Thursday, 27 July 2017

Bishop Pickel of Saratov, Russia at Fatima for Vigil of July Apparition: Fatima is not a message of the past

The celebrations of the 100th Anniversary of the July Apparition of Fátima, had the theme of 'The Virgin Mary, Mother of Consolation', and underlined the link with Fátima and Russia. In the July Apparition, Our Lady famously revealed the secrets to the Shepherd Children, showed them a vision of Hell, spoke of the imminent chastisement, the errors of Russia, and consecration to her Immaculate Heart. It was also during this apparition that Our Lady famously said, 'In Portugal, the dogma of the faith will always be preserved'.

Vigil of 100th Anniversary of July Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima (source: 

It is then fitting that this International Pilgrimage was led by Bishops from the countries which once comprised the former Soviet Union. The Principle celebrant and Homilist at the Mass of the July 13th, was Archbishop Paolo Pezzi, F.S.C.B., Metropolitan Archbishop of Madre di Dio a Mosca (Moscow). Bishop Athanasius Schneider, O.R.C., Titular Bishop of Celerina, Auxiliary Bishop of Maria Santissima in Astana, Kazakhstan, was the Principle Celebrant for the Vigil Mass, with the homily delivered by Bishop Clemens Pickel, Bishop of San Clemente a Saratov, Russian Federation.

In addition to these Prelates, others from former Soviet countries included Bishop Joseph Werth, S.J., Bishop of Trasfigurazione a Novosibirsk, Russian Federation; Bishop Cyryl Klimowicz, Bishop of San Giuseppe a Irkutsk, Russian Federation; Archbishop Tomash Peta, Metropolitan Archbishop of Maria Santissima in Astana, Kazakhstan; and Fr. Andrzej Madej, Superior of Missio Sui Iuris in Turkmenistan. The Sanctuary of Fátima also hosted about 5000 pilgrims, spread over 110 groups, coming from 24 countries. The most numerous were the Italians and the Spaniards.

Below is my translation of Bishop Pickel's homily: (Original Portuguese here)

Dear Pilgrims, Brothers and Sisters!

It is with great inner joy that we, Pilgrims from Russia, are here with you today. We are well aware that in this very place, exactly 100 years ago, the Virgin Mary appeared to the Shepherd children. We are also recognise that even now, without manifesting herself in an apparition, the Virgin Mary is equally close to us, as she was 100 years ago. Benedicta es tu, Maria!

The meeting with the "Lady", on July 13th of 1917, had a special meaning. Mary communicated a 'secret', and spoke of Russia.

Today it is said that Russia has converted. It was Sister Lúcia herself, who confirmed that the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, made by St. John Paul II corresponded completely to what the Mother of God had requested.

Does this mean that everything is now done? Is Fátima just a 100 year Chapter in the history of the Church and of humanity, which we now solemnly close with this Jubilee?

That would be a catastrophe for the hotel industry and commerce of this town, but that's not what this is about!

Today, a 100 years ago, in this place, the Mother of God taught the Shepherd children a prayer, that today has the same meaning as it did then. The Fátima Prayer: O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. Amen. It is known the world over. It is a prayer addressed to Jesus, and is usually said during the recitation of the Holy Rosary. When we pray it, we ask for the forgiveness of our sins, to be saved from the fires of Hell, that all may go to heaven, and mercy on poor sinners. Is this less relevant today, than it was 100 years ago?

It is a prayer of reparation. We can translate into various languages; but we can also translate into our lives. This is exactly what many of those pilgrims do, kneeling, as they approach the Chapel of the Apparitions. Many return home here and change their lives, a blessing to the whole world.

Dear Brother, Dear Sister! If Our Lady, who is here today, asked you a favour, yes, asked you one thing, what would it be?

"Have I not told you already?"


Clemens Pickel
Bishop of San Clemente a Saratov, Russian Federation
Watch video of the Vigil of the 100th Anniversary of the July Apparitions here:

Monday, 24 July 2017

Cardinal Bagnasco at Fatima for 100th Anniversary of the June Apparition: The West needs to "Wake Up"

Angelo Cardinal Bagnasco says "it's time to wake up" and for Christians to proclaim their faith; challenging us to fight for the recovery of West. This was how he started his Homily at the Mass that commemorated the 100th Anniversary of the Second Apparition of Our Lady in Fatima, Portugal.

