Observations about new cardinals

WDTPRS kudos to the new Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church.

I was especially pleased that  Archbishop Ranjith was on the list.   And though it was no surprise, what a pleasure to see Archbishop Burke’s name there as well.

I am also happy that Archbishop Mauro Piacenza is to be Cardinal right away.  He just received his new assignment as Prefect of Clergy, a role that is important enough that the red hat cannot be delayed.

It was nice to see that early reports were correct about three of the 8o-year-olds: Sgreccia, who did fine work for the Pontifical Academy for Life, the fine old-gentleman Brandmueller who has all the right ideas about liturgy and the arts, and of course Domenico Bartolucci.   Bartolucci had been pretty thoroughly hosed some years ago when he was ousted by liturgical liberals and the chapter of St. Peter’s from his post as maestro in perpetuo of the Sistina.  I was not overly impressed with the music he directed back in the day, but he was head and shoulders above the insipid mediocrity that followed along the track laid down by Archbp. Piero Marini (who will never be a Cardinal).  Naming Bartolucci Cardinal both goes some distance to heal the wound to justice inflicted years ago and it sends a quite signal about sacred music for our liturgical worship.

Juxtapose that with the elevation of Malcolm Ranjith.

Nothing for Archbishops Dolan and Nichols, probably because their cardinalatial predecessors are still able to vote in a conclave.

The Italians sure have a big voting block now.

UPDATE: I see that tonight Archbp. Donald Wuerl is slated to give a speech at the University of St. Thomas in Texas.  He is supposed to talk about the “Building a Good and Just Society”.

Will this be a contretemps to Archbp. Chaput?

The talk will be streamed over Ustream at 7:30 CDT

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  1. Supertradmum says:

    Wuerl is an interesting choice.

  2. TNCath says:

    I agree with Supertradmum’s assessment of Archbishop Wuerl.

    Also, it was indeed very good to see the names Ranjith, Burke, and Bartolucci on the list.

    I have an old VHS tape of Midnight Mass from Christmas 1983 that I played this morning with a much younger Pope John Paul II as celebrant and Msgr. Bartolucci as Maestro. Indeed, the choir was still a bit over the top (read=screaming), but they were indeed much better than they have been in recent years. As I recall, even after Vatican II, Msgr. Bartolucci continued to say Mass in the Extraordinary Form and has never said Mass in the Ordinary Form. It will be very interesting to see (1) whether he will be ordained a bishop prior to his election or will opt out of it as did the late Cardinal Dulles and (2) what the musical choices for the consistory and subsequent “Ring Mass” will be under the Msgr. Marini and the new Maestro. I was there in 2007 and so wish I could be there this time as well to get the feel of this consistory.

  3. rakesvines says:

    @TNCath & Supertradmum: Ditto on Wuerl. You both are too kind and respectful. Nothing wrong with that. I’m just not impressed by Wuerl’s excuse about having quasi-jurisdictional authority over the pols DC such that he cannot just block the pro-aborts from Holy Communion on his own authority. If Abp. Chaput were here, I think he would have not let the Body of the Lord be desecrated by being thrown in Pelosi, Sebellius or Biden’s abortion supporting bellies. Perhaps, its an up and out move for Wuerl to get a more courageous prelate in the capital to stand up for the unborn, their Creator and against these tools of the devil.

  4. Jim of Bowie says:

    When I read the consistory list I was so happy to see the names of the great bishops Raymond Burke and Malcolm Ranjith, but as I read further I saw the name Donald I am the Pope Here Wuerl. This man who has never see a pro-abortion politician he would not honor, who has never heard of a dissident catholyc group he would not welcome into his diocese, and whose reaction to Summorum Pontificum was to tell his priests that only he could give them permission to say the Traditional Latin Mass.

    I do not understand how Pope Benedict could give this man this great honor when there are so many who deserve the honor so much more. To think that this man may be voting in the next conclave… I am disillusioned and feel betrayed by the pope I love.

  5. Joseph says:

    If the coice of Archbishop wuerl is not bad enough, what about the Archbishop of Munich Marx? The Holy Father surely knows those two. And I have thought the time of politics within the church is passe.

  6. maynardus says:

    “Wuerl is an interesting choice”

    Perhaps if it had been Wuerl qua Wuerl it would be a surprise, but he just hapens to be in the right place at the right time. It’s normal for the Archbishop of Washington to be a cardinal. I’d have been surprised to see any sitting Archbishop of Washington passed over for very long, unless he was a screwball like Gumbleton (in which case he’d not have become Archbishop of Washington, even in Jadot’s time…)

  7. wolfeken says:

    I would rather no cardinals be named at all rather than one of them being Donald Wuerl.

    It just shows the disconnect between the Vatican and the U.S. What effectively happened today was the promotion of the top American archbishop favoring communion for pro-abortion policiticans, and the promotion of the top American archbishop opposing communion for pro-abortion politicans.

    Guess which one Nancy Pelosi is going to mention in her talking points.

  8. medievalist says:

    What happened to +Collins of Toronto? Even John Allen is surprised that he was not among the new cardinals, especially since his predecessor in the see is past voting age. The only reason I can think of is that the Holy Father does not want Collins distracted from his new duties in the Irish visitation.

