Thursday, March 28, 2013

WHEN OUR PEOPLE LEAVE MASS, DO THEY LOOK LIKE THEY'VE HEARD GOOD NEWS?

Pope Francis uses same "chair of Peter" and same vestments and podium as for the Installation Mass Tuesday inside St. Peter's for this morning stunningly beautiful and solemn Chrism Mass. Thank you Msgr. Marini!

And yes, the Bishop of Rome will wash the feet of a girl or two at the prison Mass of the Lord Supper. Just think, the Bishop of Rome takes seriously the need to minister to all God's priestly people, ministerial and otherwise! Washing of the Feet is symbolic not or ordination but of service, that Christ's ordained priests must "smell like their sheep." This is precisely the reason why some priests grow dissatisfied, become sad priests, lose heart and become in some sense collectors of antiques or novelties – instead of being shepherds living with “the smell of the sheep”, shepherds in the midst of their flock...

(COMPLETE HOMILY AT THE END OF THIS POST)

GREAT HOMILETIC IMAGE: "A priest who seldom goes out of himself, who anoints little – I won’t say “not at all” because, thank God, our people take our oil from us anyway – misses out on the best of our people, on what can stir the depths of his priestly heart. Those who do not go out of themselves, instead of being mediators, gradually become intermediaries, managers. We know the difference: the intermediary, the manager, “has already received his reward”, and since he doesn’t put his own skin and his own heart on the line, he never hears a warm, heartfelt word of thanks. This is precisely the reason why some priests grow dissatisfied, become sad priests, lose heart and become in some sense collectors of antiques or novelties – instead of being shepherds living with “the smell of the sheep”, shepherds in the midst of their flock, fishers of men. True enough, the so-called crisis of priestly identity threatens us all and adds to the broader cultural crisis; but if we can resist its onslaught, we will be able to put out in the name of the Lord and cast our nets. It is not a bad thing that reality itself forces us to “put out into the deep”, where what we are by grace is clearly seen as pure grace, out into the deep of the contemporary world, where the only thing that counts is “unction” – not function – and the nets which overflow with fish are those cast solely in the name of the One in whom we have put our trust: Jesus."
Pope Francis is going to prove to be a great homilist in using imagery that we can chew on and enjoy. He wants priests to have the smell of their sheep, meaning that the priests' lives should be so intermingled with their parishioners in terms of ministry that they begin to smell like them. Interesting no?

And then this zinger! When our people depart Mass do they leave with a look on their face that indicates they have just heard "good news?"

I report, you decide. When you leave Mass, is the joy on your face because Mass is over or you've heard good news from your priest?

Priests are to be mediators not intermediaries. We priests are not managers or collectors of antiques or novelties. Priests are to become Shepherds taking on the smell of their sheep living in the midst of their flock. In other words, I guess I could say that we priests are not "middle men" in terms of commerce, but mediators of the grace of God's love and divine presence in a human way.

The Holy Father continues the Benedictine Altar arrangement in St. Peters, no novelties there. His Mass is a continuation of the hybrid of Italian and Latin, with the Preface and Eucharistic Prayer in Latin. He continues to distribute Holy Communion to kneeling deacons by way of intinction and the concelebrating priests and bishop take their Host after the Bishop of Rome has communed and intinct it into the Precious Blood.

The Holy Father has a wonderful solemn style of celebrating Mass, except for chanting of course, that priests would do well to emulate.

Two important quotes from the Bishop of Rome's Chrism Mass homily, our Holy Father:

"A priest who seldom goes out of himself, who anoints little – I won’t say “not at all” because, thank God, our people take our oil from us anyway – misses out on the best of our people, on what can stir the depths of his priestly heart. Those who do not go out of themselves, instead of being mediators, gradually become intermediaries, managers. We know the difference: the intermediary, the manager, “has already received his reward”, and since he doesn’t put his own skin and his own heart on the line, he never hears a warm, heartfelt word of thanks. This is precisely the reason why some priests grow dissatisfied, become sad priests, lose heart and become in some sense collectors of antiques or novelties – instead of being shepherds living with “the smell of the sheep”, shepherds in the midst of their flock, fishers of men.”