Cardinal Bagnasco in Fatima for 100th Anniversary of June Apparitions (photo

For the Cardinal, the world today is in a situation similar to that of a hundred years ago, and people "begin to wonder about the future of the world, about the destiny of their lives." On the place and the events of Fatima, Cardinal Bagnasco affirmed that in the messages left by Our Lady, Christians find the answers for their salvation and for the salvation of the world.

"At Fatima the sun continues to shine, the light that springs from the womb of the Holy Virgin: Jesus Christ," concluded the archbishop of Genoa. The evening before at the Prayer Vigil and the Candlelight Procession, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, said that Catholics must reject the danger of disfiguring the faith. The homily he delivered at the Vigil can be found here.

Below is my translation of Cardinal Bagnasco's homily. Original Portuguese is here:

"In Fátima the Faith breathes"

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,

It is with great joy that I am here in Fátima with this International Pilgrimage in the Centenary of the Apparitions. The presence of Pope Francis is still felt, his words still echo in our hearts. I greet with affection all the Bishops present, and I thank the Shepherd of this Diocese of Leiria-Fátima, his Excellency António Marto, for the fraternal invitation to preside over these celebrations.

1. Faith

In Fátima the Faith breathes. Where the Mother is, there is the Son, the encounter is more intense, charity grows, and the Faith is more clear and clean: clearer because it is more essential. The Gospel of the Annunciation brings us to the heart of faith: Mary entrusts to God because she trusts in God. This is the faith of Mary, this is the faith of the Church. We are here as pilgrims, with all our tribulations and hopes; but we are also here as the people of God representing the Church scattered throughout the whole world; but still more, at the feet of the Virgin, we bring our anguishes and the prayers of the entire human race, lost and suffering, in need of light and love.

2. Why Fátima?

Why do people come to Fátima? Because the human heart is in need of the words of eternal life; because we all want a mother who gives us encouragement and accompanies us; because man seeks redemption from his own weaknesses; because mankind is fascinated with the light that shines in the darkness; because we are drawn by the prayer that reveals what we are, small before the majesty of God and taken under the care of the sacrifice of Christ. Redemption and sin, light and darkness, prayer and conversion, love, sacrifice, eternal salvation .., is this not the substance of faith? Is this not the message of Fátima, the way of Christian life? The light of the lives of the Shepherd children, aren't the fruits of these words the peace of the heart and the joy of the soul, whatever the circumstances?

3. Time to awake

Dear friends, the times in which we live have many dark clouds; but the time has come to wake up. The West seems that it is losing it's own humanity, looking for illusions that make many promises, but only degrades them. The World proclaims life, but sows death; declares solidarity, but close itself; preaches love, but is more individualistic. People, however, begin to wonder about the future of the world, about the their destiny. As on October 13th of 1917, flashes of light began to appear, so in the hearts of man begin to emerge the truly important questions, the need for truth, the thirst for love and good. This is the awakening that has already begun and that will not stop.

4. The Light of Christ

At Fátima the Sun continues to shine, the light that springs forth from the womb of the Holy Virgin: Jesus Christ. He is the Son of the living God, the revealer of the invisible, the foundation of all things, He is the Master of mankind, the Redeemer, the secret of history, the King of the new world. He is the one knows and loves us, who is the companion on the road and the friend of our lives, the One who is to come, and who one day must be our Judge, and, we hope, be the fullness of our joy ... He is the Bread that comes from Heaven, the fountain of living water, that satisfies our hunger and our thirst. We must never tire of speaking of Jesus.

5. The Immaculate Heart

Let us now look on the most gentle face of Our Lady; in her Immaculate Heart we will find the Heart of Christ, a face that unites all our faces. Embraced by name by Mary, just as she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes at Bethlehem, resound in this sanctuary the holy name of Jesus: from His name each of us will pronounce our own name, our lives will be illuminated, our faith regenerated, and our hope strengthened.

Angelo Cardinal Bagnasco
Metropolitan Archbishop of Genoa
President of the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe.

Watch video of the entire celebrations of the 100th Anniversary of June Apparitions of Our Lady of Fátima here:

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Cardinal Bagnasco at Fatima for Vigil of June Apparition : The Message of Fatima 'illuminates the Faith'

I have looking for an English translation of the Homilies delivered by Cardinal Bagnasco in Fátima; he presided over the ceremonies in Fátima for the 100th Anniversary of the June Apparitions. Having found none, I decided to do my own translations of these wonderful sermons. I have already translated the Homily during the Mass of the 13th of June and it will be published here on Monday. Below find my commentary of his Homily of the Vigil, followed by a full translation.


