VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As Catholics are encouraged to make going to
confession a significant part of their lives during Lent, Pope Francis
offered some quick tips to help people prepare for the sacrament of
After a brief explanation of why people should go to confession --
"because we are all sinners" -- the pope listed 30 key questions to
reflect on as part of making an examination of conscience and being able
to "confess well."
Francis arrives to celebrate Ash Wednesday Mass at the Basilica of
Santa Sabina in Rome Feb. 18. In a new booklet the pope the pope lists
questions to reflect on before confession. (CNS/Paul Haring)
The guide is part of a 28-page booklet in Italian released by the
Vatican publishing house. Pope Francis had 50,000 free copies
distributed to people attending his Angelus address Feb. 22, the first
Sunday of Lent.
Titled "Safeguard your heart," the booklet is meant to help the faithful
become "courageous" and prepared to battle against evil and choose the
The booklet contains quick introductions to Catholic basics: it has the
text of the Creed, a list of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Ten
Commandments and the Beatitudes. It explains the seven sacraments and
includes Pope Francis' explanation of "lectio divina," a prayerful way
of reading Scripture in order to better hear "what the Lord wants to
tell us in his word and to let us be transformed by his Spirit."
The booklet's title is based on a line from one of the pope's morning
Mass homilies in which he said Christians need to guard and protect
their hearts, "just as you protect your home -- with a lock."
"How often do bad thoughts, bad intentions, jealousy, envy enter?" he asked. "Who opened the door? How did those things get in?"
The Oct. 10, 2014, homily, which is excerpted in the booklet, said the
best way to guard one's heart is with the daily practice of an
"examination of conscience," in which one quietly reviews what bad
things one has done and what good things one has failed to do for God,
one's neighbor and oneself.
The questions include:
-- Do I only turn to God when I'm in need?
-- Do I attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation?
-- Do I begin and end the day with prayer?
-- Am I embarrassed to show that I am a Christian?
-- Do I rebel against God's plan?
-- Am I envious, hot-tempered, biased?
-- Am I honest and fair with everyone or do I fuel the "throwaway culture?"
-- In my marital and family relations, do I uphold morality as taught in the Gospels?
-- Do I honor and respect my parents?
-- Have I refused newly conceived life? Have I snuffed out the gift of life? Have I helped do so?
-- Do I respect the environment?
-- Am I part worldly and part believer?
-- Do I overdo it with eating, drinking, smoking and amusements?
-- Am I overly concerned about my physical well-being, my possessions?
-- How do I use my time? Am I lazy?
-- Do I want to be served?
-- Do I dream of revenge, hold grudges?
-- Am I meek, humble and a builder of peace?
Catholics should go to confession, the pope said, because everyone needs
forgiveness for their sins, for the ways "we think and act contrary to
"Whoever says he is without sin is a liar or is blind," he wrote.
Confession is meant to be a sincere moment of conversion, an occasion to
demonstrate trust in God's willingness to forgive his children and to
help them back on the path of following Jesus, Pope Francis wrote.
The comment below was sent to my post about the recent papal Mass of Pope Francis in Tacloban, Philippines. As you will recall, there was a torrential rain and a modified altar was used. It was most unusual. The original post is HERE. But his comment gives us insights from one who was a part of the committee on the liturgy that oversaw the preparations for the Mass:
For us, survivors of typhoon Haiyan (local name:Yolanda) it was a very
emotional experience. I was part of the committee on liturgy that
oversaw the preparations for the Mass; we had prepared everything
according to the guidelines from the Vatican, the only things that we
couldn't control was the weather...the Archdiocese of Palo had issued
the oratio imperata for good weather but the typhoon chose that
particular day to make a landfall.
The initial plan was to have the Mass
indoors in the sacristy tent, it being broadcast ousted to the more
than 200,000 faithful who have gathered the night before (by the time
the Pope arrived we had already endured more than 6 hours of cold rain
and lashing winds). But the Pope insisted on celebrating outside. we
couldn't use the altar done for the occasion because the rain was
practically torrential in that part, so we moved the mass over to one
side of the stage, where the roof was lower. The altar was really heavy,
and so we used the credence table for an altar. But by then the wind
was stronger than before, strong enough to make the sturdy structure
tremble, and all of us--from the Pope down to the last server--drenched
to the bone. the Papal Mass in Tacloban is an interesting case
because of the precedents it made in the history of papal liturgy
outside of Rome: aside from the extreme weather, the Pope elevated the
ciborium instead of just the host, he wore a rainiest over his chasuble,
and communion wasn't given to the faithful during the Mass, but rather
afterwards (and in an orderly fashion), in the tabernacles surrounding
the venue, and in churches the next day, Sunday.
But over and above
all, it was therapeutic for all of us who survived the onslaught of
Haiyan. traumatized as we were, we lost our fear of the rain and the
wind. We realized later on, in retrospect that, having been wounded in a
storm, maybe it was God using a similar experience to heal us
collectively. An hour after the Pope left for Manila, the wind died
down, and the typhoon left us.
The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr Federico Lombardi, SJ - RV
(Vatican Radio) The Director of the
Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, has responded to a
collection of articles published in the Italian weekly L’Espresso. The
articles purport to show internal struggles within the Vatican on
ongoing economic reforms.
“Passing confidential documents to the press for polemical ends or to
foster conflict is not new, but is always to be strongly condemned, and
is illegal,” Father Lombardi said. “The fact that complex economic or
legal issues are the subject of discussion and diverse points of view
should be considered normal. In light of the views expressed, the Pope
issues guidelines, and everybody follows them.”
Father Lombardi continued, “The article makes direct personal attacks
that should be considered undignified and petty. And it is untrue that
the Secretariat for the Economy is not carrying on its work with
continuity and efficacy. In confirmation of this, the Secretariat is
expected in the next few months to publish the financial statements for
2014 and the estimated budgets for 2015 for all of the entities of the
Holy See, including the Secretariat itself.”
