Cardinal Blaise Cupich with Pope Francis. The Archbishop of Chicago wants to implement his motu proprio Traditionis Custodes restrictively.
(New York) On July 21, Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, the most important diocese in the USA, reacted to Pope Francis' restrictive Motu Proprio Traditionis Custodes. Cardinal Cupich has spearheaded Francis in the US Bishops' Conference since his appointment. Yet his first, tentative response was unexpectedly benevolent towards the communities and parishes of the tradition. That raised hopes. The final reaction has now been announced - and it sounds very different.
Traditionis custodes a gift?
On November 1st, All Saints' Day, Cardinal Blase Cupich published a letter in PrayTell, a website with no liturgical proximity to the traditional rite, with which he is preparing his archdiocese for a harsh, restrictive implementation of Traditionis Custodes. The thumbscrew should be tightened. The message can already be found in the heading, which describes Traditionis Custodes as a “gift”.
Gift for who?
At a meeting of priests in his diocese, which he had called, the Pope's confidante described having been asked about the new motu proprio.
"They were curious to see how the Archdiocese would react and what knowledge this document could offer us all about the liturgy."
A “careful reading” reveals “the intention of the Holy Father,” said Cupich.
“Simply put, it is a matter of restoring, throughout the Church of the Roman Rite, a single and identical prayer expressing their unity, according to the liturgical books written by Popes Saint Paul VI and John Paul II were promulgated in accordance with the decrees of the Second Vatican Council. In other words, there are no two forms of the Roman rite, for the word 'reform' means something, namely that we leave an earlier form of the celebration of the sacraments behind and take on a new form. "
As an inappropriate comparison, Cupich uses the entry into force of the new Codex Iuris Canonici in 1983, which replaced the one from 1917. In a legal system that is bound by the requirement of legal certainty, there can only be one applicable law for either the legal person or the legal area. But that does not rule out that there are different legal systems in parallel. One does not have to think of the former popular law of the Germanic tribes, according to which people who lived in the same place were subject to different laws depending on their ethnicity: Longobards to Longobard law, Franks to Franconian law, Bavarians to Bavarian law and Romans to Roman law. This is also true today for the Latin Church and the Eastern Churches associated with it.
The catechism, too, according to Cupich, was “(updated) in 1993 with a view to the theological perspectives of the council”. These were "reforms" that took place on the basis of the Second Vatican Council and that did not create parallelism, but replaced it. There was also a "reform" in the liturgy, from which one can conclude:
“With the reforms of the Code and the Catechism, the Church has left its former forms behind. [...] Then it must also mean something with regard to the liturgical reform. "
But the comparison with the catechism is also weak, because in the doctrine of the faith a younger catechism cannot replace another in that the older one is no longer valid or even forbidden.
The Archbishop of Chicago therefore takes care not to say that the traditional rite was declared potentially abolished by Pope Francis, for in both Santa Marta and Illinois it is known that prohibiting the traditional rite is strictly impossible. As the "intention of the Holy Father", Cupich inferred from the motu proprio that some cosmetic changes could perhaps be made to the Novus Ordo Missae, such as a stronger use of incense, Gregorian chant and silence.
The three guiding principles of Traditionis Custodes
According to the cardinal, the central message of Traditionis custodes is: In the future there will only be the Novus Ordo.
As a mandate to the bishops, he takes from the motu proprio that the faithful associated with the traditional rite are to be urged to switch to the Novus Ordo.
According to Cupich, Pope Francis was guided by three principles in Traditionis custodes:
Guiding Principle 1: The traditionalists are to blame
Following the first “guiding principle”, Cardinal Cupich also seeks the “guilty party” in the communities of tradition.
The communities and believers of tradition are to be blamed for Traditionis Custodes. Whoever has the damage does not need to worry about the ridicule, one might say. Because, according to Cupich, despite “concessions” by Pope Francis, it had not been achieved to bridge the gap between the SSPX and Rome. Rather, the promotion of the traditional rite - at this point the Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI mentioned elsewhere in the letter are not mentioned - one:
"Movement within the Church itself" created "which obviously sows division by undermining the reforms of the Second Vatican Council by rejecting the most important of them: the reform of the Roman Rite".
