Friday, October 11, 2013


I took these photos from my balcony at the Casa O'Toole here at the Pontifical College North American. Are they sunrise or sunset photos?

From the Blog, Chiesa, we have the following statement:

"And it must also be recalled that on the return flight from Rio de Janeiro Pope Francis expressed admiration for the Eastern liturgies, dense with sacrality and mystery and very faithful to tradition. With these words:

"The Orthodox Churches have preserved that pristine liturgy that is so beautiful. We have lost a bit of the sense of adoration. They preserve it, they praise God, they worship God. We need this renewal, this light of the East."

Among the five new advisors of the office of papal celebrations Francis has in fact also included a monk of the Eastern rite, Manuel Nin, rector of the Pontifical Greek College in Rome. Alongside advisors of a completely different vision, like the Servite Silvano Maggiani and the Montfortian Corrado Maggioni, both of the team of Piero Marini.

In short, there is in Bergoglio an oscillation in appointments, in actions, and in words that makes it difficult to interpret his decisions and even more to foresee his future moves."

MY COMMENTS: As far as the "Mass" of the Catholic Church, the status quo will prevail during this pontificate. Those who like the reform of the reform will continue to do it but it will focus more on music. I see the Church Music of America Association continuing its very fine work of promoting Gregorian Chant and other forms of chant in the vernacular and in Latin.

These groups will continue to push for the singing of the Mass as prescribed in its pristine form, that of singing the official chants, the Entrance Chant, the Offertory Chant, the Chant at Communion. This is the biggest reform that we have seen since the 70's apart from the more liberal allowance of the EF, but if not for the EF, I don't think I would be completely on board with doing with the Sung Mass in the OF as it is prescribed in the EF.

Pope Francis seems to be more into the "reform of the reform" of other things liturgical and devotional.

He is calling for people to go to confession frequently. I think when people go to confession frequently, they will have a higher regard for the Mass and receiving Holy Communion worthily. There will be a greater sense of the sacred when people examine their conscience and realize how often they fall short and need God's mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation.

For those who never go to confession or examine their conscience in light of the various models there are for this, what is their sense of reverence toward the Mass and receiving our Lord in Holy Communion?

And the popular devotions that Pope Francis is encouraging is, well, very encouraging. Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction--how many parishes actually have this today in the USA?

The recitation of the Holy Rosary, not only privately, but communally, this is a wonderful development.

And processions with statues, such as will occur tomorrow here at the Vatican and St. Peter's Square as the pope consecrates the World to Our Lady of Fatima. Does it get any better than that devotionally?

And tied into the new consciousness about sin and confession is the teachings the pope has given us on the devil. How many times have you heard the devil mentioned by your parish priest? I've lost track of the number of times that Pope Francis has referred to the devil. I can't remember Pope Benedict every doing so, although I might be wrong.

What Pope Francis seems to be doing is shoring up the personal faith of the laity and calling them to practice their faith daily with devotions and to go to confession regularly.

This has to be good.

Along the way, we'll continue to celebrate the Mass as we have and that will be a mixed bag depending where you live, but the foundation is being laid for something better in the future and with a new emphasis from a new pope.


Just Asking said...

I am not sure about the time of day, but the pictures are beautiful.
I have thought that one day we will refer to JPII, BXVI and Pope Francis as the Trinity popes: JPII like Jesus the evangelized and peacemaker, BXVI the father of the law and right practice and now Pope Francis as the Holy Spirit sent to fill our hearts with a fire of faith. Just a thought.
Now a question: what does a priest who can sing do if Mass is to be sung as you suggest?

John Nolan said...

Do not underestimate the significance of the changes in the office of papal celebrations. Out go Fr Nicola Bux, who is a Professor of Eastern Liturgies and a prominent critic of Communion in the hand; Fr Uwe Michael Lang, an Austrian who was a priest of the London Oratory, has an Oxford doctorate and is the author of 'Turning Towards the Lord', a scholarly argument for ad orientem worship which has an enthusiastic preface by Cardinal Ratzinger; and the English Benedictine Fr Paul Gunter, who as the Secretary of the Liturgy Office for England and Wales told priests not to follow Pope Francis's example in washing the feet of women during Maundy Thursday Mass. In come Italian cronies of Piero Marini. Guido Marini is effectively out on a limb, and is unlikely to stick it out for the rest of his five-year term.

Pope Francis has not confirmed Cardinal Canizares Llovera, aka "Little Ratzinger", as CDWDS Prefect, and if rumours prove correct and Piero Marini or someone like him gets the job, it will be clear that Francis does have a liturgical agenda and is losing no time in imposing it.

Processing round with statues accompanied by brass bands blaring out vernacular hymns is not liturgy. Even as a child in the pre-Conciliar period I found it embarrassing.