John Nolan makes a good comment about the Liturgy and how those who cobbled together or fabricated the new Mass tried to hijack what Vatican II actually taught and to give their own skewed twist on that teaching. They did not succeed with later editions of the 1970 Roman Missal, although they did succeed with academic liturgical theologians of that period and still with some today!
[southern orders ] New comment on FAITHFUL CATHOLICS ACCEPT THE MAGISTERIUM OF THE CHURCH....
'The Lord's Supper or Mass is a sacred meeting or assembly of the People of God, met together under the presidency of the priest, to celebrate the memorial of the Lord'
Luther? Zwingli? Cranmer? No, it is the definition of the Mass in the first Institutio Generalis for the Novus Ordo Missae of 1969.
The following year, following the now famous 'Ottaviani intervention' this had been dropped and we now had 'The sacrificial nature of the Mass, solemnly asserted by the Council of Trent in accordance with the Church's universal tradition, was reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council, which offered these significant words about the Mass:
"At the Last Supper our Saviour instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood, by which he would perpetuate the Sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until he should come again, thus entrusting to the Church, his beloved Bride, the memorial of his death and resurrection."'
Textual problems remained, but Ottaviani declared himself satisfied. What would have happened if the Novus Ordo had been promulgated with the original preamble? How many priests would have found themselves unable in conscience to use the new Missal? How many of the faithful (who reluctantly accepted the changes because they were told that the Mass itself had not been changed) would have continued to attend?
This I saw at WDTPRS: I ate many lunches at school as depicted for the USA. I am half Italian biologically but all Italian in mentality. So I really wish we had remained in Italy so I could have had Italian school lunches!
Two years ago Benedict XVI became the first Pope Emeritus in the
Catholic Church’s history. Thanks to his wisdom and restraint the
historic innovation hasn’t led to disaster
Two years ago this month shock waves ran through the world’s media
as Benedict XVI announced his resignation. There was much speculation
concerning the reasons for his unexpected decision and the identity of
his successor, while many commentators wondered about the consequences
for the Church of having “two popes”.
Within hours further details emerged: the outgoing pontiff would not
revert officially to being Joseph Ratzinger or even to the appellation
of Cardinal Ratzinger. He would retain the name of Benedict XVI, which
he had assumed upon election to the See of Peter, and would continue to
wear the white cassock worn by successive popes. His official title, from the moment on which he renounced office, on February 28, would be that of Pope Emeritus.
The title was without precedent. Popes had resigned before, of
course. The most recent – the holy but ineffectual hermit Celestine V –
was pope for a few months in 1294. Far from assuming a position of
honourable retirement, he was imprisoned in a papal fortress where he
quickly succumbed to old age. One hopes that mistreatment did not
contribute to his demise, but his successor had good reason to fear the
consequences of leaving him at liberty. A former pope might have become
the tool of a faction unfriendly to the new incumbent.
The College of Cardinals was notoriously prone to factional intrigue.
Political leaders, aware that the stakes were high in terms of
political and economic power, were only too willing to exploit divisions
among churchmen. So medieval popes could not afford to be sentimental
when the unity of Western Christendom was at stake.
Though he was to be canonised not long after his death, Celestine V
was a danger while he lived. A gentle sequestration was seen as a
necessity, rather than an affront to the dignity of the unfortunate
ex-pope, who in any case was a renowned ascetic unlikely to protest
vigorously against the rigours of his isolation.
The monastery of Mater Ecclesiae, within the walls of the Vatican
City State but secluded from the workings of the curial machine, might
seem not dissimilar to a form of incarceration. But Benedict XVI’s
seclusion there has been totally voluntary and he appears only too
grateful to have been relieved of the burdens of office. This has not
stopped commentators both within and outside the Church voicing concern
that the newly invented status of Pope Emeritus might prove problematic.
Anybody who has had a superannuated predecessor hanging round the
office – or the parish – will understand this fear.
Days after Benedict’s resignation, I was asked by a taxi driver – a
non-Catholic presumably little acquainted with ecclesiastical power play
– if there was not a risk of Benedict cramping the style of his
successor. Many then shared his anticipation that the presence of “two
popes” in the Vatican might undermine the authority and freedom of
action of his successor. Some even thought – including some of those
with a direct stake in the outcome – that the conclave was going to be
difficult with the former pope still around behind the scenes. But
Benedict announced quickly that he would play no part in the conclave
(he was already past voting age even if he was deemed still a cardinal).
But this was not enough to reassure the doubters. They feared (and
some hoped) that the cardinals might feel unable to choose someone
uncongenial to the former pope as long as he was felt to be hovering in
the background. Then, once the new pope took over, would Benedict be
able to refrain from trying to influence his decisions? Might he not
become a focus of dissent, if the successor attempted to pursue a
I told the taxi driver that what I knew of Benedict XVI’s character
made me sure that these apprehensions would not be realised. He is a
humble man, a shy academic more at home in the tutorial than in the eye
of the media and having little interest in the machinery of power. He
truly believes that the Holy Spirit guides the Church, through (and
sometimes in spite of) the decisions and actions of the men who govern
her, even at the highest level. I was sure he would respect the liberty
of his successor, remaining silent even if he had his private
Moreover, Benedict is a theologian whose ecclesiology is probably
more balanced than that of anyone else in his generation. He knows that,
simply put, there cannot be “two popes”. Once a canonical election has
taken place, and as soon as he consents to his election, the new pope is
Bishop of Rome, successor of Peter and Vicar of Christ.
In the two years since I gave this answer to my cabbie’s question,
nothing has led me to revise it. It is clear to all that the new Pope is
markedly different from his predecessor in style, and there are
certainly differences of substance with regard to questions like the
relation of pastoral activity to doctrine and missionary strategy. But
it is not yet clear how far-reaching the differences are. Many
Catholics, including influential members of the hierarchy, are alarmed
and perhaps inclined to look towards the Pope Emeritus for guidance. His
choice has been to remain silent.
