(Madrid) Under Pope Benedict XVI. he was called the "little Ratzinger", now critics refer to him as "Mini-Bergoglio". Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera suspended the celebration of the traditional rite in his Archdiocese of Valencia because of the Motu proprio Traditionis Custodes.
Antonio Cañizares Llovera, doctor of theology with a dissertation in catechetics, was ordained a priest in 1970 for his home diocese of Valencia. After years in pastoral care and teaching, including as professor of fundamental theology at the University of Salamanca, he was appointed general secretary of the Spanish Bishops' Conference in 1985. In 1992 Pope John Paul II appointed him Bishop of Avila. In 1996 he was promoted to Archbishop of Granada and in 2002 to Archbishop of Toledo and Primate of Spain.
In 2006 Msgr. Cañizares was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI. created cardinal and in 2008 appointed to the Roman Curia as Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Order of the Sacraments. Because of his theological closeness to Benedict XVI. the Catalan cardinal became known as "little Ratzinger" and was attacked by progressive Church circles.
After his election as Pope, Francis began to remove the exposed "Ratzingerians" from the leadership positions in Rome. Cardinal Cañizares was appointed Archbishop of Valencia by him in August 2014, shortly before the start of the family synod, in which he would have been able to participate ex officio as head of the dicasteries, and he was sent back to Spain.
There he expressed himself several times critically on political, especially socio-political developments, but held back on Church issues. Through the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes, the “little Ratzinger” developed into a “micro-Bergoglio”, as Secretum Meum Mihi commented. In response to Traditionis Custodes, the cardinal suspended the celebration of the traditional rite in his archdiocese. The traditional faithful announced on July 27th, horrified:
“Following the publication of the Motu proprio Traditionis Custodes by Pope Francis, the Cardinal Archbishop of Valencia, Antonio Cañizares Llovera, ordered the provisional SUSPENSION of the celebration of Holy Mass with the missal before the reform of 1970, which takes place every Sunday and public holiday in the hermitage of Santa Lucía. Therefore there will be no mass in August ”(emphasis in the original).
The shocking decision.
When Cardinal Cañizares defended Summorum Pontificum
He had sounded completely different under Pope Benedict XVI., as it sounded in the mouth of the "little Ratzinger". In 2009, Cardinal Cañizares, in the foreword to the Spanish edition of Don Nicola Bux's book “La riforma di Benedetto XVI” (“The Reform of Benedict XVI. The Liturgy Between Innovation and Tradition, 2008”) complained how many priests were treated as 'anti-conciliar' just because they celebrated solemnly and piously or simply because they fully obeyed the rubrics! It is important to get out of this dialectic.
The cardinal defended the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum and took the analysis and criticism of Benedict XVI. to himself, “that our society needs at least one group with which it has no tolerance whatsoever, which can be attacked with hatred.”
“For years this was largely the case with the priests and faithful, who were associated with the form of Mass handed down over the centuries and who were often treated 'like lepers', as Cardinal Ratzinger said emphatically.
Today, thanks to the Motu proprio [Summorum Pontificum], this situation is changing noticeably. And this in large part because the Pope not only wanted to satisfy Archbishop Lefebvre's allegiances or limited himself to responding to the just wishes of the faithful, who for various reasons deal with the liturgical heritage represented by the Roman Rite, to feel connected, but also and in a special way, to make the liturgical riches of the Church accessible to all believers and thus also to enable those who still ignore the treasures of the Church's liturgical heritage to discover the treasures of the Church's liturgical heritage. How often the attitude of those who despise them is due to nothing but this ignorance! Viewed from this last aspect, the Motu Proprio therefore has a meaning that goes beyond the existence or non-existence of conflict. "
In this preface, Cardinal Cañizares firmly contradicted the claim that Summorum Pontificum was an “attack” on the Second Vatican Council. The Spanish edition of Don Bux's book was published in collaboration with the Institute of Christ the King and High Priest, an Ecclesia Dei community.
