Pope Benedict annoyed at studied prelatial indifference?

After the Big Mass at Westminster, I got on the horn and called across the pond to His Hermeneuticalness to get his take on what happened.  Fr. Finigan was one of the deacons of honor for Card. Castrillon Hoyos’ Pontifical Mass.

One of the things he pointed out was that not a single bishop of the Diocese of Westminster was present in any capacity.

I suspect that was not because they didn’t want to make the rubrics more complicated.

Sometimes local prelates will stay away out of courtesy, so that their conspicous presence doesn’t detract from the guest prelate.

In this case, however, they were even more conspicuous by their absence.

Now I find this from Damian Thompson, who has been all over this story from soup to nuts.

Look at it here, but be sure to go over to Damian’s place and check the comments which will surely pile up.

Benedict ‘annoyed’ at bishops’ boycott
Posted by Damian Thompson on 19 Jun 2008  at 15:22

I don’t like passing on rumours, [And in fairness that is what this is, and he has clearly acknowledged it from the start.] as you know, but there are reports that Pope Benedict XVI is annoyed by the absence of a single bishop at the big Mass celebrated by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday.

Consider the facts. At the end of last year, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor opened up the throne room of Archbishop’s House so that the liberal Archbishop Piero Marini could launch a book containing a coded attack on the Pope’s liturgical reforms. The party was packed with “magic circle” bishops, monsignori and Tabletistas, all gushing away like crazy.

But when Cardinal Castrillon – head of Ecclesia Dei and a former Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy – celebrated a Pontifical High Mass in the cathedral, there were no other bishops present in the sanctuary and the Westminster Cathedral website has still made no mention of the event[Can you say damnatio memoriae?]

Could this display of studied indifference have anything to do with the fact that Cardinal Castrillon was celebrating in the ancient Extraordinary Form of the Latin Mass?

Earlier in the day, the Cardinal had announced that the Pope wants to see the old liturgy made available in every parish in England and Wales. That’s a big story, don’t you think?  [Yep. Pretty big.]

The Catholic Herald has led on it this week. The Tablet isn’t out yet, [It is now.  Go here.] but I can’t wait to see how it reports the latest development. Normally, the Bitter Pill plays down news that it doesn’t like – and boy, you should have seen the thunderous features of its deputy editor Elena Curti at the press conference! She practically performed a (liturgical) dance of rage. If only I had thought to capture it on my mobile…

 

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25 Responses to Pope Benedict annoyed at studied prelatial indifference?

  1. RBrown says:

    I have only one reaction: The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster is past retirement age.

  2. Mac McLernon says:

    It was even more interesting to note that Bishop Stack (one of the Westminster Auxilliaries, no less) was hovering in the wings at the end because he was waiting to celebrate a Novus Ordo Mass in the Lady Chapel…

    …with several Napkins in attendance, according to my sources. No idea about servers and serviettes…
    ;-)

  3. Boko Fittleworth says:

    Personnel IS policy. Much as I love the MP, and acknowledging that we have seen lots of positive changes for the better on the ground, Pope Benedict’s legacy will be the bishops he chooses.

  4. Mark S. says:

    Speaking as an English Catholic, and regular attendee at Extraordinary Form Masses in my area – the cool (almost frigid) attitude of many English bishops (including Cardinal Murphy O’Connor) is well known in Trad circles. His absence, for me at least, is completely unsurprising. My own Ordinary – who I don’t want to mention by name – was almost notorious for the various hoops he would jump through to avoid giving permission for a Mass before Summorum Pontificum was issued. Even it the days up to its release -when it was widely accepted it was to be released – he stoutly refused to give permission for Masses.

    My point is, the Cardinal’s attitude towards Cardinal Hoyos is, on reflection, part of the wider attitude of the English hierarchy to the Latin Mass movement. As posters have implied on other forums, this will only start to change when the present liberal bishops come up for retirement and are replaced by bishops or a more conservative bent.

  5. Derek James says:

    Yes, and the Cardinal was given lunch in the cramped clergy librar. CMO’C didn’t even invite him to lunch. A studied insult I think.

  6. RichR says:

    I don’t know the hearts of any of these Bishops, and I don’t care. That’s the Lord’s job. However, I would just ask this open question to whoever wants to read it: if you are a bishop, priest, or deacon in the Church hierarchy, will God smile upon your efforts to cast aspersions on legitimate hopes and policies of the Holy Father, to whom you have sworn obedience? Is that something you want on your conscience when you face God on your last day?

