Have we entered an age of a new gnosticism?

There is an adage: Qui bene distinguit, bene docet, that is, someone who makes distinctions well, teaches well.

Distinguished canonist Ed Peters makes good distinctions about the Holy Father’s disregard for the Church’s duly promulgated law when he chose to wash the feet of women on Holy Thursday.  My emphases and comments.

Retrospectives on the Mandatum rite controversies
March 29, 2013

It’s a very big Church and there are many issues competing for the pope’s attention. Let me address just that issue I know something about, namely, ecclesiastical law, and try to talk sensibly about it. I’ll leave to finer minds the task of situating legal concerns in the wider ecclesial context.

For starters, perhaps Fr. Lombardi was misquoted or taken out of context when he apparently said, “the pope’s decision [to wash the feet of women on Holy Thursday] was ‘absolutely licit’ for a rite that is not a church sacrament.” That remark is confusing because it implies that liceity is a concept that applies only to sacraments; but of course, liceity is an assessment of any action’s consistency with applicable law (canon, liturgical, sacramental, etc). One would never limit questions of Mass liceity to, say, the matter used for the Eucharist or the words of institution (that is, the sacrament at Mass) [NB]as if all other rubrics were merely optional. No one understands liceity so narrowly, [ehem... I think some people do.] and so, as I say, we are probably dealing with an incomplete answer.

In any case, I think some conclusions can be drawn about the foot-washing incident already.

[Here is an obvious point that must be made to help liberals sober up a little.] 1. If liturgical law permitted the washing of women’s feet at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, [then] no one would have noticed the pope’s doing it. What was newsworthy (apparently, massively newsworthy) is that, precisely because liturgical law does not authorize it, the pope’s performance of the action was huge news.

2. I and many others have long been open to revising the Mandatum rite so as to permit the washing of women’s feet [I am not among them.  However, Peters is making a different point...] although I understand that strong symbolic elements are in play and I might be under-appreciating arguments for the retention of the rite as promulgated by Rome. I take no position on that larger issue, it being ultimately a question for experts in other disciplines. My focus is on the law as issued by Rome (c. 838).

[We get to the crux of the canonical issue...] 3. Few people seem able to articulate when a pope is bound by canon law (e.g., when canon law legislates matters of divine or natural law) and when he may ignore it (e.g., c. 378 § 1 on determining the suitability of candidates for the episcopate or appointing an excessive number of papal electors contrary to UDG 33). Those are not hard cases. Most Church laws, however, fall between these two poles and require careful thinking lest confusion for—nay, dissension among—the faithful arise. Exactly as happened here. [In spades!] Now, even in that discussion, the question is not usually whether the pope is bound to comply with the law (he probably is not so bound), but rather [pay attention...], how he can act contrary to the law without implying, especially for others who remain bound by the law but who might well find it equally inconvenient, that inconvenient laws may simply be ignored because, well, because the pope did it[That, ladies and gents, is the problem.  Liberals are going to claim that because of what Francis did, they can do whatever they wish.  Indeed, they will claim that others who uphold the clearly written law are wrong to up hold the law.  They will, like gnostics, appeal to some vague super-principle which trumps all law (and reason).]

4. A pope’s ignoring of a law is not an abrogation of the law but, especially where his action reverberated around the world, it seems to render the law moot. [moot - "doubtful, theoretical, meaningless, debatable"] For the sake of good order, then [Peters' own recommendation...], the Mandatum rubrics should be modified to permit the washing of women’s feet or, perhaps upon the advice of Scriptural and theological experts, the symbolism of apostolic ministry asserted by some to be contained in the rite should be articulated and the rule reiterated. What is not good is to leave a crystal clear law on the books but show no intention of expecting anyone to follow it. That damages the effectiveness of law across the board.

Get that last point?

What is not good is to leave a crystal clear law on the books but show no intention of expecting anyone to follow it. That damages the effectiveness of law across the board.

This is a huge problem.

Liberals such as Michael Sean Winters, who does not in this matter seem to make distinctions at all, think that Peters and I are “obsessively focused on whether or not a bishop or priest can/should wash the feet of women during the Mandatum Rite in the Mass of the Lord’s Supper”. He is wrong.  That’s just your usual liberal misappropriation of the situation.

Peters and I are actually concerned about the good order of the Church. A canonist and a man in Holy Orders ought to be. Winters, on the other hand, writes for the paper of record for dissenters and antinomians.

What this foot washing issue does is reveal how vast the gulf is now that divides those who maintain that order, law and reason are necessary in the Church and society and those who, like gnostics who possess secret powers of interpretation of even more secret teachings, apply super-principles which trump lesser matters such as reason, law and order.

The new gnostics (liberals) call upon “fairness” and feelings. There can be no valid response possible by argument or reason or precedent.

For a long time I have argued that we need a level of liturgical  celebration which brings about an encounter with the transcendent, which cuts beyond our (by now) useless linear arguments.  People today can’t follow a linear argument.  You get to the end and they conclude, “That might be true for you…”.   Now, however, we may be seeing more clearly, in reactions to what Francis is doing (not necessarily in what Francis is doing), the exaltation of the golden calf of immanence.

Have we entered an age of a new gnosticism, wherein only those who feel a certain way are the true authoritative interpreters?

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188 Responses to Have we entered an age of a new gnosticism?

  1. James Joseph says:

    Most people are entirely ignorant about how being a priest is standing ankle deep in the Jordan River, neither in the Promised Land nor out of It. Most priests haven’t in fact ever even heard of ‘mar tsaba’ before the altar; I reckon bishops and deacons too.

    Blessed are the feet of the holy ones.

  2. heway says:

    My young pastor phoned me the other night to say that he would need 12 men to wash their feet. An hour later some one else phoned and said Father had contacted them (I was probably trying to shake out 12 men for him)and now Father would be satisfied wiith 12 of any gender.
    Since we only have 30-40 attendees, 12 men was nigh unto impossible. There was 6 of each I believe. Here is an example of the law being made for us, but we are not made for the law. The priest is 36 and all the women were over 60 except one 50 yo. Thankfully, as cantor and director of music, I was excused.

  3. Dennis Martin says:

    Amen and Amen.

    Since our Holy Father Francis is a humble man, I am sure that when senior prelates (Ouellet, Burke, Benedict, Scola???) point out to him the confusion that already has ensued, he will humbly take instruction and remedy the situation.

    Is anyone collecting reports like the two in the monster thread on “What is Pope Francis Really Saying”. In one, a commenter reported that her priest, within the time-lag between the prison Holy Thursday service and her parish’s service, explicitly used the pope’s action as a warrant for his own ad libbing. In the other, a RCIA instructor had the rug pulled out from under her after explaining the apostolic/priestly symbolism of the Mandatum, when her pastor replaced two of twelve designated participants at the last minute, again, citing (unless I am mistaken), the pope’s example.

    Can a list of such reports be compiled and communicated to those prelates who might understand the consequences as outlined by Dr. Peters and Fr. Z?

    I am appalled at the overreaction of some traditionalists on that thread. I am appalled at the”elder brother” mentality some exhibited, at confidant predictions of utter disaster. I do not think we do ourselves any favor by uncharitable, exaggerated, coarse, despairing reactions.

    But I do think the Holy Father’s actions during these last two days have sowed, unnecessarily and imprudently but also probably unwittingly, confusion. The thrust toward evangelization, toward exhibiting compassion for the poor and weak and needy is a very good thing in my view. I can live with symbolic gestures like choosing the Domus over the Apostolic Palace even while concurring that many of the ceremonies and settings belonging to the office of Peter could be embraced by a humble man alive with evangelical fervor.

    But what I do not understand is why the fundamental symbolism of celebrating the Holy Thursday liturgy in a prison (very good, in my view) could not have been carried out without simultaneously ignoring the rubrics and sowing confusion and scandalizing many.

    If Fr. Z is right in his assessment of “What Pope Francis is Saying,” then wouldn’t it make it far more powerful and effective if it were said while also observing faithfully many of the small-t traditions and sticking to the prescribed liturgical rubrics?

    I have studied Gregory I’s Pastoral Rule for many years now. Surely discernment could be employed to consider how best to say what Pope Francis is saying, how best to push to the forefront the Church’s deep and heartfelt concern for the marginalized while at the same time upholding the treasures of the Church’s liturgy and arts?

    Is there no one in the Holy Father’s circle who could bring this message to him?

    As others have pointed out, St. Francis was a stickler for respect for the liturgy (indeed, it’s through the liturgy, apparently, that he received his theological knowledge, since he had no formal schooling) and for priests. It IS possible to combine liturgical solemnity with radical evangelical love of poverty. Francis of Assisi is exhibit A in that regard.

    Is there no one who can raise this with Pope Francis? It’s very early in his efforts to evangelize, it would be relatively simple (and a mark of great humility), to recognize and admit that some of the well-intentioned gestures might have been imprudent.

    But to my fellow traditionalists who read this blog, I say: those of you who overreacted and who, yes, threw a nutty
    are
    not
    making
    the task of righting the bark of Peter any easier. You bring discredit to all of us who care deeply about the liturgy and the small-t traditions. Yes some now use Pope Francis’s example of the Mandatum to justify totally unjustified departures from liturgical, doctrinal or moral laws. But this cuts two ways. The vitriol and hyperbole of some of the commenters (and those on Rorate all the more so) will now deliver justification to those who have distate for liturgical and other traditions anyway.

    Could we stop delivering ammunition to those who oppose the Extraordinary Form and its traditions? Would it hurt us to calm down, take deep breaths, and employ prudence and discernment in the comboxes?

  4. vox borealis says:

    The thing is, it’s not just “liberals” at the Reporter and the like who seem to drink deep from the cups of antinomianism and sentimentalism. The entire Catholic portal at Patheos is engaged in a group effort to condemn anyone who is critical of Pope Francis’ decision as pharisees, dismiss appeals to rubrics and canon law as irrelevant, all while crowing about how such “beautiful” and “humble” gestures effectively trump any other concern. This includes pretty straight shooters (from a Catholic perspective) like Mark Shea and Fr. Longnecker (the latter a fairly high church guy). Then Jimmy Akin ties himself up in knots arguing that the Mandatum business was hunky dory, after arguing previously that the rite involved men only. When I and others raised the issue of Canon Law (in fact, I cited Prof. Peters’ writings a few times) on Shea’s blog, the argument was specifically rejected as “the jots and tittles of canon law” and mocked (“so tell me what Canon law court is going to put the Pope on trial?”).

    To this I can add my own personal experience after Holy Thursday mass in the sacristy at the parish where I happened to be reading that evening. Most were absolutely giddy that Francis washed the feet of women (ok, let’s grant that’s not an unreasonable position in the abstract), and they found it comical that some complained the pope had violated liturgical rules. This was not directed at anything I said. Rather, they had read in some or other paper or blog that “conservatives” accused the pope of violating rubrics, which very notion they found absurd. Partly because Francis is the pope, but also because the very idea of rules that govern church order are seen as silly.

    All the while, no one is willing to confront the central issue that was raised, what good is it to have laws when there is no intention of following them or of reforming and modifying them, just as Peters asks. I ask the question more directly: shouldn’t we be able to expect our church leaders to follow the rules? And I am called a pharisee, so end of argument.

    Yes, these antinomian and gnostic times, and that is very dangerous. We are in for a very rocky road ahead. And no, I am not blaming Pope Francis. Rather, his particular aesthetic and decisions, especially in such (seeming) sharp contrast with Benedict XVI, has drawn the widespread, underlying sentiment to the surface.

  5. janeway529 says:

    Hmm…something I have noticed that isn’t really talked about when it comes to the law, is the difference between our American understanding of it and the Roman understanding of law, which is often referred to as the “Letter of the Law vs. Spirit of the Law.” When one obeys the letter of the law but not the spirit, one is obeying the literal interpretation of the words (the “letter”) of the law, but not the intent of those who wrote the law. Conversely, when one obeys the spirit of the law but not the letter, one is doing what the authors of the law intended, though not necessarily adhering to the literal wording. [No. That's not what is at stake here.]

  6. janeway529 says:

    Cannot “viri” also be interpreted to mean “men” not in the literal sense of male, but in the sense of “person” when one says “mankind” to mean “human race”? [No.]

  7. Priam1184 says:

    The foot washing at my parish was of 7 young girls, 3 older women, one boy, and one man complete with the priests renewing their commitment to the priesthood to the female president of the Parish Council accompanied by the music of a not so amazing sounding rock band complete with drums following a homily that lauded Pope Francis’ election. All what the pope did is give these people ammo to destroy the unity of the church. I think Francis is a very holy man but his actions as pope risk tragic consequences for the Church because of the tone that has been set. I think now that no matter what the Holy Father says, writes, or teaches the media template of him has been written. His homily about the fact that if one doesn’t pray to Jesus Christ then one is praying to the devil will be forgotten and all that will be remembered is that he washed the feet of women and a Muslim so we should not be so judgmental towards Islam and women should be ordained priests. A lot of diocesan priests and bishops could not have cared less about what Benedict XVI was teaching or the liturgical example he was setting and had to be dragged kicking and screaming into following even the minor changes he made to the Mass; and some are starting to go back little by little to the old form now as well because they know they can get away with it. Anything that assaults the unity of the People of God is by definition evil and evil needs to be dragged out and exposed in the light for what it is. I hope that Francis will do this but I don’t know. Father Cantalamessa’s Good Friday homily stated that the Church was filled with clutter and debris piled up through the centuries (which sounds exactly like the language of those who did so much damage to Church unity in the wake of Vatican II) so I wonder what other centuries old tradition is next on the chopping block? PRAY FOR POPE FRANCIS

  8. The level of confusion over this is really over the top, isn’t it. I can tell you are struggling with this, Father. You’re in our prayers.

  9. jbpolhamus says:

    Clearly then, the Holy Father is telling us that the lawful church is a thing of the past. He is deregulating it, and we may now do whatever Holy Week rite we wish to fool, may we not? I take it now that the abrogation of the 1950 rite are now moot, and we may now consider the actions of the atrocious Vatican II council to be of no meaning if we choose to ignore them? Thank heaven, because I was getting so tired of the status quo. You see, in the strictly New Rite parish where I work, our parish priest recently drove his car through the wall of the garage and halfway through a neighboring apartment building (he’s still in charge of the parish), constantly edits the prefaces and prayers to suit himself (he decided not to pray for the POPE by title this afternoon in the Good Friday Prayers), and actually manages with unsettling frequency to reverse meanings in Gospel readings (today it was “I HAVE spoken falsely. Testify to it.” and “…I SHALL drink of the fruit of the vine until I come into my Kingdom.” And now the “Bishop of Rome” is telling him, “What the hey…do whatever you want with it.” I will be HAPPY, THRILLED actually, to take him by his example the next time I’m asked to participate in a 1950 Holy Week. Brick by Brick it went up. Wall by Wall it comes down. But hey, I’m always willing to accept free rubble as building material.

  10. jbpolhamus says:

    On the other hand, maybe the “Outlaw Church” image will play well for Roman Catholicism. Toughen up our public perception. “Don’t mess with those Catholic…they’re OUT-laws!” For Josey Wales substitute “The Outlaw Jorge Bergolio.” “Go ahead punk…make my Lent!” That sort of thing. Beards will make a comeback. Fu-Manchu mustaches might even become a liturgical trend, rescuing them from exclusive association with the Village People. This New Evangelization is going to be a BONANZA for the church.

  11. jbpolhamus says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving up. I’m not chased off nearly that easily. I’ve been witnessing this nonsense virtually my entire life, and I’ve seen far too much to let it go by now without calling it for what it is, childish rubbish. So far I like this pope less and less, but I still support the papacy, and the church it rules, whether the holder of the office wants to or not. I’ve seen posts from some very confused young people out there, and I sympathise with them. But kids, you’re going to have to be survivors, and you’re going to have to toughen up, there’s no two ways about it. You got a decent taste of Catholicism while you were young, and improvements can happen in the future, but for now you’re in for a spell of populism that isn’t going to be very tasty. Hold fast to the traditions of the Faith, to the things that last. Steep yourselves in knowledge of the church, it history, and its life, so that you can construct the church in which you wish to dwell in your mind. You must create that vision for yourselves. And try to be the kind of people who improve the situation where they find it. Make things happen, including liturgy (you CAN do the Divine Office liturgically on your own in private liturgical groups, you know). Be instigators. Whatever you see going on around you, gnaw on the truths of the faith as on an old shoe-leather. It’s not steak, but it will get you through the famine…should it come in force. And be patient. Pray for patience, and practice it. None of us rules the world alone, but if we keep our individual houses in order, when we join them together, we have a much bigger and far more pleasant house in which to dwell.

  12. boxerpaws1952 says:

    hi jb, i’m one of the ppl who stuck up for Pope Francis on this one.Only to read Fr Z’s blog entry and realize i was wrong. For the record i’m NOT young (far from it),not a ‘liberal’(hate the term anyway)nor a gnostic. Am on the opposite end of your opinion of Pope Francis. There’s no point with holding our love for the Holy Father for any reason and i’m sure that’s not what you meant. Let me put it this way; i admire him more and more and you probably admire him less and less.
    I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt that he made a mistake and that we were in error for defending that mistake.Most of us do hold fast to the Traditions of the Church,even the little t’s.

    However, i’m just as uneasy when ppl hold fast to the little t’s and that’s where it ends. Maybe that’s why i do admire Pope Francis and believe he is the man for this time.
    The church is the building where go to worship.There is the Church which is a body of believers that goes to that church to worship. And there is the Church which St. Francis was called to rebuild and that is Pope Francis mission. Put another way, the New Evangelization and the only way we can do that is to LIVE the gospel. I was seeing Pope Francis do that by example. Then this washing of women’s feet came up and it wasn’t so much that he did that-but that he broke a law to do so.
    There we were wrong to defend him and at some point i believe Pope Francis will see this corrected. I don’t think most of us KNEW. I do know this. Pope Francis came from a very poor country where corrupt governments deprive their own people to live luxurious life styles.There’s plenty of those all over the world. I have the feeling Pope Francis cannot leave those people behind him-the marginalized. I would wonder about living what even appears to be a comfortable lifestyle when my own people are suffering. I don’t think i could do it either.I also KNOW for a fact that there have been many unfair attacks on Pope Francis already including questioning his motives.
    So we were just too ready to defend him perhaps.
    Anyway,i was wrong and he was wrong and i think at the appropriate time he will correct it.

  13. Widukind says:

    Yes, this is a frustrating situation to be in. I must say though, that I have implicit trust in what Fr. Z. writes about these matters, and follows his cue. I appreciate that he too is struggling with this predicament as he carefully lays out his response. It is well thought out and reasonable, and from his accurate analyses of past predicaments, he can be deemed trustworthy. Thank you Fr. Z. for your guidance!

