ASK FATHER: Not one word about Card. Cupich’s “The Gift of Traditionis Custodes”?

From a reader…


Card. Cupich, who is a trusted advisor of Pope Francis, issued a document the other day called “The Gift of Traditionis Custodes”. I take it you don’t see it as a gift, but I notice that you didn’t react to it. Not even a word?

Here’s one word:


Eccles did a good job for us all. HERE

At Rorate, Fr. Richard Cipolla had posted a public response to that decidedly deficient essay.

Before making other observations, let’s review to get some context.  He was rector at the Josephinum, which was … interesting. In his pastoral care, as Bishop of Rapidopolis Cupich banned children from receiving their 1st Holy Communion at a Vetus Ordo Mass and forbade them from being confirmed. I’m sure those parents and children and confirmands remember his gifts. Cupich locked people out of the church so that they couldn’t celebrate the Triduum. And let’s not forget his abject grovel when the McCarrick (who lifted Cupich up with his own hand) scandal was breaking, as he said that Francis had more important things to worry about, things like the environment and protecting illegal aliens, accusing people of not liking Francis “because he’s Latino.” His interview was on video. Remember his slippery speech in England, recounted by Fr. Hunwicke HERE.

With the exception of an occasional “and” and “the”, just about everything Cupich wrote – actually I’ll bet a shave and a hair cut that that theological bright-light Fr. Louis Cameli wrote it with touch-ups from a certain catholic coyote – is wrong.

This blunder of discontinuity, typical of whom I suspect are his ghost writers, lept off the screen.

“No one would think of arguing that the earlier forms of the Code or the Catechism could still be used, simply because the word reform means something.”

While the 1983 Code supersedes the 1917 Code (CIC 1983 can. 6 §1., 1/), the 1917 Code is still helpful in understanding the 1983 Code.  There is nothing, zero, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that says that abrogates or abolishes or forbids the reading of the Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent or any other catechism.    

Just because there was a new Catechism issued in the 20th century, that doesn’t mean that the Roman Catechism ordered by the Council of Trent is no longer useful and true.

“Reform” does not mean “obliterate the past and make up something new”.  Sacrosanctum Concilium is crystal clear on that point.

Unless, of course, your ecclesial view does not include anything before the 1960’s.

For these people reform means damnatio memoriae.  If they could, they’d hold a book burning.

Another item which proves that the writers and the signer have not the slightest clue what they are talking about – because they are ignorant of the Roman Rite apart from their isolation cell of the Novus Ordo.

“Accompaniment may take the form of visiting with the faithful who have regularly attended Mass and celebrated sacraments with the earlier rituals to help them understand the essential principles of renewal called for in the Second Vatican Council. It must also involve helping people appreciate how the reformed Mass introduces them to a greater use of scripture and prayers from the Roman tradition, as well as an updated liturgical calendar of feasts that includes recently canonized saints. Accompaniment may also mean creatively including in the Mass reformed by the Council elements which people have found nourishing in celebrating the earlier form of the Mass, which has already been an option, e.g., reverent movement and gestures, use of Gregorian chant, Latin and incense and extended periods of silence within the liturgy.”

He leads off with flattering “accompaniment”, like a pinch of incense to the genius of the divine emperor.  It’s nearly breathtaking in its unctuous, faux pastoral croon.

People who don’t celebrate the Vetus Ordo really should be telling those who do about their engagement with the Scripture which the Church presented to the faithful for scores of generations in an unbroken line back to, in many euchological forms, the time of Gregory the Great (+604).

And that “accompaniment”… “creavity including …. elements” which those people like to keep them moving in the right direction.

“There, there!”, crooned the prelate as he accompanied the grieving widow across the grass to the newly opened grave. “The Church is here for you.  We are here for you.”  He twinkled his fingers at the teary-eyed babe she clutched under her unreformed black chapel veil.

Then he gave her his firm pastoral shove.

“Certain elements can now be added for her accompaniment”, he murmered.  He tossed in a handful of dirt, to encourage the others.   The stony earth didn’t have that usual rattling sound as it landed, due to the fact that the coffin was not only not closed, but the gagged woman and child inside wasn’t dead yet.

Never mind that the very things that he wants to toss like dirt in pastoral accompaniment are mandated by the Second Vatican Council and even still in part in the rubrics of the Novus Ordo.

The fact is that people are attracted to the traditional Vetus Ordo for more than just the externals of vestments, a more solemn ars celebrandi, pretty churches, a certain kind of sacred liturgical music, ad orientem worship (which is theologically significant, as are those other things).  The content of the prayers is different. They contain riches…. let’s use the word “elements”… which were systematically removed from the orations of the Novus Ordo, “elements” without which one’s Catholic identity is placed in the hazard.  Sine quibus non.

