Friday, January 3, 2014


( UPDATE; UPDATE: The Holy Father's homily in English is printed below the video) An excerpt: "I think of the temptation that perhaps we experience, to which many people succumb, to link the proclamation of the Gospel with inquisitionary bludgeoning and condemnation. No, the Gospel must be proclaimed with gentleness, in a fraternal spirit, with love."

The Jesuit Church in Roma is stunning. The only problem is with the "temporary-looking" addition of a faux sanctuary with the typical Italian imposition of modern looking new altars, ambos and presiding chairs that  are completely the antithesis of their surroundings. This is quite typical in many (not all) Italian churches.

Please note the tiny, square looking altar, more suited to a tiny chapel. Note also when the camera gives us a panoramic view how this tiny altar appears so insignificant compared to the original altar in this magnificent building. It looks like a box and sticks there as almost a pedestal for a bouquet of flowers and less attractive than the other pedestals in this church. On top of that the camera view is elevated and toward the back of the church; one can only imagine that those standing on the floor see absolutely nothing but the old high altar. Doesn't this tell us something????? The renovation of old churches and building of new one have the altar extended into the nave, supposedly to bring it closer to the laity, but usually no higher than two or three steps which prevents everyone except those on the first rows from actually seeing the altar in a full church or even the priest and other ministers. The pope might as well have been at St. Peter's for those beyond the first set of seats and especially for those in the middle to the back of the church who could see nothing when people are standing!

When the camera gives us a close-up of the altar we see the lack of the cursory "Benedictine" altar arrangement and instead of a central crucifix on it we have an ugly and disproportionately large microphone on the altar. This would certainly indicate the complete liturgical dissonance of the Jesuits. The microphone overpowers the altar, not the crucifix! Msgr. Marini is no where to be found!

The schola is very good chanting chant in Italian with a lovely Kyrie, Gloria, Responsorial Psalm and without accompaniment.

The Litany of Saints in chanted in Italian as the Entrance Chant instead of the Introit.

The other papal novelty is the Introductory Rite. The pope omits the penitential act opting rather for an "introductory statement" concerning the Holy Name of Jesus and our salvation in Him. This statement is written out for the Holy Father to read and is brief and then without any silence, the schola sings the freestanding Kyrie. There is no confiteor or any other recognized option nor is there an "absolution."

In a sense, this brings things back to the EF Mass in that the confiteor was prayed as private prayers of the clergy as the Introit was chanted and after the chant the Kyrie was begun. At any rate in the Ordinary Form this is a trend I've seen over the years but is not in the rubrics of the Ordinary Form.

The deacons of the Mass receive Holy Communion from the Holy Father, standing and in the hand and then they self-intinct their Host in the Chalice of Precious Blood. 

Vatican City, 3 January 2014 (VIS) - This morning, Pope Francis celebrated the Mass of the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus in the Church of Jesus, to give thanks for the new Jesuit saint Pierre Favre. Concelebrating with the Holy Father were Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of His Holiness for the diocese of Rome; Bishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Bishop Yves Boivineau of Annecy, France, in whose diocese Favre was born, and the vicar general Alain Fournier-Bidoz; the superior general Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, S.J., and seven young Jesuit priests.

Canonised by Pope Francis on 17 December, Pierre Favre, was the first companion of St. Ignatius of Loyola - for this reason he is known as "the second Jesuit" - and one of the founders of the Society of Jesus, of which he was also the first priest. The tombs of St. Ignatius and St. Pierre Favre are located in the Church of the Most Holy Name of Jesus in Rome.

Pope Francis dedicated his homily to the new saint, and said that he was a "restless" man of "lofty desires": "it is necessary to search for God to find Him, and to find him in order to seek him again, and for ever. Only this restlessness brings peace to the heart of a Jesuit, a restlessness that is also apostolic, so that we never tire of proclaiming the kerygma, of evangelising with courage. And it is restlessness that prepares us to receive the gift of apostolic fruitfulness. Without restlessness, we are sterile".

