Francis to say Holy Thursday Mass at a prison

I was right on the verge of extending my time in Rome through Holy Week… right on the verge…. then I got on the airplane at the appointed time, which I properly guessed (the day after the “inaugural” Mass). I made the right choice, seems. There is no guessing what is going to happen next.

From VIS:

FRANCIS WILL SAY HOLY THURSDAY MASS IN A ROMAN PRISON

Vatican City, 21 March 2013 (VIS) – On Holy Thursday, 28 March, the Holy Father Francis will celebrate the Chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in the morning and then, at 5:30pm in the afternoon, will go to celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at the Casal del Marmo youth detention centre instead of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, where it had been traditionally held in past years. [This is great, but the Pope is Bishop of Rome - as he has been reminding us - and St. John Lateran is the Cathedral of Rome. I'm just sayin'... UPDATE... In the combox we learn that the Mass was scheduled for the Vatican Basilca. More below.]
The Mass of the Lord’s Supper is characterized by the announcement of the commandment of love and the gesture of washing the feet. [No, actually, the Mass of the Lord's Supper is not "characterized" by the washing of feet, because that rite is an option. The Holy Thursday Mass is not characterized by an option. It is characterized by the establishment by the Lord of the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Holy Orders and the beginning of His Passion. I say this even though I am firmly rooted in St. Augustine's commentary on the Gospel of John, in which the great bishop speaks of the need for ministry that gets down into the dirt.] In his ministry as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Bergoglio used to celebrate the Mass in a prison or hospital or hospice for the poor and marginalized. With this celebration at Casal del Marmo, Pope Francis will continue his custom, which is characterized by its humble context. [His custom... but previous Bishops of Rome pretty firmly established a custom of being at St. John Lateran.]
The other Holy Week celebrations will be held according to tradition, as established in a notification by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations.
Pope Benedict XVI also visited the Casal del Marmo youth detention centre, on 18 March in 2007, to celebrate Mass in the Chapel of the Merciful Father.

This is a pretty dramatic move by the Holy Father.

Look. I understand what Francis is doing here. Fine. But in making such a dramatic change, I fear that he runs the risk of making these changes all about him, rather than some other message he wants to convey. The same goes for all the other changes he is making. The papacy isn’t just his own thing to do with what it pleaseth him to do. The changes can become distractions, especially the way the media will handle them.

We will also have to see if he issues a Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, as did his predecessors.

In the meantime, we may soon see the appointment of a new Secretary of State, which will tell us a great deal about where Francis is going to aim the Church… and the Roman Curia. That move will make a bigger impression on me than celebrating Holy Thursday Mass in a prison. That will tell he if he means business …or business as usual.

UPDATE

Apparently the Mass of the Last Supper was to be at the Vatican Basilica. Perhaps this was because Francis had not formally taken possession of his Cathedral, St John Lateran. That throws a new dimension into his decision. Since he wasn’t going to be at the Lateran anyway, why not…

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229 Responses to Francis to say Holy Thursday Mass at a prison

  1. catholicgauze says:

    Father Z,
    No reason to panic. He is bringing Holy Thursday to prisoners. It’s an act of mercy.

  2. Ambrose Jnr says:

    I agree with you, Fr Z. The choice of secretary of state will indeed be most revealing…if he chose Mauro Card. Piacenza, we would know he’s serious about reform.

  3. Mary T says:

    Whispers on the Loggia speculates that since it is a mixed prison, he will wash the feet of women as well, as he has done in the past. I am not giving my opinion here, just saying….it may be a “flashpoint,” as Rocco puts it.

  4. lmo1968 says:

    I think our new pope is showing us what the preferential option for the poor looks like. This is thrilling!

  5. Catholicgauze,

    True, and particularly the fact that it’s a YOUTH prison, not just one for regular prisoners. However I also give some credence to Fr. Z’s observations. He’s right, we have to see what Pope Francis will be doing with the Roman Curia, because that will affect the theological quality of the documents to be released, decisions of a major level in Rome which can affect the faithful, and in return, what priests and laypeople will do (or twist and abuse to further their liberal aims if they are of the dissenting kind).

    On the other hand, we shouldn’t be fearing this guy is the anti-pope or anti-Christ. Maybe he will ignore the Extraordinary Form in his papacy (which is fine, as long as he doesn’t undo Ecclesia Dei or the work of Benedict XVI), but he won’t turn the papacy into a liberal minded one, and allow Church liturgy to return to the peak of post-Vatican II nuttiness, especially that in the USA.

    Now, with Holy Thursday in mind, I am curious if he will do the Mandatum or avoid it, and if he does not avoid it, wash the feet of all men (as Fr Z has mentioned before), or will violate the rubrics that were even in the 2002 Roman Missal and a 1988 document from the CDW and Divine Sacraments called Paschales solemnitatis (that is, he will wash both men and women.) That document is NOT on the Vatican website, but can be found through EWTN or mabye papalencycicals.net. See Fr’s post here on Holy Thursday: http://wdtprs.com/blog/2012/03/quaeritur-holy-thursday-mandatum-and-female-feet-wherein-advice-is-sought-and-fr-z-ranteth/ . Come to think of it, being a pure post-Vatican II pope, perhaps he won’t even know of those rubrics due to his prior formation in the faith, so he’d commit such an act under invincible ignorance.

  6. jhayes says:

    The service was not going to be held at St. John Lateran in any case – because Francis hasn’t taken possession of it yet.

    It was originally scheduled for St. Peter’s – and he moved it from there to the prison.

    Washing the feet of prisoners rather than retired priests sends a tronger message in the tradition of the original Francis.

    “The opening chapter of the church’s most sacred moment of the year, while the rite normally takes place in at St John Lateran, this year’s Evening Mass was previously slated to happen in the Vatican Basilica as the new pontiff has yet to take possession of the Lateran – the “Mother and Head” of all churches, which technically serves as the cathedral of the bishop of Rome….

    Over recent decades, the Popes have washed the feet of 12 retired priests of their diocese at the liturgy. As the facility Papa Bergoglio has chosen for the Mass comprises both male and female inmates, given his prior practice, a long-standing flashpoint for the church in the “developed” world – namely, the inclusion of women in the Mandatum rite – could well see its most authoritative verdict to date in Francis’ actions next week.”

    http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com/

  7. greasemonkey says:

    Sooooo, how’s that light weight mozzetta coming that was delivered yesterday?

  8. “The service was not going to be held at St. John Lateran in any case – because Francis hasn’t taken possession of it yet.”

    OH? Can someone tell me what happens with this? I don’t quite get Vatican policy/procedure/tradition on things like this.

  9. blena says:

    As one who has volunteered in jails I can attest that there is a real thirst among inmates, not all, to put off the old man and put on the new, so good for the Pope. My guess is the the Vatican will survive this break with tradition. The intent to change an institution and delivering actual change is very difficult with failure being the norm. May God give him the strength to go where he is needed and courage to go where he would rather not,

  10. Imrahil says:

    It is an act of mery to visit the imprisoned.

    But.

    I disagree, respectfully (recommending She Wore a Yellow Ribbon for all those who have some strange notions of obedience, and all others who like good movies for that matter); the Last Supper Mass is not a Mass when the Pope (or a bishop or a parish pastor) should do by way of special pastoral. There is a place for variety in spiritual unity, and much of it; but on Holy Thursday, there actually is to be one Mass in a parish, and that in the evening, and one Mass with the bishop, and that in the evening.

    The stationary Church for the Last Supper Mass is the Lateran. For centuries and centuries, the Pope has celebrated it himself, even though now resident in the Vatican… still, I’d not disagree with (nor favor) changing the site to St. Peter’s, which is associated with the Pope’s universal rather than diocesan role (and larger). But anything else… I accept as the Pope’s decision; and one of good motives. But he had better not.

  11. Imrahil says:

    Forget everything I said (quoting John Wayne once again, this time, The Longest Day).

    Of course the Pope cannot celebrate in the Lateran because he has not yet taken possession of it! A festivity of its own which is better delayed for a moment until the more pressing festivity, Easter, is over.

    So, his move to visit the imprisoned instead is, though it does not have the look of it, in fact highly traditional.

  12. rusti999 says:

    Here is an idea. Maybe the Bishop Emeritus of Rome can be recruited to celebrate Holy Thursday Mass in the Lateran. Just throwing it out there…

  13. Sol says:

    Ditto catholicgauze. In fact I find it shocking that the Pope is doing this, but in a very positive way. And while I appreciate the importance of the Cathedral of Rome, I instantly thought of Jesus words spoken when when he heals a leper even though it’s Sabbath, or at a time when He tells the Pharisees that when king David was hungry, he a and his men ate the altar bread reserved for priests. I actually find Francis more and more touching. Is there a better way to stress that one is truly the Vicar of the Lord, than by emulating him in such a basic act of love, and that on a Holy Thursday of all days. And I wonder – what’s next?

    Another thing occurs to me while I’m reading your post, Father – technically, can a non-Italian be appointed Sec. of State? What with Cdls Ranjith and Dolan around. Just sayin…

  14. Dr. K says:

    “In the state, for example, one day we have the Reagan administration, and the next day the Clinton administration, and whoever comes next always throws out what his predecessor did and said; we always begin again from scratch. That’s not the way it is in the Church.” – Pope Benedict XVI in Salt of the Earth, p. 189

    How I pray this continues to hold true.

    Fr. Z: But in making such a dramatic change, I fear that he runs the risk of making these change all about him, rather than some other message he wants to convey. The same goes for all the other changes he is making.

    That has been my primary concern so far during the papacy of Pope Francis. Every time our Holy Father breaks with tradition, and there have been many instances so far (!), the media is all over it snapping photographs and interpreting the change as a sign of progressive things to come. While his intentions may be noble, Pope Francis is drawing more attention to himself than I would expect for a man so often called humble and simple. I hope that the message will not get lost in the international celebrity of Pope Francis.

  15. I would hope someone would say to him, your holiness, insofar as you are the supreme legislator, if you choose to wash the feet of women, that is pretty confusing. You can change that if you wish; but shouldn’t that be clear?

    No prediction, but doesn’t that make sense?

    If that were to change, I’d be sorry, because while it’s not a big thing, I don’t see the worth of it. I think it would be very interesting if he had Holy Thursday Mass at the prison, yet didn’t do the foot-washing. But I wouldn’t bet on that.

  16. greasemonkey says:

    “So, his move to visit the imprisoned instead is, though it does not have the look of it, in fact highly traditional.”

    Ohhhh yeah…… and he’ll be carried over there in Sedia, with his read shoes on that were being made at a cobbler because the ones in the room of tears were of the wrong size….
    I just keep reading these posts where we are all trying to convince ourselves that this Pope is traditional, and he’s jut waiting for the right time to do this or that…..

  17. Imrahil says:

    As an answer to the dear @Julian Barkin,

    once the Pope is elected, he
    1. celebrates his first Mass in the Sistine Chapel,
    2. is crowned (or the ceremony in place of it when the tiara is not used) at St. Peter’s or on St. Peter’s square,
    3. celebrates Masses in St. Mary Major’s and St. Paul’s,
    4. and finally, “comes home” into his Cathedral, The Most Holy Saviour’s and St. John’s (“of whom it is still somewhat uncertain whether he’s the Baptist or the Evangelist”, Reinhard Raffalt) in the Lateran.

    They used to have to do this within very short time (though they of course could dispense themselves from that), yet, obviously seeing the connection with Easter this time, Pope emeritus Benedict allowed them to wait a little more time.

    The idea of taking possession of a Cathedral when, in fact, having already celebrated an important Mass there, is untraditional. It would be not without precedent in modern political formalism, but then, WWCS. (“What would Chesterton say”.)

    For the Catholic Church, it is important that when a Pope takes possession of his Cathedral, he had not yet been there as a Pope, yet. That they think of that… deserves highest praises.

  18. Reminds me of Paul the VI celebrating Christmas Mass in a factory. Why the media hype with all this? . Why not send the Vicar of Rome to do this where there would be less of a media circus?

  19. Katie says:

    What I don’t understand about the Holy Thursday liturgy is this. You have to have done something pretty violent to get incarcerated in Italy as a young person. What about washing the feet of the men knifed, the women who have been raped, the old ladies mugged by these criminals? Or does he think that these are POLITICAL prisoners (like the ones he did nothing to help in Argentina)? Nor did Jesus go to celebrate the Last Supper in a prison.

  20. Fr_Sotelo says:

    LOL. Francis is having fun. Only God knows what he will do next.

  21. teomatteo says:

    I’m for letting our Pope be the Vicar. The other cardinals have his respect… so must I.

  22. JLCG says:

    Those people in jail are our brothers. Shouldn’t we be happy that the Pope will remind them that we are mindful of them?
    We are told time and time again that Jesus was rejected by the official Jewish establishment because he was not the messiah they expected? Do you actually think that the pope should be shaped according to our ideas?
    Tradition is the evolution of the church. The church has subsisted because the Holy Spirit teaches us progressively about the way of sanctification.
    Tradition is progress.
    There is such a beautiful moment in Purgatorio when Dante sees the soul of a pope and kneels and the pope reprimands him, we are all equal here he says. Purgatorio is the image of the penitential church.

  23. jhayes says:

    I would hope someone would say to him, your holiness, insofar as you are the supreme legislator, if you choose to wash the feet of women, that is pretty confusing. You can change that if you wish; but shouldn’t that be clear?

    He’s been doing it for years. Here’s a picture:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-03-14/cardinal-bergoglio-washes-woman27s-feet/4572184

  24. Therese says:

    I find this entirely consistent with everything else he has done. (Wasn’t the election just last Wednesday? Seems a year ago already.) When did we last have a martyr Pope? (John Paul II was very nearly martyred. Now that seems like yesterday.)

    So he’s not the Pope the liturgical restorers wanted. But Summorum Pontificum and the Third Translation of the New Mass have already been fired like heat-seeking missiles (missals?) to destroy the “perpetual workshop” philosophy. If priests and we laity stay on task, there’s no reason they shouldn’t hit their target. (A third translation of the N.O. had been prepared nearly twenty years ago, but Card. Ratzinger caught it just in time to prevent further catastrophe. Coincidence that he then became Pope? Come on, where’s our faith that God is piloting this ship?)

    Since it seems I’m now on a movie kick (Lethal Weapon yesterday, Forest Gump today), I’ll just add: “And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.”

  25. Ralph says:

    Friends – DO NOT PANIC!! Try hard not to read too much into every act (I know it’s difficult not to – but really try). I know we are feeling disappointment, even fear. I know many of us are truly worried about a roll back of BXVI’s work. But try to stay calm and focused.

    Be in prayer without ceasing. (offer up small prayers even during work) Now is a time to be humble and turn to God. Turn to the cross. Offer up this suffering and worry for the good of the Church.

    I truly feel our Lord is trying to show us / teach us in these days. Have faith in the Holy Spirit.

    Let’s agree to give Pope Francis the benefit of the doubt in these early moments of his pontificate.

  26. Katie says:

    I meant to add. Benedict 16 went to celebrate mass in the same prison. No fanfare. Yes prison outreach is as important as any other outreach. Is the Pope turnrd into a social worker on Holy Thursday? Are these young men the poor or are their victime the poor? Or both? But why is one group attended to and not the other? What about the liturgy itself? Is this to become a spectacle of Papal vanity?

