Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christus natus est nobis, venite adoremus!

A Blessed Christmas to all our readers!

The Nativity by Gerard van Honthorst

Hymn for I and II Vespers of the Nativity of Our Lord according to the Breviary of St. Pius V (1568)

Christe, redémptor ómnium,
ex Patre, Patris Unice,
solus ante princípium
natus ineffabíliter,

Tu lumen, tu splendor Patris,
tu spes perénnis ómnium,
inténde quas fundunt preces
tui per orbem sérvuli.

Salútis auctor, récole
quod nostri quondam córporis,
ex illibáta Vírgine
nascéndo, formam súmpseris.

Hic præsens testátur dies,
currens per anni círculum,
quod solus a sede Patris
mundi salus advéneris;

Hunc cælum, terra, hunc mare,
hunc omne quod in eis est,
auctórem advéntus tui
laudat exsúltans cántico.

Nos quoque, qui sancto tuo
redémpti sumus sánguine,
ob diem natális tui
hymnum novum concínimus.

Iesu, tibi sit glória,
qui natus es de Vírgine,
cum Patre et almo Spíritu,
in sempitérna sæcula.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Traditional Rorate Mass on December 23: Photos

Full photo-galleries of the Rorate Mass held at the Parish of the Lord of Divine Mercy on December 23 of this year can be found HEREHERE and HERE.

Some of the pictures:

Simple paper lamps with candles, on the ground

Our chaplain, Fr. Michell Joe Zerrudo, also has a blog post on this Mass (which he celebrated) in his blog: Rorate Mass in the Longest Night of the Year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Reminder: the fast of December 23

It tastes better after some self-denial.


As noted in this month's blog post on the fast for December 7, during the fifties and early sixties the Catholic Church in the Philippines observed four days of fasting and complete abstinence from the meat of warm-blooded animals. These were:

1) December 7
2) December 23
3) Ash Wednesday
4) Good Friday

In the years prior to Vatican II, most of the countries that observed a day of fasting and abstinence in the week before Christmas did so on December 24. However, some countries, such as Canada and the Philippines, had it on the 23rd. (Rorate Caeli's article on this matter is quite informative.) I'm not aware of the exact reason why the Philippines had its day of fasting and abstinence on the 23rd, but my guess is that this was in order not to prevent people from preparing the traditional Noche Buena feast on the midnight between December 24 and 25, a process which entailed preparing and therefore tasting or sampling meat dishes. 

At any rate, this little day of fasting and abstinence is now optional given the post-Vatican II reform of the laws of fasting and abstinence. However, it retains its significance, and it is to be hoped that at least a few among us Filipinos will still observe it. Christmas in the Philippines has been thoroughly stripped of its penitential preparation, more so than in most Catholic countries: the Christmas season starts in November, December itself has been turned into an endless round of partying, eating, merrymaking and gift-giving, and the Advent season is de facto truncated in the consciousness of the people by the multiplication of Simbang Gabi Masses, with the effect that the Advent Masses from December 16 to the morning of the 24th  are not celebrated at all in "penitential style" (violet vestments) in many parishes. Surely, a time for penance, a time set aside to spiritually cleanse ourselves if only a little for the great feast of Christmas, is a necessary corrective to the excesses that, sadly, have become attached to this feast itself.

Those who don't intend to fast or abstain from any food on December 23 might still want to remember that, on this year, December 23 is a Friday and therefore still a day of penance according to the Canon Law currently in force. (See my comprehensive explanation of the current laws of fasting and abstinence in the Philippines.) Although the actual way in which Friday penance is observed largely left to the discretion of the individual, that does not mean that the penance itself can be dispensed with. It can be as little as a rosary, or the reading of a few Bible verses amid the pre-Christmas rush -- but at least, let it be done, let it not be forgotten! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Announcement: traditional-style 'Simbang Gabi' in the Parish of the Lord of Divine Mercy on December 23

The Parish of the Lord of Divine Mercy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cubao, the current home of the oldest continuously-existing Traditional Latin Mass community in the Philippines, will be having a Rorate Mass (better known in this country as Simbang Gabi) according to the 1962 Missal on December 23, Friday, at 2:00 A.M. (yes, that's TWO O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING). 

