of all Syria.

ALEPPO, Syria — Walking through the largely Christian neighborhoods of Aleppo city — Azizieh, Siryan, Sulaimaniyah and Midan — you can still see the posters of the two bishops kidnapped by Islamist militants last year hanging on shop windows, walls and even cars. The people here haven’t forgotten them; the event is still as painful and fresh as if it had happened just yesterday. The bishops’ kidnapping was a symbolic event, indicative of the larger collapse of interfaith communal relations in a country under the strain of a sectarian civil war, and marked the end of a long era of relative peace and safety for the Christians of Syria.
Fear is palpable in this city; it hangs heavy in the air everywhere you go, like a potent and nauseous perfume. You can see it in people's eyes, in the deep lines on their faces; you can hear it in the way they talk; it’s in their conversations, it’s all they ever talk about.

But fear of a new kind permeates this ancient and deeply rooted community. Genocide and ethnic cleansing are very real threats that haunt the collective conscience of Syria’s Christians.

The Pope's Strength: Does it Come from God or from "the People"?
"Progressives" Make a Pope In Their Own Image

Jacques-Louis David
Le Serment du Jeu de Paume le 20 juin 1789 [The Tennis Court Oath on June 20, 1789], c. 1791
Musée Carnavalet

The ultra-"progressive" founder of the interreligious community of Sant'Egidio, and also former (unelected...) minister of the Italian government, Andrea Riccardi (more about him here), is one of those ideologues who have never received a vote in their lives but think they can better describe what "the people" want.

In an interview to French weekly L'Express published this Friday, he reaches the height of "progressive" populism. In his view, the strength of the Pope comes not from God, but "the people."

"The strength of Pope Francis is the people"
On which allies can the Argentine pope count?

His strength is the people. In my view, he has achieved an alliance, not with the Church's hierarchy, but with the faithful, to whom he gives orientations, but without decreeing to them, "You must do like this, or like that." He appeals to the liberty and responsibility of Christians, who come by the way massively to Saint Peter Square to see him. In the Anglo-Saxon world, his glow is particularly strong. A well-known American journalist has told me, "He's become our new Mandela." He has conquered Germany, that had turned its back on Benedict. Among you, in France, he does even better than John Paul II, who had connections, such as Jean-Marie Lustiger. Francis raises enthusiasm by himself. He is not submitted to the media, it is the media that turns towards him.

It must first be made clear that this was never said by the Pope, who was not elected by "the people," but by a very restricted and exclusive Church structure -- revolutionary populism is what "progressives" want to make the Pope look like, a Pope in their own image.

This populism must be denounced from the outset.

Fontgombault Sermon and Allocution:
Assumption of Our Lady, Proclamation of Love, Motherhood and Life
Vow to Our Lady: a Vow for Peace and Prayerfulness

Assumption of Our Lady

Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
(Fontgombault, August 15, 2014)

There is more happiness in giving than in taking (cf. Acts 20:35).

God the very first has put into practice this fundamental rule of spiritual life: He gave us His Son, He gave us Mary.

In monastic life, men give themselves to God through the practice of the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. They renounce riches, the legitimate joys of a human family, and the exercise of their own will, thus giving to the world the testimony that God only suffices. Today we remember the commitment that fifty years ago two of us have made. Throughout these years God has remained faithful. Man can rely on this faithfulness to enter into a path which might seem to go beyond human strength.

Whereas current ideas incline us to zapping, to ceaseless changing, to the culture of the temporary which debars us from any long-term commitment, life’s true joy and fecundity spring from an irrevocable commitment which gives us time to grow, to ripen, to blossom. Monastic life thus emerges as a laboratory where in the contact with divine realities, in liturgical prayer, in lectio divina, in personal prayer, as well as in brotherly life, a sweet fragrance is evolved which goes up from earth towards heavens to the praise of the Maker’s glory.