  27. heway says:

    Maybe the prisoners, though quilty of crimes, are like St. Dismas and wish to hang with Christ on a cross. Don’t judge other men. You go! Pope Francis – wash everyones feet in the name of Christ. You are a wonderful example to us. The law was made for us, but you are not made for the law….

  28. Jhayes:

    Yes, but: he hasn’t been supreme legislator for years; that was key to my point.

  29. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Katie,

    I had feared this one would come up. Now, in fact, I had thought it wrong to use the Holy Thursday for this kind of action; until I was reminded that he cannot do the usual thing anyway because not having yet taken possession of the Cathedral.

    But that concern you mentioned, although understandable, is precisely the wrong kind of concern.

    Charity to the deserving is not charity at all, but justice. It is the undeserving who require it, and the ideal either does not exist at all, or exists wholly for them. G. K. Chesterton, Heretics

    Charity is a paradox, like modesty and courage. Stated baldly, charity certainly means one of two things–pardoning unpardonable acts, or loving unlovable people. But if we ask ourselves (as we did in the case of pride) what a sensible pagan would feel about such a subject, we shall probably be beginning at the bottom of it. A sensible pagan would say that there were some people one could forgive, and some one couldn’t: a slave who stole wine could be laughed at; a slave who betrayed his benefactor could be killed, and cursed even after he was killed. In so far as the act was pardonable, the man was pardonable. That again is rational, and even refreshing; but it is a dilution. It leaves no place for a pure horror of injustice, such as that which is a great beauty in the innocent. And it leaves no place for a mere tenderness for men as men, such as is the whole fascination of the charitable. Christianity came in here as before. It came in startlingly with a sword, and clove one thing from another. It divided the crime from the criminal. The criminal we must forgive unto seventy times seven. The crime we must not forgive at all. It was not enough that slaves who stole wine inspired partly anger and partly kindness. We must be much more angry with theft than before, and yet much kinder to thieves than before. The same, Orthodoxy

  30. JohnH says:

    When I think of this gesture from Pope Francis, it brings me a serendipitous joy. Here’s why, as you have noted Father, it was on Holy Thursday that our Lord instituted the Priesthood and the Eucharist. When doing so he showed his Disciples to serve, and not to be served. He went so far as to demonstrate this service by presumably washing the feet of Judas, who would betray him to his death. That is unconditional love and service. So here the Holy Father has chosen to show this kind of love to young men not too different from the first Apostles. One was a notorious tax collector. Another was a “zealot,” insinuating his appeal to violence. Another was his betrayer. One would deny him. And all but one would desert him at his darkest hour. Yes, I think a prison is a fitting place for this demonstration for love, a prison of young men who need to know love now more than ever. They need to experience the hope of Holy Thursday. God bless Pope Francis for this.

  31. JabbaPapa says:

    To be fair, Pope Francis has not been officially enthroned at St. John Lateran yet.

    To be fair, this has hardly been a typical Lent in the first place. :-)

  32. acardnal says:

    jhayes wrote, “Washing the feet of prisoners rather than retired priests sends a tronger (sic) message in the tradition of the original Francis.”

    If Saint Francis were alive today and a priest, I do not believe Saint Francis would violate established Church rubrics and the Missal by washing the feet of females within the context of the Mass of Holy Thursday; it would send a confusing message with regard to the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Orders and draw attention to himself and not the Lord by using innovative behavior during the liturgy. It will be interesting to see if Pope Francis washes the feet of females.

    Fr. Z explained discussed this last year in his 12 March 2012 Post on this subject:
    “This whole debate has been cleared up more than once by the Holy See, especially in the 1988 document Paschales solemnitatis of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.

    Moreover, the rubrics of the 2002 Missale Romanum retain the viri selecti. Viri cannot include “females”. Viri is an exclusive term.

    I don’t believe any Conference of Bishops has ever received explicit approval from the Holy See for a variation, and only the Holy See can do that.”

  33. kurtmasur says:

    Ambrose Jnr says: “I agree with you, Fr Z. The choice of secretary of state will indeed be most revealing…if he chose Mauro Card. Piacenza, we would know he’s serious about reform.”

    What can you tell me about Cardinal Piacenza? Is he himself a reformist? What kind of reforms would you expect from him?

  34. Phil_NL says:

    “That will tell he if he means business …or business as usual.”

    With respect Father, but I think it’s quite clear that ‘business as usual’ isn’t on the table with the new Holy Father. For better or worse, he’ll make a strong personal imprint on any topic he touches, quite unlike his predecessors, who deferred on matters that didn’t top their priority list (which arguably caused trouble too). I predict that Francis nominations will either be a resounding success in reforming the curia, or a resounding failure – and with that I mean that matters could also get worse. If the new curial appointments take their cue from and/or have a similar character as the Pope himself, we’ll see a lot of new initiatives for the poor and other good works, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the handling of curial business would be as inept as the papacy of St Celestine V (to name an example).

    We’ll have to see what Francis has in mind, it’s very early day, but until now I’ve seen only signals ad extra, and none ad intra. And that gets me just a tad more worried every day; I’ve seen plenty of people who are all charity and humility, but lack a plan to keep their organisations healthy in the long term. I hope and pray Francis does not fall into this category, but we’ll have to see. His observation that the Church is not an NGO is about the only element I’ve seen so far that indicates he has more up his sleeve.

    Moreover, I’m less worried about the new Secretary of State right now than who will be running the show at the congregation for bishops. Cleaning out a curia is easier than cleaning out a worldwide episcopate. I hope he keeps Ouellet and Pell, and that they keep up their good work. Much of the church’s future (in the next generation or two, at least) stands or falls with a good set of bishops. New appointments have markedly improved over the past years, and we need this to continue for many years to come.

  35. Legisperitus says:

    The deep liturgical wounds of 1969 are still raw. The healing began just a few years ago and it hurts when someone starts picking at the scabs.

  36. HobokenZephyr says:

    Maybe we all need to stop being led by the media and start being led by the Messiah. And by that I don’t mean President Obama.

    Note: all below comments include Spirit informed conscience for the record:

    Pope B16 is no fool. He read the situation at least as well as the other cardinals. He knows what happened in the last Conclave, and I’d wager he’d have put a fair sum on Cdl. Bergoglio this time. I’d bet nothing happening is a surprise to him. Perhaps his prudential judgement says the trade off of less focus on the liturgy was worth the benefits of Curial and Church reform. Remember, he’s the one who picked the specific time of his resignation.

    Pray, trust and don’t worry.

  37. heway says:

    I’m back. I went to Rocco’s Loggia and there is a picture of the Pope washing the foot of a woman!
    She is a Madonna, holding a child. Did anyone get upset when Mother Teresa washed men’s bodies?
    Agree with you , John H.

  38. gretta says:

    Not only a work of mercy, but for these young people, might having the pope taking the time to come and celebrate with them be something that is life and heart-changing for them? A “you are valued and loved, now change your heart and go and sin no more” moment? I don’t think this pope sees this as being some way self-aggrandizing at all, and frankly the hype surrounding it is creating an enthusiasm for this pope that is even making it into the secular media – thus reaching even more people than usual. It is evangelization that seems to be energizing a broad spectrum of Catholics in a way we haven’t seen in a while. The most common response that I’m hearing (and seeing on social media) is “he’s visiting the imprisioned! Ooh rah!”

  39. poohbear says:

    Friends – DO NOT PANIC!! Try hard not to read too much into every act (I know it’s difficult not to – but really try). I know we are feeling disappointment, even fear. I know many of us are truly worried about a roll back of BXVI’s work. But try to stay calm and focused.

    I don’t fear a rollback of BXVI’s work, I fear a rollback of all things Catholic. I fear our church will become just one of many, that there will be no difference between the Catholic church and every other Christian church out there.

    Every day I look for some reason to hope, some reason to change my mind, I’m not finding it.

  40. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    I’m not going to throw a nutty over this, but I hope the Holy Father is open to discussion about this practice he has had over the years with regards to the future. His intentions are very good and he wants to show God’s love and mercy in a prison with youth.

    But… but… but…

    The priesthood has been deeply wounded over a period of several decades. Priests and seminarians have been persecuted because they were devout and wouldn’t go along with some immoral and/or misguided games going on. God help anyone who hindered a legitimate vocation, and there are many who suffered at the hands of dissenting seminary staff. Surely, Pope Francis is aware of the “filth” (as his predecessor put it) in the Church, which has been like salt in an open wound for priests as they get lumped in with every pervert in a roman collar who committed sins that cry out to heaven.

    I hope Pope Francis will consider healing a wounded priesthood next Holy Thursday, and wash the feet of priests and seminarians as an act of mercy.

    Holy Thursday is the night we remember not just the Last Supper, but also the priesthood which was instituted. I had really hoped we were getting back to remembering this little fact in our cathedrals and parishes. The act of going to a prison, while a noble and beautiful gesture, is a rupture with the spiritual significance of the evening. There are so many other times this can be done.

    I do hope that Pope Francis will make regular visits to prisons, slums, drug rehab centers, etc., to set an example. He doesn’t have to wash the feet of young people in prison to make an impact. He can go to hear Confessions, offer Mass, and spend some time answering questions.

    I think it would be best if we did not over-react to this, and instead tried to use some reason with him by sending letters and by postings online that are respectful and thoughful, rather than emotional.

    Pope Francis asked us to pray for him; do that. Don’t underestimate the influence of the Blessed Virgin Mary and his guardian angel so pray to them also for assistance on these things.

  41. Ralph says:

    “Every day I look for some reason to hope, some reason to change my mind, I’m not finding it.”

    Christ Crucified. Christ Risen. Christ Reigning. That is enough.

    The Holy Church is unending. There may come a day where it’s visibility is in question, a day when it may return to the catacombs, but Christ’s reign and victory over sin and death is without question. Take heart and be glad.

    All of this will pass away.

  42. mamajen says:

    I don’t think Pope Francis is being selfish. I think he probably feels that he has been doing things a certain way for a very long time, and God chose him to be pope based on that. If I were in his shoes I would feel unsure about whether to change or not. It may be that for him, his status quo seems more in keeping with God’s will than automatically sticking with precedent, which would mean a dramatic change. That’s not to say he’s right in all cases, just that he probably needs more time to learn what exactly God wants from him. He needs to figure out whether God chose him based on what he has been already, or based on what he could become, or a bit of both. He probably has not had an awful lot of time to think about it, and from his perspective is playing it safe. I like to think he is above enjoying the attention.

  43. anna 6 says:

    “I fear that he runs the risk of making these change all about him, rather than some other message he wants to convey.”
    No one wants to admit this, because it isn’t an easy thing to say…but I think Fr. Z. is rather brave to express what I suspect some of us are thinking. Of course the symbolism of Francis merciful gesture is beautiful and greatly appreciated!

    I am not proud of this, but I can’t help cringing at the thought of this as an other opportunity for some to bash the pope emeritus.

    Lest we forget, Benedict visited the Rebibbia prison at Christmas 2011 and he had a Q+A with the prisoners. He listened to their questions and marveled at their wisdom, he embraced them, he comforted them with his deep and profound answers. He treated them with extraordinary dignity, and they were enormously grateful. It was one of the most touching things I have ever seen.

    When he wrote to them the following Easter, he told them how he will never forget what he learned from them. I am only telling you this because probably most people didn’t even know it happened…or ignored it. So when some use expressions like “finally!” or “at last!”, you will know that there is no basis for this.
    Benedict’s red shoes didn’t prevent him from being Christ to the miserable and wretched.

    You can watch it here:
    http://www.radiovaticana.va/player/index_fb.asp?language=it&tic=VA_II17QC36

  44. APX says:

    jhayes said,
    He’s been doing it for years. Here’s a picture:

    I’m curious as to why he’s wearing his stole as a deacon.

  45. boko fittleworth says:

    The way Pope Francis is going, soon the whole world shall awake with a groan to find itself mottramist. Except the Rorate commenters.

  46. Cosmos says:

    I attend the TLM every Sunday, so I am not indiffernt to these kind of things by any stretch. It is no small thing to tamper with such long standing traditions; however, he is the Pope and his action is certainly not morally or theologically questionable (I guess washing women’s feet could be problematic, but he has not gone their yet, and, he is the Pope).

    I believe that the Bishops and priests of the VII generation squandered most, if not all, of the goodwill and moral authority the Church had. The Church had legitimacy because of the sacrifice of the martyrs, the monastics, the missionaries, etc. That is gone and the Church can’t speak with that presumed authority and dignity any more. It can’t assume that people understand its symbolism, or even want to. It has to rebuild its reputation, re-focus on the Gospel, gain some credibility. Not worldly, mind you, but the opposite: unworldly credibility.

    I think that the Traditionalists may need to consider whether converting the whole Church to its vision just isn’t in the cards right now. Maybe what we have been called to the humbler job of caretakers of the Church’s Tradition, to be restored in its glory after the cracks in the foundation are fixed and the sabatuers have been dismissed from the building. I am thinking of a role similar to those who preserved paintings and such during WWII (acknowledging that the Tradition is not merely a collection of customs, habits, and traditions).

  47. DCMArg says:

    Tradition is a set of beliefs, transported over time. Think of an autumn leaf on a river. Is Tradition the leaf? the water? the river?
    I agree with Fr. Z remarks, since it is important for us to properly “read” our new Pope. Something may change, as the course of the river does in raining seasons, but I want that leaf intact.

  48. rhhenry says:

    I’m actually pretty torn on this. *A* Mass in a prison? Great! *This* Mass (Holy Thursday), when the Pope kind of acts more as head of the universal Church than as “merely” Bishop of Rome (sorry for the sloppy terminology)? Tougher call. But I trust in our Holy Father . . .

  49. BLB Oregon says:

    I read somewhere that the Pope “could not take possession” of the Lateran Basilica by Holy Week, whatever that means, so he would be celebrating the Mass of the Lord’s Supper elsewhere. The writer of that article presumed he would be at St. Peter’s Basilica. Anyone know anything about this “take possession” thing?

  50. Imrahil says:

    Dear @BLB Oregon,

    see my comment above at 10:01.

  51. jasoncpetty says:

    The footwashing thing is tough because, for for modern priests formed in the instrumentalist liturgical school—where “what does this action mean to the people right here, right now?” is the highest, if not only, question—it only reflects our Lord’s washing the feet of those who have “a part” in Him, i.e., the faithful. It has no importance for the sacramental calling of the twelve or their priestly ordination. So for this sort of guy—and this group might include the Holy Father, he’s certainly of that generation—washing women’s feet is no big deal. It carries no greater significance than that these people—men and women—have “a companionship with [Christ]“, Jn. 13. The rubrical inhibition, the use of “viri selecti,” etc., is foreign and meaningless to the poorly-formed, “perpetual workshop” (good phrase!) instrumentalists. But we’d be wrong to think His Holiness intends to do harm to the all-male priesthood by this gesture*—I believe most of these modern priests are really only thinking in the immediate sense of what does this mean right now in this moment??, and not a repudiation or even limited recasting of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.

    May the Good Lord find us worthy and see fit to give us priests who are formed liturgically. Amen.

    *though it will certainly have this effect both among the orthodox and apostate/”liberal” Catholic alike

  52. Pingback: Umm…..what do you make of this? Pope Francis to offer Holy Thursday Mass in prison | A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics

  53. Peter in Canberra says:

    Prague Spring
    Springtime of Vatican II
    Hermeneutic of Rupture
    Jesuit liturgy oxymoron

    these are all expressions of my mounting trepidation of what is happening in Rome.

