Attending meetings in Rome

Since my last post, I have been to Ohio and am currently in Rome.

Last Saturday I went to Cleveland to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the monastery of the Poor Clare Sisters. It was the place where I celebrated my first Mass, and that community has always been close to my family. We had a sort of a family reunion at the anniversary.


Prior to the Mass, I visited the Poor Clares with Father Bob McGreevy,
a Capuchin priest involved in priest formation ministry in Cleveland


We celebrated the Anniversary Mass at Our Lady of Angels parish which is very close to the monastery. To the left is Bishop Emeritus of Cleveland Anthony Pilla and to the right retired auxiliary bishop of Cleveland Edward Pevec


These two sisters are the “extern” sisters. They were the only two sisters
who attended the anniversary Mass. They are not cloistered and deal with the external business of the monastery


The Church was full. As a child my parents brought me often to Mass
to this church that was entrusted to the Franciscans.


On the left are the parishes’ two permanent deacons with their wives.
To the far left is Father John Cregan, the current pastor at Our Lady of Angels

The nuns have always been very close to me and to my family, and I was happy to be part of their 100th anniversary celebration for their monastery.

While I was there, I visited the second Poor Clare monastery in Cleveland.

– – –

From Cleveland I flew to Rome at the request of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone to participate in a meeting discussing the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio about the use of the older form of the Latin Mass. There were about 25 bishops there, including the president of Ecclesia Dei Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the prefect of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments Cardinal Francis Arinze, several heads of bishops’ conferences as well as some cardinals and other residential bishops.

They shared with us the Motu Proprio and the Holy Father’s letter explaining it. We also had an opportunity to read the Latin document. We each commented on that, and then the Holy Father came in and shared some of his thoughts with us. The Holy Father is obviously most concerned about trying to bring about reconciliation in the Church. There are about 600,000 Catholics who are participating in the liturgies of the Society of St. Pius X, along with about 400 priests.


A photo with the Holy Father after the meeting

The Holy Father was very clear that the ordinary form of celebrating the Mass will be the new rite, the Norvus Ordo. But by making the Latin Mass more available, the Holy Father is hoping to convince those disaffected Catholics that it is time for them to return to full union with the Catholic Church.

So the Holy Father’s motivation for this decision is pastoral. He does not want this to be seen as establishing two different Roman Rites, but rather one Roman Rite celebrated with different forms. The Motu Propio is his latest attempt at reconciliation.

In my comments at the meeting I told my brother bishops that in the United States the number of people who participate in the Latin Mass even with permission is very low. Additionally, according to the research that I did, there are only 18 priories of the Society of St. Pius X in the entire country. Therefore this document will not result in a great deal of change for the Catholics in the U.S. Indeed, interest in the Latin Mass is particularly low here in New England.

In our archdiocese, the permission to celebrate the Latin Mass has been in place for several years, and I granted permission when I was in Fall River for a Mass down on the Cape. The archdiocesan Mass is now at Immaculate Mary of Lourdes Parish in Newton. It is well attended, and if the need arises for an extension of that we would, of course, address it.

This issue of the Latin Mass is not urgent for our country, however I think they wanted us to be part of the conversation so that we would be able to understand what the situation is in countries where the numbers are very significant. For example, in Brazil there is an entire diocese of 30,000 people that has already been reconciled to the Church.

– – –

Wednesday I had the opportunity to attend the weekly audience with the Holy Father.


Greeting the Holy Father at the Wednesday audience

At his Wednesday audiences, the Holy Father has been giving reflections on different fathers of the Church. This past Wednesday he reflected on St. Cyril of Jerusalem, a fourth-century bishop. I thought you would like to read his address:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Our attention today will be focused on St. Cyril of Jerusalem. His life represents the coming together of two dimensions: on one side, pastoral care and, on the other, involvement in the controversies that weighed upon the Church of the East at that time.

Born in 315 in Jerusalem, or in the surrounding areas, Cyril received a fine literary formation that became the basis of his ecclesiastical knowledge through the study of the Bible.

He was ordained a priest by Bishop Maximus. When Maximus died and was buried, in 348, Cyril was ordained a bishop by Acacius, the influential metropolitan of Caesarea in Palestine, a follower of Arius who was convinced he had an ally in Cyril. Hence, Cyril was suspected to have received the episcopal nomination through concessions given to Arianism.

Cyril soon found himself at odds with Acacius for doctrinal as well as juridical reasons, because Cyril reinstated the autonomy of his own see, separating it from that of the metropolitan of Caesarea. During 20 years or so, Cyril suffered three exiles: the first in 357, by decree of a synod of Jerusalem; a second in 360 by Acacius; and a third in 367 — the longest, lasting 11 years — by Emperor Valens, a follower of Arianism. Not until 378, after the death of the emperor, was Cyril able to resume possession of his see, bringing back unity and peace to the faithful.