    Dennis Martin has suggested above a good point:
    “”"Since our Holy Father Francis is a humble man, I am sure that when senior prelates
    (Ouellet, Burke, Benedict, Scola???) point out to him the confusion that already has ensued,
    he will humbly take instruction and remedy the situation.”"”

    Fr. Z., as you have knowledge of those in Rome who frequent your blog, might not a discreet message be sent through one of them, perhaps to Cardinal Burke (yet still, the head judicial official) to approach P. Francis and with humility show to him, that as he desires to enliven the Church by his example, that he, because of his example, is causing distress in the Church – especially for the meek and humble members who so desire to do what is right and good. A loud demonstrative “appeal” will never work, as has been pointed out by others here. I am at a loss to think of any other options, because if P. Francis is truly a humble man, would he not accept in charity, a fraternal “suggestion”?

    Other possible means would be to present a petition, perhaps composed by Fr. Z. or Dr. Peters, that would, simply and directly, state our concern and be void of all rancor. The other might be to submit a Dubium to the liturgical office.

    Have a joyous Easter.

  14. Father, on the topic of Popes changing laws only after they contravene the law, do you know if the story of Pope Pius X giving communion to a 4-year old is true? I’ve found it here – http://cfnews.org/sv-tars.htm but I can’t find a real source.

  15. Pingback: Where is Jesus After He Dies? - Big Pulpit

  16. boxerpaws1952 says:

    BTW> the sharp contract with His Holiness Benedict the XVI that people are drumming up IMHO is not worth the time.

  17. boxerpaws1952 says:

    *contrast

  18. Mary T says:

    I have to laugh. Some of my more gnostic acquaintances made much of the following remark of Pope Francis at the youth detention center:
    I thank the [Justice] Minister for her words, the authorities for their greeting, and I thank you, boys and girls, for welcoming me today: I’m happy to be with you. Forward, eh? And don’t let yourselves be robbed of hope, don’t let yourselves lose hope! You understand? With hope always, let’s move forward!

    No, I said, it’s NOT a reference to Obama ‘s campaign slogan, “Forward!” The heart of what he said is “hope!” Just another example of selective hearing and seeing,

  19. Virgile says:

    The actual Bishop of Rome is just a transitory figure of the long history of the Church.
    He has perfectly the right to do whatever he wants to do. Why would he be the only one to have to obey by the rules???
    The Church is full of people with a really big problem with authority, it seems.
    Since it is not my problem, I just have to say that we should concentrate on the rebuilding of things destroyed or dammaged and the recovery of what has been lost.

  20. mark says:

    The adage ‘He who makes distinctions well, teaches well’ seems to be a good description of Pope Francis, not least in the case in point.

  21. boxerpaws1952 says:

    I have decided to leave this as a FINAL comment on the matter and let Rev Lombardi have the FINAL say. Even if some will take this to mean a step to women priests(those who think we can and would like to and those who know we CAN’T and will NEVER)

    “The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said he didn’t want to wade into a canonical dispute over the matter. However, he noted that in a “grand solemn celebration” of the rite, only men are included because Christ washed the feet of his 12 apostles, all of whom were male.

    “Here, the rite was for a small, unique community made up also of women,” Lombardi wrote in an email. “Excluding the girls would have been inopportune in light of the simple aim of communicating a message of love to all, in a group that certainly didn’t include experts on liturgical rules.”

  22. Jack Regan says:

    It will be interesting to see whether or not this law eventually gets changed. Either way, I think we have a holy Father who isn’t that interested in opening the books :-)

  23. boxerpaws1952 says:

    and no His Holiness Benedict the XVI was not Blessed John Paul II and no Pope Francis is not our Pope Emeritus.

  24. boxerpaws1952 says:

    Bergoglio wrote in a 2011 book that women cannot accede to the priesthood because “the maximum of the priesthood is Jesus, a male.”

    “According to tradition,” wrote the future pope, “all that pertains to the priesthood must happen through man.”

  25. I’m going to be perfectly frank here, touching on something that I’ve noticed going around quite a bit lately and which was brought to mind by what Vox mentioned regarding those in the blogosphere and other areas defending Pope Francis to the dying breath and naming as pharisees anyone who leveled even the slightest bit of criticism at his actions.

    I think that there can be such a thing as too much loyalty to the Pope.

    When your loyalty is so strong that you will bend over backwards to justify anything that a Pope does solely out of completely blind love, you’ve got a wee bit too far.

    We have to walk a very fine line where we affirm dogmatic teachings, maintain obedience and respect, but still notice and still voice when a Pope, who can and does sin and can be in error privately, starts making wholesale changes to ecclesiastical tradition and violates canon law. It was so bad with many folks that it seemed almost as though the deference that was needed in this situation was a simple laughing-off of the notion that a Supreme Pontiff could be bound by canon law. While this is technically true, it’s a complete cop-out, since it’s being used as a shield to avoid the question of whether the Roman Pontiff is acting outside of propriety and encouraging Liturgical abuse and scandal by implicitly invoking his power as supreme interpreter of canon law and exploiting the fact that he has no authority over him except the Holy Trinity when it comes to matters of governance and law.

    May our Father bless Pope Francis. I pray that he is guided in the Spirit and that the Mother of God shelters him in a special way, as He acts as Vicar of Christ. I bend the knee… but I do not defend his actions, and I lament what Pope Benedict must be thinking of the toppling brick by brick of what he worked so hard over eight years to restore.

  26. boxerpaws1952 says:

    sorry for some errors.hope you can follow the comment; it can’t be edited to fix the errors .if it’s hard to understand you will probably be able to figure out from context. My apologies. Am tired.

  27. jacobi says:

    I am not a lawyer or theologian but have looked up some references.

    1. Rubrics bear on essential rite, and if they are approved by a Supreme Pontiff, in the case of washing feet, Pius XII in 1955?, they are binding on all.

    They can be Preceptive, (under pain of sin) or Directive not binding in themselves but stating specifically what is to be done. Which of these categories the washing of feet comes I, for one, do not know.

    The universal norm for washing the feet is 12 men or less but exceptions, can be made, presumably, as in USA, by the Bishops Committee on Liturgy in February 1987, and which again which presumably had the approval of Pope Jean Paul II

    2. The Pope is not an absolute ruler. As had to be pointed out to Paul VI, he is bound by the eternal truths of the Church, by Scripture, Tradition, Revelation and the infallible teaching of the Magisterium, the specific and defined Infallible teaching of Popes – as well as their prescriptive definition on rubrics, issued by predecessors until these rubrics have been altered by due procedure.

    On balance, Pope Francis I’ action on washing the feet of women, was sailing very close to the wind indeed, and has created a disturbing precedent.

    3. Then there is the kissing the feet. This is something that Jesus Christ never did, as far as I am aware? We have to be careful of virtues carried to extremes, as Chesterton indicated. Again a disturbing precedent.

    We live in interesting times!

  28. Supertradmum says:

    Dear Father,

    I am grieved by the divisions all this is causing. I live in Great Britain where heresies are so common that one is hard put to find an orthodox layperson.

    So many of the priests are so overworked they cannot contain the rot. Symbolic actions are so important, more than articles, which the vast majority of people do not read.

    I meet Gnostics daily here. They have not read the CCC; they have not conformed their minds to the mind of the Church. And, actions which contradict previous ones add fuel to their rebellious brains.

    What has happened to lex orandi lex credendi?

    I really am grieved. I have heard and seen more division in the Church in the past month, as ever liberal has her bit between the teeth.

  29. Nicolas Bellord says:

    I have asked elsewhere whether the word “viri” in Canon Law can include the feminine as well as the masculine. In the interpretation of English Law various interpretation acts have said that the masculine includes the feminine except where the context says otherwise. What is the position in Canon Law? [In Latin "vir" means "male" and it cannot mean "female".]

  30. Oh dear God! You gave as a humble example of how we are to love and serve each other, and look what we have done! It is Holy Week and see how these Christians love one another. Better to do away with an empty ceremony (if it isn’t filled with love and service then it is empty) than to bash one another during this most holy time of the year. It seems that there is plenty of blame to go around to all involved. And we wonder why so many are leaving our churches? It seems that there is a loophole that I read about recently that tolerates the custom of washing women’s feet. Personally I prefer the Eastern custom of only the Bishop or Abbot of a monastery doing the mandatum, and then as a separate rite outside of the Divine Liturgy, sometimes in the courtyard of the church.

  31. eben says:

    I am surprised.

    As reported in AP: “Francis’ decision to disregard church law and wash the feet of two girls – a Serbian Muslim and an Italian Catholic…..the 76-year-old Francis got down on his knees to wash and kiss the feet of 12 inmates, two of them women.The rite re-enacts Jesus’ washing of the feet of his 12 apostles during the Last Supper before his crucifixion, a sign of his love and service to them.”

    So……….he washed and kissed the feet of a Serbian Muslim girl, a sign of love and service?
    That brings to mind the word……….”prostrate, as in: To put or throw flat with the face down, as in submission or adoration.”

    But surely I’ve taken this out of context.

  32. progressive says:

    I am a liberal catholic, and i am also a little concerned. I understand the pain many here are experiencing it was the pain I felt during Benedict’s time. I am keeping you in my prayers.
    Francis’ papacy has many responsibilities and one of them is to be a point of unity (he is more than the bishop of rome) and at this rate he may lose this crucial role. My hope is that it all slows down – really slows down and he starts talking with his Bishops. For me this should be his priority. For example there is widespread talk of Kasper and his work on woman deacons (of which i am in favour). However I woud be outraged if pope Francis brought in a something such as this without discussing it with the wider church. I want a pope for all of us and not just for us liberals. Liberals who appeal to a secret ‘in crowd’ knowledge are not liberals but gnostics. I am not a gnostic. A good liberal is steeped in the tradition of the church but attempts to live the tradition in a new way and must not set up a second magisterium.

  33. Stu says:

    It was, just not a good example of leadership.

    Anyone who has led large groups of men in the military knows that one of the worst things you can do for good order is discipline is for you to openly violate standing orders. It creates confusion in the ranks, gives license to emulate your actions, takes away your credibility in enforcing other mandates and at it’s worst it opens you up to being labeled a hypocrite. Clearly, that is not what the Holy Father wants. But in terms of leadership, I do believe he (AND those advising him) had a misstep here.

    And the thing is, it didn’t have to be this way. The Holy Father is clearly making efforts to call us all to action in terms of real, visceral evangelization to the World and specifically with the poorest among us. Who cannot applaud that and recognize that it is needed? I can certainly do more and I would like to see my parish do more. But that message was clouded Thursday because of the way it was delivered. Instead, the lasting reverberation will be this issue. And it has created a situation where we have unwittingly pitted charity against the rubrics of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. And as you have seen in the Catholic blogosphere, those who simply would like to see BOTH calls for charity AND adherence to rubrics are quickly dismisses as being pharisees or other pejoratives (ironically in the name of “charity”). It’s divisive. Again, I don’t think that is what the Holy Father wants.

    Instead, the Pope could have done one of two things. If it was this important, then change the rubrics. There was time to do so. Do it openly and use it as a teaching moment for all on why you are changing them. That sends a clear message and it is the pastoral approach. It’s textbook leadership.

    But what I would really would have liked to see is an approach that follows the rubrics and builds upon tradition, rather than changing it. The Holy Father could have instead washed the feet of some of his priests DURING THE MASS and then AFTER THE MASS those priests (and the Pope) could have gone out into the prison and washed the feet in the inmates. In that way, we maintain tradition, set a good example of the following the rubrics AND we still deliver the message that the Pope wants but in a much, much more powerful and symbolic manner that actually builds upon tradition and enhances it. It truly is a situation where everyone could win here and it would unite the faithful following of the rubrics with charity. It’s a winning , 1-2 punch.

    I’m taking actions to answer the Pope’s call to do more for the poor among us. I do hope that we see similar efforts aimed at doing more for following the rubrics of the Mass as well. There doesn’t have to be conflict here and there shouldn’t be. We can do both.

    God bless Pope Francis. He has my love and obedience.

  34. phlogiston says:

    Re: “Having a nutty.”
    Although it’s a clever turn of a phrase, the folks at Rorate and elsewhere are only having one if they are wrong. So far, they aren’t.

  35. OrthodoxChick says:

    Supertradmum,

    I see the same among parishoners in my N.O. parish. I’m trying to transition over to an EF parish that is further away.

    For those of us who feel that tradition is being threatened, I think that our answer has to be to support a pastor who reverently and properly celebrates the TLM. That means making a greater effort to get to a Latin Mass more frequently, even if it is far away. Give up a pricier, fancy coffee or lunch out and make coffee/brown bag lunch at home. Use the money you save to pay for the gas to drive further out for the TLM once a month or more, if possible. If that simply isn’t possible because there’s no TLM within hundreds of miles, then search the internet for some TLM parishes. Pick up the phone and call the pastor and at least give him your vocal support. Perhaps consider financially supporting him and whatever he needs to properly say the TLM. Maybe commit to even a modest donation if that’s all one can do. Even $10/month could help if you have a few traditionally minded friends who might consider joining their efforts to yours.

    If we want tradition to prosper, then we need to find ways to support it. I know many of you here are already doing that, but for any that might not be yet, this is going to be a group effort. We ALL need to adopt a TLM parish/pastor. There is strength in numbers. If in time, the TLM parishes are the only ones thriving, while numbers of attendees continue to dwindle in N.O. parishes, then there will come a point in the future when we will not be considered a stuffy minority, we will be the norm. But we need to take action to make it happen. We all need to become a brick: BE THE BRICK! The sooner, the better.

  36. Stu says:

    I think one can be right about an issue and still have a “nutty.” The manner and style in which we face a challenge is often just as important as our actual response. When someone’s behavior is a bit unhinged, often what they say or do is simply dismissed. You need both a good message and a confident style in delivery.

    That’s why I keep coming back here.

  37. Fleeb says:

    Well Father, you made the news:

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_VATICAN_POPE_TRADITIONALISTS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-03-29-16-43-17

    Apparently, we who respect tradition need to fold up our tents…

  38. Rural Virologist – I think the story you are looking for is that of Ellen Organ (1903-1908) or “Little Nellie of Holy God” an invalid girl of extraordinary faith and intelligence in the care of Good Shepherd Sisters, Cork City, Ireland. Because of her manifest faith in the Real Presence of our Lord in the Eucharist and considering her poor health the sisters asked that she be allowed to receive Holy Communion at four years old. After talking to her the Jesuit chaplain approached the bishop of Cork and the bishop gave permission. Her story apparently influenced Pius X to lower the minimum age of Holy Communion to seven. I visited her grave many years ago. It is said she was incorrupt when the body was moved to its present resting place a year after her death.

    Testimony of Mother Francis:

    “At the moment of her First Communion, which she received in a transport of love, Nellie’s features shone as if the presence of the great light in her heart reflected itself in her face. Yes, those who saw Nellie then are well convinced that the child’s appearance was not at all ordinary. This phenomenon was seen more particularly at her other Communions because, after the first, she was taken almost immediately out of the chapel and there were only a chosen few who had the happiness to witness the transformation which took place. Then Nellie had not only a countenance more recollected, an attitude more pious than she customarily had, but an extraordinary radiance.”

    from here: http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/little-nellie-of-holy-god/

    Fr. Z – since my days in philosophy I have been convinced we have been overtaken by gnosticism. That sewer opened with Luther when he separated faith and reason. Now reason has run out of steam and all that is left is relativism.

    I agree with your point that “we need a level of liturgical celebration which brings about an encounter with the transcendent, which cuts beyond our (by now) useless linear arguments” but I am not sure that “people today can’t follow a linear argument”.

    That depends on where one is and how one has been educated. I teach teenagers. They can follow linear arguments. They may not like the conclusions (e.g. homosexual acts are intrinsically evil) and may reject them but it is not because they cannot follow them. Human beings are lazy. We like short cuts and quick fixes and instinctively avoid the narrow and the hard path. That’s fine when the short cut leads back to the right way. Our Western secularised culture bombards us with propaganda that attempts to program us to think only along certain lines, to use certain short cuts that lead to inconsistent and immoral conclusions. For example our culture disparages certain demands of the Natural Law (and the Divine Law from which it flows) even as it lauds the human rights that are derived from that Natural Law. So our culture excoriates pedophilia even as it celebrates homosexuality, it laments war and the execution of criminals even as it embraces abortion. This, of course, leads to or is a symptom of a deep cultural psychosis – we are mad because we are denying God and have been for centuries. What was said in whispers is now shouted from the rooftops – ‘there is no God and Man is the only prophet’. That is the monstrous heart of gnosticism in all its many-headed forms.

    As regards the present controversy over the Holy Father’s actions on Holy Thursday. The problem with the Internet is that a few thousand people of varying opinions can appear representative when they are not. We represent those who care. Many do not or have not noticed. I don’t like the Mandatum ceremony and since I have, for the first time in fourteen years as a priest, just been celebrant for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper I made sure there was none! But in Ireland it appears to be quite common to have a group of men and women. What needs to be clarified is the status of the Liturgical law in question and how and when the Holy Father may dispense himself from that law and under what circumstances.

    I think that he was right even if it did unintentionally cause a lot of consternation and confusion. Those who are liturgical terrorists will do what they want anyway. They did not need his example before. I am mindful though that our Lord broke the laws of His day by permitting His disciples to pick grain on the Sabbath, by touching the unclean, by speaking to the Samaritan woman. He was God of course and the Pope is only the Pope.

  39. Tradster says:

    The most infuriating aspect of these incidents is the total lack of any explanation from Pope Francis either beforehand or afterwards. That (indifference? arrogance? whatever) towards the confusion and turmoil of his people certainly belies all of his so-called humble caring for them/us.

    The result of his silence is to distract Catholics from the work of being Catholic. Instead, for the foreseeable future everyone on all points of the traditional/modernist spectrum will be focused on watching and wondering what his next controversial action will be.

  40. Tradster says:

    Also, there were at least 50% more people attending yesterday afternoon’s Good Friday liturgy in our local SSPX chapel than last year. Coincidence?

  41. lana says:

    Pope Francis has done what Our Lord often did, which was to dispense with laws when there is a good pastoral reason to do so, as there was in this particular setting. We have the words of Fr Lombardi. It is a two-edged sword that will cut deeply just as Our Lord’s actions did. My first impression of Pope Francis was that he was very Christ-like, and that continues. God is testing his traditionalist friends under fire. I hope we can let go of the dross.

    As for those who will be scandalized, overreact, stop following rubrics needlessly, etc I say Don’t worry about them too much and just pray for them. As Our Lord said to St Peter, “what is that to you? You follow me.”

  42. cheerios in my pocket says:

    “…He descended into Hell…”
    There is a beautifully written article about Pope Francis in the NCRegister that may put some at ease.
    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-francis-and-the-reform-of-the-priesthood?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NCRegisterDailyBlog+National+Catholic+Register#When:2013-03-28%2022:15:01

    eben, I would believe Jesus wants us to go into the prisons and not ask someone’s nationality nor religion when we “visit” them. Did Blessed Mother Theresa ask when she did as the Lord, served the least of our brothers?

