James Cardinal McIntyre and the Conclave of 1963

James Cardinal McIntyre was very unhappy with Vatican II and spoke about it, one of the few Cardinals who did.  However, McIntyre was a man who never minded swimming against the stream.  Born on June 25, 1886 in New York City,  his father a member of the mounted police and his mother an immigrant from Ireland.  His father was rendered an invalid after a fall from a horse in Central Park, and his mother supported the family as a dressmaker.  When she died in 1896 his father and James went to live as a relative.  To support himself and his father, James became a runner on the New York Stock Exchange.  He was offered a junior partnership in 1914, but declined to pursue his dream of becoming a priest.  He was ordained in 1921 and served as associate pastor at Saint Gabriel’s on the lower East Side until he was made Assistant Chancellor of the Archdiocese of New York in 1923, rising to Chancellor in 1934.  In 1939 he formed the Columbiettes, the woman’s auxilary of the Knights of Columbus.  In 1940 he was named Coadjutor Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York.  In 1946 he was named Coadjutor Archbishop of New York, and in 1948 second Archbishop of Los Angeles.

Ever a fighter, McIntyre led the successful campaign to overturn a California state law which taxed Catholic schools.  He was made a Cardinal in 1953 by Pius XII.  Under his leadership the Archdiocese went through a period of immense growth, McIntyre showing exceptional foresight in purchasing land cheap as the sites of future churches and schools.  Endlessly hardworking, he made sure the Archdiocese ran efficiently and effectively.

McIntyre was Orthdox in his religion and hard right in his politics, which put him at odds with most other of the high clergy in the Church of his day.  He sent his priests to classes conducted by the John Birch Society about the threat of Communist infiltration.  He railed against moral laxity in the film industry, normally a sacred cow in California.

He never let politics stand in the way of friendships.  He was a friend of Dorothy Day although their political views were light years apart.  Go here to read what Day wrote about the Archbishop.

Vatican II met with his disfavor.  In a speech to the Council Fathers on October 23, 1962 he uttered words which proved prophetic in regard to proposed changes in the liturgy:  “The schema on the Liturgy proposes confusion and complication. If it is adopted, it would be an immediate scandal for our people. The continuity of the Mass must be kept.”

He voted in the Conclave of 1963.  He was no happier with Vatican II after the Conclave than before.  When the Immaculate Heart of Mary sisters went crazy following Vatican II, a process described in excruciating detail here, McIntyre told them that they had to follow Vatican II guidelines for religious.  They refused to do so, the Vatican backed McIntyre up, and almost all of the IHM sisters left the Church.  Until he retired in 1970 McIntyre continually butted heads with radical priests and nuns.  He was totally opposed to the zeitgeist of the time, and could clearly not have cared less.  After his retirement he served as parish priest at Saint Basil’s in Los Angeles, and would say the Tridentine Mass on the side altars.  He died at 93 in 1979. (more…)

Published in: on March 15, 2013 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on James Cardinal McIntyre and the Conclave of 1963  
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Cardinal O’Connell and the Conclave of 1922

William Cardinal O’Connell was a man to be reckoned with.  His nickname in the archdiocese of Boston that he ruled for 36 years was “Number One”.   Born in 1859 to Irish immigrants, the youngest of eleven children, his father, a textile worker in Lowell, Massachusetts, died when William was four.   A gifted student, he earned gold medals in philosophy, chemistry and physics at Boston College.  Studying for the priesthood at the North American Pontifical College he was ordained in 1884.  After serving as pastor in parishes in Medford and Boston, he was made rector of the North American Pontifical College in 1895.

He was made Bishop of Portland Maine in 1901.  In 1905 he received the assignment of papal envoy to Japan.  In 1906 he was named Coadjutor Archbishop of Boston, raising some eyebrows from the perception that he had actively campaigned for the job.  In 1907 he became the second Archbishop of Boston and in 1911 was made a Cardinal, the first Archbishop of Boston to receive that distinction.

He made strenuous efforts to get to the Conclave of 1914 and 1922, although arriving late on each occasion.  In 1922 he became the first Cardinal to fly, traveling by air from Boston to New York after having an ocean liner held for his boarding.  When he arrived late he made representations to the newly elected Pius XI that more time needed to be given between the death of a pope and the conclave to give time for cardinals outside of Europe to get to Rome.  The Pope agreed and the time was lengthened.  Cardinal O’Connell participated in the Conclave in 1939. (more…)

Cardinal Gibbons and the Stormy Conclave of 1903

 

 

 

James Cardinal Gibbons of the Archdiocese of Baltimore was the second American cardinal and an enormously important figure both within the history of the Church in America and the history of America in general.  His championing of the rights of labor in the nineteenth century helped direct America on a more peaceful path in the relationship between labor and capital than existed in many other nations.  Many posts could be written about this man and I intend to write them!  Today we will focus on the fact that he was the first American cardinal to participate in a papal conclave.

