Thursday, December 11, 2014


Please note that Pope Francis covers the chalice with a pall at his morning Mass. There is no such rubric in the Ordinary Form, nothing, zip, nada and thus it is permissible to import a rubric from the EF Mass such as when to cover the chalice with a pall during Mass if the OF Mass omits any reference. What other EF rubrics could we bring into the OF Mass I wonder?
I wholeheartedly endorse Pope Francis' homiletic remarks this morning at the chapel of his residence at the Vatican Motel 6.  Of course, true Catholics know that it doesn't matter if we agree or disagree with the pope, what matters is the Faith and Morals of the Church which Catholics, true Catholics, are obliged to accept and are to be obedient to the pope, whoever that pope is, in the areas of faith and morals. We can argue with and disagree with opinions and interviews and the like if these present novel pious thoughts but nothing more.

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday said that God is like a mother, He loves us unconditionally, but too often we want to take control of this grace in a kind of a spiritual book-keeping.

The Pope was speaking during his homily at morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta.
 Taking his cue from the prophet Isaiah, Pope Francis said that God saves his people not from afar but being close and tender.

“God’s closeness is such that he is presented like a mother, a mother who talks to her baby, and sings lullabies to her baby” The Pope said that the mother even taken on the voice and the language of a child so much so she can seem ridiculous if one does not understand how great the context actually is: ‘Do not fear, you little worm Jacob’. How often – Francis pointed out – does a mother say this kind of thing to her child as she caresses him? ‘I will make of you a threshing sledge, sharp, new, full of teeth… I will make you grow big’ and she caresses him again and holds him close. And so does God. This is God’s tenderness. And He is he expresses his closeness with tenderness: the tenderness of a mother”.

God loves is free - the Pope continued - just as a mother’s love is for her child. And the child "allows himself to be loved": "this is the grace of God." "But many times, just to be sure, we want to control the grace". He said that "in history and also in our lives we are tempted to transform grace into a kind of a merchandise, perhaps saying to ourselves something like "I have so much grace," or, "I have a soul clean, I am graced":

"In this way this beautiful truth  of God's closeness slips into a kind spiritual book-keeping: 'I will do this because it  will give me 300 days of grace ... I will do that because it will give me this, and doing so I will accumulate grace'. But what is grace? A commodity? That’s what it appears. And throughout history this closeness of God to his people has been betrayed by this selfish attitude, selfish, by wanting to control grace, to turn it into merchandise".

The Pope recalled the groups at the time of Jesus who wanted to control grace: the Pharisees, enslaved by the many laws that they loaded "on the shoulders of the people." The Sadducees with their political compromises. The Essenes, "who were good, very good, but they had so much fear, they never took any risks" and ended up isolated within their monasteries. The Zealots, for whom the grace of God was the "war of liberation", "another way to transform grace into merchandise."

"The grace of God – Pope Francis said - is another matter: it is closeness, it is tenderness. This rule is always valid. If, in your relationship with the Lord, do not feel that He loves you tenderly, you are missing something, you still have not understood what grace is, you  have not yet received grace which is this closeness". (This is the point I really agree and Bishop Lessard in the 1980's said the same thing!): Pope Francis recalled the confession many years ago, of a woman who was tormented by the question of whether a Mass attended on a Saturday evening for a wedding was valid (as a fulfilling the Sunday obligation) as it had readings different to that on the Sunday. This was his answer: "Madam, the Lord loves you so much. You went to Church and there you received Communion, you were with Jesus... Do not worry, the Lord is not a merchant, the Lord loves us, He is close":

"St. Paul reacts strongly against this spirituality of the law.’I am right, and this and this. If I do not do this I am not right'. But you are right because God has drawn close, because God caresses you, because God tells you these beautiful things with tenderness: this is our justice, this closeness of God, this tenderness, this love. At the risk of seeming ridiculous our God is so good. If we had the courage to open our hearts to this tenderness of God, how much spiritual freedom we would have! How much! Today, if you have a little 'time, at home, take the Bible: Isaiah, chapter 41, from verse 13 to 20, seven verses. Read them. This tenderness of God, this God who sings in each of us a lullaby, like a mother”.


Rood Screen said...

I'm not sure what your saying about the pall. No. 118 of the GIRM lists the pall among those items to be prepared for Mass: "on the credence table: the chalice, a corporal, a purificator, and, if appropriate, the pall...".

Anonymous said...

Father, the imprudent and at times troubling statements/actions of this pope has caused and already existing divide in the Church to grow 1000 times bigger.

"Progressive" Catholics adore him because they believe Francis agrees with them. "Traditional" Catholics now deapise Francis because they believe he agrees with the modernists. So where does that leave the Church? In chaos. It no longer matters that Francis may give an occasional sermon that borders on being orthodox. His actions have caused scandal and confusion which is not of God.

