Saturday, December 28, 2013
HOW MUCH WILL POPE FRANCIS AFFECT THE WAY MASS IS CELEBRATED IN RANK AND FILE CATHEDRALS AND PARISHES AND WHAT ABOUT THE "REFORM OF THE REFORM"
Let's face it, for all the attention and celebrity given to popes, some more than others, and the current occupant getting the most ever, at least since the early days of Blessed, soon to be Saint, Pope John Paul II, how much of an impact does the pope have on local dioceses and parishes? From what I can tell, not much!
The two biggest things Pope Benedict set into motion were the liberalization of who can celebrate the 1962 missal. That affected in our diocese just the Cathedral and my parish. There were sporadic celebrations maybe in two other parishes.
In terms of the "reform of the reform" apart from maybe my parish and I really can't think of any others, we placed a low crucifix on the middle of the altar and for the past year or a bit longer, we have one Sunday Mass "ad orientem" and that is only for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Again, I know of no other parish in our diocese that does this.
In terms of chant, I think our parish is the only one that now includes the chanting of the official Introit (prior to the additional Entrance Chant from our hymnal) as well as the Offertory and Communion Chants. But these chants are the short versions in the Roman Missal, not from the Gradual and in English. Our music is from a traditional hymnal, the St. Michael Hymnal, but even with that somewhat eclectic in style.
In terms of vestments, ours are the same except for the use of some "Roman Style" vestments for the EF Mass and only on occasion for the OF, but rarely, at least for me.
So, what impact will Pope Francis have on the liturgy? I would venture to guess that it will be about as much as Pope Benedict, but a little bit less!
The best we could hope for is that priests would model what Pope Francis does in terms of how he celebrates the Mass. Let me highlight my dream for parishes throughout the world in this regard:
1. Pope Francis is solemn and sober and almost detached when he celebrates the Mass--there is absolutely no kibitzing or improvisation even at the most likely times that priests unfortunately do this. This is a wonderful thing--"saying the black and doing the red."
2. Pope Francis does not pray the prayers of the Mass, even though he is facing the congregation, as though he is "proclaiming these prayers, either to the congregation or to God." It is clear that he is "praying" these prayers and to God, not reading them to the congregation.
3. While Pope Francis liturgical tastes are not Baroque or ornate, he wears tasteful, bland vestments, but on occasion has had some with a bit of more flair, such as the Mass for the closing of the Year of faith, where once again he wore the chasuble that Pope Benedict wore for the beatification of Blessed Pope John Paul II. His personal vestments from Argentina with matching dalmatics for deacons are simple but exquisite. If only local parishes could be as nice!