Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pope Benedict All Saints Spiritual Bouquet II: Final Alert

To all Pro Papa League captains and readers: The Bouquet will be sent tomorrow Friday 31st October 2.30pm GMT. Please place any last offerings as a comment on this post.

Lindi, Grigori and Mocath have not been in touch for some time. Do please make contact again. Prayers have been offered for your well-being.

As with the first Bouquet, will post full text of this one the day after it has been sent the the Holy Father.

God bless all here,


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pope Benedict announces African Synod October 2009

In St. Peter's today, during his homily at the Mass marking the end of the Synod of Bishops on the word of God, Pope Benedict announced an African Synod to take place October 2009 and that in preparation he would be visiting Cameroon, probably in March. He repeated the information during the Angelus at noon.

Another eventful week, vastly more so for him than for us.

All the more reason for a final nudge re. the All Saints' bouquet which I'll administer this Thursday 30th October.. My dearest wish is that a priest would write in and offer a Mass. On va prier, on va voir.

God bless all here,
In Christo pro Papa

Pro Papa League Flagship Alert:Round up of this week's Armada activity

Over at the Pro Papa Flagship her captain Confiteor has a post which outlines this week's PPL activity. I'm most gratelful to him for including links to all my recent Una Voce posts. Do pay a visit to see what we've all been up to.

Thanks Confiteor, this is what we need to maintain a sense of unity and common purpose in our little fleet. She may be little but she is strong. God bless her and all who sail in her!

In Christo pro Papa

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Una Voce International Report: The bad news: III

Qu. 10

Training courses for priests/servers/choirs:

The Latin Mass Society's contribution has already been noted in the earlier post on England and Wales. The LMS and faithful have paid for these courses and the section draws attention to the fact that no English or Welsh bishop has so far proposed to offer help with costs.

Responses to questions coming from the laity in different countries:

"From more information received by members of the Federation, this report takes into account collected documentation which has resulted from requests for information and assisannce by individuals and groups in different parts of the world. This report has included in its study, for presentation to a higher level, the desire of many faithful in various countries to have the experience of a more traditional, spiritual, reverent liturgy, than that which is currently celebrated in the majority of parish churches. It is manifest that many of these demands for help come from young people who were not born when the traditional Mass was cast aside in 1970. Those amongst the young who have already assisted at mass according to the EF, or those who have seen it on television or video, cannot understand why the Church replaced such a beautiful liturgy with the modern rite in the vernacular. .......
Given that most practising Catholics receive no help and no encouragement from their priests or their bishops, they turn to the Una Voce International Federation for help."


It is well to bear in mind when reading all my posts on the subject of the UNa Voce report, that where it does not give specific names, those names, if my trust in the Holy Father's intentions is well-founded, will reach him before long, even if they are not alredy on his desk.

On the positive side the report makes clear the debt owed by us all to those brave priests and religious who are known to celebrate the EF publicly and regularly, to those who have supported the Traditional movement over the years 'in the wilderness', and to those who blog consistently and persistently in support of Pope Benedict's reforms, and in so doing help to reduce the ignorance to which the report makes regretful reference. In their turn, lay traditional Catholic bloggers group themselves around the Holy Father and these priests and add their own voices in filial encouragement and affection. Secondly we must admire and thank the young, to whom the report makes repeated and appreciative reference. In England and Wales, perhaps our most profound gratitude should be expresssed to the Latin Mass Society whose patient, discreet, undaunted labour of love over the last 4 decades has now, through the Summorum Pontificum of Benedict XVI been given light, and space in which to bear its fruit. Not only that, for while continuing to encourage new venues for the EF through their national system of diocesan representatives, they have now taken the initiative in the training of priests, servers and choirs. Meanwhile in the USA, as far as TV is concerned EWTN is to be particularly congratualated. In France, kto's superb coverage day by day of every Papal event is to be applauded and has certainly been a lifeline to me!

Finally, the Una Voce International Federation itself, deserves the gratitude of us all for its untiring work over the decades, and in the preparation, publication and presentation of the current report to our Holy Father. They have also promised two futher annual reports during the rest of the trial period of reaction and application of the Motu Proprio.

In closing, I should be most grateful for your comments on the above posts and to know that you will be circulating their content among your contacts at home and on the Internet. During the coming week I hope to publish my own reflections on the Report and on the waysthe in which it may affect future decisions of Our Holy Father.

Apropos His Holiness please note that the All Saints Bouquet will be sent on the afternoon of next Friday 31st i.e. in less than a week. More mention of prayer for bishops this time, I think?!



Una Voce International Report: The bad news.....II

Qu. 6: Translation of resume of answers:

" When the Motu Proprio was promulgated there was great joy among numerous priest across the world, especially the older ones who had waited for decades for the opportunity to celebrate again, the Mass of their youth. Similarly there were many younger priests who have found the EF to be profoundly spiritual and who desire to celebrate it in order to be in communion with their older brother priests.....It has become clear from responses to UVIF and from numerous Internet blogs that many parish priests and members of religious communities are being submitted to subtle pressure and threats, and in many cases are isolated in their dioceses and communities. The aggressive intolerance which currently prevails in numerous dioceses is such that, for this reason, it has been decided not to include any names in this report, in order to protect these priests and religious. If the Pontifical Commission wishes to know these names, the Federation will supply them in a confidential communication. There exists in many dioceses a sinister and merciless determination to eradicate, if possible, all vestiges of tradition among the Clergy and Faithful."

Qu. 8

Reported reaction from those who have attended an EF since the Motu:

Many have been impressed and some have been astonished that the Church had abandoned such a beautiful and spiritually uplifting rite. There are now constant demands for house Masses, for Masses in central locations and for all the Sacraments. It is the solemnity, sense of the sacred and the truly Catholic hymns which attract people to the traditional liturgy. most particularly the young......
Certainly there have been negative responses on the part of those who don't have any Latin and who complain out of ignorance that this is against the Second Vatican Council. Some complain, again out of ignorance, that the priest turns his back on the people. These bad interpretations must be corrected."

Qu. 9

Have demands been received from priests wishing to celebrate the EF?

The good news in this section has already been translated in the post on England and Wales, as has the reference to one particular negative case in Scotland. The section from which those parts were taken, concludes as follows:

"A similar situation exists in Spain(as in Scotland), where Parish Priests are afraid of speaking openly of their wish to celebrate the EF because they forsee being subject to sanctions. This harsh regime imposed by numerous bishops on their priests is such that those of the latter who would wish to respond favourably to the Motu Proprio are frightened to do so."

Qu. 10 and Conclusion follow

In Christo pro Papa

Una Voce International Report: the bad news: I

The worldwide picture emerges of very patchy success for the Motu Proprio. Our Holy Father's heart will be grieved at much of the evidence given in the report which lays responsibility for the situation firmly at the feet of many bishops.

From the Reports Introduction:

Having explained the methods of gathering the evidence the bold statement is made:
"In this way information and evidence from the Laity will be given to Rome in counter balance of the reports from the Bishops conferences which have NEVER (my caps)represented a true reflection of the desire of the faithful for the traditional liturgy."

I think Una Voce would only make such a daring statement if they felt confident that His Holiness would pay heed and wwould not be outraged at their boldness. They would base this confidence on at least 12 years of his knowledge and approval of their work for the 'Mass of Ages'. In 1996, as Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict made the following statement during an address to the Una Voce Federation:

"The International Una Voce Federation has played an important role in supporting the use of the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal in obedience to the directives of the Holy See. For this valuable service I express my gratitude to the members of the Federation and extend my blessing."

I find it difficult to believe that he will not have been closely following their activities since then, particularly since the application of his Motu. Indeed, I would suggest that they probably informed him in advance of their intention to bring him this report. (More of their credentials for acceptance later on.)

Qu.1 The last para. of this section, also critical of bishops, has already been translated in an earlier post.

Qu. 4 This had asked members to be specific about bishops who have refused to respond charitably and who have prevented their priests from celebrating Mass in the EF.

