14 September: Exaltation of the Cross and Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

Today, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, is also the anniversary of the 2007 Summorum Pontificum going into effect.  This Motu Proprio – the Emancipation Proclamation for the faithful who desire the Vetus Ordo – was a keystone in Pope Benedict XVI’s program – I think it was a meditated program – for the renewal of Catholic identity and the life of the Church.

We are our rites.

Ratzinger/Benedict knew that the artificially cobbled up and brutally imposed post-Conciliar Novus Ordo interrupted the sacred worship of the Church without which we cannot fulfill the virtue of Religion.

If the virtue of Religion is absent, disorders in the Church will result.  Change the way we pray and the way we believe and live will, over time, change.

Since the Eucharist – that is, the Sacrament Itself and its celebration which is Holy Mass – is the “source and summit” of our Catholic identity and life, change the Mass and you cause massive waves in the Church.  Do it in a discordant way and with an artificial replacement, and the results will follow suit, as we have seen for some 50 years.

The imposition of the Novus Ordo did not only interrupt the Church’s life, it interrupted the organic development of liturgical worship, the kind that is necessary and prudent for a Church still in this vale of tears.

Correctives were and are – now more than ever before – necessary.

I think the idea of Eucharistic Congresses, etc., is great and necessary.  However, there will always be something missing if the Vetus Ordo is not also celebrated.

Hence, even after its seeming suppression Summorum Pontificum was and is still of monumental importance for the life of the Church today.

This is because, from 2007 until the attempts to crush the faithful who want the Vetus Ordo began in earnest, many thousands of committed Catholics learned of this way of prayer from our forebears.  Also, the internet and entrepreneurial ventures put all the tools people needed into their hands swiftly and economically.

In the 80’s and 90’s it was near impossible to find a Missale Romanum or information about what to do.  Now… this is no longer a problem.  It’s a wholly new landscape, and not one entirely controlled by modernists.

There will be more acts of persecution wrapped in weasel words and the faux-pastoral clucking and lisping about unity.

We must get through them with charity and our jaws set against the next pastoral uppercut.   And we can see more and more the vicious determination of powerful figures to cut down in the Church the people who want the Traditional Latin Mass.

Pressing and widespread problems plague the Church right now.  Hence it is hard to square the fury they’re applying to what they call a tiny fraction of the world’s Catholics.  It proves that the Vetus Ordo is of key importance.  They must feel threatened by something of which the Mass is for them a terrifying reminder

Stay strong and resolved and cheerful even as those who should be aiding you turn on you or, in cowardice, buckle.   What we needed to do before, we need to keep doing now.  Be the first in parishes to volunteer, especially involving works of mercy.  Make sure you know well your Faith and that you are not static, but in motion forward, always reviewing and learning more.  Show your joy in being Catholic and traditional.  Be inviting to others.

Never underestimate the power of an invitation.

All this to honor and to exalt the Cross.

Thank you, Benedict XVI, for such a great gift to the Church.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ¡Hagan lío!, "How To..." - Practical Notes, Be The Maquis, Benedict XVI, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. TheCavalierHatherly says:

    For the day:

    “It seemed that I saw a most wondrous tree
    raised on high, wound round with light,
    the brightest of beams. All that beacon was
    covered in gold; gems stood
    fair at the earth’s corners, and there were five
    up on the cross-beam. All the angels of the Lord looked on;
    fair through all eternity; that was no felon’s gallows,
    but holy spirits beheld him there,
    men over the earth and all this glorious creation.”

    The rest is here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/159129/dream-of-the-rood-translation

    A translation, of course. The original was written in the rough-spun tongue of my Anglo-Saxon ancestors. In the text, the Cross represents the human nature of Christ. A subtle piece of theology… Carved in runes on the side of the Ruthwell Cross:


    (A third of the poem is engraved there)

  2. Woody says:

    If Fr. Z will permit, here is an Eastern Saint on the power of the Cross:

    “The demonic hosts tremble when they see the Cross, for by the Cross the kingdom of hell was destroyed. They do not dare to draw near to anyone who is guarded by the Cross.

