Today a jocular friend texted me to suggest that perhaps Pope Benedict’s appointment of Archbp. O’Brien as Pro-Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem – admittedly younger and with obviously greater military credentials than the last guy – signals the Holy Father’s intention to call for a new Crusade.

I have a learnéd dubitation.

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Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. PostCatholic says:

    My guess is that it’s a consolation prize to the Baltimore archdiocese. Archbishop O’Brien is a warm and personable guy whom I’ve had the pleasure of conversing with many times. I even among the non-Catholics who attended his installation Mass and dinner in Baltimore. But I don’t think he’ll become a cardinal.

  2. PostCatholic says:

    Should have read a bit more–I didn’t realize this was a full-time gig. Okay this makes sense: Archbishop O’Brien becomes a Cardinal, but not simultaneously Archbishop of Baltimore (which probably isn’t any longer a cardinalatial see); goes back to Rome where I’m sure he’ll be an asset to a lot of committee work, because he’s very good at finding consensus and just getting along with people generally; and gets the red hat that used to come with the job in Baltimore while setting a new precedent that the red hat doesn’t come with Baltimore. And he’s very a talented fundraiser who’s now in charge of a group of wealthy Catholics who gave their bishops a lot of money and were rewarded by becoming honest-to-well, God crusdaders. This is a brilliant personnel move from the Vatican’s perspective. I hope it’s also something Archbishop O’Brien sincerely wanted.

  3. Art says:

    Won’t call it a crusade until the Dominicans bring out the tools they used to stamp out the Albigensian heresy.

  4. iudicame says:

    Shoring up the Burke-ian ramparts. YES WE CAN! m

  5. Will D. says:

    PC — Only three of the fifteen Archbishops of Baltimore were cardinals: Card. Keeler, Card. Shehan, and Card. Gibbons. Historically, all of Abp. O’Brien’s predecessors in Charm City have either retired from that see or died in office.
    If anyone is interested in more details, Rocco Palmo’s “Whispers in the Loggia” has been covering it in detail, as always.

  6. Phil_NL says:

    In another sense I suspect this is also good news: since the US is a country which is more important for the Holy See to keen an eye on than most, I very much doubt the Holy Father would have given this full-time assignment to a relatively new archbishop of a top-tier US see if he wasn’t happy with the potential successors for that see.

  7. Jeremiah says:

    Learnéd Dubiation aside, when can we expect the recruiting posters (a la Uncle Sam: “I want you…”)

    “Deus Vult” in big letters across the top, a picture of Papa Benedict pointing, “Papa wants you!” written underneath… WYD Rio, maybe?

  8. Supertradmum says:

    Catherine of Siena would be happy. What a great title.

  9. TomG says:

    Phil_NL: This archdiocese is desperately in need of an Acquino or a Vasa: the Church here is too much the “Democrat party at prayer.” And DC isn’t much better.

  10. robtbrown says:

    I don’t know how Abp O’Brien did as ordinary of Baltimore, nor do I know how successful he has been with committees. I do know, however, that he was responsible for cleaning up North American College, which had been turned into a pig stye (no exaggeration) by the previous rector, Msgr Purcell (the only NAC rector not to become a bishop). Msgr Dolan (now Abp of NY) followed O’Brien as rector and improved NAC even more.

    I have no idea the reasons behind this latest move, but my guess is that it’s a combination of the Vatican:

    1. Wanting to maximize the number of American Cardinals, which usually (but not always) increases Vatican influence over the US.

    2. Avoiding (as already noted) the Houston-Baltimore Red Hat problem.

    3. Knowing that there now are several very good, young (55-60) bishops ready to step in at Baltimore. NB: 15 years ago it was difficult to find new bishops–that is no longer the case.

    It will be interesting to see whether Bp Jackels is named to one of the two open archdioceses.

  11. Simeon says:

    Fr Z
    “with obviously greater military credentials than the last guy”
    Must you refer to John Patrick Cardinal Foley as “the last guy”?

  12. dans0622 says:

    We should remember to offer prayers for “the last guy,” Cardinal Foley, as he deals with leukemia and anemia.

