In an address last week on the liturgy, Pope Francis drew attention when he asserted “with certainty and with magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.” Reaction focused almost entirely on this one sentence to the neglect of the rest of the address, much of which contained important comments on liturgical renewal.
Almost every time Pope Francis has done something well or written something good, His Holiness becomes his own worst enemy by saying something off-the-cuff or putting negative commentary towards others or adding something controversial that hijacks the main thesis of his teachings.
Even when His Holiness has triumphant pilgrimages, His Holiness changes the conversation and thwarts the good that was accomplished by shifting the focus to off-the-cuff remarks that are controversial given at high altitudes that may have compromised His Holiness thinking.
Amoris Laetia is a great document about love and marriage except for that "damn" footnote that consumes everyone's attention and threatens the entirety of Catholic morality from Scripture to natural law and even opens the door for the Catholic Church to become as liberalized as liberal Protestantism and the Anglican Communion. No one is talking about the 99.9% of this papal teaching at all!
Then the Holy Father who never talks about the liturgy in any significant way gives a talk to a group of Italian liturgists (this term a bit of an oxymoron) and declares in a somewhat authoritarian and semi-magisterial way that the reforms of Vatican are irreversible.
Did His Holiness need to be some dogmatic about the reforms the liturgy and so vague about how poorly these reforms have been implemented? And did Pope Francis have to neglect to say anything about the Liturgy that Pope Benedict eloquently taught for decades? It came across and another bit of this pope's way of breaking the continuity of papal teachings with novel ideas and appears to be anything but humble.
Thus America Magazine tries to put lipstick on a pig but in doing so makes clear the mistakes the Holy Father makes in his communication style and how he is his own worst enemy in changing the conversation to things that are peripheral.
Pope Francis' comments on the liturgy need to be heard by traditionalists and reformers alike.
Gregory Hillis August 28, 2017/America Magazine
Pope Francis argued that the process of reform takes time and that it is necessary to address more fully the “liturgical education” of all the faithful. By this he means that all the faithful need to understand what the liturgical movement endeavored to accomplish, why it advocated for renewal and how Vatican II sought to address the movement’s concerns.
Underlying Francis’ reminder that the reform continues and his call for liturgical education is, it seems to me, a recognition of the shortcomings of the renewal movement. That is, even while reminding them that the process of liturgical reform is irreversible given the deep discontent that was the impetus for this reform, Pope Francis seems to take seriously the liturgical dissatisfaction of those like my students and others.
Few can read “Sacrosanctum Concilium” and fail to see the disjunction between the renewal as sought by the council fathers and the shape that renewal took in the decades after Vatican II. Not only are questions raised about the aesthetic impoverishment of the liturgy, but many wonder whether the reform truly led to the full and active participation desired by the council. And it is more than just traditionalists who raise such questions.
Read the entire article here.
National Review has a different take on Santita today:\
Mark Thomas will be devastated
"His Holiness changes the conversation and thwarts the good that was accomplished by shifting the focus to off-the-cuff remarks that are controversial given at high altitudes that may have compromised His Holiness thinking."
What an unnecessarily and unseemly remark. The pope's thinking is not compromised by "high altitudes" any more than yours is compromised by the incense you use.
To answer the question that was posed, yes, on so many occassions, he is his own worst enemy. Is he careless, in over his head or, filled with the revolutionary spirit of those who come from his part of the world? Perhaps. When Benedict was pope, I would have been a Mark Thomas - albeit an abridged version ;~). With Francis, I just cannot get there because of simple remarks such as this. A week of needless analysis and wrenching of teeth. Its like being put through a clothes ringer (see how many remember those) that someone keeps reversing over and over again. Wearying.
"What an unnecessarily and unseemly remark. The pope's thinking is not compromised by "high altitudes" any more than yours is compromised by the incense you use."
This, to me, is a perfect example of unnecessARY and unseemly. Debate a position, don't hurl an insult.
One good hurl deserves another, dontcha think?
Maybe when I was in Junior High I thought that way. As I left there 30+ years ago, I no longer do. I fail to see any 'hurl' in Fr. AJM's commentary.
Loose lips, sink ships, so absolutely
Hello, TJM. Peace be with you and your family.
