E ALWAYS TRY our best to avoid speculation, gossip, and “personality conflicts” on this blog—but I suppose there’s an exception for every rule. My article today is that exception, and let me remind everyone what is printed at the bottom of each article we post. 1
I have to be 100% honest here: I am shocked by the recent article in the Catholic Herald. Cardinal Nichols had been so welcoming to Cardinal Sarah, who was appointed by Pope Francis as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship in 2014. To then read that Catholic Herald piece is just … well, shocking!
If Cardinal Nichols had simply sent a letter saying why he prefers “versus populum,” I believe that would have been a better choice.
But to strongly contradict one of the highlights of Cardinal Sarah’s presentation in such a way, I find … well, shocking!
CARDINAL NICHOLS DID PRECISELY the opposite of what Jorge Cardinal Medina Estévez instructed on 10 April 2000:
This Dicastery wishes to state that Holy Mass may be celebrated versus populum or versus apsidem. Both positions are in accord with liturgical law; both are to be considered correct.
It should be borne in mind that there is no preference expressed in the liturgical legislation for either position. As both positions enjoy the favor of law, the legislation may not be invoked to say that one position or the other accords more closely with the mind of the Church.
The “Dicastery” mentioned is none other than the Congregation for Divine Worship. In his capacity as CDW Prefect, Cardinal Medina led this congregation to create the 2000 (2002) GIRM, and obtained its approval by the pope. 2
Cardinal Nichols was attempting to be vigorous in following the directives of the Church with regard to the Ordinary Form. Unfortunately, he relied on a false translation, mixing up feminine & neuter, which has been explained in this article. Will Cardinal Nichols be just as vigorous when it comes to other Church directives? For example, what about the mandates of Sacrosanctum Concilium regarding Gregorian chant and Latin? (They are not phrased as suggestions.) What about the directives found in Sacramentum Caritatis and Redemptionis Sacramentum? I sincerely hope to see other letters dealing with these, because many look to the Archdiocese of Westminster for guidance.
This has already been a weird (pointless?) post on my part, so let me also toss in a cartoon which I think is cute:
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 Every article posted by our contributors—printed at the very bottom—makes clear:
“Opinions expressed by blog contributors do not necessarily represent those of Corpus Christi Watershed.”
2 Essentially, Cardinal Medina was the one who added that “quod” sentence (to eliminate the destruction of altars already in existence) even though the precise words may have been suggested by someone else.