Bp. Rino Fisichella on the Traditional Mass at the Pope’s University, the Lateran

It is a long tradition in the Roman academic institutions to have a meeting at the beginning of the academic year between the faculty and the head of the institution. 

In the case of the "Pope’s University" as it is sometimes called, the Pontifical Lateran University (one of my almae matres), the meeting was held last Monday 8 October, between His Excellency Most Reverend Rino Fisichella, the rector magnificus and the faculty of all the institutes at the Lateran. 

Bishop Fisichella, one of Rome’s auxiliary bishops, is a major player on the Roman scene.  He is known to be very papalino (loyal to the Pope).  People see him as moving upward.  He is very articulate and speaks fuor’ di denti… with blunt frankness.

My spies have filled me in on the meeting with the faculty and what Bp. Fisichella said.

Beyond the usual blah blah that goes with all Italian meetings, there were some stunning fireworks.

Bp. Fischella made three powerful statements about issues of great concern at the Lateran.

The first doesn’t interest us as much here in this particular blog, though it is important.  Bp. Fisichella indicated that there were some concrete instances of demonstration of rascist attitudes on the part of some faculty.  Concrete instances were reported to him.  This is totally unacceptable and in his words: "This stops now."  We can do nothing bu stand up an applaud this strong statement on the part of Bp. Fischella.  This is a man who will not sweep anything under the tapetto.  Frankly, in my experience students from third world countries are sometimes treated pretty poorly by the euro-liberal profs.

Secondly, he said that no student will be badly treated, looked askance at, or in any way belittled for wearing clerical clothing such as the cassock or Roman collar.  Apparently there were instances of condescension on the part of some members of the faculty toward men who were more conservatively dressed.  Again, as bishop Fischella put it: that stops now.  In my experience, in years past students were often treated with disdain if they wore the cassock or collar regularly despite particular law in the Diocese of Rome that clerics and seminarians are to wear the cassock, habit or suit with collar.  Times are changing.

Thirdly, and more important for the work of WDTPRS, he said no one is to make judgements about men who want to attend Masses celebrated with the older form of Missal, the Mass of Piux V.  The Pope has spoken on this matter.  His provisions are clear.  They will be respected.

My spies say that Fischella was in no way kidding around.  He was deadly serious, leaning forward and powerful, leaving no question in the minds of his listeners that anyone going against these points would have him to deal with. 

There was nothing hypothetical about the points he brought up.  He said he had "casi concretissimi".  "I am taling about concrete cases that have come to my attention.  That ends now".

Times are changing and the word has gone out. 

The old aging-hippy liberalism, that was in no way respectful of liberty, has been handed its hat and shown the door.

Fischella, who is definitely handing out some of those hats, has been talked about as a possible future Prefect for the Congregation of Catholic Education or perhaps as Secretary of the CDF when Angelo Amato moves along to a Prefect’s post.

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  1. Phillip Myer says:

    Unfortunately, Father, out here in California the 60’s liberals are
    well-entrenched in the hierarchy and don’t appear to be changing with the times.
    Pray for us.

  2. Tom says:

    Let us hope Fisichella’s views prevail over those of other Roman rectors.

  3. He wouldn’t be related to Johncarlo Fisichello, recently of Renault F1, would he>

    Also, isn’t it the Rite of John XXIII, not Pius V?

    (probably just a quibble on my part, eh?)

  4. pattif says:

    Let us pray that other seminary rectors get the message and follow this stunning example.