There was a direct and unambiguous confirmation of this during the
family synod last October. It was reported then that a group of
cardinals thought that Pope Francis was overturning the clear and
repeated teaching of his predecessors. Supposedly, several of them
formed a delegation and went to Mater Ecclesiae to see Benedict, asking
him to intervene. His response, they said, was simply to state that,
since he was no longer pope, he had no authority in the matter, and that
they should address their concerns to Pope Francis. According to some
versions of the report, he himself informed his successor of the visit.
If the report is true, the cardinals would certainly have been
Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Benedict’s faithful assistant, has
insisted the story is false. But we all know that denials concerning
politically charged matters in the Church are to be taken with a pinch
Archbishop Gänswein is not to be suspected of untruthfulness, but he
will be quite familiar with the principle of mental reservation – the
more so now that he works for a Jesuit pope. A version of events
containing even relatively minor inaccuracies can be denied without
prejudice to honesty, especially when the subject matter is itself
confidential. Even if the story were totally invented, it still would
serve to illustrate what I am convinced Benedict would do in such
circumstances – and, indeed, what he must do, both as a matter of
professional ethics and in Catholic ecclesiology.
So those who wish for direct intervention by the Pope Emeritus will
remain unsatisfied. There is one respect only in which he will continue
to exercise a role in the debates, and that is by the force and cogency
of his writings both before and after his election.
It is true that he chose to revise his writings on the question of
the re-admission to Communion of the divorced and remarried, renouncing
his former advocacy of this pastoral accommodation at the very time it
was the burning issue of the day. But even this is at most only an
indirect intervention, and Archbishop Gänswein has assured us that it
was long since planned and that its timing was purely coincidental.
The archbishop is, in fact, the channel through which the world gets
most of the information about Benedict that the Pope Emeritus wishes to
transmit. From him, we have learnt that he enjoys good relations with
his successor, whom he likes and respects, and that he does not regret
his decision to resign, and judges still that it was necessary for the
good of the Church.
But it is less easy to explain away two further gestures by Benedict,
relating to reforms that defined his pontificate: the liberation of the
traditional Latin Mass and the creation of the ordinariate. On October
10 last year he sent a letter to traditionalists saying he was glad that
the Extraordinary Form “now lives in full peace within the Church, also
among the young, supported and celebrated by great cardinals”. On the
very same day, he wrote to the Friends of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of
Walsingham, welcoming the growth of the body for ex-Anglicans in England.
Such actions intensify the speculation, especially among those ill at
ease with the orientations of Pope Francis. There are persistent
rumours that Benedict’s resignation was not entirely free, and these are
potentially damaging to the unity of the Church, because if this were
the case then both his resignation and the election of his successor
would be canonically invalid. In a rare, direct interview with a German
journalist with whom he has close contacts, Benedict categorically
denied that he was forced to step down.
Yet there were some genuinely puzzling details. For example, asked
why he continued to wear papal white, Benedict explained that there were
no other clothes available – a claim impossible to take seriously given
that a trusted employee could easily have made a quick trip to one of
the numerous clerical outfitters across the piazza from the Apostolic
Palace in the days between the announcement of the resignation and its
taking effect. Perhaps he was simply joking.
Then there is the ambiguity about what exactly a “free” decision to
resign is. It is not clear exactly what sort of pressures constitute a
lack of freedom as Canon Law would understand it, and it is certainly
true that Benedict was under pressures from inside and outside the
Church that would have crushed lesser men. In spite of this, all the
evidence suggests that the decision was taken by Benedict himself, that
he truly considered it necessary for the good of the Church, and that he
Attempts to undermine Pope Francis’s papacy by alleging that his
election was invalid for other reasons have gained little traction. The
best known is that of Antonio Socci, an Italian journalist of no little
standing and a fervent Catholic, though certainly no fan of the current
Pontiff. Socci’s book Non è Francesco (“It’s not Francis”) alleges that
the election was invalid due to procedural irregularities whose
complexities will go above the head of all but the most expert canon
lawyers. So far it has failed to convince anybody whose opinion would
count and has been all but ignored by other Vaticanologists.
Another opinion publicised by Socci, and this time quoted approvingly
by others, is that Benedict has willingly renounced the government of
the Church but preserves for himself some spiritual aspect of papal
authority. According to this theory, Francis refers to himself as
“Bishop of Rome” rather than “Pope” precisely to accommodate this
mysterious division of labour. But this distinction holds no water
theologically. It is the Roman Church which holds the primacy over the
Universal Church; it is the Bishop of Rome who exercises all and every
authority involved in that primacy.
What is plausible is that Benedict, in renouncing papal authority,
did not mean to renounce the burden which comes with it – what St Paul
calls “solicitude for all the churches”. He now carries the Church only
in his prayers and by his example. Part of this spiritual responsibility
involves support for his successor, for whom he prays, as we should. It
is not insignificant that Benedict only appears in public alongside
Francis and, indeed, at his invitation.
It cannot be easy for Benedict to witness everything that is
happening in Rome today, even if the contrasts between him and Francis
are not the hard and fast oppositions some take them for. It must cause
him some chagrin to see some of his orientations for the Church
neglected or even reversed, and some of his most trusted lieutenants marginalized while former adversaries are promoted.
But he remains serene because he has an unshakeable faith in the
Church and in God, who guides her with a steady hand while human leaders
come and go. In this respect, as in so many others, we should heed him
and seek to imitate him.
I am not a fan of theNational Chismatic Reporter (NCR), but sometimes they have articles of value and I think the one below is one of them. Many people, especially young women, are going to see the movie 50 Shades of Grey and have read the book. I haven't seen or read either and don't really plan to do so. But I am sure some of my parishioners have or will.
