Palm Sunday: Benedict XVI’s vestments with the design of Leo X (+1521)

Here is a fascinating piece from Petrus.  My translation, emphases.

For Palm Sunday the Pope will wear vestments with the coat-of-arms of the Medici Pope, Leo X

CITTA’ DEL VATICANO –

On Palm Sunday, 16 March next, Benedict XVI will put on a series of sacred vestments which reproduce the fabric and coat-of-arms of the Medici Pope Leo X.  This will be a damask of red silk and gold thread, with brocade details recalling the heraldic motifs of the family that governed Florence for centuries, namely, the three rings with the diamond point, united in concentric circles and contained within a double-lobed leaf.  In effect, Benedict XVI will be dressed like Giovanni de’ Medici, son of Lorenzo the Magnificent, when he became Pope Leo X, 11 March 1513.  This is an advance notice from Il Giornale della Toscana.  After having carried out for Ash Wednesday, for the Office of the Master of Ceremonies of the Vatican, a lampasso [FR. Z: a fabric woven of both silk and gold thread] (a fabric of great value) brocade of violet which bore the heraldic emblems of Pope Paul V, Borgehese, the director of the company "Tridentinum" of Ferrara, Pietro Siffi, suggested some months ago a reproduction of fabric that was developed for the ascent of Giovanni de’ Medici to the pontifical throne.  The proposal forms part of an initiative to reappraise certain practically forgotten Roman vestments.  Benedict XVI on Palm Sunday will wear a chasuble, dalmatic, cope and varies other parts made precisely with this fabric and coat of arms.  And with him the 7 deacons who will accompany him, for a total of 30 pieces.  The original fabric, made for the ascent of Leo X to the pontifical throne, is held by the Frati Servi di Maria in the Basilica della Santissima Annunziate in Florence.

Several observations.

1) The historic vestments used by the Pope are not all being taken from the dusty cabinets which had been locked up for so long under the term of Mons. Piero Marini.  They are also being commissioned.

 

2) There is a purposeful plan to "resurrect" historical fabrics and styles of vestments. 

I think the Holy Father is saying something by commissioning new vestments of old styles and ancient fabrics.  The very fabric and vestments he wears seem to reflect the principle of a hermeneutic of continuity: old treasures, made present as a guide into the future.  So, there is an organic development taking place in his choice of important vestments for important occasions.

While I love the idea of simply drawing forth the splendors that have been so long locked up, rather than spending what must be a not small amount of money, I also am pleased to see the Holy See becoming again a patron of fine works at this level of skill.  I know that in the past many vestments were commissioned, but very many of them were not really very successful.  Those which were acceptable were forgettable while those which were memorable were apalling.  Holy Church has been the greatest patroness of the arts the world has ever known.  That is harder to realize today, because the formation of artists is so lacking now.  But it is time to get back into the game.

I am also interested to see the name of Pietro Siffi.  This is the fellow who reproduced the Italian language liturgical manual for the 1962 edition of the Missale Romanum by Ludovico Trimeloni, the Compendio di Liturgia Pratica today (Milano: Marietti 1829, 2007).  I wrote about it here and other places on this blog.  Siffi also has a little book out called, La Messa di San Pio V: osservazioni sul rito tridentino in risposta ai critici del motu proprio, an apologetic work about the older form of Mass as a response to critics of Summorum Pontificum.  So, this fellow is now working hand in glove with the Master of Ceremonies, Mons. Guido Marini and with the Roman Pontiff, in what seems more and more to be a coordinated projected.

I keep writing about a Marshall Plan.  I think we are seeing another part of it. 

Say what you want about other aspects of this Holy Father’s administration, which perhaps has not yet addressed some issues that need addressing, but he is certainly pushing ahead that all important tip of the spear, which is the liturgy.

Finally, Pope Leo X, whose body is found in Santa Maria sopra Minerva near the Pantheon, is the one who excommunicated Martin Luther.

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67 Responses to Palm Sunday: Benedict XVI’s vestments with the design of Leo X (+1521)

  1. Michael says:

    To be honest, as much as I love seeing beautiful vestments, I don’t know what I think of the MC picking random points in the history of the liturgy and trying to duplicate the vestments that existed at that time period. Clearly the clerics whose vestments he’s using weren’t doing the same. Otherwise we’d have both conical chasubles and fiddlebacks with the arms of Leo X sitting in an old drawer. The liturgies are starting to look a lot less organic and more artificial. The pope seems to be redefining liturgical tradition as what was ever done instead of what was handed down to us. Obviously, the first stage in all of this was the resurrection of the Gothic chasuble in the nineteenth century. But at least the nineteenth century clerics were relatively consistent with their designs. They picked one spot on the spectrum and stuck with it, not jumping through the centuries with every Mass. If this were the principle of clerics in the past, we could never have watched the shape of the chasuble develop. Clearly, clerics felt the need to preserve what their immediate predecessors did, not those practices of the distant ancestors that had been abandoned long before they were even born.