Rorate Mass according to the 1962 Missal. SOURCE

In accordance with the traditional way of celebrating the "Rorate Mass" not just in the Philippines but also in Europe, the Mass will be offered entirely in candlelight. Some churchgoers are also expected to come with traditional Filipino parols or star-shaped Christmas lanterns (traditional because these will be lit from the inside with candles). The hour at which the Mass will be celebrated is also quite traditional: the "Simbang Gabi" was sometimes offered as early as two in the morning in pre-WWII Philippines (see this article: Christmas in the Philippines c. 1940).

Friday, December 9, 2011

Solemn Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception 2011

On December 8, 2011 at 3:30 P.M., the Parish of the Lord of Divine Mercy (PLDM) witnessed its sixth Solemn Mass according to the 1962 Missal since Summorum Pontificum came into effect. (An enumeration of previous Solemn Masses can be found here.)

More photographs can be found here: December 8, 2011 Solemn Mass

Photo: Inmaculada Concepcion. Part of Fr. Jojo Zerrudo's collection. This statue was enthroned at the side of the sanctuary for the PLDM Solemn Mass on December 8, 2011, as can be seen from the photo gallery. The photo is from Fr. Zerrudo's Facebook account.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A reminder to practice fasting and abstinence on the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

In the years immediately before Vatican II the particular laws of the Catholic Church in the Philippines on fasting and abstinence set aside December 7 as one of the four days of fasting and complete or total abstinence in this country. The three other days were Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and the 23rd of December (except when December 23 fell on a Sunday, in which case fasting and abstinence were transferred to December 22).

(The days of abstinence without fasting were the Fridays of Lent. It will certainly surprise many of our readers to learn that, outside of Lent, "meatless Fridays" were no longer required in the Philippines long before Vatican II; this was a legacy of the Spanish era, which saw the institution of the "Crusader Privileges" and relatively lenient fasting rules for the so-called Indios [the native Filipinos]But I digress.)

Prior to 1966, December 7 was also commonly observed as a day of fasting and abstinence  in the rest of the Roman Catholic world, including the United States, Canada and England.

From 1879 to 1955, December 7 was observed in the entire Roman Catholic Church as the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception; its Mass was celebrated in violet vestments, as this Vigil was a spiritual and penitential preparation for the great feast of December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Even after the Vigil had been officially removed from the calendar of the Roman Rite, the fact that December 7 is the day before the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the day when the then-widespread Immaculate Conception novenas ended, naturally suggested that it be kept as a day of purification so that the faithful could be better able to celebrate the feast. This is in keeping with the ascetical tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, as exemplified, for instance, by St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696 - 1787, founder of the Redemptorists) who recommended in his masterpiece The Glories of Mary that devotees of the Blessed Virgin should observe the nine days before her feast days with a variety of prayers and pious acts, including "some external mortification of hair-cloth, discipline, etc., with fasting, or some abstinence at table from fruits or other agreeable food, at least in part; chewing also some bitter herb; and on the vigil of the feast fast on bread and water. But all this must be done always with the permission of a spiritual Father." (Source.) St. Alphonsus Liguori's suggestion is, of course, but a suggestion (albeit one with great weight because it was authored by a saint who echoed the grand tradition of Western asceticism) and according to the current law of the Roman Catholic Church there is no sin in not fasting at all on the day before a major feast; it is certainly much more fitting to do so, though. 

It is unfortunate, in my opinion, that we Catholics are so eloquent when it comes to speaking about prayers and pious exercises in honor of the glorious and immaculate Virgin Mary, and yet we rarely if ever talk of fasting or almsgiving in her honor. 

(Let it be noted that the old "Vigil of the Immaculate Conception" is not to be confused with the "Vigil Mass of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception" that is currently practiced in many places throughout the Catholic world. The former was a distinct feast of the Mother of God, observed with violet vestments and widely considered as a day of penance in the years until its abolition in 1955. The latter, on the other hand, merely refers to Masses using the readings and propers of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception that are celebrated not on December 8 itself but on the afternoon or evening of December 7, in line with the permission given by current Canon Law for people to satisfy their Sunday and Holy Day obligation by attending any Mass celebrated in a Catholic rite on the afternoon or evening of the day before the actual day of obligation. To add to the confusion, some churches today use the phrase "Vigil of the Immaculate Conception" to refer to Vigil Masses for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.)