Do they see what this former priest saw in the movie. It is a different perspective that I haven't heard with all the hype surrounding this movie. His take on it makes me want to go and see it, but I don't think I will:
'50 Shades of Grey' is about abuse of power, not sex Robert M. Hoatson | Feb. 26, 2015 NCR Today
I am an ex-Christian Brother of Ireland, ex-priest, survivor of sexual abuse, and advocate for thousands of sexual abuse victims for over a decade. Recently, I saw the movie, "50 Shades of Grey," but not for reasons one might suspect. I saw the movie because a preview I read mentioned that the title character was a victim of childhood sexual abuse. I was not interested in being titillated with images of intimate sexuality, nudity, or pornography. I was most intrigued by how the film would depict the life of a childhood sexual abuse victim, and I was not disappointed.
The movie I saw on opening night in a packed New York City theater was not about sex, despite all one might read about "50 Shades of Grey". The fifty shades of Christian Grey were unfortunate shadows hovering over a young, handsome man who seemingly had never received any counseling, psychotherapy or sympathy for the sexual violation of his innocence as a boy. The movie was about the “break” in the psyche of Christian which led him to fear intimacy, vulnerability, passion, and friendship. Christian needed an intervention by a compassionate advocate to help him understand how his life had ironically cycled out of control despite his efforts to control everything and everyone.
"50 Shades of Grey" is not a movie about kinky sex. There is hardly anything sexual about the movie. It is about abuse of power and its aftermath. Christian, a wealthy, handsome young man at the peak of his manhood is incapable of developing an intimate and meaningful relationship with a beautiful young woman who tries everything (including becoming somewhat of a sex slave) to get to Christian's soul. What she did not realize was that her boyfriend’s soul had been murdered as a child and, as a result, he could not emote as most normal human beings can.
I am hoping psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and other mental health professionals will view this movie and weigh in on its psycho-social and psycho-sexual implications. The “toys” that Christian possessed (women, cars, helicopters, ropes, chains, handcuffs, etc.) never brought him peace, security, or satisfaction. They exacerbated his profound loneliness, a loneliness that can be traced back to his childhood when an adult’s sexual abuse isolated him from the rest of humanity and made him feel shame and guilt.
I haven’t read a single review, summary, or article that warns prospective viewers that "50 Shades of Grey" might be triggering to those who have suffered childhood sexual abuse. Nor have I read a single article deciphering the reasons why Christian had 50 shadows hanging over him. In fact, the titillation factor seems to have taken over for the millions who have read the book and seen the movie, but as far as I am concerned, there was nothing titillating about the movie. There was sadness, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder in the film, at least that’s how it struck me. I felt sympathy for both characters because the female could not get through to the male to prove her genuine love, and the male was incapable of being loved through no fault of his own.
When I left the theater after watching "50 Shades of Grey," I was disappointed that the real spark of love between Christian and Anastasia was never formalized in a love scene or in an act of intimacy. I had a hope as the movie progressed that Anastasia and her obvious love for Christian would bring him around, but he was not capable of accepting her love. I wondered as I sat through the movie if Anastasia would get to the heart of the matter and recommend to Christian that he be seen by a trauma specialist. Perhaps had Christian been able to trust (one of the principal traits taken away from a childhood sexual abuse victim) Anastasia, he could have come around. Unfortunately, that never happened, and he continued to live in his isolated world.
[Robert M. Hoatson is the co-founder and president of Road to Recovery, Inc., an organization that offers counseling to victims of sexual abuse.]
Everyone who has their head stuck in the snow (well not in Macon, but north of Atlanta and above that) think that the Church after Vatican II is just great, no problems, better than the bad old days when convents were full and nuns taught in Catholic schools, seminaries were full and there was no need for lay ministers because there were enough priests and when Catholics knew at least the basics of the Catholic Faith, the foundational elements and went to Mass every Sunday, Confession frequently and would never ever think for a moment that their corrupt and sinful ways are better than the Church's way, i.e. the way, Christ's way!
Soooooooo...,Why in the name of God and all that is holy would a reiteration of Catholic moral teachings and what is expected of those who work for the Church, especially forming our young in our Catholic schools, cause any problems? Could it be that the post-Vatican II Church is just plain corrupt? Can we go that far? Or is it that we have failed to form in the Catholic faith and morals, those who we call to be lay ministers and workers of the Lord's vineyard and if so why? These are not difficult questions to be asked of those in the highest places of the Church to include the Vatican Curia.
So here is what Archbishop Cordileone is facing in San Francisco amongst his corrupt flock many of whom work for the Church!
SF archbishop is re-wording his strict morality code
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone is tempering the strict language of
morality clauses he added to teacher contracts. (AP Photo)
By Kevin Fagan
San Francisco Chronicle
February 25, 2015
SAN FRANCISCO — Under pressure from his Catholic schools community,
the archbishop of the San Francisco archdiocese is re-wording strict
guidelines he proposed for teachers that would require them to reject
homosexuality, use of contraception, and other “evil” behavior.
Most significantly, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said he is
dropping an effort to designate high school teachers as “ministers,”
which, under a 2012 US Supreme Court ruling, would have eliminated them
from government-mandated employee protections by placing them solely
under Church control.
In an hour-long meeting with The San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial
board, Cordileone said he is forming a committee of theology teachers
from the San Francisco Archdiocese’s four high schools to go over his
proposed teacher guidelines. The committee, he said, will “recommend to
me an expanded draft” and “adjust the language to make the statements
more readily understandable to a wider leadership.”
“I was surprised at the degree of consternation over this,”
Cordileone said. What he is drafting, he said, is merely a reiteration
of existing Catholic morality doctrines concerning behavior.
The modifications Cordileone drew up this month for the Faculty
Handbook for his archdiocese’s 350 or so teachers ignited a firestorm of
opposition when teachers, parents and students interpreted them to mean
staff could be fired for being in same-sex marriages, using
contraception, approving of abortion, or engaging in other actions the
handbook labeled as “evil.”
