Thursday, April 10, 2014
POPE FRANCIS AND THE FRANCIS EFFECT ON THE LITURGY AND WHAT REALLY SHOULD BE CATHOLIC PRIORITY AS IT WAS PRIOR TO VATICAN II
For better or worse, people use Pope Francis and the Francis effect for their own purposes. There is no doubt that Pope Francis is trying to be the "people's pope" by not acting as a monarch and having the common touch. Soon to be Saint Pope John Paul II did the same. Pope Benedict brought more of an aloof regal approach to the papacy which seem to increase the more his woes did. Many, many in the Church (including myself) like the regal papacy. I often felt Pope John Paul II created too much of a celebrity cult around himself, the cult of the personality. I much more prefer the "cult of the papacy" over the "cult of the personality." When I use cult, I don't use it negatively but in the positive sense.
So what is the "Francis" effect on the Liturgy. At the Vatican Masses and the Masses the Vatican has some control over in terms of music and style, I have not seen any major change except in the celebrant pope. Pope Francis loves simplicity. His vestments indicate this. They are tasteful but certainly not splashy or ornate. They are modern Gothic.
To date the altar arrangement has remained the same. While I was in Rome for the entire Fall, Monsignor Marini had different angles for the candles. The last major Mass in St. Peter's the candles were more angled than before and a smaller crucifix in the center was used and the episcopal candle was to the side rather than the center. Will there be more adjustments or is this just one more of many arrangements. Time will tell.
The music has not changed from Benedict to Francis. Gregorian Chant is employed with much Latin used especially for the Propers, the Introit is always chanted, even is there is a hymn for the procession prior to it. The parts of the Mass are chanted in Latin using one of the traditional forms.
Pope Francis uses Latin but seems to prefer the vernacular, whereas Pope Benedict as it papacy proceeded would only use Latin for the preface and Eucharistic Prayer, although he used a variety of the Eucharistic prayers not just the Roman Canon.
Pope Francis does not distribute Holy Communion to laity, only the deacons of the Mass and now they stand rather than kneel.
I think Pope Francis has chosen not to distribute to the laity except at First Communions and the Easter Vigil's new Catholics because he does not want to promote kneeling. I think he prefers standing. But I could be wrong.
For Pope Francis, the translation wars of the Mass are off his radar screen. He prefers to focusing in on what happens outside of the sanctuary with rank and file clergy and laity.
To date he has not named a new Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and in a talk to them he seems to have asked them to continue on the path they are on to actually implement Sacrosanctum Concilium. Liturgy is not the focus of Pope Francis in terms of tinkering with it, Christian life is! We know that Pope Francis is the one who ultimately approved the Anglican Ordinariate's Mass with the options of the "Prayers at the Foot of the Altar" the EF's Order for the Introductory Rite of the Mass as well as the EF's Offertory Prayers and the Last Gospel and rubrics for the Roman Canon more similar to the EF's rubrics. This is rather interesting. And it is clear that people are allowed to kneel for Holy Communion and the Mass may be celebrated ad orientem as Pope Francis has done twice now publicly.
Prior the Vatican II there wasn't much rank and file discussion or obsession on the Liturgy. We can't say that after Vatican II where the focus of Christianity was misplaced, shifted from charity of Christian discipleship in life by knowing, loving and serving Jesus Christ to tinkering with the Mass, rearranging the furniture of the Church and becoming a liturgical interior decorator not to mention the obsession with dumbed down vernacular translations of the glorious Latin.
Now that we have a good and glorious English translation, someone needs to tell the one who still obsess on using pedestrian English that the Francis effect should move them from liturgy and the sanctuary to the real world of knowing, loving and serving Jesus Christ by one's manner of life outside the sanctuary.