Monday, January 13, 2014


Of course, everyone knows that I'm not a cafeteria papist. I am a papist regardless of the personality that is in the Chair of Saint Peter. And I will support the pope as proudly as any Swiss Guard. But with that said, when is there too much of a good thing?

Because of the internet we have access to the pope 24/7. We know what he does each day and Pope Francis even preaches a daily homily that is posted on the Vatican website.

If the pope celebrates Mass with the pre-Vatican II altar arrangement, it makes news; and if there isn't a central cross, that makes news. If he celebrates Mass ad orientem, that is bombshell news. If he celebrates Mass facing the congregation but in an ad orientem sort a way that makes news.

In the past, and not that long ago, popes made news when popes made news. That wasn't everyday and the pope's Masses were rarely televised, except perhaps for Christmas and maybe Easter. We never saw each and every major Mass the pope celebrated at the Vatican Basilica. Only those with tickets did.

Wouldn't it be better for us to focus on how we celebrate Mass in our local parishes? Shouldn't priests simply pray the Mass as it is given them and strive to do the best they can in their local parishes with the resources they have?

The Ordinary Form of the Mass is the normal Mass of most dioceses. That is a fact. Shouldn't we put most of our energies into making sure that whatever is the normal form, or any form that is celebrated each Sunday is celebrated well?

And what is the criteria for celebrating the Mass well?

1. That Catholics, clergy and laity alike, are well formed in our Catholic Tradition of doctrine, spirituality and zeal for following Christ.

2. That priests insist on reading the black and doing the red and celebrating the Mass when facing the congregation in an ad orientem sort of way.

3. That whoever has a function in the Mass carries it out as well as possible with special emphasis on selecting and training well altar servers, readers and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, not to mention ushers. 


Joe Potillor said...

I think we need to be careful as to avoid papolatry :)

John Nolan said...

Youtube has only one video of Pius XII celebrating Mass (1942 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his episcopal consecration). It is at the papal altar but is a Low Mass - Pius XII apparently disliked the (very) elaborate ceremonial of the papal High Mass. In contrast, Pope John rather enjoyed it.

There were far fewer public papal Masses un those days anyway.

Anonymous said...

I am prefacing my remarks with this statement: I am not condemning Pope Francis; but making an opinion on my observations. I have to say that because the Church is like the Democratic Party anymore, if you don't agree with Obama then you're a racist. If you don't agree with Francis you're a self absorbed neo palagian. Anyway, Francis' biggiest mistake is is whole sale dismissal of traditional practice, formality. He has smashed the "mystery" that surrounds the papacy. I mean really who wants to walk into a cafeteria and see the pope eating a hot dog and drinking a coke for lunch. It doesn't make me feel better to see the pope drive a used car. An Orthodox Christian would be horrified to see the Ecumenical Patriarch presenting himself like this. (And please don't respond to my opinion an say the numbers of Orthodox Christians is small. So what.) When all of the visuals and the traditions are taken away, what are they replaced with? Francis was said to be trying to do away with careerism in the priesthood and so no more monsignore under 65. EXCEPT in the Vatican, after 5 years of service a priest will be made Monsignor regards less of age. Do you see my point. How is that dealing with careerism in the Vatican? And this nonsense that if something isn't in the Gospel then it's wrong and should be discarded. The rosary isn't in the Gospel should we get rid of that? Of course not. The impoverished papacy that he is presenting to the world hasn't so much to do with being a liberal but with being a South American. But in short, no we don't need to know what the pope says or does 24/7. It diminishes the office. He becomes a celebrity.

FrJBS said...

"Papolatry": good one, Joe Potillor!

When the pope speaks, I suppose we must first discern his audience. If he is speaking to us, then we must listen. If he is speaking to some liturgical congregation in Rome, then we are under no obligation to listen.

Next, we must discern whether the Holy Father offers words for our consideration, or commands for us to obey. We treat his statements according to their intended force.

hopeful said...

We may have the pope 24/7, but what we still lack is leadership. You have said this pope will be the most monarchial pope yet, he will be like a South American dictator. Well, that has yet to trickle down into my diocese where we still have self-absorbed, careerist priests who use the inherent weakness of Bugnini's order of the Mass to present themselves not as celebrants leading worshipers, but as ego-centered performing presiders entertaining an audience.

We don't need the pope to "model", we need the pope to say to the priests and bishops of the world the Bugnini order has been abused far too long, thus corrupting it beyond repair, and is formally suppressed, and the 1965 vernacular revision of the 1962 order of the Mass will now be in the OF Missal. End of discussion, be obediant and accept it.

We need leadership, not photo ops.

Anonymous said...

I think it makes sense for CTV to broadcast major ceremonies, indeed any mass at the Vatican basilica or in St Peter's Square. But It does seem like overkill to broadcast masses where Pope Francis is appearing sans ferula and pallium (e.g. the mass at the Gesu church), and the wall to wall coverage from Assisi seemed misjudged too.
In general, however, I don't think that Pope Francis's extraordinary media prominence has much to do with ceremonies, but rather seems to focus on events at the periphery (e.g. the popemobile circuses, and the notorious 'exorcism'). There certainly is a danger of overexposure, and I don't see the point in the televising of events like the weekly audiences.

Van said...

AMEN, Hopeful... AMEN!!

rcg said...

I am not sure but that leadership go us in this mess. We get a new translation started by the polyglot Pope JPII that shows how the entire English speaking world was uniformly fed rubbish find out that what we know as the EF was perfectly fine the whole time. On the other side of the argument I can fully understand that there are allowable variances from a more rigourous form that are more appropriate for some situations. What we needed was a studied review of the various manifestations of the Mass to ensure the core was still valid and to educate both clergy and laity as to why they were valid for each instance.