Saturday, February 15, 2014


Of course this will send those traditionalists who dislike Pope Francis into a tizzy because it seems to contradict what Pope Benedict said about the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

But does it really?

This is what the Holy Father said as reported by Rorate Caeli:

In the visit, as it usually happens in such cases, other than the formal address, the Pope heard the questions and comments of the bishops. Archbishop Jan Graubner, of Olomouc, told the Czech section of Vatican Radio what the Pope told him:
[Abp. Jan Graubner speaks:] When we were discussing those who are fond of the ancient liturgy and wish to return to it, it was evident that the Pope speaks with great affection, attention, and sensitivity for all in order not to hurt anyone. However, he made a quite strong statement when he said that he understands when the old generation returns to what it experienced, but that he cannot understand the younger generation wishing to return to it. "When I search more thoroughly - the Pope said - I find that it is rather a kind of fashion [in Czech: 'móda', Italian 'moda']. And if it is a fashion, therefore it is a matter that does not need that much attention. It is just necessary to show some patience and kindness to people who are addicted to a certain fashion. But I consider greatly important to go deep into things, because if we do not go deep, no liturgical form, this or that one, can save us."
Now, granted, Pope Francis in some of the things he writes and says makes you scratch your head wondering exactly what does he mean. He is not precise as Pope Benedict and opens himself up to being spinned by the right, the left and everyone else in between.

So here is my spin.

The most important thing he says is that young people are drawn to fads and fashions. There is no surprise here and I suspect some people do this with religion and liturgy, especially the styles of music in the Ordinary Form and some styles of creativity that make the Mass oh so horizontal and diminishes the vertical.
But the real import of what the Holy Father says is this:  But I consider greatly important to go deep into things, because if we do not go deep, no liturgical form, this or that one, can save us."

And of course, how many times have I lamented those who turn the liturgy into some kind of idol? Progressives do it with the Ordinary Form of the Mass refusing to see the validity and beauty of the 1962 Roman Missal. And then there are those radical traditionalists who see nothing good in the Ordinary Form of the Mass as Pope Francis, Pope Benedict and many good and holy priests celebrate it according to the books and following the rubrics. The exclusive focus on the EF Mass can be a form of idolatry too!

So it seems to me that he isn't slamming those who prefer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass if it goes beyond pure liturgical style or some kind of fad or fashion, but asking that we go deep into the liturgy, whatever form, this or that, (meaning, EF or OF, and I suspect Eastern Rite or Orthodox could be thrown into the mix). The Holy Father wants everyone, in no matter what liturgy, this or that, to enter the Mystery of Jesus Christ, His word, His Sacrifice, His Sacrificial Banquet and His commissioning us to go out and Glorify Him with our lives.

We must go to the heart of the liturgy which is Jesus, no matter which form. And I would suggest to the Holy Father, that more people are into fads and fashions as it regards the Ordinary Form and forget precisely why we celebrate it which is, as Pope Francis has taught about Jesus on our altars: the Lord makes himself present on the altar in order to be offered to the Father for the salvation of the world."

But didn't Pope Francis say the basically the same in a recent daily homily as just recently reported by Sandro Magister of Chiesa:

 ROME, February 14, 2014 – Fifty years after the promulgation of the document of Vatican Council II on the liturgy, the Vatican is solemnizing the event with a three-day conference at the pontifical university of the Lateran, organized by the congregation for divine worship from the 18th to the 20th of this month.

So far the liturgy has not seemed to be one of the top priorities in the vision of Pope Francis. In the long interview-confession with "La Civiltà Cattolica" last summer he reduced the conciliar liturgical reform to this dismissive definition: " a service to the people as a re-reading of the Gospel from a concrete historical situation."

Not a word more, if not for the "worrying risk of the ideologization of the Vetus Ordo, its exploitation."

But on Monday, February 10, with no forewarning Jorge Mario Bergoglio broke the silence and dedicated to the liturgy the entire homily of the morning Mass in the chapel of Santa Marta. Saying things he has never said before, since he became pope.

That morning the passage was read from the first book of Kings in which during the reign of Solomon the cloud, the divine glory, filled the temple and "the Lord decided to dwell in the cloud."

Taking his cue from that "theophany," pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio said that "in the Eucharistic liturgy God is present" in a way even "closer" than in the cloud in the temple, his "is a real presence."

And he continued:

"When I speak of the liturgy I am mainly referring to the holy Mass. The Mass is not a representation, it is something else. It is living once again the redemptive passion and death of the Lord. It is a theophany: the Lord makes himself present on the altar in order to be offered to the Father for the salvation of the world."

Further on the pope said:

"The liturgy is the time of God and space of God, and we must put ourselves there in the time of God, in the space of God, and not look at our watches. The liturgy is nothing less than entering into the mystery of God, allowing ourselves to be carried to the mystery and to be in the mystery. It is the cloud of God that envelops us all."

And looking back on one of his childhood memories: (and recall this is the pre-Vatican II liturgy he is referring:)
"I recall that as a child, when they were preparing us for first communion, they had us sing: 'O holy altar guarded by the angels,' and this made us understand that the altar was truly guarded by the angels, it gave us the sense of the glory of God, of the space of God, of the time of God."
Coming to the conclusion, Francis invited those present to "ask the Lord today to give all of us this sense of the sacred, this sense that makes us understand that it is one thing to pray at home, to pray the rosary, to pray many beautiful prayers, make the way of the cross, read the bible, and the Eucharistic celebration is another thing. In the celebration we enter into the mystery of God, into that path which we cannot control. He alone is the one, he is the glory, he is the power. Let us ask for this grace: that the Lord may teach us to enter into the mystery of God."