Despite certain writings from his day that call into question his orthodoxy, others of the same epoch defend it. Among the most authoritative is the synodal letter of 382, after the ecumenical council of Constantinople in 381, in which Cyril had a significant role. In that letter, sent to the Roman Pontiff, the Eastern bishops officially recognize the absolute authority of Cyril, the legitimacy of his episcopal ordination and the merits of his pastoral service, which death brought to an end in 387.

We have 24 of his celebrated catecheses, which he wrote as a bishop around the year 350. Introduced by a “Procatechesis” of welcome, the first 18 are addressed to catechumens or illuminandi (in Greek “photizomenoi”) and were kept in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher.

The first five deal with the dispositions required to receive baptism, conversion from pagan customs, the sacrament of baptism and the ten dogmatic truths contained in the creed or symbol of faith.

The following catecheses, Nos. 6-18, make up a “continual catechesis” of the Symbol of Jerusalem, which is anti-Arian. Of the last five, Nos. 19-23, the so-called mystagogical ones, the first two develop a commentary on the rites of baptism, the last three deal with confirmation, the Body and Blood of Christ and the Eucharistic liturgy. There is also an explanation of the Our Father (“Oratio Dominica”), which establishes a path of initiation to prayer that develops parallel to the initiation with the three sacraments of baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist.

The foundation of instruction in the Christian faith developed, although amid controversy against the pagans, Judeo-Christians and followers of Manichaeism. The development of the instruction was based on the fulfillment of the promises of the Old Testament, with a language rich with images. Catechesis was an important moment, inserted into the broad context of the entire life, and especially the liturgical life, of the Christian community. Within this maternal womb, the gestation of the future Christian took place, accompanied by the prayer and witness of the brethren.

Taken together, Cyril’s homilies make up a systematic catechesis on the rebirth of the Christian through baptism. To the catechumen, Cyril says: “You have fallen into the nets of the Church (cfr. Matthew 13:47). Let yourself be taken alive: Do not run away, because it is Jesus who takes you to his love, not to give you death but the resurrection after death. You must die and rise again (cfr. Romans 6:11-14). � Die to sin, and live for justice, starting today” (Pro-Catechesis, No. 5).

From a “doctrinal” point of view, Cyril comments on the symbol of Jerusalem with recourse to the use of typology in the Scriptures, in a “symphonic” relationship between the two Testaments, pointing to Christ, the center of the universe. Typology will later be wisely described by Augustine of Hippo with these words: “The New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is revealed in the New” (“De Catechizandis Rudibus,” 4:8).

His catechesis on morality is anchored in profound unity to the doctrinal one: Dogma slowly descends into souls, which are asked to change their pagan ways to adopt new life in Christ, the gift of baptism. The “mystagogical” catechesis, was the height of instruction that Cyril imparted, no longer to catechumens, but to the newly baptized and neophytes during Easter week. He led them to discover the mysteries still hidden in the baptismal rites of the Easter vigil. Enlightened by the light of a faith, deepened in the strength of baptism, the neophytes were finally able to better understand the mysteries, having just celebrated the rites.


There was great enthusiasm at the weekly audience.

In particular, with the neophytes of Greek origin, Cyril focused on visual aspects, most suited to them. It was the passage from rite to mystery, which availed of the psychological effect of surprise and the experience lived in the Easter vigil. Here is a text explaining the mystery of baptism: “You were immersed in water three times and from each of the three you re-emerged, to symbolize the three days that Christ was in the tomb, imitating, that is, with this rite, our savior, who spent three days and three nights in the womb of the earth (cfr. Matthew 12:40).

“With the first emersion from the water you celebrated the memory of the first day that Christ spent in the tomb, with the first immersion you witnessed to the first night spent in the tomb: As he who in the night is unable to see, and he who in the day enjoys the light, you too experience the same thing. While at first you were immersed in the night and unable to see anything, reemerging, you found the fullness of day. Mystery of death and of birth, this water of salvation was for you a tomb and mother. � For you � the time to die coincides with the time to be born: One is the moment that achieved both events” (“Second Mystagogical Catechesis,” No. 4).

The mystery to behold is God’s design; this is achieved through the salvific actions of Christ in the Church. The mystagogical dimension complements that of symbols, expressing the lived spiritual experience that they cause to “explode.” From St. Cyril’s catechesis, based on the three components described previously — doctrinal, moral and mystagogical — there results a global catechesis in the Spirit. The mystagogical dimension brings about the synthesis of the first two, directing them to the sacramental celebration, in which the salvation of the entire person is realized.