    I may be wrong. I hope I am wrong.

    And I fear the return of the old ultramontanist saw of “yes it should be better but we have to suffer it as Christ suffered” and not only suffer it but say “isn’t it great and we love it and we want some more please”.

  54. GordonB says:

    I try to be well informed on matters liturgical, I’m definitely not an expert, but operate in the way of believing a priest should give us what Holy Mother Church expects and requires them to give us in matters liturgical. The Mass doesn’t belong to the priest, or the Pope, or the people (at least, that’s my understanding). That said, I don’t know that I would have known that the decision to have Holy Thursday Mass at a prison was a break from the norm [but washing the feet of women during that Mass would be on my liturgical radar]. But if the move of having the Mass at the prison is not somehow taking away what the Church requires, I can live with it. While Fr. Zs blog post makes sense to me, I almost would rather have lived in ignorance that moving the Holy Thursday Mass site to the prison was something out of the norm.

  55. TomC says:

    I am as uncomfortable as anyone with our new Pope’s improvisations and breaches of decorum. But let’s be honest. Public perceptions of the Church are not very good these days – and often not without reason. It may take these sorts of gestures for the Church to regain some of its lost credibility. But, as Fr. Z says, we also need to see some real changes in the internal governance of the Church.

  56. Anabela says:

    The Lord in the upper room washed the feet of his Disciples only. He also visited the downtrodden and the sinners and ate with them but in the Upper Room he reserved the washing of feet for his own Disciples. As someone who worked in a homeless refuge for a number of years, we had Holy Thursday mass in the Refuge Oratory but only mens feet were washed and it was reverent, but I am sure if we had a number of Priests available that their feet would have been washed before anyone elses, after all it is the most holy night of the Year where both the Priesthood and the Holy Eucharist were initiated. I too wonder who is going to be appointed in the Curia as this will be the most telling of where the Church is headed…

  57. Athelstan says:

    Whispers on the Loggia speculates that since it is a mixed prison, he will wash the feet of women as well, as he has done in the past.

    I know he has done it in the past – we have seen the pictures – but I hope he does not do so as Pope.

    It is scandalous for a man to wash a woman’s body parts when that woman is not his wife, his daughter, or (at worst) his mother.

    Establishing the equal dignity of women in the Church does not require this.

  58. Charivari Rob says:

    It may end up being a very powerful example.

    Consider that on that Thursday all those years ago, Christ ended up in jail (arrested, anyway) before the end of the night.

    Christ also taught our duty to the imprisoned as to Himself.

  59. Dr. K says:

    <blockquoteHobokenZephyr: "He knows what happened in the last Conclave, and I’d wager he’d have put a fair sum on Cdl. Bergoglio this time."

    Why? Pope emeritus Benedict appointed 67 of the 114 voting-eligible cardinals from this conclave. The electorate was significantly different in 2013 than 2005.

  60. rhhenry says:

    I’m actually pretty torn on this. A Mass in a prison? Great! This Mass (Holy Thursday), when the Pope kind of acts more as head of the universal Church than as “merely” Bishop of Rome (sorry for the sloppy terminology)? Tougher call. But I trust in our Holy Father . . .

  61. Imrahil says:

    It is scandalous for a man to wash a woman’s body parts when that woman is not his wife, his daughter, or (at worst) his mother.

    No; at least not from this hinted argument.

  62. elaine says:

    Is kissing the feet part of the rubrics of the foot washing ceremony? Because I can just hear the comments of secular culture now, when they see the pictures of the Pope tenderly kissing the bare feet of teenage boys. It wouldn’t be the most prudent thing to do, in light of how most view the Church/ pederasty scandals and whatnot. I’ve seen more than plenty “Bergoglio kissing feet” pictures to know its his thing.

  63. Matt P. says:

    It has been said on numerous other posts, but I think it should be said again here: I think the Pope is very concerned about his authenticity. As a Jesuit, he embraces poverty, prayer, servitude, and preaching. In his actions, he is showing the world how social justice ought to be practiced, social justice that does not involve compromise on Catholic doctrine. Imagine if Pope Francis assumed all the trappings of office, performed all the expected liturgies, etc. He would be branded by the world (including many, if not most Catholics) as a hypocrite. I could name a few medieval Popes who were called out by secular princes for violating their vows (eg. during the Investiture controversy).

    Benedict could not have been more authentic as a theologian, academic, etc. Francis will have to direct his papacy according to his own strengths. But mark you this: when it comes time to clean house and return Catholics to the proper observance, no one will be able to say he hasn’t walked the walk. His critics and enemies will have absolutely nothing to throw at him.

  64. Supertradmum says:

    Distractions and distracting. I grew up in the pre-Vat II Church and then lived in one of the most liberal, worse dioceses EVER which was ruined by Marxism, pedophilia, homosexuality and liturgical abuses=Davenport Diocese. I am tired of distractions. But, this is a vale of tears, as I say in my prayers.

    I would like a Pope who does not draw attention to himself, but just gets on with being Pope. No drama, no press gaggles, no problems for the security guards.

    Distractions…

  65. Anchorite says:

    Dear all. So far I had mostly seen comments here similar to those made by “independents” who voted for Obama: “Give him a chance,” “He only just started,” “He has now my respect as a POTUS,” etc. Some are still making these comments as he was reelected for the second term. Some, I am sure, will continue this mantra well into his third term. Bishop Francis of Rome (not my words, but his) is “Obama” – he is continuously disregarding the letter of the Law for the sake of the “Spirit of the Council” – he’s done it when in Buenos Aires and now he is doing it in Rome. One hundred and fifty men, sizable number of which have covered up sex abuse, have lived in closet, pocketed money, mismanaged dioceses and dicasteries and contributed to liturgical abuse (many, not all) have given their “respect to this man” (as someone pointed out). So did the rest of US – chosen the One. So, the Supreme Legislator will break the rules and traditions. I don’t remember any of the anti-popes doing that.
    You know, I now understand what Cardinal della Rovere when Cardinal Borgia was elected pope…

  66. TNCath says:

    I’m all for his going to the prison, but why couldn’t he have visited the prisoners on the Sunday after Easter Sunday: Divine MERCY Sunday? What a perfect opportunity to teach by example of the Divine Mercy of God? That would have made much more sense than Holy Thursday, on which his duty as Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church and the Diocese of Rome as a whole takes precedent at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. If this is setting the tone for his papacy, I think the only thing we can truly expect from here on out is the unexpected, which, quite honestly, concerns me. That said, he IS the Holy Father, and we can only support and pray for him.

  67. ocalatrad says:

    Am I wrong in suggesting that it is the primary role of the clergy to teach, govern and sanctify and for the laity to be the crossroads with the world, to bring Christ’s mercy to everyone through such acts of mercy? The Pope of all people needs to be the guardian of our traditions and teachings and not use the office to express his personal preferences and customs, however charitable.

  68. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Athelstan:

    “It is scandalous for a man to wash a woman’s body parts when that woman is not his wife, his daughter, or (at worst) his mother.”

    What about when Jesus allowed his feet to be washed, and kissed, by an unknown woman, and a woman of ill repute at that? In that culture, it was seen as a very intimate act that crossed boundaries. That was also scandalous, and Jesus said, “Leave her alone” (Mark 14:6). I’m sure you also realize that men in many situations of care of the elderly have washed body parts of women who were not their relatives. Sometimes a husband, or daughter, or son, is not around to look after a woman in her sickness or old age.

    As far as Pope Francis kissing the feet that he washes on Holy Thursday, in a very public act in imitation of the humility of Jesus, I don’t think most people are going to call into question his character or doubt his intentions around young men or women. Of course, if anyone chooses to fill their mind with dirty and sordid thoughts, it will be more a commentary on who they are, than on the type of man that Pope Francis is. If we are going down that road, we should start telling dads not to touch their kids affectionately in public or hug them, because people may think they plan to commit incest later on.

  69. JKnott says:

    Could it be that the exuberance and good works of His Holiness Pope Francis is taking significant precedence over the honorable and worthy traditions of the universal Church and prior popes who are his brothers, many of whom performed great acts of charity? As Katie said, Benedict did the same action without calling attention to himself and at a different time.
    I had the same thought as Acardnal when he said: If Saint Francis were alive today and a priest, I do not believe Saint Francis would violate established Church rubrics and the Missal …”.
    I tell myself that peace lies in detachment and in trust and obedience to the Church and the Holy Father. Yet it is apparent that there is a sense of confusion in the air which is causing uneasiness for many good people. If the keynote of poverty is not balanced with the customs and worthy traditions of the Church along with its past and ongoing works of mercy (and there are several Works of Mercy of various kinds) it worries me that more and more people may see the Church and saintly popes prior to today in the wrong light.

    Maybe we in America have labored under Obama’s “Hope and Change” mandates for so long, it almost seems like a parallel happening with emotions high proclaiming a “peoples president”.

    Well, I love the Church and our popes and if the red shoes, which symbolize a willingness to shed our blood for the Faith, are discarded, then I intend to put them on in mind and heart and wear them everyday, with the grace of God, during these uncertain times because they are not too fancy for me.

  70. Pingback: Pope Francis May Retire Like Benedict - Big Pulpit

  71. Jon says:

    Seems he could use a little advice from his brother, Andrew.

    And please don’t make me explain the obvious. It spoils the joke.

  72. capchoirgirl says:

    Vis a vis: “distractions”, “press”, “drawing attention to himself”: I think we are overestimating his ability to do that. He’s the Pope. What he does–whatever he does–draws attention to him, no matter what. It’s like being the President. Nothing is a secret. So I think we’re being a little hard on him when we imply that he may “want” this attention.
    I can imagine few things harder than being pope; and then, beginning your pontificate in the midst of Holy Week. I also find the comparison to Pres. Obama more than a bit off.

  73. Genna says:

    I’m right with Fr. Z on this. It’s the appointments which will signal in which direction this papacy will go. The “style” (so far) of Pope Francis, is I think, synonymous with his being the first truly post-Vatican 2 pope.
    So in a way what Pope Francis does, even if seems off the wall, shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. He is a man of his generation. Plus he comes from a very unstable country where dark things have happened. His priestly ministry from the get-go would almost inevitably be a very different cut from that in the United States or Europe.
    Two things bother me. The first is that the Pope’s modus operandi may be misread, just like V2 has been, and a thousand exaggerated imitations spring into life at parish level because too many will be watching but not listening.
    The second is that the Ordinariates will grind to a halt. I haven’t read or heard that the Ordinariates were invited to have a presence at the Pope’s inaugural Mass. Please let me know if I am wrong.

  74. Cathy says:

    Holy Thursday, yes, Our Lord celebrated the Last Supper, washed the Apostles feet, prayed and was betrayed and was unjustly judged, all these things, but where does He spend the evening?

  75. americangirl says:

    I outwardly and freely admit I am a conservative Catholic who favors Tradition and abhors innovation and novelty. I am not an intellect but a person with a very simple faith. I believe the lying of flowers at the image of Our Lady was a gesture of consecration, devotion and a plea of assistance to the Mother of God for and during Francis’ papacy. One she will not reject. As a Cardinal he often gave medallions and portraits of Our Lady of the Knots to people. He is a son of our Mother. I trust she will not lead him astray but guide this papacy. If it is true and he prays the Rosary then we need to trust through this humble prayer she will inspire him and his actions. I often apologize to St. Francis, if I would have lived during his time and witnessed some of his action (such as the stripping of himself to return his clothing to his Father) I would have thought he was scandalous. Not to mention in addressing nature as Brother Sun and Sister Moon I would have certainly dismissed him as a lunatic (shows how much I know) Yet today we recognize him as one of the greatest Saints in the history of the Church. Do we believe what we profess? Well then we know Francis CANNOT falter in faith and morals. So then we need to take a wait and see attitude. I may not like some of his actions regarding protocol and the relaxation of various traditions but I also recognize he is serious about saving souls, especially of those whose who are forgotten and rejected by society. And after all isn’t that what it really all about? Yes,just like his name sake I expect Pope Francis will continually break from protocol but like Francis he will touch the hearts of many and will convert souls to Christ I suspect this is the aim of Francis. May we call to mind this passage in scripture: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways my ways, says the Lord.” We need to trust the Lord and Our blessed Mother and pray for this servant of God Pope Francis.

  76. M. K. says:

    A couple of things occurred to me when I read this…

    (1) The previous announcement to the effect that Pope Francis would celebrate the evening Mass of Holy Thursday at St. Peter’s indicated that 3000 tickets had been set aside for the poor – and that over 1000 of these had already been distributed. Has the evening Mass in St. Peter’s been cancelled entirely? Will it still take place, but without the pope? I’m all for the pope visiting prisoners, and even doing it on Holy Thursday, but it seems like a lot more people are going to be left in the lurch if the evening Mass in St. Peter’s is scrapped in favor of a much smaller – and necessarily closed – celebration.

    (2) Not unrelated to (1), I don’t see why this has to be an either/or proposition. Couldn’t the pope celebrate BOTH a Mass in the prison in the late afternoon AND a Mass at St. Peter’s later that evening? Granted, that would mean he would have celebrated three Masses that day, but a lot of priests must do so on account of pastoral need (including some older than our present pope) and by doing so in this instance the Holy Father could be expressing a special kind of solidarity with the many priests who are currently over-extended.

  77. To be honest, I’d say we need to be careful not to fall into an emphasis on Holy Thursday traditions which is so rigid that it risks becoming judgmental or questioning the legitimacy of Pope Francis. I won’t accuse anybody of being guilty of this mind you, and I apologize if the above sounds like I am.

    By choosing to wash the feet of youth in a prison, he is bringing Christ to the people most disregarded by the rest of us and reminding us that these young criminals are loved by Christ and must be reached out to in love. Pope Francis isn’t merely exhorting us to do this. He’s showing us by his example.

  78. Prof. Basto says:

    Father,

    In the – now overruled and updated – Calendar of Celebrations made public in the Vatican website by the Papal Master of Ceremonies, this year’s Mass of the Lord’s Supper was scheduled to take place not in the Lateran Basilica, but in the Vatican Basilica.

    The Vatican Basilica would then, this year, have been the site of both the Chrism Mass and the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Perhaps this was due to the fact that the Pope has not yet taken posession of the Lateran Basilica with the rite of enthronement (incathedratio), prescribed in the Ordo Rituum pro Ministerii Petrini Initio Romae Episcopi.

    Anyway, with this Papal Decision of today, the Mass has been trasfered from the Vatican Basilica to the prision; not from the Lateran Basilica to the prision.

    I agree that the move is not good. Of course the Pope should visit the prision, offer hope, and celebrate Mass there. But the Sacred Triduum must be a moment when he pontificates for all the People, in one of his Papal Basilicas.

    What about the Papal Household, the former Papal Court? Will they attend the Mass of the Archpriest of St. Peter’s, or will they go to the prision with the Pope? Will the Archpriest of St. Peter’s celebrate the initial rite of the Triduum at the Vatican, or will the Vatican Basilica lack a Mass of the Lord’s Supper this year?

  79. BLB Oregon says:

    “Imrahil says:
    Dear @BLB Oregon,
    see my comment above at 10:01″

    My apologies, I missed that….thank you! That’s what I wanted to know!

