By now you have heard that there will be a consistory in November to create new Cardinals.   The latest batch is a mixed bag.

I have been going a zillion miles an hour since I hit Rome so I haven’t been able to sift this yet.

I have two impressions about the possible line up. Note that Francis did not stick to cardinalatial tradition and give the red hat as a matter of course to the Archbishop’s Philadelphia and Los Angeles.  That must mean something.  But what?

First, for these USA, the Pope has chosen me that are not what one would be tempted to called “culture warriors”.   I’m sure that libs are happy with the choices because this is how they will read the picks for the cardinalate.  They’ll be cheering about how Francis passed over Archbp Chaput and Archbp. Gomez in favor of the three he chose.  Chaput, strongly, and Gomez, more and more, defend Catholic teaching in the public square and are strong Catholic identity bishops.  Gomez hasn’t been very vocal so far, but he has been shifting.  The last thing that libs want in the public square is a strong Catholic identity that understands and enunciates clearly the primacy of the right to be born and the sanctity of matrimony between one man and one woman.  catholics don’t like or want cultural warriors.  They want culture appeasers.

Another possibility is that the Pope is focusing on the peripheries, that is, places that need a special boost, a little extra oomph, the kind of shot in the arm that can come from having a local cardinal.   This seems to be a special concern for him.  According to that line of thought, however, then Indianapolis and Chicago are now “peripheries” that need extra help!  Following that logic, Chicago and Indianapolis are in trouble, whereas Philadelphia and Los Angeles do not, right now at least, need extra help.

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  1. Siculum says:

    Well, at least that’s a really creative way to look at it.

  2. Thomistica says:

    Take a look at Cupich’s commentary on the concept of conscience at the aptly named
    “Catholic New World”, the Chicago archiocesan newspaper. Then draw your own conclusions.

    In my view, the damage done by the subjectivist view of conscience espoused by Cupich (and others who follow his line), and Cupich’s disagreement with (e.g.) Chaput’s views on the proper application of Amoris Laetitia, is incalculable. This is not some an unimportant difference of opinion about an arcane theological point. Cupich’s views have radical pastoral implications ranging *far* beyond Communion for the remarried. I still have the sense that very many laity do not know the crisis that is upon the Church about this matter. There is a very important role for faithful priests to educate their flocks about the dangers here, lest the latter be led astray, and for informed laity to inform other laity.

    There needs to be push-back by the laity. One can only hope that priests in Chicago know what is going on here.

    This is an effort, along the same lines as the German wing of the Church, to reshape the face of the Church.

    Some might say that this is just a replay of the old seamless garment arguments we’ve seen before. I think, on the other hand, it goes well beyond claims about how to “rank order” the importance of various moral and social issues, which of course has very serious implications for how people vote.

    We now have a kind of mandate from the Pope to hold heterodox views. People can argue in saecula saeculorum about the magisterial authority of Amoris Laetitia. But while it is important to stress that AL does not have that authority, this can also distract attention from what is happening on the ground, pastorally.

    As for the Pope’s motivations in making Cupich a Cardinal, none of us can really know. However, care for the souls of persons in his Archdiocese is (in my view) incompatible with that decision.

  3. Raymond says:

    The Madrid and Brussels red hats, like the Chicago one, are definitely not “periphery” appointments. Rather, these are two archbishops quite in the Francis mold just like Cupich.

  4. acardnal says:

    I’m sorry that Archbishop Chaput of Philly was not selected.

    Another traditional American See that gets a Cardinal is that of Baltimore. Archbishop Lori’s see. He has been a defender of the Little Sisters of the Poor’s case of religious freedom and of whom Pope Francis visited during his apostolic visit to the USA.

  5. bethv says:

    Those who have been following this papacy cannot be surprised that these choices have been made. It only bodes more ill for the True Church and elevates mostly those who will support and continue the beliefs of this Pope. It seems pretty basic, i.e., Francis is stacking the hierarchy with “his men” in order to diminish the voices of those who are in opposition to him in order to promote and preserve his agenda. Pope Francis certainly seems to be “Thinking as a man thinks, not as God thinks.”