The promulgation of Paenitemini in 1966 precipitated a radical change in the laws of fasting and abstinence not just in the Philippines but in the whole world, followed by further reductions in fasting and abstinence that were authorized in the Philippines by the Holy See upon the request of the Filipino Catholic hierarchy. A long and detailed article on the current legislation on penance in the Roman Catholic Church as a whole and in the Philippines in particular can be found in the "Filipino Catholicism" blog: Fasting and Abstinence in the Philippines and for Filipinos, Part 1.)

Nevertheless, the fact that the law has been changed does not necessarily mean that the older customs and traditions of the Church should thereby be discarded or forbidden. Nothing prevents the faithful from doing more -- much more -- than what the law requires when it comes to the practice of penance, as long as no canons or moral norms are violated, charity and humility are maintained and the spirit of the liturgical year is not disregarded. (For instance, it is not a sin to fast on Sundays, but fasting on Sunday is definitely inappropriate given the character of Sunday as a "little Pascha".) Fasting was for a very long time an integral part of Catholic life throughout the year, and there is no reason why we who live during the 21st century can't fast for more than two days a year! Given the distractions of our age and the wave of sinful filth and secularism engulfing both Church and country,  physical penances are all the more necessary.

It is also important to undertake at least a bit of fasting and abstinence during December as a necessary corrective to the extreme commercialization and endless partying (with its accompanying gluttony) of the "Christmas season". Although we Filipinos are fortunate in that the strength of the "Simbang Gabi" tradition has prevented the complete disappearance from public consciousness of any special spiritual preparation for the Nativity of Our Lord, even this is not enough. Let us not only pray, but also fast!

Catholic families can also be encouraged to observe the custom of lighting a special "Mary Candle" on the evening prior to December 8.

First photo: Antique statue of the Inmaculada Concepcion in the Rectory of the Cathedral of the Diocese of San Pablo, Laguna. Source

Second photo: Antique statue of La Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepcion, Binan, Laguna. Source

Source of information on Philippine fasting and abstinence laws in the years just before 1966: the 1960 Philippine edition of For My Friend: A Prayer Book for the Young by Bishop Morrow printed by the Catholic Trade School, 1916 Oroquieta Manila. Nihil Obstat by Henricus A. Coffer S.J., Censor Deputatus. Reimprimatur by Michael J. O'Doherty, Archbishop of Manila from 1916 to 1949.)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Roman Rite as a Factor of Civilization in the Western World

This is the full text of the address given by the Rev. Dr. José-Apeles Santolaria de Puey y Cruells (known in Spain as "Padre Apeles") to the General Assembly of the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce on November 6, 2011. The author distributed this text (in English) among the delegates and member associations of the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce along with a general permission to distribute, publish and translate it. 

The publication of this article is intended solely to illuminate the topic at hand.

The Value of Romanitas in the Traditional movement and the Roman Rite as a factor of Civilization in the Western World

auctore Perillustrissimo ac Reverendissimo Domino

Iosepho-Apelle Santolaria de Puey et Cruells, JCD (ABD), HistL, SMOM

apud Vrbem elata, Nonis A.D. MMXI

In the Nicene–Constantinopolitan Symbol we confess our Faith in “one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church” (“unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam”). Unity, Holiness, Catholicity and Apostolicity are then the four essential marks of the Church founded by Christ. No other church than the Church of Rome can exhibit them; so the Roman Church is the Church proclaimed in the Creed. Does this mean that the character of being Roman is also an essential characteristic of the Church of Christ? Our response must be nuanced: from the point of view of the Revelation, no; from the point of view of Tradition and History, yes.

It is not part of Revelation that the Roman Church must be identified with the Church of the Creed. First of all, the Church of Rome did not exist until the first community with its Bishop was established there. And that took place only around the year 42, when Peter moved there from his first See in Antioch. Many churches in Asia were flourishing before the Roman See was settled. On the other hand we must consider that, due to the extraordinary powers granted by Jesus Christ to the Apostolic College and confirmed by the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, every church founded by the Apostles was a kind of Catholic Church “in miniature”, the Twelve extraordinarily having “vita durante” the same powers as Peter, namely: Pontifical Infallibility and Universal Jurisdiction. It is well known that those powers were not inherited by the Successors of the Apostles but only by the Bishops of Rome, as Peter’s successors. In any case, the Church of Rome was junior in time to other churches of Primitive Christianity. And Antioch could claim –at least until the transfer of Saint Peter to Rome– the privilege of the primacy. The Roman Liturgy, in fact, kept until 1962 two feasts of the Chair of Saint Peter: In Rome (the 18th January) and in Antioch (the 22nd February).

