[Mar. 12, 2023] Back on February 27, Cardinal Blaise Cupich published an article in America Magazine entitled "Critics of Pope Francis' Latin Mass Restrictions Should Listen to JPII." In this essay the good Cardinal accused traditional Catholics who resist Traditionis custodes of a plethora of faults—ingratitude to the generosity of Benedict XVI and John Paul II, undermining the See of Peter, resistance to the Holy Spirit, and, that most tiresome canard, rejection of the Vatican II. He attempts to tie embrace of the Novus Ordo with acceptance of Vatican II.
It is an interesting piece that aptly demonstrates how out of touch with reality Cupich is about the entire liturgical question. The article is a lament for the refusal of traditional Catholics to accept Traditionis custodes with sufficient docility. Cupich not only says we must accept the suppression of the old Mass, but even thank God for it!—quoting John Paul II, he says, "We should give thanks to God for that movement of the Holy Spirit in the Church which the liturgical renewal represents.” Obeying isn't even enough; the only appropriate response Cupich will countenance is "Thank you sir, may I have another?"
Cupich thus views trad resentment about the motu proprio as unfounded. He wants us to understand that it's for our own good, and most importantly, that we should not assume there is any ulterior motive in Francis' actions beyond the good of souls. Traditionalists should not feel like the pope is out to get them; he merely wants us to reap the rich fruits of the Conciliar reform. Cupich says:
My point is simply this; no one should now suggest that Pope Francis (or, for that matter, Cardinal Roche) has any motivation in issuing “Traditionis Custodes” and authorizing the “Rescriptum” other than the desire to remain faithful to the promptings of the Holy Spirit that gave rise to the teachings and reforms of the council.
- That the "pastoral objectives" of Benedict XVI and John Paul II had been "seriously disregarded" by traditionalists who were making a "distorted use" of the grants of the two pontiffs.
- That the magnanimity of the popes was "exploited to widen the gaps, reinforce the divergences, and encourage disagreements that injure the Church, block her path, and expose her to the peril of division."
- That the "words and attitudes" of traditional Catholics evidences a "close connection between the choice of celebrations according to the liturgical books prior to Vatican Council II and the rejection of the Church and her institutions"; i.e., he thinks the TLM is a breeding ground for dissent, which is manifest in the "words and attitudes" of traditional Catholics.
The liturgical renewal is the most visible fruit of the whole work of the Council...For many people the message of the Second Vatican Council has been experienced principally through the liturgical reform.
That the Novus Ordo is not the "Mass of the Council" is also disproven by the existenc of an actual Mass of the Council, the so-called "Missal of 1965." This Missal was a kind of modified 1962 Ordo Missae that incorporated the changes specifically called for in Sacrosanctum concilium. You can read about the Missal of 1965 in this article by Msgr. Charles Pope ("A Look at the 'Actual Mass' of Vatican II: the 1965 Missal," Jan. 2015). The Novus Ordo actually supplanted the real Mass of the Council.
Cupich again returns to his theme of the Novus Ordo as fidelity to the Holy Spirit:
Like St. John Paul II, Pope Francis takes seriously that the restoration of the liturgy was the result of the movement of the Holy Spirit. It was not about the imposition of an ideology on the church by any one person or group
This is simply unhistorical. As we known, Annibale Bugnini and his associates were deeply ideological about all things pertaining to the liturgy. The Novus Ordo Missae was crafted specifically to exemplify the anthropocentric and latitudinarian ideology of the reformers. Furthermore, it is wrong to say it was not imposed by any "one person or group" when it was literally the brainchild of Bugnini and the Consilium. The way Cupich speaks, you would think the Novus Ordo descended from heaven fully, leaping into the Council chambers to the universal acclimation of the bishops.
He then calls for "acceptance of the restored liturgy" by all Catholics. This word acceptance is so meaningless, as it is never defined. What does it mean to "accept" the liturgy? To merely accept that it is valid? To accept that it is the unique expression of the Roman rite? To accept that it was necessary? To accept that it was a a good idea? To accept that it is the future of the Catholic liturgy? To accept that it is superior to the Traditional Latin Mass? To accept that the pope had authority to promulgate it? What exactly do you mean by "acceptance of the restored liturgy"? Of course, Cupich doesn't say. You see this all the time when normies discuss traditionalism; they speak of the need to "accept" the Mass and stop "rejecting" Vatican II but never seem to consider the variable meanings of these words. I think this is probably intentional. Were these words interpreted strictly, it would be plain that almost all trads already "accept" Vatican II, and hence the critique of trads as dissenters would be deflated; were these words intepreted broadly, however, it would impose a burden of assent so heavy as to be patently ridiculous. Hence, the words are never defined, with the result that even if trads cannot be proven disloyal, they can at least have the stench of disloyalty on them.
Let us consider the sacraments of priestly prayers, which having been handed down by the apostles are celebrated uniformly throughout the whole world and in every Catholic church so that the law of praying might establish the law of believing (ut legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi).
I wonder at times whether men like Cupich are truly so unaware, or if these sorts of quotes are intentional. What irony in citing Propser's admonition to retain rites that have been "handed down by the apostles" as an argument to embrace the Novus Ordo, which was a rejection of what had been handed down! Its citation is positively Orwellian:
The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink. (1984, Part II, Chap. IX)
We should name it for what it is: resistance to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and the undermining of genuine fidelity to the See of Peter.