It is therefore not very hard to understand why monks like to choose Mary’s feasts to commit themselves before God by the links of profession or promise, and why they cultivate a great love for her. Mary is she who has entirely been God’s possession, to the extent that God has wanted to take flesh in her. To man’s gift, to his often so poor prayer, God Who is never niggardly of His grace answers with His abundance, He gives bountifully and lavishly. Mary is full of grace and she invites her children to follow the path of abandonment to Providence.

We remember today the end of Mary’s earthly life. She has gone up to Heaven in her body and soul and she has been crowned by God as Queen of heaven and earth. 

Event: Juventutem Long Island tonight (Assumption)

The following was submitted to Rorate from the new Juventutem Long Island:

Brick by Brick, the young people of the Church are determined to build back the Church to her former glory, and Juventutem Long Island is proud to be a part of that. One by one young adults are dedicating themselves to promoting beautiful liturgy and having authentic Catholic culture. 

Determined to spreading the gospel, we wanted to share with you our great joy in announcing our inaugural event which is tomorrow, the Feast of the Assumption, we are having a Mass at 6:15 at St. Aidans Church in Williston Park, NY followed by an Evening of Recollection featuring Erin von Uffel, DM as guest speaker. Mrs. Von Uffel will be speaking about the cause for canonization of Sr. Marie Mandat-Grancey.  This event is co-sponsored by the St. Agnes Institute and Catholic Fellowship of Long Island. 

More information can be found on Twitter here or on Facebook here.

Thank you for your prayers and support! 

Tots a una veu: Visca la Mare de Déu!

Mary! She is the north of the tender youth
who, feeling in his heart the burning life,
rows forward with courage and delight.
And, in the growing glare of heaven's light,
 a voice rises from the peaceful earth:
the Virgin, shaded by a blooming rose.
Father Jacint Verdaguer

The mystery play of Elche is a sacred musical drama of the death, the passage into heaven (known as the Assumption) and the crowning of the Virgin Mary.

Holy Innocents in NYC and Father Wylie's letter

"There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed: 
nor hidden, that shall not be known." (Lk 12:2)

Two new pieces were published this week on Holy Innocents in New York City, the archdiocesan parish that features the city's only daily traditional Latin Mass, on the websites of Fox News and the New York Observer.  This follows earlier coverage of the threat of closure in the New York Times here and here and Rorate's report from April.

An interesting new twist in this plot, however, is the matter of Father Justin Wylie's dismissal from the Archdiocese of New York, originally covered by Rorate in June.  At the time we wrote:

Fr. Justin Wylie, a South African priest serving as attaché to the Holy See's United Nations Permanent Observer Mission, was dismissed from his regular functions as a priest in the Archdiocese of New York following a sermon on the urgent need for the Archdiocese to send true and sympathetic shepherds to serve (and guide) those who attend the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in the Archdiocese.

We can now add that a correspondent of the blog spoke personally to Monsignor Edward Weber, the director of priest personnel for the Archdiocese of New York, regarding the astonishing, unprecedented, and violent dismissal (with letters sent even to his employer, the Holy See's United Nations Permanent Observer mission, and his native diocese). The monsignor told this correspondent that the removal of Fr. Wylie did not go through his office (whose whole purpose is the administration of priestly personnel affairs), but came "directly from the Cardinal's office".

In this week's Fox News report linked above, Adam Shaw wrote:

Sources told me that a letter was immediately sent to the papal nuncio to the U.N. and, incredibly, to Wylie's archdiocese in Johannesburg, scolding Wylie for his comments and threatening to recommend Wylie's priestly faculties be removed -- an extremely serious move that essentially prevents a priest from acting as one and is usually reserved for very serious accusations like sexual abuse, not upsetting a cardinal.

Sources say that after the letter was received, Rev. Wylie, in a move that sounds more like something from Inquisition-era Spain than from modern day New York, was then silenced,  forbidden from celebrating Mass publicly, and told to pack his bags and leave for South Africa as soon as possible.

