Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fanon shmanon

The Pope wears the fanon and there is excitement on the traddie blogosphere, the same when he uses the pontifical dalmatic, a latin chasuble, or the papal canopy makes a brief appearance or even when the Pope gives Holy Communion only to communicants kneeling and on the tongue.

The truth is those who notice these thing notice these things, the rest of God's Church smile and mutter, "he would, wouldn't he?" and carry on with doing what they have always done. Leading by example is fine but really who follows the example? It is surely only a very small minority of priests and an even smaller minority of bishops. For the great majority, such examples have no impact whatsoever. Indeed what Benedict XVI does is in no way binding on his successor who might well lock the sacristy door, get rid of Guido Marini and bring back Pietro.

Examples are fine but aren't they really about personal idiosyncrasy? As one of the assistants in a famous Roman clerical fashion house said, "This Pope, he likes that sort of thing, the next Pope, who knows."

There is talk about "Reform of the Reform" but is it real? Bishops are still being appointed who on principle will never celebrate  according to the other Form of the Roman Rite. Wander around the Pope's own diocese there a still those lopsided altar arrangements, still the bands of adolescents singing daft songs through mics with ghastly percussive guitars, still no provision for receiving Holy Communion kneeling, still verbose priests who preach four or five sermons during one Mass.

The sighting of a fanon does not tell us summer has come.
It is legislation that is needed.


Victoria said...

More imposing and less proposing.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100%, Father.

May I suggest you write your friend Father Zuhlsdorf, whose readership embraces the planet, and urge him to stop his "Pope Benedict teaches by example" posts, and instead write several posts strongly urging the Holy Father toward that legislation? Of all the "traddie blogosphere," you mention, he will get attention.

I know several priests and bishops by name who are "only waiting until this pope dies," to quote one of them. None of them believe the reform of the reform will out last Joseph Ratzinger.

If the Holy Father wants the liturgy restored, he MUST legislate it. We don't need another innocuous encyclical on another theological virtue. We need another Mediator Dei. We deserve it, and Benedict XVI, before he leaves us, needs to write it.

Dr. Adam DeVille said...

Well put. It would be nice to have the fanon backed up with some stiffer action--an iron fist, if you will, in a damask pontifical glove.

bob said...

Now if he wore a fanon (i.e. maniple) then more might sit up and notice.

Tony Flavin said...

I noticed on Sunday night, those who would be called left wing were asking for prayers for lourdes, those deemed on the right were getting in an excited tizz about the fanon.

However Father, if the spirit comes adolescents through 'daft songs', is it not better that he does it that way than not at all?

Physiocrat said...

Yes and common sense too. There are situations where the EF Mass, Latin and Gregorian chant are the most practical options.

We had a music weekend where there was an attempt to sing a piece by Mendelsson in a huge fourteenth century church with a reverberation time of about ten seconds and the organ out of tune in the lower register. Gregorian chant would have gone without a hitch.

The Diocesan director of music should have taken account of the acoustics of the building when he chose what to sing in it. It was not as if he had never been there before and even then he should have checked.

Matthew said...

(1) What is a fanon?

(2) 'Adolescents'? Most of the sub-pop stuff one hears in church is done by people who were adolescents in the 60s, or the 70s at the latest. This is why it's so awful.

GOR said...

I recall that there were some similar criticisms expressed during the pontificate of JP II - as to why he didn’t rein in some of the excesses in the post-conciliar Church. John Paul’s response was that he had tried to but that “they (meaning bishops) don’t listen…” I suspect that was not lost on Pope Benedict either. Hence he chooses to lead by example – and prayer - not by fiat.

Given his age, I suspect there is some truth to the observation that certain clergy – at various levels – are just ‘waiting out’ this pontificate in hopes of a successor more to their liking. It may be a vain hope - driven by a lack of faith in the workings of the Holy Spirit!

Gungarius said...

