Saturday, 16 April 2016

Obituary for Helmut Rückriegel by Martin Mosebach

An extraordinary man has left the earth. Standing at the grave of Helmut Rückriegel his friends conceive the whole truth of the discernment that with the death of a man there is a whole world that perishes. What pertains to everyone is most evident for such an overabundant nature as it was with our deceased friend Helmut. He was allowed to live a long life, and, we can say, to live in mindfulness and intensity. He finished the wine of life completely and entirely, including even the very last and then most bitter drops. Furthermore it was granted to him to maintain his entire strength of mind until his last moment; in complete alertness he witnessed his time and all its phenomena until the last moment. His participation in the world was insatiable; he was a pious Christian - the archaic term ‘piety’ in its comprehensive meaning like the antiquity knew it was adequate for him. A life in the presence of the supernatural and a joyful discovering of this supernatural in the inexhaustible statures of the created world - but without suppressing the reality of the mortality of all life on earth, he lived as if there was no death. 

Until his painful last sickbed he was seized with the fascination of languages - recently he started to learn Turkish, a language that is extremely far from all Indo-Germanic familiarity - joyfully entering into a totally different kind of thinking and feeling. I always wondered why he, whose sense of language was infallible, did not write himself. But in return his sentiment for the great German poetry was so profound that the verses of Goethe and the Romantics, of Hölderlin and Stefan George constituted deeply and totally his inner life. He was the reader and reciter that poets desired, drawing from a great pool effortlessly the most remote lyric creations to engender an awakening to melody and life. 

His artist's nature became apparent in the invention of his garden that he created in Niedergründau, the village where he came from, after the end of his working life: he cultivated rambler roses, growing into the old, partly withered apple trees high as a house, to create real snow avalanches of white blossoms; in May and June they were phantasmagorias of surreal, sheer beauty. Here, the gardener who planted hundreds of sumptuous roses, turned into a wizard. ‘Il faut cultiver son jardin.’ are the last words of Candide, Voltaire's wicked satire in which the hero, after having underwent the horrors of a world falling to pieces, is forming the conclusion of his experiences. And it was in this awareness that Helmut created his garden. The experiences of this great connoisseur of the art of living had made him learn, no less clear than Voltaire's Candide, that the earth is not a peaceful place, not a paradise. 

As a pupil and young man during the years of Nazism he thanked his teachers for the discernment that Germany was ruled by criminals; in these years he also experienced the Catholic Church as a place of resistance against the despotism. As a diplomat he travelled widely; but his most important positions for him were in New York and Israel - in the Holy Land, this small spot of earth, where also in his life all spiritual and demonic forces that agitate us as well today, collide; there he found the proximity of the truth of his faith, especially there, where it seemed to be completely unreachable. And very early he discovered for him the obligation to serve the Roman Catholic Church, his mother, for whom he saw himself as a faithful son, in her great crisis in which she had fallen after the Second Vatican Council. Helmut Rückriegel, who loved the oriental Churches, especially the Orthodoxy, the friend of many Jews, who - together with his friend, the great Annemarie Schimmel, admired the Sufism; he was a Catholic, as ‘the tree is green’ to say it with a word of Carl Schmitt. From his universal culture, from his enthusiasm for the masterworks of language, from his detailed knowledge of history and the cultures of the world Helmut Rückriegel was convinced that the Roman Church was - by its cult which has been transmitted from the late antiquity - a melting pot of all beauty and holiness that is possible on earth. In a decades-long friendship with Josef Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI., he helped to ensure that the Church did not completely abandon this treasure that belongs not to her alone, but to the whole mankind. 

Helmut Rückriegel the diplomat must occasionally have been rather undiplomatic - he was full of passion, a battler who did not spare himself and his adversaries. A man made for being happy - but still often enough desperate of the vainness of all struggles of the best, putting up resistance against the spirit of the times. The old Helmut Rückriegel did not become wise of age - a wonderful trait he had and that conjoined him with his younger friends. A consistent one, also in his matrimony that lasted nearly fifty years: after his rich life that she shared for so long with him, Brigitte Rückriegel accompanied him faithfully unto death - for this long companionship and the synergy during the working years in many positions she is, as she told me, profoundly grateful, and Helmut's friends have today to be grateful to her for all that she did for him, especially during the darksome days. 