Here Cupich quotes from an interview with Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, the assistant secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and makes the statement entirely his own.
Guiding principle 2: The Novus Ordo is to be recognized exclusively
The second “guiding principle” that Pope Francis moves with Traditionis Custodes is “unmistakable recognition by all Catholics that the Second Vatican Council and its reforms are not only an authentic work of the Holy Spirit, but also stand in continuity with the tradition of the Church. This recognition means, in particular, the full acceptance that ‘the liturgical books promulgated by Paul VI. and John Paul II, are in accordance with the decrees of the Second Vatican Council, as the only expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite‘."
Cupich here quotes from Article 1 the most controversial part of the Motu Proprio, also in this case without reservation.
Guiding principle 3: The bishops have to enforce exclusive recognition
A third principle is "the role of the bishop as the sole moderator, promoter and guardian of the entire liturgical life in his diocese". With the decree of Traditionis Custodes, Pope Francis returned the authority to the local bishop to regulate the use of "the earlier liturgy as an exceptional concession". The "return" was made with a drastic restriction: the permission to use the traditional rite should only be an "exception". This is how Cupich makes it clear in the next sentence. "The use of rituals that arose before the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council (Missale Romanum from 1962 and Rituale Romanum from 1952) should be permitted only" as an "exception".
The restriction issued by Francis follows a clear mandate to the bishops:
“In his letter accompanying Traditionis Custodes to the bishops around the world, Pope Francis makes it clear that the local bishop has the duty to make his decision in such a way that the return to a uniform form of celebration is promoted in his diocese."
Pushing believers to the Novus Ordo
Cardinal Cupich concludes:
“The pastoral realization of the aims of Traditionis custodes requires that we, as pastors, accompany people to understand the connection between the way we worship and what we believe, taking into account the wish of the Holy Father it must be taken into account that the pastors lead the faithful to the exclusive use of the Reformed liturgical books. "
He describes what the Cardinal-Archbishop expects from his priests and pastors:
“The accompaniment can take the form of visits to the faithful who regularly attend this Mass and who have celebrated the sacraments with the earlier rituals, to help them understand the essential principles of the renewal called for by the Second Vatican Council. It should also be about showing people how the Reformed Mass gives them greater use of scriptures and prayers from the Roman tradition, as well as an updated liturgical festival calendar that includes recently canonized saints. Accompaniment can also mean that the Reformed Mass of the Council creatively incorporates elements that people found nourishing in the celebration of the earlier form of Mass and that were already an option, e.g. B. reverential movements and gestures, the use of Gregorian chant, Latin and incense, and longer periods of silence within the liturgy. "
Cupich, however, does not seem to notice that the believers associated with the traditional rite, due to their age alone, are no longer primarily those who did not participate in the liturgical reform in 1969, but primarily believers who grew up in the Novus Ordo and were shaped by it. It is precisely for this reason that they have turned to tradition. You know the Novus Ordo very well and need neither an introduction nor a re-introduction to it.
The cardinal says nothing about how he envisions the future of the communities of the traditional Rite working in his archdiocese, including the FSSP and, above all, the Canons Regular of St. John of Cracow who arose there. Should they too be pushed to the Novus Ordo? But the archbishop says this much: Believers should no longer have (to look after) this community.
The "man of the Pope" in the US episcopate closes his remarks with another euphemism:
“I believe we can take this opportunity to help all of our people better understand the great gift that the council has given us in reforming our worship. I take seriously my obligation to move forward in a manner that encourages a return to a unified form of celebration in accordance with the guidelines of Traditionis Custodes, but in the meantime we must all pray, as Jesus did the night before his death, that all may be one. "
The letter suggests that Cardinal Cupich will soon make a final decision on the implementation of Traditionis Custodes in his area of responsibility, a decision that will by no means be benevolent but rather restrictive. Because of the importance of his archdiocese in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, his decision will set the tone for other bishops in the United States.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: VaticanMedia (screenshot)
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org