And the other quote:

“From the beauty of all these liturgical things, which is not so much about trappings and fine fabrics than about the glory of our God resplendent in his people”


HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS
HOLY THURSDAY CHRISM MASS
ST PETER'S BASILICA
28 MARCH 2013


Dear Brothers and Sisters, This morning I have the joy of celebrating my first Chrism Mass as the Bishop of Rome. I greet all of you with affection, especially you, dear priests, who, like myself, today recall the day of your ordination.

The readings of our Mass speak of God’s “anointed ones”: the suffering Servant of Isaiah, King David and Jesus our Lord. All three have this in common: the anointing that they receive is meant in turn to anoint God’s faithful people, whose servants they are; they are anointed for the poor, for prisoners, for the oppressed… A fine image of this “being for” others can be found in the Psalm: “It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down upon the collar of his robe” (Ps 133:2). The image of spreading oil, flowing down from the beard of Aaron upon the collar of his sacred robe, is an image of the priestly anointing which, through Christ, the Anointed One, reaches the ends of the earth, represented by the robe.

The sacred robes of the High Priest are rich in symbolism. One such symbol is that the names of the children of Israel were engraved on the onyx stones mounted on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod, the ancestor of our present-day chasuble: six on the stone of the right shoulder-piece and six on that of the left (cf. Ex 28:6-14). The names of the twelve tribes of Israel were also engraved on the breastplate (cf. Es 28:21). This means that the priest celebrates by carrying on his shoulders the people entrusted to his care and bearing their names written in his heart. When we put on our simple chasuble, it might well make us feel, upon our shoulders and in our hearts, the burdens and the faces of our faithful people, our saints and martyrs of whom there are many in these times…

From the beauty of all these liturgical things, which is not so much about trappings and fine fabrics than about the glory of our God resplendent in his people, alive and strengthened, we turn to a consideration of activity, action. The precious oil which anoints the head of Aaron does more than simply lend fragrance to his person; it overflows down to “the edges”. The Lord will say this clearly: his anointing is meant for the poor, prisoners and the sick, for those who are sorrowing and alone. The ointment is not intended just to make us fragrant, much less to be kept in a jar, for then it would become rancid … and the heart bitter.

A good priest can be recognized by the way his people are anointed. This is a clear test. When our people are anointed with the oil of gladness, it is obvious: for example, when they leave Mass looking as if they have heard good news. Our people like to hear the Gospel preached with “unction”, they like it when the Gospel we preach touches their daily lives, when it runs down like the oil of Aaron to the edges of reality, when it brings light to moments of extreme darkness, to the “outskirts” where people of faith are most exposed to the onslaught of those who want to tear down their faith. People thank us because they feel that we have prayed over the realities of their everyday lives, their troubles, their joys, their burdens and their hopes. And when they feel that the fragrance of the Anointed One, of Christ, has come to them through us, they feel encouraged to entrust to us everything they want to bring before the Lord: “Pray for me, Father, because I have this problem”, “Bless me”, “Pray for me” – these words are the sign that the anointing has flowed down to the edges of the robe, for it has turned into prayer. The prayers of the people of God. When we have this relationship with God and with his people, and grace passes through us, then we are priests, mediators between God and men. What I want to emphasize is that we need constantly to stir up God’s grace and perceive in every request, even those requests that are inconvenient and at times purely material or downright banal – but only apparently so – the desire of our people to be anointed with fragrant oil, since they know that we have it. To perceive and to sense, even as the Lord sensed the hope-filled anguish of the woman suffering from hemorrhages when she touched the hem of his garment. At that moment, Jesus, surrounded by people on every side, embodies all the beauty of Aaron vested in priestly raiment, with the oil running down upon his robes. It is a hidden beauty, one which shines forth only for those faith-filled eyes of the woman troubled with an issue of blood. But not even the disciples – future priests – see or understand: on the “existential outskirts”, they see only what is on the surface: the crowd pressing in on Jesus from all sides (cf. Lk 8:42). The Lord, on the other hand, feels the power of the divine anointing which runs down to the edge of his cloak.