Here is the report's resume of its members' responses worldwide:

"Unhappily, the list would be too long and it would not be good to cite only some.. In certain countries the Bishops Conferences, or some bishops in particular, have refused to recognise the right of their priests - which is accorded by the Supreme Legislature- to celebrate widely and freely the EF form of the Roman Rite. If these bishops do not openly forbid their priests from celebrating this Mass, they have sent a clear message in the form of strict instructions which practically deny their priests the rightful liberty in celebrating the EF."

Qu. 5

On the subject of episcopal letters either to clergy or faithful of individual dioceses, the UV member response is unanimous, apart from some information from Canada and the letters sent direct to Rome from Scotland and Italy.

"The response has been ......that they cannot furnish such letters because numerous bishops have not spoken about the Motu Proprio; many faithful, all, know nothing about the document, so much so that there is great ignorance among the faithful about the document. Here again it is the members of UVIF who battle constantly against this episcopal conspiracy of silence, and who are best-placed to inform the faithful on the documents from Rome. We have noticed that when the faithful are inford of their right to assist at the Traditional Mass, many are angry with their bishops for not informing them about this.

Qu. 6 Membership was asked for names of priests who have co-operated, particularly with UVIF or with their parishioners....

The resume of answers makes even more unpleasant reading:

Basically, no names are given in order to protect such priests....... Many of whom would love to celebrate the old Mass, but who dare not exercise their lawful right for fear of their bishops' disapproval and sanctions.

Full translation of para. for this question follows in next post....

In Christo pro Papa

Friday, October 24, 2008

Una Voce International Report to Pope Benedict: October 2008: U.S.A.


Qu. 1

The U.S.A. is reported as a place where in some dioceses, there is a clear improvement in the attitude of biships who are welcoming the Motu Proprio favourbly, and in others to apply it in obedience to the Sovereign Pontiff. Where there has been such a charitable and paternal reaction, there exists a harmony between the bishops, priests and laity and Parish life is enriched by it.

Qu. 2

There is some increase in the availability of the EF and in places where it is celebrated. Particular reference is made to young Americans, on whose insistence the Traditional Mass has now begun to be offered at St Thomas Aquinas College CA; at Notre Dame University (Indiana); and in Washington at Georgetown University, and the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Qu. 6

That mention of 'blogues Internet' cannot fail to bring to mind Fr John Zuhlsdorf (affectionately and gratefully known to us all as Fr Z, who although he lives in Rome, seems to be untiringly in and out of America like a fiddler's elbow and never fails to keep the traditional Cathoic blogosphere up to date not only with what's going on in his native land, but also in the world at large. As I coined elswhere 'He has made the world his parish.'

Qu. 7

The United States has seen an increase in demands on the part of the laity for teaching on the Motu Proprio.

Qu. 10

This section reports the USA as one of the countries (the others being Eng. and Wales,Italy and Germany [Bavaria by any chanc?]), where important formation courses in the Universities and Seminaries have been organised.

(Indidently Google news reported that the Holy Father met privately with a group of American episcopal officials earlier this week, in the wake of the Papal visit to USA last April. It was the usual time of year for it apparently, but timely all the same.)

The last few posts have mainly highlighted the good news, but the next must address the downside faced by Pope Benedict and his 'traditional' Priests, Religious and laity. In spite of that however, the Una Voce Report has helped me to understand more clearly why he is taking time over certain decisions. And so in his words and those of his beloved predecessor, 'Do not be afraid.'

In Christo pro Papa

Una Voce International Report to Pope Benedict: October 2008: Scotland


Qu. I

Scotland is the only country mentioned by name (amongst others) where there has been no improvement.

Qu. 3

On the other hand Scotland's Mgr O'Brien is listed among the 27 bishops who have reacted with charity and in response to thier calling to care for souls.

"Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est."

Qu. 5 'Ad Clerum' letters and letters from bishops to parishes:

"Information has reached us (UV) rom our associate members in Italie and SCOTLAND that they have reported on these matters directly to the Ecclesia Dei Commission."


Increased demand from laity fof teaching on the Motu Proprio? Scotland is listed as one of the countries to report an increased interest.

Qu. 9

"In Scotland, according to a priest elevated to the hierarchy, there are signs that a good number of priests, in one diocese specifically, who would like to celebrate the traditional Mass, but they are intimidated by the directives and negative attitude of their archbishop."
Surely it's not rocket science for you, and indeed Pope Benedict, to work that one out.

Qu. 10

Scotland is mentioned as one of the country's where courses for Priests/Servers/ Choirs have been made available.

Since USA may be a long post will put that up separately

In Christo Pro Papa

Una Voce International: Report to Pope Benedict: IV: England and Wales


QU. 1

RESULTS FROM England and Wales indicate an improvement in the general situation in certain parts of the countries only. No news for us here, but at least we have the comfort of knowing that the exact information is directly available to the Holy Father, almost certainly from a distillation of LMS Society Diocesan Representative reports.

Qu. 2

England and Wales is stated as enjoying, again in some places, an increased availablity of the EF and of the number of venues where it is celebrated.

Qu. 3

In this section, dealing with bisops who have responded charitably "in recognition of their duty in the care of soule". A list is given of 27 bishops who have been particularly cooperative. It is notable that not one name from the English and Welsh Conference is included.

Qu. 4

In the general style of the present report no actual names are given. But I feel we can be fairly certain that these will be given in Part III or available to the Holy Father and the Ecclesia Dei Commission should they ask? Hands up anyone who thinks that if necessary,they're not going to ask?

Qu. 5.

On the subject of 'ad clerum' letter and any by bishops to their flocks about the 'Motu', the English and Welsh respondants have apparently been silent on the statements by Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor and Bp. Roche.

Qu. 6

No names are supplied of priests who have been particularly wholehearted in their active support for the Motu and the EF. However the paragraph is interesting to us here because it mentions numerous "blogues internet" which indicate that there are many Parish Priest who support the Holy Father's initiatives....In the case of E & W, this can only be a veiled reference to the ones we all know and love!

Qu. 7

In England and Wales there has been a significant increase in lay demand for teaching (on the Motu Proprio)and membership (apparently of the LMS) almost doubled between September 2007 and September 2008.

Qu. 9

The demand from Priests for information and help in the celebration of the Ef has likewise significantly increased.

Qu. 10

"The courses organised in England by the Latin Mass Society have formed nearly 100 priests (in the celebration of the E.F.)The Latin Mass Socity and the laity have taken upon themselves the cost of the two important courses that have already taken place...... Not one bishop has offered to help towards this cost, despite the fact that ultimately their dioceses will benefit when these (newly trained or retrained) priests begin to offer Mass in the EF in their home dioceses.

Next up: Scotland

In Christo pro Papa

Una Voce International: Report to the Pope: III


Pages 8 through 11 of the Report give syntheses of answers from contibuting members to the following 10 questions. I recommend you print them off and match against future papagraphs. This will save my having to make constant back-reference. In future they will be referenced by the number of the question. Here they are:

1. Has there been an improvement since 14th September 2007?
2. Have you had more access to (EF) Masses and in different places?
3. Which bishops have responded positively to Pope Benedict's Motu Proprio?
4. Which bishops have refused to respond charitably and have prevented their
priests from celebrating Mass in the EF?
5. Can you furnish letters 'ad clerum' or letters from bishops to their faithful on
the Summorum Pontificum?
6. Can you furnish the names of priests who have particularly cooperated with
members of the Una Voce International Federation and parishioners for the
celebration of the EF?
7. Have you had an increase in demand from the Laity for teaching on the Motu
Proprio and for information about your Society or Group?
8. What responses have you had from people who have assisted at an EF Mass?
9. Have you received requests from priests seeking inormation to help them to
celebrate the EF of the Mass?
10. Have you organised Formation courses in the EF for priests. servers or choirs?
(Three cheers for the LMS. Sorry who said that?!!!)

On the subject of LMS, several months ago, I tried to convince Damian Thompson on Holy Smoke that the LMS would be reporting to Rome on the situation and was dismissed. Clearly the LMS HAVE reported through Una Voce. I am happy to rest that particular case.