The cosmopolitan German patriot Helmut Rückriegel embodied the best aspects of Germany; to have known him is for me and certainly for many others an infinite well of encouragement and hope. 

[Translation from the original German provided by Dr. Johann von Behr]

Thursday, 10 March 2016


The apparition of Our Lady to Alphonse Ratisbonne
(1814-1884), a French Jew who then became a Catholic
and dedicated his life to working for the conversion
of his fellow Jews to the Christian faith.
In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI composed a new prayer ‘Pro Conversione Iudæorum’, to be used in celebrations of the Good Friday Liturgy in the Extraordinary Form. The prayer’s petition for the conversion of the Jews should be understood in the eschatological context offered by Pauline and Patristic, as well as more recent, theology, which foresees the corporate conversion of the Jews taking place in the final stage of history. It is in this way that the most recent official documents reconcile the Church’s universal missionary mandate with the circumstances of today, in the shadow of the Shoah, in which a targeted mission to the Jewish people is not envisaged. . . . . . .

The 28th in the FIUV Position Papers series, called The Good Friday Prayer for the Jews in the Extraordinary Form is now available in the FIUV Positio section.

In the country of the Cristeros, the Mass reemerges

The Polish edition of Paix Liturgique has published an interview with Felipe Alanís Suárez which we are happy to reproduce here. It was translated into English by S. Armaticus of the Deus Ex Machina Blog. See also the French translation. –

For the Paix Liturgique, the journey of Pope Francis to Mexico was an opportunity to look at the condition of the Extraordinary Form (TLM) in a country with such a vast Catholic tradition. So we decided to conduct an interview with Felipe Alanís Suárez, that is, the newly elected president of the International Federation Una Voce and founder of Una Voce Mexico.

I – Interview with Felipe Alanís Suárez, the new president of Una Voce

1- Felipe, in 2009 thanks be to God, Una Voce Mexico was born . What was the liturgical situation in your country?

The history of the birth of Una Voce in Mexico in fact dates back to the 2006, although in fact the International Federation Una Voce (FIUV) accepted us in 2009. At that time, the Motu Proprio of Benedict XVII was not yet published , and a traditional Mass was not celebrated in the diocese regularly. Nevertheless, the Society of Saint Pius X since the seventies, was working in the country and administering to numerous communities of the faithful.

2 How did you come into contact with the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite?

Not counting the childhood stories of my mother, the first time I learned something more about the traditional Mass was when I read an extensive interview with Cardinal Ratzinger made by Vittorio Messori (Report on the state of the Church, 1985). Today the Pope Emeritus, in his characteristic clear language communicated to us what was a deeper reflection on what was theological and liturgical. This awoke in me a critical look at the liturgical reform and a keen interest in the liturgy, which was passed on for generations, and it is not ad hoc compilation. For the Tridentine Mass, so perfect in its transcendent character which is so perfectly ordered, Catholic, led me search for the sacred. A dispensation of Providence allowed me to establish contact with groups of American Catholics from the Fraternity of St. Peter and the Institute of Christ the King, as well as Latin American priests of the Institute of the Good Shepherd, who came on pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe and the sanctuaries of the Cristeros. With time, I met some other people connected to the traditional Mass and wishing to participate in its dissemination. As we lived in different cities and we wanted to stay in touch, we used the internet. And it is also thanks to the Internet that we have established contact with FIUV.