Msgr. Edward Weber, head of the Priest Personnel office for the Archdiocese, who would normally be responsible for such a letter, denied that the letter existed when I spoke to him by phone, despite previously being reported on a traditional blog as saying the order came from the Cardinal's office. Weber told me he had been misquoted.

Later, the archdiocese admitted in a statement that there had indeed been a letter, but said it did not come from the Cardinal's desk, and it did not threaten to remove Wylie's faculties. When I asked if they had threatened to recommend that he have his faculties removed, the archdiocese did not respond. 

Auxilium Christianorum

There are so many Christians in need of prayer, now more than ever. Some of their issues are caused by natural means, some supernatural. But, in either case, prayer is the answer.

Therefore, we repost this information from last year: a set of prayers, approved with an imprimatur, and all the power of the Church that an imprimatur brings:

Click here to see the prayers, the rules surrounding them and the requirements to be a member of the Auxilium Christianorum. ...

One caveat: as the fathers say on the site, please try to consult a traditional spiritual director before starting the prayers, if you have one available. If not, seek out a traditional priest in the confessional, and speak to him. These prayers are serious, and must be taken seriously.

For the record: Latest Church pronouncements on Iraqi Christians

1. Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Sako - need for United States direct involvement in removing jihadists from the Nineveh Plains:


2. Pope Francis' letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations (made public today):

They owe Benedict XVI an apology

12 August 2014
  by Camillo Langone
Manuel Paleologus, they owe you an apology. They also owe an apology to Benedict XVI, whom they attacked after he quoted you at Regensburg: 
Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”
Today, when the news from ex-Iraq is once more making history, and is showing to anyone who has eyes to see what the Koran translated into action truly is, they need to apologize to both of you.  But they won’t do it: because they don’t believe in sacred texts. They are Europeans and a European doesn’t believe in the Gospel not even if he’s a Catholic. Not even if he’s a priest (at Mass on Sundays the only words about Faith are those written in the Missal, while the ones from  the priest -- homilies, admonitions,  casual chatter --  are melancholic manifestations of  unbelief). 
It is impossible for a European to think that someone could actually believe in their own religion.   And as for the Italians: according to their vocabulary the word Religion is defined as “a good and human thing”, so they will never apologize to you nor to Benedict.
Those who are not able to believe in God are not even able to believe in reality: they are not able to recognize a sword -- not even when it goes into their neck.
Translation by Rorate's Francesca Romana.

Event: first Pontifical Mass by H.E. Cordileone in San Francisco next month

Those who return to the past are not outside the Church

August 2014

In times of perilous confusion we should take a step back.
Isn’t that perhaps what we do in life? Faced with a confusing situation, difficult to untangle, which makes us worried and perplexed, we pause and then take a step back, avoiding the advance into danger.
It is what we have done with regard to the faith. 

The Only Basis of the Christian Missionary Effort and Dialogue: Jesus Christ as the One Savior of the World

by Inos Biffi
L'Osservatore Romano, August 8, 2014

That the Church not only prays for but also dedicates her total commitment to the conversion of all men to Christ is part of her essential mission.  After his Resurrection Christ entrusted to his Church a precise command:  “All power in heaven and earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

The Mass of the Council is the Traditional Mass

On Alarming Situation of 130,000 Refugees and Other Grave Matters

Rorate was sent a Declaration by the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch, Louis-Raphael I Sako, on several urgent aspects and the grave risk in which Iraqi Christians and other refugees still find themselves.


+Louis Raphael Sako
Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon
President of the Assembly of the Catholic Bishops in Iraq
Baghdad – Iraq

10 August  2014

Death and sickness are taking hold of the children and elderly people among the thousands of refugee families spread over the Kurdistan Region who lost everything in the recent tragic developments while the ISIS Militants are still advancing and the humanitarian aid is insufficient.