We need to “go out,” then, in order to experience our own anointing, its power and its redemptive efficacy: to the “outskirts” where there is suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight, and prisoners in thrall to many evil masters. It is not in soul-searching or constant introspection that we encounter the Lord: self-help courses can be useful in life, but to live by going from one course to another, from one method to another, leads us to become pelagians and to minimize the power of grace, which comes alive and flourishes to the extent that we, in faith, go out and give ourselves and the Gospel to others, giving what little ointment we have to those who have nothing, nothing at all.

A priest who seldom goes out of himself, who anoints little – I won’t say “not at all” because, thank God, our people take our oil from us anyway – misses out on the best of our people, on what can stir the depths of his priestly heart. Those who do not go out of themselves, instead of being mediators, gradually become intermediaries, managers. We know the difference: the intermediary, the manager, “has already received his reward”, and since he doesn’t put his own skin and his own heart on the line, he never hears a warm, heartfelt word of thanks. This is precisely the reason why some priests grow dissatisfied, become sad priests, lose heart and become in some sense collectors of antiques or novelties – instead of being shepherds living with “the smell of the sheep”, shepherds in the midst of their flock, fishers of men. True enough, the so-called crisis of priestly identity threatens us all and adds to the broader cultural crisis; but if we can resist its onslaught, we will be able to put out in the name of the Lord and cast our nets. It is not a bad thing that reality itself forces us to “put out into the deep”, where what we are by grace is clearly seen as pure grace, out into the deep of the contemporary world, where the only thing that counts is “unction” – not function – and the nets which overflow with fish are those cast solely in the name of the One in whom we have put our trust: Jesus.

Dear lay faithful, be close to your priests with affection and with your prayers, that they may always be shepherds according to God’s heart.

Dear priests, may God the Father renew in us the Spirit of holiness with whom we have been anointed. May he renew his Spirit in our hearts, that this anointing may spread to everyone, even to those “outskirts” where our faithful people most look for it and most appreciate it. May our people sense that we are the Lord’s disciples; may they feel that their names are written upon our priestly vestments and that we seek no other identity; and may they receive through our words and deeds the oil of gladness which Jesus, the Anointed One, came to bring us. Amen.

34 comments:

Gene said...

Does anybody remember that silly '60's and 70's crusade, "Up With People?" I hope we are not going there...

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

You better be glad that Jesus went there, that is, "up with people" or you and I would be in big trouble!

Gene said...

Yeah, but Christ's approach was a bit different...

Gregorian Mass said...

From the Top it seems that is now firmly OK to ignore the Missal instructions on the washing of feet. Why have Missals and GIRM's if they can be ignored at will? I mean who needs them, do your own thing. This sends a message that some forms of disobedience are OK when an individual does not agree with the rubrics. Wonderful precedent.

Templar said...

1) Pope Francis says: "What I want to emphasize is that we need constantly to stir up God’s grace and perceive in every request, even those requests that are inconvenient and at times purely material or downright banal – but only apparently so – the desire of our people to be anointed with fragrant oil, since they know that we have it." Unless of course it's a request from any devoted Traditionalist, those we just tell them to be happy with the crumbs we give them and tell them 50 people don't count.

2) So the Bishop of Rome will wash woman's feet on Thursday. Obviously he's incapable of reading. No doubt this will be held up as a wonderful thing, until the next Pope says men only, and then that will be the new wonderful thing.

3) I don't want to leave Mass smiling, I want to leave challenged. In my 51 years I have encountered 2 Priests whose Homilies consistently left me feeling challenged, feeling as I should, inadequate to the task of my own salvation. One is Father Kawiatkowski and the other Father Judge from my youth. I have encountered a great many other fine Homilists, the author of this Blog included, but only those 2 have consistently made me feel The Call. No, I don't want to leave smiling, I want to leave in fear and trembling. I can get "happy, happy, happy" watching Duck Dynasty. My mortal life is meaningless whether it be rich or poor, healthy or sick, happy or sad, ease or toil....only salvation matters. Smelling like the sheep smacks of marxism. Priests should be Leaders, shining examples for us to emulate. We don't need you to be "like us".

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Perhaps you are confusing "joy" on your face with a "smile" on your face. I've often smiled when I've been challenged by God's word, not in a giddy sense but in the sense of "you know, that's right!" "That applies to me!" with a chuckle I said.

Anonymous 5 said...