"And this was the restlessness of Pierre Favre", continued the Pope, "a man of lofty desires, another Daniel. Favre was a 'modest, sensitive man with a profound inner life. He was endowed with the gift of making friends with people from every walk of life'. However, his was a restless, indecisive spirit, never satisfied. Under the guidance of St. Ignatius he learned to unite his restless but gentle - indeed exquisite - sensibility with a capacity to make decisions. He was a man of lofty desires; he took charge of his desires, he recognised them. Rather, for Favre, it was precisely when faced with difficult tasks that he demonstrated the true spirit that sets into action".

"An authentic faith always implies a deep desire to change the world. And this is the question we should pose ourselves: do we too have great visions and zeal? Are we bold too? Do our dreams fly high? Are we consumed by zeal? Or are we mediocre and satisfied with our theoretical apostolic plans? Let us always remember that the strength of the Church does not reside in herself or in her organisational capacity, but is instead concealed in the deep waters of God. And these waters agitate our desires, and our desires expand our hearts. It is as St. Augustine said: pray to desire and desire to expand your heart. It was precisely in his desires that Favre was able to discern the voice of God. Without desires, one cannot go forth, and this is why we must offer our desires to the Lord. In the Constitutions it is said that we help our neighbours with the wishes presented to the Lord God".

Favre, affirmed Pope Francis, "had the true and deep desire to open up in God: he was completely centred in God, and for this reason he was able to go everywhere in Europe, in a spirit of obedience and often on foot, to enter into dialogue with everyone, with gentleness, and to proclaim the Gospel. I think of the temptation that perhaps we experience, to which many people succumb, to link the proclamation of the Gospel with inquisitionary bludgeoning and condemnation. No, the Gospel must be proclaimed with gentleness, in a fraternal spirit, with love.  

His familiarity with God led him to understand that inner experience and apostolic life always go together. He writes in his Memorial that the first movement of the heart must be that of desiring that which is essential and originary, or rather that priority must be reserved for seeking God, our Lord. Favre experienced the desire to let the centre of his heart be occupied by Christ. Only when centred in God is it possible to go out towards the peripheries of the world! And Favre journeyed without respite even to geographical frontiers; indeed, it was said of him that he appeared to have been born never to stay still in any one place. Favre was consumed by the intense desire to communicate the Lord. If we do not have the same desire, then we need to pause a while in prayer and, with silent fervour, ask the Lord, through the intercession of our brother Pierre, that we might again experience the fascination of the Lord who led Pierre in his 'apostolic follies'", concluded Pope Francis.


Anonymous said...

"In a sense, this brings things back to the EF Mass in that the confiteor was prayed as private prayers of the clergy as the Introit was chanted and after the chant the Kyrie was begun."

Who are you trying to kid? There was nothing about that Mass that even remotely harkened to the ancient form of the Mass. Oh you forgot to mention how the tambourines added to the solemnity of the occasion. Don't forget that one.

Rood Screen said...

I suppose it would be reasonable enough for the priest and ministers to prayer the old Prayers at the Foot of the Altar--including the confiteor--in the sacristy before Mass. The Penitential Rite is certainly a modern creation easily dropped without damage to the Roman liturgical tradition.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

That FrJBS is the point I was trying to make, that the "penitential act" is a new creation of the Ordinary Form and that the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar originated as sacristy prayers for the priest and ministers prior to Mass and then were made public at the foot of the altar, but still private prayers of the priest and ministers (and this is clearest in the Sung EF Mass where these are said quietly as the Introit is chanted whereas the Low Mass in the 1962 missal allows the congregation to participate.
But after the Kryie and Gloria, in the traditional order of things, the simple greeting "The Lord be with you" and its response is prior to the Collect.

There was some controversy about having a "penitential act" in the Ordinary Form as many wanted to eliminate the "public" private prayers at the foot of the altar and return these to the sacristy and wanted the Mass to begin with the Introit, no Sign of the Cross, that went into the Kyrie, which technically is not a penitential act, followed by the Gloria, the Greeting and Collect.