Vigil of 100th Anniversary of June Apparitions (photo

As is customary in Fátima on the 12th and 13th of each month from May to October, there are ceremonies to commemorate the Anniversary of the Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the Pastorinhos. Pope Francis led the ceremonies in May, the 100th Anniversary of the First Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima, which also saw the canonisation of the two youngest seers, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, cause of much joy to the Church in Portugal, and Fátima devotees worldwide. Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Metropolitan Archbishop of Genoa, was invited to preside over the 100th Anniversary of the Second Apparition. The June International Pilgrimage had the theme of "Glory to You, Queen of Peace"

For his homily of the Vigil Mass, held at night, Cardinal Bagnasco chose to focus on light. The message left by Our Lady at Fatima a 100 years ago always points to salvation because in Fátima "everything happens in the light," said Cardinal Bagnasco. This point made all the more poignant as the Vigil Mass was preceded by the customary candlelight Rosary in the Chapel of the Apparitions and the Candlelight Procession of the statue of Our Lady of Fátima, accompanied by the famous Ave of Fátima.

Cardinal Bagnasco underlined that the message of Fátima can be condensed into two words "Prayer and Penance". He also praised the Shrine which "holds Mary who keeps the faith intact". According to the Shrine of Fatima website, 164 pilgrimage groups, with a total of 8242 pilgrims, coming from all corners in the world, participated in the ceremonies for the June Apparition Anniversary. Poland provided the most groups with 27, followed by Italy with 23. Of the United States, 11 groups came with a total of 480 pilgrims. There were also pilgrims from the Philippines, South Korea, Pakistan, Swaziland, Singapore, Slovakia, Jamaica, Lebanon, Mauritius, Mexico, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Vietnam, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and of course Portugal.

Below is my translation of Cardinal Bagnasco's Homily at the Vigil Mass for the 100th Anniversary of the June Apparitions in Fátima. Original Portuguese here:

"My Heart shall triumph"

It is a great joy for me to be in Fátima for the Centenary of the Apparitions! To be here with you, pilgrims from Portugal and other countries. The canonisation of the Shepherd children, with Pope Francis, still resonates here in this Shrine, which became as large as the world. This place - like a large Upper Room - guarded by Mary, who keeps the Faith intact. To disfigure the Faith, means disfiguring the face of Jesus, it means removing the spine of grace from the Gospel, of the supernatural life; and reducing it to a manual of human wisdom. The apparitions of Our Lady calls us to a heart of faith, without which our lives would be subsumed by the logic of the world.

On May 13th of 2017, in the Cova de Iria, the Holy Virgin appeared to the simple, the Shepherd children, who live the beatitudes without presumption: God resists the proud, and offers himself to the humble. In Fátima everything happens in the light; the lightning, the light above the tree, the Miracle of the Sun, ... everything here is illuminated. Even the hardest words, and the most demanding messages illuminate the Faith, the life of the Church, and the history of the world.

Dear friends, the message of Fátima focuses on two words: Prayer and Penance! The way certain News is presented today, makes us believe that all is gloomy and there is no hope. But the reality is different: if we look at things more closely, we discover God in action. In the appeals of Our Lady, we have an elevated vision of life, of man, of history; we see that faith embraces all the horizons of existence. Nothing is left out of this light, and we are called to live in this light, and not to turn away from the authority of Christ, knowing that serving God is nothing more than letting ourselves be saved by God.

The prayer and penance that Our Lady recommends, are not a sad and sombre vision of the world and of life, but, to the contrary, they express the seriousness of the love that God has for us, who are the work of His hands. Superficiality, and the desire for possessions, and the seeking of pleasure, and the desire to do what we want with no reference to God, prevents us from seeing the beauty and seriousness of Divine Love. To love and to be loved, is as necessary to us as bread, but this is not a game: the Son of God loved us even to Calvary! The gift of life is the ultimate measure of love: giving a life is not poetry or something sentimental, but something incredibly serious, tragic. This is the Mystery of the Cross: what more could a God that loves do? The contemplation of the Crucified One, expels from us the indolence and lethargy, and awakens within us the ardour of Faith.