A lot of prelates were said to be waiting for Bl JPII to die for years so that "normal service" was resumed. The Holy Spirit had other ideas.

It is too early for legislation. Legislation passed now would be widely ignored which would make the position worse.

Just pray that the Lord keeps the Pope fit and well and appointing "Bricks" like Bishop Davies and Bishop Egan for many more years.

Once the bricks are in place then Moto Proprios authorising Communion in the Hand etc can be revoked by the Pope and a reform of the Novus Ordo to bring back the old Offertory, the extracts from the Psalms and on Sundays and Holydays the last Gospel and Prayers at the foot of the altar on Sundays and holydays can be initiated and will then get through. It wouldn't now.

Much as I like the EF the readings were far inferior with one short epistle and the same one read on feria weekdays after the Sunday. I certainly would not go to weekday mass half so often if it were EF - too long and too formal and yes, too Latin, and I certainly wouldn't want to go back to the days of the office being in Latin only. That would kill lay involvement.

I also found a properly conducted "high" latin mass as Celebrated by the Pope at Westminster Cathedral last year to be more reverent
than a Pontifical High EF Mass which to be frank is a bit to theatrical and more resembles a concert for a mass. Should we really be advertising EF masses with the music that will be sung with them.

The reforms were not all bad, unfortunately fallen human nature being what it is the baby was thrown out with the bathwater.

Personally I think that the OF should have been brought in alongside the EF for weekday use. It has undoubtably been a resounding success in encouraging people to come to daily (as opposed to Sunday) Mass.

Jacobi said...


"It is surely only a very small minority of priests and an even smaller minority of bishops"

All change begins with a small minority. Remember that it has taken us fifty years to get into this mess and it will take at least that to get out.

If this change does not come then Christ's Mystical Body on Earth will continue to decline - and that will not happen.

But it may be that we will need some help, not just from Benedict and such - but from the Holy Spirit!

Flambeaux said...

Given that legislation got us into this mess, and long before he was elected pope Joseph Ratzinger made clear his preference was to propose and exhort rather than to proscribe, this is the best we'll get.

The Rad Trad said...

What do you mean by what is needed in legislation, Father? To clean up abuses? Would legislation be followed?

The fanon is nice in that it is a uniquely Papal vestment and emphasizes the Pope's distinction from regular bishops, but like you I doubt leading by example does much liturgically. The Brompton Oratory did the Pauline the "Benedictine" way 40 years ago, and with no example to follow.

Legislating liturgical change is a great way to destroy the liturgy, but it's not a good way to fix it. Restoration comes with organically grown engagement and love of the liturgy. You would be hard-pressed to find one historical example of a top-down liturgical change that did more good than harm. Even the 1570 Missal left local rites alone and just tossed some Gallican sequences from the Curial Missal.

John Nolan said...

He doesn't legislate because he knows such legislation will simply be ignored. Redemptionis Sacramentum (2004) reprobated the abuse of EMHC. This abuse continues on a daily basis in Westminster Cathedral.

the Savage said...

The 1986 commission of Cardinals which examined the implementation of the 1984 indult (and preceded its expansion in 1988) recommended, inter alia, that bishops should ensure that at least one Sunday or feast day mass should be offered in Latin in each major locality in their diocese using either the 1962 or 1970 Missal. I would further stipulate that such a mass should be offered not simply in each major locality, but in the cathedral or basilica church in such localities. For celebrations following the 1970 Missal, it should be said ad orientem and using the Roman canon.

If the Holy Father and CDW were to issue such a decree, I suspect this would have an immediate salutary effect on both the "reform of the reform" and the implementation of Summorum Pontificum.

Physiocrat said...

In theory we do quite well for EF Masses here but the one in the city centre is at 8 am, not a good time when eeople have to come a long way, and the other, a sung Mass, with a first rate cantor, is 20 minutes train ride from the centre, though visitors can join the Franciscan monks afterwards for lunch in consideration of a donation.

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...