When Pope Leo XIII died in 1903 Cardinal Gibbons happened to be in Rome.  Without that fortuitous circumstance he would most likely have not been able to participate in the subsequent Conclave.  In 1914 with the death of Pope Pius X, Cardinal Gibbons boarded a rapid steamer to cross the Atlantic but arrived too late to participate in the Conclave.  Thus the Conclave of 1903 was the only one Cardinal Gibbons was fated to participate in, but it certainly was a dramatic one.

The first Conclave to occur within the glare of modern media, the proceedings leaked like a sieve to eager waiting journalists, so much so that after this Conclave Pope Pius decreed that participants were to take an oath of silence as to the proceedings of all future conclaves. (more…)

Published in: on March 10, 2013 at 5:30 am  Comments (4)  
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John Cardinal McCloskey

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With the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI this week, attention is turning to the conclave in March.  I thought this would be a good time to recall the first American eligible to participate in a conclave:  John Cardinal McCloskey, the first American cardinal.

Born on March 10, 1810 to Irish immigrants in Brooklyn, New York when he was seventeen he had a life altering accident.  Driving a team of oxen pulling a wagon full of heavy logs, the wagon overturned and buried John beneath the logs for several hours.  For the next few days he drifted in and out of consciousness and was blind.  He recovered his sight, but his health was permanently damaged by the accident.  Out of his travail he decided to become a priest.  He was ordained a priest of the diocese of New York in 1834.  He wanted to minister to the victims of a cholera epidemic, but his bishop, recognizing rare ability in the young priest, ordered him to Rome where he studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University and the University of the Sapienza.  Upon his return to America he was appointed pastor of Saint Joseph’s in Greenwich Village where he served from 1837-1844.  Homeless children were a special concern of his while he served as pastor.  He also served as the first president of Saint John’s College at Fordham from 1841-42.  In 1843 at the age of 33 he was appointed coadjutor Bishop of New York.  During this time period he was instrumental in the conversion of Isaac Hecker who eventually became a priest and founded the Paulist Fathers.

He was appointed first bishop of the newly created diocese of Albany in 1847.  During his tenure he founded three academies for boys and one for girls, four orphanages, fifteen parochial schools and a seminary.  He was instrumental in bringing many religious orders into the diocese.  With the death of Archbishop John “Dagger John” Hughes, he was, over his protests of unworthiness and unfitness, appointed the second Archbishop of New York.    The type of man he was may be measured by his delivering  the opening sermon of the Second Plenary Council of Baltimore, in spite of being informed just moments before that Saint Patrick’s had been gutted by fire.  He rebuilt Saint Patrick’s and in 1870 participated in the First Vatican Council.  Pio Nono must have taken note of him, because in 1875 he made him the first American cardinal.  The new cardinal attributed his red hat to no merit of his:  “Not to my poor merits but to those of the young and already vigorous and most flourishing Catholic Church of America has this honor been given by the Supreme Pontiff. Nor am I unaware that, when the Holy Father determined to confer me this honor he had regard to the dignity of the See of New York, to the merits and devotion of the venerable clergy and numerous laity, and that he had in mind even the eminent rank of this great city and the glorious American nation.” (more…)

Published in: on February 13, 2013 at 5:30 am  Comments (3)  
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First American Saint

“Although her constitution was very frail, her spirit was endowed with such singular strength that, knowing the will of God in her regard, she permitted nothing to impede her from accomplishing what seemed beyond the strength of a woman.”

Pius XII

The first American citizen to be canonized as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church was born on July 15, 1850 in Saint Angelo Lodigiano, in the Lombardy region of a then disunited Italy.  One of 13 children, Francesca Cabrini was born to her mother, who was then 52 years old, two months premature, and it was touch and go for a while as to whether the new baby would live.  Her health would be precarious all of her life, which, considering what she accomplished, should be a standing rebuke to those of us blessed with good health.