  80. gjp says:

    http://www.catholicpressphoto.com/servizi/2007-03-18-Casal-del-marmo/default.htm

    Here are some photos from Pope Benedict’s visit to this same prison, and it appears to have been the 4th Sunday of Lent.

  81. The Masked Chicken says:

    Since no one, here, can really do anything except make comments, sometimes, I think it might be nice to just hibernate until June and let things settle into whatever they will. Beginnings can often be chaotic until a steady-state is achieved.

    The Chicken

  82. NBW says:

    Don’t know what to say. Fr. Z. I see your point clearly. One thing for sure; Pope Francis is a Pope of surprises. I hope he starts to clean up the “wolves” that are hidden in the Church. We must keep praying hard!

  83. Tradster says:

    “I fear that he runs the risk of making these change all about him, rather than some other message he wants to convey. The same goes for all the other changes he is making. The papacy isn’t just his own thing to do with what it pleaseth him to do.”

    I am trying hard to keep my fingers away from the panic button until if/when there is a clear reason to push it. However, I completely support Father’s concerns about the early warning signs. It is very troubling that his actions immediately and deliberately destroyed the honeymoon period to which anyone in a new position is entitled.

  84. gretta says:

    For all those concerned that the Pope is violating the law, he is the supreme legislator, and he has both the power and the authority to change canon law which includes liturgical law. If he wants foot washing to include both men and women, he has the authority to legislate and specifically permit it. Pope Benedict made considerable additions and changes to current canon law. Pope Francis has that same option.

    I am absolutely loving the fact that what is being reported these days are good stories about the Catholic Church. I didn’t realize how much the awful stories about us over the years has been spiritually wearying. The filth needed to be exposed and cleaned out, but the constant hearing about it from all sides is really hard.

    We now have whole stories about the doings of the Pope that do not include references to abuse. I think the poster above who said that we have lost popular credibility is right on the money. It is only thorough such acts as this that we might begin to regain some of that credibility to those that we are trying to evangelize. When I have agnostic family members gushing about this new Pope instead of attacking us, I’ve got to think the pope is doing something right.

  85. jhayes says:

    Sandro Magister speculates that Francis will restructure the Church hierarchy before dealing with he Curia:

    “But within the Catholic Church as well papal primacy, pushed to the limit, is waiting to be balanced by the college of bishops. This was called for by Vatican Council II, so far with scarce practical application, and again forcefully by Benedict XVI in one of his last discourses as pope, a few days before his resignation. His successor Francis has already made it known that this is precisely what he means to do.

    To do this he has available to him a rough and ready implement, the synod. It consists of the approximately two hundred bishops, the elite of the almost five thousand bishops of the whole world, who every two years meet in Rome to discuss an issue of particular urgency for the life of the Church.

    Its powers are purely advisory, and its twenty-eight editions so far, since the first in 1967, have risen only rarely above tedium. Pope Francis could make it deliberative, naturally “together with and under” his power of primacy.

    But above all he could transform into a proper and permanent “council of the crown” that restricted group of bishops, three for each continent, which every synod elects at the end of its work, to act as a bridge to the following synod.

    For a pope like Francis, who wants to feel from Rome the pulse of the worldwide Church, this group is the ideal instrument. Suffice it to say that among the twelve elected by the last synod are almost all of the outstanding names of the recent conclave: the cardinals Timothy Dolan of New York, Odilo Scherer of São Paulo, Brazil, Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, Peter Erdö of Budapest, George Pell of Sydney, Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle of Manila.

    By gathering around himself a summit of the worldwide episcopate of such a high level, once a month or even more frequently, physically present in Rome or by videoconference, Pope Francis could govern the Church just as Vatican Council II wished: with stable collegial support for his ultimate decisions as successor of Peter.”

    http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1350472?eng=y

  86. pmullane says:

    I think it is a wonderful gesture of the Holy Father to visit those imprisoned. Those in prison need Christ, and they need to be served. The most striking practice of service in the church today is the ceremony of the washing of feet and unfortunately this only happens once a year – on Holy Thursday. The fact that Pope Francis has not taken posession of his Cathedral , meaning that this Holy Thursday is ‘spare’ in a sense gives rise to this oppertunity to give a great witness to our Faith and to Christian Service. He may do this every year – he certainly seems to see the washing of feet as a way of making a point of Christian Serviice to the poor (mothers, AIDS sufferers, now priosoners). There are all good things and make me appreciate and love the Holy Father that God sent us more and more.

    Pope Francis seems to value symbolism a great deal. Whats more, at this time of his election, the eyes of the worlds are on him in a way that they will likely never be again (until the time of his death or abdication). It seems he wants to use this time as a’time of symbols’, making certain gestures whilst the world watches. Wonderful and Bravo! What an effective witness to the Faith. This is the time when the unchurched are looking at the Pope, and the pope is showing genuine Christian love and charity. He does not look like a king dressed in ermine, but a servant serving the poor. Thats not to say that once the gaze of the world moves away from him, that he will hop on the Sedia and pop on his Crown, but more to say that he is possible that he will speak to those ‘in the Church’ who look to him always once this oppertunity to evangelise has passed. More and more he reminds me of the Father in the parable of the two sons, and more and more some of us (me incluided) feel like the elder son.

    So I think that Pope Francis uses thsi time as a time of Symbols, however……

    Perhaps this is time for a small gesture to those of us who also appreciate symbols, like those symbols that signify the solemnity of his office?

  87. JesusFreak84 says:

    Father’s hit the name on the head; he risks appearing, regardless of his interior state, like the Phrasees of old.

    As far as the “positive” coverage His Holiness is currently getting, that’ll end soon, likely very soon. The only things that would make folks like the media and my family like the Pope after the “honeymoon” is over are the things that he cannot ever do: same-sex “marriage,” womyn priestesses, abortion and birth control for any and all reasons, etc.

  88. phlogiston says:

    Be careful Fr. Z, lest you too be accused of “critizing the pope” for pointing out these things: http://www.creativeminorityreport.com/2013/03/for-record-i-have-not-criticized-pope.html

    [The reading and reason challenged are already filling up my inbox.]

    IMHO, the greatest danger at this time, with the press already calling Pope Francis the “hope and change” pope, is that absent a few visible signs of continuity, enemies of the Church will use these visible changes as an excuse to act as if all things are negotiable, even when they aren’t. Call it what you will, the “hermenutic of rupture”, the “Council of the Media,” whatever. At this rate, I fear we can look for its return, soon, and with a vengeance, regardless of Pope Francis’ intentions.

  89. To the commenter who wondered about the deacon stole…

    The bishop — like a pope or a priest — is still a deacon. I suspect he wore the stole to signify his role, at that moment, as a servant. (Not insignificantly, the washing of the feet has strong symbolic significance for deacons, exemplifying the service to which we are called; many diaconate emblems show the bowl and towel to represent that.)

    DGK

  90. benedetta says:

    I agree with both anna 6 and gretta.

    It isn’t as if Pope Benedict never visited prisoners because of course he did. I too am hoping for portrayals of the Church and the Pope in a more positive light than had been shown previously, even if somewhat based on deception on the part of the media which after all ignores what it wishes to ignore or distort what it wishes to distort. I just pray that when this Pope takes a stand on behalf of, say, the unborn, it won’t be similarly swept under the rug but that his credibility will extend to that as well. Mother Teresa kissed the feet of the poorest but no one wanted to listen to what she had to say.

  91. Robbie says:

    My motto with Pope Francis has been to “wait and see”. I haven’t wanted to make any snap judgments or rash decisions about him since he’s been Pope for just a week or so. Having said that, I’m concerned by his public actions. I believe in tradition and I think any man who becomes Pope should work to uphold and maintain those traditions.

    I agree with Father Z and actually voiced the same thought a few days ago. If Pope Francis continues to do things in a way that confounds the previous norms, he risks making it all about himself. As I watched Francis interact with the crowds, I couldn’t help but think of Jimmy Carter on his inauguration day when he got out of the car and walked the parade route.

    Clearly, this is who Pope Francis is, an outgoing and humble servant of the poor, but he’s no longer just a Cardinal who comes from a Jesuit order, correct? He’s the Pope. And with that position comes a certain way of doing things. Francis may not like the pomp, circumstance, or traditions that come with the Papacy, but it’s part of the job he chose to accept.

    I hope I haven’t offended anyone, but I’ll end with this question and it’s paraphrased from a line the movie “The King’s Speech”. Does a Pope do want he wants, or does a Pope do what tradition expects of him?

  92. celpar says:

    I don’t know what it’s like in the States, but in Britain every report by the BBC of whatever ‘simple’ or ‘humble’ thing Pope Francis has done now has the phrase ‘in marked contrast to his predecessor’ attached. He may not intend it, but he is giving the impression that he wishes to distance himself from Benedict XVI and indeed most of his predecessors, who somehow weren’t ‘good’ popes. And let me tell you, the ‘Tablet’-reading members of my parish are loving it.

    Is it unfilial of me to suggest that genuine humility might consist in initially doing as your predecessors have done and making changes you feel necessary rather more tactfully and quietly when you’ve got your feet under the table?

    Pope Francis is the Pope and as such I owe him loyalty and obedience and prayers. I just wish I could feel happier about him.

  93. Adam says:

    Papa Francesco has set the cat among the pigeons in just 6 days. And this is just the beginning. And some are upset, whilst millions are enthralled and captivated by this new bishop of Rome, I am in the camp of those who are excited by a new simple style of papacy. Each pope brings his own personal style. John Paul I did away with being carried around on a raised chair and smiled a lot and spoke off the cuff. John Paul II brought a very pastoral style and closeness to people. Benedict was the teacher of the faith and an extraordinary preacher of the faith. Simple and powerful witnesses.
    Francesco is his own man bringing, we ought not forget, 15 years as leader of a huge Catholic diocese, years as a Provincial of the SJs and member of Curial depts.
    The vast majority of electing cardinals chose him as the Successor of Peter as Bishop of Rome and we must as Catholics be totally loyal to him. Cardinals and bishops promise obedience and respect as ought all priests to the new Bishop of Rome.
    What he is doing thse last few days is a matter of his own style, touching people, reaching out to them and being close to them. This is the bishop who rises at 4am to pray (how many of us do that), prays so deeply at the Eurcharist and who is an inspiration. How he chooses to manifest his office as Bishop of Rome IS HIS OWN MATTER and not ours. If he wishes to celebrate the Lords Supper Mass in a prison that is his choice. And why should we object? This has nothing to do with the Catholic faith or morals. He is not changing the Mass, just a venue.
    This is just the first week and people are finding ways to make subtle and disloyal attacks on him which I believe is a disgrace. As Bishop of Rome he can do what he wants to do as their bishop so long as the faithof the Church is not obfuscated.
    Let us just watch and pray for this man whom God HAS CHOSEN as the Vicar of Christ on earth.
    We ought just stand back and pray for him. Be proud we have a man of deep faith now as bishop of Rome. I applaud him going to the prison to be with young offenders this easter.
    And I hope for more surprises of his own style.
    Pax semper sub Petrus.

  94. Allan S. says:

    Friends, Romans, Countrymen…lend me your ear:

    We will know in a mere few weeks EXACTLY what sort of ride we’re along for. Keep your powder dry. If “indefectability” is about to be tested..well…we’ll see. Fr. Z. has given us the only possible advice: pray, fast, and go full steam ahead on all things traditional (by which we mean only “holy” and “true” – not inconsequential aesthetic preferences).

    We shall see. For better or for worse, Francis is God’s answer to Benedict’s resignation.

    Do what Fr. Z. says. I am fasting and have cut back some of my meds, suffering for the Church and Holy priests.

    God bless…..

  95. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    The earlier Francis was reluctant even to share a meal with Sister Clare and her community, so vigilant was he of his chastity, and so desirous that nothing improper should even seem to be taking place among the sisters or among those of his Order. At last his brethren were able, however, to persuade Francis that Sister Clare deserved this favor, and that he might take with him a band of his brethren, and they and the sisters should eat together in common.

    And so Holy Father Francis of Assisi consented to share a meal with Sister Clare and her sisters. One time. And that was that.

    Would that other Francis have washed the feet of women, even of the sisters? Zero chance.

  96. HobokenZephyr says:

    Anchorite, I don’t recall any part of the Gospels where Jesus says that the gates of hell will not stand against the United States.

    Dr. K, I think you are reinforcing my point. B16 appointed most of the cardinals, so I am guessing he knows them better than we do. I can’t help but think that JPII solicited Cdl. Ratzinger’s opinion on the ones he created as well, so I think he had an insight into those as well.

    In any event, B16 knew changes “could” happen if he abdicated and yet he still did. I was not one to question that decision, so I will neither be the one to question the repercussions of it either.

  97. mamajen says:

    @Robbie

    To answer your question: Neither. The Pope does what God wants. And I think that is exactly what Pope Francis is trying to do.

  98. McCall1981 says:

    @ Allan S

    What will we know in a few weeks?

  99. phlogiston says:

    Can we please dispense with the idea that the election of Pope Francis HAS to be God’s will? The cardinals were not the marionettes of the Holy Spirit while in Conclave. They retained their free will. Bad popes can and have been elected in the past. I am not saying that Francis is or will be bad pope, but rather that we should be realistic with our view of “God’s will” and not let our own expectations or hopes color that view.

  100. PostCatholic says:

    He seems like a very determined man. Surely that’s something you can take heart in.

  101. liliana51886 says:

    Re: acardnal says:
    Moreover, the rubrics of the 2002 Missale Romanum retain the viri selecti. Viri cannot include “females”. Viri is an exclusive term.

    So, to clarify ( because I don’t always understand) does this apply to ALL Preists, Bishops…..so on… or just the Pope?

  102. Cantor says:

    1. Christ spent the night of Holy Thursday under arrest.

    2. Jesus, however, called the children to himself and said, “Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. (Luke 18:16)

    3. The Pope wishes to celebrate Mass on Holy Thursday in youth prison.

    It seems that Christ set the precedent.

  103. Allan S. says:

    @McCall1981 -

    We will know shortly a lot more about the types of issues about which we are currently fretting. Will he name holy, orthodox, reformers to key curial positions or…the other kind? Will he ride roughshot over any rubrics, traditions, standards and practices he doesn’t like on a whim..or defer mostly to the laws of the Church to set an appropriate example?

    The proof will be in the pudding soon enough such that we will no longer have to guess or worry.
    We will see and know. So..wait. And see.

  104. CatholicinCA says:

    I agree with Cantor above, when I read this I first assumed it was because Jesus spent Holy Thursday in prison, and my first thought was–wow, how have I never made that connection before? What do I do for those in prison, is there any way I could reach out to them in a special way on Holy Thursday as well? It’s very touching and points right back to Jesus in my opinion.

  105. PA mom says:

    I think that Pope Francis is looking to pick up the ” lost sheep”. He has the attention of the world right now, and good that he does which is comprehensible in photo format, and acts which speak to those in the “Liberal drift”, are acts which help the overall Church.
    It seems to me that he is very generous with the average faithful. who among us dislikes encouragement?
    In a way, Pope Benedict was “our turn”, and now it is time to steady on, and support our new Pope’s strongest focus elsewhere.

  106. Allan S. says:

    @phlogiston – exactly correct. This notion that has entered the minds of the faithful that the Holy Spirit chooses the Pope is utter nonsense. Then Cardinal Ratzinger himself (I believe) once explained that the role of the Holy Spirit is more in the nature of helping..and perhaps interceding, but only so far as to ensure that the whole Church is not utterly wrecked by a conclave. In 2,000 years we have had, let’s remember, some truly awful and immoral popes. So what?