3 What actions has Una Voce Mexico has taken?

Our first mission was to communicate with all persons interested in the traditional liturgy, so that as a community we can share the variety of good talents which God has given to us. In practice it was necessary to find and make friends with the priests, who were ready to offer the Mass. Then we worked on the distribution of missals to the faithful and the creation of sheets with the lyrics of the propers of the Mass on Sunday – very valuable aids. Once “we launched” the first Mass, we soon realized that it befalls us to  offer to the new communities help in strengthening their theological knowledge about the Mass and the liturgy. So we organized a meeting, which was the culmination of a national congress of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. It took place in 2013 in the Archdiocese of Guadalajara. The retired Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iñiguez, can to offer Mass at the end of our meeting. Gradually we did notice that the Christian people reacted to our proposals and found that many Mexicans, young and old, are interested in the traditional Mass. For all these Catholics, the deciding factor it is not so much nostalgia and aesthetic considerations, but rather more or less a conscious conviction that the traditional form is intimately linked to the fundamental truths of the Faith (the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, renewal of the sacrifice of the Cross …).

4 What is the situation today, with respect to the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum in Mexico?

Today, when nearly 10 years have passed since the promulgation of the Motu Proprio, the Extraordinary Form is offered in Mexico in 10 dioceses. There is still much work ahead of us, but the direction is correct and the hope is enormous. For the majority of the bishops, they still have their blinders on and judge the traditional Mass traditional through the prism of the 70s and 80s, as if it were a protest against the alleged theological progress and a sign of a lack of obedience to the Pope. Paul VI is not very well known in Mexico and the texts of Vatican II are not studied. In contrast, a strong relationship connects Mexicans with St. John Paul II and his sacred person is a pillar of Catholic identity of most of the faithful as well as the members of the clergy. And that’s why the sad events of 1988 (Ed. note: SSPX consecrations) are in the minds of many, a reference point when talking about liturgical conflicts at the end of the last century. The situation in not the same everywhere, however,  and the traditional Mass reemerged at the time of the Motu Proprio in the sees of the cardinals. In Guadalajara and Mexico City, with the support of Cardinal Sandoval and Rivera apostolates have been created that have been entrusted to the Society of St. Peter. In Morelia, Archbishop Alberto Suárez Inda, recently elevated to cardinal by Pope Francis to the College of Cardinals, celebrated the occasion of the anniversary of his priesthood with the Missal of John XXIII. The same spirit of goodwill has allowed for the bishop of Chihuahua to guide the Extraordinary Form regularly, and has been offered in the Cathedral of Chihuahua.

5 In the summer of 2014 years the traditional Mass was offered in the largest seminary in the world today, in Guadalajara: does the Extraordinary Form of the Mass presently have this right to “permanent residence” in the seminaries of Mexico?

Unfortunately not yet. In any case, it is not a daily occurrence. Photos of the priest Fr. Romanosky (FSSP) who offered that mass showed that it had a great success and aroused great interest among the clerics. They (photos) show that the Extraordinary Form is slowly gaining a place in the everyday life of the Church. We know that many clerics, as much as possible here in the country, participate  in the activities of ministries of the fraternity FSSP. Nevertheless, even in Guadalajara the Extraordinary Form does not appear officially in the program of any seminary.

6 Any final words?

The Holy See confirmed the canonization of the young José Sanchez del Rio, who became a emblematic victim of war of the Cristeros. This young 14-year-old martyr is a glory not only to Mexico, but for the whole Church. To obtain the mother’s consent to enter into the ranks of the Cristeros, José cheerfully said to her: “I have never had an occasion which is so easy to win Heaven as has presented itself today.” He understood that engaging in a fair fight is a privilege and an opportunity. In turn, we, in the Church, which is going through a crisis, we also have a great opportunity to fight for it, to obtain for our Christian life more treasures, fight for it, which for him was the source and summit: the Holy Liturgy. For anyone who happened to be despised, marginalized and even humiliated because he simply wanted to praise and worship God in the traditional Mass, I would like to offer as an example the holy José Sanchez del Rio, that they may take courage and not dispare, and persevere in the struggle with joy, as he knew that the privilege is to lead a fight without bitterness, gently, and with the power and love, ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