This needs very careful attention. I have two posts on the subject. First, the facts.

1. In 1955, Pope Pius restored the practice in a revision of the Holy Week liturgy.

2. The instruction promulgated in the sacramentary at that time reads "Viri selecti deducuntur a ministris ad sedilia loco apto parata." The word "Viri" unambiguously means "men."

3. In 1987, The USCCB noted that "[I]t has become customary in many places to invite both men and women to be participants in this rite . . . . Thus, in the United States, a variation in the rite developed . . . ." (Emphasis added.)

4. The USCCB further stated at that time that "While this variation may differ from the rubric of the Sacramentary which mentions only men ("viri selecti"), it may nevertheless be said that the intention to emphasize service along with charity in the celebration of the rite is an understandable way of accentuating the evangelical command of the Lord . . . ." (Emphasis added. The variation in fact certainly varies from the rubric, if "viri" means "viri".)

5. The very next year, The Congregation for Divine Worship, in Paschales Solemnitatis, again used the word "viri" (men).

6. At no time, to my knowledge, has the USCCB sought or received formal approval from Rome for an exception to the liturgical norm of "viri."

7. The USCCB has explicitly trumped liturgical law with a custom, and, moreover, a custom that Rome hasn't approved.

8. The USCCB justified its reading based on its perceived intention of the rubric rather than its explicit language. It's worth noting thatthe USCCB wasn't using intention to resolve a textual ambiguity but instead to nullify an explicit textual statement. (This is precisely the way in which the illegitimate "Spirit of Vatican II" trumped and thus ignored the specific statements of the VII documents.)

9. My conclusion: It follows that the washing of women's feet during the Holy Thursday Mass is a liturgical abuse. (The washing of womens' feet in other liturgies would seem not to present a problem since the documents above refer specifically to the Holy Thursday Mass.)

Contimued . . .

ytc said...

Fr. Kwiatkowski seems like a man's man, someone laymen can relate to very well. Girlie priests seem to do nothing but sit around all day and say, "LET'S BE PASTORAL!" with all the effete connotations that comes with. Being pastoral is not something you actively do, it is a secondary effect of all the other work you do. It is what we might call the unifying characteristic of the various facets of a priest's ministry.

Another priest whose talks and homilies I like to watch online is that guy from Brazil, IN. Forgot his name. Very good, hard hitting priest. Excellent sermons, totally relatable, totally orthodox, has huge interpersonal appeal.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I too am somewhat concerned about manipulating the rubrics of the Mass although women have had their feet washed by bishops and priests for decades now.
I hope the Holy Father explains himself in the homily at the prison as to what he understands the meaning of this purely symbolic ritual act, which is not an ordination symbol by any means.
We must also keep in mind that Jesus broke Jewish ceremonial law if it meant taking care of the needs of others, like picking corn on the Sabbath.
But again, the Holy Father needs to abrogate the rubric or explain why he has changed it.

Anonymous 5 said...

Now for my questions.

A. According to the rubrics, would it be acceptable to wash the feet of 12 women and no men, despite the use of the term "viri?" Just being reductionist here, since if we can, that's the strongest illustration that "viri" doesn't mean "viri" whatsoever. In that case, maybe "pedum" can mean hands or elbows, and "duodecim" can mean six or thirteen. (Remember that the USCCB only spoke after the custom had arisen, so we should be free to begin our own customary understandings of these words.

B. Is a pope free to act without regard to the rubrics of the Mass as they are currently constituted? To put this another way, may a pope commit a liturgical abuse?

C. If a pope acts contrary to the rubrics, then rather than constitutiong a liturgical abuse, does his action instead constitute a formal repeal/repudiation of the rubrics in question? In other words, by this action has pope Francis essentially repealed Pius XII's legislation on the issue and replaced it with his own?

D. If C is the case, then exactly what is the new rubric? Must priests note the exact number of men and women in Pope Francis's lineup and keep the numbers the same in his own parish? Should he note the racial makeup of Pope francis's group as well? If we have a new unwritten rubric, then what aspects of Pope Francis's lineup are mandated by that rubric and what aspects were happenstance?

I hope the above shows some o the problems of going down the road of holding that "viri" doesn't mean what it says.

Marc said...