  2. Blogger says:

    Readers may also be interested to know that Msgr. Marini’s surplice is from Tridentinum as well.

  3. Matthew Mattingly says:

    I think its ridiculous for anyone to complain about the new series of vestments that the new Papal MC, Msgr. Guido Marini and Pope Benedict XVI are deciding upon. The ceremonies and the vestments done under the new MC have been awesome….a reminder of the beauty and glories of Catholicism and the Papal Court before the liturgical (and everything else), disaster of Vatican II and the 40 years that came after it.
    I can’t believe anyone falutfinding the tremendous ceremonies, and beautiful vestments either already worn by Benedict XVI or planned for Palm Sunday and other times….when all we have to do is remember the garbage (literally) that John Paul II was content to wear under Piero Marini, and the horrible, circus-like ceremonies he presided over. Many were a disgrace, and an affront to Catholic tradition (ecumemnical services, dancing warriors and INdian pagan temple dancers at St. Peter’s). REMEMBER all this, before complaining about our tremendous present Pope, and the magnificent liturgical restoration He’s comissioned and lead.
    I would hate to go back to the JP II style vestments, and to the fabricated, anything goes Masses that epitomized his reign.

  4. TNCath says:

    I can’t wait to see what Msgr. Marini brings to the U.S. for the Pope to wear.

  5. Michael: I don’t know what I think of the MC picking random points in the history of the liturgy and trying to duplicate the vestments that existed at that time period

    You assume that this choice of “random”. I don’t know about that.

  6. jack burton says:

    My thoughts exactly Matthew Mattingly. I half wondered if the critical comment was a joke. Isn’t there a popular stereotype that paints traditionalists as addicts to petty criticism for its own sake? A few short months without the tie-dye circus vestments of Marini I and people are already picking away at Marini II. Geez.

  7. You assume that this choice of “random”. I don’t know about that.

    *tongue in cheek*

    Oh dear! It might be happier if it were random. Leo X (“Since God has given us the papacy, let us enjoy it.”) isn’t necessarily the most fortunate Pope one could make reference to.

  8. Zadok: He did have his high points, however!

  9. Michael says:

    Yes, the vestments are superior to anything worn in the past 40 years. My point was that as the minimalist/modernist approach to vestment design is being abolished, an new form of antiquarianism is replacing it, which is also less than ideal. Benedict seems to be reaching farther back in history than the time before the council. But the design of vestments has historically been characterized by received tradition, which included local customs. The vestments, like the liturgical books, developed organically. He’s yet to wear a Roman vestment, the style worn by his predecessors going back 300 years. These new vestments remind me more of the Borgia popes than Pius XII.

    To the world, these liturgies are probably starting to look like historical reenactments. Benedict doesn’t have to reinvent the Roman liturgical tradition, he just has resuscitate something that has been dormant for 40 years. Instead, he’s trying to redefine liturgical tradition by resurrecting elements from the distant past. Will the magnificent papal liturgies of the twentieth century be left to die as Benedict becomes the architect of a new papal liturgy, composed of elements that haven’t been part of a living tradition in hundreds of years? There’s a danger in this approach. We remember papal Masses from teh 60s. We have videos, photographs, all the liturgical books, and many people are still alive who participated and assisted at them. When we try to resurrect something from so long ago, all we can do is recreate what historians thought was there, a dangerous move.

  10. TNCath says:

    Michael wrote: “He’s yet to wear a Roman vestment, the style worn by his predecessors going back 300 years. These new vestments remind me more of the Borgia popes than Pius XII.”

    Weren’t the vestments Pope Benedict wore on Ash Wednesday Roman style?

  11. Brethren,

    Let us rejoice that the restoration of the Beautiful to the Sacred is in progress. Nit picking about liturgical design is really missing the point of the Restoration.

  12. Matt says:

    I wish he would wear the Papal crown/tiara.

    Maybe that will be part of the plan someday.

    Matt

  13. Tom says:

    Father Z wrote: “I keep writing about a Marshall Plan. I think we are seeing another part of it.”

    Father, does the “Marshall Plan” that you envision include the offering of the Traditional Latin Mass by the Holy Father?

    Also…has the Pope actually delineated his Marshall Plan?

