Tuesday, July 25, 2017


This is a portion of an article from Praytell. Press HERE for the full article. It is a commentary on work done by The New Liturgical Movement. The so-called pre-Vatican II liturgical movement spearheaded by the much maligned Bugnini is evident in bishops prior to the council wanting to promote a liturgical movement that Pope Paul VI's post Vatican II committee called consillium would accomplish. It has Bugnini written all over it and would be the thread pulled on the liturgy that would lead to only 12% of Catholics in some dioceses actually participating in the Mass today. In other words in some dioceses, there is absolutely no actual participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by 88% of Catholics, compared to almost 95% of Catholics actually participating in the Mass prior to and up to and shortly after Vatican II!

From Praytell:

In addition to the official preparatory (pre-Vatican II) document on the Liturgy, the online treasury includes many of the vota, or responses, from bishops around the world, who were asked what they would like to see the Council discuss. And it provides much of the Analyticus Conspectus; in this collection, as Matthew notes, “all the responses of the bishops, prelates and religious are distilled into 9,348 brief propositions, organised by subject, with each proposition having one or more diocese/religious order cited in the footnotes.”
I found these propositions fascinating, because they again reflect a combination of the “conservative” and the “progressive”. The Conspectus makes it clear that many changes to the liturgy were in the mind of the worldwide Church long before the Consilium started its work, indeed well before the beginning of preparatory work for the Council.
[As with the translations, I have selected material rapidly and not systematically, and I welcome corrections and challenges.]
Quidam in administratione sacramentorum neglegunt « caeremonias secundarias » utpote non ad validitatem necessarias. Ideoque Concilium affirmet praeter efficacitatem signi attendendum esse ad significationem ipsam secundum multiplices sensus in signis sacramentalibus contentos.
Some people, as they administer the sacraments, regard “secondary ceremonies” as of no consequence because they are not necessary for validity. Accordingly, the Council insists that, beyond the mere effectiveness of any sign, it is important to pay attention to its deeper meaning, exploring the many senses entailed in a sacramental sign. 
Permittatur laicis designatis administratio Baptismi.
Designated laypeople should be permitted to administer Baptism.
Permittatur laicis designatis S. Communionis distributio.
Designated laypeople should be permitted to distribute Holy Communion.
Aliqui laici etiam uxorati, auxiliares cleri in statu quodam clericali constituantur.
Some lay people, even married ones, should be established as auxiliaries to the clergy, and given a standing that is to some extent clerical.
Si diaconatus restauratio non convenit, concedantur sororibus missionariis facultates convenientes circa praedicationem, conservationem, distributionem Eucharistiae, etc.
If it is not practical to restore the diaconate, missionary sisters should be allowed to preach, reserve the Sacrament, distribute Holy Communion, etc. 
Agatur de potestatibus quae dari possint mulieribus (praesertim monialibus) in cultu divino.
Consideration should be given to the roles that women – especially monastics – could be given in divine worship.
In administratione sacramentorum adhiberi possit lingua vernacula, exceptis verbis quae « sacramenti formam » exprimunt.
The vernacular should be allowed in the administration of the sacraments, except for the words which convey “the form of the sacrament”. 
Baptismus in pluribus sectis acatholicis invalidus est ex intentionis defectu, ergo, iudicio Ordinarii, baptizari debent omnes ex his sectis neo-conversi.
In many non-Catholic sects, Baptism is invalid because it lacks the right intention; therefore, based on the judgement of the Ordinary, all who convert from these sects should be baptised. 
Ritus Baptismi parvulorum, praesertim quoad primam partem, notabiliter brevietur.
The rite of infant baptism, especially the first part, should be greatly abbreviated.
Abrogentur infusiones salis et salivae.
The imposition of salt and saliva should be removed from the baptismal rite.
Agatur de usu et abusu S. Communionis.
Consideration should be given to the use and abuse of Holy Communion.
Osculum anuli Episcopi ante Communionem supprimatur. 
The kissing of a bishop’s ring before Communion should be eliminated from the rite.
Catholici, in pagis sine ecclesia et sacerdotibus catholicis, recipere possint S. Communionem in ecclesiis acatholicorum. 
Catholics in regions lacking a Catholic church and Catholic priests should be able to receive Holy Communion in non-Catholic churches.
Liceat S. Communionem ministrare, ut in primis christianismi diebus, sine tot requisitis secundariis ut v. g. altari, ieiunio, paramentis, mappis, cereis, etc. 
It should be allowed to celebrate Communion as the early Christians did, without all the extras – for example, an altar, fasting, altar cloths, candles, altar adornments, etc.
Maior fiat simplificatio legum circa ieiunium eucharisticum. 
Rules concering the eucharistic fast should be greatly simplified.
* * *
The vota call into question the notion that the Council fathers could not possibly have anticipated the changes that appeared in the post-conciliar work of the Consilium, or the way in which parishes around the world have implemented the Mass of Paul VI. They also illustrate the inability of simple narratives or labels (“traditional”, “conservative”, “progressive”, etc.) to shed much light on the Second Vatican Council and its work.