If Francis wants to focus more on the pastoral and mercilful aspects of the Church, that's wonderful. But trying to promote things like sacraligeous communions by divorced "remarried" Catholics isn't how it's done. It's clear now that Francis intends to diminish the gravity of personal sins like adultery, immoral unions etc all in the name of compassion. Frankly thats insanity.

The role of a pope is not to act like a divine right annointed king. His duty is to strengthen us in the Faith.....not change or alter the Faith to his own liking. So called "pastoral" practices which in effect contradict de fide, settled teachings of the Church is on a scale of arrogance with that of Satan himself. It's in effect saying to Christ Himself "I will not obey". And this can't continue. If Francis does not believe in the Catholic Faith and all the already defined de fide doctrines of thenChurch then he needs to resign.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

mentions the pall but doesn't tell you how to use it during Mass, like the EF rubrics do.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

tide seems to be shifting with various imprudent statements and the polarization is two fold now. Pope are in for life until God calls them home or inspires them to resign. That's the way it is; He's the Supreme Pontiff and although he might not use that term His Holiness knows it.
If a pope proclaims something in a formal way, like an cyclical or even an exhortation and it isn't Catholic, then Catholics need not accept it,pure and simple.

John Nolan said...

Where the rubrics in the OF are specific, they should be followed (e.g. not genuflecting at the 'Et incarnatus est' except for Xmas and Annunciation, omitting the multiple signs of the cross in the Roman Canon) but if they are vague or non-existent then those traditional to the Roman Rite should be employed.

The pall, like the burse, serves a practical purpose and it makes sense to retain both.

Just as the older form requires the commentaries of Fortescue and O'Connell, the newer form now has 'Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite' by Bishop Peter Elliott. It is a must-have for all priests, deacons, MCs and parish 'liturgy committees' although the last-named should never have been allowed to exist in the first place.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - Neither the pall nor the burse serve any practical purpose that I can determine.

There are no bugs or dirt threatening to fall into the chalice. Were I celebrating mass out of doors, I would probably use a pall as, in that case, it might be needed.

And the corporal fits very comfortably on top of the chalice without the burse to contain it. It does not slide, shift, or otherwise threaten any untoward action. Nor is there a threat of any kind of profanation whatsoever in the absence of said burse.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Liturgical minimalism in terms of beauty and attention to detail is the hallmark of those malformed by the puritanical stripping of such beauty from the Mass. Egads! Such impoverishment, PI! Next you'll be putting a nice looking chair where the tabernacle should be and call that tasteful.

Pater Ignotus said...

No, elements of the OF may not be imported into the EF, nor elements of the EF be imported into the OF.

"Therefore, mixing the two forms of the Roman Rite cannot be done because each has its own set of rubrics which would conflict with the other. For example, in the Extraordinary Form, the priest holds his thumb and index finger together after he consecrates the Sacred Host, not separating them until the ablutions after communion. This rubric is nowhere to be found in the revised liturgical rites of Vatican II because it betrays Vatican II's call for "noble simplicity" (Cf. SC, 34). This accretion, which can only be traced back to the Carolingian liturgical reforms of the tenth century, encumber the noble beauty and simplicity of the Vatican II liturgical reforms. The same is true when after the Fraction Rite the priest does not make a sign of the Cross with the Particle over the chalice before the places said Particle in said chalice. Again, before the priest communicates himself, he does not make the sign of the Cross with the Host or Chalice before he receives the Body and Blood of Christ. This does not belong in the Ordinary Form and must stay in the Extraordinary Form to ensure that mixing of forms does not occur."

"27. Ecclesia Dei (1991) established that "there be no interchanging of texts and rites of the two missals.” Does Summorum Pontificum change this?

Answer: No. With the exception of the planned introduction of new Saints and certain Prefaces by the
Ecclesia Dei Commission, no elements from the ordinary form may be introduced into the
extraordinary form. Nor may elements from the extraordinary form be introduced into
celebrations of the ordinary form."

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

SP is more recent than the Ecclesia Dei you quote and yes, organic development has occurred in the almost 25 years since that was issued. Get with the programme!

Pater Ignotus said...

Good Father - You will note that the questions was "Did SP change the prohibition in ED regarding the mixing of elements of the OF and EF?"

You will also note the answer is "No."

John Nolan said...

PI, I was present at a Mass in Nottingham cathedral where the celebrant had to interrupt the Eucharistic prayer to extract a fly from the Precious Blood; had he used a pall he would have been spared this embarrassment.

The conjoining of thumb and forefinger was made optional in 1967 (Tres Abhinc Annos) provided that the priest rubbed those two digits together over the chalice. It is therefore a legitimate option in the Novus Ordo and in England at least is making something of a comeback. There is nothing in the OF rubrics which prohibit it.