    The Pope’s actions have made it clear that he supports Communion in the hand, Altar girls, Mass versus populum, multiple Eucharistic Prayers…the Novus Ordo.

    Based upon his actions, not upon our theories, the Pope’s Marshall Plan has featured Summorum Pontificum (however, he has refused to offer the TLM) while maintaining the Novus Ordo and novelties associated with the Novus Ordo.

    My questions and comments are not meant to be combative.

    I simply question whether the Pope has actually delineated a liturgical Marshall Plan.

    Are we projecting our desires onto a mythical Marshall Plan?

    After all, the Pope has made it clear that the Novus Ordo will remain as the Mass that 99 percent of Latin Catholics encounter daily and Sunday.

  14. I really rather think it makes sense to take back this form of the fiddleback
    (ie, the Renaissance one), considering it is fuller and less attenuated in form than
    the sandwich-board chausibles commonly called “Roman.” The cut splits the
    difference between Gothic and Baroque and gives an ampleness lacking in many 18th
    and 19th c. examples. If we are going to say he looks like a Borgia pope, we can also
    say he looks like Cardinal Bellarmine, Charles Borromeo or Philip Neri!

    Also, I have absolutely no idea what they are referring to in regards to Medici
    insignia. The Medici arms are six balls arranged roughly in an ellipse with three
    fleur-de-lys at top. Perhaps someone better versed in their subsidiary badges and
    other devices can fill me in.

    And frankly I think a lot of our carping today is due to the American phobia of
    ceremonial. In terms of “historical reenactments,” the lavishness of current
    papal ceremonial is child’s play in comparison to the old solemn high papal mass.
    It is right to consider first principles at some point, and some critical reception
    of such decisions is valid, but at the same time I’d encourage folks to just loosen
    up a bit and go with the flow. We live in a beauty-starved age, and a little triumphalism
    never killed anyone. Most folks outside the Church who don’t know
    our customs will think the Pope’s garb
    strange and quaint whether he is wearing a polyester chausible or a silk one.
    No compromise will really satisfy them, so why not simply go for the gold?

  15. Father Bartoloma says:

    I’d like to get some vestments from Tridentinum, unfortunately I didn’t win the Mega Millions Jackpot.

  16. Gregor says:

    Matthew (of the Holy Whapping): Like so often (boring, isn’t it?) I agree with you (although i also like the later 18th/19th “Baßgeige”, as we call it in German – not least because there are so many wonderful examples of them here in Mitteleuropa). Let’s restore beauty and solemnity to papal celebrations first and look at the deeper principles (and I’m not saying Michael’s point isn’t woth thinking about) later, when the polyester age is definitively over.

    Like you I am somewhat puzzled at the Medici emblems referred to. BTW, what you called “balls” in the Medici arms are actually pills (pills – Medici – got it?).

  17. vincentius says:

    Tom-
    As the one who coined the Marshall Plan euphamism ( which Fr.Z has so eloquently refined and promoted),I want to clarify why I chose it. If you look at the post war periods of the two world wars it is striking how different the Versailles treaty was from the post WWII rebuilding. The former was vindictive,punitive,heartless to the vanquished. A Scipio Africanus approach.(kind of like the post concilliar “progressives” toward the traditionalists). The Marshall Plan on the other hand was kind to the vanquished, magnanimous but maintained the idea of establishing or re-establishing democratic states- in short quite Christian.And it began 3 generations of sustained peach unlike Versailles
    So lets keep this in mind when B XVI goes forward with restoring The Church slowly but surely. Wheter MP stands for the Motu Proprio and or the Marshall Plan let’s keep praying.

  18. Angelo says:

    “Finally, Pope Leo X, whose body is found in Santa Maria sopra Minerva near the Pantheon, is the one who excommunicated Martin Luther.”

    Yes with the Papal Bull Exsurge Domine, 15 June 1520.
    http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo10/l10exdom.htm

    He also wrote the beautiful prayer to be recited (optional)
    after the Divine Office:

    Sacrosanctae et individuae Trinitati, crucifixi Domini nostri
    Jesu Christi humanitati; beatissimae et gloriosissimae semperque
    Virginis Mariae fecundae integritati et omnium Sanctorum
    universitati sit sempiterna laud, honor, virtus et gloria
    ab amni creatura, nobisques remmissio omnium peccatorum,
    per infinita saecula saeculorum.
    R. Amen.
    V.Beata viscera Mariae Virginis, quae portaverunt aeterni Patris
    Filium.
    R. Et beata ubera, quae lactaveunt Christum Dominum.
    Pater & Ave said silently

  19. We speak of preparing new vestments which are copies of older ones stored away in some nook of St. Peter’s sacristy. Now, are we sure that these old vestments still exist? Considering that a large chunk of the Vatican Basilica was removed and seemingly destroyed, i.e. the Baroque Altar of the Chair in the apse, who’s to say that many of the former vestments in the papal treasury weren’t destroyed or transformed or sold amidst the terror of the late 60s and into recent years? Father Zuhlsdorf, do you have any insights?