    The only thing anybody can say with certainty is that God (i.e. the Holy Spirit) has permitted the election of Francis to the papac…er…See of Rome.

    God often permits many things, good and….well, you get the idea.

    Now stop worrying and do what Fr. Z. says. It’s the only good advice I’ve read in days.

  107. Supertradmum says:

    Masked Chicken, I am going into hibernation…soon. I think the situation needs a year for further comment to define or describe anything meaningful.

  108. JohnH says:

    Fr. Z,

    I am pretty sure you did not mean that Pope Francis is being selfish when you say

    … he runs the risk of making these changes all about him …

    I think this is a good observation and something to consider. But I also think it can sound Pharisaical (not saying that you are, honestly). [Just stick to what I wrote. I think it is a risk.]

    This discussion reminds me of the story of the Good Samaritan. We often hear that Parable thinking “what horrible people those Levites and priests were for passing by this poor, destitute soul!” But in reality, they were just following Pharisaical precedent. Or, as we might say here, “They were just doing things they way they have always been done.” I do not think we “Traditionalists” should be afraid that Pope Francis is going to destroy everything Pope Benedict worked to accomplish. Christ’s apparent infractions against Pharisaical laws did not mean he was disobedient to or despised the Torah. Neither do the Popes changes mean that he abhors our traditions. Let’s give him a chance. This gesture is not the end of the world, and it is a truly loving and fitting display of solidarity with troubled youths. (See my comment above regarding how this is fitting for Holy Thursday).

  109. Jacob says:

    The Bergoglian pontificate will bring many considerable changes. Few of them good.

  110. Katie says:

    Dear Imrahil, My point is that all this hoopla is NOT THE POINT of the Holy Thursday mass. It is not a contest to find the most undeserving. It is not a philosophy lesson in the phenomenology of paradox. This is to turn the beginning of the Triduum into choreographed bathos. Either the Triduum has some theological and liturgical coherence or it does not. Charity can be enacted at any point in the year. It does not have a specific form. Papa Bergoglio is making the papacy and the mass all about himself.
    Re his strictures about pets in the Spanish language clip: he obviously doesn’t hang out with the street people I know, many of whom have well cared-for dogs. People who are really poor often love their animals and the poor who are mentally ill often have no sentient being whom they trust to give them a lick. Being Pope is not a contest in photo op humility: it is an office in the service of the whole church.

  111. jhayes says:

    APX wrote “I’m curious as to why he’s wearing his stole as a deacon.”

    The rubrics say to remove the chasuble during the Foot Washing. It’s probably the stole he was wearing under the chasuble, repositioned to keep it away from the water.

  112. LarryW2LJ says:

    @ Jon,

    Hopefully, Andrew will feel comfortable enough to offer said advice.

  113. Dave N. says:

    Based on results so far, it seems this papacy will be chock full of surprises!!

  114. dbwheeler says:

    Forgive my ‘cynacism’ but I’ve always cringed at describing anyone as humble because when someone genuinely is humble, they’re rarely described as such. Has anyone called Jesus or John the Baptist humble? Perhaps I’ve read too much Dickens, and my views colored by Uriah Heep’s ‘umbleness, but I don’t trust it, and I do not trust anyone who, though everyone claims is so humble, runs his own show and makes his own decisions and changes at an alarming pace…something I do not find humble in the least. He seems to be making a deliberate break from all that was cherished by Pope Benedict and in the process making it look like the previous choices were something not worth preserving…and the secular press is loving it, as it affords them all sorts of instant comparison sound bites. Does this new pope think of anyone but himself and carrying out what he believes is holiness? I’m sorry, but I think we’re in a collision course because he’s not waiting and listening. Frankly, I think it’s ALL about him . Jesus didn’t kiss anyone’s feet…what is that? Posturing? See how holy I am? Always , always, always pause in the face of someone intent on making a great show of their religion…even if they are the pope. We’re hearing “Pray for me”…well, how about “Please pray for our beloved Church…please pray for all of us”? I will say it myself…Please pray for our beloved Church!!

  115. Daniel says:

    In his second book on Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict relates the washing of feet to the Sacrament of Confession. While Jesus only distributed Communion to the Apostles, he did not intend them to follow suit in only distributing Communion to the ordained. Likewise, while he only washed the feet of the Apostles the intent was not that they only offer the Sacrament of Confession to the ordained.

    Though the rubric refers to washing the feet of adult males, it seems permission to do otherwise has been granted to various bishops (per an article written by Ed Peters). If Pope Francis intends to wash the feet of females, it would seem prudent that while doing so he changes the rule and explains why he is doing so. He might already have it in his plans, but it might also be nice if he were to spend some time before Mass hearing confessions. If he does, the press would likely not report on it.

  116. Mariana says:

    Not surprised. Italian TV thought him very much like John XXIII last week when he was elected, and my first thought was of John XXIII’s Mass at Regina Coeli prison. Check it out on You Tube.

  117. My first thought was “WHO THE H*** THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA????”

    Considering the incredible hell that the Church has suffered for the past several years with various priestly sex scandals, the idea of images of the Pope kissing the bare feet of young boys being plastered everywhere in the world is probably the worst possible message imaginable. In fact, I dare say, that a team of professional ad men would be hard pressed to think of a WORSE image to project. Father Z (and many others) have written on the importance of the people in Rome “getting” the damage these scandals have caused. This story seems to indicate that, in fact, the Holy Father, at least, does not “get it”.

    God bless the Holy Father for the sentiment, but, even though he pretty much gets to do as he pleases in many things, is there no one in the Vatican with the sense and courage to say what a stupid idea this is?

  118. Robbie says:

    Here’s an article by George Nuemayr. In it, he tries to read the tea leaves on Pope Francis. From a traditional point of view, it’s not the best outlook.

    http://spectator.org/archives/2013/03/20/reading-the-papal-tea-leaves

  119. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Katie,

    now you are raising legitimate concerns… my only point was that “these sinners have sinned especially much, and the really poor are their victims”, though arguably true, is nevertheless none of them.

    (Still, the Dismas incident did happen during the Triduum…)

  120. veritas76 says:

    A great CS Lewis quote on the matter:

    “Above all, you must be rid of the hideous idea, fruit of a wide-spread inferiority complex, that pomp, on the proper occasions, has any connexion with vanity or self-conceit. A celebrant approaching the altar, a princess led out by a king to dance a minuet, a general officer on a ceremonial parade, a major-domo preceding the boar’s head at a Christmas feast – all these wear unusual clothes and move with calculated dignity. This does not mean that they are vain, but that they are obedient; they are obeying the hoc age which presides over every solemnity. The modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is no proof of humility; rather it proves the offender’s inability to forget himself in the rite, and his readiness to spoil for every one else the proper pleasure of ritual.” -C.S. Lewis, Preface to Paradise Lost

  121. veritas76 says:

    I suppose the CS Lewis quote fit Fr Z’s other post better, but it still works here.

  122. McCall1981 says:

    The more that he emphasizes being Bishop of Rome, as oppossed to Pope, and his “lead by example” style, the more I feel that SP and the TLM are really safe. He definitely doesn’t strike me as the kind of man that will be doing a lot of “legislating” for the universal Church.

    I think his pontificate will be about leading by personal example, not legislating, which may leave the door open for some unfortunate liturgical abuse (by others, not by the Pope personally), but will equally leave the door open for traditionalists and the TLM to do their thing.

    I think we’ll be able to learn from the positives he brings, like care for the poor, without having the suppossed “negatives” (if there are any), like a modernist liturgy, forced on us.

  123. Imrahil says:

    Dear @greasemonkey,

    no, I do not think the sedia gestatoria will be used any time during this pontificate. And indeed visiting the imprisoned first struck me as something very odd.

    Until I found out that apparently the Pope actually took notice that he would later take possession of the Cathedral and could therefore not celebrate at the Lateran. What would any modern politician (after all, politicians do sometimes make some sort of ceremonies) do? He would follow protocol, but follow it in the less appropriate place rather than in the more appropriate. He would go to the Lateran, and then two or three weeks later reappear at the Lateran, say “oh of course I’ve already been here, but now let’s do this formal thing of taking possession”, and the like.
    This Pope follows the more important part of the tradition: not to make a first entrance to a place already entered.

    You are entitled to see St. Peter’s as more appropriate than a prison for the beginning of the Triduum, but St. Peter’s too would have been different from what the rubrics say (which assume the Pope has already taken possession of the Lateran, and say “Lateran”).

    Let there be no illusions; but honor to which honor is due.

  124. Lori Pieper says:

    So Pope Francis runs the risk of making it “all about him”? Only if we let it!

    What is so much of the commentary here doing if not making it “all about him” – all about the effect on the traditional view of the papacy? All about speculation on the state of the Pope’s soul? Is this what he would desire?

    Or does the Pope perhaps want us to think about the poor and what we are planning to do for the most despised of our brothers and sisters? Or about how to practice the New Evangelization by walking the walk as well ask talking the talk? Remember how Paul VI said people listen most to teachers who are also witnesses. I think Pope Francis is calling on all of us to do this.

    I can’t believe it when I hear supposedly good and devout Catholics start denouncing the Pope as proud, as a hypocrite and Pharisee, without any evidence at all.

    Francis is not responsible for what’s going on in the media and the backlash against Pope Emeritus Benedict. Don’t blame him for it.

    Adam: hear hear! Very beautifully stated.

  125. Jon says:

    Mariana,

    Italian TV thought him very much like John XXIII last week?

    Funny, I didn’t.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qbx9l4fuRlY

  126. APX says:

    I too was thinking about a discussion with Andrew. Maybe not so much of a “giving advice,” but rather a subtle dialogue on the subject.

  127. Random Friar says:

    Sidestepping the liturgical land mine for a minute, I’d give the Holy Father a pass on his pastoral letter to priests for Holy Thursday. I don’t imagine the Holy Father has had much time to put much to paper so far. I would be saddened, otherwise, if this did not happen in following years.

  128. Lepidus says:

    @McCall1981 – I tend to agree with you that he will probably lead by example rather than legislation – hopefully. Unfortunately, there will be many who will see the “inch” of example and take a “foot” of implementation. Those with a more traditional bent, however, will tend to follow the existing legisilation to their detriment. While a lot of those in favor of the EF tend to sing the praises of Summorum Pontificum, I always get hung up on the one “gotcha” that I was hoping our next Pope would remove. That being the fact that you need a bunch of people to beg the priest for the EF before he’s allowed to consider it. That means that a properly formed priest in Madison, WI (see Fr. Z’s other posts), is actually prevented from saying that he will start the EF at a particular Mass on the first Sunday of each month (for example).

  129. alanphipps says:

    @cantor

    “1. Christ spent the night of Holy Thursday under arrest. ”

    Very good point. In the discussion of traditional symbols and their importance (with which I, of course, agree), it strikes me that there are also other symbols that are also important. If Francis choose to emphasizes those things in the near term, it needn’t imply that traditional symbols are meaningless. Popes do this in various ways. For one, I am happy that the world is challenged by the actions of the Holy Father.

  130. PatB says:

    Jesus washed the feet of young men. Why have I always seen the foot washing of old men, exclusively? This will be refreshing, and I don’t mean just clean feet.

  131. sthelensrcbarry says:

    regarding the letter to priests, Pope Benedict stopped that particular tradition, which was only done by John Paul II, Benedict never issued a Letter

  132. sthelensrcbarry says:

    regarding the letter to priests, Pope Benedict stopped that particular tradition, which was only done by John Paul II, Benedict never issued a Letter

  133. Random Friar says:

    At our motherhouse, we would wash the feet of our seminarians (student brothers), who ranged from baby-faced to old sea salts.

  134. slcath says:

    If the Bishop of Rome thinks that the needs of his people are best served by celebrating the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at a youth detention center, I don’t see that it is our job to second-guess him.

  135. Katylamb says:

    Michael Voris has a good video. I agree with every word of it and for the reasons he mentions I have been totally ignoring the secular press when it comes to news about the new pope. All my news about the pope comes from this blog and Big Pulpit. However, I think I’ll take a break even from this and “work on my personal holiness” as Voris suggests. I will certainly take Father Z’s advice and do more for and with our local TLM community. Here is the video: http://www.churchmilitant.tv/daily/?today=2013-03-21

  136. Pray, fast, pray, fast….that is all I can say…

  137. vox borealis says:

    I’m feeling cynical again. I have a strong feeling that so much progress made under Benedict XVI with respect to papal decorum, restoration of tradition, and liturgy is going to be squandered in just a few more public appearances by Francis (who I am sure is otherwise a good and holy man).

  138. Maria says:

    So far:

    1.) From church universal to poor church for the poor
    2.) From universal pastor to bishop of Rome (Pope Francis keeps on repeating this)
    3.) Mozzetta
    4.) Red shoes
    5.) No blessing during media audience because there are non-believers. How about the Catholics? How about during general audience when there are also non-believers? This broke my heart. So if I am the only Catholic among 100, he will not give me a blessing?
    6.) Change PBXVI’s on vow of obedience during installation from all present cardinals to 2 per category (same as PBXVI’s inauguration)
    7.) Lateran to prison
    8.) Washing of female’s feet (?) – remain to be seen
    9.) …

    All in 8 days either actual events or news.

    I only prayed for holy and good Pope. I believe my prayer was answered.

    My Lord and my God, I believe, let me understand in hope, peace and joy.

  139. anna 6 says:

    Lori,
    “Francis is not responsible for what’s going on in the media and the backlash against Pope Emeritus Benedict. Don’t blame him for it.”

    You are absolutely correct about this, and as I said earlier “I am not proud about” reacting in this way.

    But I still think that Fr. Z. is not wrong in worrying that there is “a risk” in the perception of some of these changes.
    For me, the biggest risk is in creating confusion and division among faithful Catholics. Of course, Francis is doing a magnificent and merciful thing by going to the prison (and now that I have learned that the Mass was scheduled for St. Peter’s, I am less concerned). But we shouldn’t underestimate the fact that confusion and anxiety can occur when several treasured and meaningful traditions are rejected in a very quick succession, or at least give that impression.
    I am a post V2 Catholic who worships in the Ordinary Form Mass and am very involved in “social justice” causes. But I see and hear a tremendous amount of unhealthy finger pointing and condemning occurring on each end of the idealogical spectrum. It can have the effect of undoing the good that the Holy Father hopes to achieve. I am open to learning how to live out my Catholic faith through the beautiful example of our new, dear Pope Francis. But our church, and hence, the marginalized of this world will benefit more if we can do it in a way that unites us.
    God bless Papa Francesco.

  140. Southern Catholic says:

    @Lori Pieper, I completely agree.

    The comments here really sadden me.

  141. Peter in Canberra says:

    The arguments about the Pope as supreme legislator worry me very much.

    and I think the characterisation of Pope Benedict having changed things radically is flawed, especially the assertion that he changed ‘Canon law’.

  142. Peter in Canberra says:

    that should have been the “arguments of gretta” …

  143. McCall1981 says:

    @ Anna 6
    “I am open to learning how to live out my Catholic faith through the beautiful example of our new, dear Pope Francis. But our church, and hence, the marginalized of this world will benefit more if we can do it in a way that unites us.
    God bless Papa Francesco.”