Anon 5, your first post is actually an apt apologetic for not following the actual rubric in America based on the idea that local custom has the force of law. The best example of this is the procession of the crucifix at the beginning of Mass. This is a liturgical abuse in the Tridentine Rite that became local custom in America and therefore legitimate.

As for Fr. McDonald's idea that Christ broke liturgical law so we can too... That is ridiculous. Surely you can think of a more compelling argument than that. As you'll recall, in the Old Testament, priests were killed on the spot for building the laws in the Holy of Holies. They tied rope to the feet of the priest before sending him in so they could pull out his carcass if he failed to follow the law.

At any rate, the servant isn't above the Master. I suggest to those who think the Pope is of base in randomly changing liturgical custom on his own whom that your problem goes back to the idea of the pope as universal bishop. In essence, your qualms are with Vatican I and not Vatican II..

Gregorian Mass said...

So far all the abuses of rubrics during this short reign have not been explained. Simplicity is the blanket rule for anything the Holy Father wishes to change. Notice the disappearance of now the Faldstool. No explanation for that either. I bet he won't explain the breaking of the rubric regarding the feet washing. Would it really be so hard for the Holy Father to follow the rubrics and customs of the Pope and Church? He is teaching us all that we can do as we wish when it comes to such things. Once all the symbols are gone, and the rubrics have either been broken or done away with there will be nothing left but to concentrate on the big things. Priestly celibacy and women's Ordination. Mark my words the push for these things is being set up as we speack by the very people shouting about how wonderful it is to have a Pope doing away with everything and breaking all kinds of rules, traditions, and customes. Now Poep Francis might now give in, or maybe he will, but the pressure is going to be much more focused and intense now that the symbolic things have been gotten rid of. How very sad and disturbing to people who are deeply rooted int he Faith, both internal and external expressions.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Just keep in mind that the Bishop of Rome as the successor of St. Peter has been given the keys to the kingdom of heaven and can bind and loose. So, are we uncomfortable with this authority Christ has invested in Peter to major degree and other bishops to a lesser not only in big matters of faith and morals but also lesser matters of liturgical custom such as washing the feet of some girls.
By his actions this evening, Peter, under the guise of Pope Francis will loose something that for some is very precious and for others a millstone.

Marc said...

Of course, popes didn't get involved in mandating liturgical praxis for centuries, beginning likely with St. Gregory the Great, whose liturgy is now only offered in Eastern Christianity. Even he can't be said to have mandated anything. No, the first Pope to mandate was Pius V in the 16th Century.

So the idea that everyone should look at the Pope and follow his liturgical lead is really off base. Of course, historically no one knew what the Pope did unless they went to Rome and happened to see it.

I'm sure there were many times when most people in the world had no idea who the Pope was, much less whose feet he was washing...

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Agreed, no one in pre-Vatican II times and well into the recent past would have seen the papal liturgy as a model for the parish. Instant communication via blog and TV has made the pope into a caricature of a super priest and cosmic pastor which he is not. Maybe that's why the new Holy Father is really emphasizing "Bishop of Rome" rather than Supreme Pontiff or Vicar of Christ or even "Universal Pastor" which was John Paul II's favorite. We all have our local bishops and that is our point of contact with Peter.

Marc said...

Well, if your bishop is showing forth the way to liturgize, I guess you'll be washing the feet of women as well... He very publicly violated this rubric and then used it as the the major component of his annual appeal's ad campaign..

Anonymous 5 said...

Fr. McD,

Am I to take your 10:39 comments as an answer (in the affirmative) to my question C? If so, that's fine, but then that leads to the problems I pose in question D, doesn't it? How would you deal with those problems? In other words, what, exactly, are the contours of the new rubric that has been established? Further, what is the meaning behind the new rubric? I don't think one can logically stop at the point of saying that the new rubric is simply about washing women's feet. We have to ask about the demographic breakdown of the washees, whether the number 12 is still mandated, wheteher children can be inclded, the style of dress, whether the pope goes from left to right or from right to left, the vessels that contain/receive the water, the color of the towels, etc.

