Saturday, July 11, 2009

"In Obedience to the Truth"

Before anything else, as Ordination Time (fullvideo) draws nearer, our hosts here at the nation's largest church have posted today's worship aid for the folks afield tuning in through web and TV.

Meanwhile, what's been described as a last-minute "mixup" with the paperwork has kept one of today's principal consecrators grounded in Rome:
[Vatican Worship Czar Cardinal Antonio Cañizares] experienced “visa difficulties” and could not board the plane in Rome, according to Susan Gibbs, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Washington.

Retired Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly of Louisville, Ky., will step in. Archbishop Kelly, who was already planning on attending, was Archbishop-designate DiNoia’s spiritual adviser as a seminarian at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington.

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And so far as the backstory goes, suffice it to say this: given the longstanding custom that sees senior Vatican officials ordained bishops in Rome (so to underscore their close cooperation with the Pope in his universal ministry), it's exceedingly rare that a pick for one of the Curia's top posts would seek to have his big day elsewhere.

The last time an American appointee of the sort took his high-hat at home was in March 1984, when Msgr John Foley was given permission to be ordained an archbishop in his native Philadelphia after being named president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

The end result, however, is largely where the similarities end: while the Columbia-trained journalist eventually earned himself a global following (and the red hat) thanks to his homespun kindness to all and a unique spirit of openness with the press, his arrival in the Roman post was largely due to his mentor's decades-long friendship with Pope John Paul II. This time around -- and on St Benedict's Day, no less -- it's the reigning pontiff himself who is the ordinand's confidant, mentor, and admiring collaborator.

Once his second deputy at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, B16 has handed Gus DiNoia one of the Vatican's most stressful top jobs, a post that's seen no less than four occupants in just the last six years. These days, the tightrope the latest Secretary of Divine Worship inherits is even more daunting: with a non-English speaker newly at the helm of the global church's worship office, de facto oversight of Anglophone Catholicism's global transition to a new rendering of the Roman Missal, its implementation to be completed sometime around late 2011, falls squarely in the hands of the Bronx-born Dominican.

Put bluntly, it's quite the tall order to take on. But that story's best left for another day; for now, the top line is simply that, in the city where he first came to prominence as the "brilliant" professor, a "disciplined" and "faithful" lead theologian to the US bishops, and a "gentle, down-to-earth" friend to many (with an "amazing" singing voice), history's at hand today... and a healthy throng of DiNoia's very loyal fans and fellow friars have come to pray and celebrate.

For those watching via the streams, enjoy the sights and sounds... more on the smells and the rest later.