Wednesday, May 29, 2013
"They need the Mass, don't worry about the rubrics"
It is all very easy for some of us to get wound up about rubrics and liturgical niceties, or lack of them. Some clergy simply don't seem to understand liturgy, some do; compare and contrast Pope Francis and Pope Benedict.
I love our present Pope, I love what says, I love his delight in people, his call to go out to the poor, his revelling in being a priest but liturgically the old adage "as lost as a Jesuit in Holy Week" comes to mind. I think what he said about his need for Mgr Guido Marini as his Master of Ceremonies is an insight into his deep humility. There seems to be doubt about the translation, "I prefer him to even benefit me by his traditional formation and at the same time, so he is formed in the same way by my emancipated formation", quite what is meant by "emancipated formation" I am not sure. Personally, I imagine a grin and a slight hesitation, even an "err...", before the Holy Father pronounced the phrase. On informal occassions the Pope's facial expression should always be reported along with his words.
One of the things that Pope Benedict taught us is that the Pope can be "several persons", I mean he can as Pope still write as Joseph Ratzinger the scholar and enter the debate on how to interpret scripture, offering his own personal view rather than a Magisterial interpretation. In the same way Pope Francis seems to be doing the same at his week day Masses in Santa Marta, where his homilies aren't Magisterial but paternal advice about the spiritual life and discipleship. Here they are obviously extempore, full of hesitations, here he is doing what he feels comfortable doing, celebrating Mass with friends, not quite bothering too much about rubrics, not bothering too much about theological precision, which is one of the reasons, probably, why the texts are never made available and just reported in terms of "the Holy Father said ...".
He is a Jesuit, as one of my parishioners who was a penitent of Fr John Edwards SJ says, "having Francis as Pope, it is just like having Fr John as Pope". As much as I personally loved Fr John, he was rigidly orthodox but his liturgical understanding was putting it kindly "idiosyncratic", or should we call it "pastoral", as of course was that other great and saintly Engish Jesuit, Fr Hugh Thwaites, who 20 years ago trying to persuade me to celebrate the Traditional Mass amid my protests that I didn't understand the rubrics said, "They need the Mass, don't worry about the rubrics". So typical of a Jesuit!
Posted by Fr Ray Blake