Of particular concern to some faculty was the prospect of punishment
for behavior done behind closed doors. One statement from the
archdiocese said high school administrators, faculty, and staff who are
Catholics “are called to conform their hearts, minds and consciences, as
well as their public and private behavior, ever more closely to the
truths taught by the Catholic Church.”
Cordileone said he has no intention of invading private lives. The
purpose of his guidelines, he said, is to make sure his teachers’
behavior, and the examples they set in public, don’t contradict bedrock
Catholic principles — which condemn same-sex marriage, abortion, and
birth control, among other things.
The new language is meant only to “clarify,” he said, and not to trigger teacher firings or ignite “a witch hunt.”
“My primary concern is for the good of our students,” he told the board. “We want our students to flourish.”
Publicist Sam Singer, who is representing parents and alumni of San
Francisco Catholic schools as they try to counter the proposed dictates,
said the archbishop’s statements were welcome news.
“The proof is in the pudding, so we’ll have to take a look at what
the archbishop comes back with,” Singer said. “But this is certainly a
step in the right direction, and is welcomed by many of the parents,
teachers and alumni. But there is still much work to be done.”
At Fr. John Hunwicke's blog, Mutual Enrichment, he has an article on the soon to be released Roman Missal of the Anglican Ordinariate. He seems to hope that this Missal could be used by priests like me who love every legitimate form of the Latin Rite. In fact, this form of the Latin Rite is another expression of the Ordinary Form. So in effect, Pope Francis who approved of this new Anglican Ordinariate Missal has set into motion two forms of the Ordinary Form of the Mass. How cool is that especially in view that in the unity of diversity of the Latin Rite in the post-Vatican II era, we have one Latin Rite with two expressions, the Extraordinary Form and the Ordinary Form and now the Ordinary Form unity has two expressions. Cool I say.
But what do those in the know think about rank and file Catholic clergy and parishes making use of the Anglican Ordinariate's Roman Missal which should be for sale any day now? Might it happen?
Our distinctive Rite, then, has immense advantages. In highly important
ways, it reconnects with the liturgical Tradition which was, to an
unhappy degree, ruptured in the decades following 1960. But it is also
highly receptive to elements in those post-Conciliar changes which were
actually mandated or permitted by the Council, and which are of pastoral
advantage. Gloriously, it throws the windows open to a liturgical
experience which is in a sense 'vernacular' but utilises a sacred
vernacular closely similar to the Latin of the Roman Rite. This Latin,
as demonstrated by modern linguistic and literary scholarship, was never
'vernacular' in the sense of using everyday language, but addressed God
in a highly formal and deliberately archaic dialect. That is exactly
what we do in our 'Tudor English' rite. The Roman instruction Liturgiam authenticam encouraged precisely this.
I very much hope that our Rite will spread within the Anglophone
Catholic world, quite simply because it is what that world needs. And it
is clear (and very welcome) that Ordinariate congregations are not and
will not be exclusive ghettoes. As a result of this, in parishes where
there are Ordinariate clergy, laypeople from both backgrounds, 'Anglican
Patrimony' and 'Diocesan', worship together. Thus Ordinariate Catholics
with their Anglican Use, and Diocesan Catholics with their Ordinary and
Extraordinary Forms, mingle, and have the capacity very much to enrich
each other. Mutual Enrichment as
advocated by Benedict XVI! Diocesan clergy have often asked me, as I
have given talks to laity and clergy in many countries, whether they are
allowed to use our admirable Rite, and I have had, with regret, to
explain that the general answer is No (except in particular
There are a couple of things we could do to help facilitate the growth
and spread of what our particular charism has brought into the Catholic
Church for the benefit of all the members of that Church.
(1) There could be a protocol something like this: When this Rite is used in circumstances
where there are substantial numbers of worshippers who are not members
of the Ordinariate, the Celebrant may, at his discretion and for
pastoral reasons and after consulting the Ordinary, omit the Prayers of
the People, the Penitential Rite beginning Ye that do truly, and the Prayer after Communion beginning Almighty and everliving God.
(2) It could be enacted that non-Ordinariate clergy of the Roman Rite may celebrate our Use iusta pro causa, because it is in fact a lawful Form of the Roman Rite together with the Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms. It was part of the genius of Benedict XVI canonically to make it clear in Summorum Pontificum that
the EF and OF are both equally forms of the Roman Rite, so that any
Roman Rite priest can use either of them without needing any permission
from anyone. By doing this he avoided the legal complications inherent
in 'biritualism', which would have enabled unsympathetic bishops to
sabotage his intentions. The same basic principle should analogously
apply to the Anglican Form.
Commonweal Magazine has an article on the vernacular in the Liturgy and uses Pope Paul VI's first vernacular Mass in Italian as a starting point. Then comes a bunch of pious platitudes about what this accomplished.
The article is written by Rita Ferrone who lives in the Archdiocese of New York where it is reported that Mass attendance is now about 12% of the Catholic population. This means that 88% don't attend Mass. I guess there would be even fewer attending Mass if the Mass had remained in Latin.
There are many reasons why Catholic Mass attendance has declined. The root of it goes back to the immediate aftermath of Vatican II and what it did to Catholics of that period who then handed on either their function or dysfunction to subsequent generations. It seems that the dysfunctional Catholic crowd of the 1960's has won the day.
All of this has compromised the Catholic Church's ability to go out to the world with the Good News. So the pious platitudes in the article I reprint seem like a gross denial of the reality or patting oneself on the back for the small crowd today that does everything right because of the vernacular.
Don't get me wrong. I love the vernacular as a young teenager when it was first introduced in my parish and I love the new and glorious revised English translation we have today. I wish that some Latin had been mandated to remain and I think Pope Benedict had the recipe for it.