Yes, there is absolutely no reason why the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar couldn't be said in the sacristy and I dare to say why it couldn't be said at the Foot of the Altar as the Introit or Entrance Chant is sung, and then do what Pope Francis did today with the Sign of the Cross and Greeting, some introductory remarks, the Kyrie, Gloria and Collect!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The music was excellent as was the schola, excellent! There was the addition of Eastern Rite chant which was marvelous (and there was a deacon wearing the eastern rite dalmatic. The recessional hymn with tambourine was an eastern rite chant to Our Lady but chanted in Latin I believe--it was beautiful and normally I can't stand tambourines, but this was far from the folk tradition that grates!
The two deacons with the pope though are wearing dalmatics but with the stole on the outside which is a 1970's innovation. The Jesuits to a certain extent are liturgical neanderthals and are stuck in the 1970's, but apart from that this Mass was quite beautiful, especially the music!

Rood Screen said...

I'm afraid the Kyrie has come to be associated with penance due to this modern option of amalgamation. It's good to see it restored to its proper place. Congratulations, Fr. McDonald, for getting me to compliment a Jesuit innovation!

Stoles on the outside? Well, I won't pretend to be shocked. I think I'll start wrapping mine around my waist like a cincture. Perhaps it'll catch on! I also want to get the congregation started holding hands during the Gloria, which would make more sense than doing so during the Our Father.

Anonymous said...

What did you think of Pope Francis's jesuit chasuble?

Anonymous said...

"Yes, there is absolutely no reason why the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar couldn't be said in the sacristy and I dare to say why it couldn't be said at the Foot of the Altar as the Introit or Entrance Chant is sung, and then do what Pope Francis did today with the Sign of the Cross and Greeting, some introductory remarks, the Kyrie, Gloria and Collect!"

Yes there is a huge problem. The missal of Paul VI doesn't permit this. It is another liturgical abuse by a pope who is showing he doesn't care about liturgy or anything else. He will do whatever he wants regardless. And of course the excuse is that it was done that way in apostolic times. But how come people who like how things were done prior to the council are silly for wanting to return to how things were in the fifties. But it's noble to want to return to the past if it's in the 1st 3 centuries. That isn't logical. It's a liberal excuse to try and quiet people who have a problem with liturgical abuse. In other words it's clericalism. Because what you are saying is that regardless of Church law regarding the Mass you feel this or that is better. Clericalism.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I liked the chasuble he wore actually and it is the most ornate he's worn as pope to date. However, he wore a somewhat ornate gold chasuble the last time he was there.

Bill Hobbs said...

Actually, the recessional hymn was "Gaudete Christus Est Natus" - a medieval Latin hymn.

Also, call the Jesuits litirgical neanderthals is a little harsh and verging on un-Christian, Fr. Allan. I though you were trying to use the Pope as your role model...

John Nolan said...

Sorry, it's dreadful from start to finish. The altar is the nearest I have seen to a pagan one. I wouldn't cross the road to attend a "liturgy" like this, regardless of who was celebrating.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Maybe someone else who knows might be able to chime in on this. The Pope is celebrating a saint that he canonized by decree but not liturgically late last year (2013). Would there be a "penitential act" in such a celebration. For example, the new Roman Missal for Nuptial Masses states that there is no Penitential Act for the Nuptial Mass, that after the Introit,Sign of the Cross, Greeting, there are introductory remarks (which are codified in the new English Sacrament of Marriage ritual to be released soon) and then directly to the Kyrie, Gloria and Collect.

Is a Mass that is celebrating a new saint similar to a nuptial Mass and thus no Penitential Act?

Anonymous said...

Is a Mass that is celebrating a new saint similar to a nuptial Mass and thus no Penitential Act?

Where does this thinking come from? Apparently priests are unable to read the GIRM or rubrics printed in read.

John Nolan said...

Actually, the Penitential Act before the Nuptial Mass is quite appropriate since the bride and groom will in most cases have slept together before the wedding.

Let's be honest, the liturgy, both in its official manifestation and the way it is celebrated in most parishes, is in a complete mess. It's only done properly in those places which have taken the Novus Ordo and said "look, let's salvage what's traditional and make the best we can of this dog's breakfast" or in those who have eschewed it altogether and stuck to the classic Roman Rite.

I have always maintained that the Novus Ordo needs to be judged on its own merits, and it does have some; although to supplant a rite which had changed but slowly over more than a thousand years with a new one in less than five years - with a complete rupture in terms of ars celebrandi, music and even language (and if Pater Ignotus is to have us believe in ecclesiology and theology as well) - was an unprecedented move.

