Card. Canizares Doesn’t Go To Washington

A visa: you don’t leave home without it.

This is pretty interesting… from CNS blog

In case you were expecting to see Spanish Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera as one of the ordaining bishops at the episcopal ordination of Archbishop-designate J. Augustine DiNoia tomorrow in Washington, think again.

The cardinal, who is the prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, experienced “visa difficulties” [WHAT THE…. ?!? Look… Cardinals can get diplomatic passports…. ] and could not board the plane in Rome, according to Susan Gibbs, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Washington.

Retired Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly of Louisville, Ky., will step in. Archbishop Kelly, who was already planning on attending, was Archbishop-designate DiNoia’s spiritual adviser as a seminarian at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington.

After his episcopal ordination, the archbishop-designate will become secretary of the worship congregation. He says “oodles” of his family members will be in attendance for the ceremony at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, as well as more than 100 Dominican priests, four cardinals and at least a dozen bishops.

This is very strange.

I remember a story I heard some years ago about a certain Cardinal Ratzinger having a visa problem once.

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  1. Jonathan says:

    I love that. “Visa difficulties”, it makes it sound like a comedy show…”Sorry, we’re having some visa difficulties!”

  2. Hidden One says:

    What happened with Cardinal Ratzinger, Fr. Z?

  3. T. Chan says:

    A reminder–those who have access to EWTN can watch the ordination Mass tomorrow, 11 AM (PT)/2PM (ET).

  4. cuaguy says:

    This is crazy. I was going to ask him to bless my scapular tomorrow:(

  5. Steve K. says:

    We require visas for short term visits for people from Europe before they arrive? Huh. I go overseas all the time, and never need a visit beforehand. Last time I did, was visiting the USSR and DDR in 1988.

    I would say this sounds fishy, but with all the DHS shenanigans since 2001, I am not surprised. It may in fact be routine bureaucratic nonsense.

  6. wsxyz says:

    We require visas for short term visits for people from Europe before they arrive? Huh. I go overseas all the time, and never need a visit beforehand. Last time I did, was visiting the USSR and DDR in 1988.

    I don’t know any the specific reasons for a visa in this case, but in general a visa may be required for anyone who is not coming as a tourist, even for those from Europe.

    Usually people coming for short visits just claim to be tourists, no matter what their true plans are, but I recall a few cases where people such as professional musicians and atheletes were turned back at the border when they tried to enter without a visa as tourists.

  7. Matt Q says:

    In reality, folks, things have changed since September 11, and Homeland Security’s rules have tightened. Last-minute visa stuff is no more.

    Steve, you not needing a visa to travel to another country is their business, but coming here is our business. US citizens even need a passport to return to this country even coming back in from Canada or Mexico.

    I do have a problem with denying a visa to someone as high up as Canizares is. He’s high-profile. Why deny him a visa, yet millions swarm over the Southern border unchecked and demand things they have no right to have. People from all over the world play by the rules, waiting for years, and then we have all these border crashers who just charge to the head of the line.

  8. Gio says:

    Was his white Vatican diplomatic passport which he as a curial acrdinal is entitled to, not honored?

  9. Jonathan Bennett says:

    Do not Cardinals still have the diplomatic status of sovereign princes? I recall reading that somewhere. That should solve alleviate most passport concerns, no?

  10. Bob says:

    In our parish we have a visiting priest from Asia, here to help over the summer holidays. When he arrived at the airport (UK) he was asked if he planned to preach when here. He said “yes” and the immigration officer told him he couldn’t on the Visa that he had and so he had to agree to say Mass and here Confessions but not preach!

  11. Mick says:

    This is indeed strange. As a Brit, I have some experience of travelling to the US. On all ocassions, one is asked to fill out the green visa waiver form on the plane (or at the airport of arrival). Since January this year we also have to fill in an ESTA form on-line (in addition to, not instead of the green waiver form). The same would apply to a native of Italy (or, in the case of the Cardinal, Spain). But, as Fr Z says, he would surely have a diplomatic passport.