    Fr. Z, I, too, ask is there some way (not through a blog) or someone here in the U.S. that has the Pope’s ear for questions, clarifications, assists in serious matters?

    Thank you, Fr. Z. Blessings of our Lord upon you all, upon His Church, upon all souls.

  43. Suburbanbanshee says:

    In a logical world, people would have the attitude that exceptions are exceptions, and don’t do anything to hurt the normal way of doing things — in fact, exceptions reinforce the normal way of doing things. And I think Cardinal Bergoglio lived in this world, especially since progressives in his area mostly hated him like fire and would no more imitate him than Margaret Thatcher. (Especially bearing in mind that they were Argentinian progressives.)

    Unfortunately, he doesn’t live in this world anymore; he lives in the world where people take all the wrong lessons from things, on purpose or by ignorance; and to them, “any exception means permission to do anything.” The amazing bit is that both progressives and traditionalists take this for granted as true.

    My personal feeling is that Pope Francis is a medieval sort of person who takes the mandatum as referring solely to authority serving the poor, and not much about priestly stuff. He lives in a mental world of Maundy money, touching for the king’s evil, and queens and abbesses washing the feet of twelve poor women. (South Americans, like people from the hollers and other early settlement areas, have their moments of anachronistic survival.) And the big theatrical gesture that is also completely sincere is very medieval.

    And no, an unrelated, mature, non-eunuch man of authority and holiness washing and kissing a Muslim woman’s highly unclean foot isn’t anywhere covered by the Muslim world’s idea of submission of the dhimmis. As you haven’t heard the Muslim world calling for the Pope’s blood for touching one of their women, you may assume that they are stunned and confused, and that respect for a holy man doing Significant Stuff has come into play.

    I don’t have to like the collateral damage to how it’s done, but I can see what targets Pope Francis is hitting.

  44. Joseph-Mary says:

    Our new Vicar of Christ on earth has some remarkable qualities. Our Pope Emeritus has said that a smaller, poorer Church may be what is coming and those qualities may help it along too. I see our Holy Father’s actions in the liturgical sphere not so much different from what many have come to expect in priests over the age of 50 but especially those 70ish—a disregard for rubrics and an “open mind” on many other issues as well. We have two retired priests that come to fill in sometimes and I try to avoid them; I think of them as “Father Ad-lib”. And the pewsitters are mostly ignorant of it; they like the jokes and off the cuffs remarks and so on. When C. Mahony is pleased about the liturgical looseness of the Pope, well that is not a good sign for tht Cardinal has long been ignoring rubrics and more.

    I guess what concerns me is the caliber of the men that this Holy Father will appoint to the episcopate. Will it be liberal Jesuits? There are plenty of them among the few left that is. Many bishops have ignored canon 915 and ignored the Summorum as well. If the Pope can ignore things and continue on, then surely they can too.

    The liturgical abuses are very disconcerting. Many of us have lived with them for years and years and years. I would gladly be in an FSSP parish if one were nearby. I will not go into schism though but would put up with the liturgical irreverence as one must be with Peter.

    I hope all that our Pope Emeritus has accomplished will not be undone.

  45. kmtierney says:

    Hopefully Pope Francis will see this as an example of what not to do. I and many others understand what he was trying to do. Yet this entire scenario could only play out precisely the way it has played out. This isn’t just traditionalists who are worried.

    Pope Francis’ attempts at reform are going to be a lot more difficult now, and there was no reason this had to be so. Maybe we need to expect some growing pains here, as he learns that nobody really cares what a Cardinal in Argentina does, but they certainly do when he is the Bishop of Rome.

    Fr. Lombardi’s statement on the matter is also essentially kicking anyone worried over this change in the face while they are down. His snark probably won’t help matters.

  46. kmtierney says:

    And I also meant to add that instead of everyone focusing on our Savior’s Death on the Cross, everyone was discussing this instead, and not just traditionalists! This also was entirely predictable.

  47. Glen M says:

    Pope Francis has certainly caused confusion and possibly furthered divisions within the Church by his actions on Holy Thursday. Hopefully he is aware of this and will take some time to reflect and then correct his liturgical philosophies.

    Could it be that he isn’t aware the rubrics call for men only? Could it be that throughout his entire ministry he sincerely believes the GIRM permits deviations? Let’s remember many priests formed in the 60′s & 70′s would have been taught such things.

    He’s washed women’s feet before. Maybe his first Holy Thursday as pope was a bridge to his past and going forward he’ll only wash the feet of men. Maybe he now recognizes his actions have been used to justify other liturgical abuses. He’s human; he’s capable of error. Those blessed with knowledge should display charity, wisdom, and leadership by instructing the ignorant and ease up on the admonishment.

    What if the next pope is as traditional as anyone could realistically expect? How would we then respond to ‘liberals’ wailing and gnashing their teeth? So far Pope Francis seems to me an opportunity for traditional Catholics to step up and show the rest of the Church who we are.

    Our pope committed a liturgical abuse. Let he without sin cast the first stone. However, it is a spiritual act of mercy to instruct the ignorant. My humble advice is to treat Pope Francis as any other priest who washed women’s feet: pray for him, then contact him with charity, respect, and correction.

  48. Grabski says:

    Washed a Muslim woman’s foot?

    Now, true ecuminism would respect the separation of the sexes in Islam. Kissing a woman prisoner’s feet doesn’t respect Islamic tradition.

    Clearly, P. Francis is playing to a secular crowd.

  49. rkingall says:

    After reading too much on this topic in the last 2 days, I have come to the conclusion that I am definitely not going to push the panic button about PF1. I have confidence that he is acting in accord with the Holy Spirit and this is what we (the Church, Catholic) need. What we definitely don’t need now is hand-wringing and wailing and defeatism. Let us keep this holy weekend for our Blessed Lord. Say an extra decade or 2 for the Holy Father and let his example lead us to do the same. Love one another all the time.

    By the way, this Pascha Java from the Mystic Monks goes fabulously with my homemade poppyseed kolache. Mmmm, mmmm. Happy Easter!

  50. HobokenZephyr says:

    The Bishop of Charlotte handled it perfectly on Thursday night. No Mandatum Rite, no men, no women, no feet. Perfect. Of course, he broke his hand a few weeks ago, so …

  51. mamajen says:

    It’s ironic to me that the same people who were accusing Pope Francis of being soft on celibacy (because of an interview they misread or partially read) see NO problem at all with married men getting their feet washed, but when women are involved it’s somehow a commentary on the priesthood. It’s also ironic that those same critics, who have accused our pope of looking for media attention, are giddy about receiving some themselves, but I digress.

    Yes, I was disappointed that he went ahead and washed the feet of some females. However, I also was not surprised because he has done so before (albeit not as pope). I also think I understand his reasons for doing so. I lean toward keeping the law as it is, but people who link foot-washing only to the priesthood have too narrow an understanding of what Jesus was trying to communicate.

    I definitely don’t see how Pope Francis’ ignoring this rule for a completely optional rite, and for which there was already the precedence of exceptions being made by the Vatican, gives license for priests to do whatever they want with the rest of the liturgy. It doesn’t mean that Benedict’s reform of the reform is over. Bad priests will look for any reason to justify what they are doing wrong (and I wonder how much the hand-wringing traditionalists are to blame for giving them the idea, in this case), while good priests will continue what they are doing, unless they are suppressed (which I think is very unlikely). Liberals aren’t alone in using this to their advantage, either–SSPX members have been spiking the football every time this pope does something “wrong”. Pope Benedict certainly did a lot to advance traditionalism, but there were good priests doing it long before him, even under supposedly “bad” popes. Growing up in the 80′s I went to a regular diocesan parish where the altar rail was used, communion was on the tongue only, and there were no altar girls. Perhaps I’m naive, but I don’t see this foot washing ordeal as a huge step backward (or forward, if you’re a liberal).

    If there’s any silver lining to the controversy this has stirred up and the media attention it has garnered, hopefully it’s that Pope Francis will have a better awareness of the power of his example, and be a little more cautious (God-willing) going forward.

  52. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    To Jbpolhamus, who wrote, “Go ahead, punk . . . make my Lent.” Thank you for the sorely-needed laugh! (I put the side of my head down on my keyboard and roared laughing!)

    The portion of your follow-up post for which I jocularly salaam you (as did the spectators on the course when Tiger Woods start to achieve unheard-of scores on hole after hole):

    “So far I like this pope less and less, but I still support the papacy, and the church it rules, whether the holder of the office wants to or not . . . kids, you’re going to have to be survivors, and you’re going to have to toughen up, there’s no two ways about it. You got a decent taste of Catholicism while you were young, and improvements can happen in the future, . . . Hold fast to the traditions of the Faith, to the things that last. Steep yourselves in knowledge of the church, it history, and its life, so that you can construct the church in which you wish to dwell in your mind. You must create that vision for yourselves.”

    Amen. Amen. Amen. (Note to self: Print off several copies; adhesive tape to bathroom mirror and to inside of auto windshield) (Brit. windscreen)

    Forward! And thank you, thank you!

  53. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    P.S. And having constructed the church in which we wish to dwell in our minds, the hope is to have enough of us to achieve critical mass; to translate the mental picture into reality, and to take it out on the road!

  54. Christopher says:

    Cheerios:

    ‘eben, I would believe Jesus wants us to go into the prisons and not ask someone’s nationality nor religion when we “visit” them. Did Blessed Mother Theresa ask when she did as the Lord, served the least of our brothers?’

    All fine and good, except that this was Holy Thursday, the insitution of the Priesthood and the Eucharist. Christ washed His Apostles feet on Holy Thursday, no others. Christ did not go out to wash the feet of the poor on Holy Thursday. If some of us have forgotten, Benedict XVI visted Prisons, not on a Holy Thursday.

    There seems to be a worrying detatchment from Tradition, with more liberal interpretations on how this should apply. The Tradition has been passed down through the ages, from Christ Himself, it is not something that one can suddenly just modify today.

    God Bless.

  55. The Astronomer says:

    My concern comes from statements like these from Fr. Cantalamessa’s homily in the Pope’s Passion Liturgy:

    We know what are the impediments that may retain the messenger: partition walls, from those between the various Christian churches among them, excessive bureaucracy, waste ceremonial laws and past disputes, which have become one of the debris … As happens with some old buildings. Over the centuries, to suit the needs of the moment, you are filled with partitions, of staircases, rooms and small rooms. There comes a time when you realize that all of these adaptations are no longer responsive to current needs, rather they are in the way, and then we must have the courage to knock them down and bring the building back to the simplicity and straightforwardness of its origins.”

    …and then there’s THIS gem from the homily of the Chrism Mass:

    “…some priests grow dissatisfied, become sad priests, lose heart and become in some sense collectors of ANTIQUES or novelties.”

    And we seriously sit here wondering why Cardinal Mahony and clergy of a similar bent, not to mention their Fishwrap-type camp followers are throwing a “spittle-flecked nutty of JOY’ over the new Holy Father.

    Welcome back to the circa 1977 Church of What’s Happenin’ Now, baby….hearkens me back to a class I took as Michael Sean Winter’s alma mater CUA in those days called “Jesus as the Christ.” The teacher/priest relayed a gem to us on a beautiful Spring day I’ll never forget “…the sun is shining, the grass is green and I feel pretty good about Christ.”

  56. WGS says:

    What fascinates me is how commenters refer to Pope Francis’ humility when he willfully rejects a liturgical rule-practice-tradition of the Church. That sounds more like hubris to me. However, he is the Pope.

    It reminds me of how President Obama makes a pseudo military salute to observers as he exits an airplane. The Pope as well as our Commander in Chief can set whatever example he chooses. – for better or worse.

    As one who served in the U.S. Navy, I know full well that I was authorized to salute only when in uniform and covered (i.e., wearing a hat). If my Commander in Chief chooses to salute when not in uniform and when uncovered that’s his business. It doesn’t change my responsibility to “do the red”.

  57. jbpolhamus: That’s quite wonderful advice for young (and older) folks in your comment at 2:04 am, really gold-star stuff. I might only repeat my comment made somewhere here long before the papal resignation–that the ultimate restoration of the Church thankfully depends not on current popes and bishops, but on the new generation of faithful young priests.

    mamajen: The second paragraph in your 8:01 comment is reasonable. But in regard to your first paragraph, it might be mentioned that whereas maleness is integral to the priesthood, celibacy is not. The restriction of ordination to men is doctrinal and inviolable, while celibacy is merely disciplinary and can be changed or excepted.

  58. Ignatius says:

    A quick observation form Buenos Aires, Argentina:

    The underlying problem is that Card. Bergoglio had been doing this and many other things contrary to ecclesiastical law and the rubrics for many, many years, sowing confusion and disunion among the Archdiocese and the whole country. He explicitly ignored warnings and observations about this issue of the mandatum for years, “humbly” washing the feet of women time and again, always for the cameras.

    He has also quietly “punished” in subtle and not so subtle ways priests concerned with the proper celebration of the liturgy, with upholding the traditional moral understanding of marriage (he said, in one instance, that upholding that masturbation and fornication was wrong was “piantavotos” (local argot for something that “will drive people away” from the Church).

    Some of us told this time and again to whomever wanted to hear. We wrote to Rome explaining what was going on. To no avail. We were ignored locally, treated as having “a problem of ecclesiality” (whatever that means in Bergogliotalk) and labelled as cryptolefebvrists.

    The problem is: if Rome chose to ignore this form many many years, as if it was right, why all the fuss now? The cardinals that chose him should have known about this. If not, may God forgive them for their shallowness.

    Best regards,

  59. Elizabeth R says:

    Tradster, according to Whispers in the Loggia, Pope Francis did give an explanation (well, he said it couldn’t be explained, but he said how he felt):

    [At this point, a young man in the crowd said: "Thank you for coming today, Father. But I want to know one thing: why did you come here to Casal del Marmo today? That's all."

    [Francis replied:] It’s something that came from my heart; I just felt it. Where are those who perhaps could help me more to be humble, to be a servant as a bishop must be. So I thought, I asked: “Where are people who might like a visit?” And they told me, “Casal del Marmo, maybe.” And when they said it, here I came. But it came from my heart, just there. The things of the heart can’t be explained, they just come. Thanks, eh!

  60. Christopher says:

    WGS:
    ‘What fascinates me is how commenters refer to Pope Francis’ humility when he willfully rejects a liturgical rule-practice-tradition of the Church. That sounds more like hubris to me. However, he is the Pope.’

    This has to do with the understanding of Humility:

    One camp argues that Humility is seen through the dressing, i.e Sack and Cloth over Gold and Wool. The other camp argues that Humility is seen through the suppression of the personal desire and accepting the Liturgical styles despite the individual’s personal preference.

    God Bless.

  61. mamajen says:

    @The Astronomer

    If you read the Chrism Mass homily in its entirety, then you no doubt saw this also:

    “From the beauty of all these liturgical things, which is not so much about trappings and fine fabrics than about the glory of our God resplendent in his people, alive and strengthened”

    Seems to me that’s exactly how traditionalists justify all the “fanciness”. I did not get the impression at all that Pope Francis was decrying fine trappings, just saying that we need to properly understand the reason for it. I thought it was an excellent homily.

  62. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    If my Commander in Chief chooses to salute when not in uniform and when uncovered that’s his business. It doesn’t change my responsibility to “do the red”.

    Nice. Trying to put it another way: Even if it were to play out one day that the man heading us up proves to be a loose cannon, that eventuality wouldn’t prevent me from doing what I need to do to stay on course and to stay on target. Unless I let it. And if I let it, that’s my own fault.

  63. Jim Dorchak says:

    Since The Bishop of Rome has now de facto stated that we can have women priests, [No, he hasn't.] how long till we have women ordained?

  64. vox borealis says:

    @Elizabeth R,
    So, sentimentalism through and through.

  65. norancor says:

    @MamaJen, I think your comments, and those of others in the blogosphere attempting to minimize the Holy Father’s ad hoc changes, may be seriously underestimating the consequences of not just “Footgate,” but the rest of the changes he has taken upon himself to impose upon everyone around him in the name of “simplicity.”

    It is not difficult to demonstrate that simplicity is an agnostic aim, and exercise. As a virtue, simplicity can be a virtue to rid an overdone situation of excess in a time of laxity. As a sin, simplicity can be used like a 1000 gallons of napalm to scorch the earth to the dirt.

    From Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Emeritus, in The Spirit of the Liturgy (2000):

    “After the Second Vatican Council, the impression arose that the Pope really could do anything in liturgical matters, especially if he were acting on the mandate of an Ecumenical Council. Eventually, the idea of the givenness of the liturgy, the fact that one cannot do with it what one will, faded from the public consciousness of the West. In fact, the First Vatican Council had in no way defined the Pope as an absolute monarch. On the contrary, it presented him as the guarantor of obedience to the revealed Word. The Pope’s authority is bound to the Tradition of faith…”

    I agree with Father Z in that I “get” where he might be going with this, and why. Nevertheless, I am more definitive in my own opinion that sudden change and the capricious yielding to preference by the head of the Church sets a very, very bad precedent.

  66. mamajen says:

    @Henry Edwards

    I don’t disagree with you regarding celibacy, but was merely pointing out that some were piling onto the pope about that as well. If one is of the mindset that married priests and female priests are equally bad, and one thinks that washing of the feet is all about the institution of the priesthood, then I see a little hypocrisy in freaking out about one thing, but not the other–that’s all. Hope that makes a little more sense.

  67. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Ignatius reports from Buenos Aires: “He (Cardinal Bergoglio) has also quietly ‘punished’ in subtle and not so subtle ways priests concerned with the proper celebration of the liturgy, with upholding the traditional moral understanding of marriage (he said, in one instance, that upholding that masturbation and fornication was wrong . . .’will drive people away’ from the Church). ”

    OK. I don’t know the whole story; I don’t know what other factors may have been involved. Ultimately the bottom line is: we have had bad popes in the past. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Alexander_VI. We have survived them. We will continue to survive them, if we have them again.

    We know what we need to do. Do that.

  68. bobbyfranky says:

    Oftentimes one writes an historical novel for the purpose of explaining to a contemporary audience the inner workings, the intrigues and complexities of thought that drove the people of that ancient time, so one can more easily enter the minds of the people of that day to better understand why they did what they did.

    A major problem encountered when writing such an historical novel is creating authentic-sounding dialog for the characters that reveals the actual thinking of the people of that bygone era.

    The Bible gives some information about the dispute between our God Jesus and His religious leaders, the Pharisees. It provides enough text that we know there was one, and that it rose over the three years from a simmer to a full boil, but the depth and detail are not given to us.