  20. Rom: “Marshall Plan” is my term applied to what I believe His Holiness is trying to do, long range. I base my idea of his “Marshall Plan” on my extensive reading of his works and on my own conversations with him before his election.

  21. Matthew of the Holy Whapping: Good comments about triumphalism.

    this form of the fiddleback

    Not really a fiddleback.

  22. David O'Rourke says:

    Frankly, I’d be happy wqith the vestments worn by Paul VI for his corontation. ALL of them although the tiara he wore has fortunately been given away.

  23. Zadok: He did have his high points, however!

    Oh yes… My tongue was very firmly lodged in my cheek with that comment.

  24. Christine says:

    I do wish people would stop picking on the Borgia popes. Calixtus III was a fine pope. Tried to start a crusade to take back Constantinople,
    which had just fallen. And, I bet St. Francis Borgia had spectacular vestments, with a hair shirt under them. OK, so he was the Black Pope. Matthew, excellent points.

  25. LOL! Wonderful. I’m laughing because Leo X in an increasingly important character in my little passtime (the TRILOGY). Leo X will explode onto the scene during a yet to be put up on the blog sitting of the Inquisition. From what I know about Leo X, he is extremely appropriate for today in so many, many ways. I am scheduled to meet multiple times this year with the present successor of Peter. I am tempted to congratulate him for this choice of vestments. But there is the rest of the spear to discuss!

  26. Rouxfus says:

    What would Jesus wear?

  27. Cory says:

    “The Pope’s actions have made it clear that he supports Communion in the hand, Altar girls, Mass versus populum, multiple Eucharistic Prayers…the Novus Ordo.”

    Ummm…about that. Read Spirit of the Liturgy. It’s clear that he doesn’t support ANY of that. He devotes almost a whole chapter to Mass ad orientem.

  28. Cory says:

    (continued from my last post; computer was acting weird)

    Rather, I think the Holy Father is trying to work at this bit by bit (brick by brick as Fr. Z says), instead of just imposing everything all at once. These things take time and gradual effort, otherwise they will not be well received. Just be patience.

  29. Cory says:

    (continuing from what I was saying; computer was acting weird)

    Rather, I think the Holy Father is trying to work at this bit by bit (brick by brick as Fr. Z says), instead of just imposing everything all at once. These things take time and gradual effort, otherwise they will not be well received. Just be patience.

  30. Cory says:

    (continuing from what I was saying; computer was acting weird)

    Rather, I think the Holy Father is trying to work at this bit by bit (brick by brick as Fr. Z says), instead of just imposing everything all at once. These things take time and gradual effort, otherwise they will not be well received. Just be patient.

  31. Jonathan Bennett says:

    I do not see why anyone would object to this. I do not think that the Pope should be limited to the style that existed at the time of the Council, or immiediately before, anymore then he should be limited to that of the reign of John Paul II under Marini I. This is far from Antiquarianism- His Holiness is showing us that there is nothing wrong with a plurality of styles in liturgucal art, architecture and vestiture and that we should not create a tomb around ourselves by espousing any one style and time period and limiting ourselves to that. The Holy Father is trying to demonstrate that there exists (to use a term favored by Fr. Zuhlsdorf) a continuity throughout Catholic history.

  32. I suppose it is not a fiddleback. I was trying to find a word that conveys “not a
    Gothic chausuble.” Is there a more precise term that covers all varieties of
    this form? Roman cut?

  33. Hung Doan says:

    I can’t seem to find the posts here and at NLM, but were the vestments that His Holiness wore for Ash Wednesday commissioned or from the dusty cabinets? Now I’m very curious, especially the prized fabrics!! Any information here (including links) would be most appreciated!

  34. Michael says:

    Regarding a plurality of styles, the history of the development of a vestment like the chasuble cannot be broken down into styles. There’s the conical, the fiddleback, and everything in between. Why one form in the sixteenth century should be considered a different style does not take into account that the design of chasuble, particularly during this period, were changing all the time. I don’t think we can point to styles or movements like we can with architecture or art.