    Again, I don’t judge these particular bishops’ reasons for their absence. My question is directed to the church at large….where we know there are some notoriously dissident shepherds.

  7. CK says:

    Okay. So what do you think will be the Pope’s next move?

  8. Calleva says:

    RBrown @ “I have only one reaction: The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster is past retirement age.”

    Precisely. And why, therefore, is he still in office? Could it be that the three names (probably all members of the liberal ‘magic circle’) given to the Pope by the Papal Nuncio were all rejected by His Holiness?

    Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos was a guest of the Latin Mass Society – he wasn’t invited by any of the hierarchy of England and Wales. I know there was a very good dinner organised by the LMS at the Travellers’ Club – I’m wondering what the table talk consisted of.

    Do we know if the Columbian Cardinal and the Pope are at all close? I gather that Cardinal CH lives in the same building that Cardinal Ratzinger used to inhabit. Did the future Pope ever borrow a jar of coffee from him?

    I’m thinking that this snub ‘en masse’ might have been a mistake. I’m hoping it will concentrate the minds in Rome wonderfully and that CMOC’s replacement will be someone who will be happy to implement SP generously.

  9. Chironomo says:

    CK..

    Next move? Notice the very deliberate tactic of releasing information in a “non-official” form, watching the reaction, and then shaping the official release to take into account the now known reaction? Sacramentum Caritatis, Summorum Pontificum, now the clarification document. Benedict DOES have a plan, and he knows exactly how to implement it. IMHO This is a part of it. I believe the statements by Cardinal Hoyos were a “leak” to get an advance reaction to a wider implementation of the EF in the clarification document. The “opposition” (I dislike that term but it applies here) has shown their hand now. The “clarification” document has yet to be released. Coincidence? IMHO the next move will be in that document.

  10. BK says:

    I think the statements from Cardinal Hoyos this past weekend — including the press conference, the homily at the TLM, and the address to the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales — are pretty much all we can hope for at present for a “clarification” of Summorum Pontificum from Cardinal Hoyos/PCED.

    See this excerpt of the press conference from Damien Thompson’s blog:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/ukcorrespondents/holysmoke/june08/traditionallatinmass.htm

    DT: Will there be a clarification of the Motu Proprio?

    CC: Not exactly a clarification of the Motu Proprio, but of matters treated in the Motu Proprio, such as the calendario, ordinations to the sub-diaconate, the way of using vestments, the Eucharistic fast.

  11. Steve K. says:

    I do wonder what the Holy Father’s long term plan is. He certainly is aware of the widespread rot and rebelliousness in the Church; what will be done to address that? I hope there is a comprehensive plan underway to replace the dissenters in the Church hierarchy with loyal sons of the Church, otherwise, many reform attempts will continue to be stillbord, being sabotaged out in the dioceses by rebels.

    Just yesterday we see another example of this – in my own diocese. Catholic Charities of Richmond took an immigrant minor in their charge, and procured an abortion for her, to the point of illegally signing for her as guardian (now CCR is in trouble with law). The Bishop’s response – “they (CCR employees) were ignorant of Catholic teaching on abortion.” Oh yes, and I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. How long, o Lord?

  12. Jack Regan says:

    It is worth clearing up this idea that the Pope plans to replace the ‘liberal’ Bishops of England & Wales with more Catholic ones.

    I have worked for the Church in England & Wales for nearly a decade and I know who the conservative candidates for Bishop are very well. I could rattle off 5 or 10 names very quickly, as could many of us. But here’s the thing folks: none of these guys are being chosen. Not by JP2 and not by BXVI. Since becoming Pope, Benedict has appointed 3 bishops in England & Wales and none have been what the conservatives want. Two have been widely seen as liberal by the conservatives and the other – Bishop Doyle – though viewed as more of a conservative is actually not. Bishop Doyle is listed on Traditionalist websites as somebody who is sympathetic. As a former parishoner of his, I can attest that he is very mainstream. Perhaps open to the EF, but certainly not somebody likely to champion the cause.

    In other words, the Holy Father just isn’t appointing very conservative Bishops. And remember, two of those Bishops have been appointed since the Motu Proprio came into force.

    As for the comments about Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, there is always hearsay and speculation and all that can be said is that time will tell. Maybe it will be Father Finegan, but I doubt it. My money is firmly on Vincent Nichols. If not him, then another current Bishop.