It is an integral catechesis, which — involving the body, soul and spirit — remains emblematic of the catechetical formation of today’s Christians.

The audience was very large. Some of the people were in St. Peter�s Basilica and the rest filled the audience hall. So he actually went to both places. In attendance was an archdiocesan group from Xaverian High School in Westwood.

– – –

On Thursday evening, the vespers were offered in preparation for the Feasts of Sts. Peter and Paul.


The statue of St. Paul stands outside the basilica


The tomb of St. Paul is located under the baldacchino


The relic of the chains of St. Paul


The artwork of the dome is magnificent

Rome is what it is because it is the city sanctified by the martyrs Peter and Paul. These two men were chosen by the Lord for a very special mission in the history of salvation. Certainly St. Paul being the apostle of the gentiles, the author of so many epistles and the one who established the Church in so many different parts of the world beyond the Holy Land is a very, very significant figure. Additionally, his epistles are read each day at Mass, and his theology is so important for an understanding of the meaning of the Gospels.

Usually the vespers are held at the Basilica of St. Peter, but on Thursday the Holy Father held it at the tomb of St. Paul. There he declared a Pauline year in preparation of the synod on the Holy Scriptures. This Pauline year will underscore the importance of Paul for Catholics throughout the world. It will also raise people�s awareness of the upcoming synod.


The Holy Father celebrating Vespers

Today, the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the new archbishops from throughout the world assemble in Rome and receive the pallium from the hands of the Holy Father. There is one archbishop from the United States, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky.


Archbishop Kurtz kissed the Holy Father’s ring at the Pallium Mass

– – –

A blessed feast of St. Peter and Paul to you all!

I’ll be taking some summer vacation over the next couple of weeks so I will not be able to make my usual posts.

I have asked some of our newly ordained priests share their experiences since their ordination with you until I return.

Yours in Christ,

Cardinal Sean

47 thoughts on “Attending meetings in Rome”

  1. Dear Cardinal O’Malley,
    It’s terrific that you blog, thank you for doing that. Regarding the Tridentine Mass, I think you underestimate the desire for this mass. I live in Lowell, and while I won’t drive into Newton to go to Mass every Sunday, I’ll gladly/joyfully/eagerly attend a Latin rite mass if I can drive there within 20-30 minutes. By the way, I’m 50 years old, and I have memories of mass being a solemn, sacred rite when I was very young. The NO mass celebrated now is frequently casual, irreverent and utterly uninspiring. I’m delighted by Pope Benedict’s motu propio decree, and I eagerly await its full implementation in Massachusetts. God bless!

  2. Today’s Globe has a big story about the governor’s “life science” plan. Not one line in that story represents the Catholic view that what they are planning is literally diabolical—the wilful destruction of human life. Please come out and say something in response to this story.

  3. Thank you for all you have done in sheperding us over the years. You must know about the International Eucharistic Cogress bieing held in Quebec City next June. I have just come back from there and they are doing alot of praying and hands on preperation for this great event. It is coinsiding with the 400th anniversary of the fouding of the city and the archdiocese and will have a beaytiful youth component with it with available housing with local families. As the oldest archdiocese in North America and the Boston archdiocese celebrating its 200th anninversary I think it would be wonderful for you to leed a Boston pilgrimage to the Eucharistic Congress. It is a providential God-incidence that both dioceses a celebrating notable anniversaries. They are hoping that Pope Benedict will come for the congress. You can go to for all the info about the congress which will include a five day theological conference at Laval University before the congress begins. Thanks again and may the light of Christ continue to be reflected in your face. Adios Ronald St. Martin

  4. I want to chime in here as well. Thank you Cardinal, for commenting on the MP. While the expansion of the “extraordinary” tridentine mass in and of itself cannot effect a springtime in the Church, its solemnity and reverenence will assumably pull the new mass gravitationally away from relentless innovation and towards the rich liturgical and theological heritage which has been partially forgotten in recent years. Priests need no longer feel they are being inconsistent with Vat ll, if they are drawn towards tradition and even the old mass (or other sacraments in the old rite). It will be easier to gauge whether innovations grow out of continuity with catholic theology and practice, or whether perhaps ought to be discarded as ruptured from tradition.

    The number of attendees of the TLM in Boston is small but its members tend to know and cherish their faith deeply. Alot of the parishioners at Mary Immaculate (formerly Most Holy Trinity) attending the latin mass are entire families incuding numerous young children, who will tend to be well versed in their knowedge of catholic belief. Of course a typical cross-section of Boston catholics will not similarly exhibit much knowledge of their faith. It seems to me that such knowledge will become increasingly significant as secularism continues to encroach upon the rights of the catholic church. and christians in general. Unless equipped to fight against the onslaughts of the enemy our young people will lose the most precious gift imaginable; their faith. The latin mass community though numerically small is large in potential, growing by leaps and bounds, most importantly it will not crumble when the going gets tough.