    But now, if I were to write an historical novel about that time, I would have no problem creating authentic-sounding dialogue for the Pharisee characters as they connive and convene behind the scenes to discuss this Jesus who burst upon their world, a world run by their own rules, rules built up over centuries that had little or nothing to do with the Law handed down by Moses. For I would just use most of the posts from here and other blogs like rorate coeli to create the back-sniping and griping dialogue, changing ‘Jesus’ to ‘Francis’. Jesus’ dialogue could remain the same as in the Gospels, excepting ‘Pharisees’ would become ‘traditionalists’ so present-day readers would understand the roles of each side, and the conflicts in play.

    Please, for the love of Jesus, think about what you are saying. Again, Our Lady has asked us to refrain from speaking, to keep our mouths shut about our shepherds, for these were chosen by her Son.

    God bless you.

  69. bobbyfranky says:

    (hit post when meant to hit preview) Of course I meant: changing ‘Francis’ to ‘Jesus’.

  70. Jim Dorchak says:

    If the law is now open to interpretation to anyone and everyone, why do we now need to be or remain Catholic…… or for that matter catholic. After all it is now open to our bishops interpretation, or our priests interpretation, or our deacons interpretation, or OUR interpretation. Yes in essence that is free will but we used to have guidlines. With out these guidlines it seems to me that we are no longer the Catholic Church since we are not universal anymore in the sense that we no longer practice the same faith. It is now based on some feeling of the moment. This is very charitable and full of humility, but I am not sure why and for who.

  71. mamajen says:

    @norancor

    but the rest of the changes he has taken upon himself to impose upon everyone around him in the name of “simplicity.”

    And what might those be? So far I have seen him make a few changes that might make people’s jobs a bit more complicated, but “imposing” on “everyone”? I haven’t seen that at all.

  72. bobbyfranky says:

    And one more thing: be very very suspect of posts with quotes from supposedly reliable sources that diss Pope Francis. Most of these are fabrications. That recent quote that said Francis said to Marini about the vestments he presented to the Pope ‘carnival time is over’ has no source and is therefore out of whole cloth.

    see this post in NC Register :
    “And of course, some people don’t even bother to be technically accurate. Have you heard the story that Pope Francis, when handed the papal mozzetta, said waspishly, “Wear it yourself! The circus is over.” That quote turned out to be made up out of whole cloth, either by someone who really did regard Benedict XVI as some kind of bling-happy, medieval vulgarian, or by someone who maliciously wanted to portray Francis as someone who saw Benedict that way. Either way, there is no evidence that Francis said it — and, more importantly, there is no evidence that he is the kind of person who would say something like that.

    God bless you.

  73. Allan S. says:

    Ronald Reagan once gave an outstanding talk about the different ways liberals and conservatives seek peace. He said “If all you want is peace, you can have right now. I mean it, right this very moment. How? Surrender. Give your enemies everything they want right now, and I promise you the end of war.”

    And this, I greatly fear, is exactly how Church “unity” may now be obtained: by making the Catholic Church into a home of many or all mansions, where anything and everything can be embraced as true.

    The headline in my morning paper on Good Friday in Rome was “Pope praises Muslims”.

    Every faithful Catholic priest, everyone who venerated Lepanto and all the saints and martyrs who died for Chirst by the hands of enemies of the truth needs to pick up their cross and live daily under the bus, under which they have been thrown.

    When we fight for truth, we fight for He who is Truth. When we fight for everything, we seek and obtain nothing.

    To have the faith, to keep the faith, to die in the faith. That is what is important. A unity grounded in situational relativism is not to be found at the foot of the cross, but by the wide gate.

  74. Shonkin says:

    Why do I keep thinking about Pulp Fiction, where the head gangster has one of his hoods thrown off a fourth-story balcony for giving the chief gangster’s wife a foot rub?
    There is a sexual and sensual element to a man handling a woman’s feet, not to mention kissing them. His Holiness should have known better.

  75. Joe in Canada says:

    All the news articles, the ones that seem original, refer to the rite of footwashing. Did His Holiness actually say Mass there too? In which case the Muslim girl, at least, was not really part of the worshipping community, although she was part of the ‘community’. But if he didn’t say Mass, and just washed feet, it would have been an entirely different thing.
    This is, I think, particularly Jesuit, and perhaps general as well: the well-intentioned desire to do many good things, but mixing them up. The gesture could have been good on its own; it just didn’t have to be a the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.

  76. nanetteclaret says:

    What I find even more disturbing are the following sentences from Fr. Cantalamessa (Preacher for the Papal Household)’s sermon for Good Friday:

    “We must do everything possible so that the Church may never look like that complicated and cluttered castle described by Kafka, and the message may come out of it as free and joyous as when the messenger began his run. We know what the impediments are that can restrain the messenger: dividing walls, starting with those that separate the various Christian churches from one another, the excess of bureaucracy, the residue of past ceremonials, laws and disputes, now only debris.

    In Revelation, Jesus says that He stands at the door and knocks (Rev 3:20). Sometimes, as noted by our Pope Francis, he does not knock to enter, but knocks from within to go out. To reach out to the “existential suburbs of sin, suffering, injustice, religious ignorance and indifference, and of all forms of misery.”As happens with certain old buildings. Over the centuries, to adapt to the needs of the moment, they become filled with partitions, staircases, rooms and closets. The time comes when we realize that all these adjustments no longer meet the current needs, but rather are an obstacle, so we must have the courage to knock them down and return the building to the simplicity and linearity of its origins.”

    http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=22262

    What does this mean? Destruction of parts the Church, such as “past ceremonials and laws?” Or maybe I’m misunderstanding? [No, I don't think you are.] And why is the Preacher to the Papal Household quoting Kafka? Of all the writers available to quote, he chose an Existentialist with Socialist leanings? He couldn’t have found something by Chesterton, Belloc, or Knox (among others) to quote? The red flags continue to go up!

    It seems to me that this pontificate, so far, has displayed elements of Modernism and Protestantism, which really annoys me. I grew up Presbyterian and if I had wanted to be Protestant, I would have stayed in that church. I don’t appreciate the beauty of Truth being obscured by Relativism, especially by those who are supposed to uphold and defend that Truth.

    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

  77. Long-Skirts says:

    Allan S. said:

    “Every faithful Catholic priest, everyone who venerated Lepanto and all the saints and martyrs who died for Chirst by the hands of enemies of the truth needs to pick up their cross and live daily under the bus, under which they have been thrown.”

    UPON THIS ROCK

    Weary, weary
    On this earth
    Shielding souls
    Beyond their worth.

    Few are grateful
    Some regress
    Others proud
    They won’t confess.

    When the waves
    Break on the shore
    Warning them
    What is before

    Established
    You stand on this rock
    ‘Gainst the gales
    ‘Fore those who mock

    Facing squalls
    They cannot see
    But all behold
    Your bended knee.

    Few will follow
    Some deny
    Oblivious
    They won’t comply.

    Then a blue moon
    Saffron sun
    Come together
    Almost one.

    Fingers blessed
    With Holy Oil
    You lift the Light…
    Sun moon recoil.

    Blinding many
    Opening eyes
    Contradiction
    Most despise.

    But on this rock
    Eroded-rife
    You stand your ground
    Opposing strife.

    Between the storms
    And sheep you block
    The tempest winds
    That hurt the flock.

    With outstretched arms
    The daily crux
    You nail the Truth
    So not in flux

    Never will lie
    Only can free
    Upon this rock
    Catholicity.

    To all the good men of the Catholic Priesthood I thank you!

  78. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Why do I keep thinking about Pulp Fiction, where the head gangster has one of his hoods thrown off a fourth-story balcony for giving the chief gangster’s wife a foot rub? There is a sexual and sensual element to a man handling a woman’s feet, not to mention kissing them. His Holiness should have known better.

    You’re right. I agree, and have said as much in comments elsewhere on this blog.

    One reason someone may not be able to wrap his mind around the fact that for a man to handle and kiss a woman’s feet is an intimate and sensual act, even though most 7th grade boys as well as street thugs would have no trouble getting that at once, is if the individual in question has been so immersed in a counter-cultural decontrucionist, revisionist approach to all elements of life, that the simplest things that even a 3-year-old might understand, they can no longer grasp.

    There may very well be other reasons. I have no idea whether the reason I set forth above is operational in the mind of Pope Francis. I believe it may be operational in the minds of many, many, many of those here and elsewhere whose message about this topic is “get over it.”

    Your mileage may vary.

  79. blena says:

    Jesus is the model; did he not break with tradition/law in reaching out to the Samaritan woman? If so who is the Pope following? In any case, I think an argument could be made that religious persecution and malevolent secularism are greater threats to the Church. The criminal sexual activity of some priests have done more to undermine the vitality and integrity of the Church than washing, in a servant gesture, the feet of some females. Does not history records that some Popes have been reprehensible. I think the jury is still out on this guy the anxiety of some notwithstanding.

  80. Dennis Martin says:

    The Astronomer quoted this line from the Pope’s Chrism Mass homily, disapprovingly: ““…some priests grow dissatisfied, become sad priests, lose heart and become in some sense collectors of ANTIQUES or novelties.”

    If I understand Astronomer’s point, he or she thinks that this indicates the pope’s disrespect for small-t traditions and even big T Tradition, that it indicates the Holy Father represents at least elements of the crazy days of the 1970s.

    I would urge all the combox warriors here to examine their consciences.

    It IS indeed possible to be attached to tradition/Tradition as a museum piece. That’s what was happening with the Traditional Mass among some (by no means all) in the SSPX and among Traditionalists who came back after the indults of 1984 and 1988. I know because I encounter it in my own parish.

    We must guard against this. One of the reasons for Summorum Pontificum is to free the Old Mass to flourish and live and breathe rather than be a museum piece.

    Our enemies believe that only old people trying to turn back the clock to pre-Vatican II golden days care about the traditions/Tradition. The AP story was predicated entirely on that assumption. It’s false, yes, but widespread. Why must we encourage it’s spread???

    Please, please, please don’t deliver more ammunition to those who hate and despise the faith,whether seculars outside or progressives within the Church.

    Don’t respond to Pope Francis with hyperbole and hypercritical museum-piece attitudes.

    And please don’t claim that I am saying no one may criticize a pope. I am begging his critics to be fair in their criticism, to resist the temptation to criticize out of “museum piece” thinking.

    The Chrism Mass sound-byte is an accurate critique of some who do indeed operate as collectors of antiquities, as museum-piecers. I believe that very few priests fit that category and I would have preferred that the Holy Father would have left that particular sentence out or at least included laity in it (I know, Chrism Mass focuses on priests). I at least have far more encountered museum-piecing thinking among lay people than among priests.

    But it does exist and to generalize from legitimate critique of “some” who think this way to the claim that the pope is dismissive of tradition/Tradition is, shall we say, unfair. It’s a nuclear flyswatter sort of argument.

    And that’s the kind of argumentation found repeatedly at Rorate and increasingly on threads on Fr. Z’s Blog.

    Can we not put a sock in it, sit back, and examine our consciences about rash judgment, honesty, false witness and similar sins?

  81. xgenerationcatholic says:

    I guess I can’t help but think that, since Pope Francis is basically saying Canon Law does not matter, why shouldn’t I violate Canon Law and start attending an SSPX chapel where the tradition I know I need is being preserved? Including going to confession to their priests?

    Also, my sister is all excited over Pope Francis, he’s so concerned for the poor, etc. But she still isn’t going to Mass.

    I’m sorry, but I’m feeling really, really scared.

  82. Christopher says:

    ‘Have we entered an age of a new gnosticism, wherein only those who feel a certain way are the true authoritative interpreters?’

    That depends what you mean Father. Do you mean that there is a new age of gnosticism that did not exist prior? Or do you mean that humanity is going through an Age (i.e Age of Reason) that is a new form of Gnosticism?

    Yes there is definetly a form of gnosticism that seems to be present, an exclusivity of knowledge through ‘feelings’, not sure what it is called though, should be called Ps?laph?tik?s (by way of feeling).

    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/definitionlookup?type=begin&q=feeling&target=greek

    God Bless.

  83. Dennis Martin says:

    Can Ignatius’s claims about a pattern in Buenos Airese be corroborated? To me that’s a crucial question. I suspend judgment because I will not make up my mind about something based on anonymous combox claims.

    We need hard, clear evidence. The charges Ignatius makes are very serious. Are they true?

    I do not expect the issue to be clarified on blogs. I want to see some solid research in books or articles by solid researchers. In time, I expect, these will be forthcoming.

    This is an urgent task for Catholic World Report, National Catholic Register, EWTN, Ignatius Press etc. I hope they already have reporters at work on this.

  84. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    xgenerationcatholic wrote: “I’m sorry, but I’m feeling really, really scared.

    X, don’t forget what our holy Father of happy memory, the Blessed John Paul II, so often said, “Be not afraid.”

    We have nothing to fear. God is on His throne. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus, as Doctor of the Church Saint Therese of Lisieux remided us.

    As for what we are free to do or not do, please refer to the above comments on this very thread.

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/03/have-we-entered-an-age-of-a-new-gnosticism/#comment-401764

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/03/have-we-entered-an-age-of-a-new-gnosticism/#comment-401770

  85. Christopher says:

    Dennis:

    ‘I would urge all the combox warriors here to examine their consciences.

    It IS indeed possible to be attached to tradition/Tradition as a museum piece. That’s what was happening with the Traditional Mass among some (by no means all) in the SSPX and among Traditionalists who came back after the indults of 1984 and 1988. I know because I encounter it in my own parish.’

    There is much much more to the Traditional Mass than what you think, it’s not regarded as a Museum but something much more Sacred. As to encountering it in your own Parish, have you actually asked them why? There are Traditionalists who think the Novus Ordo is Protestant, and that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is paralleled to the Last Supper rather than Calvary. There were definetly publications advocating such such as the Paris Catholic Institute.

    God Bless.

  86. jhayes says:

    Pope Francis agrees with Father Z:

    At a lunch with seven priests after the Chrism Mass

    “He said, ‘Open the doors of the Church, and then the people will come in…if you keep the light on in the confessional and are available, then you will see what kind of line there is for confession’…”

    http://en.radiovaticana.va/Articolo.asp?c=678250

  87. donato2 says:

    This unfortunately is only the beginning. Anyone who thinks that Pope Francis will change course in any degree due to this incident is engaging in wishful thinking. He is a sort who sees virtue in breaking rules that he deems to be Pharisaical. If it upsets you, you’re a Pharisee — it’s that simple. Indeed, aside from the focus on the poor and outcasts (an admirable focus), the main emphasis of Pope Francis’s young pontificate has been on leveling traditions and even the papacy itself.

    Ignatius’s post at 8:32 a.m. provides the hermeneutic for understanding Pope Francis and what he has done so far and will continue to do: in matters of liturgy and sensibilities, he is standard issue liberal not all that different than Cardinal Mahoney.

  88. Christopher says:

    Allan. S:

    Every faithful Catholic priest, everyone who venerated Lepanto and all the saints and martyrs who died for Chirst by the hands of enemies of the truth needs to pick up their cross and live daily under the bus, under which they have been thrown.

    Amen.

    God Bless.

  89. xgenerationcatholic says:

    If the pope wants to wash the feet of juvie prisoners, I’d say in and of itself it is a great thing. Simply taking their hands and blessing them would have done just as well. After all, we have daily showers now and we aren’t walking around in sandals in the desert. But could he not have done this outside of the Mass itself?

    Yes, I’m really, really scared.

  90. Nancy D. says:

    Outside The Body of Christ, The Catholic Church, there is no Salvation. Moslems do not recognize The Blessed Trinity. (See Commandments 1 and 2) How can one be Catholic and deny the truth of God’s Commandments? How can one be worshipping The True God, if one is not worshipping The God of our Salvation, Who desires we overcome our disordered inclinations so that we are not led into temptation, but rather sin no more? To say that Moslems and Jews are worshipping the same God as Christians do, when they are not worshiping The Blessed Trinity, is to say that God’s Grace and Mercy are not necessary for our Salvation.

  91. Stu, above, made the point I’ve been making: there was a very easy way to do the good here, without the confusion: wash the feet of whoever, outside of Mass.

    Someone else quoted the aphorism, he who makes careful distinctions, teaches well. So let’s make some careful distinctions here:

    > As noted, this isn’t about the value of evangelical witness or acts of humility–who is really against these?–but questions of law and respect for norms, and the power of example.

    > And, for those who are meltdown, there are a lot of stops on the railroad between, “The pope is everything, no demurral can be permitted” and, “the pope is a heretic” and “it’s all over.” (The latter are not conjectures; there are folks saying precisely these things.)

    Who knows? This may end up working out rather well. As someone said, the pope may take a look at this and say, hmm, that didn’t work out as I hoped. How could I have approached that better?

  92. Lucas Whittaker says:

    [From the original post by Father Z:] “People today can’t follow a linear argument. You get to the end and they conclude, ‘That might be true for you…’.”

    The tyranny of relativism is one of many reasons that charity must be enlightened by truth in order to become an authetic charity as opposed to a void that we attempt to fill with subjective emotions and opinions. “Only in truth does charity shine forth”, and Benedict XVI goes on to point out, “That light [of truth] is both the light of reason and the light of faith, through which the intellect attains to the natural and supernatural truth of charity … adhering to the values of Christianity is not merely useful but essential for building a good society and for true integral human development.” The light of reason and that of faith will take into account every truth; the light of reason being the power to form judgements; the light of faith being what is revealed. Guided by these lights a person takes every apparent truth into account as he goes out of himself for the sake of charity.

    If the first and so far only strength of the current papacy is to go out after the lost sheep in charity, then the recent break with liturgical law that has fed a media storm is a signpost pointing to a false charity that leaves no place for God in the world. “A Christianity of charity without truth would be more or less interchangeable with a pool of good sentiments”. This appears to be the fundamental problem with the misplaced foot washing rubric by Pope Francis on Holy Thursday: it blurrs the lines of charity and erodes–almost in the same fashion as the recent landslide on scenic Whidbey Island–the undertaking of orthodox liturgy, which provides a vertical connection with God for the community of the faithful for the sake of worship and growth in authentic charity. I agree with everybody here who views these recent events as a serious problem. This is a sad day for the faithful. It will be interesting to see if Pope Francis will make up for this oversight and provide then a substantive charity that builds a community where participating together with others becomes the norm is realized. Participating together with others is a hallmark of charity. In the current situation individualism carries with it an implied denial and rejection of participation, because for the individual “others” are seen as a source of limitation. I hope that Pope Francis will become a bridge builder between men so that we can all participate in the charity of truth for the common good and thereby lay the foundations for future generations to have this same freedom to participate in the truth of charity.

    “Man’s earthly activity, when inspired and sustained by charity, contributes to the building of the universal city of God, which is the goal of the history of the human family. In an increasingly globalized society, the common good and the effort to obtain it cannot fail to assume the dimensions of the whole human family, that is to say, the community of peoples and nations, in such a way as to shape the earthly city in unity and peace, rendering it to some degree an anticipation and a prefiguration of the undivided city of God.”