  35. Berthold says:

    I am wondering about the 7 Deacons mentioned in the article. To my knowledge the traditional Papal High Mass has three Cardinal Deacons (one to sing the Gospel, two to assist at the throne) and one Greek-Rite Deacon, the last masses by Pope Benedict had 2 Cardinal Deacons and two ‘normal’ Deacons. But seven, that is more reminiscent of Maundy Thursday or of the Primate’s Mass in Lyons. Maybe the author referred to the 7 Acolytes carrying candles in front of the pope, an early-Christian habit which has (according to the photos) been revived at Epiphany. In any case, one can look forward to it.

  36. surge says:

    7 deacons ?

    Perhaps two ceremonial Cardinal deacons, two real Deacons – one for the Gospel before the procession and one at the Altar – and three singing Deacons for the chanting of the Passion.

  37. Derik Castillo says:

    I agree with Jonathan Bennett. HH is perhaps trying
    to teach us that we can learn from the very rich
    history of the Roman Catholic Church. HH is not wearing
    the vestments just because they are of his liking, he
    is teaching and we should pay attention to him.

  38. Jamie says:

    Slightly off-topic here. Does anyone what type of priest would be allowed to wear a black chimere (or zimarra or simarre or simar)? It is the short cape worn by Bishops and also worn (in black) by Anglican “priests” – it is very rarely seen on a Catholic priest but I know of one who wears one – he also has a special ring which he is allowed to wear (but he doesn’t) – he is now retired but he always wears the chimere over his cassock. I believe he has some jurisdiction in Canon Law but I am not sure. So, the question is, when is a priest allowed to wear it?

  39. Maureen says:

    I think we need to look at what the connection is between Palm Sunday and Leo X, or between this year and Leo X. Of course, the Holy Father or his assistants will probably put out a press release explaining it all. Or at least some of it.

    Here’s Leo X’s arms. Not concentric circles!
    http://members.tripod.com/romeartlover/Leone10.jpg

    Leo XI has a sorta circle of circles:
    http://members.tripod.com/romeartlover/Leo11.jpg

  40. Jonathan Bennett says:

    Jamie,

    Some priests in religious orders are allowed certain privileges like this. For example, the priests and seminarians of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest are allowed to wear this piece.

  41. Has everyone forgotten so soon the blue and yellow vestments worn at Mariazell ?
    Would people rather see the Pope wearing those ?

  42. Jamie says:

    Jonathan Bennett: Thank you for that information. The priest I know was a diocesan priest – would he have been allowed to wear it because of his work in Rome as a Canon Lawyer?

  43. Shane says:

    Does anyone have a link to images of these various sorts of vestments? I tried to learn about all of the different forms over the years once, but I was unable to find any images. I am curious as to what a gothic chasuble looks like as opposed to a baroque one, and so forth, as I read the various comments.

  44. Brian Day says:

    Shane,

    This is not inclusive, but it should give you a general idea.
    http://stbenetsguild.tripod.com/vestment__styles.htm

  45. Matthew W. I. Dunn says:

    Pretty.

  46. Twin GE says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYzRL9YIswQ

    (ah, c’mon, I love beautiful vestments as much as anyone)

  47. Ruthy Lapeyre says:

    *Will the magnificent papal liturgies of the twentieth century be left to die as Benedict becomes the architect of a new papal liturgy, composed of elements that haven’t been part of a living tradition in hundreds of years?*

    Gosh, apply your comments to Gregorian Chant and we could get back those lovely Masses Mister Rosewig wrote in the early 20th Century instead of the contemplative beauty of the Gradual Chants which were written to be listened to not as an accompaniment to any other liturgical function. While we’re at it how about pulling out some of those ancient stained glass windows which haven’t been part of a living tradition in hundreds of years either, no one has known how to reproduce their beauty since the 12th Century!

  48. Prof. Basto says:

    The last “magnificent papal liturgy of the twentieth century” was the last Papal Mass celebrated by Pope John XXIII.

    And the pope is not restoring elements that have been abandoned “for hundreds of years”; they were just abandoned 35 horrible years in the liturgical history of the Church, and now that mistake is being resolved.

    Pope Paul VI wore proper vestments in the beggining of his pontificate; and a Tiara, albeit a hideous one; Pope John Paul I used the sedia, etc; Pope John Paul II still presented the Bread of Angels to the four points of the compass during the Elevation in the first years of his reign, and this papal practice was only abandoned after Marini’s appointment, etc.

    The papal liturgical history of the 20th century saw some interesting things, such as the introduction of public Papal Low Mass under Pope St. Pius X, but certainly, the hermeneutics of rupture that stared to prevail among those planning papal cerimonial after the retirement of Cardinal Dante must be undone.