    God Bless


  5. My post disappeared as well.

    Your Eminence,

    I’d like to comment on the attendence levels of TLM in the Boston archdiocese. I live in MetroWest and have a difficult time making a regular trip to Newton and/or Boston. Please do not take my lack of attendence as a sign that I’m not interested in attending TLM or a Latin NO Mass.

    How do we, who cannot attend the one TLM in Boston regularly, express our interest in attending a Latin Mass in our own area?

    Thanks! 🙂

  6. Cardinal O’Malley, as someone who has gone to the Tridentine Mass since 1950 and who had to travel up to two hundred miles on a Sunday with six children, I am grateful to the Holy Father for allowing us to worship God in this manner in peace, locally.

  7. Dear Cardinal Sean, I read with great interest your Blog. I particularly enjoy ur words of wisdom and deep spirituality which are helping me at this moment in time. Please pray for me as I have been out of Ministry for 3 yrs now but have been receiving spiritual direction in that time which has been a bedrock of stability for me in these choppy waters, but my focus was on the Lord as I cried out to him for direction. I hope to enter Benedictine life by the end of the year and if not then certainly by next year. I simply ask for your prayers which would truly be a blessing to me at this time. Respectfully yours.
    Tony Conlan. Ireland.
    Baile Dhia ar an Obair. Irish, meaning the blessing of God on your work.

  8. Your Eminence Cardinal O’Malley,
    Please do not remove my post,for the fourth time.
    Summorum Pontificum has been issued and the Classical Rite mass will be requested by thousands of people in your diocese and all over the United States.
    I pray to the Holy Ghost that you give full assistance to the pastors and priests of your diocese of Boston who will need to learn the Missal of Blessed John XIII in order to offer this most sacred of mass’s.
    Thank you Holy Father and God bless you Cardinal O’Malley.
    Deo Gratias,Deo Gratias.
    Yours in the Crucified Christ,
    Dan and Elena Hunter from Hillsbourough NC.

  9. For some reason, my previous post disappeared. Oh well!

    The MP has been announced, the TLM has been freed and now the real work must begin.

    Thank you, your Eminence for posting on this important document.

    Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis

  10. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Thank you so much for your blog. When I visit it, I am brought back to the wonderful few months I spent at St. Fidelis in the fall of 1960 (I was a minim when you were a junior). I left before 2nd semester, so I’m sure glad one of us made it! 🙂

    During my pre-seminary retreat, I remember how I excited I was when talking to dear old Ft. Bede that one day we’d experience the Mass in English (he wasn’t sure we ever would). Later, I followed the Council with great anticipation, and have thanked the Holy Spirit for His guidance ever since in bringing us Sacrosanctum Concilium.

    I am currently reading both Archbishop Bugnini’s book on the reform of the liturgy as well as the Holy Father’s new book, “Jesus of Nazareth,” in an attempt to engage in a spiritual and intellectual way the tension that separates the progressive and traditional elements of the flock. I am praying that the motu proprio of this deeply spiritual vicar of Christ will help heal this tension and bring us closer together.

    I am also heartened that the Church has among its princes someone like yourself to show us — in the simple, but beautiful habit of your Capuchin order, and its touches of the resplendent colors of your office — that we too can combine the particular outer forms that we cherish in such a way that the charity in our hearts toward one another will shine more brilliantly than anything that could separate us.

  11. Spero, come lei parla italiano 🙂 se non allora i speek engl. 🙂
    voglio salutare….. mi piace veder un cardinale in habit-talare, sei fedele a suo ordine. Bravo!!! Tantti saluti! Sono novizio salesiano!!!! Adesso sono a Torino, sono stato a audencia con Santo Padre a maggio…….. stato bello…….. Dio ti benedica!!!!! M.

  12. Dear Eminence,
    You are very brave to have a blog! Thank you for your report on the MT. Once it is out, you will find the Traditional Mass to be quite well-attended, even in New England. The reason there appears to be “not much interest” right now, is the unfortunate state of the souls as a whole there. The Church leaders need to reawaken their sheep with orthodoxy, not innovative tricks and banal music. Our cardinals and bishops need to return to behaving as apostles and not CEOs & managers. It is never going to be easy when one follows int he footsteps of Christ and lays down his life for his sheep! But, the spiritual rewards and perks are awesome!
    God Bless you!
    Maureen Braun

  13. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Thank you for continuing to pastor beyond the borders of Boston through your blog. It’s been a while since I’ve made it over here, but once again having visited, I have find myself renewed and refreshed.