  6. St Donatus says:

    Personally I think that this is all the will of God. We Catholics have become more and more like the world around us, choosing the pagan lifestyle of the world rather than the Catholic lifestyle our forefathers lived. We, like Israel of old, must suffer for the sins we have lived. As the Catholic Churches teachings are turned into dusty old rules of the past and the ‘enlighted’ pastoral life becomes the norm, only serious Catholics will remain and there will be very few. We all must ask if we will truly put God first in our lives, neighbor second and our selves last because we certainly haven’t been living that way as we buy bigger homes, fancier cars and more exotic vacations, while our fellow Catholics in Haiti and Africa suffer so very gravely. While we spend our time drinking in the poison of the world from the main stream media, including its soft porn instead of praying more, evangelizing more, doing God’s work, avoiding sin (going to confession). I need to just make a plan and stick to it. Some already may do as much as they can in prayer, but perhaps we can find a way to evangelize our fellow Catholics, a kind letter, a helping hand, some spiritual gem. Can we promise ourselves to spend 30 minutes every day in the work of evangelizing as Jesus commanded.

  7. Uxixu says:

    Initial reaction was reflexively bad just because of Abp. Cupich and his past. I have hope that with nothing else to gain (or lose), he can mitigate some towards tradition.

    Los Angeles has twice as many Catholics as Chicago, so should eventually have a red hat. Especially for one of the most prominent Hispanic bishops in one of the few areas still growing in the US. It’s likely because LA’s predecessor with a red hat is still alive while Chicago’s is no longer alive that is the top factor. The situation with LA almost underscores another problem: each of the “pastoral regions” of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is bigger than many east coast Archdiocese. Ultimately, they should be split into separate diocese suffragan to Los Angeles.

  8. anna 6 says:

    Perhaps this is naive and overly optimistic, but is it possible that the fact that Mahoney and Rigali are still living have anything to do with neglecting Philly and LA?
    Otherwise, it really is depressing.

  9. Elizium23 says:

    Doesn’t it simply mean that +Mahony and +Rigali are still alive? Is that not the tradition? Or is it customarily done after the predecessors have turned 80, which has happened in both cases?

  10. Clinton R. says:

    Brick by brick, it appears Pope Francis is remaking the Church in his image. Blase Cardinal Cupich? The Chicago archdiocese is in need of many many prayers. Of course, Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI did not make the greatest of choices in making cardinals either. It says quite a bit about the state of the Church when Ap. Gomez is seen as a defender of the Faith, and yet the LA Archdiocese is subjected to the yearly farce known as the Religious Education Congress. We are reminded through situations like this, the Holy Church is protected by the promise of Christ that the gates of Hell shall not prevail over it. Not that the evil one is not trying his damnedest.

  11. The latest lightning strike of St. Peter’s on Our Lady’s Feast of the Holy Rosary: did that happen to coincide with these decisions?

  12. Serviam says:


    This post is like:
    Life+lemons = lemonade

    Mama Mary- come to our aid in this “valley of tears”.

    Lord, have mercy.

    God can bring good out of even the most dire situation.

    Let us PRAY….

    And thank you Fr Z. March onward!

  13. kurtmasur says:

    “I have two impressions about the possible line up.
    First, for these USA, the Pope has chosen me that are not what one would be tempted to called ‘culture warriors’.
    Another possibility is that the Pope is focusing on the peripheries…”

    Maybe it’s a combination of both possibilities? Indeed, it has become apparent that Francis has these 2 criteria in mind when it’s time to creates new cardinals.

    The only thing I can’t help but wonder in moments like these is what might the Pope Emeritus be thinking of all these questionable appointments and elevations? For obvious reasons, he will never announce to the world his true thoughts on Francis.

  14. thomas tucker says:

    Francis is, obviously, who the Cardinals selected by Benedict and JPII wanted as Pope. Don’t know why, but they did. Whaddaya gonna do?

  15. acardnal says:

    Anna 6 and Elizium,
    “Perhaps this is naive and overly optimistic, but is it possible that the fact that Mahoney and Rigali are still living have anything to do with neglecting Philly and LA?”

