The Views of the New Cardinals on Church and Liturgy

Pope Francis named 17 new cardinals from 11 countries on Sunday. They will be created cardinals in a consistory in November. Thirteen of them are under 80 and eligible to vote for a future pope, and 11 of them are from places that have never had a cardinal.

Pray Tell readers will be interested in the liturgical and ecclesial views of Francis’s appointees. Here is what blog assistant David Wesson found:

According to Rorate Caeli, 3 of the 13 elector-cardinals have either presided at or attended a pre-Vatican II liturgy as allowed by Summorum Pontificum: Bishop Farrell (Dallas, TX), Archbishop Tobin (Indianapolis, IN) and bishop Piat (Port Louis, Mauritius).

Archbishop Renato Corti, who turned 80 this past March and was bishop in Novara, Italy until 2011, suspended three parish priests for celebrating only the pre-Vatican II Mass and refusing to celebrated the Church’s reformed liturgy. He was close to the late Cardinal Martini.

Pray Tell’s Rita Ferrone already reported on the installation liturgy of Archbishop Blaise Cupich (Chicago, IL), and over at Whispers in the Loggia, Rocco noted how pointedly inclusive this liturgy was. (Don’t miss the “Archbishop Rolaids” line!)

Over at Oblation, Tim O’Malley reprinted the excellent piece on the 2000 GIRM Archbishop Cupich wrote in 2007. In the oddities of the Catholic liturgical landscape wreaked by Pope Benedict XVI, I suppose one could say that Cupich is a liturgical “liberal”… because he supports the official teaching and official liturgy of the Church!

Cupich clamped down on the Latin Mass community in Rapid City in 2002, and he had an altar brought in to John Cantius at an ordination so that, contrary to local practice, he could celebrate Mass facing the people.

Archbishop Tobin (Indianapolis, IN) stated in 2013 that attending Latin Mass with the break-away Society of St. Pius X “is not a legitimate option.” Facebook has photos of him (scroll down) celebrating Confirmation in the unreformed pre-Vatican II rite. He is known to be a man of moderation and reconciliation, and he was an advocate for the U.S. sisters when they were being investigated under Pope Benedict.

Bishop Kevin Farrell (Dallas, TX) tweeted this past August 1,

If you find Pope Francis “confusing” – you have not read or do not understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

He designated a Traditional Latin Mass parish in his diocese. He has written a blog post on the liturgy, “Rejoice in Our Diversity.”

Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra (Madrid, Spain) reportedly banned Cardinal Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, from speaking in his diocese, but later  backpedaled. He has said that he is “neither conservative nor progressive,”  and Spanish media consider him a “Doppelgänger” of Pope Francis. He said of the preconciliar liturgy:

“The extraordinary form of the Roman rite has become, by the approbation of the pope, an ordinary form. This is no problem. Where there is a need, one only need ask. But one cannot unpack the rite ideologically, progressives and conservatives. One should acknowledge the teaching of the church, which is capable of bringing together in the same Mass Christians of varied sensitivities.”

Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario, C.S.C., (Dhaka, Bangladesh) has emphasized the importance of the laity and of interreligious harmony.

Archbishop Jozef De Kesel (Malines-Brussels, Belgium) headed an inter-diocesan pastoral liturgy commission and wrote a book on liturgy. He advocated for the elimination of mandatory celibacy for priests in 2010.  At the same time he said of women’s ordination,

That is certainly open to discussion, but it is more sensitive that the issue of celibacy. I think that the discussion of celibacy can proceed much more quickly than the discussion of the admission of women to the priestly office.

He reportedly later stated that the Church is unable to ordain women. Soon after being appointed to Bruges in 2010, De Kesel closed down the traditionalist body called the “Fraternity of the Holy Apostles” which his conservative predecessor (Bishop Léonard) had founded.

Archbishop Maurice Piat (Port-Louis, Mauritius) has stated that the Society of St. Pius X “is not in communion with the Catholic Church.” He invited a canon of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, which is dedicated to the pre-Vatican II Mass, to the island to be a hospital chaplain and offer the preconciliar Mass.