II – Reflections of Paix Liturgique

1 In Mexico and in Europe, the reality shows that the liturgical resistance movement launched by Archbishop Lefebvre in 1970, although fundamental and universal, accounted for only a tiny part of the reaction of the Christian people who wanted to live their faith accroding to the Catholic catechism and the traditional Mass. Thanks to the Motu Proprio of Benedict XVI, the community “Silent” – in other words those who for 50 years have not spoken a word of opposition or rebellion and surrendered new liturgical and doctrinal norms, of the parishes and bishops – are reappearing with each passing day and more clearly being manifested throughout the Church and creating embers of a great movement of a spiritual awakening, liturgical and doctrinal likewise. Historically, this movement also involves the addition of the intellectual and cultural liberation from dictatorship of the mentality of the year 1968, that bit by bit, everywhere in the world is becoming visible.

2 We know that the people of this “Silent” community, as concretely and even scientifically described in numerous international surveys – from Spain to Germany, from Switzerland to Italy, where the undisputed, reliable, and consistent results have shown that 40 to 60% of the practicing faithful would be willingly to live their faith in accordance with the Extraordinary Form. In Mexico, the tragedy of the Cristeros meant that the faithful are often very wary of the Roman authorities (which explains the strength of the phenomenon of sedevacantism there) and the success of the Extraordinary Form is another example of this.

3 Although the Extraordinary Form, just like a floodplain, is presently available for now in only 10 of the nearly 90 diocese existing in Mexico today, do not doubt, that like everywhere else where this process started, the wave of the Summorum Pontificum will slowly but surely increase throughout country. The more that this happens, gradually and the strong help of the Holy Spirit promised to the Church by Christ, it will be derived through the examples of faith and piety that will arise in the context of the offering of the Extraordinary Form.

4 It is particularly poignant when we look at the flourishing of the traditional Roman Mass in the land of the brave and holy Cristeros. Mass – the Christian ideal, which was defended at the cost of their own blood. Betrayal, which fell on them from the ecclesiastical authorities – the abandonment of the doctrine of Christ the King and his defenders – has its analogy in the form of abandonment by the Church of the ancient liturgy and the resisting  priests and faithful who have not agreed to erase it. Thank God for waking his faith of the Cristeros! Undoubtedly, thanks to the intercession of their patron saint today in Mexico, a hope is  being reborn, a liturgical – and also catechetical hope – and it will soon return peace. True peace embedded in doctrinal truth and justice to Christian souls. It’s obvious that without the real consent with respect to the liturgy, there is no possible return to a lasting peace in the Church.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Helmut Rückriegel, FIUV President d'honneur, R.I.P.

His Excellency Dr. Helmut Rückriegel, one of the elder statesmen of the International Federation Una Voce (FIUV) and a great champion of tradition over many decades, died early on 25th of January, 2016.

Dr. Rückriegel has been actively involved in the Una Voce movement since 1967. He was head of Una Voce Deutschland in 1992–2005, member of the FIUV Council, and later one of the Federation’s Presidents d’honneur.


Dr. Helmut Rückriegel, an important and highly meritorious upholder for the traditional Latin liturgy has left us.

Born on the 20th of November 1925 in Niedergründau, close to Hanau, he spent the days of his philological studies in Marburg, with whose university he remained in close contact for all his life. Having achieved a doctorate (Dr. Phil) he was a lecturer for ancient European languages in Manchester prior to being employed as Ambassador from 1956 by Germany’s Foreign Service. His first assignment there was the post of an attaché at the German embassy in London. Following further postings as chargé d’affaires in Israel and with the German Information Center in New York between 1979 and 1984 he ran the personal office and worked as head of protocol of the German Federal President Dr. Karl Carstens. Following that he officiated as German ambassador to Thailand until 1988 and until his retirement in 1990 as German ambassador to Ireland.