The ten questions are to be answered as dating from 'The Exaltation of the Cross' last September, clearly a deliberate choice of our beloved Holy Father. Clearly also, Una Voce has been gathering the evidence for several months. And I would be surprised if His Holiness has been not been waiting for them to deliver the report before taking further action about the matter and its relevance to other things, including the appointment to Westminster. One should bear in mind that UV and LMS have been influential before, notably in 2002 (see Documents on LMS website) Surely Cardinal Ratzinger would have obvserved their initiativesand will be quite well of their networks.(in literal as well as WWW senses However, 'Revenons a nos moutons!' (An appropriate imperative, considering the context.)

How many hours were spent formulating those questions? How considered and yet daring they are. I wanted to demonstrate this before giving the answers. I'm not deliberately holding out on you. It's a cliche, but true as cliches often are: If a thing's worth doing, then it's worth doing properly.

The main method by which Una Voce sends its message to Pope Benedict is by what it does NOT say. As an example, in the synthesis of answers to Qu.1 the report lists by name the member countries (11, including England and Wales, France and the USA) who say there has been an improvement,and then in the final paragraph of that section says:

" Sadly, in many other places, perhaps the majority, there is a refusal to engage with the document (the Motu) which expresses itself in an apparent episcopal conspiracy of silence, or worse by a strategy which seemingly ignores the legitimate demands coming from the laity and which imposes tough restricions on their priests.. Consequently, the situation has not improved in some countries...."

Wisely, charitably and discreetly Una Voce does not name names in this section of the report, but does state elsewhere that if such be required by Ecclesia Dei, the Federation has those names and will supply them to that Commission. Indeed this hard evidence of names and incidences is contined in Section III of the report and wisely Una Voce has not made that section public. His Holiness will appreciate this discretion as he continues to to carry the burden of decision making. In the 2002 inervention by UV/LMS, actual names WERE again sent to Rome but were not published . It is hard to believe that Cardinal Ratzinger did not have sight of that document, or that he has not retained in his gargantuan memory,the names and incidents it idetified. Moreover, he could not have been at the CDF all those years, without forming an assessment of most of the dramatis personae in the present 'drama'. But if he has POST_MOTU EVIDENCE of recalitrance....well then, we may see some changes made. I said to my husband about the time of Cardinal Castrillon's visit to London in June, that I thought the Westminster decision was being delayed because the Holy Father wanted to assess how the E & W Conference reacted to the Motu.

Enough for now. So much for 1am. It's 2am! D.V., will be with you again tomorrow afternoon.


God bless all here,


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Una Voce International Report to the Pope: II


Page 2 of the document is a table of contents as follows:

Part I Introduction

Part II Summorum Pontificum: First Year - Analysis and Resume

Part III The current situation based on reported evidence from members of the Una Voce Federation. Then follows a list of these member oranisations. The page does not therefore need translation but incldes:

Australia: Una Voce Australia; England and Wales: The Latin Mass Society; France: Una Voce France; Germany: Pro Miss Tridentina/Una Voce Germany; Ireland: St Conleth Catholic Heritage Group; Scotland: Una Voce Scotland; United States of America: UNA VOCE AMERICA.

I propose to deal with Sections I later becuase basically it sets forth cogently, what most of us already suspect or know. It is Part II that is particularly enlightening becuase it brings claim of proof about what has happened/is happening in particular places. This is most enlightening to us, but more importantly will give His Holiness as clear a picture as is available, of what and where exactly, have been the successes of the Motu Proprio, AND where the Holy Father faces quite intransigent and obdurate opposition. The latter, as I have more than once suspected/and or known, is often covert in the form of a conspiracy of silence, mostly not on the part of laity or priests. The report states openly that priests in Spain, for example, are afraid to celebrate the EF and it is explicit as to the reasons why.

But this is to jump the gun. I now propose to go through Section II and construct posts based on the evidence from the countries listed above, concluding with generalities applying to the situation. I'm going away now to start work on England and Wales, Scotland, USA and France. It is 11.45pm here and I do not intend to work later than 1am, but I do hope to post once again tonight. My earlier intention not to post on Fridays must be broken, but not the oath which heads the left sidebar, nor the pledge I have made to pay attention to another pressing matter. Robert Frost's words seem to apply most nights:

'But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep."

I am happy for that in the service of Christ and His 'Adorer', our Holy Father Benedict XVI.

Until later,


Una Voce Report presented to the Holy Father 20/21 October 2008: English translation/synthesis: I

Propose to publish this in bite sized posts. I'm working direct from the document to keyboard as fast as I can so there may be typos and inelegance in the English which I'll clean up later. My translation is not 'word for word'. That usually results in lifeless and sometimes risible un-Englishness. Current English equivalent expression is always preferred whilst tryin to preserve the stylistic dignity of the original.

BACKKGROUND: Issued by Una Voce France on newsletter to members.

"July 17 2008. Una Voce France sent a letter to the Holy Father in advance of his visit to France, to ask for more support for the faithful in their active attempts to recover the Traditional Mass.

October 20 and 21 2008. The International Federation of Una Voce, of which Una Voce France is a member) went to Rome to present to the Vatican authorities a detailed report on the application of the Motu Proprio of His Holiness a year after its promulgation. The document gives a synthesis of events and you can familiarise yourself with it below. The elaborative details are founded on information provided by UV member associations in 40 countries.

Please do not hesitate to circulate this document amongst your contacts with the intent of gaining approval for the action of Una Voce International.

Patrick Banken , President of Una Voce France "

Follows: The entire document which is preceded by a letter addressed to the Holy Father himself with the Una Voce letterhead and crest. It is dated October 2008 and is signed by Leo Darroch, President of the International Una Voce Federation. I do not know the language of the original document, possibly Latin, but this French version conveys in impeccable style and courtesy, the expression of the Federation's gratitude for His Holiness' efforts towards the restoration of the Tridentine Mass and the 1962 Missal of Pope John XXIII. The penultimate paragraph makes it clear that the report enshrines the sentiments, not only of the laity but also of priests and Religious who are known in the Church as 'traditional' and who welcomed the Motu Proprio with great joy. The translated final paragraph now follows:

"Prostrated at the feet of Your Holiness, our universal Father and Shepherd, we express to you our most profound sentiments of filial piety, loyalty and gratitude, and in assuring you of our prayers, we ask the benediction of our most Holy Father for ourselves and all the members of our International Federation."

(Not for nothing was French the 'language of the court' for several centuries!)

The next page is a table of contents and gives the names of Una Voce National organisations who have contribute to the Report.

To be continued in: English translation/synthesis: II

In Christo pro Papa

20th/21st October 2008:Una Voce International submits detailed report to Pope Benedict on reception of Motu Proprio in 40 countries world-wide.

I have just picked this up via my Una news letter. I've read it and it's hot stuff. Francophones can reach the full text of the 11 page document by link on sidebar here. Arrived at click left hand menu telechargements then on the resulting page Documents and then downloads.

By this evening will put up on here a synthesis of particular interest to England, Wales, Scotland, USA, France and Australia. In the meantime will resist the temptation of going over to Holy Smoke and saying 'I told you so, but you took no notice'. The LMS, a member of the Una Voce Federation) gets particular plaudit. I knew they would. And clearly have had substantial input, not for the first time.

No more nonsense please from anyone on Holy Smoke about "Does the Pope know what's going on?" The questions now are, "What Sa Saintete will do next and how soon?"

Patience. (The promised humour post will have to wait However you will find some ironic pleasure in the Una Voce report. It is oh so discreet but oh so telling.)

In Christo pro Papa

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pope Benedict on Atheistic systems: "Bombastic trumpeting ... conceal(s) their nothingness"

Father Blake on Saint Mary Magdalen has a wonderfully ironic post on the British Humanist Society's new 'Atheist Bus Campaign' which apparently involves the following slogan being plastered on the sides of buses in our 'sceptr'd isle.. and blessed plot....this England' etc. (The Bard's doing a few spins in his Stratford tomb, I should cocoa, particularly in view of recently well researched claims that he was a closet RC. Give you links later..absolutely fascinating. ) Sorry for digression here's the slogan:

'There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.'