No.  Just no.


It is the attitude of Cupich and others, from the top down, that sparks reactions of consternation, sadness and fury.

Watch this serious “¡Hagan lío!” video and then ponder whether Cupich and Co. have truly promoted “unity”, something truly for the good of the Church.

ACTION ITEM! Be a “Custos Traditionis”! Join an association of prayer for the reversal of “Traditionis custodes”.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ASK FATHER Question Box, Be The Maquis, Cri de Coeur, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liberals, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Save The Liturgy - Save The World, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, Traditionis custodes, What are they REALLY saying?, You must be joking! and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Pingback: ASK FATHER: Not one word about Card. Cupich’s “The Gift of Traditionis Custodes”? – Via Nova Media

  2. Adelle Cecilia says:

    Every instance of “…mean(s) something” was laughable.
    What a sad excuse for an argument this “gift” of an article was.

  3. Cecelia1 says:

    I often find this response useful: Every word they say is a lie, including “and” and “the”.

  4. Son of Saint Alphonsus says:


    Perfect word, Father.

  5. summorumpontificum777 says:

    On the trad side, it’s difficult to wrap one’s mind around the notion that kicking us out of our parishes, scrapping our Masses, banning our rituals, shutting down our abbeys and seminaries and vilifying our priests and laity all constitute great “gifts” to us. It seems Orwellian, analogous to the “love” dispensed by the Ministry of Love. But I’ve long struggled to understand that point of view of the modernist who favors a crack down. I’ve finally settled on a metaphor that I believe is somewhat applicable. The TLM-bashing modernist sees the Vetus Ordo as the liturgical equivalent of cigarettes, i.e., a toxic, addictive vestigial practice of the past. Maybe it’s mildly tolerable if a few elderly addicts continue to enjoy their Lucky Strikes outside the retirement home, but panic ensues if the practice is regaining popularity among the youth. As such, smoking restrictions are a sort of “gift” to society in that they shield the public from illness, and such restrictions, as well as tobacco taxes, are tough-love “gifts” to the smoker in that they may encourage him or her to abandon this deadly vice.

  6. Dave P. says:

    I’m going to start praying harder for the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius (His Eminence engineered the removal of Fr. Phillips, and I’m betting he doesn’t care for the way they celebrate the newer ritual), good priests like Fr. Aschenbrenner (ditto on the way he celebrates the newer ritual, and he apparently hasn’t been sufficiently “inclusive” to the more progressive element from a merger with another parish), my beloved Monastery of the Holy Cross (ad orientem and way too much Latin), and Bishop Perry (I doubt he’ll be welcome to hang around after he retires).

  7. Not says:

    Interesting that as the old Catholic countries of Europe have rejected socialism and fully embraced their Catholicism. Now, diabolical forces in the United States are trying to impose socialism with help from our Un-Catholic socialist pope. They seem to forget that the United States of America is consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

  8. JonPatrick says:

    The cigarette analogy is a good one. Another one might be the way the current COVID pandemic is being handled, where time honored treatments such as Hydoxycloroquine and Ivermectin have been declared verboten for treatment by the powers that be, instead substituting an experimental shot developed in haste which is now being forced on everyone or they risk losing their jobs or being able to shop or travel. Just as we are seeing an increase in cases even in countries that have very high rates of vaccination and are seeing more adverse reaction, the Church has been undergoing a kind of spiritual death since the promulgation of the Novus Ordo rite.

  9. kurtmasur says:

    As soon as I saw the word “gift” when referring to TC, it became clear to me that it was Cupich’s attempt at trolling us.

    Thanks, but no thanks, Cupich….you can keep your own “gift” and do with it as you please. We already have our own gift in the form of the TLM that nobody, not even Francis, is authorized to take away from us.

  10. Thomas S says:

    I’ve been using duolingo to practice my Latin, and I think it’s given me enough vocabulary and grammar to say:

    Mustela non bene scribit.

  11. Fr. Timothy Ferguson says:

    and let’s not forget Cardinal Cupich, when he was bishop of Spokane, forbidding his priests and seminarians from engaging in peaceful protests at abortuaries because it might send the wrong message. Seminarians were also strongly discouraged (e.g. outright forbidden) from attending prolife marches.

  12. Bthompson says:

    And reduced the number of seminarians at all by the time he left to only 1 or 2.

  13. The protestant pastor in The Patriot was more of a pastor than these guys, it seems… *rips off wig* “A shepherd must tend his flock… but at times, fight off the wolves!” *rides off into the sunset with a gun*

  14. Danteewoo says:

    “On the trad side, it’s difficult to wrap one’s mind around the notion that kicking us out of our parishes, scrapping our Masses, banning our rituals, shutting down our abbeys and seminaries and vilifying our priests and laity all constitute great “gifts” to us. ” Pretty much what Paul VI did and he has been “canonized.” Go figure: I can’t. When the nightmare is over, I expect Vatican II to be cubby-holed out of sight or scrapped.