I read the National Review article in question. The article is not Catholic in spirit.
1. The article is nasty toward the Vicar of Christ.
2. The author, Michael Brendan Dougherty, directed the following at His Holiness Pope Francis (and, for that matter, the Papacy):
"Simply put, we don’t have to listen to popes when they are talking out of their...(out of respect to Pope Francis and the Papacy, I won't print the remainder of the author's insulting sentence in question)"
The above sentence is dangerous as Michael Brendan Dougherty advanced the notion that a Catholic is free to reject Papal teachings that he or she has deemed nonsense.
Michael Brendan Dougherty has advanced the spirit of Protestantism. The author has advanced the notion that each Catholic is his or her own Pope...we determine when to "listen to popes"...we determine when to ignore Popes.
Michael Brendan Dougherty assured us that it's legitimate for Catholics to determine when to submit to a Pope....and when to revolt against a Pope.
There are "Catholics" who ignore Pope Francis' pro-life utterances.
To borrow the author's phrase, said "Catholics" insist, for example, that Pope Francis "talks out of his..." in regard to abortion, Humanae Vitae, and the fact that marriage is between a man and woman.
Said "Catholics" believe that they are right. They insist that Pope Francis is wrong. Pope Francis just "talks out of his..."
The are anti-SSPX Catholics who insist that the SSPX is heretical. Pope Francis has rejected that notion. He speaks of and treats the SSPX in positive fashion.
However, there are anti-SSPX Catholics who insist Pope Francis "talks out of his..." in regard to the SSPX. Pope Francis' positive assessment of the SSPX is wrong, according to anti-SSPX Catholics.
The SSPX is heretical, according to anti-SSPX Catholics...Pope Francis is wrong...and that's that.
However, based upon Michael Brendan Dougherty's approach to the Papacy, anti-SSPX Catholics have the right to revolt against Pope Francis has His Holiness "talks out of his..."
Right-wing Catholics have ignored/rejected Pope Francis' Encyclicals and Apostolic Exhortations as the right-wing Catholics in question have determined that Pope Francis "talked out of his..." when he promulgated said Papal documents.
TJM, do you support Michael Brendan Dougherty's National Review article in question?
TJM, in line with Michael Brendan Dougherty's thinking, are you your own Pope...free to dismiss Pope Francis whenever the mood strikes you?
TJM, did you read Michael Brendan Dougherty's National Review's article in question?
If you did, then you are aware that Mister Dougherty misrepresented Pope Francis' address last week in regard to liturgy.
On top of that, Mister Dougherty attacked the "cult of the papacy."
Hmmm...do "traditionalists" support the article in question? Michael Brendan Dougherty attacked the "exaggerated cult of the papacy."
Hmmm...I thought that "traditional" Catholics insisted that the Church must return to the days when Popes donned the triple Papal tiara...when Popes wore regal attire and were carried about on the sedia gestatoria.
Hmmm...I thought that "traditional" Catholics insisted that the Church must, for example, return to the Pontificate of Pope Venerable Pius XII...that is, a time when a Pope thundered and pronounced on every topic under the sun...
...when Catholics kneeled in the presence of a Pope...
...when Catholics kissed a Pope's feet...
TJM, do you long for the following glorious "exaggerated papal cult" days of Pope Venerable Pius XII's Pontificate?
Ahhh..the days of the Papal tiara and sedia gestatoria.
Or do you favor the National Review's desire to smash the Papal cult?
Imagine the manner in which today's National Review would have denounced "arrogant" Pope Venerable Pius XII and His Holiness' "exaggerated Papal cult."
I do long for the days of Mediator Dei, a document you obviously aren't familiar with.
St. John XXIII wore the papal tiara, used the sedia gestatoria, etc. But apparently you long for the days of Paul VI who abandoned the papal tiara, the sedia gestatoria, but allowed an evil man, Annabile Bugnini to destroy the Roman Mass.
Thanks for the link to the incisive National Review article. It explains why many deeply loyal Catholics who truly love and revere the Papacy are dismayed by papal actions that diminish respect for the Papacy in the eyes of many both within and without the Church.