  93. Ignatius says:

    To Dennis Martin: what I say is true. You may want to believe it or not. Many of the people that have witnessed Card. Bergoglio’s attitudes will not talk, since they are part of the clergy of the archdiocese. Card. Bergioglio was a very cunning politician. He rarely does things that may reflect bad on him in the open.

    I am simply a layman with no particular axe to grind, but who suffers heterodox predication, awful liturgy and watces how poorly formed are the few seminarians in the Archdiocese (here, there is no “springtime”).

    If you want references, the only written work I know about the issue is “La Iglesia Traicionada” by Antonio Caponneto. Mr. Caponneto is sometimes over the top in his criticism and his political positions are questionable, but the facts he has documented regarding Card. Bergoglio are true and everybody knows them here. Many orthodox priests have left Buenos Aires for dioceses of the provinces, due to Card. Bergoglio’s policies. Another telling fact is that the SSPX, as nutty as it is, has attracted a lot of people due to Card. Bergoglio policies here.

    Many people in the wider church knew what was going on here, people -clergymen- that have visited the archdiocese. I could give names. It is no secret what was going on here. But since we are in the bottom of the world, nobody really cared. We had to endure people like Mr. Weigel trumpeting how wonderful Card. Bergoglio was just because he was charmed by him in an interview for his book and because the Aparecida document was good. Many people contributed to the hype without really knowing what they were talking about.

    Best regards,

  94. Ana says:

    I think part of the problem, in certain circles, is that the vitriol started strong and hard. The level of despair and detraction was and still is high. Some of are not responding so much to criticisms of how things are being done, but the despair, detraction, and vitriol that comes with most criticisms. Many understand people are nervous, in both “quarters” of the Church, but the nastiness and hysterics are wearisome. The idea of letting things unfold and see what happens without moving into complete histrionics, e.g. implying our Holy Father is going to personally destroy the Church. I’m one of those that happen to appreciate and enjoy both the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms and I prefer chant and organ music so I understand fully the appreciation of the “High Mass;” however, I am deeply concerned that the trappings are becoming our primary focus given the instantaneous frothing at the mouth and attacks that began the night of Pope Francis’ election. Obviously he is very specific about when he is acting as Pope and when he is acting as the Bishop of Rome, as shown by when he will wear the fisherman’s ring, and desires a simple approach to the Mass – a digression here would be that in some way he is restoring the “pontifical low Mass” or at least making the world aware that the Pope can and does celebrate Mass regularly without the pomp and circumstance of more “solemn occasions.” His desire to do this does not remove the respect we owe him as Pope even when we disagree with what his words or actions. In fact, if we take time to watch and listen without responding, but simply taking it in and keeping our thoughts to ourselves for an extended period time we might be capable of more rational discourse and able to figure out what he is teaching us. Most of what we’re experiencing right now is due to our attachment to instantaneous gratification through the media and modern forms of communication. I think everyone is bringing their own agenda to the table instead of seeing where things go from here and what actually happens – not their personal fears of what will happen. Often when a particular trait rubs us the wrong way it is due to the fact that is an area where we need improvement. I think it is time we take the plank out of own eye instead of focusing on the speck in those around us.

  95. robkphd says:

    I think Pope Francis has forgotten what some of the VII documents say (e.g., Gaudiem et Spes, or the decree on Ecumenism), that we must have our own house in order to be effective in going out into the world. I think our house is not in order. I hope that he addresses this, or his efforts will be undermined. Fr. Z, you are right (I think) in assessing what he is doing, but he risks much if he does not clarify such issues. Confusion is not from God, and I pray he sees that while being clear in one way, our Pope is causing confusion in another way.

  96. Rob22 says:

    The Cardinals surely knew Pope Francis/s baxkground. I t was no secret. He is progressive and has been that way for a long time.

    Yet these are the Cardinals appointed by JP2 and Benedict. These men clearly want the church to go in a diiferent directions.

    I read that SPPX chapels had larger crowds than normal on Good Friday. So did the Catholic church near me. A large contingent of Episcopals from a nearby church were there. Some former Catholics thinking of returning now.

    I don’t understand the fear if you believe the doctrine that the Holy Spirit protects the Pope from teaching error.

    Will there be female deacons allowed during his papacy? Probably and, if so, The Spirit would be protecting the Pope on that decision.

  97. TNCath says:

    Sigh…I think we have a lot of extremely complicated issues going on here:

    1. Our Holy Father’s zeal for serving the poor and reaching out to prisoners is admirable. His concern for the spiritual welfare of the “lost sheep” is certainly a big part of his position as the Servant of the Servants of God. Nonetheless, that zeal must be exercised in light of both canon and liturgical law. Empowered with his new position, the Holy Father must realize that every single thing he does is under constant scrutiny, and it’s the little things, such as not wearing the mozzetta, wearing black shoes, foregoing the gold pectoral cross, not singing, his choice in vesture, choosing not to live in the Apostolic Palace, whimsically changing the schedule (especially in Holy Week) by appearing impromptu whenever and wherever he pleases, and now violating liturgical laws have a profound effect on the Church and the world as a whole. Whether they want to admit it or not, people crave consistency and structure in their institutions, especially in the Catholic Church, which is not only holds the Deposit of Faith but is also the custodian of Western civilization. Perhaps Pope Francis has not been pope long enough to realize the gravity of what he may seem as unimportant deviations all in favor of “reaching out” and “identifying with” the poor.

    2. The Holy Father’s “ingrained”background as a Jesuit, where rules and regulations seem to be constantly up for scrutiny and interpretation, as well as his seeming disinterest in liturgy (i.e. “lost as a Jesuit in Holy Week”) seem to influence his decisions. I could not help but think of the term “Jesuitical” when reading Fr. Lombardi’s response about Pope Francis’ decision to wash the feet of the two women on Holy Thursday.

    3. At the same time, it seems the faithful are getting mixed messages here. While this may not be the case at all, Pope Francis’ actions seem to suggest a repudiation of all that Pope Benedict was trying to implement. At least this is the way many people (especially the press) interpret it. Additionally, Pope Francis’ disregard for liturgical and ceremonial directives and traditions also suggest to the people that he is also soft on doctrine and moral teachings. This precedent creates a dangerous slippery slope. While Pope Francis may appeal to the popular culture right now as a “breath of fresh air,” etc., in time, if they don’t eventually sell their souls to their supporters, populists are often turned against when they eventually start telling their people things they don’t want to hear. I submit this is going to happen soon enough.

    4. While the Holy Father may initiate these innovations and exceptions, canon law and liturgical law remain in force. While the Pope is the Supreme Pastor of the Church, he is not (as Richard Nixon found out as President) above the law. He may be accountable to no one but God alone, he still has people in place to enforce and interpret directives for him, whom he seems to be undermining. I would be interested in knowing what Cardinals Burke and Canizares are thinking. I am also wondering if, in light of these recent developments, they will continue in their positions.

    Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco.

  98. Hibernian Faitfhful says:

    Mark Shea and Michael Sean Winters are Catholic who knew? We’re they baptized by Fr. Reeves? Just kidding I pray for them and I hope they pray for me

  99. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Tradster says:

    “Also, there were at least 50% more people attending yesterday afternoon’s Good Friday liturgy in our local SSPX chapel than last year. Coincidence?”

    I sent an email to friends on Thursday afternoon, Tradster, if there was a SSPX chapel near me I would have assited at that Holy Thursday Sacrifice of the Mass. (However, thank the Lord the two nearest N.O. Masses have no foot washing whatsoever) So, no, I do not believe this is a coincidence.

    Fr. Z says:

    “Liberals are going to claim that because of what Francis did, they can do whatever they wish. Indeed, they will claim that others who uphold the clearly written law are wrong to up hold the law.”

    Bingo! And many have been doing this *before* Pope Francis’ infamous footwashing incident, have they not?

    It gives every liturgically dissenting cleric license to follow *their own rubrics*, as they have been doing, and to Purgatory with the written ones. (This, despite what the (now) meaningless(?) citation from “Sacrosanctum Concilium” 22.1-3 says)

    I will keep praying.

    MSM

  100. avecrux says:

    Dr. Peter’s comments are important.

    I grew up in Southern California in the 70′s-80′s. All of my siblings have left the Church – and there is an element of borderline PTSD when I recall the liturgical abuses I endured in my youth. I still recall my brothers saying that the Mass was like a “Monty Python sketch”. Point being – the law is essential in preserving the Faith. It provides a norm.

    Let’s look at one example. I was chaperoning a high school “grad nite” which has Mass at the end. The intent was – provide a Mass for the kids at the end since they probably won’t go when they get home because they’ll be tired. When it was time to receive the Eucharist, a few parents came forward to serve as EMHCs. Hosts were distributed to the EMHC on paper plates and they walked around the gym floor to the students lying on the floor (they were tired, you see) and handed them the Eucharist off of the paper plates.

    Pastoral necessity?

    I think handling the Eucharist so casually directly undermines the Faith. While I see arguments on both sides regarding Pope Francis’ actions on Holy Thursday (Dr. Peter’s is open to changing the law) – in other words, his actions need not be viewed as the equivalent of distributing the Eucharist from paper plates to students lying on the floor – the question must be asked: if I object to this “grad nite” incident, citing law – what do I say when the Priest cites “pastoral necessity”?

    I do think that when you haven’t lived through insane levels of liturgical abuse (how about a song tracing the migration of whales instead of the genealogy of Christ for Midnight Mass… etc…) you may not grasp how detrimental this stuff can be to the Faith. It just makes it seem like a joke. In that sense, we fly to the law as a refuge. St. Thomas More in “A Man for All Seasons” gives an extraordinary defense of the need for laws. And while “innovations” can be acts of goodness in a sense (washing the feet of an incarcerated youth is, to me, very different from washing the feet of the polished-toe-nailed, well coiffed, Starbucks drinking attractive professional woman who has a problem with male leadership….) – the law protects us from those who do not share that sense of goodness. And they’re out there!

  101. mamajen says:

    I think Father Z, Dr. Peters, and many others who have not agreed with the pope in some instances but have been measured in their responses, are doing a good thing. For the rest, I ask: What constructive, holy thing are you hoping to accomplish with your extreme and dire declarations? If you managed to make all Catholics agree with you that we have a horrible, dangerous pope who is going to wreck everything, what have you achieved? What are we to do with that information? Feel justified in joining the SSPX (seems to be the thing in some places I’ve read)? Get some personal satisfaction from feeling like a victim? Feel pride when he does things wrong and makes us right? Feel comfortable in knowing the future instead of waiting to see what God has in store? What?

    If I am trying to minimize anything, it’s the hysteria that threatens to turn souls away from God. We can’t control what the pope does. We can control and need to control how we react to what the pope does.

  102. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Will there be female deacons allowed during his papacy? Probably and, if so, The Spirit would be protecting the Pope on that decision.

    Only when he teaches, and says he is teaching, as head of the Church on matters of faith or morals does God protect the Pope from error.

    If you stopped the Pope on the street and asked him if he knew the way to the nearest bus station, he might steer you wrong, even though he was trying his best to give the correct directions. So too, if he were to attempt to ordain female deacons: the ceremony might be carried out. But the ordination would not take, any more than would the “matrimony” of two men or two women.

  103. The Drifter says:

    The Holy Father reminds me what Lorenzo de’ Medici once said of Girolamo Savonarola: “This fox has a barren tail” (i.e. a fox who has left the fur of his tail in a trap in order to get loose, has learnt to avoid further traps). Pope Francis is, in a positive sense, a fox – make no mistake – and I have the impression he is playing an aggressive game of chess by using gambits. Remember how lefties simply adored Paul VI; until he issued “Humanae Vitae”, of course: then the hosanna quickly became a crucifige. Paul VI’s aloofness played into his adversaries’ hands, a lesson, one may believe, not lost on Pope Francis. By his actions, dismaying as the may appear on the surface, he is in reality sacrificing less important pieces, in order to strengthen his main doctrinal attack , once he has forced the enemy into a corner. We should not grieve about losing a pawn or two – or even a bishop (no pun intended) – , if this means eventually creaming our opponents.

  104. Robbie says:

    I wanted to add a few thoughts after reading through the comments. First, I agree with whomever wrote the net result of Francis’ trip to the prison is he’s taken the focus off Holy Week and placed it squarely on himself. I know that wasn’t his intention, but that’s what he’s done. Rather than discuss Good Friday, the AP ran a story saying Traditionalists had all but had it with Francis. Not the best Holy Week message, right?

    Second, one of the first comments in this thread suggested Cardinals Burke, Ouellet, and even Benedict might hopefully help Francis realize he can’t perform actions that will cause such concern and be interpreted as violating canon law. I suspect all three weren’t thrilled by the action, but I doubt Francis will be swayed. Everything I’ve read is, while humble in many ways, he’s also strong willed.

    Third, I hope Francis doesn’t become a “style” Pope. By that I mean, I hope we don’t enter a phase where each new Pope comes to the Vatican to implement his vision of what the religion should be. In other words, I don’t want to see the Papacy become the White house where a Bush brings his vision for a few year, but then comes Obama and things move in a completely different direction. Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in a book once that’s exactly what the Papacy is NOT and shouldn’t be.

    The Church has seen a lot of turmoil since Vatican II and I don’t think the answer is another period of rapid change. Hopefully, things will quiet down.

  105. adl says:

    I only just heard of this controversy. I am so disheartened. I was unaware of the rubrics of this foot washing ritual. In my parish they’ve done men and women both for years so it didn’t register on my radar screen. This year I attended Holy Thursday at a chapel devoted to Eucharistic Adoration and there was no foot washing at all, Deo Gratias! But reading this I can see where people are disturbed. I don’t know what to say except pray for the Holy Father and pray for ourselves that we don’t lose our way. I want to hope for the best and believe the best about Pope Francis. I am torn. I love the traditional Mass although it is unavailable to me. I have long hoped and prayed for a universal return to that magnificent Divine Liturgy. I have watched family members fall away from the faith one by one, and my husband who had been a convert rail against the lack of charity among traditionalists. Truly some traditionalists make our job a lot harder. I don’t know the answer. I know intercessory prayer is what I can do, what I am called to do, what I must do. I am surrounded by unbelief, family, friends etc. Hardened hearts do not want to hear even the most basic message of Christ, so these controversies don’t even make it to first base in my circle. Those of you who dwell among devout Catholic believers, please thank God for it every day. Some of us are in the wasteland and the simplest message–God’s mercy and love–are the only tools we have.

  106. muckemdanno says:

    In regards to fulfilling the liturgy, isn’t the pope just the same as any other priest? He has the obligation ‘to say the black and do the red’, Father Z. (No?) [I think he is, at least morally and from the view of prudence. Unless he wants chaos to result.]

    In any case, this is just precious coming from Fr Lombardi…”The Holy Father has not violated the law, he has disregarded it”

    I guess we are all Jesuits now…St. Ignatius, pray for us.

  107. thomas tucker says:

    If Cardinal Bergoglio was a “liberal”, how is it that he ended up being elected Pope by a college filled with “conservatives”?

  108. oldCatholigirl says:

    I think the short answer to Father Z is “Yes”. Many are now allergic to logic.
    Thanks to Stu, Bro. Tom Ford, Surburbanshee, and Evovae on another thread for saying a lot of what I have been thinking. As for subtly “correcting” our Holy Father, forget it. If he is someone who loves Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, as well as in the poor; and the Blessed Mother, and the truths of the Faith–and I see no reason to doubt that he does–we’ll all get by (with the help of God and six policeman, as my Irish grandmother used to say). His particular circumstances may not have led him to see how the poor are served by the stability of positive law, as well as by observance of the Commandments (all 10 and the big 2). Nor may he realize that the beauty and transcendence and foretaste of eternal order in any serious, rubrical Liturgy –and especially in the TLM–feed the souls/minds of the poor.
    It looks to me like he wants to offer us concrete examples that the one who has the most power sacrifices and suffers the most (a good lesson for all those feminists out there) and that we serve Christ in the least of our brethren. I would have preferred him to do it outside of Mass–especially since all the attendees could not receive Communion. (Pope Benedict XVI did indeed visit prisons. And I remember Cardinal O’Connor visiting AIDS patients.)
    Suggestion for an amended Mandatum: All 12 people must be poor or suffering in some way. If women must be included, make them “bag ladies” rather than “Church ladies”. :)

  109. JabbaPapa says:

    I think this is a storm in a teacup.

    Not only has the exact discipline governing the washing of the feet changed about half a dozen times since about 1600, which tends to show that this discipline is hardly graven in stone in the first place, but there is no reason to believe that these disciplines are infallible and unchangeable.

    I can understand some people’s issues with the message that has been sent out ; but as this is a question of neither Law, nor Faith, nor Morals, nor Dogma — it is silly to present it as something that is set in stone for all eternity.

    The Pope’s Sovereign freedom to carry out this ritual in the manner that he chose cannot be denied. His potential future instructions to the other Bishops on this question cannot be legitimately disobeyed by any Catholic.

  110. Ana says:

    Sorry about the incomprehensive nature of my last post. Computer went wonky on me. So, I’m going to try to sum up what I was attempting to say earlier. There are some jumping to Pope Francis’ defense (I spoke of this in my earlier comment) out of a reaction to the ongoing hostility that has been apparent since his election. I’m not sure that what our Holy Father did can be equated to Gnosticism in any way shape or form. He is the supreme interpreter of Church law now and can dispense himself anytime he wants to just as other Bishops have been given dispensations in this regard. – The wisdom of dispensations (his own or others) is another topic, but it does not somehow imply he is disregarding the law and makes critique of the washing of women’s feet difficult to judge since we do not have a way to know which dioceses were granted this dispensation. – Hence, as Fr. Lombardi’s recent comments show consideration was given to this particular situation and Pope Francis decided the best recourse was to was the feet of women and non-Christians which makes any attachment to the priesthood remote or at least limited only to his actions as a priest serving others.

    Personally, I’m not worried about what the “liberals” think this means as they find ways to spin almost anything to their liking; I am worried about what it actually means and it is not a backdoor to female priests. I figure after Easter, more in-depth teaching will begin – probably in the written form as it seems like Pope Francis does not want lengthy Masses centered around him or at least very deep nuggets during his public discourses – and the “liberals” are going to begin frothing at the mouth when they see their idea of “social justice” does not match with the teachings of our Holy Father.

  111. catholicmidwest says:

    Thomas Tucker, you said, “If Cardinal Bergoglio was a “liberal”, how is it that he ended up being elected Pope by a college filled with “conservatives”?”

    Because liberal and conservative don’t matter anymore, and the cardinals know that, even if it hasn’t filtered down to the pews yet.