Henry said...

"Processing round with statues accompanied by brass bands blaring out vernacular hymns is not liturgy."

Too many priests ordained in the 1970s and 1980s have so little sense of liturgy that they don't even know what is liturgical and what's not. Perhaps we must await the biological solution for a new generation of properly formed priests and bishops in rectories and chanceries.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

If the priest can sing the he chants the Sign of the Cross, the greeting, intro to the penitential act, etc. in other words just about everything that is usually spoken by the priest, everything.

John Nolan said...

The Novus Ordo perplexes me. Since its inception 43 years ago I have been familiar with its solemn celebration in Latin, and with the Propers from the 1974 Graduale Romanum. But is this the ideal celebration (think of the old ideas of the Solemn Mass being the norm) or is it a perversion of the ideas of the liturgical reformers?

Did the reformers envisage a sung liturgy to replace the old Low Mass, which would bring it more into line with Eastern practice? The new ICEL English Missal certainly encourages this interpretation. But another hermeneutic, with plenty of evidence to back it up, suggests they were more interested in accommodating Catholic worship to Protestant norms. The Eastern Churches do not hold western liturgical developments since the 1960s in any great esteem; indeed, they could negotiate with the Tridentine Mass, but not with the babel of inculturated vernacular 'celebrations' which have characterized post-V2 liturgical practice. The liturgical reforms of the last half-century have hindered oecumenism. Everyone knows this, but few are prepared to admit it in public.

Pater Ignotus said...

How do you see the NO as hindering ecumenism? And what evidence might support this assertion?

Henry said...

"Did the reformers envisage a sung liturgy to replace the old Low Mass, which would bring it more into line with Eastern practice?"

My understanding is that replacement of the old recited low Mass with sung liturgy was indeed a principal goal of the pre-Vatican II liturgical movement. But at some point, circa or after Bugnini, the original (and arguably well-intentioned) liturgical movement was hijacked in its implementation by more radical reformers, among whose wreckage was the replacement of the propers by vernacular hymns, whose elimination from the low Mass the original reformers had sought.

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus

Ecumenism is understood in Europe and North America primarily in terms of Catholic-Protestant relations, which is why I used the spelling I did. Using the term Novus Ordo somewhat loosely to describe the way the liturgy is celebrated in most parishes, the Orthodox are scandalized by many of the innovations of the last 50 years - the emphasis of the horizontal over the vertical, the lack of attention to detail on the part of the celebrant and the lack of reverence overall (can you conceive of a 'flash mob' in the Divine Liturgy?), women taking on liturgical roles, lay people handling the consecrated elements, in short the disjunct between the lex credendi and lex orandi. None of these scandals (I use the term in its literal sense) existed in the Tridentine liturgy.

You don't need to take my word for it. Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople supported Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio 'Summorum Pontificum' of 2007. He denounced the decay of Catholic liturgy and stressed that the Novus Ordo Missae had in fact hampered relations between the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity. He declared that with SP a huge step forward in reconciliation had been made.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - First, I don't agree that our self-understanding should be subject to whether or not the Orthodox are scandalized by our policies and practices.

If it that were the case, papal infallibility as it is currently practiced would be out the window. That would be the same window through which the "smoke of Satan" entered, don't you think?

Second, It is entirely proper for women to have liturgical roles. As baptized members of the Body of Christ, they possess everything needed for fulfilling those roles.

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus

You asked a question, and I answered it. I'm not suggesting that there are stumbling-blocks in East-West relations which are unrelated to liturgical issues, but in the case of liturgy an enormous one has been bulldozered into position in the last 50 years.

When the Novus Ordo was introduced in 1970 Communion in the hand was an abuse and women were not allowed in the sanctuary during Mass. Something you regard as "entirely proper" has an even more recent provenance than the NOM. A lot of Latin Catholics don't think it is "entirely proper" either. It's a bit much to expect the Greeks to swallow it.

However, I suspect that you regard the whole of Eastern Christendom as obscurantist and tradition-bound, with their ancient God-centred liturgy and unwillingness to accept a late 20th century paradigm. I will make one prediction, though; the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom will be celebrated long after the Bugnini Mass and its trendy accretions have been forgotten.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - Again, I don't belong to the school that thinks we Latin Rogers should be overly concerned with the opinions - and they are opinions - of the Orthodox. They are not particularly concerned with us...

A Catholic theology of Baptism is the basis for the propriety of women in liturgical roles. I'll side with good theology over "We've never done it that way before" any day of the week.

The liturgical theology and practice of the NO are as God-centered as any beautifully celebrated Eastern or orthodox liturgy. No, I do not hold them in disdain. Nor do I think that theirs is the only way to express true belief and worship.

John Nolan said...