  9. DisturbedMary says:

    Making Wuerl a cardinal only goes to prove what Catholics have known all along: the pope isn’t infallible.

  10. Henry Edwards says:

    wolfeken: “What effectively happened today . . . .”

    Or maybe recognition of Card.-elect Wuerl’s beneath-the-radar support of the Benedict anniversary pontifical TLM at the BNSIC? (I recall hearing that it was him who prevailed upon Bishop Slattery to step into the breach, since he himself had a previous engagement.)

  11. JosephMary says:

    The Holy Father does not shy away even from those he knows are not in total agreement and solidarity with him. I cannot say that all the cardinals-elect “balance” out as perhaps they lean to the left somewhat but sometimes they can surprise you. Lets pray for that!

  12. sejoga says:

    “What effectively happened today was the promotion of the top American archbishop favoring communion for pro-abortion policiticans.”

    This falls along the lines of what I was thinking. Sometimes I wonder whether the Holy Father doesn’t simply elevate people to positions in opposing pairs so he can have his cake and eat it too. When some people see names like “Burke” and “Ranjith”, they cheer; when others see names like “Wuerl” and “Marx”, they cheer; and it effectively stifles criticism, because people don’t want to be seen as complaining when there are elevations they support.

    I prefer, however, to believe that what is going on is that the Holy Father elevates some questionable people at times in order to exert more pressure on them to act in line with Church teaching. The Archbishop of Washington would have been elevated regardless, but in Wuerl’s case I can’t help but think that there will be subtle reminders that his responsibilities and obligations to faithfully execute the prerogatives of the Church are heightened a bit by his higher standing in the hierarchy. I assume the same pressure will be applied to other of the questionable cardinals-designate.

  13. sejoga says:

    Regarding my above post, I intended to copy and paste the WHOLE sentence from wolfeken, which conluded:

    “and the promotion of the top American archbishop opposing communion for pro-abortion politicans.”

  14. TJerome says:

    Archbishop Wuerl has always been kind of a mystery to me. 20 years ago he certainly would have been viewed as a conservative prelate (keep in mind who his competition was at the time). I am disappointed in his weak-kneed approach to fake Catholic politicians. It’s a recipe for disaster, kind of like he’s following the script out of Phillip Lawler’s book “The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston’s Catholic Culture.”

  15. trespinos says:

    “… in Wuerl’s case I can’t help but think that there will be subtle reminders that his responsibilities and obligations to faithfully execute the prerogatives of the Church are heightened a bit by his higher standing in the hierarchy. I assume the same pressure will be applied to other of the questionable cardinals-designate.”

    Case in point, to give support to this idea: Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Scotland. When he was named by Pope John Paul II, there was similar eye-rolling, in view of his liberal record. Ever since, however, it is my impression that he has changed himself into quite a doughty supporter of Roman orthodoxy and perhaps the strongest voice raised in the British Isles to support the Pope (Summorum Pontificorum aside, alas) and to arraign the UK government on their vicious initiatives. Would that there might be a similar effect on the Abp. of Washington.

  16. msmsem says:

    I think it’s easy for us laity to judge what we deem to be the merits of (or the lack thereof) any given prelate to be elevated to the College of Cardinals. Especially in the case of Cardinal-designate Wuerl, I see a lot of bitterness and disappointment that he won’t take a stronger stand against pro-choice politicians receiving Communion, that somehow he is a terrible choice, and that this somehow reflects that “the pope isn’t infallible”.

    I would like to suggest that we don’t know the thought process that went through the Holy Father when he chose the prelates he chose. Likewise, we don’t know the thought process that goes through C-d Wuerl’s mind when he goes public with such and such a decision. Being Archbishop of a political center like Washington is not an easy job – it never has been, and both P. B XVI and C-d Wuerl knew this when the latter took office. Wuerl has a very difficult job – if you think you can do a better job than Wuerl has been doing, I would think that you are terribly mistaken. Is he perfect? Absolutely not. But don’t act like he’s screwing up an easy job.

    If you are disappointed with anyone in the hierarchy, my recommendation is to pray for him, not to moan about how upset you are, how you can think of a better choice, how you would do such and such thing differently, etc… The way some of us complain, it sure sounds like we’d like to be bishops…

  17. Fr Martin Fox says:

    It’s not so much Archbishop Wuerl who is being named a cardinal–it’s the archbishop of the capital of the U.S. For him not to be so named would be a slap.

    Does that mean the pope gives Wuerl full approval? It does not necessarily mean that–although it could.

    What it means is that the pope does not wish to give the slap. It’s not at all clear to me why the Holy Father should be expected to want to do so.

  18. robtbrown says:

    msmsem wrote:

    Wuerl has a very difficult job
    Agree, but he took the job.

    if you think you can do a better job than Wuerl has been doing, I would think that you are terribly mistaken.

    How would you know that?