  112. Traductora says:

    I’m on the very, very Catholic island of Malta right now – and they love Pope Francis and think he is going to bring many people into the Church and will make everything different (in a good sense). They celebrate the Novus Ordo here, but mass attendance is high and the masses and other Holy Week services I have attended here have been very well and reverently celebrated. Are they my favorite? No, I think the form leaves much to be desired, but it is what it is, and the music and preaching have both been orthodox and good (I don’t speak Maltese, but the little preaching I hear or read in English or Italian has been good, and the local priests are very mission oriented, with a “mission to tourists” that I wish we had in my tourist town).

    What people are really worried about here onMalta is that the Labour Party just won the recent elections, and they are afraid this is going to be bad for the Church. Some things, such as official participation in the Holy Week processions, which all of the Maltese love, have already been cancelled, and they are afraid that the government is going to become an enemy of their way of life. I’m not sure how this government got elected – Malta has many foreign EU residents, and in most EU countries, resident EU foreigners can vote in their elections, so that may have has something to do with it.

    But believe me, when push comes to shove, it’s not mozzettas and male-only Holy Thursday services that are going to convince people and carry the day. Let’s get a little perspective here. I think Pope Benedict had it, and I think Pope Francis has it in abundance.

  113. chantgirl says:

    Well, at least in America, this way of thinking (my feelings trump logic) permeates not just our Catholic thought, but our political thought as well. Those who uphold the Constitution, as well as the natural law, are accused of being more interested in the letter of the law than on what’s fair or compassionate. Feelings are trumping thought. Unfortunately, our feelings can lead to some very bad decisions that end up hurting people. Ask anyone who has been on the giving or receiving end of adultery.

    People who are concerned about the fallout of the Pope appearing to ignore the law are not upset because we worship laws, but because the law is there for a reason, to protect people, to protect order. Disorder and chaos is not of God.

    While I give the Pope the benefit of the doubt as to his motivation for ignoring the law, I can openly criticize the results of the action, hopefully in a respectful manner. Again, those who think that we need to use the Liturgy to perform some out ward act of charity do not understand that the Mass is the ultimate act of charity as it is prayer that sustains the world. The washing of feet is a symbol that does not resonate with modern culture anyway. It does have a very specific meaning for ordained men, but how many of us have ever had our feet washed by someone, let alone need or want someone to wash our feet? There are real acts of charity that need to be performed, like clothing the naked and caring for the sick. We can and should do them, in the outside world, after we have received strength from the sacraments. We also have the example of the Apostles, who realized that they needed help with performing charity, and delegated much of it to deacons so that they could carry out their primary task efficiently. Everything in its’ time and place!

  114. Dr. K says:

    Fr. Lombardi: “Here, the rite was for a small, unique community made up also of women,” Lombardi wrote in an email. “Excluding the girls would have been inopportune in light of the simple aim of communicating a message of love to all, in a group that certainly didn’t include experts on liturgical rules.”

    This explanation will be utilized by every progressive priest in the world to justify unisex foot washing in his parish on Holy Thursday. As long as there is one woman in the community, this excuse can be given.

  115. SegoLily says:

    What I’d like to see next year is Pope Francis wash the feet of abortion clinic workers and doctors, who are truly impoverished.

  116. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    “The Pope’s Sovereign freedom to carry out this ritual in the manner that he chose cannot be denied. His potential future instructions to the other Bishops on this question cannot be legitimately disobeyed by any Catholic.”

    That understanding of the role of the pope as absolute monarch (like Ramses in The Ten Commandmnets , his word is law: “so let it be written; so let it be done”) is not the authentic understanding of the Petrine ministry, nor does the Pope have the power to make it so.

    The faithful have a right to a supreme pontiff who faithfully observes the law of the Church. And if that right is abrogated, they have a right to have something to say about it, always, of course, with due reason and discretion. Hyperbole and abuse are, of course, out of order.

  117. eben says:

    I found these articles to be helpful in examining Fr. Z’s post.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnosticism
    and: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irenaeus

    These appear to be serious matters.

  118. Priam1184 says:

    Whatever our Holy Father does or does not do no one should use that as an excuse to become a schismatic and join SSPX. The job of the faithful Catholic, I suppose, is simply to hold on until the end even though its really, really hard sometimes. Don’t sacrifice your own precious once in the history of the world created soul on the altar of liturgical pride. There are still priests and parishes out there who do things right and as best they can even if it isn’t all in Latin. Find one and pray for all of the rest who are leading their flock into dark places.

  119. Supertradmum says:

    One of the things overlooked by the media and some Catholics in all of this is that Holy Thursday is the great celebration of the Institution of the Priesthood. I love this aspect of the Mass. However, by taking the Mass away from priests, this aspect was not emphasized in Rome. AND, many people here think that this is a sign of things to come-women priests-as Christ instituted the priesthood at the Last Supper and washed the feet of his new priests, and said do likewise.

    Symbolic actions are hard to fight with words and Scripture and the tradition of the Church, as I have discovered. Most Catholics in the pew will be confused by this, at least here and in Ireland. I am so worn out trying to explain things this week.

  120. Priam1184 says:

    And for the record: my argument with what the Pope did is not about whether women get their feet washed or not. They could have twelve teenage girls up there including six Hindus, three atheists, two Buddhists, and a Muslim for all I care. After all we are called to serve unbelievers as much, if not more than believers are we not? My grave concern is how the evil forces that have long taken root and are now well established will take advantage of it to continue down their warpath of destruction of church unity through the promotion of ‘diversity.’ Diversity is a nice word for division, and division among the people of God is evil as has been shown time and again through the history of the world. I understand where the Holy Father is coming from and I have great respect for him and for the aspect of the Gospel that requires us to serve the least of our brothers though I would just say that these are evil times and so much that could and should be good and right is easily and often twisted to the service of the Enemy.

  121. Traductora says:

    And while I’m at it, let me say that what makes place super Catholic and does the most outreach is not necessarily the liturgy: it’s the Catholic culture with its popular devotions, religious imagery, and year structured around the Church calendar. These are all things that lay people can bring back.

    They have a wonderful tradition of doirama-sized Passion scenes here on Malta, and I have visited nearly 20 wirjieh (exhibitions) set up by individuals and groups. They are similar to the Spanish Belen or huge Nativity Scene except that they focus on the Passion. I have been to processions (often with Fanciscan clergy participating) where the entire town, down to adorable 4 year olds walking along holding instruments of the Passion, is out in the street for hours watching or playing in the bands or carrying the floats.

    Catholic culture does not happen only in the church and is not a clerical function. It doesn’t require us to dress strangely (modesty is not a long droopy denim skirt on an adult woman who should be dressing to impress her husband) and it doesn’t require us to sit around scrutinizing liturgical matters. Those of us who have gifts – musical, artistic or theatrical – should do what we can with them, and we’ve got to take our faith back to the streets again. Don’t worry about the rite!

    Start immediately to see if your priest will lead a Corpus procession (and many Novus Ordo priests, especially Hispanics, will), get the little girls out with the rose petals, a band to lead it, little boys with incense, the Knights with their swords…well, you get the idea. And have some literature ready to hand out to the tourists or puzzled passers-by. It’s up to all of us; Catholic culture isn’t just what happens in church.

  122. Cantor says:

    But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the man, but finding that he was a Jew said, “Yea, that I could assist thee, but it is against The Law. Let me go forth to Jerusalem to appeal The Law and, when it is changed, come back and help.”

  123. norancor says:

    I find it almost disheartening how certain Catholics here make every fellow Catholics who defends traditional practices and norms, or question this practice or that (no matter how strong or mild) into a pharisee who serves no constructive purpose, but only “tears down.” It is a sad state of affairs when the messenger is shot for having delivered the message, and the Catholic that perseveres in traditional belief and practice is disobedient, Pharisaical, and some sort of museum piece collector.

    Is this what Catholicism has devolved to? Are we so anesthetized that we cannot discern black from white? O Lord, have mercy on us and dispel the haziness of mind in these times of such unnerving disorientation.

  124. norancor says:

    Cantor, this isn’t charity along the roadside. This is a mandate from Christ performed on His followers. I don’t see it as an apt analogy to use the Gospel to derogate the Gospel.

  125. jofma says:

    I think Pope Francis is practicing the “dictatorship of humility”. I mean he is so “humble” that he disregards traditions and practices of the church. All of you who say maybe he doesn’t realize what he is doing are rather naive in my opinion. He knows perfectly well what he is doing, he’s not stupid. JPII, Benedict and I guess Christ can take a lesson from our humble pope. He is almost shouting out at all of us…see how humble I am. I had to get that out.
    Now I admit I have a problem with pride. It is a sin I work on constantly. So I know it when I see it, but in all humility I certainly can be wrong. To me, keeping the law and the traditions instead of doing what you want would be the very definition of humility in this case. Doing what you want in direct contradiction to law and tradition is the very definition of pride. Being a servant of the Church and tradition is true humility. Putting your beliefs above the church is saying you know more then it. That sounds like a definition of Protestantism. With God’s help, I still believe that “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church”. I will pray for Pope Francis and the Church. I won’t leave like the SSPX, who were given a 10 year opportunity to return and didn’t. I won’t leave like the Eastern Orthodox either, who recently are rethinking the rule on contraception. I will stay with the Church and with the Pope in matters of faith and morals. I will believe that as Christ said, “the gates of hell will not prevail against it” is true. No matter what the SSPX and the Eastern Orthodox say, they don’t believe this and I think their pride or maybe a lack of faith is the reason, because this does put it to the test. It takes a lot of faith and humility to stay and to pray. At one time the whole world was Arian and St Athanasius saved it. Now the world adhers to Modernism, we need a St Athanasius, from within the church to save it again.

  126. netokor says:

    I’m no intellectual. But when this Bishop (of Rome) deliberately chooses to disregard a special tradition of the Church on a special day, he empowers liturgical abusers. I’ve lived practically all my life under this abuse. Pardon my directness, but I’m sick of it. Benedict brought hope and solace for a few wonderful years. Call me a Pharisee, hysterical. I’m just a man living in a world where gay “marriage” is soon to be the law of the land, where abortion and contraception are rampant, where the feminists rage against the unjust patriarchal Church, and where our new Pope is teaching that we can do our own thing. As has been suggested, we must do everything possible to support our Traditional Latin Mass communities. This Mass gives many of us the strength to cope with this diabolical world and I believe is a powerful tool of evangelization. Go bless everyone.

  127. Traductora says:

    Supertradmum, while Holy Thursday has to do with the institution of the priesthood, the foot washing does not, and is simply a lesson in humility and kindness. It was originally done only by the bishop to priests, and the once it spread out to parish use after Vatican II, then it was done by priests to laypeople. So it doesn’t mean that the person having their feet washed is future priest material!

    There’s no reason it shouldn’t involve females. I agree with an earlier poster who said it shouldn’t just be “church ladies,” though, that is, the prim and proper of the middle class Novus Ordo parish. But just imagine if Pope Francis had disinvited the girls in that prison – they were already down and out, how would they have felt then? Maybe it should always be outside of the church now, and maybe the laypeople should go along ready to help whatever group is visited. An old age home? Then maybe parishioners will start visiting them or at least rise up when Obama declares the elderly to be expendable.

  128. Therese says:

    OrthodoxChick has a great suggestion: support your local TLM parish, even if it is too far away for you to attend. Donate regularly to ensure it has everything necessary to celebrate Holy Mass with dignity.

    There is no such thing as bad publicity; the more we highlight the abuses, the more others are encouraged to do the same and worse. We ought to shed light instead on parishes that offer Masses faithful to the norms and whose priests reflect loving obedience to Holy Mother Church.

  129. Dennis Martin says:

    Christopher, I well know that there is more in the Traditional Mass than museum-piecers think. You attributed to me the attitude I was criticizing. I wish to underscore that I think museum-piecism is quite rare. But it does exist. Fr. Cantalmessa was not wrong to describe it but wrong to imply it is widespread, if indeed that was his intention.

    I am opposed to museum-piecing because it undercuts those (the majority) who treat the Extraordinary Form as a living, breathing reality, not a museum piece. If everyone did that, the target we present to our critics would be much, much smaller.

  130. Jeannie_C says:

    Nancy D, your statement that outside of the Catholic Church there is no salvation is incorrect. Read the CCC, 811 – 848. Jews, Muslims, those born and raised in schismatic protestant communions all have a place in God’s plan of salvation according to the official teachings of the Catholic Church. While it is our duty to promote the original true faith, let’s leave Judgment Day to the Almighty.

    As for the washing of women’s feet, I declined to participate, informing my priest that only my husband handles my body. I felt the foot washing was an entirely different action than shaking hands after Mass and was not comfortable with it. As for it being a re-enactment of what Jesus did with his Apostles, then let the priest find 12 single men rather than married.

  131. Dennis Martin says:

    Robbie at 10:28

    I predicated my hope that senior prelates might persuade on a simple, dare I say, humble, adjective: Since Pope Francis is a humble man. . . .

    A word to the wise sufficeth.

  132. Dennis Martin says:

    Oh, and let me reiterate one other thing. When I said I hope that the Holy Father might be persuaded I did NOT mean persuaded to wear the mozetta and follow the rubrics excruciatingly accurately.

    My comment related to the confusion sown by a well-intentioned choice about a rubric that, as some have pointed out, has been interpreted variously. I accept Dr. Peter’s and Fr. Z’s insistence that viri cannot mean female. But I was more centrally taking Dr. Peters’s point about either changing the rubric (change viri to homines) or making a public clarification that acknowledged the confusion caused by the action.

    THat’s the persuasion I’m interested in. I do not expect the Holy Father to become a rubricist. I do believe that his higher obligation is, along the lines of Gregory I’s Pastoral Rule, to use discernment and wisdom and prudence with regard for all segments of the Catholic Church, to the best of his fallible ability.

    To those who will only be satisfied if he turns into a clone of themselves, I say, cut it out.

  133. Dennis Martin says:

    Norancor wrote:
    “how certain Catholics here make every fellow Catholics who defends traditional practices and norms, or question this practice or that (no matter how strong or mild) into a pharisee who serves no constructive purpose, but only “tears down.” ”

    Can you step back enough to see how hyperbolic and strawmanish this is? Those of us criticizing “traditionalists” (I am a Traditiona list too) have not said that all those who defend traditional practices are pharisees. Don’t use “all” when you mean “some.” It undermines your point. Don’t write “no matter how strong or mild” when you mean “strong.”

    Some of us believe that some of those critical of Francis have used hyperbolic, not mild, language and are excessively (not mildly) focused on rubrics. We have not criticized all who defend traditions and Tradition because that would be to criticize ourselves, who also defend tradition and Traditions.

    Can you see that if we are criticizing all who defend tradition but, of course not criticizing ourselves, that logically you are saying that we are not defending tradition, only those we disagree with are doing so?

    I’m sure you did not intend to, but what you wrote is a very good example of using unmeasured, exaggerated language to make what could be a valid criticism.

  134. Fr Jackson says:

    Wow. Great post, Father!

  135. Christopher says:

    Dennis Martin says:

    ‘[b]You attributed to me the attitude I was criticizing.[/b] I wish to underscore that I think museum-piecism is quite rare. [b]But it does exist.[/b]‘

    No attribution to you of anything. It was mainly in response to something you wrote:

    ‘That’s what was happening with the Traditional Mass among some (by no means all) in the SSPX and among Traditionalists who came back after the indults of 1984 and 1988. [b]I know because I encounter it in my own parish.[/b]’

    Have you asked them? Or is this just an observation? Again, this is because as you will know, in Traditionalist circles, there is refusal to attend any Novus Ordo completely because of what is Protestant elements, and the return after the indults of 1984 and 1988 will have not been of a ‘mueseum-piece’ sort of thinking, but a desire to return what is fully Catholic.

    God Bless.

  136. HyacinthClare says:

    Once there was Henry VIII. Things got awful, very quickly. You went along or you went into hiding or you went to jail. Edward VI was a child and his guardians were zealots, so things got worse. Then… Queen Mary! We’re saved! Only we weren’t. She died and Elizabeth I made things worse than anybody could have imagined. I’m so sad today. I think Benedict was Queen Mary.

  137. mdv206 says:

    A good brother in Ireland said in this thread:

    “I am mindful though that our Lord broke the laws of His day by permitting His disciples to pick grain on the Sabbath, by touching the unclean, by speaking to the Samaritan woman. He was God of course and the Pope is only the Pope.”

    Keeping this in mind, and the fact that some recent great saints lowered their gaze when speaking with women so as not to be tempted, can these two points be addressed?:

    1.) I being a man can attest that priests are men like me and not angels. I am assuming that the Holy Father is a man of great holiness, but not all of us whom he leads by example are. Washing and kissing (young) women’s feet can be a great occasion of sin, no?
    2.) No one seems concerned right now about both the people who received and the manner in which Holy Communion was received in the Holy Thursday Mass at the prison. Can we assume that the chaplain was a liberal and if the proper order of the Mass (rubrics) was delegated to him, then major sacrilege occurred against the Blessed Sacrament? If so, then this is much worse than the washing of the feet. Am I correct?

    Thank you.

  138. HyacinthClare says:

    Referencing above posts, I agree with Supertradmum about the foot washing being part of the purification of Jesus’ new bishops, and I disagree with Traductora that it is “just” a symbol of humility and service. That day Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, not the beggars on the corner outside. We wash their feet … serve them … every day. But we don’t create bishops every day. There is a difference here.

  139. schmenz says:

    I love reading the mental gyrations the ubiquitous Ed Peters goes through to excuse every ill-considered action of a Pope, Bishop or Cardinal (read his ludicrous defence of last year’s Cardinal Wuerl atrocity). Watching him is a kind of a tonic; it keeps me amused amidst all this tragedy.

    The Bitter Fruit Award

  140. Nan says:

    Mamajen, you know that the pope is pope of all Catholic sui juris churches, yes? And that Eastern Catholic churches in most places ordain married men; there’s no issue whatsoever about married men having their feet washed. The issue is including non-Catholics, Muslims and girls; I don’t have any information related to the guys whose feet were washed.

    Jim Dorchak, for me the foundation of the Church has been removed and I’m not convinced that salvation may be found here.

    Nancy D, you’re wrong; Orthodox Christians have Salvation; until the Great Schism of 1054 there was only one church. Our elder brothers in the faith worship the same God; if not, why would God bring Christ to the Jews to fulfill the old laws? The Jews don’t believe that Christ is the Messiah, that’s all. Muslims are another story; they claim that Jesus is a prophet.

  141. HobokenZephyr says:

    It has just about gotten to the point that I read the comments on this blog to get a feel for what the Pope did wrong today. What a wonderful way to celebrate Easter! I’ll see you all again after Divine Mercy Sunday — or is that one not Traditional enough either?

  142. Cantor says:

    norancor -

    It is precisely charity along the roadside. I don’t know the state of the souls of the two imprisoned girls whose feet were washed, nor of those who observed the ceremony. If it moves any of them one iota in the direction of their salvation, it was every bit worth it.