There are seventy thousand displaced Christians in Ankawa [Erbil] along with the other minorities in this city that has a population of more than twenty-five thousand Christians. The families who found shelter inside the churches or schools are in a rather good condition while those who are still sleeping in the streets and public parks are in a deplorable situation…

In Dohuk, the number of Christian refugees' amount to more than 60.000 and their situation is worse than those in Erbil. There are also families who found shelters in Kirkuk and Sulaymaniyah, as well as some have arrived as far as in the capital city of Baghdad.

While the humanitarian needs are escalating: housing, food, water, medicine and funds, the lack of international coordination is slowing and limiting the realization of an effective assistance to these thousands awaiting immediate support. The Churches are offering everything within their capacity.

To summarize the situation of the Christian villages around Mosul up to the borders of Kurdistan Region: the churches are deserted and desecrated; five bishops are out of their bishoprics, the priests and nuns left their missions and institutions leaving everything behind, the families have fled with their children abandoning everything else! The level of disaster is extreme.

The position of the American president Obama only to give military assistance to protect Erbil is disappointing. The talks about dividing Iraq are threatening. The Americans are not up to a rapid solution to give hope specifically as they are not going to attack the ISIS in Mosul and in the Nineveh Plain. The confirmation that this terrible situation will continue until the Iraqi Security Forces will fight along with Peshmerga against the ISIS militants is very depressing. The President of the Kurdistan Region said that the Kurdish troops are fighting with a terrorist State and not minor groups! While the country is under fire, the politicians in Baghdad are fighting for power.

An Ecumenical Moment with Rorate Cæli
- Coptic Bishop: "We know how Muslims behave when they become the majority!"

The man speaking here is the Coptic-Orthodox (Oriental Orthodox) "General Bishop" (Generalbischof) for Germany, Anba Damian, a native of Cairo, in an interview recorded a couple of years ago. Since grievous attacks such as those perpetrated by ISIS usually bring with them in the media a kind of guilt-induced backlash (such as, "no, no, Islam is absolutely harmless, and indeed very beneficial to social harmony and very respectful of minorities when they are a majority"), we consider it useful to recall the voice that comes from experience. A 1,400-year-long experience.

How to respond to Islam: reply to Geoffrey Sales. Op Ed

Ladies wearing mantillas at the St Catherine's Trust Summer School in Wales
Over on 'All Along the Watchtower' the blogger Geoffrey Sales has done me the honour of responding, mostly positively, to my short series of posts about Islam. My argument concluded with the suggestion that, if we want try to make the point that we aren't part of the decadent West, which revivalist Muslims (not just the really crazy ones), and the rising Hindus, Buddhists, and Pentecostalists, quite rightly reject, then we could try restoring the use of head coverings by Catholic women in church.

This would signal a rejection of both decadent sexual mores and of the attack on the difference between the sexes.

Contemplate the likelihood of this happening any time soon, and you will glimpse the depth of the problem.

Geoffrey Sales, though, is having none of it. He remarks:

Best of luck with that one – bound to work, make ourselves look more like the Taliban rather than challenging Islam with the Gospel Truth.

One the one hand, as I indicated there is going to be huge resistance to the restoration of head coverings precisely because it is instinctively understood as a move away from sexual liberation and the like. But to resist it as because it is in some kind of tension with 'Gospel truth': this just seems bizarre. Sales is a Baptist. He knows as well as I do - surely - that women covering their heads in church is sternly commanded by St Paul (1 Cor 11:5). Was St Paul steering his congregation away from 'Gospel truth'? Those who founded the Baptist tradition insisted on head coverings for women in church: were they against 'Gospel truth'? Was everyone in the Christian tradition against 'Gospel truth' up until the 20th century?

Crisis of Bishops: "I'm a Religious Ed teacher, entered a 'gay marriage,' and I'm still teaching, with my bishop's full knowledge. Great!"

Rorate - an explanatory note: in Spain, as in several countries, one of several government agreements with the Holy See allows for the teaching of Catholic Religious Education in state schools, if the parents so require. In such cases, the educator needs a license to teach from the Diocese, similar in nature to licenses to teach Catholic theology around the world; in the specific case of Spain, the teachers themselves are appointed by the Diocese to the local government (the municipality or, more usually, the Autonomous Communities, which are the autonomous Spanish regions responsible for almost all educational matters). The law redefining civil marriage to include couples of the same sex in Spain dates from 2005.