Fortunately not only does the EF Mass (what Pope Francis acknowledges is a part of the post-Vatican II Magisterium or patrimony and he himself calls but one form of the Latin Rite that has two expressions) preserve the patrimony of the EF's liturgical sensibilities and heritage, it also perseveres Latin and assist the Church with her vernacular liturgy to evangelize Catholics first and then the world.
This article just seems to limp and deny reality about Catholics and their need to be evangelized or re-evangelized and what Catholics are actually doing to evangelize the world. Catholics prior to the Council with a strong Latin Liturgy and strong vernacular devotional life and a strong belief in the Catholic basics as taught by the Baltimore Catechism were much more effective at evangelizing that we are today. In fact dissenting Catholics today who dissent knowingly or unknowingly reduce the effectiveness of Catholic evangelization.
Prior to Vatican II in this country, up until the 1960's, converts to the Catholic Faith was at an all time high especially in the African American Community--this with a Latin Liturgy. Will anyone like the author of this article care to explain this?
March 7, 1965,
came to be known as Bloody Sunday in the civil-rights movement, as
peaceful protesters in Selma, Alabama, were assaulted by police wielding
clubs and tear gas. The same day, Pope Paul VI entered All Saints
Church in the suburbs of Rome and said Mass in Italian. It was the first vernacular Mass celebrated by the pope in modern times. Pope Francis will mark that anniversary about two weeks from now.
At first glance, these two events seem to have nothing
to do with each other. After all, what difference can it possibly make
to the cause of racial justice that Catholics are now permitted to
celebrate Mass in the vernacular? It was a big deal for the Catholic
faithful and clergy at the time, to be sure. But we’ve gotten used to
it. For many, then as now, its value seems to rest in nave and sanctuary
and not in the streets. I believe a link exists, and is worth
considering. The introduction of the vernacular was not only undertaken
for the good of the people already within the fold. It was also intended
as a pledge and a promise for the Catholic Church to reach out beyond
itself, for the sake of its mission. Pope Paul VI said it clearly from
the balcony of St. Peter’s on that day: “The church has made this
sacrifice of an age-old tradition [Latin] and above all in unity of
language among diverse peoples to bow to a higher universality, an
outreach to all peoples.”
Use of vernacular languages in the liturgy is an
outstanding sign of Vatican II’s famous “opening to the world”—the world
not as a great shopping mall of delights, but as angry and wounded, a
despairing world in need of the gospel of compassion and justice and
joy. The world of the poor. The world of Selma. In the words of Gaudium et spes,
the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World: “The joys
and hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men [and women] of our
time, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, are the
joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ.”
Too many Catholics tend to think of the document on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum concilium, as one end of the spectrum, and Gaudium et spes as the other. They belong together.
Paul VI’s words surely resonated with missionary bishops
and others on “the periphery”—the developing world, churches oppressed
under communism, Eastern Rite Catholics—who took part in the debate at
the council. Although they remained respectful of Latin, they were not
convinced by the claim that Latin is the great “sign and psychological
agent” of the church’s unity. Bishop Franz Simons of Indore, India, for
example, pointed out with merciless clarity that Latin, which was
supposed to unite, had actually become a source of division: between
clergy and laity, between East and West, and between the church and the
world. Patriarch Maximos IV Saigh, leader of the Melkite delegation,
famously refused to speak Latin at the council, preferring to use French
as a reminder to the Latin Rite bishops that Latin is not the language of all Catholics.
It’s not as though these bishops didn’t prize unity. They did. But they
wisely looked to the Holy Spirit to provide it through many tongues, as
the Spirit provided it on the day of Pentecost.
Arguments explaining the shift to the vernacular have so
often been pragmatic that I fear we’ve overlooked the symbolic
importance of what we do when we celebrate the liturgy in our own
language. The result is a flat, ho-hum account of what the church is up
to. Latin is mystical and interesting. The vernacular? Just words.
Besides, if we evaluate the shift to the vernacular only in terms of
practicality, the story is over. The goal of a fully vernacular liturgy
has been achieved. Taking the vernacular for granted has left the church
vulnerable to efforts to “re-Latinize” our vernacular translations.
We have vernacular liturgy but we may have missed what
is most essential about it. Use of vernacular in the liturgy is a matter
of mission and evangelization. When Paul VI celebrated the liturgy in
Italian, it was a pledge to future generations that the church and her
liturgy would lean toward outreach and mission. This is where the growth
continues. The Mass Pope Francis will commemorate was the end point of a
long journey; but, more important, it is also a starting point.
A liturgy “open to the world” is not a liturgy without structure or
boundaries, but it is one that can extend hospitality to seekers, remove
barriers to ecumenism, and speak in a language contemporary people can
claim, own, and understand. It is a liturgy that takes place in a
dynamic relationship with the world around us, for the vernacular
languages are not “dead” languages; they continue to change as the
communities that speak them change. The vernacular liturgy is a sign
that our discipleship must unfold in the world. It is a promise by the
church to be there for the people who actually need us.
While every Catholic today has a right to like certain types of liturgical music, liturgical style and even one form of the Mass over another form, we don't have the right to demand this, that or the other and to do so as though we are pope, bishop or pastor. That's not how the Catholic Church operates; it's not our ecclesiology, but rather a Protestant, congregational form of ecclesiology. In fact when I read what some say about either form of the Mass, I wonder if they haven't become Southern Baptists interpreting what the Church teaches in their own infallible way.
As everyone knows, I love both forms of the Mass and love to celebrate both forms. Why? Because Pope Benedict allowed it and now even Pope Francis has indicated that Pope Benedict's permission for this is a part of the post-Vatican II Magisterium and is not just to reach out to the schismatic groups that reject the Second Vatican Council and the newer form of the Mass but it is for those who simply prefer it. Thus the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is one expression of the two forms of the Latin Rite. How cool is that?
Both Masses though are Catholic. Both accomplish with different ecclesiolgies and ceremony the teachings of the Church on the Mass as an "unbloody sacrifice" and where "transubstantiation" takes place.