In November 1980 he was a member of the diplomatic team which greeted Pope John Paul II on his first visit to Germany. As they waited for the Pope’s aeroplane to land he found himself standing next to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and they began conversing. This led to a friendship that endured until his death.

Already fascinated by the Catholic Church from an early age as a youth he converted to Catholicism. This association post the liturgical reforms brought about by the Second Vatican Council resulted in his exemplary and incessant engagement towards the preservation and restoration of the traditional Latin liturgy and Gregorian chant. Thus, from 1992 to 2006, he occupied the position of President of Una Voce Germany. During that period he led the association and its publication, the Una-Voce-Korrespondenz, to a renewed flourishing.

A further passion of his, besides his love of literature and poetry (he knew innumerable German poems by heart) was for old English and Irish roses which he planted and cultivated at his 3,000 sqm property in Niedergründau. This rose garden was renowned amongst the friends of roses and every year was the destination of a great number of tourists. Following a long illness, during the night leading to the 25th of January 2016, Helmut Rückriegel passed away. His perseverance and his extraordinary merits for the traditional Catholic liturgy shall remain unforgotten.

Dr. Johann von Behr, deputy president Una Voce Deutschland e.V.


In paradisum deducant te Angeli;
in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres,
et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem.
Chorus angelorum te suscipiat,
et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Act of Consecration of the International Federation Una Voce to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the Mystery of Her Immaculate Conception

4th December 2015
Dear members of the Federation,

As you know, during the last general assembly that took place in Rome, our Federation was consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of the Immaculate Conception, as Patroness of the FIUV.

Since we are approaching the feast of the Immaculate, I would like to invite each of your local associations to consecrate individually to Our Immaculate Lady, so that She helps and protects us in these difficult times.

You will find below the links to the text of the consecration in Latin, English, French, Italian and Spanish, so that next 8th December, all Una Voce associations can unanimously, make this consecration, certain that our request for protection will be attended by the Blessed Virgin, who always helps her faithful children.

Once again, I would like to thank and offer my help to all of you, asking the Immaculate Virgin Mary to always bless you.

In Christ and His Most Holy Mother.

Felipe Alanís Suárez.
Fœderatio Internationalis Una Voce

Thursday, 3 December 2015


La Oración por los Judíos utilizada en la Liturgia del Viernes Santo dentro de la Forma Extraordinaria del Rito Romano, continúa siendo fuente de comentarios y malentendidos, sobre los cuales la FIUV (Fœderatio Internationalis Una Voce) desea comentar lo siguiente:

Declaración del Presidente de la FIUV, Felipe Alanís Suárez

Para evitar malentendidos sobre la Oración por los Judíos, el Papa Benedicto XVI compuso la versión del 2008 de esta oración, la cual está claramente basada en el principio esencial Cristiano: la aceptación de Cristo como el salvador el mundo entero, y el deseo de que todas las personas se salven. Los Judíos son mencionados debido a su papel especial en la historia de la salvación,  y por la especial consideración que debemos tener por nuestros «hermanos mayores» (como los llamó el Papa San Juan Pablo II). La oración aspira a la incorporación del pueblo Judío, del cual Nuestro Señor Jesucristo y sus primeros discípulos fueron miembros, en la salvación ganada para la raza humana por Cristo en la Cruz, una reconciliación que, como enseña San Pablo, será consumada solo hacia el final de la historia.

La FIUV está convencida que cualquier posible malentendido prevaleciente en relación a la Oración por los Judíos de la Liturgia del Viernes Santo, puede ser aclarada en el contexto del Magisterio de la Iglesia, sin la necesidad de velar los tesoros de nuestra Fe.

Como fieles adheridos a la Forma Extraordinaria del Rito Romano, reconocemos que rogar a Nuestro Señor la gracia de compartir con todos nuestros hermanos la alegría de la salvación en Jesucristo, es un acto de humildad y amor desinteresado, una obra espiritual de misericordia.

La FIUV rechaza por completo cualquier odio y hostilidad hacia el pueblo Judío, y todas las formas de injusta discriminación.

