Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I want to be Emancipated

Is this the Per Ipsum?

Before I go any further, I am a great fan of so much of what our Holy Father has to say, especially about the poor, economics and the environment, at least in its reconstituted Vaticanese form, I am a bit uncomfortable with that cameraman that now has a permanent place on the back of the Popemobile but it has become pretty obvious that the Supreme Legislator does not consider the rubrics of the liturgy are that important, in fact it seems as if they can be ignored, or changed at will.

Benedict taught the liturgy was "a given", we read the black and did the red, Francis seems to be less precise about these things, his liturgy is "emancipated", as he descibes it. Who cares if priests are vested properly? It is obviously "emancipated" to expect concelebrants to wear chasubles, or to expect street clothes the be covered by an amice if necessary, it is emancipated to put flowers on one the corner of an altar and some candles, or are the oil lamps, on the end, with an insignificant crucifix in the middle. It is emancipated to bow rather than genuflect to the tabernacle and after the elevations. It is unemancipated to prepare a homily carefully. It is unemancipated to expect servers to vest, it is emancipated to have the dressed in work uniforms and it is emancipated to have a Bishop take the role of a Deacon.

I want to be emancipated too. I think I might introduce a few prayers at the beginning of the Ordinary Form Mass whilst the choir are singing the Introit. I've a few different but ancient Offertory prayers I would like to introduce and I feel inclined to genuflect before and after each elevation. Now would that be "emancipated" or just plain Pelagian. or what is the other word, "Restorationist"?

Obviously my emmancipated choice to celebrate Mass ad apsidum is rubrical according to Missal and a valid option for any priest according to later CDW instructions, so that is not an issue, even if the Pope unlike his two immediate predecessors who chose that option for their daily Mass, chooses not to avail himself of it, but what about "ending", celebrating Mass at he North or South end of the altar, is that emancipated or just plain Protestant?

It is pretty obvious from the Pope's personal liturgical style that any Priest or Bishop can do anything they like in the Ordinary Form, or are there limits?

Balloons and dancing anyone?


Joshua said...

Hear Hear! If the Pope's liturgies are like that, the liturgy at the ordinary parish is bound to be a few steps lower. Already here in Asia most priests just throw the chasuble over the white cassock- which they only wear at Mass- and in my country at least, I have only seen ONE priest with a Roman collar. Needless to say SP is unheard of here. The Church brags about making leeway in Asia, and it is true- but one must ask what kind of converts are we making?

The Bones said...

So much in the liturgy when done reverently and according to the Missal points to 'releasing' or 'emancipating' God - or making the Holy Sacrifice more visible and central.

When the law of the Church is not obeyed, it seems that more and more, the Mass if focused on the personality of the celebrant. For a Priest that is dangerous. For a Pope, that is dangerous.

If the Holy Father does not understand some of the intricacies of the Sacred Liturgy, I do not understand why His Holiness does not seek the advice of his Master of Ceremonies.

The Bones said...

Otherwise, as you say, the Sacred Liturgy can become a 'free for all'.

Cosmos said...

Here's how it works:

- You can do anything you want, as long as (a) your Bishop is indifferent to it, and (b) it is within the boundaries of what your parish can tolerate without withholding donations (a and b ussually overlap).

- If someone points you ot the rules, that is not an issue. Note that this person is a trouble maker who is not to be trusted, and carry on.

- However, if someone very, very persistent pushes the issue for years to a conclusion, it may eventually have to be admitted that you techinically can't do whatever you want. In such cases the Church will do whatever it can to make clear that the peristent guy was a big jerk for wasting everyone's time, even if he was right.

- After that, you can go back to whatever it was they were doing, though perhaps a touch more discretely.

Anonymous said...

What do you expect, Father? He is a Jesuit. I never met one who was Liturgically literate.

Deacon Augustine said...

What I don't understand about the photo in your blog, Fr. Ray, is that the Pope appears to be the principal celebrant, and yet he is not offering the sacrifice to God, but leaving that to his two concelebrants (one who, as you say, is acting as a deacon.)

This does not send a good sign - unless our theology of the Mass has changed and it is no longer a sacrifice offered to God the Almighty Father by the celebrant acting in the Person of Christ.

If the latter is no longer the case, then we don't actually need priests to celebrate Mass at all. Perhaps I will emancipate Mrs Miggins tomorrow and ask her to celebrate Mass for us.

fidelisjoff said...

His Holiness may do more to extend the Extraordinary Form than his predecessor. Rather ironic but God has a sense of humour.

Simon Platt said...

This is an interesting post. I have several comments and a question, which I shall combine here:

1. I notice, first, the tiny crucifix; secondly, the large microphone. I don't like either.

2. And then I notice the lack of candles, which I like no better. I gather from your post, Father, that there must have been some clustering at the other end of the altar.