    My hope all along for Pope Franics has been that he will be uniting force that can combine the good of the social justice crowd with orthodoxy/reverence for the Church. A best of both worlds kind of thing. This, in my opinion, is what St. Francis of Assisi did, and though that’s an awfully high bar to set for our new Pope, I hope that is the direction he’s heading.

  144. Lori Pieper says:

    Hi Anna 6,

    I wasn’t addressing your comments specifically, just the general impression of the comments out there (and not only on this blog). I too miss Pope Benedict and marvel at his pastoral skill; it was just done in a very different way. Too bad the press hated him so much they never saw it.

  145. Catholictothecore says:

    The underlying fear that some people have not voiced but which is so palpable is that visiting the youth prison on Holy Thursday and just maybe, maybe, washing the feet of a few females quite blatantly signifies that Pope Francis favors ordaining women to the priesthood – “that will be next on his agenda, you watch.. He is off his rocker! What a disappointment, this Pope! Which of the 114 Cardinals elected him Pope? They must have had a liquid lunch prior to that afternoon ballot.”

    Okay, so he shouldn’t have picked visiting the youth prison on Holy Thursday, he could have done it another day. Fair enough. But can you just see the smile on their faces and in their hearts, if he does wash their feet, (females), how loved and important they would feel, “the Holy Father washed my feet on Holy Thursday, not some other normal day during the year. This was a special day and he chose me, a girl.” You’ve got yourself a convert right there.

    Pope Francis is sound doctrinally. He is never going to ordain women to the priesthood. He is tough as nails when it comes to upholding the teachings of the Church. He is as conservative as you can get. So he has a compassionate side to him. What’s wrong with that? Aren’t we all supposed to be Christ-like as well? Don’t get me wrong. I love Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus. He reached out to people in a different way. How many people, financially strapped, had a chance to read his books? Some of us were able to read his books and were enriched spiritually. Pope Francis, on the other hand, is going to enrich people in a different way, though he is no intellectual slouch either. He has written a lot of books as well. But he is going to reach out to people with compassion and care thus healing a lot of wounds.

    The recent stats shows only 24% of Catholics are practicing Catholics. Where are our 76% brothers and sisters in Christ? Should we not be concerned?

  146. Marcello says:

    anna 6,

    I am sympathetic to the social justice aspect as I am very involved personally in those matters, but there is a real risk that de-emphasis on tradition, ritual, ceremonial, etc. will reduce the Catholic Church to merely another Christian sect and, in the end, just a large social welfare agency devoid of spirituality and beauty. If that is Papa Francesco’s legacy, it will be one that will take generations to reverse, something none of us here will see in our earthly lifetimes.

  147. McCall1981 says:

    “Pope Francis is sound doctrinally. He is never going to ordain women to the priesthood. He is tough as nails when it comes to upholding the teachings of the Church. He is as conservative as you can get. So he has a compassionate side to him. What’s wrong with that? Aren’t we all supposed to be Christ-like as well?”

    Well said, and I hope you’re right about him :)

    Here’s to hoping he’ll be like the real St. Francis, not the “St. Francis of the media” so to speak.

  148. Anchorite says:

    @carolina publican,
    it was my first thought as well but I decided against voicing it here: In this day of age what high profile celibate old male would cancel an event that has happened since times immemorial to wash the feet of very young men and women? I am not implying anything here, but this type of questions are often raised during one’s VIRTUS training. Now, what I suspect is the case with Bp. Francis of Rome is that when you only listen to your own humility (‘umbleness was the perfect ward indeed) you can REALLY miss a whole set of very valid perspectives on the same issue. But then again, you miss them cause you don’t really …. (insert the lyrics from Marshall Mathers here). Such people always know they are always right.

  149. MouseTemplar says:

    While reading rusti999′s comment:

    “Here is an idea. Maybe the Bishop Emeritus of Rome can be recruited to celebrate Holy Thursday Mass in the Lateran. Just throwing it out there…”

    I began to have this unbidden, scary thought, “OK, so how about a shared papacy, BenedictXVI for us and Francis I for, um, them……?”

    Yikes. No more Double Black Diamond K-Cups for a while.

  150. Anchorite says:

    @Catholictothecore,
    Please, read the books on Bergoglio’s shelf ( http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1565401-que-hay-en-la-biblioteca-de-francisco ) and tell me if this man is “doctrinally sound.” I’d like to know what Cardinal Ratzinger thought of him back in the 90s and early 2000s.

  151. Anchorite says:

    @rusti999 & Mouse Templar,
    Years ago my father asked if I thought it was likely for Bl. John Paul II to abdicate and retire to a monastery in Poland. I told him that it would be an insane idea: to have a living saint whose spiritual and moral authority was respected by literally billions, and then – a newly elected somebody who dresses in white and lives in JPII’s old home…
    Now what do we have here? ….

  152. jhayes says:

    Anchorite wrote: “it was my first thought as well but I decided against voicing it here: In this day of age what high profile celibate old male would cancel an event that has happened since times immemorial to wash the feet of very young men and women? I am not implying anything here, but this type of questions are often raised during one’s VIRTUS training.”

    Other Popes have washed the feet of young men. No “tie immemorial” here.

    “For several years, Pope John Paul washed the feet of elderly laymen, including a group of homeless men living at a shelter run by the Missionaries of Charity in 1980. In 1983, he washed the feet of 12 young men from Italy’s Boys Town, and in 1984 the 12 were representatives of Rome parish youth groups.

    In 1974, Pope Paul washed the feet of 12 boys undergoing therapy for the effects of polio. In 1977, he washed the feet of 12 boys, ages 12-14, who were students at the Rome Diocese’s minor seminary.”

    http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/pope-francis-changes-holy-thursday-plans-celebrate-mass-prison

  153. Anchorite says:

    @jhayes,
    Thanks!
    I simply refer to the fact that the Holy Thursday ceremonies were held in S. Giovanni Laterano since times immemorial. You rushes to take possession of that church, not changing the venue to prison. Indeed, as some already pointed out, there are better time. ESPECIALLY, since 1970s and 80s (the events you bring up – thanks, btw!) the Church has not paid as many billions for sex abuse cover-up as it did/does now – the historical context changed. Surely I am not the only one who would find washing the feet of “12 boys, ages 12-14,” as a wrong choice for the year 2013.

  154. boxerpaws1952 says:

    “Every time our Holy Father breaks with tradition, and there have been many instances so far (!), the media is all over it snapping photographs and interpreting the change as a sign of progressive things to come. ”
    the media is all over Pope Francis snapping photographs but as far as the interpretation goes i think that’s us-not the media. They’re too clueless to know the meaning of anything related to the Catholic Church let alone the Papacy.My guess is that if Pope Francis washed the feet of both genders as Bishop that he is not going to dispense of it in prison now that he’s Pope.
    A few weeks ago i read the concerns of another person about the young boys in the “Papal” choir. They suggested that they should be removed until the scandal has passed for some years. Now it’s washing the feet of women in prison and how that will look. Was Pope Francis guilty of something back in Argentina? Did he cover up and protect any abuse ?Not that I know of. I hope then that our new Pope is not going to conduct his Pontificate based on what the media says or doesn’t say.

    I can’t claim to know his reasoning on why.If it were in a church/cathedral/basilica i might have a huge issue w/ it. This would definitely send the message he is breaking with tradition. It’s a prison. I do know this.The image of his getting out of the pope mobile to embrace the disabled man was everywhere on the internet. The image of his meeting with the people of Rome was all over the internet. I heard the people who protect him quoted as saying how wonderful this man is and they weren’t worried. The laity-much saddened over His Holiness PB XVI stepping down-have been expressing a great joy since getting to know their new Pope.Evidently what he says and does by example means a lot to them. It has touched their hearts. My gut feeling is that he’s not reaching out to Catholics only, though God knows we need some uplifting.
    I remain in a wait and see re the Curia and the improvements our Pope Emeritus brought to the Church-where he goes with that- but i also have the gut feeling Pope Francis is what our Church needed. At this time at least.Yes,i do have some concerns but those are in the wait,see and pray category.
    Side note; i noticed a couple things about Pope Francis. He seems to have some difficulty walking. It’s in his gait. I also noticed that as he walked from St Peter’s tomb- i prayed for my guardian angel to lend help-that he looked as if he were going to pass out and hit the floor. I wasn’t sure he would make what they said was the length of 2 football fields.

  155. BLB Oregon says:

    It is the honeymoon period. It is dangerous period, and yet whatever the Holy Father does will get hoopla, for awhile, particularly since instead of taking a name with a bunch of Roman numerals after it, he was the first Pope to choose the particular name he chose, and because he took the name of a saint whose name who is widely and wildly misunderstood. Whatever he does will inevitably be interpreted all upside down, because most of the commentators won’t be chosen from among those who actually know, since those who know tend to be personae non gratae in most media outlets.

    Let us pray that when it all comes out of the wash, people will not have misunderstood Pope Francis just as profoundly as they have historically misunderstood St. Francis, but instead will understand both of them far better, each in his own right.

  156. boxerpaws1952 says:

    i hear about the message Pope Francis is sending to Catholics. If he gets through to them that you can’t be pro abortion,gay marriage, euthanasia and BE Catholic washing the feet of women in prison will not be sending the message the Church is falling apart. If he can get Catholics out there for the New Evangelization Blessed John Paul II and His Holiness Benedict the XVI called for- Terrific! I support Father’s Z’s legitimate concerns (we must be vigilant re same)but i am willing to see where this Pontificate goes in due time.I wonder that there is something going on here in the unseen department(as Raymond Arroyo says; seen and unseen). Again,watch and pray. Thanks Fr Z for another great discussion about our Church. Hope he’s won the award for best Catholic blog. Not shmoozing here. It really is.

  157. Maynardus says:

    “Washing the feet of prisoners rather than retired priests sends a [s]tronger message in the tradition of the original Francis.”

    True, but the Holy Father is the successor of St. Peter, not of St. Francis. I feel strange about feeling strange about the Pope celebrating the Holy Thursday Mass in a prison, but I also feel strange about the Vicar of Christ leaving one of the liturgies of the Sacred Tridum “sede vacante” as it may seem.

    I’m surprised that nobody close to His Holiness has thought of a solution which not incidentally hearkens back to the traditional observances of Holy Week: why not separate the Mandatum from the Mass, have the Holy Father visit the prison and wash the feet of prisoners, and then celebrate Mass in the evening (and, if desired, repeat with 12 clerics)?

    We have enough liturgical chaos seeming to impend, but I don’t think that would be a terribly jarring innovation all things considered…

  158. BLB Oregon says:

    BTW, I’m glad he chose the same prison that Pope Benedict had chosen for that previous Lenten Mass. Pope Francis was elected both too late to take possession of the Lateran by Holy Thursday and too late to precisely take up the example set by Benedict previously, so perhaps he decided to combine his own tradition with that of his venerable successor, and in a way that does not pin him down to do the same in coming years.

  159. Hank Igitur says:

    I am starting to get really worried now. The consistent breaks with tradition and now this novelty is putting the focus on the man and not the Office. I trust that full insight of the weight of the Papal Office descends immediately upon the Pope and moves within him.

  160. ljc says:

    For Secretary of State I am fervently praying for Piacenza or Bagnasco. I really think it will take an Italian to clean up the mess, and those are the two best options, IMHO.

  161. Rich says:

    I say that the benefit of the conveying the message of humility and serving the marginalized is worth the cost of running the risk of what message may or may not be conveyed about the possibility of maybe giving the wrong impression with regard to this or that.

  162. Anchorite says:

    @ Hank Igitur,
    Maybe because I mostly deal with Italian Renaissance I picked up a pessimistic cynicism unacceptable for Catholics who were blessed with the previous century of mostly holy popes. However, I don’t find the idea of a heterodox pope legally elected so unimaginable:
    - a tacit support for gay civil unions
    - a suggestion of relaxing celibate rules
    - a nearly continuous dismantling of traditions (mozzetta, the Lateran, etc.) since the moment of appearing on that balcony
    - a reading list that includes Card. Martini
    - a likely restructuring of Church’s governance
    - a near-constant avoidance of the word “Pope”
    The list WILL go on as another 24 hours passes and then some more…
    Thus I am doubtful for anything “descending upon the Pope.”
    What I am not doubtful of is the impending return of Card. Burke to some diocese in US. Let us all pray it is Chicago.

  163. BLB Oregon says:

    “I am starting to get really worried now. The consistent breaks with tradition and now this novelty is putting the focus on the man and not the Office. I trust that full insight of the weight of the Papal Office descends immediately upon the Pope and moves within him.”

    It is well worthwhile to pay attention, as Fr. Z is doing, but do not let anxiety have you. It is March 21. What has he done? Appeared in public half a dozen times or so? Given three or four homilies and a news conference or two? Of the times he has not worn the mozzetta….how many times could that possibly have been? Has he made any comment about it? Put a ban on it? Not that I have heard.

    Our Holy Father was elected on March 13, too close to Holy Thursday to even have taken possession of the Lateran Basilica before the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. He has not washed a single foot yet, nor is there reason to believe that this year’s situation will be the norm for the rest of his papacy. If you do not remember back to what was said about Pope John Paul I in the mere 33 days he was Pope, you might do so. We can have no idea about how any the many things the media projected onto him would have played out if he had lived. Yet he was pope for about four times longer than Pope Francis has been pope. So let us also wait and see….and let us hope that we who are posting here never know as much as our Holy Father already knows by now about the tremendous weight of the office now on his shoulders. I do not know about you, but I do not want to be put to that test!

  164. Hank Igitur says:

    The carnival may not be over but only just beginning. I hope not. Time will tell. It always does.

  165. papaefidelis says:

    As I wrote just after the election, I am frightened of HH “Just call me Frank”. Each day, I become more uneasy but…what do I do? I call myself “papaefidelis” and have given up much and suffered much to uphold the Church’s teachings in my small corner of the world. Still, none of this shocks me (not really) but I think some of you will be MORE THAN A LITTLE SHOCKED at whom he names as the Secretary of State: I can foresee where this (and other things) is headed and it does not leave me calm. Yes, he will wash the feet of girls at the Roman Juvy and some may even be his servers. {sigh} Pray for Pope Francis, that God may lead him and deliver him from deception. We are all in need of metanoia.

  166. jhayes says:

    Side note; i noticed a couple things about Pope Francis. He seems to have some difficulty walking. It’s in his gait. I also noticed that as he walked from St Peter’s tomb- i prayed for my guardian angel to lend help-that he looked as if he were going to pass out and hit the floor. I wasn’t sure he would make what they said was the length of 2 football field

    He stumbled on the stairs in the Sistine Chapel. Since then the MC and Deacon seem to go up and down stairs tight against him on both sides – I assume they are ready to steady him if necessary.

  167. mamajen says:

    @Anchorite

    - a tacit support for gay civil unions

    Prove it. This article from Life Site News says otherwise: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/bergoglio-didnt-suggest-endorsing-homosexual-civil-unions-in-2010-says-conf

    - a suggestion of relaxing celibate rules

    Hardly. He acknowledged that in the past there have been married priests, and there may be in the future. He made no indication that he intends or would like to change this rule, but rather said “For the moment, I am in favor of maintaining celibacy, with all its pros and cons, because we have ten centuries of good experiences rather than failures.” The actual interview was admirable: http://www.aleteia.org/en/religion/documents/in-2012-interview-cardinal-bergoglio-says-he-favors-keeping-celibacy-582001

    - a nearly continuous dismantling of traditions (mozzetta, the Lateran, etc.) since the moment of appearing on that balcony

    The Lateran issue has already been explained. He has not officially taken possession of the cathedral, and it would therefore be wrong of him (not to mention non-traditional) to say a mass there before it is officially in his possession.