[A minor correction: the feast for January 18 was abolished in 1960 - CAP]

Another argument of the not essential link between the Church of the Creed and the Church of Rome is an almost unknown contemporary fact: from 1968, Pope Paul the VI was working on a project for the reform of the Papal election. He prepared it by certain steps such as the motu proprio Ingravescentem ætatem that set the age limit for the exercise of their functions by Cardinals (among them participation in the Conclave). When the draft of the aforesaid reform was ready for its publication, Cardinal Siri revealed and analyzed some of its points in his magazine Renovatio. One of these points was an actual attack of Roman Primacy: according to the new rules, the electors (including non-Cardinals) would designate only the Pope, but not the Bishop of Rome, the two concepts being henceforth separated. The Vicar of Christ could then act from any place on Earth as the Bishop of the Universal Church. Rome certainly would keep an honorary and historical interest, but its bishop would be only one among others. The link between the fullness of powers and the heritage of Saint Peter claimed by the Roman See was going to be broken. Cardinal Siri’s reaction was providential and Pope Paul VI had to shelve his reform of the conclave. He finally issued his Constitution Romano Pontifici eligendo in 1975 and fundamentally adhered to tradition. But the question had been raised: Rome is de facto the Apostolic See, but not de iure.

Nevertheless, in the mind of every Catholic it is inconceivable to think that his Holy Mother Church could be other than the Roman Church. Even during the long stay of the Papacy in Avignon, the Sovereign Pontiff was bishop of Rome and, in the years of the Great Schism, any of the rivals (two and even three Popes at the same time) considered himself as being the bishop of Rome. The question of Orthodoxy is different: the Eastern Churches separated since the schism of Michael Cerularius and linked to the Patriarchal structure of the early centuries, did not deny the primacy of honour of the Roman Church as the Church of Peter, but only her actual power of universal jurisdiction. We could therefore talk about Romanitas as a well established historical mark of the universal Church, of the Church of the Creed, of the Church of Christ.

Why has Rome played and currently plays such a leading role in Christianity to the point that we can talk of Romanitas as a real value without which we cannot understand the Catholic Church in its historical evolution? I think that the key is given by the following words of the Blessed Pope John XXIII, quoted from his Apostolic Constitution Veterum sapientia of 1962:

«The wisdom of the ancient world, enshrined in Greek and Roman literature, and the truly memorable teaching of ancient peoples, served, surely, to herald the dawn of the Gospel which God's Son, "the judge and teacher of grace and truth, the light and guide of the human race," proclaimed on earth. Such was the view of the Church Fathers and Doctors. In these outstanding literary monuments of antiquity, they recognized man's spiritual preparation for the supernatural riches which Jesus Christ communicated to mankind "to give history its fulfillment." Thus the inauguration of Christianity did not mean the obliteration of man's past achievements. Nothing was lost that was in any way true, just, noble and beautiful».

There is a Philosophy of History that underlies this Papal quotation: Civilization as a progressive movement toward the fullness of possibilities of the human being, and Rome as its final depositary and diffuser thanks to its universal Empire. Human civilization as a concretion of that “Wisdom of the Ancients” that prepared the world to receive the Messiah and His Gospel. And this is the ideal recalled and developed by Dante Alighieri in his treaty on the Monarchy (De monarchia), one of the richest and most beautiful tributes to Romanitas as a perpetual and permanent value of our civilization. Although this book was written in the frame of concrete circumstances (as Ghibelline propaganda in favor of Emperor Henry VII of Luxembourg at his descent into Italy) and was even included later in the Index, the arguments about the preeminence of Rome and its vocation of universality have been and are always attractive to all those who defend the Roman character of the Church as a decisive element of her identity.