    It has been the custom to wait until the former Cardinal Archbishop has reached 80 and can no longer vote in an election that a Pope names a replacement Cardinal. That way there are not two Cardinals voting from the same diocese. Rigali and Mahony are at least 80 now so no issues elevating Chaput or Gomez now.

  16. CatholicMD says:

    Jesus Curses the Fig Tree

    12 On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. 13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.

  17. rdb says:

    In the words of Bishop Barron, it is the return of Beige Catholicism.

  18. robtbrown says:

    Why would peripheries only refer to economic situations? From various policies of Francis it would seem also to refer to those on the periphery of doctrine.

  19. amsjj1002 says:

    I am disappointed about Philadelphia.

    I won’t say what I’m feeling about some of the others named.

  20. bartlep says:

    All the more reason we have to fight for our religious freedom. Pope Francis is setting the stage for liberal cardinals to vote on his successor.

    This article from The Remnant shows why it is imperative that we vote for Trump or we will no longer have a country — religious freedom will be gone.

  21. greinkebs says:

    Archbishop Tobin was and is a favorite of Pope Benedict (when Joe was Superior General of Redemptorists, private dinners at Vatican etc). Pope Francis has known Tobin since they served together at synod. So from Pope Emeritus and Pope Francis – Archbishop Tobin is their man. So there was no surprise to elevation as Cardinal.

  22. arga says:

    Only the first possible explanation makes sense. The masks are off. It is confirmation of what all of us have been seen coming for a couple of years. The Church will be divided as it has not been since the Reformation. I already feel it in my diocese. There are divisions within divisions.

  23. RobS says:

    I think the fact that certain large archdioceses have living non-elector Cardinals is an overly optimistic distraction. Detroit gained Card. Maida when Card. Szoka was 67. And here Vigneron was passed over with Card. Maida sitting at 86. (Meaning that Benedict could have elevated him under the 80+ year old tradition.)

    That said I was initially worried about this group, for the obvious reason that Cupich was the first name that I recognized, but I don’t really feel so negative anymore. Come Holy Spirit!

  24. Curley says:

    I am also not happy to hear that Cupich was selected. However, with Francis naming more Cardinals from outside of Europe, the likelihood of those Cardinals on the “peripheries” being more orthodox/traditionally-minded seems better than a bunch from central Europe. Maybe the American Cardinals will be more liberal, but I am more concerned with the make up of the entire college.

  25. CharlesG says:

    Perhaps Cardinal elect Cupich is a cultural warrior, just on the other side? The precedence given to subjective malformed conscience over Catholic moral teaching would have the effect of dissolving that teaching in practice anyway.

  26. Dave N. says:

    As long as Abp. Gomez continues to produce the inane L.A. Religious Education Congress, it’s hard for me to think of him as “shifting” on anything.

  27. organistjason says:

    Fr. Z, that is a very “creative” way of taking yesterdays news. There is a better explanation though I believe. A Bishop of Rome, that in no way, is adhering to the “hermeneutic of continuity that seeks to implement Vatican II in fidelity to Sacred Tradition.” The present BOR, now quite clearly without any ambiguity, has taken the second path. A Path where there is the hermeneutic of discontinuity that proclaims a “new Catholicism” has risen divorced from any adherence to the “pre-Vatican II Church.” Yesterdays action was a slap in the face to the Largest Archdiocese in the United States, the sixth largest Archdiocese/Diocese in Philadelphia, the Seat of American Catholicism (Baltimore) and one could make an argument for Detroit and/or Atlanta. But more importantly a major slight to Archbishops that day in and day out are defending the faith in the face of “growing darkness”. One clear example, Chicago. The great work accomplished by His Eminence Francis Cardinal George is being undone. The lines for me have been clear since March 13, 2013. To any faithful Catholic to now deny what is crystal clear is bordering on not being true to Holy Mother Church. There is only one way all this can be fixed. But that won’t happen till the Cardinal Electors once again gather under Michelangelo’s “Creation” and sit before his image of
    “the last judgement”. Something I pray they take to heart when that day comes. May God bless the faithful bishops and Cardinals and protect Holy Mother Church from those outside as well as inside.