Without the mystery of the Cross, without the seriousness of this love, even sin loses its seriousness, and is reduced to a norm that that be turned around; the immortality of the souls ceases to attract us, eternal life becomes an abstract idea, the here and now dominates. The virtue of patience, or that is, the effort required to deal with the little things of daily life that irritate us, where conversion no longer has a religious face; where praying for the sinners, which we all are, appears to be something in the distance, almost an insolence. Thus we enter into the way of thinking of the world.

But the Blessed Virgin Mary, with the persistent patience of a Mother, always returns to preserve our faith and brings us back to the light of Jesus: "My Immaculate Heart will triumph", repeats Mary to the Shepherd children. But when? Certainly by the end of the world, when God will be all in all: it will be a glorious and visible triumph. But the Heart already triumphs, secretly in many hearts: it is the triumph of Bethlehem, of Nazareth, of Calvary ... it is a secret triumph, but no less glorious, no less fascinating, and no less effective.

Angelo Cardinal Bagnasco
Metropolitan Archbishop of Genoa
President of the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe.


Watch video of the entire Prayer Vigil of the 100th Anniversary of June Apparitions of Our Lady of Fátima here:

Monday, 17 July 2017

It's about time someone spoke up against Cristiano Ronaldo's use of surrogacy

The Portuguese phrase for surrogacy is 'barriga de aluguer', which translates literally into English as 'belly for hire'. This accurately describes the despicable and becoming all too mainstream phenomena of surrogacy. The most famous soccer player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, has used surrogates in the United States to have his eldest son, and recently twins. At the time surrogacy was almost unheard of in Portugal, and illegal (subsequently came into law in 2016). Yet no one in Portugal has ever had to courage to publicly question the immoral use of surrogates by the country's most famous son. That is until esteemed Portuguese Paediatric Plastic Surgeon, Prof. Dr. Antonio Gentil Martins.

In an interview with Expresso Magazine, published over weekend, Dr. Gentil Martins lambastes the dictatorship of Political Correctness, the normalisation of homosexuality, and the use of surrogacy. The interview has proved highly controversial even leading to the Ordem dos Médicos, the body which regulates Medical licencing in Portugal, to launch an investigation.

When asked what he thought of the notion of a single man having children using a surrogate, as has been case of Cristiano Ronaldo, Dr. Gentil Martins pulls no punches:
"I consider it a serious crime. It's degrading, a tragedy. Ronaldo is an excellent athlete, has immense skill, but is a moral deviant*, and can not be a role model for anyone. Every child has the right to have a mother. I think one of the great culprits of this is his mother. That lady did not teach him anything" 
*Original phrase used is 'estupor moral', a Portuguese pejorative for misbehaving individuals derived from the medical term stupor.
Dr. Gentil Martins singles out Ronaldo's mother, Dolores Aveiro, for particular criticism. She is very close to Ronaldo, and looks after his children, and has openly spoken about how she wanted to procure an illegal abortion when she fell pregnant with Cristiano. Though it may seem like an unprovoked attack, Dr. Gentil Martins may be referring to the fact that the Ronaldo's children do not know who their mother is. It was reported in 2015 that Ronaldo's eldest child had asked for his mother. At first the family told the child that his mother was dead, then saw the distress this caused him, said that his mother was alive but had abandoned him. This is cruelty personified, and along with treating women as slaves, surrogacy deprives children of their right to know who their biological parents are.

Dr. Gentil Martins comments on homosexuality in the same interview, has caused even greater controversy, with a number of fellow doctors actually reporting him to the Ordem dos Médicos. When asked if he thought two people of the same sex could love each other, he retorted rather simply:
Listen, it's simple: if that were the case the world is over. For the world to exist there must be men and women. I treat them [people with SSA] like any sick person and I am in pain if they are. I will not treat a person badly because he is a homosexual, but I will not accept it and will not promote it. If they ask me 'is it right?' I think not. It's an anomaly, it's a deviant form of personality. Like sadomasochists or people who mutilate themselves.
Medically, what Dr. Gentil Martins has said is correct, politically it is not, and evidently some at the Ordem dos Médicos what to jump on the LGBTQISJ bandwagon, singing 'Born this way', when this has been scientifically proven to not be the case. 

