One of the greatest fears by the bishops is that the Holy Father's hands-on selection of the cardinals, but his dependence on consistories of cardinals to whom he has turned in deference to the bishops' synods. The liberal bishops realize their only chance to offset this "stacked deck" is to effect change where they might be able to expand the voting bloc to such a large number that the conservative element will become a minority and their goal of electing a progressive pope would become closer to reality. Presently the bishops are powerless but they have empowered Quinn to lead the charge, suggesting that the presidents of the national bishops conferences and the synods be given voting power. They have even gone so far as to suggest that curia and papal appointees be excluded from voting, which would eliminate numerous cardinals now in John Paul II's good graces.
There are presently 130 or so cardinals with 120 of them eligible to vote who are below the age of 80. Anyone over that age is ineligible to vote. The College of Cardinals was established in the twelfth century. Prior to that the election of the supreme pontiff was a hodge-podge of methods from emperors making the selection to powerful Roman families choosing their favorite to factions of bishops, priests and deacons electing a pope. In 1059 during the reign of Pope Nicholas II, the Sacred College was instituted. For details on this see this issue's installment of THE HISTORY OF THE MASS AND HOLY MOTHER CHURCH. During the pontificate of Pope Lucius III, a staunch defender of Papal supremacy (like his predecesor Pope Adrian IV), the process of selecting cardinals was given exclusively to the Bishop of Rome in 1179 at the Third Lateran Council. In 1586, after the Council of Trent, Pope Sixtus V set the number at 70 cardinals in the Sacred College. This was not increased until 1959 by Pope John XXIII. Pope Paul VI raised the number to 145 in 1973 and John Paul II upped it to 152 in 1985, keeping the number of cardinals eligible to vote at 120. The provisions on the cardinals' selection, their rank, roles and prerogatives have been detailed in the Code of Canon Law (349 to 359).
As all can see, this process involving the Sacred College of Cardinals has been in vogue for nearly 850 years. Why should we change it now? It's been good enough for nearly 100 popes, why rock the boat? But that is the main motive of the progressives, to rock the boat for they care little of Saint John Bosco's vision of the ship (Holy Mother Church) passing between the pillars of the Eucharistic Christ and His Blessed Mother. These radical vultures, proposing politically correct poppycock, would like to pick clean the conservative princes of the Church and set up their own curial gerrymandering for their own agenda with little if any regard for the sense of sacred or the good of Holy Mother Church. These bishops had hoped many of the conservative cardinals would have died off by now or reached the maximum age of 80, but a funny thing happened on the way to the forum - John Paul II stayed a step ahead and has appointed younger conservative cardinals to take the places of not only aging or deceased traditional cardinals but also taking the place of many liberal cardinals ordained by John XXIII and Pope Paul VI. Slowly but surely, as our present Pope extends his papacy to nearly 20 years, the majority of the cardinals will become his appointees with the same high objectives as John Paul II. With this succinct college in symphony it will be very, very difficult for the liberals to strike any kind of chord of change short of splitting from the Church. That is the next step the progressives will take if they can't have their cake and eat it too: Secession from the One, True Church of Rome.
Russell Shaw, author of the piece in the Catholic World Report, writes "This dogmatic agenda concerns issues like papal infallibility and the authority of the magisterium, the interpretation of Scripture, Marian doctrine, the Eucharist, the Resurrection, and the divinity of Jesus Christ. Its thrust is to disavow the uniqueness of Christianity as an instrument of salvation; the Christian Church would be seen as standing on much the same footing as other world religions." This bodes an ill wind for it paves the way for the one-world church. If we take the sacredness out of the Mass and the precious faith we profess, it will be watered down enough so that it will blend right in with Protestantism and make it ripe for being swallowed up in one huge compromise. This is their agenda and it has been going on for thirty years right under our noses and yet we allow it to continue. We can see it in the liturgical changes in America where man has replaced God in the sanctuary. Where once resided the Most Holy of Holies in the Blessed Sacrament as the center of attention on the altar of sacrifice, now the great sedalia - the chair of the celebrant - takes prominence behind the table of the "meal." The Tabernacle has been shoved to the side, or worse hidden in a back room with little direction as to how to find it. The Eucharistic Jesus has become an afterthought!!! But Our Lady warned us of this at LaSalette and her prophecies over the last 175 years are on target. Recently we visited a church where we thought we would find a traditional atmosphere only to discover a circus atmosphere where singing more resembled a concert and the experiment of rye bread was used in the Eucharist. To top that off, everyone stood throughout the Consecration and Holy Communion. When we approached the pastor after Mass about this, he defended it by saying when they get their new church it will have kneelers and then the people will kneel. By then it will be too late as we reminded him of the passages in Isaiah 45: 23, Romans 14: 11 and Philippians 2: 11, "Therefore, God also has exalted Him and has bestowed upon Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in Heaven, on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father." How many have noticed that the Liturgy of the Word is getting more and more emphasis as we race through the Liturgy of the Eucharist to get to the Our Father and kiss of peace where everyone can hold hands and socialize and mistakenly become one with each other? How many times does the celebrant leave Jesus alone on the altar to go down the aisles glad-handing everyone? How many times do the liberals profess that this is all for "unity" forgetting that unity begins and ends with Jesus and His Holy Church? To stress the horizontal relationship of unity without emphasizing the vertical relationship with God is one of the biggest faux pais of the liberal left and, sadly, it has permeated the majority of churches where the people don't know the difference. Lukewarm Catholics go along for the ride not knowing better because they have been deceived. Oh, the traditional element - the remnant, if you will, have spoken out, but they have been drowned out by the cacaphony of jabberwocky being spewed forth by the radicals who have been able to take control at the parish and scholastic level. Now they are trying to take charge at the highest levels. Only our continued prayers and loyalty to the Holy Father will stem the tide. Our voices "crying in the wilderness" will have effect but we must speak out, stand up for the truth, stand up for our faith and not be cowtowed by the bullies who masquerade as proponents of a better church. After all, you can't improve on what God has set forth. Those who think so are falling into that very same trap that satan laid for Adam and Eve...and we all know what happened to them!
This concludes this series on the nine mandates and hopefully puts to rest Quinn and his ilk. Let us take seriously Our Lady's plea to "Pray! Pray! Pray!" and through our prayers, sacrifices, penances and example help effect the wondrous Triumph of her Immaculate Heart which will usher in the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and put to rest once and for all all this nonsense proposed by the radical left. In the next issue we will begin a special series on the fruits of vocations and why certain dioceses are teeming with callings while others are dying on the vine as we continue with our overall series of the clarions as Wake-Up Call to All Catholics.