Incidentally, this address by Francis seems better than usual for him, and the article in America seems better than usual for it.
You are most welcome. In a media obsessed age, a Roman Pontiff needs to be much more savvy in their public remarks than Pope Francis has been. I miss the days when a Pope stayed within the four walls of the Vatican and the Faithful heard from him when he had something of great significance to convey to the Faithful, by way of encyclicals and motu propria
TJM, I favor the so-called "the exaggerated cult of the papacy" condemned by National Review.
Via the article that you referenced, it is National Review who attacked the Papacy.
Again, did you read the article that you linked to Father's blog?
1. The article actually attacks traditional Catholics as having "exaggerated" the authority of the Papacy.
2. The article presents the garbage that anti-Catholics have long promoted via their attacks against the Papacy.
3. The article promotes the anti-Catholic notion that the True Church exaggerated the power of the Papacy.
TJM, in your haste to promote the article, you must have overlooked the following attack upon Holy Mother Church:
National Review declared that "the exaggerated cult of the papacy has roots in the Church itself."
"The doctrine of papal infallibility as defined by the First Vatican Council was clearly a reaction to the age of revolution. Romantics within the Church wanted to re-invest the papacy with an authority that no politician or political movement could claim."
TJM, you adore the National Review article in question as, at first glance, the article is a vicious attack upon the Vicar of Christ, His Holiness Pope Francis.
However, when read carefully, the article is actually an attack upon Holy Mother Church and Her Papacy.
The National Review's headline says it all:
"Pope Francis Is Diminishing the Papacy. Good."
Yep...it's "good" to diminish the Papacy, according to National Review. The supposed exaggeration of the Papacy has its roots within the Holy Catholic Church, according to National Review.
The National Review's article, which attacked the True Church and Her Papacy, belongs in a Jack Chick publication.
TJM, you support an article which, in reality, attacks God's Church and Her Papacy.
I reread the Holy Father's remarks, sincerely searching for the signs of assurance mentioned in this article. But I simply don't see any evidence to suggest that Pope Francis thinks the liturgical praxis should be further reformed, or that he has the slightest understanding of the liturgical abuses driving some young Catholics to the EF Mass (and many other young Catholics away from Mass entirely). I personally do not think the Holy Father's recent words are very problematic, but it's another thing to argue that his words somehow help the situation.
While I'm a person of little importance, I do have one close acquaintance who works in a mid-level position at the Vatican. This acquaintance says there is deep division and bitter resentment growing there. However, this person (who likes Pope Francis very much) assures me that Pope Francis simply wants to make the Church socially acceptable so that the Church can better advocate for the poor. Anything about the Church that is socially unacceptable, however, must go. So, it seems to me that if Pope Francis could be convinced that a more traditional celebration of the Roman Mass would attract more favorable attention to the Church, then our pope would embrace it readily.
TJM said..."I miss the days when a Pope stayed within the four walls of the Vatican and the Faithful heard from him when he had something of great significance to convey to the Faithful, by way of encyclicals and motu propria"
Is that why for centuries, the Papacy has been mocked and denounced by people who noted that Popes talked, and talked, and talked...an pronounced upon everything under the sun?
You are familiar with the pejorative use of the word "pontificate"?
You are aware, for example, that during the 1940s and 1950s, via radio, print, television, and newsreels, Catholics and non-Catholics were inundated with Pope Venerable Pius XII's endless addresses and declarations?
He was filmed and photographed constantly. His audiences received considerable press coverage as, in particular, he was keen to meet with celebrities.
The world knew everything about Pope Venerable Pius XII...from his attitude toward tobacco to the fact that he had a pet parakeet.
Speaking physically, Popes may have remained within the Vatican. But in regard to Papal pronouncements on everything under the sun, Popes, going back centuries, have made themselves known to the Church and world.
@Dialogue: So Pope Francis "just wants to make the Church socially acceptable "? What better way than to dump all that unfashionable and inconvenient moral teaching? Frankly, a more chilling description of what the Pope is up to could not be made. Let's just sacrifice Christian teachings so the liberal beautiful people and the media will love us!
What this man wants to do is make the Church inoffensive to anyone in a society where everybody is offended by anything.