  49. Michael says:

    Ruthy,

    There’s actually a great deal of criticism of the Solesme’s restoration for exactly the same reasons I’m giving for the use of this odd chasuble. Solesmes said their restored chant was based on what was done in France in the 13th century. Chant had been continuously developing for hundreds of years and differed in style and composition throughout Europe. Why France? Why the 13th century? To many musicologists, this was an odd decision. It suggests that chant couldn’t undergo development. It was ideal in the thirteenth century in France only, and then corrupt in every other era and every other place. Do you think the holy father should pick chants like he does vestments? Should he find old graduals and use them in his Masses to reflect the “plurality of styles in liturgucal art?” Of course not.

    The chasuble has undergone continuous development since the Middle Ages, with old chasubles being discarded and replaced universally by the standard Roman cut in the nineteenth century, probably earlier. It’s always argued that fuller is inherently better (for palliums, chasubles, surplices, etc.) but this position doesn’t take into account that smaller chasubles can be just as if not more beautiful, since their small size means they can be embroidered with gold and seilver thread. The move from the conical to the fiddleback was a perfectly organic development.

    What Benedict’s MC is doing if just, well, weird. Most people recognize two styles out there: Roman and Gothic. Gothic predominates today. Benedict is wearing a chasuble that copies a model taken from somewhere in that period of transition. It’s not a style, but a pseudo-fiddleback that can’t be called Gothic. Now I agree that it’s wrong to talk about historical styles, seeing as how designs were pretty consistent in the past and change slowly and continuously, but today, there are two styles of chasuble. The Fiddleback can be divided up into more styles that reflect living traditions in various parts of the world (French, Iberian, Roman, etc.) Benedict is inventing another, and if he keeps wearing such old vestments, he can use as many cuts as there are renaissance and medieval vestments in St. Peter’s.

    Nevertheless, although Pope’s historically have worn the traditional Roman vestments for Solemn Papal Masses (a suitable choice given their name and origin) they haven’t hesitated to experiment with styles. I have a photo of Pius XI at Low Mass wearing a very interesting Gothic chasuble with embroidery that wouldn’t be seen today. Of course, the Gothic chasuble had become popular and widespread before he wore it. The Middle Ages had been Romanticized for a long time. If his were the first example the that style most people seeing that photo ever saw, as is the case here, it would have raised a few eyebrows and accusations of departing from tradition and antiquarianism.

    What it really comes down to is this:

    Traditional is not synonymous with old. Tradition refers to what was handed down to us, not what we can do using old things. To wear one of Pius XII’s fiddlebacks, or any chasuble in that style would be traditional. To wear one made for Leo X or Gregory the Great would not be. That would be antiquarianism.

  50. Michael says:

    Prof. Basto,

    I agree. My question was whether the past 40 years need to be undone or the past 500. Benedict isn’t recreating the Papal Mass as it was in the 1960s, but inventing something new using a variety of elements and vestments from different time periods (a chasuble from 1520, a throne from the nineteenth century, a mitre from the 1950s and a pallium from 2005). It has the potential to be harmonious or discordant. Either way, it’s still a long way from being a restoration, and I do wonder whether that’s even Benedict’s goal.

  51. Habemus Papam says:

    Rouxfus asks What would Jesus wear? Probably His seamless robe which was made from such expensive material the soldiers cast lots for it.

  52. Rich Freeman says:

    A similar thread on Damian Thompson’s blog on the Daily Telegraph web site elicited some really vicious, mocking responses to the effect that all this frippery and foppery would not be pleasing Our Lord to which I replied as follows:

    Our Lord is Pleased

    Yes he would be pleased for the Good Shepherd loves his Church and this outbreak of color and beauty is surely yet one more sign of the arrival of spring after a long and cruel winter. Such splendor has always been a sign of the true Church and has always been a sign of contradiction to her enemies. Let the dead tend to the dead, let the demons gnash their teeth and rend their garments, spring is coming on and the Church will again clothe herself in the glory due to her and beckon the little ones to come unto her and they will be gathered in to her flock. In this Our Lord is well pleased.

  53. I have always seen the use of horse blankets and clay pots as being rather stingy in regard to worship of God.

    Of course God doesn’t need the beauty. We do.  And God wants us to show Him love with our very best, in word and in deed.

    Also, beauty is a reflection of Truth.  Beauty teaches us about God and about ourselves. 

    Holy Church has give two great things to all of humanity as a common patrimony: art and saints.  Art, God’s grandchild, reflects His beauty and truth in non-living, material things, or indirectly, visually through our actions. Saints, God’s children, relfect His beauty in living beings, His own images.