Monday, July 24, 2017


I am sitting out on the beach as I am on vacation. Four teenage girls from Iowa approached me with a free cold water offer. They are Christians. I declined the water and they asked if they could pray for me. I said yes, that I would stay on the straight and narrow!

Then I asked if they were Christians and they said yes. The one said to me they don't belong to any of the chains but a church her parents started!

Then she said she liked my "necklace" which for men is a chain--a gold chain and crucifix I wear!


I am on vacation at a beachside community and the beachside Catholic Church, near where I am staying allowed me (the pastor that is) to celebrate the 9:30 AM Mass.

The church was packed and only when I began to preach the homily, which some say, not all, though, is not a part of the Mass, I said "good morning" to everyone. I never say good morning or hello, or glad you're here as a part of the official greeting of Mass, unlike some priests who have a compulsion to do so. But I digress.

After the good morning, I told everyone that I was a vacationer too and that I, like them, had to fulfill my Sunday Obligation and I was grateful to the pastor for allowing me to celebrate this Mass with them. I praised all the people there with young families, in particular, for taking the Sunday obligation so seriously.

The church seats about 1,500 souls, bodies too. I then asked those who were vacationers to raise their hands and almost 99.9% of the congregation raised their hands! I then asked the parishioners to raise their hands and it numbered about 20! (The 9:30 Mass is added during the summer to accommodate the vacationers.). They also have an 8 AM and 11:15 Mass and a 1 PM Spanish Mass.

And this diverse congregation of people from all over, but especially the Midwest, sang their hearts out and responded to the spoken parts of the Mass with gusto. So Catholics can sing after all is sung and done.

I tied in last Sunday's Gospel in which I quoted Pope Francis' Angelus address on last Sunday's Gospel into my homily. The pope stated Jesus is the sower and we are the soil and he spoke of the kind of soil that is not good for the reception of God's seed sown by Jesus and now the Church and the soil that is good. God proposes but does not impose.

As one who was warped by some of the theology of the 1970's, and I am not sure what heresy this is, but so often we were taught that because of freewill and God not imposing, it was up to us to save our souls by how well we receive the Word of God. Pope Franics seems to buy into this 1970's theology as he does on so many other 1970's thinking. What do you think about this and what heresy is it that it all hinges on our reception, our works,  in terms of being saved?

I bridged this to yesterday's Gospel where Jesus explains the parables and that  the devil is the culprit. Then I spoke about Pope Francis' emphasis on the devil as a real fallen archangel, Lucifer, who is not just a symbolic of evil personified, but an actual fallen being who has other lesser minions to assist him in tempting the world to follow him and not the true God.

Did you hear about the devil yesterday?????


