Monday, September 26, 2005

A Little Cape Goes a Long Way

CWNews wants to ballyhoo the pro-Pian Rite statements of Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, so they've taken to calling him "an influential Vatican official."

It could be true if it were accurate, but -- surprise, surprise -- it's not.

Medina -- the Chilean protodeacon of the Sacred College who waved to the Piazza S. Pietro crowd as he proclaimed the name "Ratzinger" on Election Day -- retired as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on 1 October 2002, so he hasn't been "an influential Vatican official" for three years on Saturday. He is a delegate to the upcoming Synod, which raised some eyebrows in Rome, but of course Synods do not exercise the vicarious power of the Pope; that's the Curia's job.

Here's my question: If Piero Marini got CDW in succession to that renowned uber-liturgist Arinze, would CWN call him an "influential Vatican official"? Well, they would in pushing for his removal, but they probably wouldn't do it three years after his departure from the Curia.

Now, if we're talking about inconsistencies, this is not the treatment that Cardinal Pompedda -- the retired prefect of the Apostolic Signatura -- got after he reminded everyone that the SSPX was still in formal schism on the day after Bernard Fellay wailed and B16 listened. Pompedda was accused of being an agent of Satan, of being misinformed, irrelevant and an obstruction to church unity.

And Medina -- the caped one in the photo above -- gets the white-glove treatment from the Conservative Cyber-Fatwa Tribunal, as our good friend Mr Shea calls it.

As usual, par for the course.



Blogger patrick said...

He is on the Ecclesia Dei commission so perhaps knows something's in the wind.

26/9/05 18:17  
Blogger Jeff said...


Yes, he is. And his attitude--something close to the attitude Ratzinger has expressed on several occasions--about the present licitness of the old Missal is beautifully summed up in the last paragraph of the EWTN article:

"As a member of the Ecclesia Dei commission, Cardinal Medina reported, he is sometimes asked to celebrate a Tridentine-rite Mass. When he receives such a request, he said, 'I do it, without asking anyone's permission.'"

26/9/05 21:56  
Blogger Rocco Palmo said...

Gentlemen -- When Medina speaks about saying the Indult Mass "without asking anyone's permission," it's a perk of the Cardinalate.

As you know, canon law stipulates that in matters of their own persons, cardinals in their travels are exempt from the jurisdiction of the local ordinary -- a provision which extends to liturgical matters, as they are accountable directly and exclusively to the Holy See.

Word to the wise: if your diocese doesn't have an indult, but you really want some old-time religion, just parachute a cardinal in.... He'll do as he wishes, because he can.

26/9/05 22:22  
Blogger Jeff said...


Nice to see a reply from you; you tend to stay above the fray!

You are right as a matter of canon law, but though a Cardinal has a RIGHT to do as he wishes, to say a PUBLIC Tridentine mass in a diocese where the ordinary is opposed to them is a strong statement, which risks a being a diplomatic faux pas and a slap in the face. As a matter of right he might not have to do it, but as a matter of courtesy one does, of course. Does Cardinal McCarrick go into Georgia and say a mass in another diocese which he knows will arouse strong opposition from the local ordinary? Of course not. So, if you called most Cardinals and asked them to parachute in, they would turn you down cold.

Medina is making the statement, as Ratzinger did several times, that the old Missal has never been forbidden and is therefore in some sense still licit without special permission. Moreover, it has the sanction of about fifteen hundred years of tradition. As Ratzinger explained, the Catholic Church DOES NOT forbid or abolish any orthodox ritual which is traditional; it never has and never will.

The problem, as Ratzinger, has explained it, is how to affirm this, yet remain in obedience to the local bishops, who have been trained to regard the old mass as an act of disobedience and a turning of the back on Vatican Two.

26/9/05 22:54  
Blogger the Savage said...

Jorge Medina is, along with Pope Benedict himself, the only peritus from Vatican II still serving in the curia and, again along with Benedict, one of the original founders of Communio. So even though he is no longer CDW, I think it's fair to say that he is one of the most influential cardinals by virtue of his longstanding association with Benedict.

27/9/05 09:19  
Blogger David L Alexander said...

man with black hat: Critical Mass: When is an indult not an indult?

"It... seems problematic that a bishop might be impeded from performing his proper role as chief liturgist of a local diocese."

"As the root of the word implies, it is, quite simply, an indulgence. That it is presumes a norm. A universal indult ceases to be an indulgence..."

"It is entirely possible to make the classical observance of the Roman Rite more generally available, without a universal permission..."

27/9/05 11:42  

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