New possible Secretary for Cong. of Divine Worship?

The intrepid Andrea Tornielli, whose columns and blog you readers of Italian should look at everyday, has a piece on the possible successor of H.E. Most Rev. Malcolm Ranjith as Secretary of the Cong. for Divine Worship.

Tornielli has suggested that a possible successor to Archbp. Ranjith may be the American Dominican and Under-Secretary of the CDF, Fr. Augustine DiNoia, OP.

Here is my fast translation:

One of the more hard-fought and delayed nominations of the Roman Curia seems indeed now to have been decided: the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Sri Lankan Malcom Ranjith Patabendige Don – once already called to the Curia as the Secretary for Propaganda of the Faith, then sent away as a apostolic nuncio only to be recalled to Rome by Benedict XVI – will be the new Archbishop of Colombo, despite some cardinalatial attempts in extremis to keep him in the Vatican (Oltretevere).  In his place there will be nominated the American Dominican J. Augustine Di Noia, since 2002 the Undersecretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and therefore for three years a collaborator with then-Cardinal Ratzinger.   It was known that the successor of Ranjith had to be an English speaker: several candidate from Australia, Ireland and from the Roman Curia itself had failed due to canceling vetos, so that in the end the American theologian in the service of the ex-Holy Office was chosen.  After having been the number three to Ratzinger, he will become the number two to the "Little Ratzinger", the nickname pinned to the Spanish Cardinal Canizares Llovera, who guides the Congregation for Divine Worship.  The appointment would be (and that conditional is necessary) made know in the next days, and thus not after 29 June.  The Vatican’s liturgical dicastery has changed secretary the most often in the last years: DiNoia will be, in fact, the fourth in just seven years.

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29 Responses to New possible Secretary for Cong. of Divine Worship?

  1. magdalene says:

    I think I saw where this holy priest is also suggested for a bishopric???

  2. chironomo says:

    His name was being associated with the Diocese of South Bend (IN).

  3. Prof. Basto says:

    Archbishops of Colombo are not usually Cardinals. The current one isn’t. Will that change?

  4. Biff says:

    My experience with Black Friars (particularly the St Joseph’s Province) is that they are hostile to the TLM and their own rite.

    I pray that is not the case here.

  5. Boko says:

    Biff, from my experience with the Dominicans I gather that many -but not most- in the St Joseph Province were also hostile to Fr. Gus (and in this they had the support of former Dominican Master General Radcliffe). But the rising generation loves him and is very proud of him. As to Dominicans and liturgy, the solid ones (many) face the post-MP dilemma of the ROTRers. Having defended the NO largely against the liturgically abusive left, but also against the “rad trads” (as they were perceived), it’s tough to make the move into the now-legitimized traddie camp. One of the problems with being a JPII Catholic is what to do after JPII.

    What this says about Fr. Gus liturgicaly I don’t know, but he is a prayerful orthodox priest to whom I owe a personal debt. Don’t know much about his liturgical thought, not even sure that liturgy is high on his list of concerns. I suppose it is now.

  6. Boko says:

    The “but not most” was supposed to be separated by dashes, not crossed out. It seems I inadvertently called down some sort of coding thingy.

  7. James A.R. says:

    Fr. DiNoia is a graduate of Providence College! God bless him

  8. OPfriar says:

    A lot of unfortunate misinformation in some of the comments here. As a fellow Dominican friar and priest from the same province as Fr. DiNoia, let me clear a few things up…

    Fr. DiNoia is well loved and highly respected by nearly all of the friars of our province. A few years back (not too long before he was summoned to Rome by then-cardinal Ratzinger for his position at CDF) he gave an address at one of our provincial assemblies and at the conclusion there was a thunderous standing ovation given to him…something that (during my entire life in the province, at least) has *never* happened before, nor since, of any other speaker at any of our assemblies. So the idea that somehow the majority of the province is hostile to him is quite ridiculous, and a comment that could only be made by someone “on the outside” who is rather ignorant of the situation.

