Friday, May 24, 2013


To all the Italian Bishops, excerpts of Pope Francis meditation at a "Liturgy of the Word" below and the entire talk HERE.

“Do you love me?”; “Are you my friend?” (Cf. Jn 21:15 ff)

The question is addressed to a man who, despite his solemn declaration, was overcome by fear and went back on his word.

“Do you love me?”; “Are you my friend?”

The question is addressed to me and to each one of you, to all of us: if we avoid reacting too hastily and superficially, it encourages us to look within, to enter into ourselves.

“Do you love me?”; “Are you my friend?”

Every ministry is based on this intimacy with the Lord; to live in him is the measure of our ecclesial service, which is expressed in an openness to obedience, to emptying of self, as we heard in the Letter to the Philippians, to total giving (cf. Phil 2:6-11).

Moreover, the consequence of loving the Lord is giving everything - absolutely everything, even one’s very life - for Him: this is what must distinguish our pastoral ministry; it is the litmus test that shows how profoundly we have embraced the gift received in response to the call of Jesus, and how we are joined to the people and the communities that have been entrusted to us. We are not expressions of a structure or an organizational need: even with the service of our authority we are called to be a sign of the presence and action of the Risen Lord, and so, to build up the community in fraternal charity.

The lack of vigilance - we know – makes the Pastor lukewarm; he becomes distracted, forgetful and even impatient; it seduces him with the prospect of a career, the lure of money, and the compromises with the spirit of the world; it makes him lazy, turning him into a functionary, a cleric worried more about himself, about organizations and structures, than about the true good of the People of God. He runs the risk, then, like the Apostle Peter, of denying the Lord, even if he is present to us and speaks in His name; the holiness of the hierarchy of Mother Church is obscured, making it less fertile.


As it was for Peter, the insistent and heartfelt question of Jesus can leave us saddened and may leave us more aware of the weakness of our freedom, beset as it is by a thousand internal and external constraints, which often cause confusion, frustration, even disbelief.

These are certainly not the feelings and attitudes that the Lord intends to arouse; rather, the Enemy, the Devil, takes advantage of them to isolate us in bitterness, in complaints, and in discouragement.


As you can see in the video and as Rocco Palm states at Whispers in the Loggia: "While the event ranked as a liturgical occasion – and the Sistine Choir and ceremonies crew all donned choir dress – Papa Francesco and the prelates wore the simple "house cassock," which has been the new pontiff's invariable daily wardrobe since his election for everything but Masses. Following the rite, meanwhile, instead of the long-standing custom of prelates queueing up to pay their respects to the Pope at his throne, Francis spent well over a half-hour snaking through the multiple rows of seats in front of the main altar alone, warmly greeting the bishops one by one at their places."

This "casual or street wear" at a liturgy outside of Mass where everything else is not casual is a bit disconcerting from a liturgical point of view and must be driving the masters of ceremonies to high anxiety. Liturgically, there is a clash between the lesser ministers of this liturgy and the pope himself who is not vested for a liturgy. I am not sure what to make of this other than it is a set back for the liturgy of the Church apart from Mass.

It also appears that perhaps the pope was unaware of the nature of the liturgy since his lack of vesture for it is so odd and, well, illicit, especially for a pope. Not even for the solemn blessing at the end of this liturgy does the pope don a stole, the least that would have been expected. I wonder if he even met with the masters of ceremonies for them to inform him of the solemn nature of this "para-liturgy?" Keep in mind, for the pope to be in this solemn liturgical prayer containing the Liturgy of the Word, a blessing to the vested deacon and a solemn final blessing and to only wear a house cassock, the equivalent of a clerical shirt and suit, is, well, extremely unfortunate.

Even at the end, the MC is conferring with Pope Francis about what he is to do next, since the bishops would have come to him at his chair. But the MC does not know until the end that the Pope is going to go to the bishops and snake is way around the chairs to greet each of them. That's fine, but he should have met with the MC ahead of time to tell him that and the MC should have told him ahead of time, Holy Father wear at least a stole for the entire service, even if he has a phobia of mozzettas.