It's tempting for the pro-women group to state that this is just about admitting women to the lineup and nothing more, that nothing else has been mandated or changed. They like this because it's a very self-serving position; that's all that they need in order to achieve their agenda. They'd love to ignore The other questions I pose because 1) those questions aren't germane to that agenda, 2) those questions complicate a question that they want to be very simple, and 3) those questions potentially invalidate the pope's actions and thus frustrate that agenda by showing thatthe pope cant have meant to throw out the old rubric (and his actions are thus an abuse). But I submit that if the pope has indeed thrown out the 1955 rule and established his own, all of those questions aren't merely germane, but must be answered. It's no longer reflective of Christ washing the feet of his priests but of his people, and that raises lots of questions about the nature of those people a represented by the washees.

ytc said...

Peter cannot loose morals. I am not sure he binds morals, either, so much as he elucidates eternal, unchanging, unchanged laws of the universe, God, and human nature.

I've always thought of binding and loosing as only applying to those things at the beck and call of the Pope: policies, rules, rubrics, indulgences, etc. But faith and morals? The Pope doesn't make that up, he doesn't bind and loose that, he simply recognizes, respects and guards it.

There will never be wymyn prysts in the Church. It is impossible.

The washing of feet of women is, I concede, orthodox, but it is an extremely bad distortion of symbol and Biblical history. It sends a strong message about a certain "issue," whether you want it or not. I guess there'd be nothing wrong with a priest crossdressing and offering Mass--after all, he's still a man!

The point is, while certain symbols and actions can be feasibly done in liturgy and not ruin the faith, it is still, nevertheless, a very horrible idea, practically speaking, to do these certain things.

Some symbols are self-apparent and referential.

Some symbols are not self-apparent, but can be explained via catechesis.

Some symbols are not self-apparent, and no matter how much you catechize, it is still practically impossible to get the message through without attracting and giving an (IMAGE) boost to heretics.

Not to mention, the idea of washing feet of women on Holy Thursday probably doesn't give us brownie points with the Orthodox, who already laugh at average Roman liturgy...

Templar said...

How about standing the whole Thursday Mass issue on it's head?

Why is the Bishop of Rome saying Mass in a Prison at all? He can just as easily have arranged for those 12 Prisoners to come to St Peter's and have their feet washed, and thereby serving the "poorest among us" while at the same time not denying the Thursday Mass to the 50,000 other laity who would like to attend? What kind of message/symbolism is in that? The Liturgy doesn't belong to the Pope, why should he take it upon himself to deny it to the other faithful? How many people can attend a Papal Liturgy at the prison? Maybe 100? This Bishop's quest for humility smacks of false pride to me. I cann do as I please because I'm Pope, and oh by the way, by my acts I can hold in doubt all that has come before me by doing differently than they did. A truly humble man would maintain his personal poverty for personal things, and set aside his personal preferences for the dignity of his Office. That's true humility. He repeatedly demonstrates that he can not differenciate between the person of Jorge Bergoglio and the person of the Pope.

rcg said...

A Look of Joy: "I like a man who grins when he fights.”

Pope Francis is a human. He is living a Christ-like life in a hard world, I can confirm Argentina is a hard place. Pope Benedict is a smart man, brilliant. Pope Francis perhaps not so much. So we need to ensure his success by supporting those around him who can articulate issues such a washing feet. A man who lets himself be guided by the Holy Spirit is lifted by the gifts of others. Heck, didn't it take about three years for Pope Benedict to come around to write SP?

We hoped aloud for Pope Benedict to have Papal Masses in Latin, in the EF. But we never got it and he never forced either way on us. I think Pope Francis will follow that lead almost exactly.

Pater Ignotus said...

Fr. Dan Munn, of happy memory, used to say that when the priest elevates the host/chalice and says, "Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb," they should, indeed, be able to consider themselves "Blessed."

Yes, people whould feel blessed by their experience of attending mass and hearing "Good News." That blessing will look different in each person. The sinner will be blessed by being given the call to repentance; the newly widowed spouse will be blessed by the consolation of receiving the Eucharist and the caring words of the people around him/her; the teen who is bullied by his/her peers can be blessed by hearing of Our Lord who was so cruelly treated, yet overcame; the person who is alone can find in the community caring brothers and sisters.

If we don't look like - and ACT like - we have heard "Good News" then we are missing the point.

Steven Surrency said...

