New members of the College of Cardinals

I’ve been asked quite a few times today what I thought about the new “red hat” list for the College of Cardinals.

I simply laughed.

The ploy and play of the list is so obvious that it is hardly to be taken seriously anymore.

We must all remember that generations of Catholic through many centuries had no idea even of who the Pope was, much less who was a Cardinal in Mongolia. They got along just fine, saying their prayers and living their lives, and going out of the way to help each other when they could and confess their sins when they had to.

Some Catholics will, alas, suffer greatly because of these choices, and I feel for them. But we have to remember that of all the possible universes God could have created, He created this on and not another. This is the time into which our Creator called us into being. This is our time and we are his team for whatever work on earth is to be done. Sometimes that work involves suffering.

In the days to come we will watch the exaltation of will to power, the acceleration of the modernist grinders, the undermining of Catholic moral teaching to the accompaniment of “ooos” and “aaaahs” of sycophantic toadies, with over the top logorrhea about “new dawns” and the elevation of the mediocre against the memory of the truly accomplished of the past.

As my old pastor used to say, we are living in the era of “piccol0mini… little men”, and those who laud them the most are even smaller.

So, College of Cardinals. It’s hard to see such an institution get jerked around like this, but it has ever been so. History has seen the College as both the garden of flourishing saints, deserving of the role, and a sewer of the corrupt and corrupting.

So, laugh, have a Gin and Tonic, say your prayers, do your work, go to confession, help each other out. It’ll be fine.

And do not underestimate the timely interventions of the Almighty. Remember: ultimately, it’s God’s Church.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Our Catholic Identity, Pò sì jiù, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. gsk says:

    A tonic, thank you Father. No gin necessary.

  2. Not says:

    Amen Father, We live in a social media world now. It has good and bad and worse. I thank God we have you and others standing up for truth or to play on an old series..You are standing up for Truth, Justice and the Catholic Way.

  3. GregB says:

    One difficulty with comparing our situation to that of the past history of the Church is the pervasive modern media. In a 24/7/365 media saturated culture the foibles of the Church are made manifest on a world stage. That was a major weakness of Vatican II. In a media saturated culture you don’t get decades and centuries to get your act together. Power vacuums get filled with media narratives of suspect soundness. This is the method the modernists use to advance their positions.

  4. I entirely agree with you– although it has taken a few years to get here– I do what I can, and ‘say my prayers, do my work, go to Confession, help others out’, wiping away the ashfall from Mons bergolianus with a certain equanimity.

    At least, not Baetzing.

  5. Irish Timothy says:

    Thank you Father. Well said!

    And yes….it’s ‘Tonic Time!’ LOL!

  6. Gaetano says:

    It was disappointing, but so visibly transparent as to be laughable. The same forces that made the Long March in the Institutions clearly have their sights set on the College of Cardinals & Papacy.

    It will certainly get worse before it gets better, likely only after much of the wealth, celebrity & status are sucked out of the institution. Once those are gone, the vainglorious will seek it elsewhere.

    In the end, natural & supernatural realities don’t disappear. The Church will ultimately be obliged to acknowledge these truths, no matter how inconvenient & contrary to the worldly spirit they are.

    There will, however, be decades of ambiguity, confusion & enervation ahead.

    Pray for the conversion of the corrupt, and especially for those who will suffer from their misguided ways.

    In the interim, strive to be saints. God has always been most profligate in raising them in the most troubling times.

  7. worm says:

    Out of curiosity, is there a way to find out when the last time the ordinary of a suffragan diocese was elevated to cardinal while the metropolitan archibishop was not?

  8. DU says:

    Thank you for your encouraging words. Is it disrespectful to think of this new member as Card. McCarrickElroy?

  9. summorumpontificum777 says:

    Bp. McElroy has been one of the episcopacy’s most enthusiastic implementers of Traditionis Custodes, shuttering 2 out of 3 TLMs in his diocese. His loyalty has been duly rewarded. God help us if he’s elected “Franciscus II.”

  10. Cornelius says:

    Because the Church must imitate her Master in Crucifixion, death, and resurrection, I don’t think we’ve reached the nadir yet, though this Cardinal selection is a big step in that direction.

    The nadir will occur when ALL the significant power positions in the Church are filled by apostates and Church teaching is fundamentally changed. At that point the Church’s enemies will crow in triumph over her corpse – feeling much the way Lucifer felt at 3 PM on Good Friday.

    Headlines will scream, e.g., “Catholic Church Formally Accepts Gay Marriage!” or some such apostasy.

    Only then (or shortly thereafter – say, 3 days or so?) will the resurrection occur and the Church’s enemies will be shattered and scattered. I wonder how Lucifer felt on Easter morning . . . .

  11. G1j says:

    Another sliver of Catholicism will be lost with these appointments…The protholic church of Vatican II looms on the horizon.

  12. hwriggles4 says:


    I remember when my old bishop (Farrell) was elevated to Cardinal in 2016 without being named an Archbishop first. Farrell from what I recall was more like a CEO than a bishop. Bishop Burns, our current bishop, seems to be more involved with visiting parishes and having involvement. Burns also has not been afraid to talk to local news stations himself (yes him personally) here when the media has tried to put the “spin” on Catholics.