This interview has been pounced on in Portugal, with secular liberals forming an Inquisition against Dr. Gentil Martins. His track record of opposing abortion and euthanasia, homosexual 'marriage' have all been brought up by a rabid press who want him to recant his views. He shows no willingness to back down. And he won't.

Dr. Gentil Martins, who has 8 children, and 25 grand and great-grandchildren is a remarkable individual; an Olympic shooter, performed the first successful separation of Siamese twins in Portugal, former head of the Ordem dos Médicos, and even at 87 still provides consultations and occasionally performs surgery. I had the honour to meet him at a Conference in Portugal. Força Sr. Professor Doutor, estamos com você

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Benedict XVI's Message at the Funeral of Joachim Cardinal Meisner

The Funeral of Joachim Cardinal Meisner occurred this morning, Saturday July 15, in the magnificent Cologne Cathedral. The Mass was celebrated by Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki, Metropolitan Archbishop of Cologne. Péter Cardinal Erdő, Metropolitan Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, a close friend of the deceased Cardinal preached the sermon. A message from Pope Francis was read out by Archbishop Nikola Eterović, Apostolic Nuncio to Germany. To the surprise of those present, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Prefecture of the Papal Household, and Personal Secretary to Benedict XVI, read out a message by the Pope Emeritus.

Below is my translation of the beautiful message of Benedict XVI at the Funeral of his close friend Cardinal Meisner. Original German here:

At this hour, when the church of Cologne and faithful from further a field gathered to say goodbye to Cardinal Joachim Meisner, my heart and thoughts are with you also, and gladly accepting the invitation of Cardinal Woelki, I wish to address a word of remembrance to you.

When I heard of the death of Cardinal Meisner last Wednesday, I did not want to believe it. The day before we had talked on the phone. His gratitude for the fact that he had been on vacation after he had participated in the beatification of Bishop Teofilius Matulionis in Vilnius on Sunday before (June 25) was clear in his his voice. The love for the Church in the neighboring countries in the East, which had suffered under the Communist persecution, as well as the gratitude for the withstanding the sufferings of that time, shaped his life. And so is it is no coincidence that the last visit to his life was one to a Confessor of the Faith in those countries.

What particularly impressed me in that last talk with the retired Cardinal, was the loosened joy, the inner joy, and the confidence he had found. We know that this passionate shepherd and pastor found it difficult to leave his post, especially at a time in which the Church stands in particularly pressing need of convincing shepherds who can resist the dictatorship of the spirit of the age and who live and think the faith with determination. However, what moved me all the more was that, in this last period of his life, he learned to let go and to live out of a deep conviction that the Lord does not abandon His Church, even when the boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing.

Two things in recent times which pleased him more than anything:
  • On the one hand, he has always told me how deeply he in the Sacrament of Penance, how young people, especially young men, are experiencing the grace of forgiveness - the Gift, they have found the life that only God can give.

  • The other thing that has always touched him and gave him joy, was the quiet growth of Eucharistic Adoration. At the World Youth Day in Cologne yhis was a central point for him - that there was Adoration, a silence in which only the Lord spoke to the heart. Some Pastoral and Liturgal experts felt that such silence in looking at the Lord can not be achieved with such a huge number of people. Some were also of the opinion that Eucharistic Adoration was overtaken as such, by the Mass, since the Lord would be received in Eucharistic bread and not be looked at. But that this Bread can not be eaten like any food, and that the Eucharistic sacrament "welcomes" all dimensions of our existence - that reception must be worship, has now become very clear. Thus, the time of Eucharistic Adoration at the Cologne World Youth Day has become an interior event, which remained unforgettable to the Cardinal.

When, on his last morning, Cardinal Meisner did not appear at Mass, he was found dead in his room. His Breviary had slipped out of his hands: he was praying as he died, looking at the Lord, talking to the Lord. The death that was given to him, shows once again how he lived: looking at the Lord and talking to him. So we can confidently recommend his soul to the goodness of God. Lord, we thank thee for the testimony of thy servant Joachim. Let him be an intercessor for the Church of Cologne, and on the whole world! Requiescat in pace!

