Sunday, July 7, 2013
POPE FRANCIS BRINGS ME BACK TO THE 1970'S IN GOOD WAYS BUT ALSO IN NOT SO GOOD WAYS
When I was in the seminary between 1976 to 1980, one of the things that my seminary professors made an impression on me was what they called "kingdom values" which translated meant "Gospel simplicity." They taught us that even though as diocesan or secular priests we would not be making a promise of poverty at our ordination, that we should be living simply.
The fact was that most of us (except for me of course) weren't living simply. We loved going to the finest restaurants in Baltimore and there were many, and we loved going on trips. We didn't have to live in the seminary everyday. On the weekends, beginning on Friday, I would stay at the rectory of my pastoral placement the last two years in the seminary. I was shocked the first two years to experience that the seminary building was almost empty, including faculty beginning at midday on Friday as the last class always finished by noon.
These "kingdom values" also was incorporated into the Mass at that time. Vestments were nice but very austere without ornamentation as we were told the vestments themselves were the symbol and symbols shouldn't have more symbols placed upon them. ceramic cups or chalices were used. These reminded me of small pots for plants, they looked like painted terracotta plants pots.
So Pope Francis' ethos esthetically and ascetically brings me back to the 70's. In terms of kingdom values for those who do not take the vow of poverty, I find this refreshing.
However, applying this to the Liturgy in a 1970's sort of way leaves a very stale taste in my mouth. I wouldn't counsel exorbitance in budgets for the liturgy, but I would say that everything in the Liturgy from buildings to altar accoutrements to vestments are our gifts to God and belong to all of us, rich and poor alike.
Here is what the Holy Father said to seminarians and novices yesterday, Saturday, July 6:
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday evening told future nuns and priests and consecrated laypeople to keep “freshness” and “joy” in their lives, as he said: “There is no sadness in holiness”.
Speaking to participants in a four-day international event for Seminarians, Novices and those on a vocational journey, Francis gave an off-the-cuff lecture to seminarians and novices from across the globe, gathered in the Paul VI Hall.
In his remarks, the Pope urged those present not to be tempted by a culture that exalts provisional values, and he told them to avoid trappings like the latest smartphones and expensive cars so they can devote more resources to help the poor.
“It is not you that I reproach” said the Pope, and he specified that it is today’s culture of the provisional of which we are all victims that does not help us: “because in this day and age it is very difficult to make a definitive choice”. He pointed out that when he was young it was easier because the culture of the time favoured definitive choices, be it in conjugal life, in consecrated life or in priestly life. But today – he said “it is not easy to make a definitive choice. We are victims of this culture of the provisional”.
And then Pope Francis took seminarians and novices to task for being “too serious, too sad”. ``Something's not right here,'' Francis told them pointing out that `'There is no sadness in holiness,'' and adding that such clergy lack `'the joy of the Lord.''
“To become a priest or a religious is not primarily our choice; it is our answer to a calling, a calling of love”.
`'If you find a seminarian, priest, nun, with a long, sad face, if it seems as if in their life someone threw a wet blanket over them,'' then one should conclude `'it's a psychiatric problem, they can leave - `buenos dias’”.
And he highlighted the fact that he wasn't talking about superficial joy - `'the thrill of a moment doesn't really make us happy,'' warning against the temptation to seek `'the joy of the world in the latest smartphone, the fastest car.''
“It hurts my heart when I see a priest or a nun with the latest model of car” he said. And Francis continued saying “cars are necessary. But take a more humble one. Think of how many children die of hunger' and dedicate the savings to them”.
Urging all those with vocations to be authentic and true, the Pope also reminded them never to be afraid to recognize their own sins. And speaking of their formation, Francis said there are four fundamental pillars: spiritual formation; intellectual formation; apostolic life – during which one must go forth and announce the Gospel; and community living. “On these four pillars” – Pope Francis said “you must build your vocations”.
During his remarks, Pope Francis also praised the late Mother Teresa, who cared for the most impoverished sick of Calcutta, India, and held her up as a courageous example. “I would like a more missionary church,”' the pope told the young people “'Not so much a tranquil church, but a beautiful church that goes forward.”
The Day for Seminarians and Novices concludes on Sunday, with Mass presided by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica.
The pope takes his life into his own hands as he enters the auditorium for his audience with seminarians and novices at hour 1, minute 9--the video is in Italian but you get a sense of the enthusiasm of these young people:
This is the Mass with the seminarians and novices this morning, July 7, the 6th Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum:
MY FINAL COMMENT ON THIS 6TH ANNIVERSARY OF SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM: Pope Francis doesn't model the Mass the same way as Pope Benedict did. However, he does model the gravitational pull the EF Mass can have on the OF Mass as seen in this Mass and most of the Masses Pope Francis has thus far had at the Vatican:
Let me count the ways:
1. There is a processional congregational hymn. In the case of this morning's Mass it is the Italian Year of Faith anthem that is well, very Italian sounding--it has an Italian ethos that is common in their Italian hymns.
2. However, when the Pope arrives at the Foot of the Altar, the choir alone sings the official Introit for the Mass and in Latin. This is excellent and shows that ordinary parishes could do the same, a congregational hymn for the procession, once the priest gets to the foot of the altar, transition to the official chanted Introit by a schola or choir. The official offertory and Communion Antiphons are also chanted in addition to other "filler" music.
3. The Mass is all in Italian including the Eucharistic Prayer, but the Kyrie is in Greek and the rest is in Latin: Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei--isn't this a great compromise? Can't the Church worldwide be mandated to do at least these parts in Greek/Latin?
4. The Holy Father continues to distribute Holy Communion to the deacons of the Mass by intinction as the deacons KNEEL before him.
5. The marvelous Benedictine Altar Arrangement is maintained by the Holy Father.