News from Tradition
Cardinal Joachim Meisner, Rest in Peace
The Archdiocese of Cologne, Germany has announced the death of His Eminence, Joachim Cardinal Meisner which occurred on July 5, 2017. According to the announcement, the former Archbishop of Cologne died peacefully in his sleep while on his summer vacation. Born in Breslau on Christmas Day in 1933, he endured the Second World War and the forced relocation of his family to communist-ruled East Germany and entered the seminary in 1951 and ordained to the priesthood in 1962.
In 1980 Meisner was named as Bishop of Berlin by Pope John Paul II and created a Cardinal in 1983. In 1989 was transferred to the Archiepiscopal See of Cologne which is considered the most important Archdiocese in Germany. During his time as Archbishop, Cardinal Meisner was known to be continually trying to hold back the ever more progressive element in the German hierarchy.
Most recently, His Eminence was one of the four Cardinals who sent Pope Francis the dubia concerning the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia and the Church’s teaching on marriage. There can be little doubt that the German bishops did not look kindly upon this action, since they have been the most vocal in their support for Amoris Laetitia and other innovations put forward by Pope Francis.
Although Cardinal Meisner was certainly no traditionalist and clearly adhered to the teachings of Vatican II, he did show his willingness to defend the Church’s perennial teaching on the Sacrament of Matrimony. May he rest in peace.
Two French Bishops Respond to Cardinal Mueller’s Letter
The bishops of two dioceses in France have extended ordinary delegation to the priests of the Society of St. Pius X to witness the marriages of the faithful who attend SSPX chapels. This delegation follows upon the letter of Cardinal Mueller to the world’s bishops asking their cooperation in removing any doubt as to the validity of SSPX marriages by either assigning a diocesan priest to witness the vows or by giving delegation directly to the priests of the SSPX to witness marriages of the faithful within their dioceses.
Bishop Alain Planet of the Diocese of Carcassonne and Bishop Dominique Rey of the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon have chosen to implement Cardinal Mueller’s request (actually the request of Pope Francis) by giving delegation directly to the priests of the SSPX. This solution is the definitely more preferable one since it allows the couple being married to have their vows witnessed by the priest they are familiar with and who, in most cases, prepared them for the Sacrament of Matrimony. Bishop Rey, in particular, has been a supporter of the Traditional Mass in his diocese. The decisions by these two bishops to grant ordinary delegation for marriages helps to dispel the idea in the minds of many Catholics that the priests and faithful of the Society are somehow not Catholic or are outside the Church.
At the time of this writing there is still no word on how the bishops of the United States will cooperate with this request from Rome. One would hope and pray that their response will be as pastorally sensitive as that of Bishops Planet and Rey.
The Slaughter of Christians in the Middle East Continues
On Palm Sunday, at least 44 Coptic Christians were killed and more than 100 injured as a suicide bomber detonated an explosion during the Sacred Liturgy inside a church in the town of Tanta, Egypt. Another suicide bomber attempted to gain access to a Coptic church in Alexandria but was prevented from entering the church by Egyptian police. When he could not gain entrance, he detonated the explosive device by in the street and killed 11 people waiting to enter the church. ISIS claimed responsibility for both attacks and promised to continue their war on “worshippers of the cross.” Despite these continual attacks, many in the Church, including Pope Francis, continue to portray Islam as a religion of peace and that these attacks are the result of extremists who misinterpret the Koran and teaching of Mohammed.
In an effort to emphasize that both Christianity and Islam, in his mind, speak of peace, Pope Francis traveled to Egypt in April and once again spoke the same message which has been continually belied by Muslims throughout the world as they continue to exile and kill Christians. In addition to proclaiming this demonstrably false idea, Pope Francis also insists on the notion that Catholics and Muslims worship the same God (another false teaching found in the documents of Vatican II). The official logo of the pope’s trip to Egypt puts this thinking into pictorial form, by placing the Cross within the crescent moon of Islam.
When faced with this syncretism, we must vociferously refute the idea that the same God is being worshipped by Catholics and the followers of Mohammed, since Muslims reject our Lord’s divinity. Our Lord Himself told us that “he who rejects Me, rejects Him who sent me” and that whoever “denies Me before men I will deny before My heavenly Father.”