    The whole human race, by the death of Christ on the Cross, received deliverance from the authority of the devil, and everyone who makes use of this saving weapon is inaccessible to the demons.

    When legions of demons appeared to St. Anthony the Great and other desert-dwellers, they guarded themselves with the Sign of the Cross, and the demons vanished.

    When they appeared to Saint Symeon the Stylite, who was standing on his pillar, what seemed to be a chariot to carry him to heaven, the Saint, before mounting it, crossed himself; it disappeared and the enemy, who had hoped to cast down the ascetic from the height of his pillar, was put to shame.

    One cannot enumerate all the separate examples of the manifestation of the power of the Cross in various incidents. Invisibly and unceasingly there gushes from it the Divine grace that saves the world.

    The Sign of the Cross is made at all the Mysteries and prayers of the Church. With the making of the Sign of the Cross over the bread and wine, they become the Body and Blood of Christ. With the immersion of the Cross, the waters are sanctified. The Sign of the Cross looses us from sins. “When we are guarded by the Cross, we oppose the enemy, not fearing his nets and barking.” Just as the flaming sword in the hands of the Cherubim barred the entrance into paradise of old, so the Cross now acts invisibly in the world, guarding it from perdition.

    The Cross is the unconquerable weapon of pious kings in the battle with enemies. Through the apparition of the Cross in the sky, the dominion of Emperor Constantine was confirmed and an end was put to the persecution against the Church. The apparition of the Cross in the sky in Jerusalem in the days of Constantius the Arian proclaimed the victory of Orthodoxy. By the power of the Cross of the Lord, Christian kings reign and will reign until Antichrist, barring his path to power and restraining lawlessness (Saint John Chrysostom, Commentary on 11 Thes. 2:6-7).

    The “sign of the Son of Man” (Matt. 24:30), that is, the Cross, will appear in the sky in order to proclaim the end of the present world and the coming of the eternal Kingdom of the Son of God. Then all the tribes of the earth shall weep, because they loved the present age and its lusts, but all who have endured persecution for righteousness and called on the name of the Lord shall rejoice and be glad. The Cross then will save from eternal perdition all who conquered temptations by the Cross, who crucified their flesh with its passions and lusts, and took up their cross and followed their Christ.

    But those who hated the Cross of the Lord and did not engrave the Cross in their soul will perish forever. For “the Cross is the preserver of the whole universe, the Cross is the beauty of the Church, the Cross is the might of kings, the Cross is the confirmation of the faithful, the Cross is the glory of angels and the scourge of demons” (Monday Matins).”

    From https://www.oca.org/fs/sermons/the-cross-the-preserver-of-the-universe?fbclid=IwAR2q6LZ2mOdVRpVTI5cFSd9DrDKheOzkvCy3oyoBAiscc5qOA9vansAEF_g_aem_Adl6-_dnj_EBFVIwswaYUfkQ0Ikr_x6W7Ztmqq533SfrMfbX9WVLYRzDX2X4m_c9xsI

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  4. Antonia D says:

    Woody and TheCavalierHatherly: Thank you both for posting such beautiful tributes to Jesus Christ and His Holy Cross. God bless you & yours.

  5. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    Well thought of – thank you! What a wonderful poem in itself, and how fascinating its inscription connections! I checked and quickly found a couple different readings-aloud in Old English on YouTube (with text and translation on screen) for anyone who wants to get an idea of what different people think it sounded like. The manuscript which includes it ended up in the Capitulary Library of the Cathedral of St. Eusebius in Vercelli, and among other things also includes 23 prose sermons in Old English – and, five sermons along after this poem is one about St. Helena discovering the Holy Cross! The “Vercelli Book” Wikipedia article has links to sites with photographs of the manuscript.

Think, proof read, preview BEFORE posting!