The vehicle in the photo on Father's blog looks like a bendy-bus. Very bendy. If a number 11 goes by bearing this rubbish when I'm in London next month, I may be constrained, in spite of the advice of Holy Smoke's 'Eminence Grise, to throw caution to the winds and publicly in the Westminster Cathedral Piazza, eat my mantilla. But calm down Janey bird. Pope Benedict has the answer as always:

"Even the decidedly atheistic materialistic systems create their own forms of cult, though, of course, they can only be an illusion and strive in vain, by bombastic trumpeting to conceal their nothingness." (see 'The Spirit of the Liturgy' page 21, in English version 2000 A.D. Ignatius Press)

When, by a small providence, I re-encountered these words a few nights ago, I laughed out loud, and yet again thanked God for our Pope and the fact that my mirth did not, in spite of open shutters because of a warm Autumn, disturb my sleeping neighbours.

Humour and Pope Benedict will be the subject of my next post. DV


Mother Elisabeth de Solms: Fr. Mark's prophetic encounter

My last post makes reference to the providential meeting that took place over 20years ago in the bookstore of the Abbey of Saint-Cecile of Solesmes. Yesterday I was led to revisit Fr. Mark's article in which he describes the incident. It is clear that although Mother Elisabeth was indeed a member of the St. Cecile Community, she was not the Abbess. However, on Fr Mark's explicit recommendation, her books are certainly a huge and relatively recent example of the riches contributed to the Church by Benedictine monastic scholars. Mother de Solms appears to have done for the Bible and the Fathers, what her great Benedictine predecessor, Prosper Gueranger, did for the Liturgy.

I wonder if the two works mentioned by Father have ever been translated into English. Now, that would be a job for someone wouldn't it?! Any 'Dom or Dame L. Shepherds' around?!

Returning to Fr Mark's article, here are the exact words of Mother's prophecy as regarded the man who is now our Holy Father:

"Read him. You will see. God will make of him a great gift to his Church."

It is that 'will make of him' which sent shivers down my spine when I first read Mother's prediction. The phrase chimed with a notion, upon which I have reflected almost everyday since the election of Pope Benedict. More accurately it is my near-conviction that ever since the conception of Joseph Ratzinger, Christ has been preparing him to become His Vicar on earth at this particular point in human history.
It was a long training based on an astonishing array of God-given talents, but also rooted in a profoundly Catholic home and upbringing. More than this and during it, as Father Mark points out:

"In Pope Benedict XVI God has given the Church a shepherd who has contemplated the pierced Heart of the Crucified and already written of it....." (as early as 1986 in the case of 'Behold the Pierced One'. Was that the book which alerted Mother Elisabeth?)

Father continues: "Cardinal Ratzinger's writings on the Sacred Heart are warm and luminous. Fire and light are characteristic of a theology forged in experience.....

"The true theologian at once warms the heart and illumines the mind................

"Recall the words of Jesus concerning John the Baptist: 'He was a burning and shining lamp and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light (Jn 5:35). In our...Holy Father, God has given the Church a 'burning and shining lamp' Those alredy familiar with his writings and liturgical preaching know what I mean."

This motif of Pope Benedict as a precious gift whose accession to the Throne of Peter is proof of Divine intent, is frequently found in writings and speeches about his person and Pontificate. There seems to be a growing awarenesss of just how precious he is, and because of his age and previous health problems we can be anxious that his time with us will be all too short. In this, as in everything else, we must try to follow our Holy Father's own example, particularly those of us who are in the latter part of life expectancy. He is in profound peace and serenity which shows in his every word and deed, and in his very mien. The Source is clear as I have written elsewhere. Here, I share 3 images that came from kto during the Eucharistic Adoration in Lourdes last month. (Unfortunatly they are not in the edited video version.)The camera was on the Pope's face as he knelt in contemplation. It then moved to Our Lord in the Monstrance but Benedict's face was still there superimposed on the Host, and then gradually the face of His Holiness faded into the camera image of the Host, as if he was being absorbed into the Heart of Jesus. An inspired televisual metaphor. Yes, I believe Pope Benedict has offered himself completely to Christ his Lord, the Master of the future, and has been accepted.

None of this prevents us from praying for the Holy Father. The stroke he suffered in the early 1990s is supposed to have weakened his heart and his vision. There seems little physical, and certainly no metaphorical sign of it. Lord, may this long be the case.

(With my deepest gratitude to Mother Elisabeth de Solms and Father Mark Kirby)

In Christo pro Papa


Monday, October 20, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI: A mixed week but the gates of Hell shall not prevail against him..

Today, Father Mark (Vultus Christi) has yet again posted most beautifully, valuably and appositely. In giving us the translation of our Holy Father's address at Pompeii last evening, he has drawn us back to the only Thing which will help us in 'a sea of troubles'. Yes, last week was remarkable. But although, during it we had the Sistine Chapel Vespers with Benedict and Bartholomew, the Beatification of Louis and Zelie Martin and everything else mentioned by Father Mark, we also had the dark side, and I commend these aspects to your prayers, just as they inform my own:

1 In spite of earlier promises about their being able to practice the Faith, thousands of Christians have had to flee Iraq.

2 Benedict's speaking out against the brutal persecution of Christians in India is condemned in that country.

3 Certain groups of Jews are making problems for our Holy Father in connection with the possible beatification of Pope Pius XII

4 Meanwhile at home there has been the 'Youth Sunday' Liturgy Resources Pack Row. The pack contains suggestions, apparently sanctioned by the Bishop's Conference of England and Wales, as to how Holy Mass can be celebrated on the Feast of Christ the King (November 23rd) Many of the suggestions would appear to exceed and /or ignore, the norms laid down by the Vatican for the Novus Ordo, that is the vernacular Mass celebrated almost exclusively in England and Wales for at least 30 years.

5 The intervention, on Damian Thompson's Daily Telegraph blog, by an anonymous 'eminence grise' warning Catholics not to be too vociferous or public in their objections to 4 above because it might derail Pope Benedict's long term plan for a 'reform of the reform'. (Most regular commenters on Holy Smoke including the present writer have heeded the advice.)


7 In the USA Catholics are being asked to fast for three days during the Presidential elections.

Clearly several posts could be written about all the above issues and more that I have not mentioned. In the face of them, as Catholics our first (and not our last) resort should be to Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar where we will find his love for us ever streaming and where we will find strength and courage to endure until the end.

An incident occurred many years ago. I am sure Father Mark will not mind my citing it, since he has described it in an article published on the Internet, (The Sacred Heart in the Theology of Benedict XVI)Father was in the bookshop of one of the Abbeys in Solemnes (yes there are two, one male and one female). He was approached by a nun who turned out to be the Abbess of the female Monastery and very well respected for her own scholarship and publications. She asked Father if he had read any of the works of one Cardinal Ratzinger. Father indicated that he had read some, not all. The Abbess then said a remarkable thing, to the effect that Father should watch this Ratzinger because he would eventually be a great gift to the Church. (Sorry Father can't find the exact quote now, but the point is made I think. You received a prophecy and so it has proved.)

A gift beyond all expectations and imaginings. Give thanks for him and pray for him, and for Father Mark.

In Christo pro Papa

If anyone requires links to things in the above please ask.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Blog?

My last night's flight into the realms of the possible, if not probable, seems to have met with the approval of my regular readers. I loved doing it and am grateful for your expressed enjoyment. Although I love a good joke, (most Catholics do) I'm not by nature a frivolous person. However, I've decided there will be future sketches in the same vein should the news warrant or provoke.

I must point out that behind the humour, three serious projects are in preparation. One is totally private and you will only ever know of it on here by its fruits and never by its name. The other two should come to notice before mid-November (not long to wait). There is a tremendous amount of work going on behind the scenes towards these. But all three of the contributors know that their effort will be included in our third Spiritual Bouquet for our Holy Father - that is, the League's Christmas present to him. (Within the next few days I will be posting a reminder about the second, i.e. the All Saints bouquet.)

