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 with 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 clearly could 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. Continue Reading