This article is in Crux this morning:

Manichean-style hatred must be resisted on both left and right

Manichean-style hatred must be resisted on both left and right
A supporter of Donald Trump faces protesters outside Trump Tower. (Credit: Associated Press.)
A recent 'La Civiltà Cattolica' article denounced an 'ecumenism of hate' in the U.S. between fundamentalist Evangelicals and 'Catholic Integralists,' but Charles Camosy says that ironically, the article trafficked in the very dualistic thinking it denounced, and that 'Manichean poison' of either left or right damages the Body of Christ.
A recent 'La Civiltà Cattolica' article denounced an 'ecumenism of hate' in the U.S. between fundamentalist Evangelicals and 'Catholic Integralists,' but Charles Camosy says that ironically, the article trafficked in the very dualistic thinking it denounced, and that 'Manichean poison' of either left or right damages the Body of Christ

Sunday, July 23, 2017


I don't get it. So much of what Robert Cardinal Sarah is proposing to reconcile the Ordinary Form of the Mass with the Extraordinary Form of the Mass has already been acccomplished with the Ordinarite's Divine Worship, the Missal. No one brings this Roman Missal into the discussion as the template for this reconciliation that is so desperately needed to resacralize the Ordinary Form, that is to reconcile the reverence of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass with the Ordinary Form which lacks reverence, awe and mystery, not to mention, silence, in so many instances.

The Ordinariate's Missal has done a wonderful job of reconciling the Roman Calendar of the EF Mass to its calendar. No longer is there Ordinary Time but Time After Epiphany and Time after Pentecost. The ember days and rogation days are restored. Septuagesima is restored. The Octave of Pentecost is restored.

The format of the Missal itself restores the format of the EF Missal with the traditional form of the Introit, the inclusion of the Offertory Antiphon, the restoration of the Gradual/Tract.

There are the PATFOTA, the traditional Offertory Prayers and more usage of the rubrics of the EF Mass for the Roman Canon, which is expected to be used on Sundays and the option of only Eucharistic Prayer II (called the alternate canon) for weekday usage. There is also the thrice said, "Lord, I am not worthy...."

Ad Orientem and kneeling for Holy Communion are restored.

What has not been reconciled is the lectionary of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. But how difficult would that be? As I have recommended time and again, simply make the Extraordinary Form's Lectionary, the new Year A. Then based on its template, have a Year B that has a primarily Old Testament Componant for the first reading and Gospel Readings not in the Year A cycle. Then have a Year C that includes more New Testament Epistles and Gospels not in the Year A or B Cycle.

How hard would that be? Come on Cardinal Sarah, do it!

Friday, July 21, 2017



Guest Op-Ed - Bishop Schneider: The interpretation of Vatican II and its connection with the current crisis of the Church

Once again, we are honored to post this guest op-ed, submitted to us by His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider. We not only allow but encourage all media and blogs to reprint this as well.

By Bishop Athanasius Schneider
Special to Rorate Caeli
July 21, 2017

The interpretation of Vatican II and its connection with the current crisis of the Church

The current situation of the unprecedented crisis of the Church is comparable with the general crisis in the 4th century, when the Arianism had contaminated the overwhelming majority of the episcopacy, taking a dominant position in the life of the Church. We must seek to address this current situation on the one hand with realism and, on the other hand, with a supernatural spirit – with a profound love for the Church, our mother, who is suffering the Passion of Christ because of this tremendous and general doctrinal, liturgical and pastoral confusion.

We must renew our faith in believing that the Church is in the safe hands of Christ, and that He will always intervene to renew the Church in the moments in which the boat of the Church seems to capsize, as is the obvious case in our days. 


Pope Benedict envisioned mutual enrichment of the two forms of the Roman Mass. He desired an organic renewal and reconciliation of the OF Mass with the EF Mass.

As Cardinal Sarah desires, the OF would be very similar to the EF with Latin required for some parts, but an all Latin OF Mass is not now or in the future abrogated.

I agree with a return to one standard Latin Rite Mass more EF in order than IF.

This is from Rorate Caeli:

A reply to Cardinal Sarah on 'liturgical reconciliation'
It seems that the most trad-friendly Prelates of the Church actually want the Traditional Mass to disappear. Thus, Cardinal Burke said in 2011:

It seems to me that is what he [Pope Benedict] has in mind is that this mutual enrichment would seem to naturally produce a new form of the Roman rite – the 'reform of the reform,' if we may – all of which I would welcome and look forward to its advent.

Cardinal Sarah has now said the same thing.