Dante offers us the sequence of the empires that have ruled the earth with a pretension of preponderance and universality: the Assyrian, the Egyptian, the Babylonian, the Persian and the Macedonian. Rome comes as the last, but as the one that contains and summarizes the preceding ones. Rome assumes the heritage of Greek civilization, the highest degree to which the human spirit has attained, through the Hellenism of Alexander’s Empire. This is the historical fact that the Florentine poet dresses with the robes of the Legend of Aeneas (in this context I have to point out that the sense of the word “legend” has not the connotation of a “fable”, but that of “things that are to be read”, from “legere”: to read). Aeneas, a Trojan prince, who escaped from the ruin and destruction of his city by the Achaeans, is the heir of the Asian tradition. After having got across the Mediterranean in a journey full of vicissitudes, he arrives at the Tyrrhenian coast and founds Lavinium thanks to the hospitality of King Latinus of Latium. Lavinium is the immediate ancestor of Rome, which will be founded by the direct descendants of Aeneas, Romulus and Remus. Rome will conquer Greece and thus, in the end, Troy will have had its revenge over the Achaeans (the ancestors of the Greeks).

Rome is considered then to be the heiress of Aeneas. But the interesting thing is how Dante justifies the universality of Rome's Empire: in fact, Aeneas’s successive marriages to three princesses of the “three parts of the world” indicate his special and unique universal vocation. Creusa represents Asia; Dido represents Africa and Lavinia represents Europe. Rome receives from Aeneas, her father, this legacy. But universality implies that nothing else is to be reached but permanence, and here comes the concept of Roma Aeterna. Once the universal Empire is established by Rome, there will be no other city that could surpass the “Eternal City”.

But at the same time, with the Roman hegemony the times arrive at their fullness and the world is prepared to receive the Revelation of God. Dante wants to demonstrate that God recognizes the legitimacy of the Roman Empire. His arguments come from certain passages of the Gospels. In the first there is the reference to the “universal taxing” decreed by Augustus: “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child” (Lk II, 1-5). Then Joseph, the heir of David, obeys the Roman authority. God wants His Son to come on Earth in the context of an Imperial decree. Another passage refers to the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry: “Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness” (Lk III, 1-2). The prelude of the active life of Christ is put in the political context of Roman government. But the decisive quote comes from the Gospel of John: “Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin” (XVIII, 10-11). The power of Pilate, who represented the Roman Empire, came from God. Then it was legitimate.

Dante Alighieri goes further in De Monarchia to defend the power of the Holy Roman Emperor, but what really is interesting for our subject has been said previously: that Rome is the heiress of the Ancient Tradition and has a vocation of universality. Those two elements constitute the value of what we understand as Romanitas, but informed by the spirit of Revelation. The conjunction between the Wisdom of the ancient world and the Gospel produced Christian Civilization, whose promoter is the Roman Church in virtue of his privileged historical position. We cannot imagine that the Gospel could be spread in Samarkand, in the Empire of the Incas or even in a minor provincial city as Lutetia Parisiorum or Hispalis as universally as it was thanks to Rome. Peter made a transcendental step when he moved from Antioch to the capital of the Empire. The Roman Bishops who succeeded him, little by little became the true heirs of the Roman Tradition. Traces of it currently remain in several details: the denomination of the Pope as Romanus Pontifex (an office that was held by the Roman Emperor as the supreme mediator with the divinity); the Sacred College of Cardinals seen as the Senate (Senatus) of the Holy Father, composed by the “patres purpurati” successors of the “patres conscripti”; the name of “Roman Curia” given to the central administration of the universal Church, headed by Cardinals, as it was for the Ancient Curia, the building where the Senators met together to legislate for the whole world...

But the most important legacies from Ancient Rome to Civilization have been the Latin language (sermo latinus) and Law (ius), and it has been precisely the Roman Church that has transmitted them to the Western world. It is ironic that these extremely valuable elements that contributed the most to the formation of our modern culture are precisely the two for which the Church has been criticized in recent times. Those who consider themselves as “progressive” attack the Roman Church for being “elitist” and “legalistic”, but they do not understand: 1) that the Latin language is not an elitist factor of division but a helpful tool for knowledge and for international understanding, with the advantage of conciseness, exactitude and a neutral position (since no nation can monopolize Latin as its own language); 2) that the juridical sense of things inherited from Roman Law and improved by the canonical glossators is the best defense against tyranny and arbitrariness, two of the evils of our age. The Church was able to capture the essence of the Roman idea of Law: the “pietas” or the virtue that makes man conscious of his duties towards the deity, the family, other human beings and nature (a virtue exemplified by Aeneas and Romulus). This “pietas”, re-interpreted by the Church as the Natural Law (the expression of the Divine Intelligence and Will), is as it were the soul of the Law, and is the opposite of the current positivism that has justified most of crimes of the most cruel dictatorships. Even modern constitutionalism owes much to Roman Law through the Canon Law of the Roman Church.