You can watch the Requiem Mass for the Funeral of Cardinal Meisner below:

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Liturgy as a source of division

This last July 7th saw the 10th Anniversary of the publication of Benedict XVI's motu proprio 'Summorum Pontificum', which liberalised the use of the Liturgical Books used in the Roman Rite before the liturgical reforms following the Second Vatican Council. The anniversary saw many a piece on the liberal side of the Catholic media, attacking Summorum Pontificum as the major cause of division in the Church today. Reality shows that this simply isn't the case.

If one were to ask the regular Sunday Mass going Catholic if they thought Summorum Pontificum was a source of division, they would probably look at you rather quizzically for a moment, then say they hadn't read the Lord of the Rings. It's difficult for something to cause division in a Parish, if hardly no one has ever heard of it.

When I was growing up in South Africa, our Parish on Sunday had 3 Sunday Masses. One in English, another in Afrikaans, and the third in Portuguese. The Parish here is divided. It is divided along language lines. It is as if there are parallel Parishes in the same Church, and guess what, this has nothing to do with Summorum Pontificum. The sweet irony is that when the Mass was said in Latin, these divisions did not exist.

The same was the case when I lived for a time in the United States of America. The Parish I attended had Mass in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Again the Parish was divided on language lines. Those who attended Mass in English never interacted with those who attended Mass in Portuguese. It is as if the curse of Babel had been unleashed on the Universal Church.

The sin of Babel incurred the wrath of God, who as punishment, due to their sins, created a variety of languages. I guess the Reformers, and contemporary liberal Catholics, seem to forget that the there was once a time when the entire human race spoke but a single language. The hubris of the city of Babel, probably matched only by Bugnini and the liturgical reformers.

When I immigrated to England, again I noticed how the endless 'flavours' of the reformed Mass sowed division within a Parish. The first Parish I attended had a Folk Mass, a Children's Mass, and a Youth Mass. Each with a unique demographic; baby boomer generation, young families, and the latter, a handful of rather bemused (bored) young adults. Again the division here has nothing to do with Summorum Pontificum.

I have seen a number of critics of Summorum Pontificum raise the objection that in Parishes where it has been implemented it sows a theological division. What would amount to sacrilege in the Traditional Latin Mass; Communion in the Hand, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, utraquism et cetera, is norm in the average celebration of the Ordinary Form. The division here stems from the fact that in one Form of the Mass the catechesis flows from the Mass, in the other Form the catechesis has been removed from the Mass. The division stems from this lack of catechesis, and not the usage of the Extraordinary Form.

Catechesis, or the lack thereof, has led many to believe that Mass is primarily 'performed' for their benefit, for their tastes and whims. Many have long forgotten that the primary purpose of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, is the worship of Almighty God. This should never be forgotten.

I do prefer the Extraordinary Form, but I can't exactly pinpoint why. It's probably the silence. That's probably the same reason I enjoy attending Mass at the Polish Mission in my town, when I cannot attend the Traditional Latin Mass. I don't understand a word of Polish, but prior to Mass the Church is absolutely silent, Communion is received on the tongue and kneeling, and only under a single species.

On the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, I attended a Traditional Latin Mass, Portuguese Missal in hand. I knelt in the pew behind a Korean family, the gentleman next to me used a Polish Missal. The majority of people in attendance were English. The Mass united young and old, large families and single people, rich and poor. All united in the worship of Almighty God, in the same language St. Peter offered the same Holy Sacrifice in Rome. The curse of Babel had been lifted.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Cardinal Burke's Sermon at the Conclusion of the Traditional Paris-Chartres Pentecost Pilgrimage

At the conclusion of the 35th Pilgrimage of Notre-Dame de Chrétienté, a three day walking pilgrimage from the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris to the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Chartres, commencing on the the Vigil of Pentecost, and concluding on Whit Monday, His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke celebrated a Pontifical High Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. His beautiful homily focused on the Gift of Faith, and covering the topics of Pilgrimage, the mass apostasy in the Church, Our Lady of Fatima, the Islamic invasion of Europe and Summorum Pontificum.

Video of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, celebrated by Cardinal Burke

Below my translation of Cardinal Burke Homily from Chartres Cathedral:
Original French available here

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen

It is a source of deep joy for me to participate in the annual pilgrimage of Paris-Chartres organized by the association Notre-Dame de Chrétienté and to offer today the Holy Mass to your intentions, dear pilgrims. I thank the organizers of the Pilgrimage for their invitation and in a very special way to His Excellency the Most Reverend Monsignor Michel Pansard, Bishop of Chartres, for his warm welcome and his generous hospitality.