  13. Lucas says:

    As a new resident of the Baltimore archdiocese, I pray for a good strong Bishop. We(Wife and kids) would love to have a EF in Howard County. The closest church is positively awful. We drive 30 minutes to find a good Mass.

  14. Athelstan says:

    Hello Lucas,

    For the time being, your best bet remains St. Alphonsus.

    Archbishop O’Brien’s successor will very likely be confronted a decision about the fate of that parish, given the age of the present clergy. Let us pray for tradition-friendly successor; a good and holy man.

  15. Mrs. Bear says:

    Does he know how to ride a horse?

  16. Joseph-Mary says:

    The tools to fight the Albigensian heresy? Rosary and scapular?

  17. everett says:

    @TomG – we just got Vasa, hopefully you’ll let us hang onto him for a few years so he can start our recovery before he gets moved somewhere else. :)

  18. SemiSpook says:

    @Lucas/Athelstan: Oddly enough, Archbp. O’Brien’s departure comes at an interesting time for those of us in the North (Anne Arundel) County Cluster. Part of his work when he first came here was to shift resources of the 5 parishes in the northern part of Anne Arundel County to maintain some semblance of normalcy as pastors retired and priests moved on. Parishes relatively unscathed were St. Phillip Neri and Holy Trinity, while Good Shepherd, Church of the Crucifixion, and St. Bernadette have had Masses and resources drastically cut, and now it seems some of the more modern influences have begun to creep in at GS, especially (altar servettes, both species available, etc.). Part of that was explained as the Archbishop’s direction, but I’m not exactly a big fan of it.

    I will pray that whomever HH taps to succeed the See of Baltimore is a fervent subscriber to the Marshall Plan. I understand that Msgr. Bastress is getting on in years (as is the other priest who has celebrated that Mass; his name escapes me, but he’s been rather orthodox in his preaching, which is awesome), and it would be a shame to lose the EF at St. Alphonsus.

    We’ve got some relatively decent young priests in the cluster (the younger associate pastor within the GS/Crucifixion/HT cluster has had some very strong homilies as of late, even though he’s been associated with the Charismatics, however I suspect that’s either because nobody will do it or he actually understand WHAT Charismatic actually means and not how others interpret it), and they understand the massive issues that they face in keeping the flock together (same priest mentioned that Baltimore’s been a fairly dissident diocese for some time). Only time will tell whether or not this move will pay dividends.

    Of course, to solve the priest issue and not have to rely on the cluster model, the new Archbishop could always send an invite out to the FSSP…

  19. irishgirl says:

    Poor Cardinal Foley-I didn’t know he was so sick.
    I visited St. Alphonsus in Baltimore back in 1986. I had a friend I was corresponding with at the time, and we attended Mass there once or twice during my stay. I hope that doesn’t close-St. John Neumann was the Rector there before going to Philly. And I think Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos also lived there, too.

  20. Augustine Terra Mariae says:

    Archbishop O’Brien has had some substantial successes in his current position, including continued improvement in the formation and general orthodoxy at Saint Mary’s Seminary, removal of some awful pastors, a forthright confrontation with the radically pro-abortion Baltimore City Council, direct engagement with the nominally-Catholic governor regarding same-sex ‘marriage’, and a fairminded, rational reorganization of archdiocesan Catholic schools.

    Sadly, he has not removed (or has reassigned to parishes) several pastors openly dissenting from Catholic teachings and has made several spectacularly bad appointments to fairly high chancery offices. Indeed, most archdiocesan offices are staffed at least in part by distinctly unqualified and/or unorthodox incumbents, a situation many clergy and laity find extremely discouraging. The Traditional Latin Mass has been treated with thinly-veiled hostility and new priestly vocations remain disappointing at best. For most Catholics in the pews, liturgical practice, catechesis, and the overall Catholic culture locally has improved very, very little in recent years. Some of the less glamorous work (school reorganization, improved seminary culture, establishment of ministries such as Courage) will almost certainly bear good fruit in years to come, hopefully with deserved credit to Archbishop O’Brien. But one can’t entirely rule out the rubric of this appointment being one of a prelate being ‘kicked upstairs’.

  21. TomG says:

    Everett: Godspeed to you and him! You are certainly blessed.

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