    Your explanation of the meeting with the Bishops and the Holy Father was very informative for me and contextualized the pastoral considerations in very meaningful ways. I really do understand the MT more clearly now and it will help me as a member of my parish liturgy committee and within my community and other faith circles.

    Blessings on your vacation! May it be a time of rest, relaxation, and renewal. And many blessings, too, on the Poor Clare Nuns and Sisters of Cleveland.


  14. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Greetings from Cincinnati! What great photographs! You are certainly a blessing to the Sisters and to all of us. We hope your vacation was restful. Please keep our family, the residents, and priests of Madonna House in your prayers as we head to Combermere, ON, to help lead a Cana retreat. We all miss you and are grateful that you look so well.

    In the Peace of Christ,

    Fall River ’93

  15. Happy birthday, Eminence! I thank you for making the TLM readily available to persons in your diocese. However, I would point out that even if the decision contained in the MP is aimed at reconciling Catholics who have separated themselves from the Holy Father because of the promulgation of the Mass of Paul VI, allowing broader use of the TLM can only help teach Catholic Gen-Xers–like myself–about the wonderful liturgical heritage that existed before 1970.

  16. Your Eminence.
    It was so nice to see you wearing the cassock and its accoutrements, indicating that you are a Cardinal, meeting with Benedict XVI. Was it at the motu proprio where you allude to the fact that ‘not many Masses are said in Latin’ (a loose quote)in Boston. Of course there are not many Masses said in Latin,my dear Cardinal. Would the newest of the members in the line of Melchisedech begin their Mass with ” Et intro ibo ad altare Dei”….Ad Deum qui laetificat, juventutem meam. Most of all I, from Port Orange, Fl. appreciate your divesting, just for a short time, your Capuchin habit (not a bad thing to do) to appear, with humility, like the rest of the Cardinals. I find it awesome, that in the picture which I see in front of me; that Benedict XVI and you are the only two who are dressed differently. Maybe there is something in the wearing of canonical garb which escapes me. You, My dear Cardinal really do exhibit, what my very dear friend, Cardinal Keeler, said to me, when I mentioned your name at his Residence in Baltimore. Eddie, Sean is a very holy man. My wife Marie, and I agree.

    While we have a new Bishop here, in Port Orange Florida, we get the Pilot each week as we watch the goings on of the Archdi of Boston. Why be interested in Boston? ..Easy, I had been a member of ‘it’ from 1926 to 2005. Blessings and Love. Eddie and Marie Leahy…..parishes of St. Ann, St. Joseph Somerville; Immaculate Conception, Cambridge; St. Mary, Hull; Immaculate Conception, Weymouth (24 yrs), St. Clare, Braintree, 6 years and now Our Lady of Hope, Port Orange. Florida.
    God Bless Cardinal Sean and all his fellow priests, who continue to follow their Bishop in Boston and Rome. I must add that Fr.John Crispo, a close friend of mine from grade 1, St. Ann’s School until his death , a short time ago always stated a simple Faith…God is Good, Let us continue to praise the Lord.
    My prayer, at age 81 is the same. Let us continue to Praise and Hope in the Lord.

    God Bless the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston and our Beloved Pope, Benedict XVI. Deo Gratias.

  17. To Geoff Egan, concerning the ladies behind the cage. Actually, they are cloistered nuns. The grille is to protect them from males and females alike. They carry out their life of service to the Church through cloistered prayer, and as part of this they take a vow of claustration. They do not go out, nor do they have sustained contact with outsiders, regardless of gender. The grille is something that they have erected; they are hardly confined against their will.

    To His Eminence: Happy Birthday, and thank you for news of the Motu Proprio. I assure you that many faithful catholics are eager for this document and for a new flourishing of our liturgical tradition!

  18. Wow, its very unusual to hear about something like the MP from someone who was actually there instead of the secular news media. I’m very very happy to not have to listen with my ‘filter’ on, trying to figure out what really happened & what the intent of the Holy Father really is etc. This blog is really a blessing, even though I know it must be time consuming for you & your staff. Thank you!

  19. Dear Cardinal Sean, A belated birthday greeting and have a wonderful vacation!! Looking forward to your blog on your return. Thanks again for your prayers during my surgery…they worked! Shirley St.John

  20. Cardinal Sean,
    May God continue to be with you in all that you do. Blessings on you at your birthday. Enjoy your vacation!

