IS EMINENCE, Cardinal Sarah, was chosen by Pope Francis to be CDW PREFECT. That means he’s Cardinal Roche’s predecessor. Speaking of ad orientem celebration, Cardinal Sarah declared (23 November 2014): “This practice is permitted by current liturgical legislation and is perfectly legitimate in the modern rite.” Roche’s predecessor also said (23 November 2014): “I ask you to implement this practice wherever possible.” Roche’s predecessor reminded us (3 March 2015): “Vatican II never asked us to reject the past and abandon the Mass of Saint Pius V—which spawned many saints—nor discard Latin.” Indeed, on 12 June 2015, Roche’s predecessor said: “Contrary to what has sometimes been argued, [at Holy Mass] everyone—both priest and faithful—should turn together towards the East.” Another predecessor of Cardinal Roche was Cardinal Medina-Estévez, who wrote (10 April 2000): “As both positions [ad orientem and versus populum] enjoy the favor of law, legislation may not be invoked to say that one position or the other accords more closely with the mind of the Church.” When the 2002 Missal was promulgated, Roche’s predecessor was asked whether bishops have authority to forbid ad orientem celebration, which the rubrics even today assume as normative. Dated 10 April 2000, the CDW response was unequivocal: “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.” Roche’s predecessor also ruled (Protocol No. 2036/00/L) that, when it comes to ad orientem celebration, the Diocesan Bishop “can neither exclude nor mandate the use of a legitimate option.” [Italics in the original.]
Roche Weighs In • In a letter sent a few days ago, 1 Arthur Cardinal Roche declared:
Strong Words! • Perhaps unwittingly, Cardinal Roche just endorsed—if we take him at his word—the ad orientem statements made by his predecessors (Sarah and Medina). Carefully ponder Roche’s statement: “It is an absurdity to think that the prefect of a dicastery would do anything other than exercise the wishes of the Holy Father…” [For the record, I personally believe Roche’s statement is fallacious. But readers can decide for themselves.]
Miraculous Growth • On 4 December 2021, Cardinal Roche published a letter saying that “Summórum Catholics” should be ostracized and treated like lepers until they learn to prefer the Ordinary Form over the Extraordinary Form. [No explanation was given as to why Roche had mysteriously abandoned the public statements he’d made vis-à-vis the Missale Vetustum.] Much could be written about his shameful letter, and I wrote an open letter with 12 considerations. But at this time, I choose not to speak of it—because I find Roche’s suggestions to be vomitous. But I can say this: I don’t think Roche’s stratagem will be successful. Consider how the “Ordinary Form Catholics” (for lack of a better descriptor) for half a century have been in possession of all the schools, seminaries, churches, property, chanceries, and universities. Nevertheless, the Extraordinary Form has gown by 4,000% each year—and continues to grow. It’s as if the more people like Roche attack the Traditional Latin Mass, the more it grows!
Our Choice • Scandals, clerics who act in hypocritical ways, Catholics who feign sanctity while sinning behind closed doors—one could easily spend a lifetime documenting such things. Indeed, considering how many souls inhabit this earth, 10,000 lifetimes would not be sufficient to document all the sins committed in a single year. Is there a path forward? Should we dedicate the rest of our lives posting snarky messages on Twitter attacking clerics we dislike? Is that what God wants from us? Here at Corpus Christi Watershed, our choice was (and is) to promote the positive and build up the kingdom of God. Let us remember the words of our Savior:
Necésse est enim ut véniant scándala:
verúmtamen væ hómini illi,
per quem scándalum venit.
[Saint Matthew 18:7]
1 The source of this letter is a 17 February 2023 article by Mike Lewis, a former employee of the USCCB. Because Lewis’ website has repeatedly promoted immorality, I will not be providing the URL link.