    Beauty in the sacred arts also has a powerful social function.  For centuries, what Holy Church provided was the only beauty some people ever encoutered.

    When those who seek the lowest common denominator denounce beauty and art, they are, in effect, saying that only the wealthy have a right to beautiful things.   



  54. Tom says:

    Father Z wrote: “Marshall Plan” is my term applied to what I believe His Holiness is trying to do, long range. I base my idea of his “Marshall Plan” on my extensive reading of his works and on my own conversations with him before his election.”

    Father, does His Holiness believe that the Novus Ordo is a disaster?

    Does he believe that that the Church must consign to oblivion Communion in the hand, altar girls, Mass versus populum, pianos and drums, EMs, vernacular Masses, multiple Eucharistic Prayers (other than the Roman Canon or at least Eucharistic Prayer I)etc…you know, Novus Ordoism?

    In short, does His Holiness believe that the Latin Church must return to the Traditional Roman Liturgy?

    Thank you.

  55. Hey, Fr Z, it would really be great if you could make that last comment of yours, starting “I have always seen…” into a new post.

  56. Ruairi O Duibhidhir says:

    Does anyone know if the Pope will say the TLM on Palm Sunday,wearing the vestments of Leo x?

  57. Philip says:

    My comment is facile, I know.

    Our Holy Father is wonderful!

  58. Henry Edwards says:

    Tom: Father, does His Holiness believe that the Novus Ordo is a disaster?

    That’s the easy question. The hard question is, What can he do to extricate the Church from this disaster? The answer may be … Just about what he’s now doing, one step at a time.

  59. Ruthy Lapeyre says:

    Michael

    “Solesmes said their restored chant was based on what was done in France in the 13th century. Chant had been continuously developing for hundreds of years and differed in style and composition throughout Europe. Why France? Why the 13th century? To many musicologists, this was an odd decision. It suggests that chant couldn’t undergo development.”

    I would like to know where this information comes from. When Dom Guèranger and Dom Mocquereau began the restoration of Gregorian Chant they used manuscripts from all over Europe not just France and these manuscripts dated back to at least the 9th century. I have never read or heard that Dom Mocquereau based his research only on what was done in France in the 13th century. The manuscripts are from Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy and the remarkable thing is how similar these chants are despite the wide distances between monasteries and age of manuscripts.

  60. Tom says:

    Henry Edwards wrote: “That’s the easy question. The hard question is, What can he do to extricate the Church from this disaster? The answer may be … Just about what he’s now doing, one step at a time.”

    His Holiness believes that the Novus Ordo is a disaster?

    Popes Paul VI and John Paul II insisted that that the Novus Ordo was a tremendous success. Pope John Paul II, in particular, heaped tremendous praise upon the new Mass.

    1. If Pope Benedict XVI believes that the Novus Ordo is a disaster, then what does that say about the Pontificates of Paul VI and John Paul II?

    2. Pope Benedict XVI declared last year that “it is clearly seen that the new Missal will certainly remain the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite”

    That doesn’t sound like a man who believes that the Novus Ordo is a disaster.

    I doubt that a Pope who believed that the Novus Ordo is a disaster would permit 99 percent of Latin Catholics to continue to assist at said Mass.

    Have certain folks who post to Father Z’s blog imagined that the Holy Father shares their liturgical preferences?

  61. Tom says:

    Henry Edwards wrote: “That’s the easy question. The hard question is, What can he do to extricate the Church from this disaster?”

    The majority of bishops have, of course, rejected the notion that the Novus Ordo is a disaster.

    Even Churchmen close to the Pope have emphasized that major liturgical reform is not on the horizon.

    The Pope’s MC emphasized last month that the “ad orientem” Mass at the Sistine Chapel did not signal that the Pope desired to restore the tradition in question.

    Other than a few “cosmetic” changes, and based upon our Churchmen’s remarks, I don’t believe that the Pope desires to launch the Novus Ordo into oblivion.

    If anything, consigning the Novus Ordo to extinction would call into question the liturgical orientations of the Paul VI and John Paul II Papacies.

    As Pope John Paul II made clear (and, for all practical purposes, Pope Paul VI):

    “The liturgical renewal is the most visible fruit of whole work of the Council. For many people the message of the Second Vatican Council has been experienced principally through the liturgical reform.”

    To question the efficacy of the Novus Ordo is to question the efficacy of Vatican II.

    The post-Vatican II liturgical war is, of course, about one thing: Vatican II.

    Therefore, the reality is that Rome and the bishops cannot possibly allow the Novus Ordo to be called into question.