    Time will tell.

    Maybe we can resume this discussion when an appointment is made.

  13. Chironomo says:

    BK;

    What exactly IS the Motu Proprio if not the matters treated in it? I think what he was saying was simply that there would not be, nor does there need to be, a revision or change to the fundamental statements of Summorum Pontificum. Some of those things contained in it could be a)a definition of “stable group” b)a clarification of the role of the Bishop c)a clearer statement on the juridical rights extended to Priests (he emphasizes this in his address)… and just about any other issue contained in SP. I think Hoyos’ statements are sometimes seemingly unclear because of his manner of speaking english. Maybe a good argument for Latin?

  14. big benny says:

    I noticed that the article on Cardinal Hoyos’ speech also contained his comment that the mass should not be used as a method for confrontation and conflict in the church.
    I think Damien’s frequent scare-mongering and hysterical comments come under this description.
    The bishops had other commitments, the cardinal allowed the mass to go ahead in the cathedral(as he does twice every year) and welcomed cardinal hoyos. He also met him, protocol would have made unusual for him to have actually attended.
    I hope Cardinal Hoyos also told Damien to calm down, he isn’t helping anyone’s cause.

  15. big benny says:

    I noticed that the article on Cardinal Hoyos\’ speech also contained his comment that the mass should not be used as a method for confrontation and conflict in the church.
    I think Damien\’s frequent scare-mongering and hysterical comments come under this description.
    The bishops had other commitments, the cardinal allowed the mass to go ahead in the cathedral(as he does twice every year) and welcomed cardinal hoyos. He also met him, protocol would have made it unusual for him to have actually attended.
    I hope Cardinal Hoyos also told Damien to calm down, he isn\’t helping anyone’s cause.

  16. Mark S. says:

    I think part of the reason why conservative candidates aren’t being chosen as bishops is due to the selection process. As far as I’m aware – please correct me if I’m wrong – for each “vacancy”, the local church has to submit to Rome the names of 3 candidates. All three have to be “strong candidates” (th use the expression I was given)asnd if not, the Vatican can ask for one or more new candidates to be submitted. Rome then chooses the next bishop from the candidates presented for consideration.

    If a local church has a liberal bent, they it’s only natural and human that they will submit candidates of a similar mind-set and more conservative candidates will be overlooked. A candidate’s liberal credentials may not be immediately obvious to the Vatican but are more likely to be known to the people suggesting them as a candidate. I think this may explain why, as Mr. Jack Regan mentions above, conservative candidates aren’t being chosen.

  17. Jack Regan says:

    If my post above left any room for doubt, then allow me to clarify that I actually quite like our current Bishops. Especially my own :)

    I was merely trying to debunk this idea that Benedict doesn’t like them!

  18. prof. basto says:

    I agree that personnel is policy, and is a very important part of policy.

    Also, regarding the line “ …Could it be that the three names (probably all members of the liberal ‘magic circle’) given to the Pope by the Papal Nuncio were all rejected by His Holiness?… “, invoked as a possible reason for a delay in accepting the Archbishop of Westminster’s resignation for age reasons, I must point out that the terna is there to help the Pontiff to make a choice, not to bind the Successor of Peter. Popes should not (and I hope they do not) abdicate from their power of free appointment. The Pope’s choice is not bound, and he doesn’t even need to wait for the terna. The list is offered as an advice, and is no more than that. So, of course, in the case of a small diocese in the middle of somewhere unknown to the Pontiff, the terna will be very helpful, because the Pope does not know personnaly all the Bishops in the World (in our days there are more than 5.000 bishops). But when it comes to filling major Sees, one would expect the terna to have a lesser impact on the choice made by the Sovereign Pontiff.

  19. Report Has it that Dr. Watson and I will be attending a Daily Latin Mass near Baker Street very soon. I hope Mrs. Hudson can come too.

    I explained to a doubter today, “The Mass is Latin, that’s extrordinary to some, ordinary to others, but Elementary, Elementary to any good Doctor of Sacrosanct Liturgy.”

    I am so filled with joy for our Jolly Ole England. The Latin Mass is Here to Stay, my fellow Anglos.

    Someone (umhmmmm) came to me said recently about the magnitude of this Extraordinary Period in English History, remarking his doubt:

    “Well, this little island is still on the map.”