    As for the Tridentine Mass, it has never been our custom–even before Vatican II–to celebrate that rite. We, of course, celebrated our own rite (the Dominican rite) which was in many ways similar, but also in many ways different, from the Tridentine rite. There is certainly a growing interest among some, especially (though not exclusively) among the younger generation, to learn the old Dominican rite, but there are issues at play at the worldwide level of the Order regulating that, so the amount of freedom we have as provinces is somewhat limited, and the amount of freedom an individual priest has is even more limited. Such is the life in a religious order when living the vow of obedience. But as for the Tridentine rite, it makes no real sense for an OP to celebrate that, as it has never been our tradition…it would be attempting to “go back” to something we never had.

    If indeed the rumors are true (and AFAIK that’s all they are right now, rumors) then what Fr. DiNoia would bring to CDW is an extremely penetrating theological mind without any pre-set liturgical “agenda.” In other words, if Fr. DiNoia was moved to Divine Worship by the pope, it would be a sign (to me) that the pope is interested in liturgical discussions being more focused on the *theology* behind the liturgy than they (perhaps) currently are. Otherwise, I don’t see why he would move someone who is a theologian (and not a liturgist, at least not in the usual meaning of that term) into such a position. Fr. DiNoia certainly appreciates good liturgy, well-done liturgy, all those things that make a liturgy (to use a phrase he used in a conversation with me once) “drippingly Catholic,” i.e. chant, incense, etc. But make no mistake about it, he is a theologian first and foremost, and anyone attempting to justify anything liturgically (whether from the far left or far right) with arguments that are not absolutely 100% theologically sound will find in Fr. DiNoia a mortal enemy, as he will find the flaws in their arguments and with an almost stunning degree of aptitude expose those flaws and shred their arguments to pieces before their eyes. In other words, if you think something should be done or not done; or changed or not changed, just on pure emotion, fine. Everyone has a right to their opinion and as long as you are honest it is an emotionally-based opinion, great. But if you attempt to claim that your position has a *theological* basis, you’d better be prepared to defend that assertion down to the most minute detail, because if you cannot he will simply destroy you and expose the argument as a farce. Half-baked theology will get you nowhere with him–even if your conclusion is one that (deep down) he is sympathetic with. That’s my experience, at least.

  9. EDG says:

    In other words, if Fr. DiNoia was moved to Divine Worship by the pope, it would be a sign (to me) that the pope is interested in liturgical discussions being more focused on the theology behind the liturgy than they (perhaps) currently are. Otherwise, I don’t see why he would move someone who is a theologian (and not a liturgist, at least not in the usual meaning of that term) into such a position.

    That is a very interesting observation. I hadn’t thought of it before, but it is true that sometimes liturgical disputes take place on a very superficial level, everything from personal preference and expedience to more serious matters, such as history or the lack thereof – but rarely on the level of theology, until you get to the more rarefied and less practical heights. So he might shift the discussion and its practical results to a different focus.

  10. Boko says:

    OPfriar, you’ve confirmed and added to what I said, except for your bit about “Fr. DiNoia [being] well loved and highly respected by nearly all of the friars of our province.” I corrected the unfortunate error caused by my use of dashes. I was given to understand that there was a substantial minority of Eastern Province friars who opposed Fr. DiNoia’s election to the post of Provincial of the Eastern Province in the late 90s and that some of them worked with then-Master General Radcliffe essentially to cassate his election. (If I remember correctly, his election was voided on a technicality to avoid the unpleasantness of cassation. Same motive, same result.) I am pleased to hear that this substantial minority now loves well Fr. DiNoia. Or have they all just died off? Either way, this ignorant outsider appreciates the update.

  11. RBrown says:

    As for the Tridentine Mass, it has never been our custom—even before Vatican II—to celebrate that rite. We, of course, celebrated our own rite (the Dominican rite) which was in many ways similar, but also in many ways different, from the Tridentine rite.

    The SOP mass was much closer to the Tridentine Rite than it is to the Novus Ordo. In fact, permission for the OP mass was implicit in Pius V’s Quo Primum. So when someone speaks of the Tridentine mass, it seems to me that includes the SOP mass.

    Further, as we both know, when the Novus Ordo came in, the OP rite disappeared.

    There is certainly a growing interest among some, especially (though not exclusively) among the younger generation, to learn the old Dominican rite, but there are issues at play at the worldwide level of the Order regulating that, so the amount of freedom we have as provinces is somewhat limited, and the amount of freedom an individual priest has is even more limited.

    Such is the life in a religious order when living the vow of obedience.