  19. rakesvines says:

    @msmsem: Last week Card. Burke pretty much slammed O’Malley for presiding at Kennedy’s funeral and Wuerl for giving pro-aborts Holy Communion. I don’t have the video of the speech itself but this one summarizes the content http://divine-ripples.blogspot.com/2010/10/video-vatican-puts-card-omalley-abp.html To denigrate the layfolks here for being critical and to diminish the value of their ideas just because we’re lay is patronizing and fallacious. O’Malley and Wuerl’s actions do not become wrong only after the Pope say they’re wrong. Their deeds have been negligent, cowardly and unfaithful in and of themselves regardless of who point them out. Can I do a better job? No, but I think Abp. Chaput can. He has shown more integrity and virtue than those two combined.

  20. Jason says:

    Observations about Abp. Weurl aside, to present his elevation to the college of Cardinals as evidence of “what Catholics have known all along,” that the dogma of Papal infallibility is false is, to be as nice about it as I can, absurd.

  21. msmsem says:


    If the Holy Father thought that someone else was better qualified than Wuerl for the job, I’m sure he would have asked him first. That would include all the people who think they could do a better job in Washington. If there was a “better choice” that the Holy Father wanted, he apparently turned the Holy Father down, though when the Holy Father asks you to take a job, your answer is generally not “No” (this would be my response to your first point). The fact that the Holy Father chose to name Wuerl as the Abp of Washington and not someone else – including people on this forum, apparently – seems to indicate to me that Wuerl is the best man for the job at this point in time.

  22. Geoffrey says:

    “The fact that the Holy Father chose to name Wuerl as the Abp of Washington and not someone else – including people on this forum, apparently – seems to indicate to me that Wuerl is the best man for the job at this point in time.”

    “…including people on this forum, apparently…” Very, very well said! Isn’t it amazing that so many think they know better than His Holiness the Pope? Trust!

  23. From my own observations spending a short time in the Archdiocese of Washington, I didn’t run into as many Liturgical problems as a certain see where I’m from. Perhaps a nudge is needed, this could be it. I trust the Holy Father knows what he’s doing. Would we all have liked to see a certain Bishop from Kazakhstan get a hat, sure; perhaps Wurel will surprise us.

  24. C. says:

    Burke is starting to look papabile to me.

  25. capchoirgirl says:

    I am happy about the Wuerl choice, but mainly because he’s my cousin. :) So yeah, it is pretty nifty to have a cardinal in the family (we’re related on my mother’s side).
    I know that he was quite wonderful in Pittsburgh, where he is from and where my mom’s family still lives (for the most part).
    MSMSEM thanks for the kind thoughts! I generally feel the same way, but again, we’re related…so….I’m biased, and I admit it!
    In general, let us pray for all the new cardinals, the Pope, and the Catholic Church!

  26. S Petersen says:

    When you referred to Chaput, I think you might have meant “counterweight”, “counterpoint” or something along that line rather than “contretemps”, although perhaps Wuerl deserves this latter.

  27. Dear DisturbedMary!
    John 6:70
    So it has always been!

    Let’s not look to clerics to save the Church. Someone once said ‘we need them to get us to heaven, but they themselves don’t have to go !’ Mr. Alleghieri’s hell was full of clerics and he wrote back in the good old days! [[The Cardinal-elect neglected to mention that fact when he implied that Dante would have placed us conservative bloggers in the lowest level of the inferno!]]

    Pray for those who persecute the faithful. Persecute those clerics who refuse to follow the Holy Father’s humble examples! The time for smiling and saying everything is fine is over. Ask them: ‘When are you, your Excellency/Emminence/, going to follow the Pope’s lead?’ Don’t try to curry favor with them. Just let them know early and often that you are not happy. Parish council meetings often give guests time to speak. You don’t have to present a thesis…just say: ‘the Pope does it, why don’t we?’ , leave at that, and let them offer their weak excuses. If you see clerics avoiding you and wandering off to be congratulated by their groupies, then you know you are doing the right thing! And saving your own soul to boot!

  28. geoff jones says:

    He elevated a lot of Italians, but they only have an average of 7.5 voting years left in them. The non Italians have an average of over 12. The Italians will probably be there only for one conclave, the non-Italians easily for 2. Ranjith and Burke will be voting cardinals for 18 years!

  29. Robertus Pittsburghensis says:

    I am very pleased with Archbishop Wuerl’s call to the cardinalate. He was an excellent bishop here in Pittsburgh and a stong supporter of the pro-life cause.

    His treatment of Washington politicians who do not promote the criminalization of abortion seems practically identical to the pope’s treatment of Roman politicians who hold similar views. This is not the least bit surprising, as he has always been a footsoldier for the pope, much to the annoyance of our local anti-Roman clergy.

  30. JohnMa says:

    Robertus, correct me if I’m wrong, but I am pretty sure that he never went to St. Boniface to see the PLMC.

  31. Robertus Pittsburghensis says:


    I’ve never been there myself, but according to google he was there June 11, 1995 for mass and confirmation. There’s a picture: http://mysite.verizon.net/vzewdcj1/PDA/chap-four.htm

  32. JimGB says:

    Archbishop Dolan had tampered expectations that he would be elevated at this conclave given that Cardinal Egan, who still resides in the Archdiocese and participates in many events, will not turn 80 until 2012.

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