  21. Your Eminence

    The only reason I have not attended a Latin Mass is because the closest one is over an hour away and I just don’t want to go into Boston on a Sunday morning. I have been waiting for the Latin Mass since I came back into the church in 2001. I am not old and sentamental. I am 39 years old and would love to celebrate the Mass that was celebrated for more than 1000 years. I do believe that the new Mass is valid but it leaves much to be desired especially when you have liturgical abuses that just leave you shaking your head wondering what these priests are thinking and what they themselves believe. Thank God for Pope Benedict and his bravery maybe now the Church will get back to being the Church and not a club. By the way I am part of the Archdiocese of Boston (Lowell to be exact) and the want for the Latin Mass here is great we just don’t have access to one that’s convenient and therefore are unable to attend. Once the Latin is available again I will bet that you see the numbers soar.

    God Bless You and Happy Birthday.

  22. Your Eminence,

    I am a young adult who lives within the Archdiocese of Boston. I would love to attend the celebration of the traditional Mass but can not make the Mass in Newton. My parish priest would not celebrate the traditional Mass even though many other young adults in the parish would rather attend a traditional liturgy. Allowing greater access to the traditional Mass would be a great blessing. I pray that the Bishops would do the right thing and allow a priest to say the traditional Mass without any legislative hindrance. I also pray that you would do the right thing, and train your seminarians in both forms of the liturgy.

  23. Your Eminence! A couple of points. . .

    Firstly, after all the fuss and botheration about the Moito Proprio, do you think it actually matters? After all, the old mass was very permissable with the permission of the local
    Bishop-are there that many occasions where a local Bishop actually forbade this mass?

    Secondly, how many priests are even able to serve this mass? You should know (being a Bishop and all)-aside from the Jesuits, and perhaps the various orders of St. Francis, and some Dominicans, who knows enough Latin to do this well? I hope you agree that the important thing is that the mass is done with integrity and dignity-regardless of language.

    Thirdly, do you really think the first photo on this blog entry is wise? What do we have here-the most intelligent ladies of the diocese being shown to be confined behind a cage, lest they infect the really important (male) officials of the diocese? This is not an image that is useful when I try to talk to my neices about the Church.

    Finally-and this is perhaps not something to be done on your blog-but I don’t know anyone save the Cardinal
    Archbishop of Boston who can answer this question. To whit-what is this about the pallium being besowed on “new” Metroplitan Archbishops? What i’m thinking of is about our highly regarded former Archbishop of Edmonton (a Metroplitan See) getting I guess a new pallium for his promotion to Toronto. I actually know that they are only to be worn in the Metro’s own see, but given that they are identical, why would one get a new one?

    I am perhaps a bit too concerned with protocol -but I really wonder. This is the sort of question you’re going to get, your Eminence, when you’re the only Cardinal who has the guts to make a blog!

    For which I cannot thank you enough. And if you don’t know (and even Cardinals can’t know everything!)-perhaps you have a priest well versed in canon law who can answer this trivial question?

  24. Your Eminence,

    Belated birthday greeetings.

    I wish to take exception to those who regard the Missal of 1970 as the isolated cause of lowered Mass attendance. Doubtless the manner in which the sacred liturgy has been celebrated at times over the past 37 years has made matters for the Church worse rather than better. But in 1958 Mass attendance was at a high of 74 percent. Before the Council itself a slight decrease had taken place. By 1965 that figure had dropped to 67 percent, and by 1969, before the Missal of Paul VI was even issued, it had dropped to 58 percent, a 16 percent total drop in less than 12 years. Since 1970 we have witnessed an additional 18 percent drop in weekly Mass attendance.

    Like I said, obviously many of the intended fruits of the liturgical renewal have been shortchanged or down right jettisoned by poor liturgical celebrations and sacramental catechesis. But we already had significant problems by 1970. It’s time to look at the entire situation and work towards improvement, always trusting in the Lord and his promise for his Church: his one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

    I believe the wisdom of the Holy Father, that of maintaining one single Roman Rite with two essential forms of celebration, will serve well the liturgical life of the Church. I am hopeful both forms will sustain and inform each other. Certainly the manner in which the “ordinary” form of the Roman Rite is celebrated needs much improvement.

  25. Your Eminence,

    Thank you very much for giving us the word about the impending Motu Proprio which will derestrict the “Traditional Latin Mass”.

    I and many others await the fruits of this wonderful news.

    –Guy Power

  26. Eminence!

    God Bless you and the Poor Clare sisters. They are a wonder indeed!

    I am glad to see that the Holy Father is trying to heal this rift with the SSPX. I would love to see so many priests (400) come back into the church. What a need that would fill…especially here in New England.

    I think the MP will also enrich the NO mass. I do not fear, as some who attend the NO have told me, that their churches will empty in favor of the TLM. I think improvements to the NO will be the result of the MP and that the entire church will benefit. All Catholics stand to gain from the Holy Father’s reconcilliation gesture.