    - a reading list that includes Card. Martini

    Source? And yes, I’ve seen the article that the claims came from, but there is no information about how they know what was on Pope Francis’ nightstand. And who knows why he read any of those books, if indeed he did.

    - a likely restructuring of Church’s governance

    Which is awful because it’s obviously functioning so well now?

  168. Marcello says:

    Watch for publication of the new Annuario after the curial appointments. If the traditional titles of the Pope have been purged or tweaked into insignificance, then we know where Francis stands. If he feels that way about his pontificate, then we should feel free to ignore him.

  169. Marcello says:

    jhayes,

    Not to sound uncharitable, but Francis does have one lung. You could see his labored breathing at the installation Mass. The damp Roman winters will not set well with him.

  170. boxerpaws1952 says:

    You noticed that too jhayes.It doesn’t appear to be a life threatening health issue-UNLESS he would take a serious fall-but one that does affect him. Watch as he walks. It’s subtle but you can see it. Did you catch his walk from St Peter’s tomb to St Peter’s Square? i was very concerned but he made it.
    The look on his face was one of struggle; saying ‘ i have to hang on.’ thank God he made it!

    Back to the topic at hand again. Found this at Church Militant TV. A ‘take’ from the Vortex.
    http://www.churchmilitant.tv/free/index.php?ssnID=240&vidID=vort-2013-03-21
    WSU?

  171. Catholictothecore says:

    Anchorite,
    Unfortunately, my Spanish is a bit rusty. Also, I have no intention of troubling Benedict XVI with your question when we have our own genial host, Fr. Z, supporting my statement that Pope Francis is doctrinally sound. You may want to re-read Fr. Z’s post titled, “Liberals will turn on Pope Francis.”

  172. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Anchorite, while that may not make your total list better, the Lateran is not among the traditions the Holy Father disregarded. It is following tradition not to set foot into it until taking possession of it.
    (Hem, if he does on some other occasion set foot into it before taking possession, you can count me disproven.)

    Dear @papaefidelis, I’m curious: Who do you think will be his new Secretary?

  173. Hank Igitur says:

    Is there a good reason why he cannot take possession of the Lateran before Maundy Thursday?

  174. Imrahil says:

    Yes, there is.

    Palm Sunday.

    (And the fact that Pope emeritus Benedict explicitly changed the rule to say that the Pope can wait some weeks for to do this.)

  175. lauermar says:

    Thank you, Father Z, for all the work you do at CMTV and your blog. You voiced my feelings and concerns exactly! I’m with you. I just have one question. Why is there so much drama in the media by Pope Francis on foot washing? It’s only a custom, not a sacrament. Real charity should emphsize the sacrament of confession. And how about baptism? Maybe some are unbaptized. I’m not saying he won’t make it available to them. But many may not have confessed their sins first. They’re not going to take communion in that state, are they? Shouldn’t they do more confessing and less foot washing? Nobody goes to hell if they never get their feet washed.

  176. Therese says:

    Thanks, LarryW2LJ, for posting this Louie Verrecchio essay on Pope Francis’ approach to the Petrine ministry:

    http://catholicexchange.com/a-new-pontificate-dawning/

    It’s a comprehensive review of the concerns on this thread. A quote: “Therefore, if the liturgical life of the Church is in some measure wanting, everything else – her outreach to the poor, her attempts to evangelize, her internal governance, all of it – will suffer deficiency as well.” Very true.

    Yesterday I spoke with an N.O. priest who is utterly scandalized by the manner in which Pope Francis handled the media meeting on March 16th. It’s not just the Traddies that are alarmed.

    I agree with Allan S. et al: Let’s fast and pray, and go ahead with the job at hand, the restoration of the liturgy, for which we have the necessary tools.

  177. Marcello says:

    I was just ruminating with a friend on the telephone that Benedict, as Pope emeritus, is in a unique position to cause Pope Francis a great deal of grief, if he so chooses, but of course I do not think he is that type of man, he is a man of his word, very much “old school.” However, just think, he could return to Germany–he has plenty of friends in the nobility there who would willingly set him up with proper offices and living quarters, staff, etc.–and then start giving interviews, issuing press releases, making statements on anything and everything that he does not like Francis doing. He could even intimate that his abdication was less than freely made, thereby casting a cloud over Francis’ legitimacy. This will never happen but is great fodder for a novel waiting to be written; I even have the title: The Church of Two Popes. As a student of renaissance Italy, I can say that Francis is indeed lucky he is living in the 21st century and that Benedict is such a honorable man. Authors out there? Write the novel!

  178. mightyduk says:

    mamajen,

    i’m just curious, is there anything at all that Pope Francis would do that you wouldn’t explain away? We owe the Pope whoever he is our obedience, but not blind faith in.

  179. Hank Igitur says:

    “The damp Roman winters will not set well with him.”

    This presumes he decides to live in Rome.

  180. Peter in Canberra says:

    Catholictothecore wrote:
    “The underlying fear that some people have not voiced but which is so palpable is that visiting the youth prison on Holy Thursday and just maybe, maybe, washing the feet of a few females quite blatantly signifies that Pope Francis favors ordaining women to the priesthood – “that will be next on his agenda, you watch.. He is off his rocker! What a disappointment, this Pope! Which of the 114 Cardinals elected him Pope? They must have had a liquid lunch prior to that afternoon ballot.””

    Well, if he does wash the feet of women, in clear contravention of the rubrics, that will be a big deal and a bad day on more than one front, incluidng:
    - the authority of the rubrics will be greivously damaged. outcome: future anarchy in the liturgy, future anarchy on other fronts as well – “it’s all optional and/or subject to change – just look at Holy Father Pope Francis”
    The interpretation both within and without the church will be that the admission of women to holy orders is indeed up for grabs. outcome: more agitation for women’s ordination, scandalisation of the faithful, especially of women who will be given a vain hope. In that sense it takes the capitulation of John Paul II on ‘altar girls’ to a whole new level.

  181. papaefidelis says:

    @Imrahil: Whom do I think will be Secretary of State? Quam, haud quem.

  182. alanphipps says:

    @Marcello

    “Not to sound uncharitable, but Francis does have one lung. You could see his labored breathing at the installation Mass. The damp Roman winters will not set well with him.”

    Not to sound uncharitable?? I saw you suggest the pope’s death on the NLM blog when you pointed made this same statement and then said, “it will be a short pontificate.” What a horrible thing to say. You should be ashamed.

  183. Marcello says:

    I will repeat what I said over there before the post was deleted: I am repeating what I have been told is being bandied about in the curia right now. And this is the mildest, most respectful comment I can repeat. This is reality, men’s lives and careers are hanging by a thread over there depending on what Pope Francis does. The Indians have a new chief and they are not happy at all. Don’t shoot the messenger!

  184. mamajen says:

    @mightyduk

    I am perplexed as to why you’re singling me out here, but okay. I want to note first that when Father Z asked for our initial reaction to this election in a poll recently, I voted “2″. I almost voted “1″. I was extremely apprehensive about Pope Francis, but have grown much more optimistic after reading many articles and blog posts about him. Yes, it is possible that he will do things that I will dislike and will not be able to explain favorably to myself or anyone else. So far he has not, and I think it is much too early to pounce on his decisions and draw conclusions from them. As time goes by, maybe I will change my opinions. Looking for every possible negative accomplishes nothing. He is our pope whether we like it or not. We can’t impeach him, we can’t vote him out, and we disobey him at our own peril. I happen to believe that it is God’s will that we have this particular pope, which isn’t the same as saying that I think he will be perfect. I have been praying for Pope Francis because I know he’s human and needs God’s guidance to make the right decisions. I don’t presume to know what the right decisions are.

    Incidentally, it is kind of characteristic of me to look for the positive rather than the negative in any situation, especially when the people around me are freaking out. I resent negativity and defeatism. I grew up surrounded by people who always assumed the worst, and I suffered from anxiety from a very young age as a result. Maybe I have over-corrected in the opposite direction, but hey, it has helped me survive, and I hate to see people upset. I have also in the past been rather “judgy”, and have been humbled many times after finding out my initial impressions were woefully incorrect, so I try not to be that way anymore.

    Sorry for the lengthy post, but hope I have explained myself.

  185. Prof. Basto says:

    “gretta says:
    21 March 2013 at 12:15 pm
    For all those concerned that the Pope is violating the law, he is the supreme legislator, and he has both the power and the authority to change canon law which includes liturgical law. If he wants foot washing to include both men and women, he has the authority to legislate and specifically permit it.”

    Ah, legal positivism. And liturgical positivism.

    The fruits that keep on giving. As if the Novus Ordo wasn’t enough.

    Traditionally, the legislator NEEDS to have the greatest of cares when tampering with liturgical norms. Because he is dealing with centennial, millenial traditions, associated with the Sacred. Those are not purely human norms.

    Liturgical traditions, handing down the same Liturgical Form one has received, without change or with only minimal change, is very important. Our Orthodox friends understand that very well. Also, the stablity of the Liturgy is a figure of the immutablity of the Faith. And, furthermore, lex orandi, lex, credendi, is a fundamental principle. If Christ washed the feast of his Apostles on the day of the institution of the Priesthood, why should the feet of women, be washed, when they cannot be either successors of the Apostles or Priests? So, any change in this regard would be ABSURD.

    Therefore, unless one holds to a radical positivism that has done much harm in the post-conciliar era, one is obliged to say that not every caprice of the legislator can become a just liturgical law, and that an unjust law is not law. Ergo, one must say to the legislator, sometimes: hands off the Liturgy of the Church.

  186. Medjugorje Man 07 says:

    I’m with Katie ‘s 1st post. BUT then again I enjoyed helping the Padre hit his target with all of the rounds from his Austria made product!

  187. Mamma B says:

    Holy Thursday Mass at youth prison? Odd but ok.
    Washing the feet of women/girls? No.
    Kissing the feet of any youths, male or female? No, no, no.

  188. boxerpaws1952 says:

    this may be a little off topic but it’s a comment that turned up at Facebook.
    ” I as a Methodist pastor envy cardinals of the Roman Church who has chosen Pope Francis. It was a right decision. God Bless Pope Francis !”

  189. alanphipps says:

    @Marcello

    “I am repeating what I have been told is being bandied about in the curia right now… Don’t shoot the messenger!”

    I don’t really care. Own up and take responsibility for what you said, and don’t hide behind and perpetuate gossip. What you said is absolutely wrong.

  190. mightyduk says:

    mamajen,

    sorry mamajen, ought not post if you don’t want anyone to react to your posts. It’s nothing personal, I just seemed to notice a particular pattern that anything he does is good with you because it’s what God wants. The pope is not infallible in his wisdom or prudence, or even his personal piety. He’s infallible when he speaks Ex Cathedra in matters of faith and morals, nobody here is really suggesting that the wisdom of washing the feet of youths male or female is a matter of faith and morals.

    Will you please let us all know when it’s ok to pounce on his decisions or draw conclusions? It seems Fr. Z and most posters here who view some of these particular acts negatively are making observations and expressing concerns not pouncing or drawing conclusions as you accuse us.

    Also you seem to think affection or “like” is the key here, it’s not, it’s right and wrong, we’re making distinctions about what we believe is right or wrong, not expressing our personal predilections.

    I happen to believe that it is God’s will that we have this particular pope, which isn’t the same as saying that I think he will be perfect

    That’s fine that you believe it, in your earlier posts you suggested it IS God’s will…

    I don’t presume to know what the right decisions are.

    you presume to know that he’s making the right decisions don’t you? You certainly defend those decisions. You’re absolutely entitled to those presumptions in matters of discipline, but if your going to make any judgments you ought to be open to judging positive or negative, otherwise you’re the Pope’s spokesman.

    I certainly agree we should avoid being overly negative, and definitely not defeatist. Might I suggest you separate the man from the act in your analysis, look at the action itself, and if you think it’s wrong, then don’t change your view because of who did it.

  191. alanphipps says:

    @mightyduk

    “i’m just curious, is there anything at all that Pope Francis would do that you wouldn’t explain away?”

    I think we should charitably embrace CCC 2478 in matters of doubt or uncertainty, particularly with regard to the Holy Father.

    “2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way”

    Here’s to a fruitful Lent.

  192. Marcello says:

    alanphipps,

    Keep those rose-colored spectacles on, you will need them in the coming months.

    As for me, Was is sagt, is sagt. I take nothing back.

  193. alanphipps says:

    Suggesting a pope’s death is ugly, regardless of who he is. I’m baffled and saddened that you can’t see that. And you hide behind petty gossip. There is no excuse for that. None.

  194. Will Elliott says:

    jhayes at 10:08 am:
    He’s been doing it for years. Here’s a picture:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-03-14/cardinal-bergoglio-washes-woman27s-feet/4572184

    Doesn’t anyone have more context for this photo? The caption states “Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio washes the feet of a woman on Holy Thursday at the Buenos Aires’ Sarda maternity hospital in 2005.” Since this wasn’t the 2005 Holy Thursday Mass at the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral — was it just a visit to the maternity hospital or was it a Mass in the hospital chapel?

  195. BLB Oregon says:

    I do not know about Casal del Marmo in Rome, but as an example at the MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in Oregon those detained range in age from 13 all the way up to 25. When it comes to prison, “youth” is a relative term. Pope Francis has also chosen a facility previously visited by both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II. Apparently when John Paul II visited the facility, Secretary of State, Cardinal Casaroli was particularly involved in the pastoral care of the youth there; they knew Cardinal Casaroli simply as Father Agostino. If anything, Pope Francis seems to be trying to connect his service to that of his predecessors, then, rather than going out of his way to break away from their examples.

  196. robtbrown says:

    HobokenZephyr says:

    Dr. K, I think you are reinforcing my point. B16 appointed most of the cardinals, so I am guessing he knows them better than we do. I can’t help but think that JPII solicited Cdl. Ratzinger’s opinion on the ones he created as well, so I think he had an insight into those as well. <b?

    Cardinal Ratzinger was a highly influential prefect of the SCDF, but I don't think he was consulted on Cardinal nominations. His influence was doctrinal and, through books and speeches, liturgical. There's no way that he would have recommended that Karl Lehmann have the Red Hat.

  197. robtbrown says:

    alanphipps says:
    @Marcello

    “Not to sound uncharitable, but Francis does have one lung. You could see his labored breathing at the installation Mass. The damp Roman winters will not set well with him.”

    Not to sound uncharitable?? I saw you suggest the pope’s death on the NLM blog when you pointed made this same statement and then said, “it will be a short pontificate.” What a horrible thing to say. You should be ashamed.

    1. What do you know of the damp Roman winters? I lived through 8 of them, and during the 3rd I was sick for at least 3 mos. It’s perfect flu weather.

    I recommend you read the Ker bio of Newman, who, if memory serves, saw about 25% of his group die while studying in Rome. To be sure, this was before antibiotics, but it is an indication of what winter is like there.