    On a day when the President of the USA is visitng the pope, we hear that one of the pope’s must trusted cardinals has ‘visa difficulties’ trying to get to the US to consecrate his own deputy! This explanation just doesn’t add up. Conspiracy theorists, of which there are many, will say it is an excuse for the cardinal not wanting to attend – for whatever reason. Differences with the Prefect of the CDF perhaps over PCED? Hope not.

  12. I’m an immigration lawyer. (I represent immigrants.) Almost all Western European countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program. Under the VWP, no visa is required to visit the United States, and that privilege is mutual. I suspect, therefore, that the story has been misreported or that there is more to this than we know.

  13. prof. basto says:

    1. Cardinal Cañizares, as Cardinal resident in Rome is a Vatican citizen.

    2. As the Head of a Dicastery, the Cardinal’s Vatican Passport is of the diplomatic type.

    3. I don’t know if a diplomatic visa is required in this case, or if a diplomatic passport lacking a diplomatic visa (or any other visa) would suffice. But, as a general rule, European countries do have visa waiver agreements with the U.S.; As the Vatican is not, strictly speaking, part of the European Union (although it is part of the Eurozone), I don’t know if the Vatican is included in the visa waiver program. According to Wikipedia, the Vatican is not part of the Visa Waiver program.

    4. I would suppose that it would be easy to obtain a diplomatic visa on short notice, as this is nothing like a common visa. Denial of a diplomatic visa by the U.S. Vatican Embassy, if needed, to a bearer of diplomatic passport, would be, in this case, a snub against a prince of the Church.

    5. Spain is a member of the Visa Waiver Program. Perhaps, if the cardinal tried to use his common Spanish passport as a Spanish citizen, he would have been cleared for travel.

  14. Flabellum says:

    Citizens of the following countries; the United Kingdom, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland may be eligible to travel to the United States visa free under the Visa Waiver Program if they are traveling for business, pleasure or are in transit. Some travelers may not be eligible to enter the United States visa free under the VWP. These include people who have been arrested, even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction, those with criminal records, (the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act does not apply to U.S. visa law), certain serious communicable illnesses, those who have been refused admission into, or have been deported from, the United States, or have previously overstayed on the VWP. Such travelers must apply for special restricted visas. If they attempt to travel without a visa, they may be refused entry into the United States.
    Visa-free travel does not include those who plan to study, work or remain more than 90 days. Such travelers need visas. If an immigration official has reason to believe that a visa-free traveler is going to study, work or stay longer than 90 days, the officer will refuse to admit the traveler.International travelers who are seeking to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are now subject to enhanced security requirements. In order to travel under the VWP you must obtain travel authorization under ESTA before boarding an air or sea carrier to the United States. Failure to do so may result in you being denied boarding. If your passport has ever been reported lost or stolen to the authorities and then recovered, please do not attempt to use it for travel to the United States. If you input the passport details into ESTA, your application will be denied.
    Travel Authorization is obtained through an online registration system known as ESTA. If your registration is successful, it will be valid for multiple applications for two years or until the date on which your passport expires, which ever comes first.

    Before going on line to register, you should ensure that you are qualified to travel under the Visa Waiver Program otherwise your registration will be rejected. It also does not guarantee entry into the United States; that decision rests with the immigration official at the Port of Entry in the same way that travelers currently entering the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program or with a visa are subject to inspection.

    ESTA is not a visa. It does not meet the legal requirements to serve in lieu of a U.S. visa when a visa is required. Travelers that possess a valid U.S. visa may travel to the United States on that visa for the purpose it was issued. Travelers traveling on valid visas are not required to apply for an ESTA. In the same way that a valid visa does not guarantee admission to the United States, an approved ESTA is not a guarantee of admission to the United States.

  15. Inge says:

    I’ve been to the US last month, and I cannot imagine the whole ESTA/Visa Waifer thing is the problem. However, European citizens without a chip in their passport won’t be able to travel inside the US despite being cleared. This is in effect since July 1. I suspect that might be the case. Almost nobody inside Europe knows this, the only reason I knew about it were the signs I saw at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport before boarding my flight back to Amsterdam on June 30. I saw no signs at Schiphol International airport, though.

