Sunday, April 20, 2014


With Pope Francis firmly establishing his liturgical presence within simplicity and recently renewing the term of office for his most excellent Master of Ceremonies, Msgr. Guido Marini, we see Pope Francis' priorities, to bring the liturgy to our life in service to those we meet with a special care for the poor and sick. 

His liturgical style is simple in style and vesture, direct, sober, somber, pious and his liturgical piety is very much in continuity with the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. He is detached from the crowds before Him and it is as though it is the Holy Father and the Lord are alone at Solemn Mass. 

He has now established since the Solemnity of the Chair of Saint Peter his own version of the altar arrangement, what might be called the "Franciscan Arrangement." It is in continuity with Pope Benedict's restoration of the altar's arrangement with continuity with the Extraordinary Form's arrangement with minor differences. The six candles are now arranged at a more severe angle so as to make more room to seen the liturical actions of the Eucharistic Prayer. The Episcopal Candle is now to the side rather directly in the middle behind the crucifix. The crucifix remains central but of a smaller version or shorter version that places the crucifix more in eye range of the Holy Father as he celebrates the Liturgy of the Eucharist. 

The Holy Father is not adverse to celebrating an all Latin Mass or an all vernacular Mass in Italian. He is not phobic about celebrating the Mass ad orientem. In this is gives priests a good example. 

Today's Solemn Mass for Easter Sunday with His Holiness, Pope Francis, which he celebrates mostly in Latin,  in a sun drenched Saint Peter's Square:

Pope Francis' Easter Vigil homily:

(Vatican Radio) Jesus’ call to his Apostles, after his Resurrection, to “return to Galilee”, is the call to re-read everything in the life of Christ “on the basis of the cross and its victory.. from this supreme act of love,” said Pope Francis in his homily during the Easter Vigil celebration on Saturday evening.

It is also a call to every Christian to rediscover their baptism “as a living fountainhead, drawing new energy from the sources of our faith and our Christian experience,” he said. “To return to Galilee means above all to return to that blazing light with which God’s grace touched me at the start of the journey."

To “return to Galilee” also means renewing “the experience of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ who called me to follow him and to share in his mission. … It means reviving the memory of that moment when his eyes met mine, the moment when he made me realize that he loved me,” he added.

During the celebration at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the Pope also baptised 10 catechumens, the youngest of whom is a seven-year-old Italian and the eldest is a 58-year-old from Vietnam. These 10 newly baptized Christians come from different countries, including France, Belarus, Lebanon and Senegal.

Below is the full text of Pope Francis’ Easter Vigil homily:

The Gospel of the resurrection of Jesus Christ begins with the journey of the women to the tomb at dawn on the day after the Sabbath. They go to the tomb to honour the body of the Lord, but they find it open and empty. A mighty angel says to them: “Do not be afraid!” (Mt 28:5) and orders them to go and tell the disciples: “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee” (v. 7). The women quickly depart and on the way Jesus himself meets them and says: “Do not fear; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me” (v. 10).

After the death of the Master, the disciples had scattered; their faith had been utterly shaken, everything seemed over, all their certainties had crumbled and their hopes had died. But now that message of the women, incredible as it was, came to them like a ray of light in the darkness. The news spread: Jesus is risen as he said. And then there was his command to go to Galilee; the women had heard it twice, first from the angel and then from Jesus himself: “Let them go to Galilee; there they will see me”.

Galilee is the place where they were first called, where everything began! To return there, to return to the place where they were originally called. Jesus had walked along the shores of the lake as the fishermen were casting their nets. He had called them, and they left everything and followed him (cf. Mt 4:18-22).

To return to Galilee means to re-read everything on the basis of the cross and its victory. To re-read everything – Jesus’ preaching, his miracles, the new community, the excitement and the defections, even the betrayal – to re-read everything starting from the end, which is a new beginning, from this supreme act of love.

For each of us, too, there is a “Galilee” at the origin of our journey with Jesus. “To go to Galilee” means something beautiful, it means rediscovering our baptism as a living fountainhead, drawing new energy from the sources of our faith and our Christian experience. To return to Galilee means above all to return to that blazing light with which God’s grace touched me at the start of the journey. From that flame I can light a fire for today and every day, and bring heat and light to my brothers and sisters. That flame ignites a humble joy, a joy which sorrow and distress cannot dismay, a good, gentle joy.