    2. When a man is elected who’s in his late 70′s, it is always a factor that his pontificate will be short.

  198. Rock24 says:

    If Monsignor Guido Marini (God bless him!) is helping to organize the Holy Thursday Mass, don’t you think he will have a say about washing women’s feet?

  199. Hank Igitur says:

    Rock24

    As much say as he had about the mozzetta and Papal pectoral cross and wearing of the stole on the loggia. As much say as he had about the wheeled out picnic table altar in the Sistine chapel for a versus populum Mass with the men in red. As much say as he had about no lace albs or traditional chasubles at the inauguration Mass. Get the picture? Don’t expect Papa Frank to wear the maniple any time soon. Expect poor Mgr Marini on the other hand to be looking for a new situation, pity he cannot go with B16 like Archbishop Ganswein. It is not traditional for the Papal MC to be elevated (unlike his immediate predecessor Piero Marini, why on earth did that ever happen?) but I feel Mgr Guido has been shortchanged somehow. He deserves better. A truly humble and faithful servant.

  200. Ambrose Jnr says:

    @kurtmasur

    Since the pope is non-Italian, I think he’ll pick an Italian as secretary of state. Pope Francis will be looking for men of real spirituality and deep piety who don’t jog for positions and can be discreet.

    Msgr Piacenza is a very spiritual man, as can be seen from all he prepared for the Year of the Priest…moreover, he’s a pure Ratzingerian with Siri pedigree, so he’d balance the pope a bit there. Moreover, he was promoted from the curia bureaucracy to Prefect, which is an extremely rare move…moreover, he replaced Hummes, if I remember correctly, who’s very close to Pope Francis. Accordingly, I am convinced he’d be the best man for the job.

  201. Pingback: Pope Francis to celebrate Holy Thursday Mass at juvenile prison—UPDATED

  202. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Peter in Canberra, The interpretation both within and without the church will be that the admission of women to holy orders is indeed up for grabs. I do not think this is the case. There may be a certain “rubrics are not important, Pope Francis did not look at them either” moment. But the only interpretation the Washing of the Feet carries along in general popular interpretation is humbling service. Belonging (not willing to exalt myself, but) to a tiny minority, I myself happen to know that it has also been connected to forgiveness for venial sins. I have never even heard about a connection to Holy Orders, beyond the fact that it happened to be given to those ordained.
    (Which is not mere theory. I strongly expect Pope Francis will wash the feet of women.)

    Dear @Medjugorgje Man,
    and for what reason are you with Katie’s first post – i. e. that the Pope should rather not go to prison because the ones imprisoned sinned too much and he should rather go to them who sinned somewhat less?

  203. mamajen says:

    @alanphipps

    Thank you for that quote from the CCC. Wish I had thought of that– my response above could have been much more brief! :)

  204. alanphipps says:

    @Robtbrown

    You’ve missed the point entirely. We, of course, know it’s a factor. Ghoulishly hoping for an imminent death of a pope you’ve decided you don’t like after only a few days is quite a different matter. Cowering behind suggestions/gossip of conspiracy in the Curia is another manner. And all this during Lent. What have we come to? God help us.

  205. fizzwizz says:

    I am sick of pussy footing around. The Holy Thursday thing is plain bonkers. [It is hard to understand how this will work out, but it is not bonkers.] By all means go and visit the prison etc but this is not the right time. Just more attention seeking ,it is all about me behaviour, as was the business with the mozzetta and the red shoes, not giving a blessing to the journalists etc. soon the list will be endless . I wonder what else will be up for grabs after this. He is a man in a hurry for change.

  206. jhayes says:

    Hank Igitur wrote ” It is not traditional for the Papal MC to be elevated (unlike his immediate predecessor Piero Marini”

    Here is an interview with Archbishop Piero Marini from last month. Starting at about 6:00 he discusses working with JPII and makes him sound very much like Francis.

    http://saltandlighttv.org/witness/piero-marini.php

    Perhaps he may still have a role to play.

  207. jhayes says:

    Correction. The video was released last month but the interview was in June of last year.

  208. Clarification from L’Osservatore Romano: Pope Francis will still celebrate the morning chrism Mass on Holy Thursday in St. Peter’s Basilica.

  209. jhayes says:

    The USCCB has supported washing women’s feet at the Mandatum since 1987:

    “Regarding the phrase viri selecti, the Chairman of the then-Committee on the Liturgy, after a review of the matter by the committee, authorized the following response which appeared in the Newsletter of February 1987….

    Because the gospel of the mandatum read on Holy Thursday also depicts Jesus as the “Teacher and Lord” who humbly serves his disciples by performing this extraordinary gesture which goes beyond the laws of hospitality,2 the element of humble service has accentuated the celebration of the foot washing rite in the United States over the last decade or more. In this regard, it has become customary in many places to invite both men and women to be participants in this rite in recognition of the service that should be given by all the faithful to the Church and to the world. Thus, in the United States, a variation in the rite developed in which not only charity is signified but also humble service.

    While this variation may differ from the rubric of the Sacramentary which mentions only men (“viri selecti”), it may nevertheless be said that the intention to emphasize service along with charity in the celebration of the rite is an understandable way of accentuating the evangelical command of the Lord, “who came to serve and not to be served,” that all members of the Church must serve one another in love….

    This is the latest statement of this Secretariat on the question. No subsequent legislation or instructions have necessitated a modification in the statement.

    http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-resources/triduum/holy-thursday-mandatum.cfm

  210. smmclaug says:

    It would of course be very helpful if Francis would actually explain his motives rather than making dramatic gestures and letting everybody draw his own conclusions.

    What concerns me most is that he is establishing a precedent that his successor will have to undo, and then stand accused of being less humble, pious, and “deep” than Francis. This is one important reason you just don’t start discarding traditions as though they are your personal possession to dispense with as you see fit. You make it much harder for people to carry them on later, in effect stealing them from all the faithful for all time–and all so as to make some (probably very shallow) point that nobody can agree on in the first place.

    Think about it. There’s all this controversy and heartache over whether the coronation, or this tradition, or that tradition will ever happen again. The reason is that once you stop–and especially if you stop on the grounds that this tradition is somehow unbecoming the vicar of Christ–you make it extremely difficult for that tradition to be carried on in the future, because to do so will be to “make a big statement.” How much glory, solemnity, and tradition will this Pope see banished from the world? As much as his appetite for iconoclasm desires, which is evidently voracious.

  211. nanetteclaret says:

    If the Supreme Pontiff cannot even follow the established directives and norms, without changing them first, he will have no moral authority to tell anyone else what to do. I can’t see how he will be able to clean up anything in that case. Why would anyone take anything he says seriously? It just plays into the mindset of “rules are made to be broken.”

  212. Steve Cavanaugh says:

    In discussing this particular situation, it might be helpful to recall that the “maundy” or washing of feet has taken on many, many forms over the years. The form we are used to, of being part of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, is a relatively recent phenomenon.
    In its article on this the (old) Catholic Encyclopedia includes the following:

    In the latter half of the twelfth century the pope washed the feet of twelve sub-deacons after his Mass and of thirteen poor men after his dinner. The “Caeremoniale episcoporum” directs that the bishop is to wash the feet either of thirteen poor men or of thirteen of his canons. The prelate and his assistants are vested and the Gospel “Ante diem festum paschae” is ceremonially sung with incense and lights at the beginning of the function. Most of the sovereigns of Europe used also formerly to perform the maundy. The custom is still retained at the Austrian and Spanish courts.

    “Washing of Feet and Hands”

  213. Cantor says:

    jhayes -

    Thank you for your USCCB citation. It’s interesting to note that the centuries-old practice of foot-washing had fallen into disuse throughout the Church until re-introduced by Pope Pius XII.

    So there a Church tradition of Church traditions being changed!

  214. Imrahil says:

    In Catholic monarchies, the (or, well, a) footwashing would have been traditionally done by the monarch.

    (I’ve read sometimes that rather exactly with the English Reformation, the English king declined to deal with his subjects in this way, excusing himself by distributing some money instead.)

  215. Cjtu48 says:

    This thread may have gone cold by now, while I was being registered. But I’ll leave my comment anyway.
    My understanding of the Holy Thursday ‘Mandatum’ is that it is a liturgical act; in it we see Christ washing the feet of his disciples (hence, men (viri), if possible, clerics, and (as formerly) robed). We can then take from the many layers of meaning (cf Jesus of Nazareth vol 2 by Benedict XVl) something for our own spiritual lives. We are not meant to be shown a particular priest, bishop, or even pope, practising humility by washing the feet of whichever group of outcasts he chooses for that year. Am I wrong? The Liturgy itself, well conducted, teaches us, without having extra lessons imposed by the celebrant. Acts of humility can be performed at other times, as para-liturgies.
    Fr Ray Blake posted on this a few days ago: http://marymagdalen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/i-used-to-wash-feet-of-poor.html

  216. deliberatejoy says:

    As someone I know pointed out – Jesus was in a prison on Holy Thursday. Really, it’s about as traditionalist as it gets.

  217. Marcello says:


    nanetteclaret says:
    If the Supreme Pontiff cannot even follow the established directives and norms, without changing them first, he will have no moral authority to tell anyone else what to do. I can’t see how he will be able to clean up anything in that case. Why would anyone take anything he says seriously? It just plays into the mindset of “rules are made to be broken.”

    This pretty much sums it up, Pope Francis is undercutting his own authority by the very act of exercising that authority in such a capricious way, ignoring custom and tradition. If the papacy becomes simply the plaything of the current occupant, then why even bother paying attention to it anymore? It will become quickly irrelevant both within the Church and in the world.
    People will start saying, The Pope does it thus and such, the Pope says this and that. Who cares, he’s just another bishop? The next guy will change anyway.

  218. Aquinas says:

    Would Pope Francis wash the feet of muslim prisoners?

    I can’t understand why Pope Francis want’s intensive dialouge with the muslims. I am disappointed that he makes this statement during Easter when we should focusing on Our Lord Passion.
    He has already been called on some sites the first Pope of the muslims,
    I would also be grateful if someone could explain to me why he did not publically rebuke Kirchner about the abominable gay rights marriage issue that she has signed into law in a Catholic country.

  219. deliberatejoy says:

    @Aquinas – re. dialoguing with the Muslims – St. Francis was big on that. He had lots of lovely conversations with the , which resulted not in his martyrdom, but in the deathbed conversion of a Sultan. The only way to change someone’s mind is to talk to them, yeah? I can pretty much guarantee that Papa’s not planning on sitting down with them and pushing the essential message of ‘I’m okay, you’re okay.’ As for washing the feet of Muslim prisoners – I’m not for it, but I’m not against it either, if it’s what God were to prompt His Holiness in that direction. Who knows what graces and epiphanies, and again, conversions, that the particular misguided children might undergo as a result?

    As for Kirchner – he did reprimand her. As Archbishop and Cardinal. For years and years and years. Openly and in public yet, and on the subject, and garnered himself a heapload of antipathy trouble for it. Just because he hasn’t mentioned her yet in official office yet doesn’t mean he won’t. Give the man a break. He’s been the Pope less than two weeks, and there are only so many words and actions he can fit in a day!

  220. The Masked Chicken says:

    Catholics love to dialogue, but be careful what you mean by the term.

    http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2013/03/that_hideous_strength_comes_to.html#more

    This is a cautionary tale when one side sees dialogue as seeking Truth and the other side sees it as seeking, “truths.”

    The Chicken

  221. robtbrown says:

    alanphipps says:
    @Robtbrown

    You’ve missed the point entirely. We, of course, know it’s a factor. Ghoulishly hoping for an imminent death of a pope you’ve decided you don’t like after only a few days is quite a different matter. Cowering behind suggestions/gossip of conspiracy in the Curia is another manner. And all this during Lent. What have we come to? God help us.

    First, I don’t comment here on what someone may or may not have said on another site.

    And I didn’t miss your point–I disagreed with it. Age is going to be a factor when compromise candidates are proposed (cf. Papa Roncalli). Instead of “ghoulishly” talking about death, the phrase “short papacy” is used. It’s well known that after the 32 year papacy of Pius IX, the electors wanted a “short papacy”–they elected Cardinal Pecci, who was 68 (old in 1878). He reigned as Leo XIII for 25 years.

  222. acardnal says:

    The USCCB Liturgy Committee statement from 1987 ( quoted 22 March, 9:17 a.m. above) does not authorize the washing of females’ feet during the Mass of Holy Thursday. Rather, it documents the sad state of affairs in this country where violations of approved rubrics have occurred without the Holy See’s authorization. Use of female altar servers and communion in the hand were once violations, too, and they happened because disobedient priests and bishops allowed them.

  223. jhayes says:

    The USCCB Liturgy Committee statement from 1987 ( quoted 22 March, 9:17 a.m. above) does not authorize the washing of females’ feet during the Mass of Holy Thursday.

    In the end. its up to each bishop for his own diocese. National conferences of bishops can’t bind individual bishops without a unanimous vote of all the bishops or a recognitio from Rome.

    They make that clear in their “guidelines for Altar Servers:

    “Although institution into the ministry of acolyte is reserved to lay men, the diocesan bishop may permit the liturgical functions of the instituted acolyte to be carried out by altar servers, men and women, boys and girls. Such persons may carry out all the functions listed in no. 100 (with the exception of the distribution of Holy Communion) and nos. 187 – 190 and no. 193 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.

    The determination that women and girls may function as servers in the liturgy should be made by the bishop on the diocesan level so that there might be a uniform diocesan policy.

    No distinction should be made between the functions carried out in the sanctuary by men and boys and those carried out by women and girls. The term “altar boys” should be replaced by “servers”. The term “server” should be used for those who carry out the functions of the instituted acolyte.”

    http://usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-resources/guidelines-for-altar-servers.cfm

    For communion to be received standing, the USCCB did get a recognitio, however the individual communicant (not the priest or bishop) can opt to receive kneeling. Similarly, the individual comunicant (not the priest or bishop) can decide whether to receive in the hand or on the tongue

    http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/the-mass/general-instruction-of-the-roman-missal/girm-chapter-4.cfm

  224. acardnal says:

    As I said above, communion in the hand and female altar servers were “were once violations” in times past. It was only after decades of abuse by priests and bishops in the USA that a “custom” developed and permission was sought from the Holy See to allow it. Father Z has addressed this in previous posts. Just as washing of females’ feet is now an unfortunate “custom” in many dioceses/parishes, it may ultimately be formally approved by the Holy See, too. Consequently, these abuses have led to the lack of understanding of the Holy Eucharist and the priesthood. It’s a sad state of affairs.

  225. Imrahil says:

    In fact, on the objective intrinsic side on the things (not, apparently, on the legal side of them), a washing the feet of women is highly highly less problematic than having women as altar boys.

    (I say that as one who, while preferring this change would have never taken place, has been altar boy together with girls himself and would not, on the emotional side of it, bear the hardness to tell them they’re no longer wanted even if it were put in his hands to reverse the change.)

  226. Laura Lea says:

    Our new pope sets the example for the rest of the world. He is going to the prisoners who are often forgotten not just by society, but by their family and friends as well. It’s a beautiful thing Pope Francis chose this humble act for Holy Thursday.

  227. allenmurphy says:

    I enjoy Fr. Z’s comments and have, to date, opposed the USCCB in the US in not following the regs of washing only men (vir) feet and not “homo” men and women. But if Poe Francis does men and women we need to recognize he is in charge of the Holy See and can do it. Fr. Z may have to relax a bit and trust the Holy Father