3. I didn't recognise the pope.

4. Not being so familiar with the norvus ordo these days, I wonder: how does one know which of the other fellows - bishops, evidently - is acting as a deacon?

5. Deacon Augustine jokes about Mrs Miggins. I'm afraid that hits a sore spot. I was finally driven away from my geographical parish on 26 July 1998 when my then parish priest, Fr ****** *****, invited me - and the rest of the congregation at 11 a.m. Sunday Mass - to offer the Sacrifice with him. So far as I can tell, I was the only one who objected. Even Bishop Brewer didn't seem bothered.

Katalina said...

We must all keep in mind 2 things about this Pope which a lot of us tend to forget. First he is as another poster pointed out a Jesuit and they ate NOTORIOUS for not following Liturgical Rubrics or other scandals. Secondly he was ordained in 1969 the same year the New Missal came out. He himself unlike the last 2 popes was not present at the Council. I fear the example he is giving to other priests. DO WHATEVER SUITS YOU.

Jacobi said...

Yes it sometimes seems that you can do what you want. But remember that includes the EF!

Also, it includes a Reformed OF, ad orientem, with Canon at least in Latin, with only male altar servers, with reception kneeling and by mouth, without lay distributers (unless there is a very large crowd and no deacons or acolytes are present), without lay readers and bidders, and above all, without the optional, disruptive, artificial, uncomfortable to many, non Catholic, liturgical hand shake as a sign of peace.

More and more I begin to think that the future of the Church lies with the still small in numbers but rapidly growing Traditional orders and otherwise, with the increasing numbers of priests who like Benedict XVI believe that.

“the Church lives and falls with the liturgy”.

It is up to all you priests out there!

Unknown said...

I think most ordinary lay people like myself are open to most things in the liturgy. The scripture, the prayers of the priest should be said reverently. The gestures not too flamboyant and we should all pray together in words, sing some hymns and have some time for silence.
We are celebrating the life, death and resurrection of the Lord, to reduce it to 'say the black and do the red' verges on the superstitious!

Unknown said...

If you want to see what can happen,look at Rorate Caeli,and the Redemptorists in Ireland.Anything goes,it would seem.

ServusMariaeN said...

Father there actually is precedent for your addition of the "Judica me" and the traditional offertory prayers (mutual enrichment if you will):

I would like to be emancipated from such "emancipated liturgical" displays that you describe especially those coming from the eternal city.

Physiocrat said...

What prayers would you say while the choir sings the Introit? Not the ones that begin "Introibo ad altare Dei" by any chance?

This Pope is obviously not continuing the theme developed by Benedict. I have noticed this locally too. Things seem to be falling apart. One priest ordained a few weeks ago REFUSES to say the EF Mass or even to use Latin, even though most people in the local congregations are not 100% with the local vernacular. He doesn't like the people who go to EF Masses and refuses to discuss the matter further, and a Franciscan too. Presumably he will not celebrate Mass on Christmas Eve because of the drunks who might turn up.

One looks enviously in an Easterly direction.

ServusMariaeN said...

Father there actually is precedent for your addition of the "Judica me" and the traditional offertory prayers (mutual enrichment if you will):

I would like to be emancipated from such "emancipated liturgical" displays that you describe especially those coming from the eternal city.

Elizabeth D said...

You know, you could have Blessed Peter and Paul and St John Baptist and St Michael and them in the Confiteor and repeat the "Domine, non sum dignus" a couple of extra times and after Mass for fun you could read the beginning of St John's Gospel in Latin. Just to feel free.

jstab said...

What happened to the obedience that you guys always talked about in following the Holy Father? It took 35 years to get a moderate back on the Chair. Can't we be united in the essentials and not get so crazy about the non-essentials?? The Holy Father just spoke about this yesterday.

Victoria said...

As far as I can remember flowers are not permitted on the altar but then Pope Francis doesn't seem to like rules: he washed the feet of a female on Holy Thursday whilst Canon Law says that it is the feet of men, not boys or women, which can be washed, he spoke scathingly of parish secretaries who ask engaged couples wishing to be married in a parish church if they have a baptismal certificate and today I read on Catholic Culture that his holiness said, there are always people within the Church who live by rules rather than by love. I always thought that Catholicism was a 'both' 'and' religion not an 'either' or 'religion'. Love, and respect for the rules, expecially those for the celebration of the Mass are not mutually exclusive.

I agree with the person who posted that some, seeing the pope so casual about the rules of the Church will see it as a green light for them to lower the bar even further.

Unknown said...

"Who cares if priests are vested properly? It is obviously 'emancipated' to expect concelebrants to wear chasubles, or to expect street clothes the be covered by an amice...."