Let Pray Tell know if you have further information to share on the new cardinals.

awr / djw



    1. @Karl Liam Saur:
      If I’m catching your drift here, I would agree.

      However, I must observe that this kind of analysis has been going on for some years, and not always in a kindly way. Just today on my blog, I received a few comments linking new cardinals to the lavender mafia or worse–gasp!–“liberal thinking.”

      Many Catholics, liberals and conservatives both, have badly missed the boat on discernment. I suspect that those who think they alone possess the right answers, the true path, have deceived themselves and misled others.

  1. I’m OK with the sort of reporting we’re doing here – this is important and interesting information.

    The unease I have with it – and I felt a bit of it while putting up the post – is not that we’re saying too much, but too little. We only have one anecdote or one tidbit in many cases, and that surely does not capture the fullness of the man’s views on liturgy. So I hope people can take it for what it’s worth – just a bit of information. I wish we had more.

    The point isn’t to keep score or decide who is a good guy or a bad guy, who is on my side or not, but to give our readers the information we have on these future cardinals’ views.


    1. @Anthony Ruff, OSB:

      Yes, it is indeed that there is too little; it shares a reductivism that to which progressive Catholics have too long been subjected under recent pontificates. Abused people often internalized the methods of their abusers. We retain choice in deciding to stop or continue the feedback loop.

  2. “According to Rorate Caeli, 3 of the 13 elector-cardinals have either presided at or attended a pre-Vatican II liturgy as allowed by Summorum Pontificum: Bishop Farrell (Dallas, TX), Archbishop Tobin (Indianapolis, IN) and bishop Piat (Port Louis, Mauritius).”

    I read the article. It says that Farrell led one such ceremony in 2010, Tobin celebrated confirmation twice (no Mass apparently), Bishop Piat attended one Mass. I made my own search and I can’t find a single picture of any of them celebrating a pre-Vatican II style “Solemn Pontifical Mass”.

    Weigh these against the, presumably, thousands of Ordinary Form Masses already celebrated by each of them. All of them were ordained after 1969.

    There is no comparison.

    1. @Rodrigo Marcelo:
      It’s always surprised me that the author of “Summorum Pontificum”, the Emeritus Pope Benedict, never appeared to have celebrated the 1962 Mass outside of the Sistine chapel or his private chapel. The same can be said for Pope Francis.

  3. Personal liturgical leanings do not directly correspond to fairness, inclusiveness, or being pastoral. It is more interesting to know how they treat the people in their parishes who have different liturgical leanings than their own.

    The only thing I found somewhat off putting was Cupich putting a free standing altar in St John Cantius to celebrate Mass there, as it reminded me of the discussion here where people said they didn’t like it when the free standing altar was ignored, or worse totally removed, in order to celebrate ad orientem on the older high altar for a one-time Mass. For that parish community, the old high altar is their altar where they celebrate the sacred mysteries together – OF and EF, and I think that should have been respected – just as I wouldn’t like a bishop “dressing up” a free standing altar with a tabernacle and reredos, or ignoring it or carting it out, for a one-time event at one of his parishes. It’s not the end of the world or anything, though.

    1. @Jack Wayne:
      Cupich’s action in setting up a free-standing altar at St Cantius isno different than Pope Francis doing the same in the Sistine Chapel for the Mass he said with the cardinals the day after his election. He delayed the start of the Mass to have the altar set up. And before you go thbere, yes, I know he has said Mass at the fixed altar in the Sistine, facing away from the people. He does so once a year when he does baptisms of 20+ babies each January on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. I suspect the reason he does h so is he does not want to delay the Mass while the Baptism paraphernalia is cleared from the space and a free-standing altar is set up. After all there are 20+ squalling babies and their very nervous parents in the congregation. Maybe what both the pope and Cupich are trying to gently say is that free-standing altars are the norm for the Church and not the exception.