Five New Cardinals
In a consistory held on June 28, 2017, Pope Francis named five new members of the College of Cardinals. The new Cardinals are Archbishop Omella of Barcelona, Spain; Bishop Arborelius of Stockholm, Sweden; Archbishop Zerbo, of Bamako, Mali; Apostolic Vicar Bp. Ling, of Pakse, Laos; and the Auxiliary bishop of San Salvador, El Salvador, Bishop Rosa Chavez. The raising of Bishop Rosa Chavez to the College is extraordinarily surprising because he is an auxiliary bishop and the current Archbishop of Sam Salvador is not a cardinal.
The choice of Bishop Anders Arborelius of Stockholm is also interesting given the small number of Catholics in his country (the vast majority of inhabitants of Sweden are Lutheran, if anything). It was speculated that his choice was somehow connected to the upcoming “celebration” of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant revolt in October. In any case, when asked about the possibility of intercommunion between Catholics and Lutherans (something which Pope Francis seems to be pushing for), Bishop Arborelius clearly stated that this would not be possible because the Lutherans do not share the same faith in the Eucharist as Catholics. He did, however, emphasize the need for continued “dialogue” with the Lutherans which seems to echo a major theme in Pope Francis’s allocutions. Bishop Arborelius is a convert from Lutheranism and is a member of the Discalced Carmelite order.
As with the previous Consistories, Pope Francis’s choices exemplify his desire to have the College of Cardinals represent those on the “peripheries” of the Church. Although one could argue that he wants to include bishops from the four corners of the world, it would also seem that he wants to bring into the College of Cardinals men whose thinking (like Pope Francis’s own) is on the peripheries of Catholicism. Chicago is clearly not on the peripheries geographically, yet its Archbishop (Cardinal Cupich) was named and he is clearly of the same mind as the Pope.
The Celebration of Fatima Centenary Begins
As is well known, this past May 13 saw the beginning of the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima. Although there will certainly be many events and stories about Our Lady’s apparition as the centenary continues, there have already been two notable events.
The first is the canonization by Pope Francis of Francisco and Jacinta Marto on May 13 during his pilgrimage to Fatima to mark the opening of the centenary. The two youngest of the three seers were told by Our Lady that they would soon be with her in heaven, and both died within a few years of the final apparition on October 13. It should be recalled that both of these little ones promised Our Lady that they would willing suffer for the salvation of souls, many times taking upon themselves voluntary acts of sacrifice and penance. Additionally, both suffered physically as they approached their deaths and offered this final sacrifice to almighty God for the salvation of souls.
The second event was the publication of a decree from the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (the Commission in Rome dealing with all matters pertaining to the Traditional Mass and religious communities) effectively establishing the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima in the traditional liturgical Calendar. Surprisingly, although the Church gave official approval to the apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, no feast day was ever placed on the calendar. It was not until after his assassination attempt in 1981, that Pope John Paul II decreed that May 13 be established as the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima and placed on the General Calendar of the Church. One of the items put forward by Pope Benedict XVI after the publication of Summorum Pontificum (the decree allowing any priest of the Roman Rite to offer the Traditional Mass without asking for special permission) was the possibility of adding more recently established feasts to the traditional calendar. The adding of the feast in honor of Our Lady of Fatima is the first addition to be made. Thankfully, instead of creating new prayers for the Mass of the feast (which would have inevitably been the prayers from the Novus Ordo Mass for the feast), the decree stipulated that the Mass of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (from August 22) be offered in commemoration of Our Lady of Fatima. By this decree, the Ecclesia Dei Commission clearly emphasizes the promise of Our Lady that “in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
Pope Benedict XVI Reflects on the Sacred Liturgy in Our Day
The theological writings of Pope Benedict XVI are being published in Russian for the first time in a joint effort by the Vatican and the Russian Patriarchate. This latest ecumenical abuse should come as no surprise, given the innumerable “joint efforts” the Church has endured since the time of Vatican II. What makes this newsworthy for this column is the short preface Pope Benedict XVI wrote for the text in 2015. In it, he states what traditional Catholics have been saying since the advent of the Novus Ordo Missae in 1969—that in the Sacred Liturgy the primacy of God has been replaced with the primacy of man. Pope Benedict wrote:
In the conscience of the men of today, the things of God, and with this the liturgy, do not appear urgent in fact. There is urgency for every possible thing. The things of God do not ever seem urgent… If God is no longer important, the criteria to establish what is important are changed. Man, by setting God aside, submits his own self to constraints that render him a slave to material forces…
In the years that followed Vatican II, I became once again aware of the priority of God and of the divine liturgy. The misunderstanding of the liturgical reform that has spread widely in the Catholic Church led to putting ever more in first place the aspect of instruction and that of one’s own activity and creativity. The action of men led almost to the forgetting of the presence of God. In such a situation, it becomes ever clearer that the existence of the Church lives through the just celebration of the liturgy, and that the Church is in danger when the primacy of God does not appear anymore in the liturgy, and therefore in life. The deepest cause of the crisis that has subverted the Church is located in the effacing of the priority of God in the liturgy.