Other respected blogs are dealing with the matters that have concerned the Pro Papa League this week. You know who they are. No need for me to re-invent the wheel. There are however several impressions of this week which will remain forever in my memory, not the least of which was the sight, yesterday evening, of Benedict XVI and Bartholomew I recessing side by side from Vespers in the Sistine Chapel. The rest I will share with you tomorrow.

In Christo pro Papa

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI: Will he be the first Pope to blogificate?

With acknowledgemts to Zenit; Agnes Kan Leng Lam, Fr Tim Finigan and Curt Jester.

It's been a switchback of a week for us here on the Pro Papa League, and anyone else loyal to our Holy Father. I mentioned earlier that the atmosphere at the Synod in Rome has apparently been good humoured and that jokes in Latin had been exchanged. But not until this evening was I led by Fr Finigan's blog to discover that Agnes K L L Lan, had delivered to the Synod and directly to the Holy Father, the suggestion that he should blog. It seems that the bishops divided themselves by their reaction to this: i.e. those who know what a blog is and those who do not. Apparently there was laughter from those in the know. Already a great deal of fun is being had on the blogosphere about this, but you can bet that the Holy Father certainly knows what a blog is. Of course he made no response to Agnes, but you can also bet, he'll consider her suggestion, particularly in view of things I said in an earlier post about next year's World Communications day. He won't know I said those things of course, or will he? In view of certain indications this week that the Vatican reads our blogs, perhaps he may.

I will now allow myself a little flight of fancy before composing my next post on the historic Vespers that took place in the Sistine Chapel earlier this evening, and on Fr. Mark's (Vultus Christi) most recent contributions to our spiritual health.


SCENE: Pope Benedict's study: discovered, Pope at desk, prayerfully thinking (does he ever stop? No. Deo gratias)

Enter Sec. MGR GEORG, apprehensive, probably suspecting what he is about to hear.

B16: Ah dear Georg. (Blesses him) Guten morgen. (translation follows) I've been thinking....

MGR G. (smiles in his usual beautiful way) Yes Holy Father...


BXVI: The Lady Lan's idea that I should blog. What do you think? Not a bad idea. But complex to effect. What, in your estimation, would it involve?

MGR G: Very complex. A new dicastary or at least a special section of an existing one.

BXVI: If a new dicastary how will we name it?

MGR G (becoming enthused and clearly having already thought of his answer, blurts out) Er, 'Congregation for Divine Blogging', or 'Congregation for the Doctrine of the Blog'.

BXVI: I like the second, brings back salutary memories. Anything else?

MGR G. Well yes. Would your Holiness consider a special section in the Congregation for Clergy: ''? Particularly for the English speaking ones. Your Holiness has remarked their excellence to me several times.

BXVI: Absolutely. I know and you know and Dario knows where they live. It's time they had a bit of a lift.

MGR G: (slightly nervous) And your blog name Holiness?

BXVI: (smiling seraphically) B-LOGOS

MGR: (after an appreciative pause) Your orders Holiness?

BXVI: To start with, for the English-speaking section, get Finigan, Blake and Zuhlsdorf....

MGR G: Holiness, their parishes?

BXVI: As to the first two, God will provide. As to the third, he has made the world his parish and he knows the technology and the way to control....shall we just say the over-enthusiasic. He is indispensible if we are to make this work. In any case he's only just down the road and doesn't have a parish. What's more he was at E.D. for a while. Need him.

MGR G: Anything else Holiness?

BXVI: Yes, please invite that English journalist we're always talking about, for a private audience. I want to offer him a job.

MGR G: A job?

BXVI: Press supremo, C.D.B. Now, call Tarcicio!

MGR G: (kneels to be blessed and then,searching the recesses of his cassock for mobile phone, moves towards the door. As he is pressing the automatic for Cardinal Bertone, Benedict speaks again).

BXVI: Keep an eye on that quaint little outfit, the Pro Papa League. They represent my little sheep. They love Christ and his Church.....and they love me.

MGR G: (bows his head in assent and exits).


I did say it was a flight of fancy!

In Christo pro Papa

Friday, October 17, 2008

"Pope Benedict XVI preaches like a monk!" Father Mark Kirby on Vultus Christi today.


A Cistercian monk himself, Father is not exaclty in the first years of his holy Profession, and therefore folks I promise you great benefit from what he has to say.

The Pro Papa Leauge is blessed in having Fr. Mark as its honorary Chaplain. Not a day goes by when he does not keep our hands, hearts and minds steady and focussed on the things that truly matter. In respect of his post today, I cannot recommend it highly enough. In the midst of all this pother about possible 'Green Sundays' in England and Wales on the Feast of Christ the King, and what we will have to do tomorrow to fight that particular battle, Father's post will give you true calm and send you to bed in peace and with a fervent prayer of thanksgiving to the Most Holy Trinity for having given us Pope Benedict XVI, as our earthly spiritual father, now gloriously and spiritually reigning.

Please, I beg you, go there and read Fr. Mark's explication and the text of our Holy Father's homily/meditation delivered on the morning of October 6th just passed.

Father introduces His Holiness' text thus:
"....readers of Vultus Christi will rejoice to discover Pope Benedict XVI's allusions to the Face and Heart of the Word."

Please go to Vultus Christi now and you won't need to read the comment I made on Fr. Mark's post. I reproduce it here only for the sake of my own records. One can never quite catch these moments accurately after the heat of battle which must resume on the morrow. And yet they are without price and give us courage and strength to go on:

"Dear Fr. Mark,

Thank you once again for drawing attention to the Centrality in our beloved Holy Father's faith, teaching and preaching and how it comes to be... I suspected something of the sort when he announced he would be Benedict. Oh how rich has been the almost daily proof since then.

Like many others, I had been alienated from him by the false picture that had been persistently peddled by the media before he was elected. But as a 'Benedictine soul', from day one I began to read his earlier works, began to watch and listen to him. Truly the revelation began just before the Election, but a great flame of hope began to enkindle in my heart during those days in spring 2005. Within months, I had fully recognised him for what he is, and that is the person you have described in this post.

There is also the remark on the commentary of 'The Papacy of Reason' that this monk-theologian quality, upon which you here elaborate, is what impresses the Orthodox and which could by implication lead to a healing of the Great Schism.

Thank you for publishing this homily of his, one which I have not seen before and which I will use in Meditation tomorrow."

In Christo pro Papa

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Holy Smoke receives an Anonymous Guest.

Just go there everyone and read and read him. There's just something very familiar about the tone - also my comment as DNP on page 1. I have agonised for 36 hours about the potential desecration of the Feast of Christ the King in England and Wales. I was about to atttempt a distillation here, of the experience, and then I read this. On attend.

In Christo pro Papa


Pope Benedict XVI's Latin Rosary (4CD boxed set): Two ways to buy it

This valuable aid to prayer is not, easy to purchase in UK. The London CTS does not appear to have it, nor does St. Michael's Farnborough Abbey. Neither St Paul's Bookshop next to Wesminster Cathedral, nor the Pauline Books & Media in Kensington, has an online bookshop. If anyone knows of an easy outlet in UK, or indeed USA, please comment on this post.

However, there are two ways to buy it and both involve contacting Vatican Radio where the set has been on promotion for over a month (17 euros including postage.)

The following information is correct as of today's date.

First contact Elvira Ortmann at
and in the subject box put "re: il rosario in latino del Santo Padre Benedetto XVI".
Apart from the foregoing, it's perfectly OK to write your email in English. (Not surprisingly there's a good team of linguists at Vatirad!)

You should receive a prompt response in which you'll be asked to email again, repeating your email address in the text and confirming the number of copies you want. They will then tell you that when your parcel arrives, it will contain Vatican Radio's International banking Code. You take this to your bank and send VR an international transfer using the code. This is the best way for people outside the Euro Zone.





Please note, the closing date for orders via me is 4pm (GMT)October 30th. If the promo. is still on, I may reopen the offer on November 26th.