PI, when female servers were allowed in 1994 it was made clear that all lay people, men and women, who substitute for instituted or ordained ministers do so 'ex temporanea deputatione'. It is not a right conferred by baptism. So the 'propriety' of women assuming certain liturgical roles is contingent on local circumstances, and has nothing whatsoever to do with a "Catholic theology of baptism". If you think otherwise, the onus is on you to furnish the evidence.

Pater Ignotus said...

I would say the onus is on those who think women are unworthy to serve the community as readers,servers,song leaders,cantors, incense bearers, etc. And the reasoning, it seems to me, should be theological,not merely historical.

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus

Those three words "serving the community" shows that your understanding of liturgy is profoundly non-Catholic. I knew I had missed my vocation; I should have been a barrister, with my cross-examinational skills - remember Carson and Oscar Wilde?

Condemnavit te os tuum, et non ego.

Pater Ignotus said...

So, lawyer, you offer no answer. Is that because there is no theological answer, hmmm?

It is easy to lament that the present is not the past. It takes no effort, offers no inspiration, and is also a complete waste of time.

Gene said...

Ignotus, Just because certain people, in this case women, are excluded from certain positions does not imply they are unworthy. That is your own bias slipping in...

Unknown said...

John Nolan,

I have to agree with your assessments of the Orthodox (and sometimes Eastern Catholic) view of the NO. I spent awhile in the Orthodox world, and very nearly converted to Orthodoxy.

Converts from Orthodoxy have one extreme hurdle, and it isn't the filoque or Papal authority—it's the Latin church's willingness (and sometimes eagerness) to discard 1950 years of Christianity. Sure, the other issues add to the problem, but they are easier addressed if we don't have to defend liturgical silliness.

It's also a frustrating to non-Christians looking into ancient Christianity. Many (like myself) eventually are forced to choose between papal authority or security of tradition.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - Then what is the THEOLGICAL reason you would exclude women from liturgical ministries?

Flav - No one has "discarded" 1950 years of tradition or Tradition. The theology of Augustine was, in its day, novel. The theology of the Middle Ages, including the beginnings of scholasticism, was novel.

It is simply because unhistorical to suggest that the NO is with out theological or liturgical precedent. Liturgy did not begin in the 5th or 6th century and end with Trent or the 1962 missal.

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus

You are a slippery customer, no error! You start by asking me to provide evidence that liturgical developments in the Western Church have hindered oecumenism. I do so, and mention women in the sanctuary as one of the stumbling blocks. You then change tack, focus on this one issue and posit a "theology of baptism" which maintains that baptism confirms the right to service at the altar. Since Rome explicitly rejects this, I not unreasonably ask for evidence to support your contention. Unsurprisingly, none is forthcoming, but in your reply you (wittingly or unwittingly) give the impression that you think the function of liturgy is to "serve the community", which is not the Catholic understanding of it.

Astonishingly, you appear to concede this, which brings us back to another scandal I alluded to, namely the horizontality of much contemporary Catholic worship (a distortion identified by Cardinal Ratzinger thirteen years ago in his 'Spirit of the Liturgy'). I think you would admit that Ratzinger is a more accomplished theologian than you are.

I had to chuckle at your list of 'ministries'; "readers, servers, song leaders (what are they?), cantors, incense bearers (are these the Vestal erstwhile-Virgins who pirouette down the nave with smoking bowls in whacky LA 'liturgies'? Thurifers come under the heading of servers). The etc. at the end of the list no doubt includes puppeteers and liturgical dance choreographers.

The liturgical silliness referred to by Flavius would scandalize me if I had to put up with it (I don't and won't). I will pose a further question, though with scant hope of receiving a straight answer - what are the sources of your idiosyncratic and self-referencing theology? They don't seem to be Catholic.

Pater Ignotus said...

Baptism grants equal dignity to all who, through the sacrament, are made priests, prophets,and kings. If there is a theological argument against equal dignity in Christ, make it. There is nothing slippery here.

The function of liturgy,which I have stated before but which you have conveniently forgotten, is the worship of God, Father, Son,and Spirit and the communication of the saving mysteries of Jesus Christ to the People of God. The People of God is the community served by this who are given roles in the liturgy. Nothing prevents a woman from saving the community liturgically.

If you can present a theological argument for inequality before and in Christ, by all means do so.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

PI you make the common modern mistake of focusing in on only one sacrament of initiation while forgetting the other two tat are equally important, namely Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. Of course HC is not a one time event, but ongoing, so this must be taken into account along with the on going renewal of Baptismsl forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance.

Pater Ignotus said...

Good Father - The effects of Baptism are everlasting. One does not lose the dignity of Baptism which is the basis for accepting a liturgical ministry. Unless, of course, you think that Baptism can be negated or reversed...