Bishop Francisco Cases, of the Canary Islands, and the Pope
Luis Alberto González tells his story: "A New Way of Making Church?"

The Bishop of the Canaries "blesses"* the gay marriage of a Religion teacher from Lanzarote

Luis Alberto González
August 9, 2014
for Religión Digital

I was the first to think that this was not my place anymore, and that I was doing the right thing before the ecclesiastical institution. But time passes by, and I see myself pleasantly surprised with the acceptance of my situation

(Luis Alberto González) - I entered into civil marriage with another man in 2012. The matter would have no greater relevance, if it were not for the fact that I'm a high school Catholic Religious Education teacher, for which I considered appropriate to send a letter to Francisco Cases, Bishop of the Canary Islands, at the end of that school year [note: that is, in the summer of 2013], presenting my situation and understanding that my position would be taken away due to what the Code of Canon Law requires.

The Guns of August Still Rumble - 3rd and last Part
- After the Age of Empire, the Age of Totalitarianism and Genocide

It is simply astonishing how much our daily lives are still so closely linked to the First World War -- and even more so those of our dear Christian brethren in the Middle East. In 1915, during the war, Muslims in Anatolia would join hands to effect the first major genocide of the 20th century, as over 1 million Armenians, Assyrians, and Hellenic Pontic Christians were killed, and a good number were expelled to make room for the 99%-Muslim Turkish Republic we know today. As it can be seen above, Aleppo, Mosul, Deir Ezzor, once again today brutalized by Islamic forces, were cities to which Christians were deported 99 years ago. The remains of the Ottoman Empire were divided by French and British, and, though many ideas were considered, a nation for Christians was never really effected in the border redesign -- the closest thing was Lebanon, but the slight Christian majority there did not last as long as it was thought it would. Many of the expelled Assyrian Christians from Anatolia would join their kin who had always lived in what would become Northern Iraq and Syria. The rest is history being made before our eyes.

The third and last part of Italian historian Roberto de Mattei's special article on the First World War shows how that "Jacobin War," in his words, reaches us powerfully even today in its mighty consequences.

The Guns of August Still Rumble
(Part III)
by Roberto de Mattei
for Il Foglio
(excerpts )

The Conference of Paris united and consolidated Germany, but at the same time humiliated its aspirations, pushing her towards rearmament and revanchist policies. The “injurious paragraphs” in the Treaty of Versailles, for example, article 231, which cast the moral blame entirely on Germany and her allies for the August 1914 “aggression” as well as the demand to hand over the “war criminals” starting with the Emperor William I, were received by the German public opinion as an unacceptable “diktat” and offered the pretext for the constitution of a “anti- Versailles front” which united progressives and conservatives. John Laughland noted how those Treaties go back to “the ethic of punishment” imposed in the name of “humanitarian law” which would characterize the contemporary age, while all the Treaties for Peace, concluded from the beginning of the XIV century until Versailles, contained “amnesty clauses” for the losers. (Total War for the sake of The Good, in “Limes”, n. 5 (2014), pp.61-66).

The lack of balance generated by the peace of Versailles, favored the two “brother enemies” which came on the scene more or less at the same time in the twenties: Bolshevism and Fascism. Did the European civil war begin in 1917, as Ernst Nolte sustains or in 1914, as other historians claim? In reality there is no contradiction, since the Russian Revolution is part of the First World War and cannot be separated from it. The historical European and global dynamic, between 1917 and 1945, was determined, as Ernest Nolte underlined, by the great “European Civil War”, conducted between the Third Reich and the Soviet Union. Many European politicians did not understand the underlying affinity linking the two ideological systems, but ascribed the “avant garde” role to Soviet Communism in the process of democratizing mankind.