  16. prof. basto says:

    Wikipedia (I know, unreliable), says that the Principal Consacrator was Cardinal Levada. The above article (written before the Ordination Mass begun), says that Archbishop Kelly would preside in the absence of Cardinal Cañizares.

    Who was the main Consacrator, after all?

  17. cuaguy says:

    Levada is the Principle Consecrator. The Co-Consecrators are Kelly and Wuerl. The Mass is not until 2 PM EST

  18. observer says:

    But Obama was just there. I’m sure he could have worked the problem out. I mean, some people believe his powers/influence even surpass the Vatican’s/Pope’s – if you believe Newsweek too!

  19. observer says:

    Maybe somebody made a mistake in Italy – they ran out of one of their gazillion stamps for processing. Ya think? I’m just sayin…

  20. Woody Jones says:

    Maybe Cardinal Canizares is on the do not fly list by accident, as, evidently, many others are.

  21. TNCath says:

    This is one of the strangest things I have ever heard.

    As for Cardinal Canizares’ replacement–Archbishop Kelly? Well, he is a Dominican, so that is obviously the connection. Interesting to say the least.

  22. Giovanni says:

    Could this be a classic case of “The Pope, he has lost his wallet?” :)

  23. Tominellay says:

    I think the cardinal should say that he is visiting, and not that he is saying Mass or consecrating an archbishop. He cannot come to the U.S. to “work” with his visa.

  24. Andrew says:

    Indeed Archbishop Kelly is a Dominican but the connection goes deeper – he was Archbishop DiNoia’s spiritual director when the latter was a seminarian.

  25. prof. basto says:

    But Levada was the Consacrator; Kelly was co-consacrator.

  26. prof. basto says:


    But the Cardinal probably wasn’t travelling on his Spanish passport, that would entitle him to a visa waiver.

    He probably used his Vatican passport, becuase he is a Vatican citizen now (as a Cardinal resident in Rome), and it is a Vatican Diplomatic Passport (because he is a head of Dicastery).

    I have confirmed that the Vatican City State is not a country covered by the U.S. Visa Waiver. So, a Vatican citizen would need a visa. I don’t know if the U.S. demands visas on diplomatic passports, but that sometimes happens, and there is even a special kind of visa, known as “diplomatic visa”, that is granted (in a faster, and less restrictive fashion), to bearers of diplomatic passport.

    Also, one wonders if Vatican passports are biometric, etc.

  27. Andrew says:

    I have heard from a couple of sources that what in fact happened is Cardinal Canizares forgot to bring his Spanish passport with him to the airport, and was unable to use his diplomatic passport. In other words, the scenario reconstructed above by Prof. Basto is correct.

  28. FranzJosf says:

    Well, it was a blessing in disguise for the Cardinal. He didn’t have to participate in a horrible, protestant-like liturgy that the Shrine glories in, screaching cantors with arms in the air and all that.

  29. moon1234 says:

    Imagine the headline:

    Fox news reports that Vatican Cardinal and diplomat denied entry to US as President Obama is received by the Pope. Story on Bill O’Reilly tonight.

    Can you imagine the mud that the press could throw on Obama for such a gaff. It would make him look like a total fool. Speaking of that, I think I will e-mail Bill…….

  30. Philippe says:

    Prof. basto

    OK, the Vatican may not qualify fot the US visa waiver scheme but whoever has Vatican citizenship receives it on top of his original citizenship. As EU citizens don\’t need a visa to enter the US for a short visit (90 days, I believe), Cardinal Cañizares could have used his Spanish passport… provided that it was a biometric passport. However, Andrew\’s hypothesis sounds like a good explanation: if he frequently forgets his Spanish passport…
    Anyway, this is an incredible story. The US authorities should have known who he was, especially with a diplomatic passport. Or the (Vatican) Secretary of State could have intervened. This is really a case of incredible paranoia and bureaucracy.