It is a priority that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can examine through prayer and study, how to return to a common reformed rite always with this goal of a reconciliation inside the Church,

Cardinal Sarah's concrete suggestions point to an intermediate state, in which the two 'Forms' have converged somewhat. I have addressed these suggestions in a post on the Catholic Herald blog here. Notably, the Novus Ordo Lectionary cannot be simply be inserted into the Vetus Ordo Missal, because it reflects a liturgical vision which is completely different from that of the ancient Mass: which is why all the other changes were made at the same time. A compromise between these two two understandings of what the liturgy is for and how it should work will not produce a perfect synthesis, but a muddle.

I've made the argument about the Lectionary at length, on this blog, here, and about the 'Reform of the Reform' falling between two stools here.

Leaving open the question of how Cardinal Burke's thinking may have developed since 2011, why would he or Cardinals Sarah want to get rid of the ancient Mass?

One justification appears to be the idea that the existence of two Forms of the Roman Rite is, regardless of the merits or demerits of the forms themselves, itself a problem. I suppose this idea is related to a certain conservative yen for centralisation and uniformity, but I doubt either Cardinal would want to apply it to the Eastern Rites, even in the West, and I suspect they would not really want to stop the Dominicans, Norbertines, or Carthusians - or the former Anglicans - from celebrating their own rites and usages. So although talk of 'disunity' has a superficial force I don't think this is really driving their thinking here. They don't really want to contradict Vatican II's praise of liturgical diversity. (I have written about liturgical pluralism here.)

I think the more powerful consideration is that they are unhappy with the Ordinary Form. Cardinal Sarah, in particular, has taken up points hammered by Cardinal Ratzinger in The Spirit of the Liturgy, notably about how celebration 'facing the people' was a mistake, and how the reformed Mass should have more silence in it. This is the argument of the 'Reform of the Reform', and it is an argument which has no direct connection with the Extraordinary Form. But Sarah and others seem to think that the existence of the Extraordinary Form creates an extra reason to undertake the Reform of the Reform. 'Look!' he seems to be saying: 'Here are a whole lot of Catholics who refuse to go to the Novus Ordo because it lacks silence, and the priest usually faces the people. Let's make those changes and draw these people back in.'

In other words, his sympathy for some of the arguments about the merits of the Traditional Mass made by its adherents has given Cardinal Sarah the idea of making a purely tactical use of the movement to leverage his position on the future development of the Ordinary Form.

Perhaps things would be different if the EF looked about to take over the whole Church, but if that is going to happen, it would seem it would take at least a century.

I can't say I'm too worried by these proposals. They revive discussions on liturgical matters, which is positive, but opposition by progressive and - let's be honest - middle-of-the-road Novus Ordo priests and faithful to the Reform of the Reform makes the implementation of Cardinal Sarah's programme by fiat from Rome unimaginable, even if he were to become Pope tomorrow.

It should, all the same, stimulate supporters of the Church's ancient liturgical traditions to explain ever more forcefully the point of the ancient Lectionary, and any other threatened features of the Mass they love.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


As a child of the 1970's seminary, I have to tell you that the ethos of our preparation for the priesthood, especially as it concerns preaching, was to be prophetic, meaning that we were to afflict the comfortable (the rich) and comfort the afflicted, i.e., the poor.

This meant that we were to be prophets challenging the rich in our parish, calling them out for being members of country clubs that did not admit the poor and challenge their labor practices.

I wonder, if all of this, along with poor liturgical practices, has contributed to the decline in active membership of the Catholic Church, in some places, like New York and New England having only 12% of Catholics actually attending Mass on Sunday?

Progressives in the Church shifted the manner in which they would lay guilt trips on Catholics from sex to not being caring enough toward those on the margins of society, the poor and dispossessed.

In the Jansenistic good old 1950's it was sex that most Catholic were the most ashame of and heard the most sermons on. In the 1970's it was being mean and unchristian to the poor. We could never do enough and money spent on bricks and mortar and educating well to do children of rich parents were the ultimate mortal sins.

As you know, the 1970's have returned with a vengeance under the current papal magisterium.

How many of the 12% of Catholics who actually bother to attend Mass in New England will dismiss the Church as so many did in the 1970's? Time will tell.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


This speaks for itself! Anglicans should immediately rid themselves of silly mitres but I like the versatile copes and dry or wet use!

Story is sad…but true, ”Tanzanian police have detained a pastor after two worshippers drowned while being baptised in a river near Rombo in the north of the country.