      1. @Reyanna Rice:
        The Sistine chapel isn’t a parish church, though – at least I was not under the impression that it is.

        Also, why would a bishop even need to make the statement that free-standing altars are the “norm” when they are used virtually everywhere in his diocese save about three or four churches (out of literally hundreds)?

      2. @Reyanna Rice:
        According to Inter Oecumenici, freestanding altars are described as “preferable”. Note this document doesn’t use a word like “mandatory”. In light of this, when building a new Church, having the altar be freestanding makes sense, but there was never a requirement to waste money destroying beautiful high altars built by the sweat and tears of those who came before us, or a requirement to set up altars of lower aesthetic quality (in this case a portable table) to obstruct them. Given that Archbishop Cupich would be an advocate of “meeting people where they are” in other contexts, I don’t see how refusing to celebrating Mass on the same altar this community celebrates their other Masses is very pastoral. In fact, it strikes me as rigid.

      3. @Reyanna Rice:
        I assume that Francis keeps ad orientem for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord to show some continuity with Benedict. Moreover, for lots of Europeans in old churches, ad orientem is not some sort of ultratraditionalist symbol. That said, Francis didn’t want his first televised Mass to be ad orientem. That would have made a statement that Francis didn’t want to make. Cupich, on the other hand, seems at first read to be trying to make a statement to this parish. I don’t have background information, but it doesn’t come across as a very nice way to introduce yourself as the new archbishop.

  4. John Drake has evidently been reading the A Catholic Life blog, where this calumny appeared in 2015, presumably a late reaction to Cupich being named for Chicago.

  5. “Also, why would a bishop even need to make the statement that free-standing altars are the “norm” when they are used virtually everywhere in his diocese save about three or four churches (out of literally hundreds)?”

    I feel something similar when an Ordinary celebrates or is present at the occasional Tridentine ceremony. Say, once or twice a year, or perhaps less than that. Frequently that is enough for a bishop to be praised or attacked as a “Traditionalist”. It is very unfair.

    1. @Rodrigo Marcelo:
      I think people at the extreme ends of this debate have a hard time understanding that someone can be nice to traditionalists without being a traditionalist, or that not everyone feels the need to pick one side and then totally hate and denounce the other side at every opportunity.

      As for the St Turibius Chapel renovation – the most shocking realization for me is that it occurred in 1989. I’d seen pictures before, but just naturally assumed it was from the early 70s at the latest since that is what looks like (those archway things look *so* 60s, and I’ve even seen similar stuff in pre-Vatican II churches). It serves as a strong rebuttal to those who claim it was only cheap paster statues and low quality artwork that were tossed out in the name of Vatican II. Apparently the chapel is undergoing restoration and it sounds like the Gerhard Lamers murals will be uncovered and restored.

  6. @Brian Palmer

    That has always surprised you?

    I am not sure how one would actually fulfill the logistics of the Papal Mass should the Pope ever wish to do the EF publicly. They no longer wear the Tiara, though I guess they could pull one out. Ditto the ferula. There must be flabellae sitting around somewhere too.

    I would assume that one would ignore the traditional Silveri Symphony, as the Noble Guards have been suppressed. Who would fill the role of the Apostolic Subdeacon?

    How do you think reception of Communion by only the Deacon and Subdeacon would go over?

    That’s only what comes to the top of my head.

    1. @Todd Orbitz:

      I am not sure how one would actually fulfill the logistics of the Papal Mass should the Pope ever wish to do the EF publicly.

      Logistical challenges never stopped Benedict 16 from doing things he really really wanted, or things he deemed really really important, like resigning from the papacy, no?

      Had Benedict16 really wanted to, he would surely have found a way to celebrate the EF publicly and/or privately. That he never did, I also find that quite curious.

      1. @Elisabeth Ahn:
        @Elisabeth Ahn

        I think you miss my point entirely. The reason it could never be offered publicly, is that reproducing the ceremonies of a Papal Mass using the Pian Rite are simply pretty much impossible today, and anything less would not satisfy the traditionalists.