    According to Summorum Pontificum, the freedom of each priest is not really limited as much as you imply–unless of course you’re going to argue that the liturgical authority of the provinces or Master General trumps that of the pope.

    But as for the Tridentine rite, it makes no real sense for an OP to celebrate that, as it has never been our tradition…it would be attempting to “go back” to something we never had.
    Comment by OPfriar

    See above: Quo Primum

    IMHO, the fact that the OP’s are not using their own rite is a sign of problems in the Order.

  12. Trevor says:

    “According to Summorum Pontificum, the freedom of each priest is not really limited as much as you imply—unless of course you’re going to argue that the liturgical authority of the provinces or Master General trumps that of the pope.”

    Perhaps its the internet, but your tone to the good friar seems kind of ‘snarky’. SP primarily concerns the Roman Missal of 1962. The Dominican Missal is obviously not the 1962 Missal. While Fr. Z has helped shed light on how SP might apply to other Rites (such as the Dominican or Ambrosian), Rome has not yet commented officially on this matter. If you re-read SP, you’ll also notice that special concerns come into play when dealing with religious orders (to which I believe the friar alluded).

    I think a Dominican priest (sorry if I’m incorrect), who’d visit this corner of the internet is not hostile to the motu proprio. I also think he’d be well aware of the liturgical climate of his order, and the obstacles to liturgical reform. He certainly doesn’t need a lecture on how the authority of the Pope trumps the Master General.

  13. Fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    It is well to remember that Pope St.Pius V was a Dominican.

  14. RBrown says:

    In other words, if Fr. DiNoia was moved to Divine Worship by the pope, it would be a sign (to me) that the pope is interested in liturgical discussions being more focused on the theology behind the liturgy than they (perhaps) currently are.
    Comment by OPfriar

    If we now are going to have liturgical discussions that depend on sound Eucharistic theology, then it signals a serious change from the ideology that produced the Novus Ordo.

  15. nw says:

    I thought provincials had authority to allow use of the old rite.

    *There is certainly a growing interest among some, especially (though not exclusively) among the younger generation, to learn the old Dominican rite, but there are issues at play at the worldwide level of the Order regulating that, so the amount of freedom we have as provinces is somewhat limited…*

  16. nw says:

    Not considering any possible effects of Summorum pontificum, what *is* the legal standing of the Dominican Rite? As I noted in my previous post, I thought permission for use of the Mass of this Rite could be granted by the provincial.

  17. PNP, OP says:

    “…what is the legal standing of the Dominican Rite?” Ah, there’s the rub! When the discussion of the OP rite comes up among OP’s the usual theological camps dissolve and reform around historical/legal questions, creating very strange alliances. Though some of the alliances are predictable (generational, aesthetic), most are quite odd. I know one friar who is an unapologetic monarchist and fierce Latinist who turns purple and inarticulate at the mention of the OP rite. I also know a friar who thinks bishops Weakland and Gumbleton are too conservative and yet supports the return of the OP rite b/c it would increase liturgical diversity. Ultimately, the question comes down to whether the Order simply replaced the OP rite with the N.O. or abrogated the rite entirely in favor of the exclusive use of the N.O. Who has the authority to approve the use of the OP rite depends on how its abandonment is understood. Most friars assume that a provincial (head of an OP province) can authorize the rite in his province–the OP hierarchy is very federalist. Whether he should or not is an entirely different can of worms! Now, having said all that, I would defer to Fr. Augustine Thompson, OP of the Western Province as the champion of the correct interpretation. :-)

    Fr. Philip, OP

  18. Jake says:

    What is the interpretation of Fr. Augustine Thompson, OP?

  19. Biff says:

    Fr. Philip, OP:
    I think I know that monarchist and can identify the shade of purple.

    Boko: So sad but so true about JP2 Catholics. Some behave like he was the last legitimate pope.

  20. EJ says:

    “One of the problems with being a JPII Catholic is what to do after JPII.”