She studied for five years at a school run by the Daughters of the Sacred Heart.  Her hearts desire was to be a missionary.  When she applied to enter a convent at age 18, however, she was turned down due to her health.  Nothing daunted, she returned to her home to help her parents on their farm.  A terrible small pox epidemic took the lives of her parents and almost took hers, but she was nursed back to health by her sister Rosa.  Almost miraculously she suffered no disfigurement from the small pox.

Taking a job as a substitute teacher at a nearby village, she taught with such skill and with such obvious love and concern for her pupils, that the rector of her parish, Father Antonio Serrati, who was to become a lifelong friend and advisor of hers, placed her in charge of an orphanage for girls in the parish, the House of Providence.  She was twenty-four at the time and she was presented with no easy task.  The orphanage was known as the House of Providence.  It had been set up by two well-meaning, but incompetent, laywomen, and it was badly organized and visibly failing.  In six years Francesca turned it around, winning the affection of the young girls in the orphanage through the care she showed to them.  While at the orphanage she took vows as a nun, and seven of her girls followed her example and became nuns and helped her run the orphanage.  Here for the first time we see the managerial skill with which Mother Cabrini, as she became universally known, was so gifted. (more…)

Published in: on November 1, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on First American Saint  
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July 4, 1864

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On July 4, 1864 Abraham Lincoln had much to pre-occupy his mind.  Grant’s drive on Richmond had bogged down into a stalemated siege to the south of Richmond around the city of Petersburg.  Grant, due to the appalling Union casualties of the campaign, was routinely denounced as a butcher in Northern newspapers, a charge echoed privately by Mary Todd Lincoln.   On June 27 Sherman had been bloodily repulsed at Kennesaw Mountain, and his campaign against Atlanta appeared to be very much in doubt.  Lincoln suspected that he would not be re-elected and that the Union might very well lose the war.  So what did he do on July 4?  He, along with Mrs. Lincoln and most of his cabinet, attended a fundraiser held on the White House lawn to build a Catholic church! (more…)

Published in: on August 2, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on July 4, 1864  
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Apostle to the Sioux

“Happy would I be if I could sacrifice for God what Custer threw away to the world.”

Bishop Martin Marty

During his approximately 59 years on this Earth it is probable that the Sioux chieftan Sitting Bull met only one white man he trusted implicitly:  Martin Marty.

Marty was born on January 12, 1834 in Schwyz, Switzerland to a shoemaker and his wife.  Gifted scholastically, he attended the Benedictine school attached to Einseideln Abbey.  Upon graduation he entered the novitiate, taking his final vows in 1855 and being ordained a priest a year later.  It is quite likely he would have remained at the abbey for the remainder of his life, “of the world forgetting, and by the world forgot”,  except that in 1860 his abbot ordered him to take over a disobedient and debt-ridden daughter house of the abbey in Saint Meinrad, Indiana.  He performed a minor miracle in restoring the morale and faith of the monks at the abbey at Saint Meinrad and brought it back to fiscal solvency.  The abbot decided that he was doing such a good job that he should stay where he was in America.  In 1870, the Saint Meinrad Abbey achieved independent status by a Papal decree of Pius IX with Father Marty as the first abbot.  It continues in existence to this day as an abbey and a seminary.

In 1875 Abbot Marty got into hot water by attempting to substitute the Roman breviary for the Benedictine breviary.  This caused an uproar throughout the Benedictine Order and in 1876 the Sacred Congregation of Rites ruled against Marty and ordered him to restore the traditional Benedictine breviary.  After this incident Father Marty relinquished his abbotship, after receiving a  request from the Bureau for Catholic Indian Missions for two priests to serve as missionaries in the Dakota territory, and set out for the Dakota territory in 1876 with a dream of building a Benedictine abbey there.  Father Marty had read about the deeds of the famous mission priest Father DeSmet and had wished to become a mission priest for years. (more…)

Published in: on July 8, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Apostle to the Sioux  
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Lincoln, the Constitution and Catholics

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In the 1840s America was beset by a wave of anti-Catholic riots.  An especially violent one occurred in Philadelphia on May 6-8.  These riots laid the seeds for a powerful anti-Catholic movement which became embodied in the years to come in the aptly named Know-Nothing movement.  To many American politicians Catholic-bashing seemed the path to electoral success.