I agree. It's hard for me to wrap my head around, especially given that over two thirds of the cardinals voted in favor of this unsettling approach. But I'm also trying my best to give him the benefit of the doubt.
"especially given that over two thirds of the cardinals voted in favor of this unsettling approach."
A so-called Vatican insider recently remarked that these same cardinals are now so unsettled by the current chaos that, were a re-vote possible today, Francis likely would not get 10 votes among the 120 cardinals.
I don't doubt you, Dialogue, nor your friend. But the communications of this papacy is such a mess I don't give credence to anything that is not officially quoted. Even then, the Holy Father seems given to hesitaion and confusion trying to reconcile pop culture, pop science, and pop economics with his ethics. He seems unsure of his own powers of observation and reason. And that leads us to the same conclusion.
Please provide some examples of Pius XII's giving confusing and nasty off the cuff remarks like Pope Francis. Pope Francis isn't in the same ball park as Pius XII intellectually or spiritually.
TJM said..."Please provide some examples of Pius XII's giving confusing and nasty off the cuff remarks like Pope Francis."
Pope Venerable Pius XII's various radical reforms prompted uproars within the Church. Various Catholics even charged Pope Venerable Pius XII with heresy.
-- Pope Pius XI trashed the Ecumenical Movement. Catholics were taught to steer clear of the Ecumenical Movement.
-- Conversely, Pope Venerable Pius XII declared that the Holy Ghost inspired the establishment of the Ecumenical Movement.
Catholics had been taught that the Ecumenical Movement was a dangerous movement that, if embraced by the Church, would unleash mass confusion within the Church.
Nevertheless, Pope Venerable Pius XII launched the Church into the Ecumenical Movement.
TJM, how has Pope Venerable Pius XII's decision to embrace the Ecumenical Movement work out for the Church?
Did Pope Venerable Pius XII's decision to embrace the Ecumenical Movement unleash confusion within the Church?
TJM said..."Please provide some examples of Pius XII's giving confusing and nasty off the cuff remarks like Pope Francis."
Pope Venerable Pius XII tapped Monsignor Bugnini to develop radical liturgical reforms.
In turn, Pope Venerable Pius XII imposed by fiat radical liturgical reforms concocted by Monsignor Bugnini and additional collaborators.
TJM, did Pope Venerable Pius XII's fiat-imposed radiucal liturgical reforms benefit the Church or lead to chaos within the Church?
Hint: Pope Venerable Pius XII's radical Holy Week liturgical reforms generated an uproar throughout the Church.
TJM said..."Please provide some examples of Pius XII's giving confusing and nasty off the cuff remarks like Pope Francis."
In regard to the reception of Holy Communion, the Faithful had long-adhered to the Church's traditional Midnight Eucharistic fast.
By fiat, Pope Venerable Pius XII altered the traditional Midnight Eucharistic fast.
TJM, how has that worked out for the Church?
With Father McDonald's permission...Part 1 of 3
TJM, in regard to Pope Venerable Pius XII, I here is an assessment courtesy of a "traditional" Catholics:
Pius XII Empowered Progressivists for the Liturgical Reform
Dr. Carol Byrne, Great Britain
Pius XII: a vacillating Pope
Pius XII tried to solve the problem by taking both sides of the dispute.
-- He prophesied about the “suicide of altering the Faith in the Church’s liturgy,” (1) but appointed Bugnini as its gravedigger when he fatally made him Secretary of the Commission for Liturgical Reform in 1948.
A supposedly conservative Pius XII appointed Fr. Bugnini head of the liturgical reform commission
-- He condemned the abuses of the Liturgical Movement in Mediator Dei in 1947, but by 1956, having allowed the same (and worse) abuses to metastasize throughout the Church, he declared that “the liturgical movement has appeared as a sign of God’s providential dispositions for the present day, as a movement of the Holy Spirit in His Church.”
-- He upheld the necessity of Latin in the liturgy in Mediator Dei, but the authorized use of the vernacular increased considerably during his pontificate in many countries.
-- He taught that interior participation in the liturgy is of primary importance, but placed emphasis on the “activity” of the laity as the best means to achieve participation.