    I think the springtime that JPII told us about is upon us!


  27. Your Eminence:
    Thank you for the wonderful pictures of the Poor Clare sisters. My children love to see sisters in full habit.

    Please do not underestimate the desire for the traditional rite in the United States. There are many of us, born well after the Council, that feel deprived of our Catholic liturgical and cultural heritage. We are waiting eagerly for a chance to worship regularly in the traditional rite and have great hope that this will bring a greater sense of the sacred back to the celebration of the new rite as well. Please do not deprive your people of this opportunity.

    May God bless and protect you.

  28. Your Eminence:

    Thank you for a wonderful site that provides a unique perspective for Catholics around the country. In the days of the 24-hour news cycle and, to some extent, manipulation of the news by the popular media, it is refreshing to hear about Church issues and Church business from a respected, faithful Prince of the Church.

    May God bless you and keep you safe during your travels.

  29. Your Eminence,

    Thank you for the report on the Motu Proprio. What wonderful news for the Church. The Ordinary and Extraordinary celebration of the Mass will enrich the life of the Church.

    Will Riley

  30. Your Eminence,

    I was interested to read your comments on your meeting with the Holy Father and bishops recently in Rome, concerning the forthcoming Motu Proprio. You have done much good in facilitating Traditional Rite masses in your diocese, and I am sure that those attending those masses are very grateful. I suppose you are right in much of what you say about the MP in your blog : but I think that the MP will help fulfill an increasing pastoral need in the church, for an increasing number of individuals. I suppose the liturgical issues surrounding the MT – for instance, the beauty of the Traditional Rite (i.e. the ‘extraordinary’ Roman rite) the revision of the rites after Vatican II and badly celebrated Novus Ordo masses – are more wider and, in many ways, important than the number of individuals who attend the Traditional Rite maases. I hope that the MP will help the so-called ‘reform-of-the-reform’ of the Novus Ordo (which we use in my abbey ) and that the ‘stigma’ over many of those who find the Traditional Rite an aid to their participation in the life of the Church and their spiritual lives, will finally be lifted. The MP may help the reconciliation of the SSPX, but we will have to wait and see.

    With prayers and greetings,

    Yours obediently in Christ,

    Fr. Anselm.

  31. Your Eminence,
    Thank you for serving the Church and devoting your life to her — your faithful, whether aware or not, are better for it. Keep watching over the ‘little flock!’ Happy birthday.

  32. Your Eminence,

    Thank you for your comments on your meetings in Rome and the beautiful pictures. The picture of St. Paul Outside the Walls, in particular, brought back memories of my honeymoon, as my husband Robert and I visited it. (We also had the privilege of meeting the late Holy Father, John Paul II, as sposi novelli, or new spouses, during a Wednesday general audience.)

    I am intrigued by your comment that interest in the Traditional Latin Mass is low in New England. As the leader of Una Voce Boston and a member of the Traditional Mass movement for almost twelve years, I sense a lot of “pent up demand” for this form of worship. One leader in the movement reported that even last fall, as the first stories about the motu proprio were appearing, that callers to a talk radio show on which he was a guest felt that they were, for the first time in decades, able to talk about their desire to attend the Traditional Latin Mass. We hope that the new motu proprio will give the faithful a sense that they are able to attend what will now be labeled the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite and become better Catholics as they encounter Christ in the Mass with renewed devotion, that the number of such faithful will increase substantially, and this will also “spill over” into increased attendance at the normative rite.

    May Our Lord and Our Lady bless your vacation.

  33. “only 18 priories of the SSPX”

    … And 103 chapels in 38 states, 25 schools, a college, 4 retreat houses, a publishing house, 63 priests, 64 seminarians, 11 brothers, 24 sisters, 803 third-order members, thousands and thousands of parishioners.

    And what about the FSSP, which is not even free to open chapels in many parishes?

    And what about the ICKSP?

    Your Eminence,
    I find it astounding that you are not aware of the increasing interest in the traditional mass and sacraments among young people in this country. It is true that there is no mass movement in favor of the traditional rite, but one would hardly expect such a mass movement since the traditional rite has been vilified and suppressed for decades. Let us wait for 10 years after the Motu Proprio and see if things have changed, I suspect they will have.

  34. My Dear Eminense,

    My concern over the Latin Mass is … who is going to celebrate it.. How many Priests in America could ??

    ron shaplehy

  35. I am glad to hear about the Moto Proprio from you. I have been praying for a long time for this to happen and am thankful that it is surely coming.

    Thank the Lord…
    Richard Volk Diocese of Albany

  36. Your Eminence,

    Peace be with you! I’m a regular reader and enjoy your blog. This posting was especially wonderful because of the timeliness! I feel as though I am in Rome! Thank you! Enjoy your vacation, I think having the newly ordained fill in will be a very special experience.

