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Antonio Cañizares Llovera (born 15 October 1945), Spanish Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

Over on the EP website, we get the next dispatch from the resistance to Francis: The Spanish Front. (see here)

Post is titled : Spain’s Bishops Elect Members for Bishops’ Synod – Surprise Bishop Reig – Little Ratzinger Elected to Chairmanship.

The Fall General Assembly of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference elected three synododalists for the Synod of Bishops on the Family in 2015 with a not insignificant surprise.

The Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, who was dismissed by Pope Francis and sent back as Archbishop of Valencia, Cardinal Antonio to Spain, has been, it seems, chosen with great support to the Chairmanship of the Conference of Bishops. He replaces the retired Archbishop of Madrid Rouco Varela.

Now just so we understand what just happened, lets examine the lay of the land and identify the players:

Cardinal Antonio Cañizares is the “Littel Ratzinger” from the title of the RC post. Cd. Cañizares was the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, under Benedict XVI and holds the distinction of being the second victim (Piacenza holds the honor of being the first victim) of the Francis “pontificate of the long knives”. (see here) His grave “offense”for his demotion and degradation is explained by EF (see here): [with emphasis added]

With personal integrity, but not particularly combative, the cardinal celebrated several times in the traditional form of the Roman Rite, as well as in autumn 2012 on the occasion of the first International Pilgrimage of Tradition to Rome . It was the first time since the reform of the liturgy that it was celebrated at a main altar of St. Peter again in a larger scale Sacrifice of the Mass in the Old Rite.

So for that grave crime committed against the “spirit of VII” and the Bugnini’ite “liturgical reforms” (see here) commonly known as the Novus Ordo Missae, Cardninal Cañizares was sent packing. Not only was cd. Cañizares sent back to Spain, he was further degraded by not being named the Archibishop of Madrid, where he was expected to be appointed, but at the lesser See of Valencia. The appointment of the new archbishop of Madrid in turn, was a stunt similar to Francis’s appointment of the new archbishop of Chicago, i.e. appointment of Blase “Francis pulls a rabbit out of the hat” Cupich. The See of Madrid went to the HOT Christian Carlos Osoro Sierra (HOT Christian definition see here). Remember that name Carlos Osoro Sierra. Here is the relevant RC passage (see here):

… Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, up to today Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, was named by Pope Francis new Archbishop of Valencia (in the place of Carlos Osoro Sierra, named also today Archbishop of Madrid).

As to the nature of the demotion and degradation, it is just another example of Francis’s pettiness, vengefulness, small mindedness, hatefulness.. and a bunch of other ness’s. And since the demotion of cd. Cañizares Llovera, Francis has wielded his “axe of mercy” mercilessly at the Congregation for Divine Worship as can be seen from this RC post titled: “De-Ratzingerization Purge at Divine Worship: Full Steam Ahead.” (see here). But I digress…

So back to the Spanish Bishop’s conference and the Chairmanship election, because there were more surprises.

In the first Shameful Secret Synod of Sin, Spain was represented by just the Chairman of the Spanish Bishops’Conference, the retired archbishop of Madrid, Archbishop of Madrid Rouco Varela. But at the Synod (I am omitting the “Shameful”, “Secret” and the “of Sin” qualifiers since I want to give the bishops the benefit of the doubt) of 2015, the Spanish delegation will be comprised of three prelates. Here is the relevant text:[with emphasis and comments added]

The Spanish Episcopal Conference was represented in the first part of the Synod of Bishops, which took place as extraordinary Synod last October, automatically and exclusively by its President, while three representatives will participate in the second part, the Annual Synod, who were elected by the bishops from their own ranks.

Just so were very clear of how the situation looks. In the Secrete Synod of 2014, the Spanish bishops were represented exclusively by the President of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference. In the Synod of 2015, the Spanish bishops will be represented by three bishops elected from their ranks.

Now my dear readers, your probably asking yourselves: elections have not been very good for TeamFrancis. And you all have the “brutalization” by the Italian Bishops’Conference of the “unfortunately unfortunate Bruno “Slippery as an eel” Forte vividly engrained in your minds.(see here and here) And your asking yourselves “Can lightning strike again?”.