What to do? What to do? The Holy Father has broken a rubric. This is the first time ever. Oh wait. No it isn't.

For example, Pope Benedict said prayers over incense when the GIRM says not to say anything. He used two ambos when I am pretty sure the GIRM is explicit about one ambo. The problem with these abuses, you see, is that these are abuses that we like. They are traditionalist. On the other hand, there have also been abuses that we don't like. Pope Benedict omitted the beating of the breast at the Confiteor (not sure why). Pope JP II used girl altar servers before it was allowed. Pope Benedict lit the fire of Easter vigil in the Basilica rather than outside. We may not have liked these abuses, but we allow them because we liked the guy who did them.

I think that such variation between practice and rubric has always been. I don't think that it is ideal, but it is normal. How many of you would complain if your priest genuflected to the Blessed Sacrament every time he passed the tabernacle EVEN DURING MASS which the GIRM forbids? Probably none of us. How many of you would complain if your priest used a double genuflection in front of the sacrament exposed? Probably none. How many of you like the second Confiteor at the extraordinary form even though it is NOT IN THE RUBRICS of the 1962 missal? I have even seen Cardinal Burke commit such a horrible abuse! (wink)

I know. I know. I am troubled too. I am writing this to myself as much as to anyone else. However, the pope is the supreme lawgiver on earth. When JP II went over the number 120 in the College of Cardinals, it wasn't an abuse. The pope isn't bound by his own law. So, it isn't a liturgical abuse, per se.

Moreover, there is theological justification for this. When I came into Catholicism, I was surprised that the Mandatum was read as only a sign of service to the ordained. My own reading of scripture had always read the Mandatum as a sign of service to all. It isn't just a sign of Christ's service to his priests. So if the priest is acting out Jesus's command, it acting out the command of service to all: women and men. Just because Jesus only had men there at the Supper doesn't mean that only men are candidates for participation in this sign. As an MC I tried to enforce the letter of the liturgical rubric, but didn't really see its point. Women aren't representing Jesus as priests in this rite. The are representing the faithful whom Christ serves.

There are two parts to law: the writing and the enforcement. Once a rubric ceases to be enforced, it starts to lose some of its weight. Over time, it can lose a lot of weight. I know when learning to serve the EF mass, there were many things that had fallen out of use and or changed because of custom. This will continue to be the case. The law is made for man, not man for the law. Yes, there is an eternal law. But the positive law that composes the rubrics can and does change. Especially because the signs that make up these rubrics change over time.

I am very uncomfortable with this. Especially after the turbulent disobedience rampant in the 70s (and in some place until today), I am all in favor of adhering as strictly to the rubrics as possible. However, change will continue. As long as you have a second confiteor, we will have viri et feminae selecti.

PAUL D Byrne said...

How sad that so much comment is being passed about liturgical rubrics. There is also the strong hint of misogyny. Jesus allowed his feet to be washed and anointed by a woman and that too scandalised people.

But if Pope Francis is the Supreme Pontiff and has the power upon his election to make or change laws and rubrics by virtue of his authority, and is answerable only to the divine authority, wherein lies the problem?
The words spoken by Cardinal Bergoglio during the general congregations about a Church which is self referential and narcissistic relies on the trappings of medieval monarchy.

The celebration of Mass is a precious gift that Jesus Christ gave to us and should be celebrated with reverence, solemnity and above all joy. The symbolisms within are profound and yet simple.

Nothing will ever replace a liturgy that is well celebrated and nothing will ever replace the effects of a liturgy well celebrated. Cloth of gold vestments and ornately decorated chalices are mere tools along with the other physical elements that are used in liturgy. The are not ends in themselves.

A chasuble emblazoned with a beautifully woven image of the eucharist will not lead us more deeply into the mystery of the Body and Blood of Jesus sacrificed for us - men and women. It is the woven image of calvary on the hearts of men and women that deepens the mystery and helps us celebrate Mass worthily.

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has said that active participation in the Mass is only achieved when we live the Mass in our homes, parishes and communities. Pope Francis isn't calling us to do anything different.

Would Jesus' message be different today? Where would he find the heart of the Church - in a basilica or in His people?

Steven Surrency said...