    Despite the ambiguity of this latest potshot against the late Pope, as someone who owes his conversion to the late Pontiff – I can’t help but wonder what exactly a “JPII Catholic” would be? I form what has been called by some the “John Paul II” generation – but oddly enough I found and find myself adjusting most perfectly to the current Pontiff – perhaps because Pope John Paul II himself, with his life as a loyal son of the Church and a holy and orthodox pontiff, espoused first and foremost a sense of fidelity to Mother Church and her Magisterium. So what to do after JPII? … continue BEING a loyal son of the Church in fidelity to the reigning pontiff and his magesterium…plain and simple – this is the ESSENCE of being a “JPII Catholic.” You may want to disregard this “JP II Catholic’s” comments, and perhaps ask those young seminarians, novices, religious brothers and newly ordained priests who would also proudly call themselves “JPII Catholics” – just how they would assess the apparent dilemma which you raise about “what to do after JPII…” I suppose some snide remarks or two are to follow about how my scathing defense of the late Pontiff is so typical of someone like me and those other “JPII Catholics” who were somehow ensnared by the late Pope’s pop idol superstar appeal.. yadda yadda.. so go right ahead. Perhaps it is you and those tempted to agree with you can figure out how to make peace with the 26 years between 1978 and 2005 – and find a way to somehow move on… if not as a “JPII Catholic” then simply as a Catholic.

  21. Biff says:

    Cool it, EJ. He wasn’t talking about you or the Holy Pope of blessed memory.

    I’m sure the long papacies of Pio Nono and Leo XIII had a similar effect on generation who knew no others.

  22. Dominican says:

    Boko: whatever happened or didn’t happen regarding the election as Prior Provincial of Fr. Gus DiNoia– it really isn’t the business of ANYONE but the brethren of the chapter and the Master of the Order who has the authority to confirm or cassate an election. The results of an election are not supposed to even be made public until the Master has confirmed an election.

    That any of this is public is a serious breach of confidentiality. What happens in an election is not supposed to be spoken of to those who weren’t there.

    Just because Fr. Gus is an excellent theologian doesn’t necessarily mean he would make a good prior provincial and if brothers think this is so they are free to elect whom they wish. Dominicans take our form of government very seriously. We are not Jesuits.

    Fr. Gus as head of CDW would be a surprising choice as liturgy isn’t really his field but I think OPfriar’s take on why he would be chosen is very good.

    The Dominican order is full of human beings who are both saints and sinners and everywhere in between. We have survived in unity for 800 years despite times in our history (when we were using the OP rite) when the Order nearly went extinct. There is every sign that the Order, by God’s grace will continue to grow especially as there are some provinces that continue to have good-sized classes of novices each year including the Province of St. Joseph. In fact, the Order is growing the fastest in the US.

  23. Biff says:

    I’m glad to see the Province of St Joseph is cleaning up their act.
    As a grad of Providence, I wouldn’t have expected this any time soon

  24. RBrown says:

    Perhaps its the internet, but your tone to the good friar seems kind of ‘snarky’.

    It the tone seems snarky, it is for two reasons. The first is that I was tired from tennis. The second is that I am disgusted by almost 40 years of half-truths, empty promises, and excuses.

    SP primarily concerns the Roman Missal of 1962. The Dominican Missal is obviously not the 1962 Missal.

    And as I noted, the OP rite is much closer to the 1962 Missal is much closer to the OP rite than.

    While Fr. Z has helped shed light on how SP might apply to other Rites (such as the Dominican or Ambrosian), Rome has not yet commented officially on this matter.

    If memory serves, there has been unofficial comment for Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos.

    Fr Augustine Thompson and I disagree on this question. Although I think he is probably technically correct about the canonical status of the Dominican Rite (cf. the rescript of 1969), nevertheless, two important points must be noted.

    A. The Church is currently in a juridical holiday. There are various reasons–I’ll offer two. First, there are many lacunae in the present CIC, mostly because the Code is a reflection of the theology when it was written; and much of that theology was the consequence of an attempt at a Catholic-Protestant synthesis. It did not (and cannot) work–the result was not synthesis but syncretism. Second, as Fr Z has noted, the new code presumes the Novus Ordo, and this sets up lots of problems with regard to non Novus Ordo rites. An easy example is that the FSSP uses the minor orders and sub diaconate, which is out of sync with the CIC (they were suppressed by Ministeria Quaedam).

    B. The question of the rescript of 1969 raises the same juridical-moral dilemma involved in the de facto suppression of the historical Roman rite. Did the OP’s have the juridical authority to suppress their own rite, which had been important in the OP life for centuries? Yes, and they exercised it. Did they have the moral authority to do it? My answer is that they most likely they did not. The obvious conclusion is that the moral obligation for an OP to be obedient to the rescript is shaky.