  62. Henry Edwards says:

    Tom: Numerous statements of our Holy Father–e.g., “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy”–make his understanding of the present situation pretty clear. Anyone who confines his remarks to suggesting how greatly his own understanding of the Church’s current predicament exceeds that of Pope Benedict risks the implication that he himself has nothing useful to say–even if he does, as I suspect you do.

    At any rate, I wonder whether you might have a constructive suggestion for feasible action that a papal assistant lurking here could carry back for His Holiness to consider.

  63. Tom says:

    Henry Edwards wrote: “At any rate, I wonder whether you might have a constructive suggestion for feasible action that a papal assistant lurking here could carry back for His Holiness to consider.”

    Yes…

    Your Holiness, please offer the Traditional Latin Mass immediately and frequently.

    Please seize the moment to consign the Novus Ordo (and Communion in the hand, altar girls, Mass versus populum, EMs, and so forth) to oblivion.

    At least suppress the novel Eucharistic Prayers that do not remotely convey the Catholic Religion in the same powerful manner as the Roman Canon.

    That alone would serve as a tremendous and instant improvement to the Novus Ordo.

    Allowing the Faithful to hear the Roman Canon prayed at each Novus Ordo Mass…even if His Holiness did not undertake an additional reform during the remainder of his reign…would improve the Novus Ordo immensely.

    We are not talking about a reform that would throw the Faithful into instant confusion…as would, for example, the sudden switch from the vernacular to Latin.

    But the reform in question would be profound in that the Faithful would encounter the Roman Canon…unlike the watered-down and ecumenically-inspired novel Eucharistic Prayers that simply do not convey the Faith in the powerful manner of the Roman Canon.

  64. Larry Brooks says:

    The NO is not the “disaster” as such although it was certainly revolutionary. The disaster is the way in which the liturgy was highjacked far beyond what the “prayer really says”. The distruction of altars, mass facing the people, Communion in the hand, and the complete lack of reverence that emerged from that single act are the real disaster. And then ther is the translation into English which is not a translation at all. Maybe the Holy Father will get some of this corrected; maybe not! Maybe if we pray and work to end the murder of another 40 million babies in the US alone GOD will allow us to have a proper liturgy with which to worship and thank HIM.

  65. RBrown says:

    The majority of bishops have, of course, rejected the notion that the Novus Ordo is a disaster.

    And the majority of bishops also let formation at their seminaries turn into garbage.

    If anything, consigning the Novus Ordo to extinction would call into question the liturgical orientations of the Paul VI and John Paul II Papacies.

    So what?

    Once again: “I am convinced,” wrote Cardinal Ratzinger, “that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy..”

    As Pope John Paul II made clear (and, for all practical purposes, Pope Paul VI):

    “The liturgical renewal is the most visible fruit of whole work of the Council. For many people the message of the Second Vatican Council has been experienced principally through the liturgical reform.”

    To question the efficacy of the Novus Ordo is to question the efficacy of Vatican II.

    The post-Vatican II liturgical war is, of course, about one thing: Vatican II.

    Not according to Cardinal Ratzinger.

    It is well known that he and JPII had opposing opinions on liturgy. JPII said that the liturgical reform was within Catholic liturgical tradition, and Cardinal Ratzinger said it wasn’t.

    Guess who is now the pope.

  66. RBrown says:

    We are not talking about a reform that would throw the Faithful into instant confusion…as would, for example, the sudden switch from the vernacular to Latin.
    Comment by Tom

    Obviously, that is an impossibility for practical reasons. Rome is now beginning the reintroduction of Latin liturgy. Along with that comes the reintroduction of the study of Latin in seminaries and Catholic schools. It is a process that will take some years.

  67. Matt says:

    Regarding Henry Edwards, Tom and Larry Brooks:

    Another Been There, Done That, ;-) but, yes, Pope Benedict says and believes the Novus Ordo was not what the Council intended. As head of Doctrine and now as Pope, he believes the Novus Ordo is a rupture of the the true organic development and continuity of the Mass along with the theology of it.

    He believes the Novus Ordo is theologically poor and its form artificial. It’s only that the Novus Ordo is juridically approved is what makes it valid–legally, but not theologically. As the Tridentine Mass has always been juridically and theologically correct, it’s only the impediments against it is what the Pope is trying to remedy. Communion by hand, altar girls, etc, are only extensions of this very problem.

    Whether the Pope has not yet said the Tridentine Mass cannot be construed as as refusal or a walk-the-walk, not-the-talk gesture of the Extraordinary Form. I believe it’s that the right forum to use the Tridentine Mass has occurred yet. Perhaps the Holy Father is waiting for that extraordinary event to use the Extraordinary Form. Perhaps Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday…?