-- He showed sensitivity to the faithful who preferred to pray silently at Mass, but indicated that their preference was not worthy of respect by promoting the “Dialogue Mass” for the whole congregation.
With Father McDonald's permission...Part 2 of 3
"It is evident from this brief sketch that, for Pius XII, the liturgy had two faces, the traditional (sacred) and the modern (worldly), now differentiated, now enigmatically confused in Mediator Dei.
"This explains how the message it contained was capable of being filtered through various prisms, with the result that the Pope is hailed by conservatives as a defender of Tradition and by progressivists as a friend of aggiornamento or adapting the liturgy to the demands of the modern world.
"In keeping with this dual vision, the liturgy became the battleground where these two antagonistic forces confronted each other and fought for hegemony in the Church.
"But perhaps the greatest boost he gave to the progressivist reformers was his recognition of their efforts as a “movement” within the Church (Mediator Dei § 4). Bugnini saw this as a major strategic coup:
“In his Encyclical Mediator Dei of November 11 [sic], 1947, Pius XII put the seal of his supreme authority on this movement, which by now was to be found everywhere in the Church.” (6)
In this sense, the encyclical can be said to have applied not so much the bridle as a rather sharp spur to the Liturgical Movement in the lead up to Vatican II.
"But what clinches the Pope’s willing complicity in the Liturgical Movement is the fact that a year earlier than Mediator Dei, in 1946, he had already set in motion plans for a select group of liturgical specialists to institute a general reform of the liturgy."
With Father McDonald's permission...Part 3 of 3
"It is evident from this brief sketch The rise of a bureaucratic team to ‘manufacture’ liturgical renewal
"Pope Pius XII, having first surrounded himself with a "Praetorian Guard" of scholars and experts, established the Pontifical Commission for the General Reform of the Liturgy in 1948 and stacked it with a majority of progressivists.
These included: •Card. Clemente Micara – an ongoing protector since 1946 of serial predator Fr. Marcial Maciel – as President;
• Fr. (later Archbishop) Bugnini – the future destroyer of the Roman Rite – as Secretary;
Clemente Micara, Agostino Bea, Giuseppe Antonelli
Part of the new team: Micara, Antonelli & Bea
• Fr. (later Cardinal) Giuseppe Antonelli – co-responsible with Bugnini for producing the Novus Ordo – as General Director;
• Fr. (later Cardinal) Bea, Pius XII’s confessor, who had helped draft Mediator Dei and would play a major role in Ecumenism at Vatican II;
• Mgr. (later Cardinal) Dante, Papal Master of Ceremonies from 1947-1967;
• Fr. Joseph Löw who would work with Fr. Antonelli to change the Easter Vigil in 1951 and Holy Week ceremonies in 1955;
• Fr. Carlo Braga who collaborated closely with Bugnini and became Secretary of the Consilium under Paul VI.
"With this Commission, Pius XII created a new class of liturgical specialists and entrusted key offices, carrying great power and influence, to them, and allowed them to become the dominant force in the Liturgical Movement."
You need help - none of the drivel you posted addresses my point.
Intimidating volume. Agree with TIM.
TJM said, "Please provide some examples of Pius XII's giving confusing and nasty off the cuff remarks like Pope Francis."
1. My understanding from people who speak Italian is that Pope Francis' supposed "nasty" remarks are, in Italian, lighthearted, humorous comments.
2. Time and again, Pope Francis's "confusing" comments were the result of his statements having been twisted by right-wingers and left-wingers.
TJM said..."Paul VI...allowed an evil man, Annabile Bugnini to destroy the Roman Mass."
Annabile Bugnini...you mean the "evil man" tapped by Pope Venerable Pius during the late 1940s and into the 1950s to help develop radical liturgical reform that, in turn, Pope Venerable Pius XII implemented by fiat?
Mark Thomas -
Though tapped by Ven. Pius XII, it was Paul VI who implemented that which was beyond what was intended. I think it's time to let this one go before we max out the capacity of this comment page.
The way I see it, they had the most important decision of their lifetimes before them, and have no excuse now for not having known the moral, liturgical and political proclivities of their prime candidate, proclivities which he himself never tried to hide. He is now what he was then, and they should have known, or found out, before casting their votes.