    I had to brazen his remark, with the fortitude of knowledge and true Christian spirit for the love of Fatherland for “Little Island” who loves the Latin Mass with Extraordinary Passion:

    “This fortress built by Nature for herself . . . This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England”

    And in perpetuity this England with the Extraordinary and Eternal Latin Gregorian Rite of Holy Mass, I thank you all for caring about us English who have and will always cherish the Faith of Our Fathers.

    Cheers, carry on and good evening.

    -Sherlock Holmes

  20. M. says:

    I heard to reported at the time of his appointment and have observed it personally on several occasions that the Cardinal of Westminster is very uncomfortable in liturgical situation of any kind. When he was appointed a well known journalist stated that it was generaly felt within the church that one of the most difficult aspects for the new cardinal would be having to fulfil his liturgical role. If this is so as regards the Ordinary Form how can we expect him to be sympathetic to those who wish to see the flowering of the Extraordinary Form. I have seen at first hand that the Cardinal finds liturgy tiresome. I think he just does not see the point.

  21. Phil says:

    The next move?

    If I were a betting man, I’d wager that the successor to the cardinal will be close to or past 70, and that he’ll get a coadjutor – a position for which His Hermeneuticalness (or any priest of similar mettle but who would benefit from some prior experience as bishop before getting the top job) would be well suited.

  22. RBrown says:

    Also, regarding the line “ …Could it be that the three names (probably all members of the liberal ‘magic circle’) given to the Pope by the Papal Nuncio were all rejected by His Holiness?… “, invoked as a possible reason for a delay in accepting the Archbishop of Westminster’s resignation for age reasons, I must point out that the terna is there to help the Pontiff to make a choice, not to bind the Successor of Peter. Popes should not (and I hope they do not) abdicate from their power of free appointment. The Pope’s choice is not bound, and he doesn’t even need to wait for the terna. The list is offered as an advice, and is no more than that. So, of course, in the case of a small diocese in the middle of somewhere unknown to the Pontiff, the terna will be very helpful, because the Pope does not know personnaly all the Bishops in the World (in our days there are more than 5.000 bishops). But when it comes to filling major Sees, one would expect the terna to have a lesser impact on the choice made by the Sovereign Pontiff.
    Comment by prof. basto

    If I might expand your comments a bit, the process is not merely bottom up.

    The ternus is produced by the Apostolic Nuncio (or Delegate) with the input of bishops and laity within the jurisdiction of his nunciature. But that doesn’t mean that all three of the names come from the nation’s bishops and laity. The nuncio can add his own preference. If he knows both the local situation and what Rome wants in a bishop, he is often (but not always) in a good situation to satisfy both.

    The situation in the US is good. Cardinal Rigali, who was once Sec of the Cong of Bishops, is now a member of the Congregation. He is on the US end, with creation of the ternus. And he is on the Roman end as well. And so he has a lot to say about new US bishops.

    I agree that the successor to Cardinal M-O’C will certainly be approved personally by the pope. If Fr Aidan Nichols had any experience in administration (e.g., as Provincial), he would likely be the #1 candidate because of his relationship with BXVI.

  23. Thomasso says:

    Somewhat late in the day, an item has now appeared on the Westminster Diocesan website:

    http://www.rcdow.org.uk/diocese/default.asp?library_ref=4&content_ref=1933

  24. michigancatholic says:

    Look, we all grow tired and have dry spells, but a clergyman who does not genuinely work to overcome any general ennui he might develop that could affect the faithful is every bit as guilty as the married man who beats his wife to a pulp. And for the same reason. They are analogs of each other.

    I have never understood it when they say someone is very holy but totally and visibly disinterested in the Mass to the point where it affects the faithful. I don’t believe that for one bit.

  25. michigancatholic says:

    As a counterpoint to my last comment, consider Mother Theresa, who suffered from dryness throughout much of her vocation. Dryness can be extremely distressing, but it does not constrain the will and the faith of one who genuinely loves. Most people, including those she helped, likely never guessed how dry her spiritual life was until they read what she wrote. I suspect only priests to whom she confessed, or a few sisters with whom she lived, might have had any idea. It has been the same with many others who were very holy. That’s how it really works.

    This idea that a priest can be sick of the mass and consistently do things to it out of his feelings and still be holy is bogus. It doesn’t work that way any more than a married man can knock his wife around out of spite and then claim to be holy.