    For those whose vitriol has been stirred up as a result, Christ had another comment, about those who would judge, and splinters, and wooden beams. Matthew 7:1-5.

  143. Katylamb says:

    Shonkin says:
    30 March 2013 at 9:05 am
    “Why do I keep thinking about Pulp Fiction, where the head gangster has one of his hoods thrown off a fourth-story balcony for giving the chief gangster’s wife a foot rub?
    There is a sexual and sensual element to a man handling a woman’s feet, not to mention kissing them. His Holiness should have known better.”

    Wow, so that is sexual is it? So, in effect, my male doctor, the shoe store salesman, the taekwondo teacher, male nurses- they are all behaving in an adulterous manner with me when they handle my feet?
    How about when Jesus allowed a woman to touch his feet and kiss them over and over. Was he approving a sexual act? The pope kisses feet in the way the woman kissed the feet of Jesus. And it was not sexual!
    We are not Muslims. I have never heard of a Catholic rule that men couldn’t touch the feet of women not their wives or daughters when they had a reason for it. The pope had a reason for what he did. Maybe we don’t approve of the reason, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have one.
    Please quit accusing the pope of these things. There is enough rightful criticism without bringing some kind of weird accusation of him behaving sexually.

  144. mamajen says:

    @Nan

    Yes, I’m aware of that, and I have no problem whatsoever with married men having their feet washed. I was attempting to illustrate the hypocrisy of some people who are determined to criticize the pope no matter what he says or does.

  145. Nancy D. says:

    Why not ask the Pope to clarify that which needs clarification, including how someone can be in communion with Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, The Body of Christ, while denying the truth about the personal and relational essence of the human person, created in The Image and Likeness of God, equal in Dignity, while being complementary as male or female, or how the Moslems are actually worshipping The Blessed Trinity?

  146. boxerpaws1952 says:

    Ana begins with what i have come to believe is the crux of the beginning of Pope Francis pontificate.
    I think part of the problem, in certain circles, is that the vitriol started strong and hard. The level of despair and detraction was and still is high. Some of are not responding so much to criticisms of how things are being done, but the despair, detraction, and vitriol that comes with most criticisms. Many understand people are nervous, in both “quarters” of the Church, but the nastiness and hysterics are wearisome. The idea of letting things unfold and see what happens without moving into complete histrionics, e.g. implying our Holy Father is going to personally destroy the Church.
    I haven’t seen it summed up better than that statement. I’ve said it several times that from the first 5 min of the time Our Holy Father was elected he was fly specked.They said he asked for a blessing from the crowd when all he did was ask for a prayer to have GOD bless him. The trouble began brewing from those first 5 min.
    No sooner did he step out on the balcony (and most of us went “who?”)and it was maybe 5-10 min into his Pontificate he was accused of tearing down everything the Pope Emeritus stood for and destroying the Church brick by brick. And now that we do have a very serious issue (that needs resolved)we are into full battle mode the day before Easter.

    To Fr Z’s credit he took a breathe and stepped back in charity to “size up” our new Pope.
    Unfortunately not true of everyone. We also have to know that every time the media gets a few words they take them out of context and play them up as much as possible.
    Then the other voice of reason here-mamajen-wrote, Seems to me that’s exactly how traditionalists justify all the “fanciness”. I did not get the impression at all that Pope Francis was decrying fine trappings, just saying that we need to properly understand the reason for it. I thought it was an excellent homily.”
    Both these comments hit the nail on the head. We have gone into two camps and both camps are right. We are defending our Holy Father because the attacks on him when he was first elected were UNWARRANTED. Of course we were all concerned. ALL of us had questions,concerns,worries,even anxiety. His Holiness Benedict the XVI had just stepped down. It was a shock.IMO no matter who stepped out on that balcony would have been measured up against our Pope Emeritus. Perhaps if someone we knew at least fairly well would have been elected it might have relieved some of the anxiety. Most of us did not have a clue who Our Holy Father was. I went through that Blessed John Paul moment of ” who?” For that reason alone it was enough for most of us to take pause.

    On the other hand there were those who were more like vultures.I don’t mean to be uncharitable to anyone but that’s the best description i can come up with. He didn’t wear this-he asked the people to bless him-he didn’t sing at Mass,on and on. The conclusion: he was tearing down the Church brick by brick. Fast forward.The washing of the feet on Holy Thursday. Now we have a REAL issue and some of the folks got what they were looking for. The reaction of those ppl doesn’t make what Pope Francis did right-nor does our defending Pope Francis make what he did right.
    It comes down to 3 camps. The folks i would call trads and their love of our Church and all that Pope Emeritus did to correct the liturgical abuses. It’s not just the people known as trads. Most of us want those abuses corrected. The camp that came to Pope Francis defense are not all gnostics and liberals(as much as i hate that word). The other camp are those who want the abuses corrected. A lot us saw first hand how much of the clergy and laity USED Vatican II as an excuse to do what they probably would have done anyway.

    This camp may be concerned that some of the ” trappings” mamajen mentioned while they have a great deal of meaning for many people-there are people who often go through the motions of trappings and it becomes just that. Motions. Beautiful but empty. I don’t mean to say everyone. There is always that danger. It doesn’t mean we toss them out the window because of it but i don’t think there’s nothing wrong with saying that’s true either. I started drifting away from the Church when we had the traditional Latin Mass before the changes(and liturgical abuse)started. It had nothing to do with how Mass was celebrated. I didn’t actually step out the door until we were well into the NO. I cannot blame my leaving on the NO either. Our priests never abused the liturgy even in the NO. It was always reverent here. I have no problem with either the NO or Traditional. I prefer to attend the NO but we have always been blessed to have good priests. I am NOT opposed to the Traditional at all in case anyone think i’m attacking it.
    All that aside i think we have a very serious issue here and it MUST be resolved.

    This is where Ana is totally correct in her observations, I think part of the problem, in certain circles, is that the vitriol started strong and hard. The level of despair and detraction was and still is high. Anotherwords, we face 2 problems. The one she mentions and Pope Francis actions on Holy Thur. The 2 are not mutually exclusive.Then you have many of us in this camp that feel yes it is serious. Yes,it must be corrected but we are NOT prepared to go into the camp of the vitriol and despair. I will continue to defend our Holy Father and HOPE upon HOPE that his breaking of Canon Law is soon addressed but i don’t know that would even stop the camp of vitriol and despair. In the meantime the media may start having a field day with it and the New Evangelization might get put on hold. As for Pope Emeritus hopes to bring SSPX back into the fold. Questionable and not because of Pope Francis.Their basic foundation-as i understand it-is that any Pope after Vatican II and/ or John the XXIII was not legit. If that’s the case there is the REAL problem. Schism is a sin against charity.

  147. lmo1968 says:

    Wait, we are talking about a “[T]radition” that has been around for all of nearly 60 years? This is what people are upset about? Upset enough to ruin Holy Week for themselves? (Nobody is forcing you to think about Pope Francis. And most people outside of the tradosphere that I have spoken with are not aware of the controversy.) I read these comments and think where is the love for the Church in all of this? People are throwing around words like “law” and “rubrics” and this and that. The Law never saved anyone. It will not save you, me, or the pope. Behind all of this outcry about what the pope did or did not do, there is a great fear. Love and fear cannot coexist. We were made for Love not the Law. Ask God to help you trust Him.

  148. Lavrans says:

    Perhaps this was a political conclave where appearances seemed to matter more than substance. Based upon the words of Kaspar and Mahoney, that would seem to be the case. Maybe Francis is their cover – a man too weak or not politically-savvy to crack down on them. They can continue their little fiefdoms while he is out front wowing the media and pissing off the trads. Perhaps I am Rongelap, but it seems that this could not be any more perfect for the old liberals in the Vatican.

  149. Evovae says:

    lmo1968: “Wait, we are talking about a “[T]radition” that has been around for all of nearly 60 years? This is what people are upset about?”

    No.

    While there’s plenty of untoward wailing and gnashing of teeth here in the combox, I suggest you re-read Fr. Z’s original post, since he says quite clearly that the central point is not about the Mandatum itself, but rather about the broader implications of the failure to observe what is clear church law.

    NB: This has NOTHING to do with being “saved” by law.

    Rather, it has everything to do with the safeguarding of clear communication and legitimate authority, which are necessary conditions of just governance. Blantant disregard of parts of the law, even when you claim to have “good intentions”, introduces ambiguities and mixed signals that seriously damage the whole body of the law. That is what many people are afraid of, the gradual slide into the subjectivist error of “who cares as long as your heart is in the right place?”. It is a legitimate fear that is both born of a deep love for the church and justified by previous historical abuses.

  150. Dennis Martin says:

    Christopher,

    Why do you assume that I am referring to the NO in my parish? Why do you assume I attend NO? Could it be because I don’t “defend tradition” in exactly the way you think I should, so you assume I’m an “Other,” one of THOSE people who doesn’t live in your world?

    You assume I”m one of THOSE NO people, therefore the people I write about can’t be from among the true defenders of the Tradition because the true Defenders of the TLM wouldn’t go to an NO Mass??

    For the record (which is no secret, since I post under my own name and don’t hide behind a pseudonym), I attend St. John Cantius parish where we have both TLM and NO.

    What a horrid bickering pharisaical (there, I said it) lot the “Defenders of Tradition” have become.

    May God preserve us in the day when we are called to witness to the end. This bickering is very poor preparation for what lies ahead of us.

    Give the Francis-bashing a rest, please.

  151. Evovae says:

    Just a clarifying follow-up:

    I think no one would seriously care about this issue if we could all rest assured that these deviations from the letter would remain confined to minor matters like the Mandatum.

    But they are not. Unless they are checked, they spread. They have in the past, and they will do so now. And eventually “good intentions” are recruited into attacking key elements of the faith precisely because the ground has been prepared incrementally.

    Luke 16:10 “The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.”

  152. PA mom says:

    Instead of letting the liberals own the football and letting them decide and spread that this is all about breaking rules and ordaining women, why not press the point of outreach which is the main meat here?
    If I were somewhere on Holy Thursday and my priest told me to get a group of women because the Pope did, I would find it reasonable to ask, “are you then the Pope?” (or a Bishop, since he is Bishop of Rome, and I think that people WITH AUtHORITY should have authority to break rules if they choose to do so) secondly, are you conducting tonight’s Mass at a joint men and women’s prison?” (location really is most of the message here, getting OUT of the Churches….)
    Liberals AlWAYS come out of these tiffs appearing better because they spin the message to the popular one (empower women!), while conservatives are left moaning, “but the rules say…”
    If this ritual really is about priestly character, then, considering the current state of the Church with less than one whole priest in many parishes and a near complete non existence of young men, only a Bishop should have this option at Holy Thursday Mass. Let him wash his seminarians, and let people from the diocese go there if there must be feet.
    No married men, no women, no regular priests, JUST BISHOPS.

  153. Lavrans says:

    @Dennis Martin: Oh save your lectures. You’re not more Catholic than we just because this doesn’t bother you. It is not a matter of dogma or doctrine. It is a Mass rubric from the 50′s. We hate how he changed it, not because it was some sort of sacred cow for us, but because of the repercussions the actions will have. We can see goofy grey-haired priests using this as license to change a host of more important, and yes even doctrinal, things. Francis did not commit a crime. But his action will be misinterpreted and used by those who seek to undermine Dennis Martin’s faith and mine.

    I love the Pope, but I do not have to like his liturgies. You can if you want, but it doesn’t make you any more Catholic.

  154. oldcanon2257 says:

    muckemdanno says:
    30 March 2013 at 10:31 am

    In any case, this is just precious coming from Fr Lombardi…”The Holy Father has not violated the law, he has disregarded it”

    I guess we are all Jesuits now…St. Ignatius, pray for us.

    It’s truly splitting hair and resorting to legalism, but technically Father Lombardi is probably correct (who knows, he probably consulted the canonists there before making those statements.) Whether it is a “violation” or a “disregard” truly depends on the type of law he deviated from or chose to obey. As Dr. Peters explained above, if it’s divine law, then a violation (because no human can dispense himself from from those). If it’s not, then being the Supreme Legislator of the Church, he certainly has the authority to dispense himself from it (whether it’s prudent to do so is another matter).

    Now let me say upfront that I am NOT in any way, shape or form comparing the person of our Holy Father Pope Francis with the person of David Dinkins, former mayor of New York City.

    However, reading what you wrote in your comment above (… coming from Fr Lombardi… “The Holy Father has not violated the law, he has disregarded it”), I cannot help but be reminded of another interesting quote from another spin doctor. I don’t know how accurate it is, but I read that when inquired about his failure to file/pay income taxes for some years, David Dinkins reportedly said, “I haven’t committed a crime. What I did was fail to comply with the law.” The only difference here is that Pope Francis does have the authority to dispense himself from some laws (again whether it’s wise to exercise that authority at all or how to go about doing so in the most prudent way is another subject altogether).

    I only wish our Jesuit Pope would follow in the footsteps the Saint Ignatius and start vesting himself in something similar to what the great Jesuit saint was vested in to say Mass:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:St_Ignatius_of_Loyola_(1491-1556)_Founder_of_the_Jesuits.jpg

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vision_of_St._Ignatius_of_Loyola.jpg

    We could learn something from the Jesuits: Saint Ignatius considered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass the most powerful weapon in his arsenal. Story has it that when he encountered ecclesiastical entities unfriendly to the society and unwilling to approve the Jesuit constitutions, he didn’t whine/complain but instead ordered his priests to have a lot of Mass said (thousands said for many years). Perhaps traddies worldwide could do the same and have thousands of Mass said for our Holy Father?

  155. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Katylamb wrote, “We are not Muslims. I have never heard of a Catholic rule that men couldn’t touch the feet of women not their wives or daughters when they had a reason for it.

    No, we are not Muslims, . . . nor are we Orthodox, nor Jews, nor Zoroastrians, but traditionally, Catholic celibate men and women observed a code of conduct that included maintaining a respectful distance from members of the opposite sex at all times, of refraining from physical contact apart from a handshake with them, even avoiding prolonged eye contact with them. Part of the reason that our church confessional boxes exist is to make it possible for priests to hear the confessions of females privately, without ever having to be alone in a closed room with any of them.

    Toward the end of his life, Sister Clare begged of Saint Francis that he would take a meal with her. But Francis did not wish to do so. He felt that all unnecessary contact between religious of the opposite sex was to be avoided. And he felt this way because he knew the human heart: the mere close presence, the sight, the sound of the other might be enough to captivate the heart and to distract the religious away from pure devotion to God. Other, later saintly writers have advised men to keep their eyes upon the ground at all times when speaking with women; to touch one would be unthinkable.

    To maintain this distance is a serious, ancient and venerable observance among devout Catholics, and is one which Catholics who have taken the time to study Church history and tradition would be very familiar with, and would understand. This is not a suggestion that any cleric who washes the feet of women has “behaved sexually”; it is a suggestion that any cleric who washes the feet of women has chosen to ignore Church law, and it is a suggestion that the existing Church law is a part of a larger structure of protocols which are designed to assist the Church’s sons to keep their difficult vows faithfully, peacefully, and with greater ease.

  156. Supertradmum says:

    Marion Ancilla Mariae, beautiful answer. And, I agree.

  157. Allan S. says:

    Everyone realizes, right, that this entire issue of faithful Catholics worried that the forces of relativism have broken free could be put to rest in an instant: if the Holy Father were to make a very short homily (or whatever) wherein he just said “Look, I understand there’s a lot of angst out there over how I have been doing some things, and people seem genuinely worried and upset. Let me be clear: I wholeheartedly believe that the Catholic faith is essential for salvation, and that my role is to win as many converts from within (as some need) and without, among the world’s other religions. I desire with all my heart that the authentic, unchangeable Catholic faith be embraced by Muslims, Jews and other Christians. I affirm every Catholic teaching on faith and morals from abortion never being OK, to an all male priesthood, to a ban on all forms of contraception. It’s just that I have decided to go about it from an entirely untried way. And I ask that you trust me to do the right thing, and pray for me.”

    That’s it. That’s all it would take. We may all think he’s wrong in his choice of tactics, but he’s got the white hat and we would fall in line and trust him completely and we would back his play.

    Now, that would be humble, wouldn’t it? That would be charity too, would it not? Making millions of people less anxious by simply affirming the entirety of the Catholic faith?

    But here’s the thing…is there anyone here that thinks Francis will interrupt his current approach by quietly, firmly and clearly – without prevarication – confirming his fidelity to the Catholic faith? Exactly. It’s not going to happen. And THAT is the problem.

  158. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Thank you, Supertradmum, for your kind words! And a blessed Easter to you!

  159. Christopher says:

    Dennis Martin says:

    ‘Christopher,

    ‘Why do you assume that I am referring to the NO in my parish? Why do you assume I attend NO? Could it be because I don’t “defend tradition” in exactly the way you think I should, so you assume I’m an “Other,” one of THOSE people who doesn’t live in your world?’

    I did not assume any of this about you, unless of course you wish to call me an outright liar?

    Firstly, there was no mentioning of you with the Norvus Ordo, I said perhaps they [that is those who decided to attend the TLM] refused the Norvus Ordo because they thought it Protestantised, and so in the Indults, that’s the reason that they would only attend a TLM. I.e. Not completely jumping to the conclusion that they attend TLM only because it is ‘Museum-Piece’.

    Secondly, I asked you a mere question, did you ask them before placing observations upon them? What is wrong with this question? Because frankly, no individual likes false assumptions about themselves, hence one asked you if you actually asked them before making conclusions which may be entirely false of the individuals in question.

    ‘You assume I”m one of THOSE NO people, therefore the people I write about can’t be from among the true defenders of the Tradition because the true Defenders of the TLM wouldn’t go to an NO Mass??’

    Please state and quote where one said that. Fact of the matter was, in relation to the NO mass, I was talking about how they may have refused to attend the NO [Them, not you, it has nothing to do with you] because of it being Protestantised, and attending because of the Indult.

    This has nothing to do with you Dennis Martin, where you go or what Mass you attend. It was just a question on whether you have asked those people, or if it is just an observation of your own.

    ‘What a horrid bickering pharisaical (there, I said it) lot the “Defenders of Tradition” have become.’

    I asked you one question, and that question was:

    ‘Have you asked them? Or is this just an observation? ‘

    Then you pounce on me with false assumptions and an over-reaction.

    ‘May God preserve us in the day when we are called to witness to the end. This bickering is very poor preparation for what lies ahead of us. Give the Francis-bashing a rest, please.’

    If that is addressed to me, I don’t think I have ‘bashed’ Francis at all, The Holy Father our Pope requires respect. Also, May God have mercy on your soul, for apparently knowing my intentions which were not my intentions, and for accusing me of Pope Francis ‘bashing’ (do not forget the Pope in the title), surely these are bearing False Witness of somesort?. Like Lavrans, I love the Pope, but I do not have to like his liturgies.