    In somma, in this current climate it doesn’t make a lot sense to reference a document from 1969. It certainly establishes canonical status. In the current situation in the Church, however, canonical status only doesn’t mean a lot.


    If you re-read SP, you’ll also notice that special concerns come into play when dealing with religious orders (to which I believe the friar alluded).

    Not really correct. The special concerns come into play re the community mass of religious houses. It does not refer to individual or parish masses.

    I think a Dominican priest (sorry if I’m incorrect), who’d visit this corner of the internet is not hostile to the motu proprio.

    I never said he was.

    I also think he’d be well aware of the liturgical climate of his order, and the obstacles to liturgical reform.

    I am not unaware of the liturgical climate in the OP’s and the pressure on all priests, secular and religious. Even so, as I noted above,if an OP wants to abide by the rescript, he still can opt for the 1962 missal, which is much closer to the Dominican Rite than is the Novus Ordo.

    He certainly doesn’t need a lecture on how the authority of the Pope trumps the Master General.
    Comment by Trevor

    I didn’t give him one.

  25. PNP, OP says:

    FYI and to reinforce “Dominican’s” point: elections in the Order can be cassated for any number of reasons. Sometimes elected friars are serving their provinces in vital internal ministries (socius, novice master, etc.). Sometimes they are pastors of parishes where their particular skills are very much in need. Sometimes they have health problems or in need of a sabbatical after serving internally. Sometimes a cassation comes b/c the friar is elderly, or lacking the experience or temperament for leadership. Sometimes the friar might indicate that he thinks he is not especially qualified for the job. Sometimes the cassating authority may have other plans for the elected friar. And so on. Almost any qualification for office can be dispensed by the proper authority, so the idea that an election would be cassated on these grounds is far-fetched though not impossible. Most of the time we never know why an election has been cassasted. There is no requirement that a reason be given. Nor should there be any such requirement. Fr. Philip, OP

  26. A Random Friar says:

    Of course, few OP’s would publicly admit why we *really* have cassations: MORE TIMES FOR A LARGE PREGUSTANDA! Whoo hoo!

  27. Simon Platt says:

    Not being sure what “cassation” meant, I turned to the ubiquitous source of a little knowledge and discovered that the cassation of Fr. DiNoia’s election in 1997 was openly reported at the time, at least in the National Catholic Reporter, which I know only by reputation from reading this blog and which seems to have interviewed Fr. DiNoia himself. Boko’s interpretation of the background may have been inaccurate, and Dominican might be right in objecting to a breach of confidence, but that breach does not seem to have been Boko’s (unless he is really Arthur Jones).

  28. PNP, OP says:

    Simon, a cassated election cannot be kept secret if for no other reason than another election must be held. The troubling issue is making the reason for the cassation public. That’s a no-no. If a provincial or Master of the Order made his reason known this would prejudice the next election. “Well, we can’t elect Friar X b/c the provinical cassated Friar Y’s election and Friar X has the same problem!”

    Fr. Philip, OP

  29. observer says:

    A little insight perhaps?:

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1141/is_n33_v33/ai_19579997/

    “DiNoia, in addition to his full-time job with the bishops, is a systematic theologian on the Dominican House of Studies faculty here in Washington.

    “One Dominican, who did not wish to be identified, told NCR that DiNoia’s existing workload was the most likely explanation of the master’s decision.

    “DiNoia, reached at the Dominican’s Providence College Rhode Island, told NCR he had gone to the meeting not knowing he was even being considered as a candidate for provincial. In all canonically guided elections, lie said, there is proscription against politicking, though names do start to emerge the week before the election.

    “I’d absolutely no idea my name might emerge, and it didn’t really until the day of the election,” he said.

    “Asked if he knew why he had been cassated, DiNoia replied that in the order, the higher superior, “unlike canon law, does not have to provide explanation and that’s something we adhere to.

    “The reasons, no one knows. People have speculated,” he said, “chiefly on my positions with the bishops conference, and the importance of my role as theology professor — there aren’t that many of us — at the Dominican House of Studies. Certainly I wouldn’t have been able to continue to do either of those things.”

    “He said he had not spoken to the master, “and perhaps when we speak he might say things personally, to me. But working `for the good of the church, the good of the order’ are standard considerations that would enter in,” he said.”