Pilgrimage, that ancient devotion to which Our Lord Himself participated, especially at the end of His public ministry when he went up to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover (1), enables us to depart from the ordinary habits of our daily lives to reach a holy place through prayer and penance. Through pilgrimage, Our Lord reveals to us the extraordinary nature of our ordinary life, because He is always with us, because He abides in us, by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, from His glorious pierced Heart. Through prayer and penance, the quintessence of pilgrimage, we receive the grace of knowing deeper and more fully embracing the Faith, our life in Christ, and making reparation for what has been contrary to this virtue in our Personal lives and in the world.

The grace to meet Our Lord during the pilgrimage is, at the same time, to meet our brothers and sisters in Him, in His Mystical Body, the Church. During a pilgrimage, we become more deeply aware of our fraternal communion in the Lord. We offer our prayer and our penance for our neighbour who walks by our side, for those who have entrusted us with intentions and for the salvation of the world.

By making the pilgrimage of Notre-Dame de Chrétienté (Our Lady of Christendom) during this year of the centenary of Our Lady's apparitions to Fatima in Portugal, we hear in a special way the call of her Immaculate Heart. She accompanies us, placing our own hearts close to hers, to allow us to place them totally, united with her Immaculate Heart, in the glorious pierced Heart of Jesus, her Divine Son. As she did with the wine stewards in distress at the wedding in Cana, the Virgin Mary leads us to Christ, we who are subjected to so many temptations and privations in the world, by this maternal advice: "Do whatever he tells you (2).

In Fatima, the Mother of God, given to each of us as our Mother by her Divine Son at the time of His death on the Cross (3), also warns us of the physical punishments associated with man's disobedience to God, and the infinitely more horrible spiritual punishments, the eternal death in the end, which is the result of mortal sin. Through her little messengers, the holy shepherds Francisco and Jacinta Marto and the Servant of God Lucia dos Santos, the Blessed Virgin teaches us once again that only the Faith which places, through the mediation of its Immaculate Heart, man in a relationship of unity of heart with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, can save man from the punishments that rebellion against God necessarily brings to sinners, to the whole of society, and to the Church.

The Mother of Divine Graces encourages us and assists us by her prayers, guaranteeing us the triumph of the Faith, that of her Immaculate Heart, which will end the times of apostasy and the great defects of the pastors of the Church (4). In these troubled times for the world and for the Church, let us pray especially, through the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima, for a new evangelization in the Church and in the world, so that the truths of the Faith may extend To the ends of the earth and into the depths of every human heart.

Let us pray faithfully the Holy Rosary for the restoration in society and in the Church of the just order in accordance with the Divine Law. Let us imitate our brothers and sisters in the Faith which, in 1571, before the threat of an Islamic invasion of Europe, prayed the Holy Rosary on the advice of Pope St. Pius V. Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on October 7th of that same year, God granted Christendom the miraculous victory of the Battle of Lepanto. From this event, the Church began to faithfully celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Victories on October 7th, becoming the Solemnity of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. To us too, through the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of the Rosary, God will grant victory over Satan, "murderer from the beginning", "liar and father of lies" (5) and his cohorts who want to destroy The Church and all humanity.

Today we continue our meditation on the great mystery of Pentecost, the profound mystery of the effusion of the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit in our hearts from the glorious pierced Heart of Jesus for the salvation of our souls and the Conversion of the world. It is this great mystery which the Church honours by the solemn celebration of the Octave of Pentecost. Pentecost is at the centre of the Faith: the mystery of incommensurable and incessant love of God for us, who, by sending His Only Son into the world to suffer, die, rise and ascend to his right hand, allows Him to share with us forever in the Divine Life, the life of the Holy Spirit, in the Church. This mystery is celebrated with incomparable beauty in the Sacred Liturgy and especially in this holy place - this magnificent cathedral - which in every detail shows the history of Divine Love in its infinite richness.