  15. Antonia D says:

    Meanwhile, let’s keep promoting the TLM and inviting people to come! This is a time for great growth – lots of people are curious.

  16. Antonia D says:

    summorumpontificum777 – Great analogy with the cigarettes & TLM.

  17. Cardinal Cupich says: “Accompaniment may also mean creatively including in the Mass reformed by the Council elements which people have found nourishing in celebrating the earlier form of the Mass, which has already been an option, e.g., reverent movement and gestures, use of Gregorian chant, Latin and incense and extended periods of silence within the liturgy.”

    It can’t mean that, since last year our bishop published an instruction explicitly forbidding such incorporation of traditional elements into the Novus Ordo, especially ad orientem and kneelers for people who want to receive Communion on their knees. (Nothing says “charity” like removing physical supports for people who need them to get down on their knees and then back up on their feet.)

    On a side note, the day that instruction was made public, an earthquake struck the diocese that was felt in neighboring states and Canada. Make of that what you will.

  18. ProfKwasniewski says:

    Great article. Thank you, Fr. Z.

    It’s also well worth reading Matthew Hazell’s shredding of Cupich’s arguments:

  19. tzabiega says:

    It is not actually a big secret, but it is known that at least 30 seminarians from Mundelein Seminary in the Archdiocese of Chicago attend the TLM. Since there are 116 seminarians in Mundelein, though from several dioceses, that means a quarter of seminarians from the seminary run by Cupich will probably one day celebrate the TLM when they are ordained, even if in private. When in one diocese, whose seminarians attend Mundelein, a TLM priest became sick with COVID, he was worried about finding someone to celebrate the TLM at a moments notice for the 2 weeks he was in quarantine. As soon as they found out about his illness, a few diocesan priests, all ordained within the past 5 years, offered their help to celebrate not just the Sunday, but all the weekday Masses. And they already knew very well how to celebrate the Vetus Ordo, though they had never publicly celebrated it before. Cupich in his ivory tower does not realize how much of a loser he is, as priests taught under his nose will be celebrating the TLM for decades to come.

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  21. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I was going to point out that “reverent movement and gestures” are not so much optional in the Ordinary Form as mandatory yet neglected, and particularly in places where Cupich and his ilk are running things.

    But then it was pointed out that Cupich banned those things whenever he could, so the hypocrisy is exposed.

    I seriously doubt that anyone, anywhere, of any stripe of opinion, thinks that it is spiritually comforting to get “accompaniment” from Cupich. His ideas don’t fit even with the unhelpful forms of “accompaniment” that Francis has listed for the poor or for people improperly believing themselves married.

    Fortunately, there are bishops in the world that seem to have better ideas. Ideas that include obedience mixed with prudence, and dragging their feet to avoid violating canon law rights and Catholic principles.

  22. donato2 says:

    The TC letter and Cardinal Cupich’s letter purport to be premised on a plan to bring those attached to the traditional Latin Mass back to the new Mass. Such a plan is either the result of being out of contact with reality — it is obvious that TLMers will never willingly return to the new Mass — or is in bad faith, with the actual plan being to drive TLMers out of the Church entirely. I strongly suspect it is the latter.

    It is hard to get one’s head around the magnitude of the event triggered by TC. We are in a sense in a fight to the death with the Pope over the preservation of Catholic tradition. We did not ask for this fight and the cognitive dissonance it entails. The Pope, who revels in cognitive dissonance, has forced it upon us. When our inevitable victory is won however the resulting clarity will be a thing of beauty, even if none of us will be here to witness it.

  23. Semper Gumby says:

    “The Gift of Traditionis Custodes”

    Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.

    Fr. Cipolla: “It seems like almost a puppet like reaction…”

    …from a puppet Pachamama regime.

    Speaking of puppets, behold the muppets:

    “It’s either this show or indigestion. I hope it’s indigestion.”

  24. Eoin OBolguidhir says:

    Thank you for the reference to Fr. Hunwicke. You can hear some of the fetid, tommyrot Cupich was spouting at Cambridge here:

    You can put yourself through the whole agonizing experience if you are a glutton for doublespeak, but I recommend you skip right to minute 47:00 to hear Professor Rist’s questions and Cupich’s nonsensical answer. While Cupich consistently uses Kantian terminology, e.g. The Church needs to grow up (forgetting that we faithful do and should hunger for rational milk in the manner of infants), he and his kind are all Hegelians at heart, trying to sublate the eternal truth with their own suigetical and self serving claptrap. It’s exactly what you might expect if you believed they were Marxist infiltrators.

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