Typically a priest who wears as street clothes a house cassock, which is what Pope Francis wears, would don a surplice and stole at least for a non Mass liturgy and for more solemn celebrations a stole and cope. For the pope, typically it has been a surplice of a variety of styles, Benedict liked lace, the mozzetta and stole as pictured here:

And Pope John Paul II wearing the same:


John Nolan said...

Pope Francis had to wear choir dress as a priest, bishop and cardinal, and sooner or later he will have to do so as pope. Eccentricity can only be taken so far - otherwise it becomes an irritating affectation. What is he trying to prove?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

It is puzzling, especially in this well orchestrated liturgy, with the Sistine choir, and deacons, who themselves are vested in alb and stole and appear to have been made at the last minute to remove the dalmatic, so this does seem to be a repeat of the first appearance of the new Holy Father on the Loggia insisting on not wearing what is traditionally worn by a new pope, meaning choir dress, which is what Cardinal Borgoglio wore into the Sistine Chapel prior to his election and wearing a lace surplice to boot.
It is very odd that he is not properly vested for this solemn liturgical event and will give license to us 1970's generation and want to be generation to return to the casual approach to liturgy that has marred the liturgy for the past 50 years as it concerns the disregard of what is required liturgically for various liturgies of the Church.

Gene said...

This Pope is sending a lot of mixed messages. I believe he is struggling with some of his own ambivalence as to his Papal identity.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

This seems to be a very human pope and I would imagine that he is grieving for his previous lifestyle, the friends he had in Buenos Aires, and so on. Can you imagine packing a suitcase, flying 10,000 miles away to Europe and then being elected pope and not even able to return for a good-bye to your own homeland, where you in effect become a prisoner of the Vatican. So he may be grieving and only gradually coming to the realization of what has happened to him and that he is no longer an obscure cardinal in Argentina and every step, every word, every action is scrutinized and becomes international news.
But the paradox is that he is very hierarchical, expects obedience to Holy Mother Church and the the Successor of Peter and the Magisterium of the Church. He may well be the most monarchical pope we've had but one who has cast aside the appearance of monarchy which is disconcerting.

Anonymous said...

"...would DAWN a surplice and a stole..." ?

don - to put on (an item of clothing)

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Fixed, my fingers do type fast as I am a good typist, but they type what hear regardless of context! :)

Gene said...

"...would dawn..." Well, he might have put it on in the morning...

rcg said...

As far as style goes, I do not think he is commenting on previous, nor guiding future Popes with his vestments. I think he is communicating to the Bishops just as Benedict did.

Templar said...

I can imagine flying 10,000 miles and being elected Pope quite well. The Tiber would run pink from all the firings that would be announced. I can probably think of a couple dozen that could be announced from the Loggia.....while wearing the Mozzetta of course :)

Anonymous said...

"Don" and "Dawn" are not homophones.

Marc said...

Of course Don and Dawn aren't homophones!

Catholics believe in traditional marriage!

DW said...

But will liturgical casualness return to this:

Gene said...

I was not suggesting they were homophones. However, if you hear someone from certain parts of the Deep South say "don," it will sound like "dawn." Likewise, many Yankees say "dawn" and make it sound like "don."

Example: "Clem dawned his overhauls and went out and shot a Yankee in the a.."

Example: "Darling, I think I will get up at don and go vote for Obama."

Anonymous said...

Regardless of what the words may SOUND like in a particular region, a writer should know the difference.

Gene said...

A yankee was speeding through Texas in a sports car and got pulled over by the Texas Highway Patrol. The yankee decided to try to schmooze the officer:
"Weeelll, Awficer, I ain't been back to Texas in a long ol' while."
Patrolman replies: "You a Texas boy?"
Yankee: "Why, I sho am."
Patrolman: "Spell rat."
Yankee: "R-A-T."
Patrolman (writing ticket), "Naw, I meant like rat now."