The opinion of Ecclesia Dei is just that, an opinion. It is in no way binding. And a provenance dating from (only) the tenth century rather trumps a provenance dating from 1967, no?

Pater Ignotus said...

John - In almost 30 years of celebrating mass, I have never had to remove a fly from the chalice. Maybe the Good People of Nottingham Cathedral should invest in screens for their windows.

Where do the OF rubrics prohibit wearing clown face paint? Or fright wigs? Or "disco" chasubles?

Because, you see, if "There is nothing in the OF rubrics which prohibit it" is the operational phrase, then there is lots that you can't complain about . . .

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

PI, please note that Cardinal Nichols at the most glorious OF Mass at the London Oratory on Monday night has on the altar the supposed defunct, or at least, EF's bishop's candle on it, clearly an EF custom dragged into an OF Pontifical Mass.

Evidently the good Cardinal disagrees with your silly assertions and shows you!

Anonymous said...

I doubt that the Precious Blood really needs all that much protection from foreign objects falling into it. But today's liturgically impoverished Catholics sorely need the consciousness of the Real Presence that can be inculcated by visible signs--large and small, like use of the pall--of reverence for the consecrated Body and Blood. The use of burse, pall, and chalice veil at most OF Masses I attend is a visible sign of the priest's respect for the sacred elements, and the priest's attitude of reverence is a beneficial model for the people in the pews.

Indeed, I suspect that the disintegration of Catholic belief associated with the Novus Ordo is due less to the much-discussed textual changes like deletion of the prayers at the foot of the altar and substitution of a non-sacrificial offertory rite, and more to stripping of the ceremonial and ritual that may have conveyed more of the message of the Mass to previous generations, and the casual to indifferent ars celebranda of a generation of priests poorly formed in the seminaries of the 70s and 80s.

Pater Ignotus said...

Good Father - They aren't my assertions. I've cited well-respected authors.

And where did you say that canopy you erected over the president's chair at your church when Bishop Hartmayer visited? Oh, yes, you "lost" it . . . .


John Nolan said...

PI, please don't treat us like fools. If a custom has been in place for over a millennium and is not explicitly prohibited in a future revision of the rites, it is reasonable to assume that it is still permissible. That doesn't mean that anything not explicitly prohibited is allowable - were this so you would be justified in saying Mass standing on your head.

You are a logic-chopper par excellence when it suits you; it's a pity you can't apply logic when it comes to understanding another's argument.

Unlike Gene, I don't question your orthodoxy nor even your theological acumen; but when it comes to liturgy I'm afraid you talk bollocks (excuse the vernacular).

Православный физик said...

Nothing wrong with the Pope's homily this morning, but I must say, I'm not really a fan of the emotional flowery language as a general principle....For better or for worse I think there's been an overuse of this style of language, not something that appeals to my more mathematical mind.

It's better to be safe, than sorry. Better to have the pall (for All the chalices, by the way) and worry less about a creature ending up in the Precious Blood, rather than having to stop in the middle for that particular reason :)

I do have to agree with PI on one point though, there is no rubric prohibiting clown noses and things of that nature. (Obviously it'd violate the idea of the sacred being sacred, and I in no way suggest these things happen)....

But there should be influence from the EF to the OF. I for one like when the priest makes the sign of the cross with the host and chalice before receiving (It is done in the Eastern Rites this way, and Pope Benedict did so as well) by all means, more palls :D

Pater Ignotus said...

John - And there's "nothing wrong" with walking all over downtown London wearing a powdered wig - after all, it was done for YEARS. Or you might purchase a "negro" to serve in your home - after all it was done for CENTURIES. Or you might deny women the right to vote - after all, it was done for " for over a MILLINEUM."

Antiquity is not a touchstone for necessity or appropriateness.
"We used to do it this way all the time" is a statement about history - at least it can be, since, frequently, it turns out that, upon examination, we find we didn't actually do it that way all the time.

And your references to antiquity always seem to reach back no further than 1000 or maybe 1200 years. When I cite anything older than that, you howl "No Archaeologism Allowed!" How chronologically convenient.

John Nolan said...

PI, I have never argued that antiquity guarantees authenticity, indeed I have always denied it. I do object to people who seize on what they think I have said, or want me to have said, and then construct a specious counter-argument that completely ignores the substance of what I have actually said.

This is not ignorance or obtuseness on your part; it is a deliberate attempt to avoid the issue, and is intellectually dishonest. You wouldn't get to wear a wig in London - those who are called to the Bar need to be possessed of a measure of forensic skill.

Rood Screen said...

Dear Pater Ignotus,

I think if you took some time to understand the pain suffered by oppressed women and Africans, you would not use their suffering in your arguments against relatively trivial things like palls and burses.

Rood Screen said...