My father in pre-Vatican II times (in fact after also) preferred the Low Mass, no singing except for special occasions. He didn't denigrate a Sung or Solemn Sung Mass, but certainly preferred the simplicity and brevity of the Low Mass.
When we lived in Italy, my father was amused that Italians talked in Church, moved about and had a different mentality about piety compared to the more rigid American and Canadian approaches. One would never see in the pre-Vatican II times in Canada or the USA the antics of Italians in Italy during the same period.
I had someone tell me that they like the piety and hushed silence of the EF Mass and are distracted by all the goings on in the OF especially people talking in Church, etc.
That's okay. What's not okay is to say the OF Mass warts and all is not a valid Mass or is less Catholic. How could that be? The Church certainly doesn't teach that! Only Protestant Catholics would say such a thing and they would then be heretical, something that would be resoundingly declared so in the pre-Vatican II times.
Is there an agenda at work behind Pope Francis’ back? As he carries out his plan of renewal for the Church, one that is based on the purification of hearts, on pastoral efforts and on evangelization through attraction, many individuals are trying to exploit his spontaneity, and also his naivete, in order to advance their personal, political agenda for the Church. How much the Pope has understood the cross-interests at work behind his back is yet to be determined. Certainly, the way his words have so often been taken out of context and misinterpreted may have alerted him to some degree that this is going on.
In fact, his closest collaborators have understood this risk. There was wide reaction in the Church after the Pope uttered the famous phrase “Don’t breed like rabbits” during the flight back from the Philippines. Many people wrote to the Secretariat of State to ask for an explanation and to express concern. They did this not because they had misinterpreted Pope Francis’ words, but because they feared his words might be misinterpreted by others.
There is a whole world of expectations behind Pope Francis. It’s as if the Church of 1968 has broken out again. With one difference. The Church’s ’68 was characterized by the publication of the controversial Dutch catechism and by post-Vatican II theological drifts. Paul VI responded to this crisis by issuing the encyclical “Humanae Vitae” and by proclaiming the Year of Faith that culminated with the Creed of the People of God. This time Pope Francis began his pontificate with the Year of Faith and in the end faces the typical hot button issues of the post-conciliar period that are now in vogue again.
And so outdated topics of debate have returned to center stage in the Church. The need for the Church to be less centralized formed the agenda of many progressive theologians after the Second Vatican Council. Decades later a dossier with the reforms needed to achieve this goal was compiled by the Bologna School, a group of scholars that interprets the Second Vatican Council as a rupture with the Church’s tradition, and this file was sent on at least three occasions to the Cardinals before they gathered for the conclave that elected Francis.
Other current topics that can be traced back to the debates immediately following Vatican II include the need for a more merciful opening to homosexual couples and a more compassionate application of the doctrine of marriage.
These – and many other – doctrinal leaps forward were halted by Blessed Paul VI. St. John Paul II blocked them with the enthusiasm of one who loved the Church’s teachings but who, at the same time, was able to be close to people. Benedict XVI elevated doctrine to a higher level, with the energy of one who loves the truth and thinks that the greatest mercy possible is to equip people with the truth.
Three Popes were not enough to shelve a whole generation of post-conciliar theology intended to foster a non-Roman Church – despite the fact that it bears the title of the Apostolic Roman Catholic Church.
During the 2013 Conclave, supporters of this renewed “sixties” agenda used widespread criticism over the functionality of the Curia, and the push among Cardinals toward a needed renewal, as impetus to find a candidate able to back their plan. Jorge Mario Bergoglio was considered the ideal candidate. The space for a behind-the-scenes manipulation opened when the new Pope expressed his wish to go to peripheries and to foster pastoral care for the marginalized, on which – he recently explained to the new Cardinals – the credibility of the Church depends.
Pope Francis is very capable of judging the mood of the crowd; he knows how to bring the Church close to people. But there are others behind him who have a strong agenda and are quite accomplished at courting media support.
Some episodes this last week showed how the expectations surrounding Pope Francis may be reversed against his pontificate.
First episode. Sr. Jean Grammick is an American nun who in 1997 co-founded New Ways Ministry, a group committed to the inclusion of LGBT Catholics in the Church. Because of her commitment, she encountered some problems with her religious order, and was later welcomed by the Sisters of Loretto, a congregation with a strong tradition of helping the world’s marginalized. Fr. Robert Nugent, co-founder of New Ways Ministry, retreated once the Vatican published a Notification criticizing his work.
One year ago, Sr. Grammick planned a pilgrimage of 50 Catholic homosexuals to Rome, and Francis Di Bernardo – CEO of New Ways Ministry. who announced the pilgrimage in July, 2014 – acknowledged that they had asked for an audience with Pope Francis, since “with this Pope, one can never know.”
Earlier, Di Bernardo had given an interview to the “Ways of Love” organization that set up a conference on the inclusion of homosexuals in the Church last October in Rome, as the Synod on the family was taking place.
The private audience they asked for was not granted. Nor did the group even gain access to the “baciamano” following the general audience to which they did secure tickets. But, Sr. Grammick, who led the 50 members of the pilgrimage group, was able to get tickets for the so called “reparto speciale” (special section) in St. Peter’s Square. Hence, her group was placed not far from ecclesiastical authorities, who had the closest seats, but it was not given VIP treatment. Nevertheless Sr. Grammick claimed that they had been given VIP treatment, that her group was welcomed with full honors in the Vatican, and that whereas this could never have happened under the two previous popes, it was possible now because of the new spirit brought into the Church by Pope Francis.
Too bad that – according a press aide of the Holy See Press Office – the group had not been admitted to the ‘baciamano’, that they had not been granted special tickets as “New Ways Ministry,” but instead as a group of American pilgrims accompanied by “a Sister of Loretto.” But, the Press Office insisted, even if they had presented themselves with their real name, they would not have been denied tickets, because papal audiences are free and accessible to everyone.