Unfortunately the set does not have sleeve notes. It would have been useful to have the Latin and English Rosary Prayers printed out for those who want to learn the Rosary in Latin. However the Latin version is easliy found on the Internet.

Some people asked on WDTPRS how Vatirad had managed to fill 4CDs. The answer is that each one contains a different cycle of Mysteries and at the end of each he goes into the Litany of Our Lady (so you'll need to pull that off the Internet too if necessary) In my view it's sheer poetry in Latin. Each disc closes with the Holy Father's blessing. There is also a small adult choir of men and women who punctuate the decades with Marian chant and hymns.

It's an intimate recording, not at all grand and sounds as if it was made in a small chapel in the Vatican, possibly the Holy Father's own. The microphone is very close to him and this really makes you feel he's in the room with you! It has a very 'family' feel to it which would make it perfect for families praying and learning at home, or for teaching purposes in the parish.

My husband and I find it most conducive to recollection and look forward every night to being led in these beautiful prayers by our beloved Pope Benedict. We want to do our little bit to help make these discs more widely known and appreciated.

God bless,
In Christo pro Papa


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Beatification of Louis and Zelie Martin: Lisieux, Sunday October 19th, 2008. Watch live on ktotv

This Sunday's Beatification of St. Therese's parents can be seen via the ktotv site at 9am (French time); 8am (GMT); and therefore in the small hours of Sunday morning in the States. There will most probably be a repeat video later in the day which can be saved on RealPlayer if you have it. I haven't had time to check but obviously EWTN is almost certain to broadcast a recording.

The kto commentary will naturally be in French, but for non-Francophones that should not detract from the holy joy of this occasion. His Eminence the redoubtably 'Benedictine' Cardinal Castrillon will celebrate the Mass and beatify the two Venerables. No accident I think that this Sunday is Mission Sunday.

Thanks once again to ktotv. Now I'm off to watch the Wednesday General Audience from Rome. kto have permanent cameras set up for it and the Angelus.

In Christo pro Papa

Monday, October 13, 2008

Spiritual batteries recharge: no posts from the Oasis on Tuesdays and Fridays

Will not be posting again unti Wednesday but rest assured all comments will then be acknowledged and appreciated and I'm happy to receive emails.

God bless,

In Christo pro Papa,


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pope Benedict announces theme of World Communications Day (May 31, 2009)

According to Luke Coppen, editor of the Catholic Herald (UK), this story broke last week, i.e., the week ending October 3rd, but it seems to have been well buried. I only discovered it because the good Mr Coppen has written about it on his "Editor's Briefing", see this week's Catholic Herald on line. Google alerts on the Pope, which I receive daily, seem to have missed it. Mea culpa if it is I who have been less than vigilant.

Apparently the Holy Father has announced that the focus of the 2009 WCD will be: 'NEW TECHNOLOGIES, NEW RELATIONSHIPS: PROMOTING A CULTURE OF RESPECT, DIALOGUE AND FRIENDSHIP.' He will release his WCD message on Jan 24, the feast of St Francis de Sales, who as Mr Coppen reminds us, is patron of journalists. (Yes he is, but AS A PART OF HIS PATRONAGE OF ALL WRITERS AND AUTHORS. This is relevant considering the Herald editor's later remarks about some journalists resenting anyone else, eg. bloggers being able to comment freely in the public domain 'without a degree in journalism'.) However, in preparation for the new message, I recommend a reading of this year's. (at

Mr Coppen goes on to report that 'some' predict Benedict's message in January next year, will be the first to refer directly to the blogosphere and he suggests that the Holy Father may come down against it because certain blogs in the Catholic domain, behave uncharitably and irresponsibly. In my experience it is more often the commenters who lack reason and charity. I wish everyone would use Fr Z's "Prayer Before Connecting to the Internet". (see next post and sidebar) In any case, however much the Holy Father must deplore certain blogs, there is little, even he could do to control them. I don't think he would want to. It is becoming clear that the Vatican DOES monitor the Blogosphere and therefore His Holiness will know that for every Sedevacantist blog, there are many others who constantly rise charitably and calmly in his defence. This Pope is blessed (to our great good) with myriad talents. Elsewhere, I have repeatedly lauded those that are spiritual. However, when he issues his WCD message next January, I think he will yet again demonstrate his great wisdom and perspicacity in worldly matters. Moreover, it would be astonishing if he does not, like the rest of us, use the Catholic 'blogosphere' as a barometer of the full range of Catholic opinion about the Church and his Pontificate.

As to the not very serious idea of Imprimaturs for blogs - oh please! I've had three books published by arguably the biggest 'Catholic' publisher in UK. Noone in that 'house' ever suggested that my work be scrutinised for a Nihil Obstat or Imprimatur before publication. By 2002 when my first book was published, that whole system seems to have become a dead duck. If it's not enforced for books, how can it possibly be enforced for blogs? Actually, I was rather disappointed and would have been happy to be called before Cardinal Ratzinger, had there been error in my writings.

In May this year, I sent his Holiness my books and his office has been silent, although of course, I've received an official letter of thanks for the gift. He probably hasn't even seen them. They could be full of error for all he knows. What happens to all the presents he receives? The point I am making is that books or blogs, the Holy Father can't monitor everything even when a person actually gives him evidence of her orthodoxy or the reverse. Maybe one of the secretaries spottted my stuff and sent it straight to the CDF for investigation! If he didn't maybe I should send it there myself.

Enough - I'm confident that anyone prepared to write the following words above his/her blog need not fear Vatican censorship.

"To the best of my knowledge everything you read from my pen is in accord with the teaching of Holy Mother Church, of our Holy Father Benedict XVI, and of his predecessors. So help me God."

In Christo pro Papa,


Pope Benedict will not visit Mexico in 2009

The 'Precious Gift: handle with Care' policy, noted by Confiteor and myself, is apparently firmly in place. A Vatican statement by Cardinal Antonelli was reported Thursday in 'New Hope Courier', Oklahoma City. The Cardinal said that the Pope is in good health, but Mexico City 'is too high above sea level for someone of his age.'

Whilst I sympathise with the Mexicans, I confess to relief that this caution is being exercised. As it is, the Holy Father's physical schedule this year has been enough to punish a man 15 years his junior. The actual journeys would be enough, never mind everything he had to do when he reached his destinations. America, Australia, France - all within the space of 6 months, not to mention the diplomatic, mental, and spiritual demands of these visits. And yet, at the first Angelus I saw on TV after his return from France he looked relaxed, refreshed and younger than before he boarded the plane for Paris! I can't be alone in suspecting the Source of this phenomenon. And we were actually allowed to see It at work in Lourdes.

We must continue to pray to that same Source, that if it is His will, He will continue to invest all our Holy Father's faculties with the strength and health he needs, to do for the Church, whatever is in the Mind of the Most Holy Trinity during this his Pontificate. Pope Benedict has asked for our prayers and said that they are important, essential even. It is clearly our loving duty to fulfil his request..

In Christo pro Papa

French Traditional Blogs and Sites

For those interested in the 'French situation' and for my own convenience(!),I've added some side bar links which will take you to several French blogs, at least two of which are authored by Priests. There are also a couple run by young traditionalists which is heartening.

The motu link will take you to Paix Liturgique. As well as giving news of exactly where all the TLMs in France are taking place, you can sign up to receive email news of what's going on. These letters come at least once a week and always when a new Mass venue has been arranged. If you are interested in a particular area, say you're planning to come over here on holiday and want to be sure of an accessible TLM, the PL system is arranged according to the first two figures of departement post codes, eg. I'm in the Charente, postcode 16210, so I get specific news for Motuproprio16 as well as the general news. Bordeaux is 33 and is incredibly well supplied for TLMs by ICKSP, FSSP and IGS. There's also an extremely good linking service through email for getting people together to form 'stable groups'. This is a big site and there's lots of good info on it quite apart from the services mentioned above.

Of the three Una Voce links, the first is a general info resource about Una Voce International. Of the other two near the end of the list, the first leads you to another excellent site if you read French.