    While I did rejoice when certain Jadot appointments retired, my opinion is there are some current bishops today that are unfortunately have been overlooked for a bigger See or their own See. Most of us can figure out who some of these bishops are.

    I also keep wondering why New Ulm Minnesota has been a vacant See for over a year – priests turning it down, possibly.

  13. monstrance says:

    The 24 hour news cycle beast must be fed.
    Thus the Fox News headline that “Archbishop Cordileone overlooked for Promotion “. Due to abortion stance.
    Just think, if he wouldn’t have lowered the boom on Pelosi, he’d be on the Cardinal List.

  14. BeatifyStickler says:

    I’m one of those Catholics that suffers hearingbtbis news. I feel for those who are earnestly seeking, yet uncathechized and follow the lead of these men.

    I know each New Year we get Father’s predictions. I’m going to give a prediction and I am just a lowly big rig driver from Canada. All this emphasis on the peripheries and Oceania and India and obscure diocese around the world will lead to the convergence of one man. The peripheral Church already has one of their own who was already a Vatican insider.

    My prediction(s). Francis will resign in September, that’s why the deck stacking is in August.

    The periphery Cardinals as well as the moderates and doctrinal Conservatives will elect Malcolm Ranjith of Sri Lanka to the throne of Peter. He fits the bill; pastoral experience, polyglot, former nuncio, Vatican Curial member, lover of the poor, lover of Liturgy. He has ordained Priests for the FSSP, lectured at Christendom, is doctrinally sound and has a backbone. Some of the liberal papabile are likely to be just that for the periphery Cardinals, too liberal.

    Just my two cents from a simple guy up in Canada.

    Ranjith will be Francis successor.

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  16. Imrahil says:

    Dear worm,

    Out of curiosity, is there a way to find out when the last time the ordinary of a suffragan diocese was elevated to cardinal while the metropolitan archibishop was not?

    That is not that unusual an occurrence. The bishop of Hongkong has regularly been a Cardinal, while only de facto exempt (because until a couple of years he could operate freely) and technically a suffragan of Canton. The bishop of Mayence has recently twice been a Cardinal; Cardinal Lehmann got the red hat after many years as president of the German Bishops’ Conference, while Cardinal Volk apparently got it just for being bishop of Mayence. That had, obviously, once been by far the most important see of Germany, but is now a suffragan of Freiburg-in-the-Breisgau which did not have a Cardinal either then, or at any other time in its history. Cardinal Hengsbach got the red hat for being the founding bishop of Essen for thirty years; a suffragan see, and (with all due respect to the region and the miners there) not a particularly important one. He even counts technically in the way you phrased the question, because the respective metropolitanate at the time was vacant; we are speaking of Cologne, though, which always has a Cardinal (so far) and would, after a couple of months, get one in this case who was already a Cardinal (to wit, Cardinal Meisner, hitherto of Berlin).

  17. anthtan says:


    Well, you’re an optimist. I think Francis will hang on for as long as possible, JP2-style.

    But if he does step down, I think enough maneuvering has been done to put Chito Tagle on throne of Peter.

  18. ncstevem1 says:

    Father – The first thing that came to my mind when reading your post is what happened in the diocese of Charlotte during the time that I lived there (1993 – 2020).

    My opinion – the bishop there in the early 1990’s was a buffoonish, ineffective leader. Not a lot of vocations, heterodox teaching in the Catholic schools and the spirit of Vatican II seemingly reigned supreme in the diocese. However there was a core of about 6 – 8 traditional leaning younger priests who were beginning to make their presence felt in the diocese by the late 1990’s.

    A new bishop was installed about 2005 who was born and raised in the Charlotte area. He quietly began changing the diocese.

    The first thing that I noticed was his introduction of an annual Eucharistic Congress which included a procession (which he led) through downtown Charlotte and more parishes offering perpetual adoration.

    Long story short, the last I looked the diocese now has 45 vocations to the priesthood, a recently completed seminary and a nearly complete transition to more traditional minded priests in the diocese. Much of the old guard (priestly and lay) haven’t been happy about this.

    I write this because as bad as things appear to be in the Church currently, things can change rather quickly with the proper leadership.

    [There are many ways by which God can intervene, such as through the good work of faithful men.]

  19. What I see shaping up is a standoff between a group of outspoken outliers who are disproportionately represented in key positions and the majority of bishops and priests and laity who simply aren’t going in that direction. These disagreements are going to turn nasty and public unless some other factor intervenes. The time of pretending that the differences don’t exist or that they can be logically reconciled is rapidly fading away.

  20. Lumen Praetorius says:

    “When small men begin to cast big shadows, it means that the sun is about to set.”
    – Lin Yutang, 20th century Chinese philosopher

  21. Charivari Rob says:


    One such case would be Cardinal Langlois of Les Cayes, Haiti (2014). is a useful website, but might require some back-and-forth in searching and sorting.

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