The two victims were overwhelmed by the current of the River Ungwasi, a police spokesman has told the BBC.

It is not clear how the pastor and the other worshippers involved managed to survive, the BBC's Odeo Sirari says.

They are members of a local church, Shalom, which is part of the charismatic Christian movement.

Baptism in a river rather than in church is seen as a way of re-enacting the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan.

The ceremony is a symbol of washing away sin and the start of a new life.”


I grew up in Augusta and this slaughter house has always been there. When the poor souls are being "processed" the air nearby smelled like peanut butter as most kids my age would attest as we passed by the "processing plant" next to a major highway leading downtown. What could be better than peanut butter? A DELICIOUS RUTHS CHRIS FILET!

Protesters act to show compassion to cattle

MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF Animal rights protesters gather outside the FPL Food plant in Augusta on Tuesday to bring awareness to the Save Movement.
For much of the past year, Dee Spencer has stood outside FPL Food LLC on New Savannah Road carrying signs supporting an international movement that “bears witness” to farm animals before they are slaughtered, packaged and processed for food.
The Save Movement is composed of groups that document the transportation of pigs, cows, chickens and other farm animals being sent to slaughter.
Spencer, an Augusta resident, was joined Tuesday at the intersection of Skyview Drive and New Savannah Road by several activists from the Carolinas and Florida to support the cause and bring public awareness to the movement.

NEFETERIA BREWSTER/STAFF Dee Spencer, the founder of the Save Movement in Augusta, holds up signs on New Savannah Road. The movement documents the transportation of farm animals that are being sent to slaughter.
One by one, the activists placed their signs alongside the road and walked up to the trailer of each truck, snapped a photo or two of the cows inside while telling them they were loved and offering them water.
The goal, according to Yvonne Newman, who protested alongside her friend Bill Steinbuechler, is to make people think about the processing of farm animals, consider alternative diet options and to show the animals compassion.
“This love and compassion is the only compassion they will ever see in their life before death,” Newman said as a cattle truck pulled from the intersection onto New Savannah Road.
As the protesters approached cattle trucks at a stop sign on the intersecting roads, they were often greeted with prolonged honks and swerves om of the vehicles as the workers drove the livestock into the processing plant.
Most of the drivers did not stop. Those who did gave the protesters a couple of minutes to take photos of the cattle, give them water and share words of comfort before they were driven away, said Spencer, who founded the local chapter of the movement and became interested after participating in a similar protest in North Carolina last year.
The photos were then posted to Facebook and other social media platforms as a way for the group to document the animals before they die.
“We try to get as close as possible to them, make eye-to-eye contact with them, and if they’re thirsty, we’ll give them water before they go there,” Spencer said.
“If we bear witness and show people what it is really like, we can help a lot of people make that connection of their food on the plate. That’s where it came from, and we’re hoping that we can change that.”
Carla King and her sister Linda King Jackson traveled from North Carolina to participate in Tuesday’s protest. King, a participant of the movement in her hometown, said she did not mind driving five hours to support Spencer’s protest.
“We go to slaughterhouses in our county for pigs,” she said. “We decided actually last minute to come down and bear witness to the cows because we’ve never done that and just to show Dee support because she came all the way to Clinton to support ours.”
FPL Food LLC released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying that the family-owned operation is committed to humane treatment of all cattle in its care and meets regulations for animal handling practices. 

Animal rights protesters stand outside the FPL Food plant in Augusta. The company said in a statement Tuesday that it is committed to the humane treatment of all the cattle in its care.MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
“From the producers we work with to our facility in Augusta, we are dedicated to providing the utmost care and treatment of livestock throughout the supply chain,” the statement says. “We assure animal welfare through standard operating procedures and compliance with USDA regulation. We also were the first beef processor in the U.S. to install third-party video monitoring to verify animal handling practices.”

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


This is the Requiem for Cardnial Meisner. It only last a little bit over three hours.

But please note the sumptuous black vestments and for all the concelebrating bishops and priests--stunning, but of course Germany has money galore from the state, so why not go hog wild?

Please note too, all of the candles surrounding the coffin and all of the candles are themselves what is required for the EF Requiem, unbleached. It is nice to have an unlimited funding source,no?