It is my understanding that a Mass celebrated after 4pm on the Sabbath/Saturday always fulfills the obligation to attend Mass on the Lord's Day/Sunday. Therefore, it seems the Holy Father's account is nothing shocking.

But if the Mass were celebrated at noon on the Sabbath, it would not fulfill the canonical requirements for the Lord's Day. There would be no doubt that the Lord was present during that Mass, but this would not excuse the obligation for the next day.

Jdj said...

JBS 5:12,
Thanks so much; I had the exact same reaction, and I really appreciate that you said it for me. Always so much better priest-to-priest than from a pew-sitter like me.

Pater Ignotus said...

JBS - I am not comparing the suffering of women and African-Americans to the use of palls and burses.

They are simply independent examples of long-standing practices that are not longer used.

John - So at what year does "archaeologism" kick in? Is it anything pre-Trent? Is it anything pre-Ephesus? Surely you can set the date at which a "revered tradition" falls off into the realm of ancient-but-irrelevant...?

Rood Screen said...

Pater Ignotus,

The problem with your examples is that oppression is always immoral, even when it is socially acceptable and protected by civil law. But no one would argue that the use of the pall and burse has ever been immoral.

Also, the objection to "archaeologism" refers to the attempt to restore the liturgy to its ancient state, thereby denying the validity of development. Since both the pall and burse remain official elements of the Roman Rite, both serving a useful purpose, it's hard to see how employing them can be counted as archaeologism.

Pater Ignotus said...

JBS - Again, you miss the point. It's not about immorality, as it was not about comparing oppressing women or slavery to the use of the pall or burse.

It's about the notion that "Because we did something for a long time, we should keep doing it." There are many, many things, moral or immoral, that we did for a long time that we have, rightfully, ceased doing.

John Nolan said...

PI, missing the point yet again. Since the liturgy has developed over nearly two millennia, it needs to be understood in the light of what has been handed down. SC made this clear: 'There must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.'

This is not what happened in the crucial years 1964 to 1970. Archaeologism was condemned by Pius XII because it denied the authenticity of liturgical development and sought to return to a putative early liturgy which was somehow 'purer' and more 'authentic'. The Protestant reformers of the 16th century were attempting to do just that, and Pius discerned the same tendency in some strands of the Liturgical Movement.

Your whole chronological argument is a reductio ad absurdum. The fact that you dispense with the pall and burse does not mean that they are 'no longer used' in the OF - they most certainly are - it is just that they are no longer mandatory. You are not required to use them, but it is not wrong to do so. You don't see the point in retaining Latin, and so don't do so - under existing legislation you are not compelled to do so, but those who do (and nearly all in this category also use the vernacular) are not 'wrong' to do so; in fact they are doing what the Church has repeatedly encouraged.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - I very much agree that liturgy "needs to be understood in the light of what has been handed down."

I believe that includes understanding why certain elements of the liturgy were added in the first place.
"These (elements subject to change) not only may but ought to be changed with the passage of time if they have suffered from the intrusion of anything out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy or have become unsuited to it." (SC 21)

There are a number of inclusions that, at the time of their adoption were necessary. The use of palls, burses, hem-lifting, maniples, are some examples. They all had a necessary purpose, but those purposes are, in the vast majority of cases, gone.

Bugs aren't a problem and no chunks of ceiling material threaten to fall into the chalice, so the pall is rendered unnecessary. Burses, once needed to protect the corporal while the chalice was being carried to and fro, no longer serve that purpose. (The Catholic Encyclopedia notes the use of a burse is "relatively recent," its use being mandated only in 1692.) Hem-lifting and maniples have, as well, lost any practical value. They may have been necessary once, but are not in harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy.

No, those who use Latin are not "wrong" in the sense that they are violating some rubric, rule, or legislative document. There are, however, other ways to be wrong.

John Nolan said...

Re attendance at a Saturday Mass fulfilling the Sunday obligation:

The relevant canon (CIC 1248) specifies a Mass on the Saturday evening. But it doesn't have to be the 'anticipated' Mass of Sunday; the Mass proper to the Saturday, a nuptial Mass or a votive Mass of the BVM will do just as well.

A further question is how one defines 'evening'. After sunset, which in summer at latitude 52 degrees North (London) is quite late? At an 'artificial' time, say 1400 hrs or 1600 hrs? The US commentary on Canon Law settled on 1600 hrs, but the British/Irish commentary maintained that evening commences at 12 noon. The eminent canonist Dr Edward Peters goes with the latter interpretation.

Noon, if calculated in terms of mean solar time, is a natural rather than an artificial time division. Therefore, provided that Mass begins after the sun has begun to decline from its zenith, it fulfils the Sunday obligation. Genesis I has evening and morning. No mention of afternoon.

A diocesan bishop may stipulate that the anticipatory Mass be not celebrated before a certain hour, but this is beside the point - liturgical law and canon law are not the same thing.