At present I attend both forms of the Roman Rite, although the OF is usually in the sung Latin version; I accept the vernacular as being of benefit to the majority of people and love to see it celebrated with decent music (the resources are all out there, thanks to initiatives which are primarily from the USA); and thanks to the new translation two generations of Catholics are experiencing the Paul VI Mass for the first time.

Steven Surrency said...

I don't remember where or how I learned this, but when the Litany of the Saints is prayed before mass, the penitential rite is omitted. I'm not say it is a rubric, but there is some precedent somewhere. I just can't remember where.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Steve, you may well be correct as the Litany of the Saints has a penitential character incorporated into it, but I do not know where one finds the rubric or general instruction for this.

But let's get back to preludes before the actual Mass begins. There are choral preludes in parishes. At Christmas we had the children act out the nativity as a prelude to the Mass. On Mother's Day we have a May Procession of children bringing flower's to Mary's chapel as a prelude to Mass.

Why in the world could we not have the prayers at the Foot of the altar as a prelude to the Mass? I don't think there is any law against this.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

John, the Ordinary Form is not irreformable. We can lamment that too much was changed, too quickly and without proper reflection and thought (I'm not speaking here of SC as it is a conservative document, but rather of what the commission set up by Pope Paul VI did and what subsequent liturgists did (and often without authority) in terms of encouraging rank and file clergy to experiment with the Mass and implement super-creativity with it; that super-creativity is the greatest problem the last 50 years).

But as for the Missal itself, it is richer in prayer (collects, prefaces and specific Masses). While one might lament that there are more Eucharistic Prayers, most would see this as an enrichment also (as I do). The Order of Mass is a bit more problematic and it is here that we should truly pray for a "reform of the reform" but not necessarily go back completely to the 1962 model of the Order of Mass. (I happen to think the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar) and the introductory Rite of the 1962 Mass is the route to go even with the priest presiding from the chair. (All he would have to do is to ascend to the altar after the Prayers at the Foot of the altar, reverence it and incense it if used, and then go to the chair for the Kyrie, Gloria, "The Lord be with you" and Collect.
The Liturgy of the Word need not revert back to the one year lectionary--the current lectionary is fuller and enriched and the way the readings are proclaimed should be seen as progress. The Gradual, though, should be a legitimate option as it actually is but this isn't noted anywhere in the rubrics or General Instruction.

The option of the EF's Offertory Prayers certainly should be considered as well as the EF rubrics for the Roman Canon.

The Rite of Holy Communion in the OF seems to me to be an advancement and thus should be maintained.

It should be made clear also that the Official Antiphons should be chanted and anything else is "filler" and that the Mass clearly may be celebrated ad orientem and kneeling for Holy Communion not hindered.

It would be pastorally unwise to eliminate facing the people, but the Benedictine or pre-Vatican II altar arrangement should be codified and other rubrics beefed up more in keeping with the 1962 missal.

There should be a way to require Latin for some parts of the Mass, maybe the official antiphons and the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei. I'm ambivalent about the Credo and Pater Noster, especially in the south when we have weddings and funerals (for the Pater Noster in these cases)as we have so many Protestants in attendance who join us in this prayer.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Bill, mea culpa in calling Jesuits liturgical neanderthals . But since Vatican II we can't call them "Benedictines" either!

John Nolan said...

GIRM 61 and 62 make it clear that the Gradual and Alleluia/Tract from the Graduale Romanum may replace the Psalm and Acclamation in the Lectionary. In fact, in the most solemn manifestation of the OF, viz. the sung Latin version, all the Graduale propers are used, and the Introit, Offertory and Communio can have extra psalm verses added ad libitum (this also applies to the EF).

The Offertory is an interesting case. Although the OF has fewer prayers, it has restored the Offertory procession and so occupies the same amount of time. The Offertory chant was originally a Responsory (the surviving example of this is in the Requiem Mass). Unlike the Introit and Communio, the verses are melismatic. They have been restored and are found not in the Graduale Romanum but in the new Offertoriale Triplex, also from Solesmes.

OF devotees are always banging on about "ressourcement" - well, this is a good example of the principle in action.