This is obviously a "renewal or reconciled OF Mass in continuity with the Ancient Form from which it came."


Monday, July 17, 2017


Disordered affections are out and calling something a crime is anathema because it may cause emotion stress to the criminal--the new glorious pastoral sensitivity and theology:

Two very different books about being Roman Catholic and gay were released recently, each with an endorsement from a cardinal who oversees an archdiocese along the Hudson River.
Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, the archbishop of Newark, endorsed “Building a Bridge,” calling it “brave, prophetic and inspiring.” The book calls on church leaders to use preferred terms like “gay” instead of “same-sex attraction,” as a sign of respect to gay Catholics.
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, endorsed “Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay,” a memoir by a Catholic man who resisted his homosexual attractions and who now leads a celibate life inspired by the Gospel. Cardinal Dolan praised the book as an “honest account of the genuine struggles faced by those with same-sex attraction” that details how its author came to “understand and accept God’s loving plan for his life.”
The simultaneous endorsements were just the latest sign that the two cardinals on opposite sides of the Hudson appeal to two very different constituencies within the Roman Catholic Church in America.
Cardinal Tobin is emerging as a champion of progressive, center-left Catholics, who favor a church that places more emphasis on protecting immigrants and the environment than on fighting same-sex marriage. Cardinal Dolan, who was elevated to that rank in 2012, remains a favorite of center-right Catholics, taking a more conservative approach toward doctrine and focusing more on issues like the church’s opposition to abortion.
Neither man is out of step with church tenets, and both believe in a kind of “big tent” Catholicism that reaches out to all, church experts said. As bishops, their beliefs are more alike than different.
Neither cardinal wanted to comment for an article that compared them. But comparisons are inevitable because Pope Francis placed Cardinal Tobin in the same major media market as Cardinal Dolan when he appointed him to Newark in November. There had never been a cardinal in Newark. And of course, there is the standard rivalry that exists between New York and New Jersey in all things.
“I have to tell you that this beautiful cathedral is five feet longer than St. Patrick’s,” Cardinal Tobin said in May to laughter and applause at a Mass for gay Catholics at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, comparing the building to Cardinal Dolan’s majestic church in Manhattan. “We like to be generous here in Newark.”
The two men share striking similarities, even physically. Both men are 6 feet 3 and broad, though Cardinal Tobin, a weight lifter who can hoist 425 pounds, could in theory dead-lift Cardinal Dolan. They are nearly the same age (Cardinal Tobin is 65; Cardinal Dolan, 67) and grew up in large Irish Catholic, Midwestern families as the eldest sibling (Cardinal Tobin of 13, Cardinal Dolan of five). They have self-deprecating senses of humor and warm, gregarious personalities.
Both felt the call to the priesthood early. Both had devoted fathers who died in 1977 of heart attacks. Both men idolize their fathers. And both still remain very close to their force-of-nature mothers, who are in their 90s.
Informed by their views and personalities, the two took different paths to the highest reaches of the church. Cardinal Dolan took the route of the institutional insider, becoming a diocesan priest, which does not require a vow of poverty, then earning a doctorate in church history. He served at the Vatican’s embassy to Washington, and later he became the rector of the main seminary for American priests in Rome. It was there that the genial conservative came to the attention of Pope John Paul II, who appointed him auxiliary bishop of his home diocese of St. Louis.
Cardinal Tobin, in contrast, wanted to travel the world as a missionary. He took a vow of poverty and joined the Redemptorists, the religious order that ran his home parish in Detroit and focuses on ministering to those on society’s margins. He became an administrator and ultimately superior general of his worldwide order, based in Rome. He learned several languages fluently.
Cardinal Dolan flourished as an insider. As he came up through the ranks, he promoted the conservative priorities of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict, offering a strong, countercultural voice opposing same-sex marriage, abortion and contraception.
As president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2010 to 2013, Cardinal Dolan led the effort to persuade President Barack Obama to exempt religious institutions from having to provide health coverage that included birth control. He deplored same-sex marriage. “Today is a tragic day for marriage and our nation,” he said when the Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act in 2013.