Now we see the pictures. Why is he wearing his stole as a deacon? I give up. ;)

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Paul, part of what you write is in my homily tonight! You must be clairvoyant.
Steve, where are the pictures? A bishop may wear a deacon's vestment under his chasuble

Steven Surrency said...

Looks at Zenit's facebook. He doesn't have a pontifical dalmatic. It is a deacon's stole.

Templar said...

Why so much fuss indeed? I'm okay, you're okay, we're all okay. Laws aren't meant to mean...well binding on any one...just guidelines. Like the 10 Commandments....they're not God's Laws, they're just God's guidelines. So one man's covet is another man's theoretical exercise. One man's profanation is another man's colorful adjective. Everything is relative.

How very Protestant of us all to be so open minded.

Anonymous said...

Paul, apples and oranges. If you want to argue that we should have a woman wash the celebrant's feet, I'm fine with that, because it's a different event fro Christ washing the feet of the Twelve. But to suggest posters here are misogynist because they want the rubrics followed as written is to assume much, and it is also to be a bit insulting.

Why don't wejust have all priests ignore all rubrics and say all masses however they like? What's the point of having written rubrics at all if we're not going to follw them? As long as we ajj just love each other, we don't need rules at all, right?

Oliver said...

Since Francis has been elected bishop of Rome, I have been very troubled in spirit. The dialogue going on in the comments section of this blog articulate the source of my troubed spirit very well. Despite the general public falling in love with Francis, I just can't seem to warm up to him. I think, after Divine Mercy Sunday, I may consider doing a Catholic version of a rumspringa for the duration of Francis' papacy. Perhaps I just need a break from religion. Any advice, Father or any of the regular commentors?

Anonymous said...

What is worrying is that we must expect other vaguely scandalizing moves by the Holy Father. He can do it we say because he is the law maker. Soon, other people will imitate his law breaking and justify their unlawful actions: well, the Pope would do it. It will be hard to argue against this. The way of prayer is the way of belief. The SSPX may have an easier time returning to the fold than what others have been thinking.

Gene said...

The Left will take this and run with it. A new clamor will arise for women priests, women deacons, gay marriage, and the whole lot of nonsense. People just don't get it. We live in a time of global egalitarian/collectivist frenzy. Just as the Constitution in this country means nothing anymore, so the dogmas of the Church are fair game for manipulation, amending, abusing, and ignoring. The individual becomes the arbiter of what is right or wrong.. Hell, I ain't gonna' feel so guilty anymore for lusting after the women of the Church during the Sanctus. Sheesh! Let the good times roll, baby!

Templar said...

Oliver: I would never encourage you to stop attending Mass, as it would be a sin for both you and I, however I would encourage you to seek out a Traditional Parish in your area, perhaps you will find it more fulfilling to your spiritual life than what is available at your local NO St Bozo's Parish. Under no circumstances would I recommend you abandon your faith, even if you stop attending Mass your Faith is still important. I have found that my Faith formation has been best served over the years by studying the lives of the Saints, whose orthodoxy and morality are already known to be solid as they are among the Church Triumphant in heaven. You will find the essence of Catholicism in the Saints much easier than you will listening to ANY MAN, which includes Popes who are as fallible as the rest of us on most issues.

Gene said...

I agree with Templar. Theology and doctrine are what brought me to the Catholic Church from Calvinism after a long spiritual and theological struggle. They are what will keep me here. Revealed Truth, as embodied in the dogmas and doctrines of the Church, transcends Popes and ill-conceived councils. The question remains: "Will it also have to transcend the Catholic Church?" Is Luther's ghost stalking us?"

Anonymous in Archdiocese of Detroit said...

@Oliver, I also agree you should try to find a more traditional parish, rather than the typical "social worker pep rally" community most parishes seem to be. It may be hard to find one(as it is my archdiocese), but I would advise you to do what I will be doing: make the book "An Easy Way To Become A Saint" by Fr Paul O'Sullivan (TAN books)the center of your spiritual life for the duration.
http://www.tanbooks.com/index.php/page/shop:flypage/product_id/320/

That, combined with focusing more on your own local parish and bishop, and giving less thought to the Pope and the Vatican, if the current Holy Father is too polarizing for you, you should get through it OK, maybe even better off.