The secular press was nevertheless able to declare that the Pope had now opened the doors to homosexuals, and that the sign of this opening was clear ever since the Pope had famously declared “Who am I to judge?” on the flight back to Rome from Rio de Janeiro. This declaration by the Pope was even deemed a “positive statement” in the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Report on the Holy See. The report asked for a change in the Church’s doctrine and canon law, and quoted Pope Francis’ words as a sign of good will on the part of the Holy See in improving its position on homosexuals.
The secular media were also quite excited over the closed-door conversation that the Pope had this past week with the clergy of Rome. This meeting is traditionally held after Ash Wednesday: the Pope chooses a topic for a lecture, and then a question-and-answer session follows. This year the Pope spoke about the art of preaching, and asked – for the second consecutive year – that the meeting be held behind closed doors, in order to permit greater freedom in discussion.
But this lack of transparency paved the way to speculation – as had already happened during the Synod of Bishops – because every participant in the meeting feels free afterward to quote the Pope in whatever way he wishes. The fact that there is not – nor will there be – an official transcription of the conversation issued by the Holy See Press Office means that it is difficult to contradict the media reports which reported that the Pope said the issue of married priests was “on my agenda”.
Is this true? Not really, according to witnesses. Here is what they report. Fr. Giovanni Cereti – a priest strongly committed to a movement favoring the renewal of the Church – asked the Pope if there will be some opening on the issue of married priests, and he mentioned the example of the Eastern Churches which allow married men to be ordained to the priesthood. Cereti specifically referred to former priests who had been granted dispensations and allowed to marry, but who would now like to return to celebrating Mass, which they can no longer do. The Pope – sources reported – said that the issue was not going to be shut away in a desk drawer, but that it will be considered, even if it is difficult to find a solution. These words expressed the Pope’s concern over the issue, but they did so vaguely. Nevertheless, from this vagueness, the secular media concluded that the great Pope Francis was leaning toward the possibility of married priests.
The secular frenzy to portray a non-existing Pope also arises despite its awareness that in the end the Church is much greater than any secular or secularized agenda will allow.
The second test was the recent Consistory on curial reform. As happened in November during the meeting with the heads of Vatican dicasteries, and despite the fact that the reform draft presented by Bishop Marcello Semeraro had later been buttressed with a theological foundation, many Cardinals during the Consistory expressed their concern about the way the reform was outlined. They accepted its basic guidelines (rationalization, subsidiarity, better employment of funds), but also insisted on the need to make clearer distinctions among certain curial structures (the first distinction to be made is between the Holy See and Vatican City State) and to provide a unified design. This reaction by the Cardinals proves that what had at first been designated by many as a “revolution” had by now become yet another “renewal” which would require a great deal more time.
The third test will come in October during the second session of the Synod of Bishops on family issues. The game has already begun. While Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, takes part in many round tables and conferences intended to carry forward Cardinal Kasper’s agenda, and while Cardinal Kasper is currently publishing a second book on mercy praising the Pope Francis’ “radical papacy”, bishops conferences around the world are electing their representatives to the Synod.
Representatives chosen up to now seem to lean more toward the conservative wing, but later Pope Francis will re-balance everything through his own appointments. Who knows if Cardinal Godfried Daneels, emeritus primate of Belgium, will be chosen once again as a papal delegate?
Daneels is a champion of the progressive world, and already said he is worried that curial reforms have come to a halt, but he also said that he is confident that the required steps forward will be made. And the change of perspective will include the Synod of Bishops, step by step.
All of these declarations show a certain nervousness, combined with the idea that the Pope has been misinterpreted. It seems that Pope Francis is driven mostly by a peculiar kind of behavior, rather than a specific agenda, and that this behavior is what lies behind his words, behind his sometimes controversial gestures (as the recent meeting with a transsexual and his fiance; or the conversation with the leader of the secular press, Eugenio Scalfari). It also seems that his choices for church government are mostly intended to follow the mandate he believes he received from the Cardinals prior to his election. This is probably the reason his positions seem to fluctuate from one statement to another, from being hyper-conservative to being hyper-progressive, from being devotional, but at the same time from being so careless with Church tradition.
There is just one final question: who wants Pope Francis to be misinterpreted? Which interests are moving behind this pontificate? And why have these interests seemingly found fertile ground under this pontificate?
Perhaps only the Cardinals who lobbied for Pope Francis’ election – in Austen Ivereigh’s words, ‘Team Bergoglio’ – can answer these questions. For unlike the Pope, they really do have an agenda for the Church.
The initial plan was to have the Mass indoors in the sacristy tent, it being broadcast ousted to the more than 200,000 faithful who have gathered the night before (by the time the Pope arrived we had already endured more than 6 hours of cold rain and lashing winds). But the Pope insisted on celebrating outside. we couldn't use the altar done for the occasion because the rain was practically torrential in that part, so we moved the mass over to one side of the stage, where the roof was lower. The altar was really heavy, and so we used the credence table for an altar. But by then the wind was stronger than before, strong enough to make the sturdy structure tremble, and all of us--from the Pope down to the last server--drenched to the bone.
the Papal Mass in Tacloban is an interesting case because of the precedents it made in the history of papal liturgy outside of Rome: aside from the extreme weather, the Pope elevated the ciborium instead of just the host, he wore a rainiest over his chasuble, and communion wasn't given to the faithful during the Mass, but rather afterwards (and in an orderly fashion), in the tabernacles surrounding the venue, and in churches the next day, Sunday.
But over and above all, it was therapeutic for all of us who survived the onslaught of Haiyan. traumatized as we were, we lost our fear of the rain and the wind. We realized later on, in retrospect that, having been wounded in a storm, maybe it was God using a similar experience to heal us collectively. An hour after the Pope left for Manila, the wind died down, and the typhoon left us.