Mass for deceased Pontiffs

Today in St. Peter’s Basilica, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass in suffrage of his predecessors.

Note the color of vestments: red.

Red is used for Masses and funerals for Popes in this manner.

Also, today was, nisi fallor, the first Mass fully guided by the new papal M.C., Mons. Guido Marini.

If anyone was wondering, the M.C. is setting a new standard for choir dress:

 

 

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.

44 Responses to Mass for deceased Pontiffs

  1. John says:

    Father,

    Your comment about the new Papal MC reminded me of a question-I went to my first Traditional Ma
    Mass yesterday. It was great. I was wondering-Can the Traditional Latin mass be said entirely in English?

    Thank you.

  2. danphunter1 says:

    Father,
    Did you notice the Holy Father wearing any traditional vestments or any change for the better in the mass?
    God bless you.

  3. Friedrich says:

    in 2005 and 2006 the pope used also red vestments for the Requiem mass in November.
    BUT!!!!!!! in 2007 he used also a red pontifical dalmatic and a classic alba!!
    And on the altar a classic altarcross etc.

  4. I was wondering-Can the Traditional Latin mass be said entirely in English?

    I think you mean “may” the TLM be said entirely in English?

    As far as I know, the vernacular is not allowed for the proper parts of the Mass (ie, everything in the Mass but the sermon). For the 1962 Missal, everything is done in Latin except for the Kyrie, which is in Greek.

  5. My question about the Mass is: were instituted lectors actually used for the readings? Or is there still lay readers (usually at least one being a woman) doing the readings at the Mass?

    I had heard several years ago, there was a controversy because an instituted lector was not allowed to read, but a lay reader was. I’m not sure if it was at Saint Peter’s or if it was at another basilicia or cathedral.

  6. Adam says:

    Well well well…..no radical changes, developments with the new Marini era, except that he was wearing a LACE surplice which is a change from the all white material that his predecessor and the assistant MCs w were all wearing today. But what were people expecting? Massive changes? I think not as theese will be gradual I am sure. What is needed is a radical overhaul of the music, bringing in more
    latin chants and more male voices and not children squarking out.
    But overall this was a normal papal mass at the cathedra chair.
    One ought watch to see what happens at Christmas and New Year’s day for any possible
    developments. Perhaps there could be some surprises at Midnight Mass in December
    and that would be a big bombshell. Who knows except BXI himself.
    But let’s not get too hung up on the new Marini lace surplice. perhaps he just hasn’t
    had the time for a newly fitted Roman model a la +Marini I. Adam

  7. fxavier says:

    Looks like His Holiness is also following custom by wearing a simple mitre, albeit one with gold trim, as this Mass is the Novus Ordo equivalent of a Traditional Requiem Mass.

  8. Berolinensis says:

    I say that is a very decent beginning. Adam, I think you missed what Friedrich said: look at the Holy Father himself: a lace alb (the cuffs seems to have some kind of gold lace) and the pontifical dalmatic (which, admittedly, he had already begun wearing in the last days of Msgr. Piero, and an altar Cross in the centre of the altar, just as then-Cardinal Ratzinger suggested in his “Spirit of the Liturgy”. Also, maybe I didn’t watch so closely before, but were there always so many communicants receiving on the tongue, with a communion paten being used?
    So, the chasuble wasn’t great, and we still had the obligatory woman reading, but all in all, a very promising start – let’s hope there’s more to come!

  9. Matthew Mattingly says:

    The fact that there was a classical crucifix in the center of the altar (and not off to the side), that the Pope wore a red pontifical dalmatic and a classical alb rather than the plain white that looks like bedsheets, and the fact that Msgr. Marini wore a lace surplice are all indicators of a better direction. A crucifix in the middel of the altar would NEVER have been done by Archbishop Piero. Nor would the Pope wear the dalmatic, nor a fancy classical alb.
    The chasuable was not terribly ugly as usuall, and I don’t think it was another John Paul II “hand-me-down”. The red chasuables worn by the concelebrants were better than the usuall horrible “African style: patterned red chasubles previously worn by concelebrants when red was used.
    So all these are small improvements. The very fact that Monsignor Marini wore a lace surplice is a good sign. The liturgical hacks who are hold-overs from Piero Marini’s term used the plain white surplices. It was probably a statement from them of non-conformity with the new regime.

  10. TNCath says:

    I seem to remember that there has always been a crucifix at the Altar of the Chair. The chasuble looks decent enough, but I can’t tell if the Holy Father is wearing a dalmatic. Are there any other photos available other than the one on this site?

  11. EJ says:

    “The very fact that Monsignor Marini wore a lace surplice is a good sign.”

    I’ll try to not read too much into that statement, but then again I don’t interpret good signs in the church today based on the inclusion or exclusion of lace – some of those “bedsheets” are made from linen or very fine and worthy fabric – there’s room in the church for those who prefer anything pre-baroque. Some lace patterns can look beautiful on vestments and altar cloths. I’ve also seen alot of cheap lace used in albs, rochets, surplices, chapel veils – that are as beautiful as the net material I catch my aquarium fish with…or ones with very silly or excessively flowery (effeminate) patterns. Let’s not equate beauty or quality simply with lace, that’s very short-sighted.