In the life of every Christian, after baptism there is also a more existential “Galilee”: the experience of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ who called me to follow him and to share in his mission. In this sense, returning to Galilee means treasuring in my heart the living memory of that call, when Jesus passed my way, gazed at me with mercy and asked me to follow him. It means reviving the memory of that moment when his eyes met mine, the moment when he made me realize that he loved me.

Today, tonight, each of us can ask: What is my Galilee? Where is my Galilee? Do I remember it? Have I forgotten it? Have I gone off on roads and paths which made me forget it? Lord, help me: tell me what my Galilee is; for you know that I want to return there to encounter you and to let myself be embraced by your mercy.

The Gospel of Easter is very clear: we need to go back there, to see Jesus risen, and to become witnesses of his resurrection. This is not to go back in time; it is not a kind of nostalgia. It is returning to our first love, in order to receive the fire which Jesus has kindled in the world and to bring that fire to all people, to the very ends of the earth.

“Galilee of the Gentiles” (Mt 4:15; Is 8:23)! Horizon of the Risen Lord, horizon of the Church; intense desire of encounter… Let us be on our way!


John Nolan said...

Interesting that priests like Pater Ignotus will follow the Pope on the issue of washing women's feet (although I suspect he was doing this already) but will not follow him when it comes to celebrating in a sober manner and in Latin.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

JN, sad but true and how many of his generation are like that? Countless, I guess we'll have to wait for nature's final solution. Thank God that while I am older, I am younger at heart and with the future clergy on this one.

Anonymous said...

Dear Father McDonald,
Thank you for your tireless work on this blog site and your efforts to guide people toward salvation with rehabilitated liturgical practices and true instruction of our Faith. Happy Easter
Mike A.

Православный физик said...

Blessed Easter to you!

Anonymous said...

We often speak of "celebrating the Mass". "Celebrating in a sober manner" seems a bit of an oxymoron.

Fr Mark said...

Father, I find your first comment #2 to be rather offensive - you appear to be wishing Pater Ignotus a speedy death. Do you not think that perpetuating the 'final solution' aka Fr Z is highly inappropriate and divisive to the Church?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

We know each other and live in the same town--tongue in cheek! I'm older than he!

Joseph Johnson said...

John Nolan,
While we're speaking of generational paradoxes, can you explain why so many priests (and laypeople) of a certain age seem to have no problem with the Greek Kyrie being used interchangeably with the English one as well as the Aramaic "Alleluia" and "Hosanna," etc. but they have little or no tolerance ('will complain and ridicule) the use of Latin Ordinary parts in an otherwise vernacular Mass? What gives?

I have always thought it very appropriate that the unbloody representation of the Same Sacrifice of Calvary should include the use of the three languages used in the inscription that Scripture tells us was hung over our Lord on the crucifix (Greek, Aramaic/Hebrew and Latin).

Please give us some insight so that I might understand those fellow Catholics who are, generally speaking, a few years older than my 53 years (which makes me 9 in 1970 when the Novus Ordo was imposed . .). As to my own generational attitude and "prejudices"--it was already strongly impressed on me by the time of my First Communion in 1969 that laypeople did not touch the Host and that the priest (or deacon) had to be scrupulously careful that all visible particles were consumed (consequently, I don't and have never received Communion in the Hand).

Fr. McDonald,
Our pastor invited everyone to wash each other's feet. I tried to just sit through it all but our young (and very well-meaning) parish council president insisted that I allow him to wash my feet and my wife's feet. I went along . . (at least we got to sing the Latin "Tantum Ergo" at the transfer of the Blessed Sacrament).

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Joseph, Given my Italian sense of "formality" with strangers gotten from my mother, if I were still a lay person and knew that everyone would be washing everyone's feet, I would not go to that particular Holy Thursday Mass. To experience what you did would have made me extremely uncomfortable and angry. It is one thing for Jesus who is God washing the feet of the 12 closest people to him who actually have dirty feet and it is a part of that culture. It is quite another thing for a contrived situation such as a liturgy to inflict this on the unsuspecting, some of whom might appreciate it and others who would not but might be embarrassed into silence. The stylized version which is meant to be a liturgical gesture with consenting participants chosen ahead of time, whether all male or female or a combination is a symbolic act that needs explanation. It is about serving people who have a need, such as visiting the sick, caring for the dying, helping the poor and getting oneself dirty in the process.

John Nolan said...

Joseph Johnson

I'm ten years older than you are and remember being rostered to serve the evening Mass (it was late 1963 or early 1964) and the PP saying "We're having Mass in English today". Of course only bits of it were in English and ironically these were the bits that everyone knew in Latin anyway. Even when the 1965 interim Ordo appeared there was no approved translation (in England and Wales) for the Collects, Secrets and Postcommunions, which remained in Latin for the time being.