Maybe, just maybe this pope has figured out that the first step towards de-gaying the Catholic church is to stop letting the priests wear dresses. Probably not, but one can hope!

Magdalene said...


The bowing and not genuflecting was what bothered me the most. I know priests who do that and this just confirms them in their irreverence.

Physiocrat said...

@Elizabeth D
Love your comment, pity there is not a like button. The choir could sing the Sanctus during the Canon and leave out the Acclamation and the Sign of Peace. All just for fun. In fact, you could even use a 1962 Missal, just for fun.

The Bones said...

If the Sacred Liturgy is unimportant and the law of Holy Church is irrelevant then why should people believe that what His Holiness says is either relevant or important? It must be because the Pope is more important than the Mass? Have Catholics ever believed that?

Of course, Pope Francis is the Successor of St Peter, so what he says IS important and relevant, but the message sent out is dangerous because it makes the Pope more relevant and important than Jesus Christ and the Mass, the source and summit of Christian prayer.

I'm not sure that makes sense, but then things don't at the moment.

nickbris said...

About the only thing that sunk in with me when I went to school was that the Pope was our leader and we had to obey every word he said.

Never knew the difference between a Jesuit,Benedictine or Franciscan and I have never been asked whether I approved of the Pope or not.

All this bickering does more damage than all the pederasts & Paedophiles put together

Celia said...

I occasionally tell people that I think Pope Francis would make a good (or at least popular) parish priest. His Mass style would fit right into my parish, so if and when he opts for retirement and is looking for somewhere sufficiently humble and simpatico to hang his papal hat, I can recommend the diocese of Hallam (Mostly S Yorks if you don't know it).

Obedience to the Pope- yes in matters of faith and morals, you don't have to like his views on liturgy. Unlike those who ignored both his predecessors in all matters I will be quite happy to obey Francis when he says something substantive.

Delia said...

He's a Jesuit, not liturgically minded, and naturally perhaps a bit on the sloppy side. I don't think I'd read anything more sinister into it than that. And he's still a new boy, really, and far from home. With our prayers, hopefully he will become more popey.

Cosmos said...


Part of the point of a stable tradition is not having to constantly reassess things that are not broken. It prevents all of this bickering.

The Church is not a dictatorship with an absolute ruler at its head. Each successive leader is supposed to safe-guard what was handed down to him (i.e., the Tradition). In some ways, each successive Pope should be more limited in what he can do than his successor. Decisions have been made, issues have been decided.

There is absolutely no intellectually honest way to embrace the teachings of countless Popes and Saints on the centrality and importance of the liturgy, and then simply tuck them away when our new leaders decide they have a different "style." This would transform our reasonable faith into something based purely on power.

Civil society is abandoning the wisdom of previous genrations by consitently (and arrogantly) replacing the common law--which gives the most respect to ancient laws that have withstood the test of time--with purely positivistic civil codes in which the current law giver is absolutely powerful and the newest laws always control. The Church should not follow suit.

John Nolan said...

Two stubby candles at one end of the altar, a vase of flowers at the other - this is more or less standard Continental practice, and I notice the Wimbledon Js have followed suit in the 1990s wreckovation of their sanctuary.

The Novus Ordo rubrics are pretty lax. If there are three priests concelebrating then there is no reason why at the Per Ipsum the one on the left elevates the paten and the one on the right the chalice; it has the advantage of being symmetrical.

The only ignoring of the rubrics by Pope Francis as far as I can see is in the Preface dialogue where he keeps his hands joined. But wait - the NO has been around for over 40 years, and it is inevitable that local variations creep in; it happened in the Roman Rite. In the Sarum Use, for example, there are no genuflexions at all. Pope Francis does not bow after the elevations; with both hands on the altar he makes an attempt at genuflexion, which I have often seen elderly and arthritic priests do, even in the EF.

The Pope's celebrations do not seem unduly lacking in reverence, in contrast to those of the much-lauded Cardinal Dolan who is a shameless exhibitionist.

I had to live through the worst pontificate of modern times, that of Paul VI. If I can survive that, I can survive this, which is hardly likely to last fifteen years. Assuming I do.

parepidemos said...

Madgalene, Let us not forget that Eastern Rite Catholics and our Orthodox brethren bow rather than genuflect. It is also the tradition in many Benedictine and Trappist monasteries. The reason is simple: bowing is a more ancient practice. I'm a genuflector myself, but bowing is no less reverential. I would prefer a profound bow to a skimpy genuflection any day :)

James K Savonarola said...

just a thought but everyone wants to compare this pontiff with John XXIII, Im a little more concerned that the way things are going he will end up more like Pius IX and have the liberalism knocked out of him

GOR said...

