As you’ve seen all over the web this morning, Pope Francis has named 19 new cardinals, 16 of which are under 80 and thus electors in a conclave.

As the Irish Times writes:

Pope Francis continued with his non-European “imprint” on the Catholic Church when he named his first batch of cardinals today, with ten of the 16 elector cardinals coming from outside Europe.

Two of the new cardinals come from Africa, two from Asia, two from Central America, one from North America and three from Latin America.

The nominations are in line with the priorities Francis has set since the beginning of his pontificate. Commentators are noting that Francis has gone “to the peripheries,” naming cardinals from poverty-stricken lands such as Haiti and Burkina Faso. He has also named, above all, pastors. Archbishop Müller from the CDF is the only theologian. In a nod to collegiality (as Rocco notes), the head of the Synod of Bishops, Baldisseri, outranks Müller from the CDF.

And in a nice shout-out to Pope John XXIII, who convened the reformist Second Vatican Council, Francis named Pope John’s secretary Loris Capovilla, now 98, to the College of Cardinals.

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Pray Tell readers will be interested in what the nominations mean for liturgical renewal.

My first reaction is that today’s nominations are a setback for the “Reform of the Reform” espoused by Pope Benedict. When you place the emphasis on the periphery, on poverty-stricken lands, on closeness to people (“the smell of the sheep”), and on the vast, vast majority of the Catholic Church outside Europe, it can only be bad news for the previous pope’s vision of liturgy.

For Benedict’s vision of liturgy was always rather Eurocentric, administratively centralized, elitist, clericalist, antiquarian, and inspired by the splendors of court ceremonial.

This vision could only succeed through ecclesial neo-colonialism, by which a timeless European ideal is upheld for all cultures, which for their part are ignored. This vision is appealing to those who seek in the liturgy an escape from today’s world. And there is plenty in today’s world that is confusing and troubling, so the Reform of the Reform will no doubt continue to hold appeal for a good many people for some time to come. But like any colonialism, it can’t last. With today’s cardinalatial namings, it got another reminder of that reality.


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