Once the initial novelty had worn off, a lot of people were disgruntled about the loss of much that was familiar. 'Et cum spiritu tuo' was then translated as 'And with you' which some wags likened to 'And up yours'. When Evelyn Waugh first heard it he is said to have replied 'And toodle-oo' before walking out.

When the Novus Ordo came out the bishops expressed the hope that it would be celebrated in Latin at least once a week, but as far as most parishes were concerned this was closing the door on a stable whence the horse had departed for the knacker's yard at least two years previously. In my own parish only the Benediction hymns and the Pange Lingua were still in Latin in 1970.

Why the apparent antipathy towards the universal and sacred language of the Western Church, the case for which had been made in such magisterial fashion by John XXIII in Veterum Sapientia (1962) and which the faithful appeared quite happy with? Apart from anything else it distinguished us from the Anglicans who occupied our ancient churches and cathedrals and had (in those days) a dignified, if somewhat dull, vernacular liturgy. Ironically the ecumaniacs of the 1960s and 1970s wanted to remove this distinction - remember 'Praying Together'? Meanwhile the Anglicans were happily incorporating Latin church music into their cathedral liturgies. A generation previously it had to be in English.

A second consideration is ideological. It is fashionable today to talk about 'reform in continuity' and even to argue that this is what V2 wanted. But this is difficult to pull off, since the two concepts are contradictory. Enthusiasts for change are not really interested in continuity. The vernacular was an essential element of the 'new Mass', along with other aspects of 1960s modernity. Latin stands for both continuity and objectivity which went against the prevailing ideology; it was counter-revolutionary, and in the lexicon of revolution there is no worse epithet.

Then there is ignorance, pure and simple. Despite official directives, priests were ordained without having learnt any Latin in the seminary, and in the 1970s most schools dropped it from the curriculum. For the first time in centuries people who are otherwise highly educated have had no exposure to Latin at all, and it is notable that some of the most strident opposition to any use of liturgical Latin comes from educated people. I suspect that they subconsciously feel the loss, and that is why they dismiss Latin as being 'of no use', which is an extreme and indefensible position.

Another factor is a chauvinistic attitude towards the English language which is tempered in England by our proximity to continental Europe, but is very marked in the United States. I have even heard it argued that English should replace Latin as the definitive language of the liturgy, in which case one might well ask 'whose English?' These are the same people who criticize the new translation, which as far as accuracy is concerned is in reality the first translation.

To those who object to some parts of the Ordinary being in Latin in an otherwise vernacular Mass one could quote Pater Ignotus: 'If it's good enough for the Pope ...'

Anonymous said...

John, I think these "Pontifical Latin Masses" show that it's really not in the Latin, but in the ars celebranda. On Holy Thursday I attended a versus populum OF Mass that was vernacular except for parts of the sung Ordinary. But to me it seemed incomparably more inspiring, reverent and worthy that the all-Latin papal Masses that are being broadcast these days.

Nor does it have to be Brompton Oratory. The smallest parish church can celebrate an unobjectionable and even beautiful Mass--as is even the simple daily OF Mass in my parish (where we have TLM only on Sundays).

Pater Ignotus said...

John - Inasmuch as you have never been to a mass celebrated by me, it is impossible for you to know whether or not I celebrate "in a sober manner." Claiming to have such knowledge is not entirely honest, now is it?

And I have stated multiple times why I do not celebrate in Latin. Surely you can recall at least one of these times? If not, I suggest you consult your physician, buy a bottle of Ginko biloba extract, or sign up with Luminosity for some memory enhancing exercises.

You assertion that "reform" and continuity" are contradictory is simply wrong. The liturgy has always been reformed, changed, adjusted, throughout the history of the Church.

You only assert that they are contradictory when you are displeased with the results of the reform or if you think that they came too many, too fast.

But reform and continuity are not contradictory.

Mark - Good Father McDonald and I are friends - our jibes here are good-natured, really. Why, on the day of our Chrism Mass in Savannah I treated him to a fine lunch at an elegant eatery near our Cathedral where we enjoyed each other's conversation. He returned the favor on Holy Saturday, though I must say the chain restaurant he chose was - how shall I put this - well, just sufficient.

But it is the thought that counts, as we all know . . .

Anonymous said...