Today, on Monday in the Pentecostal Octave, our Holy Mother the Church invites us to reflect on the gift of Faith, a theological virtue, infused by God into our souls. The Epistle, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, recalls the meeting of St. Peter with many Gentiles in the house of Cornelius. Saint Peter, announcing the truth of the Faith, the truth of the Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ, declares to them:
"the Lord commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was appointed by God to be judge of the living and of the dead. To Him all the prophets give testimony, that by His Name all receive remission of sins who believe in Him" (6)
At the preaching of St. Peter, God spread on "all who listened to the word" (7) the grace of Faith, the grace of the Holy Spirit, so that they began to praise God for the mystery of his Love. Immediately, the chief of the apostles commanded "to baptise them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ" (8) Meditating on this point, we are guided, as Dom Prosper Guéranger invites us in his commentary on the feast of today, to thank God for the grace of the Faith infused in our hearts and to praise Him. (9)

In the Gospel, Our Lord instructs Nicodemus on the Faith, as the only way to eternal life. Faith, in fact, is the irreplaceable foundation of communion with the Father in the Son by the Holy Spirit. Thus Jesus teaches Nicodemus:
"God so loved the world, as to give His only-begotten Son: that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting. For God sent not His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by Him." (10)
In his reflection on this Gospel, Dom Guéranger writes:
"However, faith is the first link with God; It is by faith, as the Apostle tells us, that we approach God and remain attached to Him. Such is the importance of faith that the Lord has just told us that he who believes is not judged. In fact, he who believes in the meaning of our Gospel, does not merely adhere to a doctrine; He believes, because he submits himself with heart and mind, because he wants to love what he believes. Faith works by the charity which completes it, but it is a foretaste of charity; And therefore the Lord promises salvation to him who believes. " (11)
Our life in Christ really finds its roots in the truth of the Faith, which necessarily expresses itself in charity.

Our Lord continues his teaching by explaining that the rejection of Faith means nothing but the preference of the darkness of evil in the light of good, that is, the rejection of the very source of all Goodness: God who has taken our human nature to free us from the darkness of sin and eternal death. He said to Nicodemus, "And this is the judgement: Because the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their works were evil. For every one that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may bot be reproved; but he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God." (12)

May our pilgrimage, and especially our participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, cleanse us today of all attachment to that which is contrary to the Faith and lead us ever more surely and firmly on the path of Christ, who alone is our Light.

The Holy Liturgy, our worship of God "in spirit and in truth" (13), is the richest and most perfect encounter with Jesus Christ who is our Light. It is the most excellent expression of our life in Him by the presence of the Holy Spirit; a life that leads us more than ever into the Light, into what is true, good and beautiful. Preparing us to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the promulgation of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum on 7 July, we thank God for the liturgical discipline he has established, allowing the entire Church to always appreciate the precious gift of the Sacred Liturgy, as it was transmitted to us intact by Tradition, by the Apostles and their successors. At the end of the pilgrimage of Our Lady of Christendom, I invite you to participate in the next pilgrimage Summorum Pontificum from 14 to 16 September 2017 in Rome as a continuation of these holy days, deepening your knowledge and love of the Saviour, coming to meet Him in the Holy Liturgy and above all in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

To the Immaculate Heart of Mary, let us raise our hearts to the glorious pierced heart of Jesus, opened to receive them by this Eucharistic Sacrifice. May our pilgrimage be a source of grace for our daily pilgrimage to our true and perennial home, which is Heaven. May the prayer and the sacrifice that made our pilgrimage beneficial, bear fruit every day of our lives, so that it is clear to all that "our actions are done in God." (14)

Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, have mercy on us.
Our Lady of Fatima, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us.
St. Joseph, Protector of the Holy Church, pray for us.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. So be it!

Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

(1) cf Mt 20: 17-19; And Jn 12: 12-13.
(2) Jn 2: 5.
(3) cf Jn 19: 26-27.
(4) cf. Brother Michel de la Sainte Trinité of the Little Brothers of the Sacred Heart, All the Truth on Fatima. The Third Secret (1942-1960), 5th ed. (Saint-Parres-les-Vaudes France: Catholic Renaissance Catholic Counter-Reformation, 1994), p. 552.
(5) Jn 8: 44-45.
(6) Acts 10, 42-43.
(7) Acts 10, 44.
(8) Acts 10, 48.
(9) Cf. Prosper Gueranger, The Liturgical Year, The Pascal Time, Volume III, 19th ed. (Pub: House Alfred Mame and Fils, 1925), p. 350. Gueranger.
(10) Jn 3: 16-17.
(11) Guéranger, p. 352.
(12) Jn 3: 19-21.
(13) Jn 4:23.
(14) Jn 3:20.