    God Bless.

  160. mdv206 says:

    Blessed Easter to all of you!
    I agree with “it is a suggestion that the existing Church law is a part of a larger structure of protocols which are designed to assist the Church’s sons to keep their difficult vows faithfully, peacefully, and with greater ease.” That is what the law is there for, to protect us. Don’t eat of the fruit of the tree, etc.

    Now, what about the rest of the Mass at the prison…or maybe we should not even go there and
    open up another can of worms?

    Blessed Easter to those in Europe and Asia who are already there…:>)

  161. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    “is there anyone here that thinks Francis will interrupt his current approach by quietly, firmly and clearly – without prevarication – confirming his fidelity to the Catholic faith? Exactly. It’s not going to happen”

    You may be right.

    Earlier commenters have spoken about traditional Catholics having been “thrown under the bus”.

    Some of us here are old enough to have been thrown under the bus in our daily lives. . . . more than once. And thrown under, Seriously with a capital S. We know that right there under the bus, with our faces resting on the asphalt, axle grease dripping onto our backs, and inhaling exhaust fumes, the roar of the engine at 80 Db, and can’t wriggle out no matter how hard we try, nevertheless, Jesus is there. He’s there; He’s with us, and He’s not going away.

    Jesus doesn’t always explain what He’s doing in my life. Or in the life of the Church. He can’t make Himself heard anyway, with the roar of that engine in my ear. And I can’t move an inch. He is with me in the fumes and the grease and the heat and the roar and the stuck-ness. Jesus. Here. That’s all I need.

    Love. Jesus. Simple.

  162. BLB Oregon says:

    “Liberals are going to claim that because of what Francis did, they can do whatever they wish.”

    What the liberals are going to claim is hardly the issue. The Holy See, for one example, proclaimed quite clearly that anyone who attempted the ordination of a woman is excommunicated latae sententiae. Does this stop liberals from claiming that it is permissible? No! Instead, they “reject their excommunication”….they really do use that language!

    No, the problem is with the poor people in the middle 60%. In the case of foot washing, they aren’t going to know who to believe.

  163. amont says:

    As a mere layman, who tries to stay informed on issues, from a respect for Tradition, the events of the last two weeks have been most unsettling – I know I am not alone in this, but it is nonetheless so. I have always tried to follow what the Church teaches, and obeyed her precepts and laws. Pope Francis is a “perfect storm” in the sense of it. All the prevailling liturgical ailments of the last 4 decades are very much part of his experience as a priest and bishop and now he brings these to the See of Rome.(for crying out loud – he does not even want to be called “pope” – and another blogger ; Sandro Magister reports there are various scholars attempting to press that a papcy that accepts a council of bishops -in effect a legistalative body- would make reunion with the Eastern Churches a stronger possibility, more collegial etc..Why are we abandoning our institutions and our traditions to please others? Such false idea’s were once condemned) Many of these abuses etc are the result of various National Bishop’s Conferences doing whatever they please -the comment of one Irish Bishop a year or so ago that he “tossed any instruction from Rome into the garbage” well illustrates the attitude (and we all know the results from that nation too)It is no different in my lived experience in Canada. We have had mixed gender washing of the feet for years. The homilies have been blanched for decades. It is all very well Father Z, to talk of tools and working for the EF etc. The Episcopal Dean of our cluster has stated there will only be an EF here “over my dead body”. His Holy Thursday homily went to great lengths to tell us how wonderful Pope Francis is – how the Eucharist is all about social service. Not one jot, not one mere suggestion of anything near Sacramental Grace, the Real Presence etc.Organs are all but unknown – it is all drums/guitars/etc.Happy clappy music -”what the people want” I have been forced to accept this so long – Benedict was a life saver.At least one could follow , with hope, what he did. Now that is gone; and we see every law and precept laid bare to the winds. I for one, feel like Tolkien’s companions of the ring, following the loss of Gandalf at Khazad Dum. I am not bitter, nor even angry, but terribly disappointed and a tad scared.

  164. Brian K says:

    Think how much of this angst could be put away, how much good will our Pope Francis could instantly create, if, unlike his predecessor, he simply offered a humble low Traditional Latin Mass in the near future? It need not be a papal mass at St. Peters or the Lateran. Just a simple humble low PUBLIC Traditional Latin Mass at some out of the way chapel or parish. Since he does not feel bound by precedence or rubrics, he need not worry about lacking all the trappings and papal household elements his predecessor may have felt were necessary to “do it right.”

  165. Lavrans says:

    If Francis did do an Extraordinary Form Mass, it need not be fancy. Cardinal Burke did one at the Clear Creek Monastery which was as simple and humble as it gets. No microphones, no HVAC, barely any lighting besides windows and candles, all chant, and not much else. It was bare and beautiful. It was simple and holy. IF this is what Francis has in mind for simple, by all means go for it.

    If, however, simple means thousands of dollars spent on rock bands, puppets, projectors and screens, carpeting, microphones, speakers, lighting, and new agey art, then he is full of it. I trust that is not the case, but I hope he can let us know in a timely manner.

  166. Shonkin says:

    I missed the connection, but I assume that all the argument about married men’s feet being washed (that came up peripheral to the main point of this thread) arose from one of the rubrics. A more appropriate question would be why such a rule existed and what was the reasoning that led to it. As far as we know, Saints John and Paul were the only Apostles who were not married — and Paul wasn’t even at the Last Supper. We know for sure that Pope Peter I was married — otherwise he wouldn’t have had a mother-in-law for Jesus to heal.

  167. Marcello says:

    I just spoke with a friend whose parish is in the Archdiocese of Newark. The pastor, who generally follows the rubrics, asked for six men and six women for the mandatum, something he’s never done. One of the ladies he asked to volunteer who is active in the parish objected and she was told, it’s OK, the Pope did it so who are we to question. This is literally within hours of Francis’ prison visit and the Holy Thursday Mass in a NJ parish. Those who think the Holy Father’s gestures and actions will not be followed, cited and used to justify deviance from the rules are fools–it’s happening in real time, right now.

  168. Katylamb says:

    Supertradmum says:

    30 March 2013 at 11:04 am

    “One of the things overlooked by the media and some Catholics in all of this is that Holy Thursday is the great celebration of the Institution of the Priesthood. I love this aspect of the Mass. However, by taking the Mass away from priests, this aspect was not emphasized in Rome.”

    I don’t understand this comment. The pope celebrated the Chrism Mass on Thursday and spoke directly to priests in his beautiful homily. In seems to me it was the press (and us) that focused mainly on the Mass with the young people. Is Pope Francis to be blamed for that?

  169. Katylamb says:

    Marion, thank you for your explanation. I understand that there is a rule that in the washing of feet it is to be only men who have their feet washed. I don’t think it is good for anyone to break rules. That said, the side issue that was brought up above was whether or not the pope was doing something “sensual and sexual” when he washed a girls feet.
    There is no rule at all saying a Catholic man cannot, with good reason, touch a woman’s feet. I agree it may help celebate men to not do that, and if a man has that kind of trouble with women I suggest he avoid it. I see no reason, however, to imply that the Holy Father is behaving sexually when he washes the feet of a woman. No- not imply. It was really said outright that the act is sensual and sexual.
    The issue we are discussing is the pope breaking the law on whose feet to wash and whose feet not to wash. I think we should stick to that and not imply impure motives.

  170. BillyHW says:

    I miss Pope Benedict. He didn’t make a big show about how much humility he had.

  171. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Katylamb, my explanation about celibate men avoiding coming into close contact with women was not to accuse the Pope of anything, but to explain the underlying reason for the customs and the rules which indicate that he should avoid doing so . . . customs and rules that have been put in place for the protection of our clergy, and which would appear to have been set aside in this instance.

    Lord, if anyone began imputing motives to me . . . what might I be accused of? And often, rightly so! God forbid I should impute motives or sin to the Pope, to anyone, to my husband, to my co-worker . . . to do so is bad medicine.

    I have a rule against doing that – ever! about anyone! and there are excellent reasons underlying this rule.

    What many of us have been discussing is not the state of the Pope’s soul, personally, but about the future state of the Church, as we witness these and other salutory customs and laws being overlooked, neglected, and set aside, often without compelling reason. These things tend to have a ripple effect, like a pebble tossed into a pond. And this particular pebble is not a good one, nor has it landed in a spot in the pond that we wanted it to. And the effects may well be felt in Missouri, in New Zealand, in Gambia, and in Mongolia, for generations. See, this is no good.

  172. THREEHEARTS says:

    What if we are all wrong, as we usually are. Those of us present at the mass on Maundy thursday heard the words of Jesus, His answer when Peter said God sould not be washing his feet. “unless I do you will never be with me in eternity”. What did the washing of feet mean to the jewish apostles. I was to them a symbol of washing the dirt of the world, considered by jews to be a symbol of sin. The apostles certainly saw it in that meaning. It was a freedm, a forgiveness of sin to them. To us we will not start into a life of sanctifying grace or have supernatural love in us without sins being forgiven, especially our inherited sin of adam, which we share with the jews…..It was a baptism.
    Personally a much better ritual would beis to start the mass with the sprinkling of holy water on us all. It is called the asperges me. Sprinkle me with hyssop O Lord and I shall be purified wash me with water and I shall sancyfied.

  173. Supertradmum says:

    amont, in the presentation I wrote about on March 26th, the ex-press secretary of the Pope, Fr. Marco, who is going to Rome soon, said quite clearly that the Pope prefers being called the Bishop of Rome for reasons given…link is above…

  174. Supertradmum says:

    amont, in the presentation I wrote about on March 26th, the ex-press secretary of the Pope, Fr. Marco, who is going to Rome soon, said quite clearly that the Pope prefers being called the Bishop of Rome for reasons given…link is above…

    Katylamb, as beautiful and meaningful and ancient as the Chrism Mass is, it is NOT the Mass of the Last Supper or the Institution of the Priesthood. Our priest here on Holy Thursday greatly emphasized the celebration of the sacrament of Holy Orders for the first time at the Last Supper. The two Mass are for different reasons and are not to be confused.

  175. frjimt says:

    for the love of God….. PF washed the feet of children in a prison!
    I wish there would have been this level of ‘commentary’ over the children whose feet weren’t washed, but whose innocence has been stolen, by less desirable members of our priestly family.

  176. norancor says:

    Dennis Martin wrote:

    Can you step back enough to see how hyperbolic and strawman-ish this is? Those of us criticizing “traditionalists” (I am a Traditionalist too) have not said that all those who defend traditional practices are pharisees. Don’t use “all” when you mean “some.” It undermines your point. Don’t write “no matter how strong or mild” when you mean “strong.”

    1. I wasn’t talking about you. I was talking about three others. That is why I said “certain.” I made the generalization so as to not point out individuals and make this some sort of personal attack.

    2. I’m not a traditionalist. I’m simply Catholic. I almost detest the word traditionalist. It is a dismissive euphemism. You would not have know me from any other layman in a parish 100 years ago. This is an important point lost on the conversation in the Church today. It isn’t simply nostalgia for the past. It is a mode of life and belief that existed, or should have existed, before the Council, that was destroyed or lost for most Catholics. I am not waxing nostalgic. I was born about a month after the Novus Ordo Missae was promulgated, outside the Church. I didn’t join the Church until 1994, under the Novus Ordo. I do not, generally, attend it now, since I am a parishioner at a diocesan Latin Mass parish. My parish, and I, enjoy a cordial and supportive relationship with our bishop. He utterly loves visiting our parish because of the clear faith and tradition, and the overwhelming number of children, and as important, how we actually treat him with slavish deference as our spiritual father and Apostle. That said, I do not pine for the past. Catholicism is about CHOICES, and I have chosen to embrace the “perennial” Catholic Faith and practices. It is who we were, and who we are meant to be. We are not meant to be middling mock Episcopalians with no women priests and a valid set of Sacraments. We are Catholic, and that means something formally, and in practice.

    3. The only exclusive qualifier I used was “every.” I did not say this to this particular thread alone. I did meant it for this post, but also meant it as a general statement, because I have had, or seen, the assertion of virtually every traditional practice that contradicts current practice criticized by someone at some point, and virtually every criticism of the pontiff at the time (Benedict and Francis), combated with the charge that I or someone is Pharisaical, judgmental, rash, a rigorist, or reaching for some out of date past that no longer exists.

    Taylor Marshall has done a good job pointing out that “trads” need to get a grip and put their claws in, refraining from spittle-flecked nuttiness (a classic phrase if ever there was one). I COMPLETELY agree.

    Nonetheless I reiterate that is nearly disheartening to see almost every traditional practice at some point challenged, not by Father Z but in the combox, as somehow out of touch, antiquated, or disobedient by fellow Catholics when it happens to conflict with a current norm in the Church, or Heaven forbid people be really, truly unnerved by the Holy Father’s free wheeling manner with regard to the Papacy and liturgy.

    Lastly, it is ironic that you accuse me of strawman arguments, sweeping generalizations and hyperbole when you are employing all of them, to some degree, in criticizing me.

  177. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    I wish there would have been this level of ‘commentary’ over the children whose feet weren’t washed, but whose innocence has been stolen, by less desirable members of our priestly family.

    May I point out that while some commenters here have been objecting to the Pope’s actions, others have been inquiring about the reasons for these objections, and yet others have been indicating their support for them.

    In light of the cargo containers full of ASCII that have already been produced denouncing the abusive priests’ actions, which of the other two categories of comments – inquiring or supporting – would you like to see more of concerning the scandals?

  178. Katylamb says:

    Marion, I know you didn’t accuse the pope of impure behavior. As you’ll probably remember, I was quoting and responding to another poster entirely, then responded to your post on the subject. My remarks were concerning the original poster. But- enough of this for me. :)

  179. Katylamb says:

    Supertradmum: “Katylamb, as beautiful and meaningful and ancient as the Chrism Mass is, it is NOT the Mass of the Last Supper or the Institution of the Priesthood. Our priest here on Holy Thursday greatly emphasized the celebration of the sacrament of Holy Orders for the first time at the Last Supper. The two Mass are for different reasons and are not to be confused.”

    I am not confused. I was pointing out that priests were not left out on Holy Thursday. Does canon law also say the Pope isn’t allowed to make changes to how these Masses are celebrated?

  180. lana says:

    Well Fr. Z, after re-reading your post… It seems to me the pastoral decision here was clear. I think as Pope he wants to be an example of how priests should think. I come from a very conservative Spanish family, and sometimes in the name of adhering to the law some things are done which God just cannot be pleased about, though I really hope He will honor our sacrifice in adhering to the law. Of course, where do you draw the line? I think Fr Z is (with good reason) concerned. Pope Francis, as I see from what he has said and done as Cardinal, shows compassion in the right areas but draws the line where it must be drawn. Now, I completely see the importance of obedience. But as an engineer I know that ‘processes’ (ie. laws) are good guidelines for general behavior 99% of the time, and I also know that the process must allow for human intervention, someone to step in and say, ‘following the process in this particular instance does not make sense’. Perhaps what he is trying to do with this gesture is teaching us to discard the mindset of utterly blind obedience and think about the what and why of laws, showing us how and where to draw the line, so we do not prevent needlessly the little ones whom God wants to come to Him. And without chaos. Is the Church mature enough to do this responsibly? The fact that THIS is the Pope the Holy Spirit has chosen gives me hope. I am sure there will be casualties, so let us pray, and particularly for our priests that they may always be guided by the Holy Spirit.

  181. Shonkin says:

    @ Katylamb: I was not accusing the Pope of anything except poor judgment in making a gesture that could be taken badly by many people.
    What happens to one’s feet in the doctor’s office, your martial arts class, or a shoe store does not concern me, and it has nothing with “adultery” (as you put it). I’m sure His Holiness’ intentions were innocent, but that’s not how some people would read it.

  182. Katylamb says:

    Shonkin: Well, I’m sorry if I misread what you meant. You said that a man handling the feet of a woman was doing something “sensual and sexual.”
    As for how people will read it, I’m sure there are people on both sides that will read everything he does as somehow wrong. There are also people who will read everything he does as right. I suppose he cannot worry that every single thing he does will displease someone.

  183. ocalatrad says:

    I think the point that Our Lord was in effect creating bishops and giving them an example of how to serve others is a good one. The analogy is easily abused when it is interpreted as “let’s wash everyone’s feet!”

  184. stillkickin says:

    @ amont, “I for one, feel like Tolkien’s companions of the ring, following the loss of Gandalf at Khazad Dum.”
    I agree wholeheartedly with your March 30th 3:35 PM post. I too feel as you do. I am just a simple man trying to live out my faith in accordance with Holy Mother Church and at the moment I am feeling concerned, not sure what lies ahead. As one who has dealt with safety in industry for many, many years I have grown to understand how critically important rules and regulations are. If someone ignores safety rules they have greatly increased their risk of injury or even death. I have come to see the rules of the Church in the same way. They are in place to help us to keep moving in the right direction. In the case of the Church, however, it is not to protect from physical harm, but more importantly, spiritual harm; and that it what has me worried. I fear that when lines become gray or blurred those that do not understand can unwittingly be led astray, either unintentionaly, or intentionally by those who deliberately mislead. I continue to pray for our Pope as I pray for all ordained – that they listen and follow the Holy Spirit in all they do.

  185. gary cifra says:

    This stinks….he started off on the Wrong Foot….No pun intended. Basta!

  186. Parasum says:

    “For the sake of good order, then [Peters' own recommendation...], the Mandatum rubrics should be modified to permit the washing of women’s feet or, perhaps upon the advice of Scriptural and theological experts, the symbolism of apostolic ministry asserted by some to be contained in the rite should be articulated and the rule reiterated. What is not good is to leave a crystal clear law on the books but show no intention of expecting anyone to follow it. That damages the effectiveness of law across the board.”

    ## IOW, change the law, to sanctify the abuse. I’ve heard that one before – in defences of JP2′s capitulation to the abuse of having altar-girls. Either this is a bad idea now; or, philippics against the evul librulz for doing what led to Papal ratifications of what were, before those ratifications, deplored as abuses, were a mountain of hypocrisy. STM Rome is like Mike the Headless Chicken – it’s alive, but directionless, and mindless. Whether it can last much longer than Mike did in its current state, is anyone’s guess.

    http://www.miketheheadlesschicken.org/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_the_Headless_Chicken

    STM there are in this controversy some assumptions, either unexamined or not made clear, about the status of the Pope. Is he sovereign and absolute over the Church – or, supreme in the Church ? If the Church is ruled by the principle of absolutism, & a Pope unconstrained by any law but his own will – that needs to be made clear. Because the obvious assumption is that he is not absolute, but supreme for those ends that lie within the scope of the Petrine ministry, and that his will has to obey that of Christ.

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