If anyone needs translation of anything on these sites please ask me to do it under this post or email me. I'll be more than happy to help.

In Jesus Christ pour Papa Benoit,


Friday, October 10, 2008

Valle Adurni: A warm and grateful welcome to Pastor in Valle

Pastor in Valle: Welcome to the Oasis in French Catholicism. I am most grateful for your comment on my post about the Paix Liturgique poll of French Catholics and have sent you a message to that effect on Valle Adurni. Your reading of the differences between the French and UK situations concurs with my own and I agree that the LMS is wise to invest in the future through things like the Merton Conferences.

I want to thank you here, for your translation of the Paix Liturgique interpretaion of the Poll because it has saved me a lot of work! (So everyone, please go to 'Valle Adurni' for this.) I found your post after putting up my own and realised my mistake about the cost of the poll, sheer misreading when in a hurry. Thank you for enabling me to correct myself in public. However the original source for my story was Una Voce whose newsletters are more useful, ss unlike those of Paix Liturgique they can be printed and I like to work from hard copy.

It's extremely comforting to find there's someone else in the pro-tradition English-speaking blogosphere who is interested and knowledgeable about French Catholicism and who is Francophile. I pray that we will be able to cooperate in the future to the benefit of the Church and our Holy Father Benedict.

Thank you again,
In Christo pro Papa,


Father Mark Kirby: News from Tulsa on Spiritual Motherhood for priests; and on Vultus Christi today a beautiful prayer for priests.

I am delighted to draw attention to Father Mark's comment under my earlier post 'Pope Benedict Spiritual Bouquet I: Full text of email' In response, I'm sure you would all want me welcome him officially and to say that we pray that Our Lord will make US worthy of having Fr Mark as our Hon. Retreat Master.

It seems that the evening after our first Bouquet would have arrived with His Holiness, Father Mark was preaching an evening of recollection in the cathedral in Tulsa, 'to women of the diocese desirous of responding to the Holy See's invitation to offer themselves as spiritual mothers of priests.' Father hopes to write about in on Vultus Christi and describes the evening of recollection as 'a blessed experience'.

Those who have read my earlier post 'A great Initiative' which leads into the subject of SPIRITUAL MOTHERHOOD, will know of my devotion to this calling and I want to take THIS OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE IT MORE WIDELY KNOWN IN UK AND FRANCE. I would like to invite any woman reading this to consider the Holy See's invitation. Go to 'The Congregation for the Clergy' to read the original Vatican document and to the Vultus Christi Archive for the response of BISHOP SLATTERY of the TULSA DIOCESE where FATHER MARK is now installed in the new CENACLE OF EUCHARISTIC ADORATION and has been made available by this wonderful bishop as spiritual director to the priests and deacons of his diocese.


Today on Vultus Christi Father Mark has posted a beautiful prayer to Our Lord for his priests. I BEG YOU TO GO OVER AND ABSORB IT. It can be prayed by anyone, but seems to me to be ideal, as an official prayer of Spiritual Mothers. I have printed it off and it is now in my Breviary to be prayed daily after Lauds together with the Novena to St. Peter Julian Eymard posted some time ago by Fr. Mark.

Pope Benedict mentioned this Saint and his special mission for priests, whilst he was in Lourdes, I think during his address at the Eucharistic Adoration. This occasion was a supreme example of our dear Holy Father teaching by example as well as precept. Noone who saw the TV images of his face whilst in contemplation, and with that vast crowd in prayerful wonder and awe behind him, will ever forget it. To televise his face during those intimate ten minutes could have been construed as an intrusion, and yet since he himself was so totally recollected, all one could and should do was to pray with him, and thank God for the privilege of having lived to experience those minutes and begin to learn how to pray in silence. Moreover, it seemed that when Mgr Marini gently touched him to bring him out of his contemplation in order to go on with the liturgy, our Holy Father started slightly as if remembering where he was. Cardinal Bertone, Mgr Marini, Mgr Georg and others of the Papal household or close to the Pope by reason of their position must be so used to witnessing this and I think it is possibly why, apart for their intellectual respect for him, they all seem to treat him in public with such care and love. He is precious to them and their feeling is shared by us. As Cardinal Ranjith says on 'The Papacy of Reason,': "The Holy Father is one of the greatest gifts God has given to the Church in modern times."

When I began this post I had no intention or idea that I would write most of the above paragraph, but there it is and I hope noone finds it too much of a digression. However, it sprang from the initial suggestion I DID intend to make and that is as follows: the praying of Fr. Mark's prayer to our Lord for priests, the Novena of St. Peter Julian, some sessions of silent prayer however brief, Holy Hours and communions would be totally in accord with his Holiness' intentions and therefore highly appropriate for inclusion in the next and future Bouquets.

Thank you Holy Father for your teaching and thank you Father Mark for everything you have already done as our Retreat Master, with and without knowing it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

French Catholics polled on Summorum Pontificum and Extraordinary Form of Mass: Encouraging Results

This all Catholic Poll was conducted for Paix Liturgique by CSA immediately following Pope Benedict's recent visit to France. The results have been circulated today by Una Voce to its membership. These are much more useful than the Figaro ones featured on my earlier post. I have not been able to find the size of the sample but have asked Una Voce to let me have this information. Even if it was as small as the Figaro one (1,054)it is more relevant to the immediate concerns of this blog, its associates and followers. And knowing how bad things have been and seem, here in France profonde, the results are (believe you me)surprisingly good and encouraging. Where they are not so good, there is still plenty of room to be optimistic about the future of the 'Reform of the Reform' in France.

Four questions were asked of participants:



All Catholics: Yes 58% No 42%
Practising Catholics Yes 82% No 18%



All Catholics 62%
Practising Catholics 61%

All Catholics 30%
Practising Catholics 34%

No Comment
All Cs 8%
Prac. Caths. 5%



In favour: All Caths. 12% Practising Caths. 16%
Rather in favour: All caths. 31% Practising Caths. 26%
Not really in favour: All Caths. 23% Practising Caths. 30%
Not at all in favour: All Caths. 27% Prac. Caths. 25%
No comment: All Caths. 7% Prac. Caths. 3%



Every Saturday or Sunday All Caths. 3% Prac. Caths. 19%
At least once a month All Caths. 4% Prac. Caths. 15%
From time to time/several times a year All Caths. 22% Prac. Caths. 27%
Only for Les Ceremonies/Grandes Fetes (Christmas, Easter, Rites of Passage)
All Caths. 37% Prac. Caths. 9%
Never All Caths. 32% Prac. Caths. 28%
No Comment All Caths. 2% Prac. Caths. 2%

The Una Voce communication includes four interpretative paragraph from Paix Liturgique. These I hope to translate over the weekend and put up here as soon as possible. Suffice it to say now, that to my mind several surprising things stand out. French Catholics, particularly the practising ones, are very well informed about the Holy Father's initiative. (I would like to have seen an additional part to the first question, 'Who told you, your bishop, PP or other?') However, they clearly have a lively interest in developments, with the core of obvious liberal hardliners much smaller than I expected. The open mindedness reflected in the results is to be applauded and welcomed. I'm surprised they didn't ask people whether the Holy Father
himself had influenced their attitudes during his visit.

Paix Liturgique is similar to the LMS but operates differently. (Explanation later)
However, it would be VERY INTERESTING IF SUCH A POLL WERE TO BE CONDUCTED IN ENGLAND AND WALES.....! This one cost Paix L. 4,000 euros and I suspect that the LMS would consider its money more wisely spent on Merton-type initiatives.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pope Benedict's Spiritual Bouquet II: The log book is now open

Hello everyone and thank you again for your SB I offerings. Thanks also for messages of thanks and delight that the Bouquet was sent off as planned. The fifteen of us did really well in a mere fortnight.

Having a bit of a rough time today as keep getting disconnected every 15 minutes. They're laying cables underground in the next village and it's affecting everyone's broadband. (So Electricite de France have just bought British Energy and can't.....Be quiet Jane and don't be ungracious.)

