You would have imagined that the bishops would have been not slow in reacting to Universae Ecclesiae, but I’m sure the speed with which Archbishop Nichols has started to fire his Big Bertha against the Tridentine post is nothing less than remarkable.
Mere hours after the publication of the Instruction, Archbishop Vincent “Quisling” Nichols was already intent at the first trial shots. His analysis of Universae Ecclesiae doesn’t stress the huge importance of the work in terms of the obligations it puts on bishops, or the renewed statement of the importance given to the Tridentine Mass, or its being every bit the equal in rank to the Novus Ordo.
Instead, his analysis focuses on the (now reduced, though he doesn’t say) powers of the bishops and, most importantly, on the stressing of the only weak point of the Instruction: the absence of compulsory instruction in the celebration of the Tridentine in Seminaries.
It is really telling of the Archbishop’s forma mentis that he would immediately point out to the only point that is not overtly in favour of the mounting tide of Catholic conservatism. It is, at the same time, very telling about the spirit and attitude with which at least the bishops of England and Wales will react (react is here truly the right word) to Universae Ecclesiae.
Just a few hours after the release of the instruction, ++ Nichols’ trumpet has gathered his own around him and made clear to them that they may start preparing to battle. As so often in life, the why something is said tells you much more about an issue than what is, in the specific case, being said. This is clearly the case here, with the first distinguos clearly giving the start for the slow, silent, relentless work of sabotage now approaching. The Italians call this seemingly innocuous, but in fact very dangerous sabotage muro di gomma, or “rubber wall”. It is clear here that Archbishop Nichols’ message to his troops is “we may not be able to stop this, but we will certainly try”.
We will see whether he has any success. In my opinion, a prompt enforcement from the part of Ecclesia Dei will cause things to run smoothly from the start, whereas uncertainties in the enforcement will condemn this instruction to certain, if perhaps rather slow, death.
Let us hope the first will be the case.
The rumours are more and more frequent on the blogosphere and it would seem that a new consistory is imminent.
As the date of the appointment would be the Feast of Christ The King, which falls on the 21st November, and as it is the usual praxis to announce the names one months in advance of the official appointment it would seem that within a few days we’ll have the name of the new red hats.
Whilst one does not doubt that unpleasant names will be inserted in the list (I think here in particular of His Disgrace Vincent “Quisling” Nichols, often the object of less than pleased entries on this blog), there is reason to hope that this new batch of Cardinals will, on the whole, give us conservative Catholics added security that the successor of Benedict will be a step forward; or at the very least, not one backwards.
Besides the unavoidable disappointment here and there (Benedict has already disappointed more than once in his UK appointments and he is obviously not willing to risk an open confrontation with the clergy of England & Wales) it will be nice to examine the new candidates one by one and try to assess how much the new appointments shift the average toward the conservative side. I am also glad that this consistory finally arrives as – always speaking in general- the more Cardinals of Benedictine appointment there are, the better it is.
But we still don’t know and we’ll have to bear some uncertainty for a couple of days.
As I think Pope Benedict would say: Abwarten, und Tee trinken…