Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone could teach the Milwaukee Archdiocese a thing or two. The head of the San Francisco Archdiocese recently made headlines on the West Coast when he announced the formation of the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship. It’s still in its inchoate stages, but it is very encouraging, to say the least. Talk about a bold initiative aimed at an authentic “reform of the reform” of liturgy! This is what Vatican II really intended for the Church.

Here’s an excerpt from Catholic San Francisco describing Cordileone’s visionary project:

On the eve of the feast of the Epiphany, more than 200 sacred music lovers from around the archdiocese and beyond filled the parish hall of St. Sebastian Church in Greenbrae and practiced Gregorian chant with Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone in preparation for afternoon vespers.

The event, organized by St. Sebastian pastor Father Mark Taheny and a group of parish volunteers, served as the archbishop’s launch point for publicly introducing the new Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University in Menlo Park and its director, Benedictine Father Samuel Weber.

Archbishop Cordileone explained to the assembly that he created the institute to “reclaim the sense of the sacred” in liturgical expression at the parish level and to offer a deeper sense of formation to lay ministers such as lectors, music directors, extraordinary ministers of holy Communion and those who bring Communion to the sick. . . .

“My experience is that when people are exposed to the riches of the church’s traditions, when they are properly explained and when a person is properly catechized, they respond and get excited about being Catholic,” said the archbishop. “Formation helps solidify and deepen their own Catholic identity.” 

According to the archbishop, a liturgical mindset and a sensitivity to the sacred is critical to the integrity of worship. He said the institute can provide the necessary foundation to parish pastors who choose to use it as a resource.


It’s being done elsewhere. Why not in Milwaukee? San Francisco is most likely not any less liberal an archdiocese than Milwaukee! (And that’s saying something.) So there’s no doubt going to be opposition from within on the part of incurables who are hopelessly stuck in the 1970s. You have only to utter the name “Benedict” or “Ratzinger” and these folks go into a “Spirit of Vatican II, All Are Welcome” induced apoplexy. But the shepherd of Frisco, a liturgical protege of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, is clearly undaunted and ready for the challenge. You don’t need lightening to strike you to know that yes, leadership is key. As an aside, I met Father Weber, another Benedict disciple, in Saint Louis. He’s rock-solid, totally orthodox and brilliant, the perfect man for the job.

What Archbishop Cordileone is doing in San Fran. should serve as an example to other bishops: import holy, orthodox, cultured educators into your diocese, and charge them with forming the faithful in the beauty of the faith! If we are going to move forward with a serious “reform of the reform” of the Roman Rite, we’re going to have to start seeing a lot more initiatives like this…that is to say, grass roots, parish by parish reform.

If anyone with an ear for sacred music is interested in getting something like this up and running in the Milwaukee Archdiocese, contact CCC.