CHICAGO (ChurchMilitant.com) - A top cardinal, who presides over liturgical abuses and incorporates pagan elements from Taoism and Hinduism into the Holy Eucharist, is doubling down on attacking the Traditional Latin Mass in his Chicago archdiocese.
Cardinal Blase Cupich, who permits high-profile LGBT+ Masses, published a five-page policy two days after Christmas, prohibiting the celebration of the TLM on the first Sunday of every month, Christmas, the Triduum of Holy Week, Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday.
The prelate, who publicly opposed bishops seeking to withhold Holy Communion from pro-abortion President Joe Biden, has promulgated his own rules implementing Pope Francis' motu proprio Traditionis Custodes — which threatens to snuff out the ancient Liturgy.
Cupich's crackdown on the TLM compels all clergy in the archdiocese to make an official written request in order to obtain the archbishop's permission to celebrate the Tridentine Mass, which must include "a statement of agreement" promising to abide by the new norms.
Priests wishing to celebrate the Old Rite of the Mass, even in private, have to obtain permission and "explicitly affirm" the "validity and legitimacy" of the liturgical reform and the Second Vatican Council.
"Cardinal Cupich's liturgical open-mindedness extends to Masses incorporating Hindu or Chinese pagan elements, but he is determined to prevent faithful Catholics worshipping as his own grandparents would have done on Christmas Day and Easter Sunday," Dr. Joseph Shaw, president of the Latin Mass society Una Voce International, told Church Militant.
Dr. Shaw, an academic at the University of Oxford, lamented that "one gets the impression that he would like to make plausible the extreme polemic against the Novus Ordo that is criticized in Traditionis Custodes, that it represents a new Church incompatible with the Faith handed down by the Apostles, and for that reason must be driven underground."
Traditionalist clergy will also need to "demonstrate an appreciation 'of the value of concelebration, particularly at the Chrism Mass'" celebrated with the bishop during Holy Week.
Cupich insists that when traditionalist priests celebrate the new Mass with congregations (under compulsion, as on the first Sunday of the month), they are to do so versus populum ("facing the people") unless permission is granted otherwise by the archbishop.
Further, Masses celebrated on such occasions — including for Christmas, Holy Week and Pentecost — are to use "exclusively the liturgical books promulgated by St. Pope Paul VI and St. Pope John Paul II, either in the vernacular or in Latin."
Following the Vatican's recent responsa ad dubia (answers to doubts), which clarify aspects of Traditionis Custodes, Cupich has also banned all other sacraments from being celebrated according to the Old Rite — unless he grants permission on a case-by-case basis.
"No permission will be given to use the Pontificale Romanum, predating the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council, as it has been abrogated," the archbishop declared. The Pontificale Romanum has rites for confirmation and ordination, and abolishing it prevents traditionalist orders from ordaining priests in the Chicago archdiocese according to the ancient rites.
On Monday, the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius (a priestly fraternity dedicated to the Tridentine Liturgy) responded in a public letter saying they would be "petitioning" the archbishop "for various permissions."
"We, like many of you, receive this news with no little sadness. But we also recognize the challenge before us: to live more fully our charism, as outlined in our constitutions," wrote Fr. Joshua Caswell, superior general of the community.
"We are prayerfully discerning how to be a bridge for unity in the life of the Church by faithfully implementing the archdiocesan policy in accord with our spiritual and pastoral patronage ... and at the same time remain faithful to our mission," Caswell noted.
The Canons are urging the faithful to join them in a Rosary novena, beginning Jan. 25, 2022, pleading that Our Lady "will ultimately say to us, as she told the wedding guests at Cana, pointing to her Son, 'Do whatever He tells you.'"
In February 2020, Cupich permitted nuns to perform a distinctive Hindu arati ritual during the elevation of the Holy Eucharist at a Mass he presided at in Rome, as Church Militant previously reported. The arati is one of twelve Hindu symbols and rituals approved by the Vatican for the so-called Indian rite Mass and has led to widespread syncretism, liturgical abuse, confusion among the laity and a moratorium on evangelization in India.
During the Hindu rite of Arati, camphor flames, flowers and joss sticks are offered to the deity by means of a clockwise rotation while standing before an idol. The five camphor lights symbolize the elements of earth, air, fire, water and ether, representing the totality of the cosmos.
The ceremonial is also used to welcome an important personality or guest since, in monistic Hinduism, the whole of creation is one single principle of divinity.
Benjamin Walker's Hindu World points out that the "object of the 'Arati' rite is to please the goddess with bright lights and colors and also to counteract the evil eye."
A month earlier, Cupich performed a Chinese lion-awakening ritual marking the Chinese Lunar New Year, before celebrating Holy Mass at the Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, Illinois.
The prelate offered a pagan blessing by dotting paint onto the lion's eyes, nose, mouth, ears and body, while reciting the invocation, "Good fortune upon your head, miraculous light glittering to your eyes, your ears capturing sounds from all directions. May the most favorable, auspicious, big fortune and great profit be to you throughout the whole year, from the beginning all the way to the end."
In 2016, Cupich visited St. Therese Chinese Catholic Church for the Chinese Lunar New Year Mass. While there, he led the concelebration of Holy Mass from an altar decorated with pagan symbols, including the image of a dragon on the altar frontal and two black and gold labyrinths at each end of the altar symbolizing the "flow of cosmic forces."
The Chinese incense burner on the side of the altar represented offering a sacrifice of appeasement for the suffering souls of the ancestors, a pagan animistic practice.
The lion and dragon dances at the Chinese New Year's celebrations are meant to drive away evil spirits and bring good luck for the future year. "No Christian worth his salt can ever embrace the traditional ritual of a lion dance being capable of warding off 'bad omens,'" warned Khen Lim.
Steven Wong, in his book Exposing Chinese Ancestor Worship, explains Cupich's "blessing" of the lion's head (a ceremony known as "the Initiation of the Lion Head").
According to Wong, the ceremony is performed by the temple priests. The lion head is first presented at the altar of the gods at the temple. A priest then goes into a trance under the possession of a spirit, takes a big Chinese pen, dips it in black ink and draws a "third eye" on the head of the lion as a doorway for the spirit to enter the lion's head.
"For 14 years (and even longer) the Traditional Mass and the reformed Mass have coexisted in Chicago, offering Catholics richer liturgical options and contributing to the integration of Catholics attached to the older Mass into the archdiocese," Dr. Joseph Shaw observed.
"Cardinal Cupich's decree will make them feel less than welcome. One wonders how this implements Our Lord's mandate to 'feed My sheep,'" Shaw asked.
In his letter accompanying Traditionis Custodes, Pope Francis said he was "saddened by abuses in the celebration of the Liturgy on all sides." Francis deplored, with Benedict XVI, how "in many places the prescriptions of the new Missal are not observed in celebration, but indeed come to be interpreted as an authorization for, or even a requirement of, creativity, which leads to almost unbearable distortions."
So far, however, Francis has never taken any action to stop widespread liturgical abuses in the celebrations of the new rite of the Liturgy.