Yes, that Bugini whom St. John XXIII sent packing because of his heterodox views! EPIC FAIL
Agreed - They failed in their moral duty to elect a pope who would fulfill the Petrine Office as a guardian and protector of the Faith. As a result, the "smoke of Satan" that Paul VI perceived within the temple of God appears to permeate the Church at the highest levels, and the destructive forces that emerged in the wake of Vatican II have reached full flood.
Christ will not abandon His Church. Once these left-wing loons are gone to their "reward," the Church will flower once again.
However, 'team Bergoglio', amongst whom was the Archbishop emeritus of Westminster, secured their man's election. The runner-up was Cardinal Scola, Archbishop of Milan, who has recently been replaced.
I was prepared to give Bergoglio the benefit of the doubt. But it is clear that his so-called popularity has nothing to do with what he actually says - his greatest fans have no doubt read little of his output (official or off-the-cuff). Popularity is a fickle thing in any case.
What disturbs me, and other commentators who scrutinize his words and actions, can be summarized as follows:
1. His attempt to create a dichotomy between dogma and practice, suggesting that 'pastoral' concerns can override positive law, even when it concerns such fundamental issues as the indissolubility of Christian marriage. The key moment was the blatant and unsuccessful attempt to rig the 2014 Synod. He was lucky to escape with his credibility intact, and benefited from the secular media's spin on the event - 'Pope's gay-friendly agenda derailed by reactionary bishops. (BBC)'
2. His mean-spirited comments on those whom he perceives not to share his views. Evangelii Gaudium referred to 'self-obsessed promethian neo-pelagians', who are supposedly attached to an out-of date version of Catholicism. His suggestion (in October last year) that young people who prefer the older form of Mass must have psychological isssues was shocking.
3. His reliance on dubious figures like Fernandez and Spadaro, and his seeming inability to work with, rather than against, the Curia. This includes his own appointees such as Cardinal Sarah, as well as Müller with whom he appeared at the outset to have a rapport (they shared the same views on 'liberation theology', for example).
4. His obsession with 'rigidity' as the besetting sin. Yes, we sing at Pentecost 'flecte quod est rigidum' but also 'rege quod est devium'. Steadfastness implies a measure of rigidity, or backbone.
5. His contempt for bishops who have intellectual acumen or ambition. I doubt he lacked the latter, but one has to agree with Fr Hunwicke that he is neither learned nor intelligent. There is also a telling moment when he heaps scorn on a young priest trying on clerical garb at Gammarelli (cloak and saturno). As an Englishman I despise those who deliberately dress like slobs to make a point.
I can state in all honesty that I no longer have any confidence in Jorge Bergoglio to discharge his reponsibilities as Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff. His papacy is increasingly dysfunctional. According to Fernandez he aims to change the Church in such a way that no successor will be able to undo it. I take comfort from the fact that the more people he alienates, the less likely he is to achieve this.
I opined at the beginning of this year that 2017 would be a turning point. Watch this space. And Mark Thomas, spare us a barrage of selective quotations and hyperlinks. I don't expect you to agree; I merely ask you to reflect.
Bravo, John for articulating so beautifully and succinctly how many of us think and feel.
As for Mark Thomas, Pope Francis, is a Golden Calf, sad.
I have just heard that the Archbishop emeritus of Westminster (Cormac Murphy O'Connor) who was (along with Kasper and Danneels) a key member of 'team Bergoglio' died today. Although too old to take part in the conclave, he played an important role in lobbying the Anglophone cardinal electors.
Although, like his predecessor Basil Hume, he was rather too close to the British Establishment, he was an outspoken critic of the 'new morality' peddled by Tony Blair's Labour Government. His last act as Cardinal Archbishop was a positive one - he restored to use the high altar of Westminster Cathedral and ditched the temporary forward altar which had been in use since the 1960s, in time for the installation of his successor and the visit in 2010 of Benedict XVI.
Requiescat in Pace.
Outstanding, John. A perfect summation. Thank you.
"As an Englishman I despise those who deliberately dress like slobs to make a point."
Mad dogs and Englishmen......
Post a Comment