Father, I think you know I have a lot of regard for you – the many endeavors you employ at St. Mary Magdalene’s – for the poor, the hungry, immigrants and the marginalized; your efforts to beautify the church; and your work in promoting the EF. All of which I’m sure have been done at much cost to you and in the face of opposition. Yet, you persevered and, in my book, are successful and a model for any PP.

But this repeated criticism of the Holy Father is unworthy of you. Much like another traditionalist blog, you are providing a forum for people to pile on in criticizing Pope Francis – and they have. This is a lack of respect for the Holy Father. It is beneath you. You’re better than this.

You have thrown out the term ‘ultramontanism’ in a previous reply. The term can have multiple meanings, even as a heresy. I don’t believe the Holy Father is right in all circumstances - outside of ex cathedra pronouncements – none of which have come into play in this papacy as yet.

What I do believe is that Pope Francis’ actions argue against legalism – against the belief that once everything is ‘done by the book’ all is well and we can all go home happy. I believe his thought process comes from his pastoral experience. Rules are important, but the salvation of souls is more important and if rules need to be set aside for the good of souls, then it is the right thing to do – regardless of whether the purists are upset by this.

And Fr. Eamonn if you have never met a Jesuit who values the Liturgy and the rubrics, then you haven’t met many Jesuits. I spent four years with them in Rome and two in Milltown Park, Dublin – where I was the only non-Jesuit student many years ago. There were devout and holy men among them – men whose Masses inspired devotion and who were meticulous about the rubrics. Not all of them, of course - but beware of lumping all Jesuits into a single category. We hear about the ‘bad’ ones - seldom about the ‘good’ ones.

Arun said...

Re your comments and rather subtle attack on the Holy Father at Mass, it is very obvious that Papa Francesco has very bad knee problems. This has been very obvious since his election and whilst he has knelt in the Church of Mary Major very publicly, he cannot genuflect easily. This is seen in his public masses in the piazza San Pietro where he bows deeply after the consecration.
These very obvious attacks on him are very cheap and in the end he is the elected Pontiff. His deep bowing after the consecrstion is a sign of his deep reverence. And it ought be known that in his last years as pope John Paul II could not genuflect due to his physical problems.
Rushes to judgement on the Bishop of Rome are rash and fail to see the reality. This pope is a holy man, the Vicar of Christ. His deep reverence for the Blessed Sacrament is very obvious.
PLease no more attacks .

Unknown said...

PF has given a green light for more liturgical garbage. Here in the Galloway Diocese in Scotland you cannot find a TLM for love nor money!!, but you can sure get your fill of Father Community doing what ever he pleases and preaching heretical sermons. Oh the fruits of V11!!

Fr Ray Blake said...

GOR/ Arun
No, it is about my confusion, not an attack on HH.
In the liturgy especially we have a "hermeneutic of discontinuity", it appears we have gone back forty years.
This is not about "t/Traditionalism" but the interpretation of Church's Law, not just its Liturgical Law but its Moral Law too, and if that is for question, then what about doctrine.

Arun. I am not being subtle, I am asking the old Catholic question: How far can we go? This wasn't a question we needed to ask three months ago, it is necessary under Pope Francis. Possibly it is a question he is deliberately provoking, it has very serious dogmatic, pastoral and practical implications, that impact on the whole life and order of the Church.

It is something that is of serious significance.

parepidemos said...

fizz wizz,

If you can provide a concrete and verifiable example of heresy in a homily by a Galloway priest, do tell. Bishop Cunningham is a family friend and I know that he is quite orthodox. Remember: concrete and verifiable.

Physiocrat said...

His choice of vestments alone must be regarded as a very firm rejection of the liturgical style that Cardinal Razinger/Pope Benedict had been promoting, with his emphasis on the need for "The Reform of the Reform". There is nothing more to be said on that issue - it is just a matter of getting on with it.

What is to be made of Francis's style is another matter. The church has many other tasks too, such as to sort out the deficiences in the Social Teaching. Benedict made a start on that with Caritas in Veritate.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

You must remember two things about Francis.

First, he's a Jesuit, which means that he's more into intellectual fashion than the average devout Catholic.

Second, Francis is the logical result of the past 50 years of bastardizing Vatican II. The Catholic Church was bound to get a pope like this, whether Francis or somebody else. Francis' Jesuit background merely adds to the confusion.

Physiocrat said...

@Joseph D'Hippolito

Where else is there to go? Francis is the successor of Peter. There have been much, much worse. The point is that at a local level we should work to ensure that the relevant regulations are complied with, eg Sacrosanctum Concilium, GIRM, etc.

Unknown said...

"Where else is there to go? Francis is the successor of Peter."

There is no successor to Peter.

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