The February 10 homily of Pope Francis in the summary provided by "L'Osservatore Romano":


Anonymous said...

And just how has Pope Francis shown patience and kindness to those Catholics who love Tradition/tradition? He has never shown anything but contempt for pious, traditional Catholics. Example, he ridiculed a group of Traditionally minded Catholics who sent him a spiritual bouquet. In fact Francis seems to have a real problem with any Catholic who attends Mass and receives the sacraments regularly. We are always accused by him of vanity, arrogance, hating the poor etc. Francis only seems to show any kind of patience with non believers and "Catholics" who have problems with lawful authority. Example, he praised a group of liberal habit less nuns in Brazil and told them to ignore any directives from the CDF. Let's get things straight. Francis is tolerant to those who agree with him and if you don't things like getting fired from your job at Radio Maria happen to you. Or your thriving traditional religious order gets destroyed. You will not publish this comment because it doesn't play into your narrative, but it's the truth.

Henry said...

"the Pope speaks with great affection, attention, and sensitivity for all in order not to hurt anyone."

Hmm . . . Could this have been some kind of arcane attempt at humor? If so, it falls rather flat.

Bobby said...

Wow, Anonymous, It seems to me you are distorting so many things here. There is no need to be so defensive. I think you have taken many comments way beyond what the Pope actually said. Just as the left spins things to support their idiocy, you are taking comments out of context...not to idiocy level, but out of context. Please be patient. While I am not a Traditionalist, I love and respect much of the movement , but I do not see the truth in what you are saying at. Please remain calm , patient and prayerful. Yours in Christ!

John Nolan said...

Perhaps Francis is genuinely bewildered that some of the younger generation are attracted to the Traditional Rite. But I doubt it - he has written about the "via pulchritudinis", and beauty in liturgy generally; although he won't sing, he appreciates music; and he has spoken admiringly about Eastern liturgy.

Assuming he has been correctly reported, and indeed correctly translated, then what he is saying about "fashion" must refer to the Vetus Ordo, and he must be aware that many of the younger generation who are interested in it are priests and seminarians. And this is what is puzzling, since the attraction of the older form is precisely because it is not subject to the vagaries of fashion.

John said...

The Holy Father must look at the trends, see who is following Him. A large percent of self-confessed Catholics(?) reject the Catechism on the most important moral teachings of our church: abortion, same-sex faux marriage, divorce and second, even third marriages. These are the folks who just love the Novus Ordo but do not really attend it much. Those who come more often than on big holidays still reject a large portion of Church teachings anyway.

Such Catholics support social justice in words but fail to put the money in the collection plate. Rather they support progressive politicians all day long. The UN too, the organization that only days ago unjustly maligned the Church in a report full of lies.

Just the other day our Pope called for restoring the sacred in the liturgy, the Mass specifically. The sacred never left the EF Mass and the Catholics who attend it come every week, many every day if they can.

Which part of "NO" is worth defending I wonder?

The Holy Father is expected to change the rules of the faith or his fans will ditch him after the October Synod if He does not. Popes John Paul 2 and Benedict XVI fought for five decades against the culture of death. I expect, Pope Francis will continue the battle also.

rcg said...

I think our Pope has issues with his internal dialogue, but I have a theory that he is intrigued and maybe even drawn to the EF and may even come to convert to it.

John Nolan said...

Regarding translation, a few weeks back I had an altercation with Pater Ignotus regarding the translation of the GIRM. I claimed that in #42 the phrase "attendendum igitur erit ad ea quae a lege liturgica et tradita praxi Ritus Romani definiuntur" (attention therefore should be paid to what is determined by the liturgical law and traditional practice of the Roman Rite) had been deliberately mistranslated as " what has been determined by this General Instruction and the traditional practice of the Roman Rite".

However, I have since learned that there are two published versions of the new Latin GIRM - the one from which I quoted, which appeared in 2000, and the one that accompanies the 2002 edition of the MR, and which incorporates substantial changes. GIRM 42 indeed has "... ad ea quae ab hac Institutione generali ...". In which case, it is the later version which is definitive.

The GIRM is still a problematic document, but in this case it is not the translators' fault.

Diane said...

Thanks for this adult view of the Holy Father's words.

In my own Facebook thread on this, some of the reactions were over the top with regards to the level of anger, and over a second hand quote. I wrote there, even if he said what is reported, and it was meant in the offensive way that some took it:

"It's one thing to be disappointed with something the Pope might have said; it's another to castigate the Vicar of Christ over it. What does this foolish behavior accomplish but play into perception others have that devotees of the TLM are just a bunch of cranks? Is there not more than one way to express ourselves than with contempt and disdain? A more productive way to handle matters such as these, is to make known to the Holy Father, through gentleness and meekness, how the TLM has aided us spiritually. This can be done in private letters and in public forums such as blogs."

And for the record, I am a devotee of the TLM and go every week, and often to daily Mass.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Diane, thanks for your sober comment! You should see a few of the comments I had to delete that used slurs against our Holy Father. I can only think that these are right wing post-Catholics and heterodox to the hilt. They remind me of the fundamentalist Christians in my neck of the woods back in the day who use to speak so horribly about Holy Mother Church and the Vicar of Christ. They even boarder on the slanderous "Chick" publications that I presume are out there.
I am concerned about the divisiveness in the Church, but I think those writing these horrible comments that I must delete are really anti-Catholic bigots.

Православный физик said...

As one of those young people, I've reflected upon it at my own blog here:

Since my post is far too long to place here for a comment...I'll let my post speak for itself :)

Anonymous said...

Good Father! Slurs against the Holy Father? From "traditional" Catholics? How, oh how is this possible?