Edward Cardinal Mooney added a bit of tragic drama to the Conclave of 1958. Born in 1882 in Mount Savage, Maryland, the seventh child in his family, he moved with them to Youngstown, Ohio at the age of 5. His father was a tube mill worker and died in the early 1890’s. His mother opened a small baking shop to support the family, and George and his brothers and sisters delivered the goods to customers. He began his studies for the priesthood at Saint Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore and concluded them at the North American pontifical college. Ordained in 1909, he taught dogmatic theology at Saint Mary’s Seminary in Cleveland until 1916. He was the founding principal of the Cathedral Latin School in Cleveland from 1916-1922.
Made the spiritual director of the North American Pontifical College in Rome in 1923, he received the unique assignment of being the Apostolic Delegate to India and made a Titular Archbishop. In India he helped found 15 missions and three parishes. In 1931 he was made Apostolic Delegate to Japan. In 1933 he was made fourth Bishop of Rochester with the personal title of Archbishop. In 1937 he was named the first Archbishop of Detroit, receiving a Cardinal’s cap from Pope Pius XII in 1946.
Like most Catholic clergy of his generation, he was very pro-labor unions which stood him in good stead in the heavily unionized Detroit. He immediately clashed heads with Father Charles Coughlin, the fiery controversial radio priest who operated from Royal Oak, Michigan. The clashes continued until Father Coughlin agreed to end his radio program in 1942.
During World War II he was a strong supporter of the war effort viewing Nazi Germany as a mortal adversary of Christianity.
At the Conclave of 1958 he had a massive heart attack in Rome and died at age 70 just three hours before the Conclave began. The more deranged sedevacantists claim that Mooney was murdered to help deny Cardinal Siri the papal throne, which is pure, unadulterated one hundred percent bunk. Continue reading
Cardinals speak of feeling as if the weight of the world is on their shoulders. While we watch the awe and majesty of a Conclave to pick the next pontiff, the Princes of the Church speak of it with trepidation, some with fear. The 115 cardinals who will pick the next pontiff rightfully feel their solemn responsibility. The Church’s greatest task is to save souls and the man who will figuratively grasp the keys given to St Peter by Jesus assumes an awesome responsibility.
The procession from St Peter’s to the Sistine Chapel may be one of the most moving and beautiful events a believer (and even a non-believer) may ever witness. As the Litany of the Saints is chanted the cardinals process into the Sistine Chapel, pulling themselves away from the outside world to pray and vote for the Successor of St. Peter. For the truly faithful, the days of the Conclave are often one of the rare moments in the public life of the Church where the mainstream media isn’t dictating who the cardinals should pick and why the Church’s Teachings need to be changed. Now some will attempt to do just that, but it often comes across as shallow and shrill due to the solemnity of the moment.
Monday on ABC’s World News Tonight, Diane Sawyer interviewed South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier. His Eminence, who was present at the last Conclave, was asked what it was like picking the future pontiff. The Cardinal from Durban spoke of looking at Michelangelo’s Last Judgment painted above him in the Sistine Chapel, and pleading for Jesus to help him make the right decision. Continue reading
This is a joint post with commenter Dr. Peter Dans. Pete has written a fine book which I will be reviewing, Christians in the Movies, A Century of Saints and Sinners, and he has given suggestions about films to watch while we are waiting to shout Habemus Papam. Here are the films in Chronological order of the Pope depicted:
1. Quo Vadis (1951)-The historical spectacle film to end historical spectacle films, it brings to the screen the novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz of the persecution of Christians under Nero. The film is a great work of Art with inspired performances by Peter Ustinov as Nero, Robert Taylor as the tough Roman legate Marcus Vinicius who finds himself, very much against his will, becoming a Christian from his love of the Christian Lygia, portrayed by Deborah Kerr, and Leo Genn, as Petronius, the uncle of Vinicius and Nero’s “arbiter of taste”, who wounds Nero to the core with the following suicide note:
To Nero, Emperor of Rome, Master of the World, Divine Pontiff. I know that my death will be a disappointment to you, since you wished to render me this service yourself. To be born in your reign is a miscalculation; but to die in it is a joy. I can forgive you for murdering your wife and your mother, for burning our beloved Rome, for befouling our fair country with the stench of your crimes. But one thing I cannot forgive – the boredom of having to listen to your verses, your second-rate songs, your mediocre performances. Adhere to your special gifts, Nero – murder and arson, betrayal and terror. Mutilate your subjects if you must; but with my last breath I beg you – do not mutilate the arts. Fare well, but compose no more music. Brutalize the people, but do not bore them, as you have bored to death your friend, the late Gaius Petronius.
Peter in the movie is portrayed by Finlay Currie. Here is the classic scene from the film that depicts Peter informed by Christ that He is going to Rome to be crucified a second time:
In the film he goes to the arena where the Christians are being murdered for the amusement of the crowds and cries out, “Here where Nero rules today, Christ shall rule forever!” The film movingly depicts Peter’s martyrdom, crucified upside down since he had stated that he was not worthy to have the same death as Christ.
2. Sign of the Pagan (1954) -Jack Palance, a great actor who was consistently underrated throughout his career, portrays Attila the Hun. Here we have depicted the meeting between Attila and Pope Leo the Great, portrayed by Leo Moroni, which convinces Attila to spare Rome.
3. Becket (1964)-A masterful, albeit heavily fictionalized retelling of the life of the “holy, blessed, martyr”. Here we have Archbishop Becket, Richard Burton, in exile having an interview with Pope Alexander III, Paolo Stoppa:
4. Francis of Assisi (1961)-A film biography of Saint Francis, ably acted by Bradford Dillman. Go here to see the depiction of the interview between Saint Francis and Pope Innocent III, the role assayed by Finlay Currie who was Peter in Quo Vadis. Dolores Hart had the role of Saint Clare in the film. She went on to become a nun. Pete has some information in regard to that:
It has the extra added attraction of an interesting backstory involving Dolores Hart, the actress who played Clare and later became a nun. She is now the Prioress of Regina Laudis Abbey which itself has an interesting backstory connecting back to the 1949 film Come to the Stable.
By the way, I sent her a copy of the book and she sent me a delightful note in 2009 saying that the documentation of the abbey’s founding and her journey was “absolutely on target” and that it made her want to read the whole book. Then she added “Said like a real actress.” I was especially touched when she said that she would keep me in her “heart and prayers.” I’m sure that has been a big help to me along the way. Continue reading
Hattip to Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report. From those hilarious folks at The Lutheran Satire. Just remember in the coming days of the Conclave that the bubble headed blonde in the above video will accurately reflect the knowledge base of many of the talking heads on television pontificating about would be pontiffs.
Wikileaks information has been disclosed by Rome Reports that the U.S. intelligence services were completely caught off guard and surprised at the election of then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.
[Found another YouTube video that works]
Updated as of 10:40am Central time, 11-30-2010 AD:
U.S. intelligence was expecting a Latin American as the next pope, and predicted that then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger would have lost in the first round voting.
The rest from Father Zuhlsdorf:
Before the election the staff of the US embassy to the Holy See sent speculations to Washington about the one to be elected.
“The first factor will be age, the cardinals will seek someone who is neither too young nor too old, because they don’t want to have another funeral and conclave quickly” but “they also want to avoid having a long pontificate like that of John Paul II.” Furthermore, “it will be a person in reasonably good health”. Another element will be “linguistic ability” and he will have to know Italian.