Saturday, November 20, 2010

All Roads Lead to Rome

It's been noted here before but is ever worth repeating: the greatest glory of Consistory Week is found far less in its red and its rites than in the masterful exhibition of the universality of The Church -- that is, God's people spread across the globe -- its convergence in Rome from all corners over these days finding no parallel at any other ecclesial moment.

Along those lines, much as it drives B16's "reform of the reform"-driven ceremonies crew to fits, the opening act of every Elevation Morning provides the various pilgrim groups a moment to mark themselves out; as the Pope reads out the Latin formula creating the new cardinals, the proclamation of the names on the biglietto has become a moment for each delegation to cheer on its own hometown Porporato.

Three years ago, the Vatican folk were especially taken by the wild influx of Texans who came to celebrate the first-ever cardinal to rise from the American South -- so they say, the Houston crowd's vibrance considerably brightened the outlook of the natives on the future of the Stateside church. And today, as Benedict almost quadrupled the number of African electors he's elevated to date in one fell swoop, the throng that accompanied the head of the continent's largest local church, Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa -- home to 4 million Catholics -- had its turn to make their presence known... and delivered in memorable style.

Suffice it to say, compare and contrast:

And while we're at it, a clip of a Congolese parish at worship... in all its Zaire Rite glory:

Speaking of music, albeit on a more traditional note, for the first time in eons this morning's rites -- customarily restricted to choir and organ music -- saw the notable addition of brass, with several trumpet pieces played throughout.

While they added a sweet touch, the first of the airs was memorably punctuated by a prominently ululating woman as Benedict passed several of the Stateside bishops who made the trip as longtime friends of the new American cardinals, and scored aisle seats for today's conferral. Among them were Donald Wuerl's two chief collaborators during his days as bishop of Pittsburgh: his onetime secretary, auxiliary and eventual Steel City successor Bishop David Zubik and Bishop Paul Bradley, now of Kalamazoo, along with two of Cardinal Raymond Burke's classmates from the record crop of 359 priests ordained by Paul VI on 29 June 1975: Bishops Glen John Provost of Lake Charles and Patrick Zurek of Amarillo.

It's a heavy download, but for anyone who might've missed it, full on-demand video of this morning's rites is now posted. The Mass of the Rings begins at 9.30 Rome time tomorrow (3.30 ET, 0830 GMT).