One can hardly deny the veracity of the Pope’s statements, and the conservative Novus Ordo Catholic blogosphere reacted with delight. Their reaction did seem to overlook two relevant points which lay within the text. The first is the insistence that it was a “misunderstanding of the liturgical reform” which came from Vatican II that has led to this situation. Even a cursory reading of the Vatican II document Sacrosanctum Concilium clearly shows that the there was no misunderstanding—the man-centered, didactic nature of the Novus Ordo Mass can be seen clearly in this document, albeit in its embryonic form. What was promulgated as the Novus Ordo Missae in 1969 is the child of the decree on the liturgy; even the “author” of both is the same: Annibal Bugnini. It is becoming extraordinarily tedious to constantly be told that the Vatican II isn’t the problem, just the “misunderstanding” of it.
The second point that is overlooked is that, although being pope for some eight years, Benedict did precious little to attempt to restore almighty God to the center of the Liturgy with the exception of a few “nods” to tradition in the papal Masses he celebrated. If he genuinely saw the problem clearly, which he claims he did, then we must conclude that he chose to allow the “misunderstandings” to continue in an effort to assure that the blame would not be placed where it actually belongs in order to preserve Vatican II in which he played a major role.
The entire text of the Pope Benedict’s Preface can be found here: rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2017/04/exclusive-text-by-benedict-xvi-crisis.html#more
Cardinal Mueller Out as CDF Prefect
The Vatican Bulletin of July 1, 2017 announced that Pope Francis has not renewed the “mandate” of Cardinal Mueller as Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Cardinal Prefects are appointed by the pope for a term of five years and normally this mandate is renewed unless the Cardinal in question has reached the retirement age of 75. (Cardinal Mueller is just 69 years of age.) The announcement came after months of speculation that there was a growing rift between Pope Francis and the former Prefect, most notably regarding the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia, about which Cardinal Mueller stated that any ambiguous passages must be interpreted in light of the Church’s Tradition.
Interestingly, although Mueller voiced his reservations regarding certain passages of Amoris Laetitia, he was also on record as criticizing his fellow Cardinals who presented Pope Francis with the dubia for taking that action! It is so very symptomatic of the confusion reigning in the Church when seeming contradictions are put forward as totally compatible with each other.
Following the announcement of Cardinal Mueller’s non-renewal as Prefect, many in the more conservative Catholic media began to wring their hands at losing a “conservative” head of the CDF. Not surprisingly, many of those expressing these sentiments were the same ones who were decrying Mueller’s appointment as Prefect of the CDF by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012. Only five years ago it was being said that Mueller wasn’t orthodox enough to be the Church’s doctrinal watchdog since he believed in Liberation Theology and had written some rather questionable items regarding the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady. This is the situation in Pope Francis’s Rome: even those of dubious orthodoxy are seen as “conservative” when compared to the Pope and many others in the Roman Curia.
In the same announcement it was stated that Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., the secretary of the CDF is the Pope’s choice to become Prefect. Although said to be “conservative” it has also been noted that being a Jesuit means he will be obedient to the wishes of the Holy Father when it comes to the many innovations being put forward. Only time will tell if this is the case.
Consecrations to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
It has been announced that Archbishop Cordeleone will consecrate the Archdiocese of San Francisco to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on October 7, 2017, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. He has also requested that the faithful of the Archdiocese prepare spiritually for the consecration. In his announcement of the consecration, the Archbishop stated that he is doing so in response to the large number of requests he has received from the faithful that he consecrate the Archdiocese to the Immaculate Heart.
In addition to the Archdiocese of San Francisco, it has also been announced that all the dioceses of the Netherlands were consecrated to the Immaculate Heart on May 13, 2017. This news is somewhat more surprising given the current state of affairs of the Church in Holland. Long having been seen as avant garde in liturgical and theological matters (read: completely adhering to Modernism), the fact that all the Dutch bishops saw fit to place their dioceses under the patronage of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart is something bordering on the miraculous. This may well be one of the first visible fruits of the Centenary of Our Lady of Fatima.