Whatever the truth of John's alleged allegation--which, actually, I have not seen--never fear, PI, I myself have never insisted in print that a priest must be sober in order to celebrate Mass decorously. Though I suspect that it generally helps.

John Nolan said...

PI, once again you are being disingenuous. My comments about 'reform in continuity' are from a general historical perspective. It's not impossible, but is unusual because of an essential contradiction. Look at how revolutions begin, and how they usually turn out. I am not 'simply wrong' in stating as a fact that it is not easy to balance concepts which are inherently contradictory.

Whether one likes the liturgical changes or not, what happened in the 1960s amounted to a revolution. Attempts to equate it with the gradual developments over the preceding millennium and a half won't wash. A simple comparison between a parish Mass in 1962 and one in 1970 should make it clear.

The fact that it is still a controversial issue, more than forty years on, speaks volumes.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - Your words: " It is fashionable today to talk about 'reform in continuity' and even to argue that this is what V2 wanted. But this is difficult to pull off, since the two concepts are contradictory."

You STATED that the two concepts ARE contradictory.

And you are wrong - the Monarchy of Great Britain has been reformed through the centuries, but it continues. The U.S. Constitution has been reformed (amended) since 1787, but it continues. The Papacy, divinely revealed to be an essential element of the Church, has been reformed multiple times, yet it continues.

In the general or in specific situations, reform and continuity are not contradictory concepts. It may be difficult to balance reform and continuity, but that are not contradictory.

John Nolan said...

PI, at the risk of sounding pedantic, I didn't say that reform and continuity were incompatible (they are clearly not) but that they were contradictory, which isn't the same thing at all. If they were on the same side of the scales, they wouldn't need balancing.

Institutions can become corrupt and unfit for purpose, and reform can strengthen them and make them more effective. This has happened in the Church, notably in the eleventh and sixteenth centuries, with measurable success. The twentieth century reforms were different in that they have precipitated a crisis where none existed, and rather than eradicating abuses have created them. Only a blinkered ideologue can maintain otherwise - the evidence is all around us.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - Only if one thinks that continuity means "unchanging" can one conclude that reform and continuity are contradictory.

I would say that God alone is "irreformable." All else - how we manufacture paint, how we understand human nature, how we celebrate the liturgy - is subject to change, evolution development. The need for and the capacity to reform is an essential aspect of who and what we are. It is something that is, I think, true of every created thing.

It should, therefore, be expected, even anticipated, that created things will change. In that, continuity cannot be continuity without change and reform. It is a built in element of everything that is not God.

And, knowing that this sounds pedantic (no false humility here), your diagnosis of the causes of the "crisis where none existed" is wrong. If I thought that celebrating mass in the vernacular, non-use of the maniple, or exchanging the sign of peace during mass were the causes of the "crisis" we face, I'd advocate for their change with grater fervor than even Good Father McDonald.

To lay the crisis at the doorstep of liturgical reforms - yes, reforms - is to offer a dangerously simplistic answer to a much, much more complex question.

And I always adhere to the maxim, "Beware the man with the simple answer."

Anonymous said...

PI: If I thought that celebrating mass in the vernacular, non-use of the maniple, or exchanging the sign of peace during mass were the causes of the "crisis" we face

I walk on both sides of the liturgical fence, and doubt I've ever met a single person who thought these things were the "cause" of the current crisis of faith and worship. If indeed no such person exists, the specter you conjure may qualify as the ultimate straw man argument, truly one few of us can ever hope to surpass, whatever heights of exaggeration we strive for.

John Nolan said...

Henry, indeed - as I have commented on another thread, I do reciprocate the 'sign of peace' although I find it non-liturgical and rather silly and pointless. I also attend the OF as often as I do the EF, and don't object to the vernacular per se, although my preference is for Latin.

Pater Ignotus tends to home in on a remark one has made, take it to extremes, and worry it like a dog a bone. This enables him to evade the main thrust of the argument. Immutability and change are irreconcilable but continuity and change can co-exist despite an obvious dichotomy. One can be so fixated with the importance of continuity as to deny the necessity for change. On the other hand an enthusiasm for change can lead to an impatience with continuity. There is ample evidence that the mindset of the 1960s reformers inclined them towards the latter.

Cardinal Ratzinger did not say that the crisis in the Church was entirely due to the disintegration of the liturgy, but he was convinced that it was 'to a large extent' due to it. The Church had to face serious challenges in the second half of the last century, and abandoning her ancient liturgy, watering down her teachings and appearing to embrace a relativist agenda was arguably not the best way of dealing with them.