  5. Matthew Mattingly says:

    I have a friend who is a seminarian in Rome who belongs to a newer religious Order called the “Servants of Mary Immaculate”. They wear their particilar habit, which is just a Roman cassock with a royal blue cord around the waist, 15 decade rosary, and shoulder cape with an embrodered Immaculate Heart image on the left side. They also wear saturnos (Roman platter hats).
    There are not many of seminarians for the Order in Rome, only about 20-30, but then again, it’s a relatively new Order. But my friend said that in the last 2 years He’s been studying in Rome (but He’s been in the Order in Italy for 5 years), He’s seen a perceptable visible change in the number of religious wearing habits (both men and women). It’s a growing trend to see more habits, cassocks, soutanes on the streets. And even the wearing of the saturnos by some seminarians. And even some wearing the national cassocks (particularly on the streets of Rome on Sundays) of their Pontifical Seminaries. He said that there are dozens of Orders of sisters wearing habits He’s never seen before, and in the old fashioned “1950’s” style habit, a la Audrey Hepburn in “The Nuns’s Story”, not the typical little short grey, brown white or beige skirt and small veil like most communities wore for the last 35+ years.
    He’s seen Franciscan Friars of new branches of the Order in ahbit (two new communities), Dominicans, and Trinitarians all in habit in seminary and on the streets of Rome. The only seminarians who still cling to layclothes are some of the Pontifical seminaries and universities, the Gregorian UNiversity (unfortunatly). The only groups of seminarians who never ever wear clericals apparently are the very few Jesuit, Salesian, and some diosecean seminarians. The “dying” policy against wearing habits and cassocks is mainly from the liberal Orders. The Legionaries of Christ are all over Rome in cassock, as are the OPus Dei seminarians. Also the INstitute of Christ the King.
    My friend said He’s seen the liberal Orders of nuns still hanging around in layclothes, but they are all very aged women in their 70’s, while the nuns who wear the conservative or even old fashioned “1950’s” habits are much younger. He was surprised that some groups of traditionally habited nuns He’s seen in St. Peter’s Square and other Churches are hardly more than girls just in their 20’s, compared to the liberal nuns in their 70’s and older. What a contrast.
    My friend said that it’s a statement on two different images of the Church. One is the “dying” image of the Church…the rad progressives of the 1960’s which discarded everything (including the TLM). The other is the reborn Catholic Church, which is the Church of tradition, of John Paul II , Benedict XVI, and Summorum Pontificum.
    You’d have to see the e-mails and booklets he’s sent me to prove His point, but from the hundreds of photos and films He’s sent me over the last few years, it’s quite a contrast between two interpretations of the Church.

  6. Berolinensis says:

    Matthew – sounds like you or your seminarian friend ought to start a blog of your own for sharing these pictures to the edification of all of us!

  7. particular law in the Diocese of Rome that clerics and seminarians are to wear the cassock, habit or suit with collar.

    For the sake of clarity, it’s probably worth pointing out that the obligation for seminarians to wear clerical dress in the Diocese of Rome applies from the time that they go through the rite of Admission to Candidacy.

    In most seminaries, that happens a few months before ordination to the diaconate, although the North American College (or so I understand) insists that students receive Admission to Candidacy before arriving in Rome.

  8. joe says:

    May God abundantly bless His Excellent Excellency!



    P.S. “This stops now.” Priceless!

  9. Fr. Carlo says:

    I was a student of the good bishop (PNAC) and during my exam 20 years ago he threw a bible at me! I guess he is still “throwing” things; at least they’re words.

  10. Matthew Mattingly says:

    To Berolinensis:

    Thank you for your suggestion. Problem is I don’t really know how to create/build a blog-site, and don’t have a scanner to paste in all the hundreds of photos my friend Dan sent me. They’d be interesting for everyone. It must be expensive for him, but He mailed me about 10 videos of sites and places He’s traveled to in Italy since commencing theology studies in Rome. I have hours worth of video.
    The Orders of nuns (so many in real traditional habits) that I’ve seen in his video coverage of St. Peters is truely edifying. I thought most of that wonderful visible witness was gone. It is in the USA 99%. But in Rome, there’s literally dozens of distinctive groups in really traditional habits (monks and nuns). One group of nuns in purple traditional habits was really stunning. All young girls with their Novice Mistress visiting St. Peter’s. Dan intervies them in Italian on tape. They were from an Order based near Genoa, Italy.
    I was happy to see alot of monks on tape too, taken at Curpus Christi time. I always was impressed by the Trinitarian (O.SS.T.) habit with their black capes. Also he has tape of a large group of an Order of nuns which trace their origin to Sweden of all places. They were processing to St. Peter’s and are known as Briggitines. Dan interviewed one of the nuns named Mother Tecla Famigliati on tape.
    I can’t sell these videos of course, but I wish I knew how to pase them on YouTube etc. for interested traditional Catholics to see. Because He’s sent me tons of coverage of events, which I of course will keep forever (mostly because I’ll probably never get to Rome !!! : )

  11. Jim McM says:

    Matthew Mattingly,
    Me and my iMac plus another piece of hardware can turn standard VHS tapes (not minis) into DVD. If you wish to send a couple for trial, let me know. (Probably many others can do so as well.)
    send to gmail account via think.smarter

  12. Seminarians can always send me updates: I will alway protect anonymity.

  13. RBrown says:

    One small point: Strictly speaking, those who are in priestly studies for a diocese are called “seminarians”. Generally, those who are in religious orders are called “scholastics”.

  14. Diane says:

    Matthew Mattingly: Thanks for your comment on clerical garb and habits. I hope you don’t mind me having posted it on my own blog.

Comments are closed.