        Furthermore, he did offer it privately at least once, on his second onomastico as the Pope. A Priest in Clero served it.

      2. @Todd Orbitz:

        I rather think I got your point quite correctly. You said it is impossible to do it today, and I disagreed.

        That Benedict did do it privately, as you claim, proves my point actually. It was not “impossible” to do it. He just chose not to do it, possibly for the reasons Jack Wayne (#28) described.

        Then again, for someone who presumably cared and knows a lot about the liturgy, unlike, say, Francis who presumably cares little, if at all, Benedict’s liturgical decisions and actions never made much sense to me, so.

      3. @Elisabeth Ahn:
        Private masses aren’t the same as Papal ones, they don’t require all the stuff Todd said cannot be done today. Benedict didn’t have a Papal EF Mass privately complete with ferula, flagella, Silveri Symphony, etc. If he had, it would have blown up the Catholic blogosphere.

        I do disagree that Benedict refrained from celebrating a modified Papal EF out of fear of disappointing traditionalists who would have no less than the full thing. Had Benedict been so worried about disappointing them, he wouldn’t have changed the Good Friday prayer for the Jews in the 1962 Missal on his own accord (a much bigger deal than a one-time celebration). This isn’t really the hill I wish to die on, though, so I’ll just agree to disagree.

  7. I always figured he never celebrated it because Benedict was ultimately on the side of liturgical reform – it should be kept in mind that wanting a hybrid rite, or a reform of the reform, is ultimately a pro-reform position, not a fully traditionalist position. A full restoration of pre-Vatican II liturgy and ceremony was never Benedict’s goal and that shines through when one reads anything he ever wrote on the matter.

    I also think there was a lot of unfounded fear during Benedict’s papacy, like it was the end of Vatican II or something, and so him celebrating even a modified Papal EF Mass would have caused a lot of people to totally freak out. I think a simplified Papal EF would have satisfied the vast majority of traditionalists, who would have realized the logistical challenges. Personally, I think the only Pope who could publicly celebrate the EF and get away with it (at least in the eyes of the EF’s detractors) would be Francis. It’d probably be the only time the rad trad camp wouldn’t like an EF being celebrated, though.

    1. @Jack Wayne:
      @Jack Wayne

      I agree completely with your first paragraph. However, I have followed many of the traddies for years, and many would be happy with nothing less than a full papal liturgy.

      Regartdless, We agree on exactly where Benedict was.

  8. Returning belatedly to the topic of this thread, you can learn a lot about how Cardinal-designate Kevin Farrell views the place of lay people in the Church from this article (H/T: NCR): If his liturgical thinking is in line with this viewpoint, one can’t help imagining that his approach to liturgy would be pastoral rather than rubrical.

    He has had a laywoman as his Office for Worship director for the past few years (and prior to that another laywoman as acting director for a number of years). In the liturgies at which he presides he is known for wanting the engagement of the assembly, and for good assembly music (it appears that scholas singing chant do not appeal to him very much) and a good liturgical environment (the Guadalupe Cathedral in Dallas was due for an interior renovation, which will presumably now await his successor for implementation).

  9. I don’t think Archbishop Cupich should be seen as forcing a freestanding altar on St. John Cantius parish or using it to make a statement; it wasn’t too many years ago that they regularly used a freestanding altar with the celebrant facing the people, at least for certain Masses each week. So it’s not unknown there, and I would imagine it wasn’t resented, generally (maybe by some individuals). SJC has a variety of types of Masses already (Tridentine high and low; Novus Ordo in Latin and in English) and a pontifical Novus Ordo with freestanding altar isn’t a huge departure from what the parish is used to. And for a big concelebration it might just work better, where ad orientem would be more suitable for a solemn Mass with celebrant-deacon-subdeacon instead of concelebrants. And in general it’s less fuss for the archbishop if he can celebrate in his accustomed way. At SJC it would be done faithfully and with their usual care and dignity, and with unfailing respect for the archbishop.

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