I'll be working hard now for the next Bouquet to be sent on the Eve of All Saints and trying to recruit other individuals and blogowners so that we can make it even better in content and numbers of people.

Please leave your offerings at any time under any post. I go through daily and pick everything up.

Apart from the usual prayers, rosaries, penances and sacrifices, Masses, Communions etc., I'm planning a SPECIAL MUSIC feature next time because we know how much Papa loves the Chant and Polyphony. Here are some things I'll be offering: Time spent in: Study of Chant in practice with the Liber Usualis, Kyriale and Divine Office; Prayerful listening to Chant (on CDs) of appropriate day with texts; study of the theory of Chant and its history. Anyone who sings in a choir or who attends Liturgy where Chant or Polyphony is performed please please join me (choir practices included!)You will be singing and studying 'in Christo pro Papa Benedict'. I'm sure he'd love to know exactly what you've sung for his intentions, so please include if you have time. I'll be starting later tonight and joining in with 'Adoro te devote'; 'Veni Creator' 'Salve Regina' and Palestrina's 'Tu es Petrus'.

A couple of things came in too late for Our Lady of the Rosary but they will appear in next Bouquet. Must go now - about to be cut off again!

God bless,
In Christo pro Papa,

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pope Benedict Spiritual Bouquet I: Full text of email

Most Holy Father,

On September 22nd this year, a group of seven English-speaking blogowners and their readers, all dedicated to prayer for your Holiness' well being and intentions, began to assemble the spiritual bouquet listed below. We intend that it should be the first of many and that it will increase in size and number of contributors as the months go on. The group is united on the internet under the title of 'Pro Papa League'.

Our joint league chaplain regularly offers Mass and prayers for your intentions but I am sure you will understand his wish to remain anonymous. He is in the USA and a friend of 'Confiteor', the League founder.

The League has adopted as honorary Retreat Master, Fr Mark Kirby, whose profoundly spiritual blog 'Vultus Christi' is a source of daily spiritual nourishment to us as we pray for your Holiness. Father is a Cistercian monk of Holy Cross Abbey in Rome, now working in the diocese of Tulsa East Oklahoma, where Bishop Slattery has installed him in the new Cenacle of Eucharistic Adoration and given him charge over the spiritual direction of priests and deacons in the diocese.

A MONTH'S RETREAT WITH MEDITATION AND FASTING, dedicated to your Holiness as our Holy Father and as an individual Christian:
This will conclude at the end of October and is being made by a League blogowner NAME GIVEN)who is a traditional Catholic hermit. He is Danish and is located in his home country at Odense.

One hour before the Blessed Sacrament with your Holiness' book 'On the Way to JesuS' - offered by 'Confiteor' who also specialises in

APOLOGETICS CONTRA SEDEVACANTISTS and anyone else who expresses detraction against your Holiness on the Internet:
Several hours invested in this each week.

(NAME GIVEN)offers up 'for Pope Benedict the hardship caused by illness and much prayer for him and the Catholic Church'.

212 decades prayed by the League and followers

23 prayed by the present writer and her husband (NAMES GIVEN)using your Holiness' Latin recordings of the Rosary.

Friday fasts and abstinence - 4
Constant prayer for Bishops as integral to prayer for your Holiness
Fatima prayer, 'Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins ...' - 1
Exasperation with those who equate tradition with nostalgia, controlled and offered up - 2
Anonymous promised daily praying of 'the "Veni Creator" for Pope Benedict'.

Innumerable hours offered, at least two of the blogowners spending an average of 5 hours a day in the promotion of prayer for your Holiness.

(TWO NAMES GIVEN) are making our initiative known amongst their friends and in their parishes; Confiteor has appealed to Opus Dei friends for reinforcements.

Holy Father, we all pray most fervently that our efforts will bear fruit for you, as you labour in the Vineyard, and for your own personal well being, health and strength.

We hope to send the next Bouquet in time for the Solemnity of All Saints and in the meantime assure your Holiness of our filial love, obedience and loyalty. AD MULTOS ANNOS.

Signed with blog names in brackets, nationality, location and gender:
Jane Mossendew-Fulthorpe (Thoughts from an Oasis in French Catholicism)
'Confiteor' (Pro Papa Flagship)
Name given (
Name given (White Smoke Ahoy)
'Bessarion' (Dedicated to the Great Pope of Union)
'Prima' (Pro Papa USA)
Pro Papa IX (Vultus Christi)

Readers and Friends:
Lindi (Name given)
clare a (Name given)
'Rise and Pray' (Name given)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Le Figaro polls French on Papal Visit: Results



Are you satisfied with the direction of the Pope's action since the beginning of his Pontificate?

All responding: Very satisfied 2%
Rather satisfied 18%
Not really satisfied 18%
Not at all satisfied 30%

All responding Very satisfied 3%
Rather satisfied 28%
Not really satisfied 18%
Not at all satisfied 32%

Catholic response satisfied: All Catholics 42%
Practising Catholics 58%
Non-practising 35%


Would you say that the Pope's visit was a success, a setback or a failure?

All French responding: Neither one nor the other 51%
A success 44%
A failure 4%
Catholic response: All Catholics - a success 56%
Practising Catholics 72%
Non-practising 49%

Question 3

In the Popes's presence, President Sarkozy spoke in favour of a positive laicity (a society open and tolerant towards religious beliefs and openness to other cultures) Would you say he was right or wrong to say this?

All responding: No opinion 40%
Right 33%
Wrong 27%
Catholic response: All Catholics 43%
Practising Catholics 51%
Non-practising 39%

Le Figaro, which in my view distinguished itself in its coverage of Pope Benedict's visit, lets itself down badly with the low calibre of these questions, which were unlikely to elicit responses enlightening to its readership about the relationship between Church and state, nor tell French Catholics anything they didn't already know about problems at the heart of the French church.

For an outsider, however, the questions and the results may seem opaque but they do raise a couple of interesting points, which I'll examine in a later post, but think that Le Figaro failed doubly in taking such a small sample.

In Christo pro Papa,


Thursday, October 2, 2008

SS. Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels: Extract from a recent letter to a close spiritual friend....

"My dearest *********,

September 29th, 2008 Feast of SS Michael, Garriel and Raphael you know, I love the Archangels and have been saddened that today's feast is increasingly referred to as St. Michael's day only. When 'they' lumped them together, I was afraid SS Gabriel and Raphael would eventually be overlooked. In the case of the former, the Annunciation and Christmas mean that he can never be forgotten, but St Raphael.....? I find the lack of concentration on him very sad, particularly when the world is in so much need of spiritual, physical and environmental healing, let alone all those who suffer individually. And what about those Christians in Orissa, India who are enduring brutal persecution even as I write.

Saints Michael, the Defender, Gabriel the Messenger, and Raphael, God's medicine, Pray for us. We need your threefold mission and no part of it is less important than the others. I see each part reflected in the characteristics of our present Holy Father, and I believe that all three Archangels are watching over him with loving concern and that St Michael is particularly active in defending him from his detractors, St Gabriel watching carefully over his role as shepherd and teacher, and St Raphael guarding his health and strength. Please join me in asking their intercession for him, for the Church and for us all........"

N.B. The above extract may or may not find its way into my fourth book, currently being written. I do not mind being quoted briefly, on condition that you acknowledge me as the source.

In Christo pro Papa

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Musica Sacra

This site is absolutely top quality, second to none! an absolute must for the lover and student of Plainchant and Polyphony. Audio music downloads, a forum, recommended books, texts and audio downloads of famous Solemnes monks talking about the chant etc etc. A real feast. Can't recommend highly enough. Go and enjoy! The link on left sidebar here should actually work!!

The Holy Father would love it. I'll mention it when I send the Spiritual Bouquet.

Undying thanks to RICHARD CHONAK a Chant scholar and enthusiast, who I just met courtesy of Friends of Holy Smoke. Therefore thanks also to Damian Thompson and OTSOTA.

Hat tip and God bless to all of you, and God bless America!

In Christo pro Papa