This video is very clear and gives some insights into the papacy of Pope John XXIII on the eve of the Second Vatican Council. How would you explain this to your Protestant friends or Catholics who had never experienced this? Is it too much? Did Pope John XXIII think so too? Does this give an image of a rich Church for a rich people? How would the poor perceive this?
This video isn't as clear, although some of it is. It chronicles Pope Pius XII's papacy. Again the pageantry of papal visits and liturgies is highlighted. There is no question that during this period in Italy and Europe, the Church was very strong although it had to deal with Fascism, Nazism and Communism. Many who had embraced these ideologies were Catholic or former Catholics. There are some images of Pope Pius XII speaking and preaching. He was a very animated figure of a pope and very popular in Italy. His homilies and talks were passionate and you can see his passion. It is interesting that in this period, Pope Pius XII would speak from the main altar of St. Peter's to give his addresses and in a very animated way.
I think we must distinguish between liturgical reverence and temporal majesty. Insofar as a liturgical movement presses for greater reverence to be shown to God, young Catholics respond enthusiastically, or at least with understanding. But whenever ritual ornamentation is directed towards a priest, bishop or even the pope, this smacks of worldliness and drives the young away.
I suspect that the elaborate court pageantry shown in the first clip was already an anachronism by the 1950s. The remaining royal courts of Europe (with the possible exception of the British monarchy) had by then ditched most of the regal trappings and the imperial pomp of the Habsburgs, Hohenzollerns and Romanovs did not survive the First World War.
We Brits like a bit of pomp and circumstance (as, apparently, do foreign tourists) but it has to be well done. I'm not old enough to remember the Queen's coronation and the coronation of her successor will no doubt be on a reduced scale. Churchill's state funeral fifty years ago was an example of how things should be done (JFK's 14 months previously was shambolic).
Anything that smacks of the 'Ruritanian' has to be avoided and these (admittedly rare) grand papal ceremonies look distinctly under-rehearsed. Remember they were put on by Italians!
Post a Comment