Now I come to the central and most relevant point of my exposition on the value of Romanitas: the Liturgy. Liturgy is the Faith lived: one prays as one believes, or, to use the words of the Latin aphorism, very familiar to everyone, lex orandi, lex credendi. In contrast to the Ancient ritualism, the Catholic Liturgy is not simply a formulary to propitiate God, but is also a plastic expression of concepts and ideas. Not in vain Luther, when attacking the Roman Mass stated: “it is upon the Mass, as upon a rock, that the Papacy rests - with its monasteries, its bishoprics, its colleges, its altars, its ministers, and its doctrines”. The Mass implies a complete Weltanschaaung. We can then understand why the process of Civilization in the Western World coincides with the dissemination of the Roman Rite. Let us consider just three graphic examples of this fact:

The defense of Christianity in the East was sustained by three nations of the Roman Rite: Hungary, Poland and Lithuania, which constituted a natural barrier especially against the pagans and the Turkish danger. The Franciscan Order in particular was very active and implanted its Missal, which was that of the Roman Curia.
The incorporation of the Spanish Kingdoms reconquered from the Arabs into the European mainstream was mainly due to the unification of the Liturgy around the Roman Rite, thanks to the monks of Cluny (with the consequent confinement of the national Mozarabic rite to few chapels). 
The evangelization of the Americas was through the Roman Rite. Let us remark that the New World in practice knew no other Missal than the Missale Romanum of Saint Pius V, diffused by the Councils of Lima and Mexico as an implementation of the Council of Trent. 
It is not by coincidence that the rupture of Christianity into two different ways of life in the Sixteenth-Seventeenth Centuries, brought about by the Reformation, was imposed on the people as a change of rite rather than by a theological approach. And we could say the same regarding the post-conciliar crisis, when the change of minds was preceded by the illegitimate change of rite, far beyond what the Second Vatican Council really established.

For these reasons, the defense of the Roman Rite has been and is the defense of Christianity and the most evident expression of the genuinely Catholic value of Romanitas. All of us, priests and lay people, owe much gratitude to those groups like the International Federation Una Voce –the oldest Catholic organization, as far as I know, engaged in the bonum certamen – that have supported the Holy See, the Apostolic Chair of Peter, by defending and promoting the Traditional Liturgy in communion with the Successor of Peter. Now, after decades of disorientation and lack of understanding (very often on both sides), we can make room to hope, especially since His Holiness the Pope happily reigning promulgated his Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum and re-established his Pax liturgica. But let us be aware that this is only a departure point: the path towards the normalization of things is a long one and demands our whole and courageous involvement. And let us keep in mind that memory is important: as in the Ancient Roman Tradition, we should not forget the ephemerides that reinforce our consciousness of things. This coming year 2012 has been already announced as the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council (and will even be celebrated with a Year of Faith). But in the same year we have two other commemorations that particularly touch upon our apostolate: the 50th Anniversary of the Apostolic Constitution Veterum sapientia on the use of Latin and that of the Missale Romanum of Blessed John XXIII, both of them also issued in 1962. Behold a double extremely interesting challenge for Traditional bodies and especially for the International Federation Una Voce.

Since your organization has been a pioneer in the defense of the value of Romanitas and in view of the above-mentioned ephemerides, I think it would be an excellent idea for Una Voce to be more visible in the Eternal City by maintaining a permanent bureau here in order to facilitate immediate contact with the Holy See and to lead liturgical and cultural events and organize activities that could contribute to the re-evangelization of our Western Civilization, as Pope Benedict, with his deep sense of Romanitas, has encouraged us to do. To close my dissertation I would like to remind you of the memorable words of Christ to Saint Ignatius of Loyola at the little chapel of La Storta: “Ego uobis Romae propitius ero”.

Photo source: Roma Aeterna