Monday, January 13, 2014
TOO MUCH PAPA? GOOD THING OR BAD
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.