  12. EJ says:

    Does anyone have a link to more pictures of this event today?

  13. Matthew Mattingly says:

    Everyone go to http://www.catholicphotopress.com, and click on the most recent photo addition (where the Pope is dressed in red). Look thru all the pictures, but click the photo that shows the Altar of the Chair. I think you’ll all be thrilled!!!!!!!! I was.
    Not only has that horrible portable altar been “dressed up” with fine linen altarcloths, but there are 6 tall golden candles (3 on each side) and a Crucifix in the middle….just like a pre-Vatican II altar!!! It makes even that portable altar look “Catholic”…and I didn’t think there was any way to make it beautiful, being such an ugly piece of art to start.

  14. CAPPELLA PAPALE IN SUFFRAGIO DEI CARDINALI E VESCOVI DEFUNTI NEL CORSO DELL’ANNO

    Alle 11.30 di questa mattina, nella Basilica Vaticana, il Santo Padre Benedetto XVI presiede la Celebrazione Eucaristica in suffragio dei Cardinali e dei Vescovi defunti nel corso dell’anno.

    Not a mass for deceased pontiffs then?

  15. RBrown says:

    My question about the Mass is: were instituted lectors actually used for the readings? Or is there still lay readers (usually at least one being a woman) doing the readings at the Mass?

    I had heard several years ago, there was a controversy because an instituted lector was not allowed to read, but a lay reader was. I’m not sure if it was at Saint Peter’s or if it was at another basilicia or cathedral.
    Comment by Roman Sacristan

    I understand your point, but lector and acolyte are now known as Lay Ministries.

  16. MSusa says:

    What is that behind the Pope?

  17. Papabile says:

    RBrown:

    Um…. NO. Lector and Acolyte are STILL reserved to men only. They are not lay ministries, but instituted ones. They are canonically reserved to males.

    You could say the “lay ministries” are creating something along the lines of “straw lectors and straw acolytes”.

  18. Berolinensis says:

    Lover of Futility:

    No, it was the customary Mass for the Cardinals and and Bishops departed since last year.

  19. Athanasius says:

    The confusion arises because the word pontifiex is applied to Bishops as well as Popes. The Pope is the “supreme Pontiff or pontifex maximus. As such, anything “pontifical” refers to Bishops in general.

  20. Why, I do declare! Is that watered silk? It certainly appears to be a real silk, and not polyester. Beautiful.

  21. Berolinensis says:

    The excellent blog creer en México has a very good comparison of this occasion over the last years: http://creerenmexico.org/2007/11/papasymarinis-2/ Please note the candlesticks.

    Athanasius: What are you referring to? Who was speaking about pontifices/pontifical?

  22. Athanasius says:

    LoF was confused about the Mass for deceased pontiffs, he/she thought it was for deceased Popes because of the name “Pontifical” and then saw that it was for deceased Bishops and Cardinals. So I pointed out that in English the exclusive use of the word pontifical for Papal deeds created the confusion.

  23. Berolinensis says:

    Athanasius: I think LoF was confused by Father’s headline “Mass for deceased Pontiffs” and the first sentence of the post, “Today in St. Peter’s Basilica, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass in suffrage of his predecessors”.

  24. Athanasius says:

    lol. Oh well, never mind then LoF!

  25. Berolinensis says:

    Glad we agree, Athanasius ;-) And no offence, Father.

  26. Marianopolis says:

    Has someone managed to find some Brioschi for poor Matthew Mattingly?

  27. Jon says:

    Does anyone have more websites that provide photos of today’s Mass?

    Thanks for the sites listed so far.

  28. MSusa says:

    What is the black and white “stuff” behind the pope in the first picture? Anyone?

  29. Athanasius says:

    Looks like marble, like from some sort of pillar.

  30. Michael says:

    The black and white marble behind the Pope is what is left of Bernini’s magnificnt altar, torn out by Cardinal Noe in the 90s. The dark marble was contrasted nicely with the off white color of the altar. The entire arrangement that’s there today is awkward and distracting, and seems unbalanced without the altar and candlesticks he designed for it. Here’s what Bernini intended for it to look like:

    http://www.christusrex.org/www1/citta/B-Cathedra.jpg

  31. Michael says:

    The black and white marble behind the Pope is what is left of Bernini\’s magnificnt altar, torn out by Cardinal Noe in the 90s. The dark marble contrasted nicely with the off white color of the altar. The entire arrangement that\’s there today is awkward and distracting, and seems unbalanced without the altar and candlesticks he designed for it. Here\’s what Bernini intended for it to look like:

    http://www.christusrex.org/www1/citta/B-Cathedra.jpg

  32. Hardman Window says:

    Dan Hunter said: \”His mitre is as plain and as small as it gets.
    Is there some reason for this lack of beauty and banal vesture?\”

    In fact the mitre is the traditional Papal \”mitra simplex\” appropriate for Masses for the Dead, and IMHO is the best thing about the whole ensemble.