Well, you are on the right track. In the elections for the three delegates to the Synod of Bishops of 2015, the following transpired:

First place will go to the Vice President of the Bishops’ Conference, then Ricardo Blazquez, archbishop of Valladolid, who was elected by a large majority.

In second place comes a Mario Iceta Gavicagogeascoa, the Bishop of Bilbao who is an acknowledged expert on bioethical issues. As to the two above, the Spanish Catholic church historian and blogger José Francisco Fernández de la Cigoña considers both of “strong character and conservative”. Think “messaging”. 🙂

And as you probably suspect, the real fireworks were for the third place in the delegation to the Synod of 2015.
And this is what transpired: [ with emphasis and comment]

For third place, however it came to a scramble. For this spot, the Archbishop of Madrid, Carlos Osoro Sierra, [remember him?] who was appointed by Pope Francis, and him alone, would have gotten the position owing to his rank.

Should have, owing to his rank. However:

In reality, several rounds of voting were needed because Archbishop Osoro could not gather a sufficient majority.

But it gets better. As to his opponent, here are the details.

His opponent was none other than Bishop Juan Antonio Reig of Alcalá de Henares. Archbishop Reig is the Spanish bishop who speaks in the most definitive language and does not hesitate to publicly engage in clear words for faith. But he is also most severely under attack by opponents of the church and media. “If the Archbishop of Granada had been present, Archbishop Osoro would have gotten a nasty surprise,” says Fernández de la Cigoña.

As you can by now deduce, the Francis HOT Christian “Osoro prevailed because of one vote.”

Not a resounding performance by TeamFrancis. So much for the narrative of “inevitability”.

Below is the EF blog commentary. I have reproduced it in its entirety, with my emphasis and [comments] so that you dear reader can get an accurate idea of the situation inside the Spanish Catholic Church.

The humiliating ballots are a snub for the new Archbishop of Madrid. Perhaps the voting behavior of many bishops were directed not against him, but were rather in support of the positions of Bishop Reig. The Bishop of Alcalá de Henares [Reig] had to put up with a thorough drubbing in public in recent months, but stood at the forefront in the defense of non-negotiable values and expressed clear positions on the controversial issues at the Synod of Bishops. The vote for him [Reig], if [even though] he ultimately lost the election, means a substantial strengthening his position in the Bishops’ Conference. Bishop Reig was the one who sharply criticized the reigning bourgeois Partido Popular because of the pandering to the abortion party. Next year, a new parliament will be elected in Spain. The support of the bishop by his confreres can also be seen in this context and even more importantly, there is nevertheless in most of the Episcopal Conferences a certain unwillingness to mess with political power, and certainly not before elections.

The post goes on the conclude by saying this:

The close defeat of Bishop Reig is a loss for the Synod of Bishops . More surprising than its failure, however, is that he could ever unite so many votes against the Archbishop of Madrid, [and implicitly against Francis who “pulled Osoro out of his proverbial hat and installed him in Madrid] almost half the episcopate. It may be as general custom now such that Bishop Reig is a replacement synodalist, should one of the three newly elected Synod members should not be able to go to Rome. [So all could turn out for the best if Osoro breaks a leg, for example], 😉

And finally, the EF blog concludes as follows:

Spain’s bishops are well positioned in sum for the Bishops’ Conference. Their position was clearly stated with the election of Archbishop Blázquez, Bishop Iceta and the votes for Bishop Reig.

And here are my parting thoughts. Francis is an absolute sovereign. He is king pope. But the next pope, will also be an absolute sovereign just like Francis. And since Francis is overturning the general order and unwritten conventions that govern an institution such as the Vatican, he must realize, or at least someone should tell him, that the next pope that ascends to the Throne of St. Peter can just as easily take Francis’ reforms and throw them onto the trash heap of history, along with liberation theology and the Nuns on the Bus. And no matter how many “reforms” Francis institutes, and no matter how much collegiality and synoldality he introduces – which to date has been none, as a matter of fact, he has reverted back to the days of the Ultramontanist papacies- the next pope will just as easily revert back to the historic norms. And he will no doubt use Francis as his example.

Now that is what I call irony.