  31. TNCath says:

    Prof. Basto wrote: “But the Cardinal probably wasn’t travelling on his Spanish passport, that would entitle him to a visa waiver.

    He probably used his Vatican passport, because he is a Vatican citizen now (as a Cardinal resident in Rome), and it is a Vatican Diplomatic Passport (because he is a head of Dicastery).”

    I bet he uses his Spanish passport next time!

    Franz Josf wrote: “Well, it was a blessing in disguise for the Cardinal. He didn’t have to participate in a horrible, protestant-like liturgy that the Shrine glories in, screaching cantors with arms in the air and all that.”

    Did you actually watch the Mass? It was actually quite well done.

  32. Hidden One says:

    I watched part of it – most of the homily, actually. That part of the Mass was fine.

  33. cuaguy says:

    FranzJosef said: “Well, it was a blessing in disguise for the Cardinal. He didn’t have to participate in a horrible, protestant-like liturgy that the Shrine glories in, screaching cantors with arms in the air and all that.”

    It was a beautifully done mass, which is normal for the Basilica. I was there, and regularly attend mass there during the school year. If anything, that Mass was more solemn than others. I would think twice before saying anything like that again. After going there for almost 8 months, the only “bad” liturgies are ones with questionable music, and those are only pilgrimages, and have only happened 2 times, at most.

  34. TNCath says:

    cuaguy wrote: “If anything, that Mass was more solemn than others.”

    I would say that the quality of the Masses at the Shrine have definitely improved over the past couple of years. I was happy to see the choir not singing from behind the altar. I am still hoping and praying that eventually the main altar will be used once again someday.

  35. prof. basto says:


    Even with the Visa waiver, we now need to fill an online registration, preferrably more than 3 days ahead of the flight. Then you find out via the web if you are cleared for travel using the visa waiver or not.

    The decision can be arbitrary. If you don’t get clearance for use of the visa waiver, then you need to contact the U.S. Consulate and request a visa.

    So the Visa waiver, as of 2009, is not as it used to be, since there is now this requirement of pre-registration via the web. You need to fill the online form and wait for the reply each time you intend to use the waiver.

  36. FranzJosf says:

    cuaguy and TNCath: Yes, I have been to the main Sunday Mass at the Shrine many times. Perhaps I’m unduly harsh and a little tongue-in-cheek. But everytime I go the Mass at the Shrine, it strikes me as something I might experience at any large Episcopalian or Lutheran Church. The English used in the liturgy is almost the same, the hymn sandwich, the better than average choir singing lots of music from other traditions (like the Bullock in this Mass), very little Gregorian Chant, sometimes self-consious ceremonies (especialy the thurifer),et al. Generic American liturgy. (I’m speaking of the total experience, not any one individual item.) What the Lutherans and Episcopalians have been wise to avoid is having two cantors with syncrenized arms. If you want a more Roman Catholic Novus Ordo Mass, Saint Peter’s, Saint Mary Major, Saint John Cantius and Saint Agnes, among others, come to mind. They have much to teach the Shrine. (Of course it is a valid Mass in a Roman rite; I mean a more Roman feel.)

    At any rate, I’m sorry the Cardinal Prefect had visa problems and was unable to be present to consecrate his new assistant, and I’m very happy for Abp. DiNoia. I wish both of them the very best in their important work for the Church.

  37. PNP, OP says:

    The Good Cardinal has my sympathy. . .I am struggling with visa/permesso problems right now–problems of my own making, I might add. Fortunately, I am in the US right now. Unfortunately, most of the books I need to write my Ph.L. thesis are in Rome.

    Fr. Philip, OP

  38. irishgirl says:

    Sounds very fishy to me….

  39. Hermeneutic of Reform says:

    Where is your post on Archbishop +Joseph-Augustine DiNoia’s episcopal consecration?

    I am surprised you passed over this in silence, since he has also been assigned to the Congregation for Divine Worship.

    Perhaps a twinge of remorse at someone who is actually orthodox but not a rubricist?

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