    Faithfully yours in Christ,
    ~Jake Wood

  37. Your Eminence,

    As a young American, I must disagree with your characterization of the demand for the Traditional Latin Mass. This issue is at the forefront of orthodox Catholicism today, particularly among the young Catholics of the John Paul II generation. I was born long after the Council, and have felt deprived of my liturgical heritage. I am not alone.

  38. Thank you, Your Eminence, for your receptive ear at the meeting on Wednesday with the Holy Father. The presence of the classical form of the Roman rite will enrich the liturgical experience of the Church.

  39. Sir:

    I am happy that you were able to meet with the Holy Father, but your implications that the impending motu proprio is meant primarily to effect a reconciliation with the Society of St. Pius X doesn’t quite “jive” with the Holy Father’s prior comments on the matter. I await the actual text itself.

    For years prior to his elevation, the Holy Father spoke (effectively) of the unprecedented (and, by implication, imprudent) imposition of the new rite. That is an issue not solely for the SSPX, nor solely for “traditionalist” Catholics, but for the entire Church herself. The creation of this “New Mass” and its pressured, top-down imposition on the faithful was as unprecedented in Church history as it was breathtaking in its reliance on raw power. It is an authentic miracle that a more significant schism did not result.

    It seems clear that the Holy Father envisions the Rite of St. Pius V and the Rite of Paul VI co-existing in a symbiotic fashion. In this manner, the rites can instruct each other.

  40. Your Eminence,

    while it is already past midnight, may I still wish you all the best and God’s abundant blessing on the occasion of your Eminence’s birthday? May He preserve and strengthen you for His service.
    May I also suggest, regarding this posting, that the Holy Father, by making the Classical Roman Mass more available, is not only reaching out to the faithful who are presently involved with the Society of St. Pius X, but also, as has already been publicly stated by both Cardinals Castrilln and Bertone, endeavoring to rediscover the treasure of the liturgical heritage of the Church, to foster a hermeneutic of continuity, and to refocus – in all of the Roman Rite – our sense of what the liturgy is all about, preparing what he has termed a “reform of the reform”.

  41. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    I am so pleased you were able to be in Rome to speak with the Pope on the Motu Proprio on the Traditional Mass. I believe you underestimate the power of and the latent desire for this Mass in the United States. Most people have not even heard that it is an option. The Masses I have attended have been packed with young, devout familes. The seminaries that train priests for the Traditional rite are full. Wherever the Traditional Mass is freely offered, it is well atended. I myself feel such a spiritual lift from a single Traditional Mass, that I feel spiritually empowered throughout the entire week. The fact is, since the Novus Ordo was introduced, Mass attendance has decreased by half in this country, and by 80 to 90 % in Europe and Canada. Even in Boston, Catholic marriages are down 60% in the last 20 years! If the Traditional Mass can bring them back, why not try it in most parishes in the archdiocese and see what happens? At least it’s a talking point for inviting someone to come back to the Church. On this feast of St. Peter and Paul, with its focus on evagelization, let’s do everything we can to evangelize our own. If that means having two forms of the Mass as the norm, then so be it! If we are seeking unity with Protestants, then why not with Traditionalists? And don’t underestimate our numbers. We are truly everywhere… we just have not been invited to come out and join the celebration. Now it is our turn to invite the rest of the Church to join us in the traditonal form of worship which nourished so many saints for so many centuries. Please let the Spirit work freely in our midst and support the flowering of Tradition in our parishes!

  42. Your Eminence,

    Thank you for your very interesting account of Wednesday’s meeting with the Holy Father. I am also grateful to you for your willingness to be available to address the needs of TLM attendees in your archdiocese.

    I’m wondering: Is there not also another element to this MP, that being the reforming influence which the Traditional Mass might have on the current Missal?

    Thank you, and may God prosper your work.

  43. Thank you so much for presenting a picture (and captions) of my new archbishop receiving the pallium in Rome today. As archdiocesan archivist and priest-pastor in this archdiocese, I am so pleased to see Archbishop Kurtz receive the honor due him. Although it is difficult to watch Archbishop Thomas Kelly go into retirement, I am so happy to have such a good person as Joseph Edward Kurtz becoming only the 9th bishop of our 200 year old archdiocese. And as Boston would know well, we were founded the same day; April 8, 1808 along with New York and Philadelphia. So I say: Happy 200th Birthday Boston!

  44. I would like to send to you my regards and wish you a happy birthday!
    I hope that you enjoy your vacations and expect to hear about you soon.

Comments are closed.

June 2007