  28. Adam Welp says:

    As it relates to Abp. Tobin, I wonder if this isn’t the Holy Father granting a favor to a brother bishop that he got close to while he was the Abp. of Buenos Aries. Apart from a couple run-ins with our Governor, Abp. Tobin has pretty much maintained the same course set by his predecessor Abp. Buechlein, and he seemed pretty conservative to me.

    I will reserve my comments regarding Abp. Cupich because I will never utter bad things about a bishop of the Holy Roman Church in public. As for the third American to get the red hat, I will refrain from commenting as I know little about him and it isn’t polite to speak on unfamiliar matters.

  29. Filipino Catholic says:

    Let all of them who are about to receive the sacred scarlet realize this: the red soon to be bestowed on them is meant to say that they are (and should be) ready and willing to shed their own blood in defense of the Faith. If this sounds like too much to ask of them, they ought to decline.

  30. Giuseppe says:

    I think Pope Benedict gave a red hat to Cardinal Dolan in NY while Cardinal Egan was still alive and close to 80, if I recall correctly.

  31. Thorfinn says:

    By now you have heard that there will be a consistory in November to create new Cardinals. The latest batch is a mixed bag…First, for these USA, the Pope has chosen me

    I don’t usually appreciate Father Z humor, but I giggled at this point…

  32. St Donatus says:

    I wonder about what he means by the ‘peripheries’ exactly. He can not mean those involved in fornication, adultery, homosexuality, because these make up not the ‘peripheries’ but the majority, even among Catholics. When 50% of Catholics end up in divorce and are either remarried or shacking up with someone, then you add to this those as a lifestyle are involved in fornication, pornography, and homosexuality, you certainly have a majority.

    So who are these ‘peripheries’, it can’t be the poor for they make up perhaps 90% of faithful Catholics, so it can’t be them. I know, it must be the Traditional Catholics who love all of Catholic truth and try to live it, these make up well under 5%, so that is what these ‘peripheries’ are that Pope Francis is trying to help.

    Okay, that can’t be it either, so who are these ‘peripheries’ again?

  33. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:


    One month ago, Archbishop Chaput revealed that he cannot distinguish a pro-life candidate and a lifelong abortion fanatic who has engineered the murder of perhaps a million Christians across several countries.

  34. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Two days ago, John Allen had an article entitled “New Belgian cardinal poised to be key papal ally in Europe”, in which he said, “De Kesel is a man worth watching” (as well as quoting him, “ ‘I have much respect for gays,’ including ‘their way of living their sexuality’”).

    Mark de Vries helps us do a bit of historical watching at his blog, In Caelo et in Terra, where I found five articles related to Jozef Cardinal (-designate) De Kesel:

    “In Bruges, priest once found guilty of abuse returns to the fold” (30 Oct. 2014); “In Liège, Cardinal Maradiaga hints at a consistory and a red hat for Archbishop De Kesel” (25 May 2016); “Good work, but not in Belgium – Mechelen-Brussels sends the Fraternity of the Holy Apostles packing” (15 June 2016); “In De Kesel vs the Fraternity, a few small specks of light” (30 June 2016); and “A new bishop for Bruges” (5 Oct. 2016), in which he quotes Archbishop De Kesel saying of Bishop-elect Lodewijk Aerts (perhaps rather ominously, in the larger context?), “He knows very well that the past lies behind us and that we, including the Church, live in a secular pluralistic society. But exactly then it is so important to know what matters. To make a distinction between what is really important for the future and what are ultimately always rearguard battles.”

    Mark de Vries has another interesting Belgian-related article as his latest, about the appointment of Archbishop Augustine Kasujja as new Apostolic Nuncio – perhaps quite a hopeful sign, as far as the details of that post go!

  35. Mojoron says:

    Cupich absolutely scares me. Gomez: I can’t get over the “dancing Deacon” Mass I witnessed under his tenure as vice-Bishop of LA. As usual, Pope Frank has scared me again.

  36. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    On 7 July, Archbishop Cupich named to the Congregation for Bishops – one of 33 responsible for the selection of all (Latin) Bishops. And now, to be a Cardinal… (In that respect, now to be just like Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Cardinal Vincent Nichols…)

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