But he also stressed the joys of being Catholic and became a media personality with his own radio show. Church experts called him the go-to guy for Pope Benedict in the American church. In Rome on the eve of the papal conclave in 2013, Vatican insiders whispered that he could be “papabile,” or “pope material.”
But with Pope Francis’s election, the ground shifted. Archbishop Tobin, who had been exiled to Indianapolis from a Vatican post by Pope Benedict after he spoke up in support of American nuns, suddenly had more in common with the pope than Cardinal Dolan did. Francis was a Jesuit priest who favored a simple, pastoral approach. He was an outsider to the institutional church, just like Cardinal Tobin, and he knew Cardinal Tobin personally.
“Dolan did all the right things, but the rules of the game changed so quickly that he’s kind of been caught off guard,” said David Gibson, the director of Fordham University’s Center on Religion and Culture. “But for Tobin, it’s now kind of an atmosphere that he’s suited for.”
Cardinal Dolan, who sees himself as a uniter, offered a prayer at the inauguration of President Trump. He also has a powerful, socially conservative constituency in New York, one whose ample donations help keep his diocese and the Vatican running. He has shown a reluctance to alienate conservative Catholics, keeping his gestures on controversial issues like outreach to gay Catholics low-key.
He is the chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and made clear after his homily at a national vigil in January that fighting abortion was a bigger issue for him than fighting deportations.
“We want to protect all human life: the immigrant, our grandmothers who are dying, people who are starving,” he told The Atlantic. But he added: “What is the greatest danger today? When you look at the numbers of the babies whose lives are terminated in the womb, you’ll say, ‘Uh oh. There’s our priority.’”
In his work, Cardinal Tobin has emphasized public efforts to protect immigrants. He accompanied Catalino Guerrero, a 59-year-old grandfather, to his deportation hearing in Newark in March. In 2015, he refused to close a Syrian refugee resettlement program in Indiana despite an order by Gov. Mike Pence, now the vice president.
“You really have to believe in inflicting cruelty on innocent people to choose to support the policies we have seen in recent months while possessing the power to change the law,” Cardinal Tobin said in a keynote address at a conference in Brooklyn in May, referring to the Trump administration’s immigration policies.
More recently, Cardinal Tobin made a landmark gesture of solidarity with gay Catholics, welcoming them to Mass at the Newark cathedral, though that won him a fair amount of hate mail from fellow Catholics.
The cardinals also have contrasting approaches to running a diocese. As archbishop of Indianapolis, Cardinal Tobin won praise from his priests for his willingness to delve into the details of parish management. Cardinal Dolan is more of a hands-off manager, relying heavily on his vicar general, Msgr. Gregory Mustaciuolo.
“He’s never been into running the diocese,” said John L. Allen Jr., who wrote a book with Cardinal Dolan, “A People of Hope,” in 2012. “The nuts and bolts of deciding what priest is going to be in what parish has zero interest for him. He’s a big-picture guy.”
One result is that Cardinal Dolan has come under criticism for his hands-off approach toward the painful local issue of parish mergers and closures. He did not visit the dozens of parishes he ordered merged in New York to offer support to the heartbroken parishioners, and he has been unbending in the face of appeals to the Vatican.
Cardinal Tobin, on the other hand, was so accommodating toward the objections of parishioners in four merging parishes in Indiana that they withdrew their Vatican appeals, said Sister Kate Kuenstler, a canon lawyer who represented those parishes, as well as about 15 parishes appealing mergers in New York.
“With Dolan, there was an abandonment of the people and no pastoral sensitivity,” she said. “But Tobin, when alerted to issues harmful to the people, immediately looked for an alternative way to respond to their needs.”
To some, Cardinal Tobin represents the future and Cardinal Dolan the past. “Tobin and Cupich” — the Francis-appointed archbishop of Chicago, Blase J. Cupich — “are really breathing fresh air into the American Catholic Church,” said Pat McNamara, who has written a history of the Brooklyn Diocese. “Dolan is sort of like the old guard.”
But others said the difference between the men is less dramatic.
“It comes down to small stuff,” Mr. Allen said. “Tobin would be somebody who, if there were a theologian under investigation, would instinctively sympathize with the theologian. And I think Dolan’s instinctive sympathies would be with the system.”