Lincoln made clear where he stood on this issue when he organized a public meeting in Springfield, Illinois on June 12, 1844.  At the meeting he proposed and had the following resolution adopted by the meeting:

“Resolved, That the guarantee of the rights of conscience, as found in our Constitution, is most sacred and inviolable, and one that belongs no less to the Catholic, than to the Protestant; and that all attempts to abridge or interfere with these rights, either of Catholic or Protestant, directly or indirectly, have our decided disapprobation, and shall ever have our most effective opposition. Resolved, That we reprobate and condemn each and every thing in the Philadelphia riots, and the causes which led to them, from whatever quarter they may have come, which are in conflict with the principles above expressed.” (more…)

Published in: on August 6, 2010 at 5:30 am  Comments (3)  
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John Adams and the Church of Rome

John Adams, second President of these United States, was a man of very firm convictions.   Once he decided to support a cause, most notably American independence, nothing on this Earth could convince him to change his mind.  In regard to religion he was raised a Congregationalist.  Although described as a Unitarian, I find the evidence ambiguous in his writings and I suspect he remained at heart a fairly conventional Protestant.  As such he was unsympathetic to the Catholic faith by heredity, creed and conviction.  However, he did attend Mass on occasion, and his writings about these visits show attraction mixed with repulsion.

On October 9, 1774 Adams and George Washington attended a Catholic chapel in Philadelphia during the First Continental Congress.  He reported his thoughts about the visit to his wife and constant correspondent Abigail:

“This afternoon, led by Curiosity and good Company I strolled away to Mother Church, or rather Grandmother Church, I mean the Romish Chapel. Heard a good, short, moral Essay upon the Duty of Parents to their Children, founded in justice and Charity, to take care of their Interests temporal and spiritual.

This afternoon’s entertainment was to me most awful (Adams here means awe-inspiring and not the more colloquial use of the term common in our time.) and affecting. The poor wretches fingering their beads, chanting Latin, not a word of which they understood, their Pater Nosters and Ave Marias. Their holy water– their crossing themselves perpetually– their bowing to the name of Jesus wherever they hear it– their bowings, and kneelings, and genuflections before the altar. The dress of the priest was rich with lace– his pulpit was velvet and gold. The altar piece was very rich– little images and crucifixes about– wax candles lighted up. But how shall I describe the picture of our Saviour in a frame of marble over the altar, at full length, upon the cross in the agonies, and the blood dropping and streaming from his wounds.

The music consisting of an organ, and a Choir of singers, went all the afternoon, excepting sermon Time, and the Assembly chanted– most sweetly and exquisitely.

Here is everything which can lay hold of the eye, ear, and imagination. Everything which can charm and bewitch the simple and the ignorant. I wonder how Luther ever broke the spell.”

New England services in the time of John Adams were as plain as, well, as some Masses unfortunately are today in this country.  The pageantry and power of traditional Catholicism obviously had an impact upon Adams although he was loathe to admit it.

On December 18, 1779, while abroad as an American diplomat,  Adams attended Mass in Corunna, Spain and was impressed by the beauty of what he saw:

“Went into the church of a convent; found them all upon their knees, chanting the prayers to the Virgin, it being the eve of the Sainte Vlerge. The wax candles lighted, by their glimmerings upon the paint and gildings, made a pretty appearance, and the music was good.”

On July 30, 1780 Adams attended Mass at the Cathedral in Brussels:

“Sunday. Went to the cathedral, — a great feast, an infinite crowd. The church more splendidly ornamented than any that I had seen, hung with tapestry. The church music here is in the Italian style. A picture in tapestry was hung up, of a number of Jews stabbing the wafer, the ban Diett, and blood gushing in streams from the bread. This insufferable piece of pious villany shocked me beyond measure; but thousands were before it, on their knees, adoring. I could not help cursing the knavery of the priesthood and the brutal ignorance of the people ; yet, perhaps, I was rash and unreasonable, and that it is as much virtue and wisdom in them to adore, as in me to detest and despise.”

Once again we see Adams the aesthete attracted to the Mass.  Adams of course then lashes out at “knavish priesthood”, but, rather remarkably for Adams, then admits that perhaps the worshipers had as much wisdom and virtue as he has.  Such humility is very rare in the writings of Mr. Adams!

Adams attended other Masses and made similar observations.  I think he was a man attracted at least to the externals of the Faith, but was intellectually impervious to the message that the externals sought to convey.  The faith of Catholics at worship obviously unsettled him however, and I suspect that he felt an emotional attraction to the Faith that he fought against.  As anyone who has read much of Adams’ writings can attest, John Adams was a complex man and therefore it is appropriate that this New England shunner of the papacy, against his will, felt the pull of “Grandmother Church”.

Published in: on January 12, 2010 at 1:03 pm  Comments (2)  
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