Preface to the book of a SSPX Priest
The cardinal went even further: in 2012 he also wrote the foreword for the 816-page church music book “Magnificat Dominum”, which was compiled by Fr Bernard Lorber, a priest of the Society of Saint Pius X, and published by Musica Sacra, a French association which became closely related to the Society.
“Music and liturgical chants, especially Gregorian chants, form a large part of this outstanding communication, even if the text of the chant is not fully understood (either due to a lack of knowledge of Latin or because of the melisms or the polyphonic structure of the song).
“ Listening to and singing along to the liturgical chant is also a high form of liturgical participation. To offer the faithful and liturgical cantors access to the Gregorian repertoire and to the songs of popular tradition, as the work Magníficat Dóminum in its second edition enables / effects, is a valuable help in this participation, both for the faithful who do this in the wish to use the so-called 'extraordinary' form of the Roman rite, as well as for those who live the Roman liturgy in the 'ordinary' form so as not to lose the treasures of the musical heritage of the Roman rite and to rediscover a language and form of communication, who still allow today to strengthen their faith, to confirm their hope and to grow in love. "
"No attack on the Council"
As prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Cañizares defended the use of the traditional liturgy in July 2013, under Pope Francis, a year before his return to Spain. At that time he wrote the foreword to the dissertation published in book form by the Benedictine Father Alberto Soria Jimenez of the Abbey of Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caidos, which the anti-Church left-wing government would like to banish, like the memorial for the fallen of the Spanish civil war. The cardinal rejected as "absolutely unfounded" the claim that the provisions of Summorum Pontificum were an "attack on the council". Such a statement shows a great ignorance of the Council.
In 2010 Cardinal Cañizares consecrated five new priests of the Fraternity of Saint Peter in the traditional Rite in Wigratzbad. Since 2006 he has been a member of the Pontifical Ecclesia Dei Commission, which was responsible for the communities of tradition and questions of the traditional Rite, until Pope Francis dissolved it in January 2019. The reason is now known: From the point of view of Francis, who probably intended to strangle the traditional Rite back then, such a facility was no longer needed. But what should one say about the chief shepherds who, like Cardinal Cañizares, sat on the commission responsible for the traditional Rite, but who now simply forbid it?
Cardinal Cañizares consecrated five new priests of the Petrine Brotherhood in 2010 in Wigratzbad.
The American comedian Groucho Marx (1890–1977) is - albeit incorrectly - ascribed the word, which was handed down in 1873:
“I have iron principles. If you don't like them, I have others too."
Last Friday, Vetus Ordo Missae, the association "for the promotion of the traditional Roman Rite" in the Archdiocese of Valencia announced that, according to the order of Cardinal Cañizares with reference to the Motu Proprio Traditionis Custodes of Pope Francis, from August 1st the celebration in the traditional Rite in the archdiocese is prohibited. For the time being it is a "provisional suspension" for a period of one month.
"On the basis of this new ordinance [Traditionis Custodes], the Archbishop has ordered the temporary suspension of the celebration in order to clarify its correct application in our Archdiocese."
In view of the defense of Summorum Pontificum by the same cardinal, the latest measure in itself, but above all its radicalism, causes astonishment. In order to “recognize” the “correct application” of Traditionis Custodes, the celebration of Holy Mass was prohibited. Is there an understandable need for this? Even if the celebration were to be permitted again in any form on September 1st, the damage to the traditional Rite and the reputation of the Church has already been done.
Cardinal Cañizares is not just one of 3,181 diocesan bishops, but one of 98 cardinal priests, these are diocesan bishops who also belong to the college of cardinals. He was also Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome for more than five years and is therefore very familiar with questions of the liturgy.
Even leading “Bergoglians” among the bishops such as Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago reacted cautiously to the Motu Proprop Traditionis Custodes and left everything as it is - at least for the time being - until there is greater clarity. All the more astonishing is the radical approach of a cardinal and archbishop, who as a "friend" of Benedict XVI. applies to the Pope who issued the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum and had a not inconsiderable influence on the creation of the Motu proprio Ecclesia Dei of 1988.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: VaticanMedia / Vetusordomissae / NLM (screenshots)
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org