  33. Michael said: “The black and white marble behind the Pope is what is left of Bernini’s magnificnt altar, torn out by Cardinal Noe in the 90s. The dark marble contrasted nicely with the off white color of the altar. The entire arrangement that’s there today is awkward and distracting, and seems unbalanced without the altar and candlesticks he designed for it.”

    Wow, Bernini’s altar needs to be restored. That thing altar they have now is hideous.

    RBrown said: I understand your point, but lector and acolyte are now known as Lay Ministries.

    Yes and no. Only men can be instituted as lectors and acolytes. If they are available, then they have the right to carry out their ministries. It is only when these are not available that a lay man or woman may “fill in” for that ministry. However, no lay person has a right to be a reader or a server. Only clerics and those officially instituted (which I believe has to be by a bishop) have a right to perform the role proper to their ministry in the Mass.

    I say this because Rome is full of seminarians, many of whom are instituted lectors and acolytes. I would think they would be readily available for a papal Mass, and thus they should be the ones doing the readings.

  34. Fr. A says:

    I note that those wearing what has been called the pleated Roman style albs and surplices now look strangely out of style (old fashioned, if you will) compared to the beautiful lace surplices and albs being worn by the Holy Father and those clerics who pay attention to such things.

  35. I was in attendance at that Mass, and the ten altar servers which one may see throughout the pictures are all seminarians from St. John Vianney Seminary in St. Paul, MN. I am studying with them here in Rome this semester, and you shoulda seen them glow after serving that beautifully traditional Mass for the Holy Father. They did us all proud.

  36. RBrown says:

    Yes and no. Only men can be instituted as lectors and acolytes. If they are available, then they have the right to carry out their ministries. It is only when these are not available that a lay man or woman may “fill in” for that ministry. However, no lay person has a right to be a reader or a server. Only clerics and those officially instituted (which I believe has to be by a bishop) have a right to perform the role proper to their ministry in the Mass.

    My point is that even someone who has been instituted a lector or acolyte is still known as a Lay Minister.

    Does that make sense? Not really. But it’s according to Ministeria Quaedam (and its juridical offspring, canon 230), so maybe we can’t expect it to make sense.

    I say this because Rome is full of seminarians, many of whom are instituted lectors and acolytes. I would think they would be readily available for a papal Mass, and thus they should be the ones doing the readings.
    Comment by Roman Sacristan

    I understand your point–those seminarians are nevertheless still in a lay ministry.

  37. Aq says:

    The cross is ON the altar, in its centre. But don’t you find it even more exciting that the cross on the altar is faced towards the celebrant, not the faithful? A more ‘pastoral’ arrangement would be the opposite, no?

  38. Henry Edwards says:

    My point is that even someone who has been instituted a lector or acolyte is still known as a Lay Minister.

    Whether or not they are lay ministers juridically — and I understand they are — it might be best not to insist on wide usage of this term in general discussion. Because the term “lay minister” in English has come in American Catholic church usage to have rather different connotations — we is all ministers (and beautiful, no doubt) in our own way — than are commonly associated with instituted acolytes and lectors.

    Meaning is determined by usage. Just another (albeit minor) illustration of the dangers of over-reliance on a changing vernacular language for juridical and liturgical use.

  39. Different says:

    Dan,

    Pope Benedict’s crozier is the same one used by Pope John Paul II (and maybe also Paul VI). It is from a sketch of the crucified Christ by St. John of the Cross in the late 1500′s.

  40. Fr. A: the pleated Roman style albs and surplices now look strangely out of style

    That is what I thought too. It is interesting that the in the clerical shops in Rome, you still see the pleated style (which I really don’t mind), but more and more you see the older styles with lace. Now that some very good lace is machine made, the price is coming down. When you get to the hand made lace, however, … that is pretty spendy. Pretty, but pretty spendy.

  41. Bernard says:

    Berolinensis & Michael, thanks for those links which illustrate our Holy Fathers work of restoration.
    Berninis Altar was in place until the 1990s? What a tradgedy to be replaced so recently by that
    table thing. Also a good shot of the Altar of the Confession “renovated” in the 60s I think?

  42. RBrown says:

    Whether or not they are lay ministers juridically—and I understand they are—it might be best not to insist on wide usage of this term in general discussion. Because the term “lay minister” in English has come in American Catholic church usage to have rather different connotations—we is all ministers (and beautiful, no doubt) in our own way—than are commonly associated with instituted acolytes and lectors.

    I totally agree with your sentiment, but the problems with the use of “Lay Minister” are simply the consequences of the mess that is Ministeria Quaedam. Not using the phrase simply ignores the mess.

    As a friend from English college once said: You are told that it is another step toward the priesthood, you make a formal request to the bishop, receive a dimissorial letter, and then comes the day–there is a formal rite . . . and what do you receive? A Lay Ministry.

    Meaning is determined by usage. Just another (albeit minor) illustration of the dangers of over-reliance on a changing vernacular language for juridical and liturgical use.
    Comment by Henry Edwards

    Agree, and in this case the usage is determined by a Papal document and the CIC.

  43. Sam says:

    Now, if His Excellency would just get rid of that ghastly bent crucifix…