Observaciones Adicionales

1.     Aunque la Oración por los Judíos en la Liturgia del Viernes Santo del Novus Ordo, no se refiere explícitamente al reconocimiento por los Judíos de Jesucristo como Salvador, otras oraciones en la liturgia revisada si lo hacen. Las Vísperas del Domingo de Pascua conforme a la Forma Ordinaria (Novus Ordo) incluye la oración «Que el pueblo de Israel te reconozca como el Mesías de su esperanza»; y en las Laudes del 30 de Diciembre se incluye la oración «Tú, Señor, eres Dios y hombre, Señor de David y también hijo suyo, y en ti se han cumplido todas las profecías; haz que Israel te reconozca como su Mesías.»

2.     En sus oraciones diarias, los Judíos rezan por la conversión de todos los «impíos sobre la tierra». El Rabbi Jacob Neusner, respondiendo a las críticas sobre la Oración por los Judíos del año 2008, apuntaba el paralelismo con la Oración por los Judíos, destacando que «La oración Católica manifiesta el mismo espíritu altruista que caracteriza la fe del Judaísmo.» (Die Tagespost,23 de Febrero 2008)[1]

3.     El Cardenal Walter Kasper defendió la oración de 2008, explicando que una esperanza en que los Judíos acepten a Cristo, que puede ser cumplida solo por Dios más que por proselitismo, y escatológicamente (al final de la historia),  no es más que una consecuencia necesaria de la fe Cristiana.
Un diálogo sincero entre judíos y cristianos es posible solamente si por un lado se basa en la comunión de fe en el único Dios, Creador del cielo y de la tierra, y en las promesas hechas a Abraham y a los Padres, y por otro lado, en la conciencia y en el respeto de la diferencia fundamental existente, la cual consiste en la fe en Jesús como Cristo y Redentor de todos los hombres. (L'Osservatore Romano 10 de Abril 2008)[2]


1.     La oración utilizada hoy en la Forma Extraordinaria fue compuesta por el Papa Benedicto XVI en 2008, en respuesta a las preocupaciones sobre la redacción de la oración usada previamente, y se expresa de la siguiente manera:
Oremos también por los Judíos:  para que nuestro Dios y Señor ilumine sus corazones, y reconozcan que Jesucristo es el Salvador de todos los hombres.

2.     Es recitada, en latín, una vez al año en el pequeño número de Iglesias al rededor del mundo donde la Liturgia del Viernes Santo es celebrada en la Forma Extraordinaria.
Esta forma parte de una serie de oraciones por diferentes categorías de personas, tanto de adentro como de fuera de la Iglesia, en esto último incluyendo tanto a herejes como paganos. En cada caso el celebrante ora por las gracias de Dios para ellos. Este patrón es seguido en el Misal reformado de 1970 («Novus Ordo»), aunque la redacción de las oraciones es diferente.[3]

3.     La oración está basada en la Escritura, notablemente San Pablo. La imagen de la «luz» penetrando los corazones de los Judíos es extraída de 2 Cor 4:3-6; San Pablo habla de la eventual conversión de los Judíos en Romanos 11:25-26. Romanos 11:29 sobre la Alianza con los Judíos dice que Dios «nunca revoca Sus promesas», lo cual es citado en la Declaración Nostra ætate del Concilio Vaticano II y por el Papa San Juan Pablo II, como la base de un especial afecto y respeto que los cristianos habrán de tener al pueblo Judío.[4]

[1] El texto completo de este artículo se puede leer en español aquí:
[2] El texto completo se puede leer en español:
[3] Las diferentes versiones  de la oración de Viernes Santo por los Judíos, se pueden encontrar en Wikipedia en inglés:
[4] Romanos 11:29: ‘Porque irrevocables son los dones y el llamamiento de Dios.’ Citado en Nostra aetate 4, y por San Juan Pablo II en su Alocución a la Comunidad Judía de Berlín el 17 de Noviembre de 1980.