One look at Pope Francis’s first Holy Week. Fr. Z responds with brief manifesto.

Many people don’t know that Pope Francis planned to write his thesis on Romano Guardini, the distinguished theologian and liturgist who had a profound influence on Joseph Ratzinger.  Ratzinger even named one of his most important books with the same title as that of one of Guardini’s, namely, The Spirit of the Liturgy.  (We need to read and apply what Ratzinger wrote now more than ever, by the way.) [Magister corrected his own entry which now reads: "It was precisely on Guardini that the Jesuit Bergoglio was planning to write the thesis for his doctorate in theology, during an academic sojourn in Germany in 1986 at the philosophical-theological faculty of Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt: a plan that was later abandoned."]

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Pope Benedict, the day he stepped-down, quoted Guardini twice in his final speech as Pope.

A reader left a short note on my voice mail (see the side bar for more on that) about a piece by Sandro Magister concerning the first Holy Week of Pope Francis. I knew about the piece, but I liked the fact that he took the time to use the VM option.

Let’s have a look at Magister’s piece with my emphases and comments.  At the end, I respond.

First Holy Week for Francis

Powerful gestures. Simplified rituals. A week that has revealed the style of the new pope. But has also raised some questions that have gone unanswered

by Sandro Magister

[After review... I'll cut the whole first part as not being especially relevant...]

ROME, April 1, 2013 – The first Holy Week of Pope Francis has revealed his style even more. In celebration, in preaching, in presence.

[... eventually he get's to Pope Francis' Chrism Mass...]

The “people” liturgically loaded onto the shoulders of the priest who celebrates, the “peripheries” of the cities and the hearts touched by the messianic oil, the pastors who must take “the odor of the sheep” are images that remain successfully imprinted.

“L’Osservatore Romano” of March 30 revealed that the text of this homily for the Chrism Mass, “with the exception of some additions,” was the same one that Bergoglio had “prepared before he was elected pope and had delivered to his collaborators before leaving for the conclave,” so much so that it was also read at the Chrism Mass celebrated in the cathedral of Buenos Aires.  [I had missed that, being busy with Triduum stuff.  I find that reassuring.]

*

[And now the point...] As for the “ars celebrandi,” in the liturgies of Holy Week at St. Peter’s there was noted a more elevated respect for the symbolism and the splendor of the rituals than that seen at work in the Mass for the beginning of the pontificate.  [I sincerely don't mean for this to sound snarky, but it wouldn't be too hard to have elevated the style in comparison to the first few days.]

Here as well, however, with abbreviations that were not always understandable. In particular, it was not clear why at the Easter Vigil, after the singing of the Exultet, the biblical readings were cut to the bone and the first was literally mutilated, with the account of the six days of creation limited to the creation of man alone.  [That was strange, indeed.]

That brevity which in some contexts can find justification and is in effect provided for by the missal [ahhhh.... Novus Ordo options...] made no obvious sense in an Easter Vigil presided over by the pope and attended – in person or via transmission – by a highly motivated faithful people, who were deprived of the fullness of that narration of the “historia salutis” which the liturgy illuminates, on this culminating night of the year, with the lighting of the Easter candle.

In one of his memorable passages, Romano Guardini described the celebration of the Easter liturgy in the basilica of Monreale, Sicily, packed with poor and mostly illiterate farmers, who nonetheless were enchanted by the splendor of the rite: “The sacred ceremony lasted for more than four hours, and yet there was always a lively participation.[Obviously meant as interior participation, a close and attentive following of all the gestures and words.]

It was precisely on Guardini that the Jesuit Bergoglio wrote the thesis for his doctorate in theology, in Frankfurt in 1986.

Magister is saying that, on the one hand, there have been improvements since the beginning of the pontificate. On the other hand, there is a serious defect and that Pope Francis ought to know better because he read Guardini.

Of course it is possible that Francis has forgotten what he read about Guardini… I don’t remember everything I wrote over the last couple decades and I am not 76… or that he read Guardini and came to different conclusions than Ratzinger did!  I haven’t read what Francis wrote – decades ago – about Guardini or what he concentrated on.  I don’t remember every point I made in my own thesis on Augustine.  If Bergoglio had planned to write a thesis on Guardini, that means that he had read a lot of Guardini along the way.

Moreover, as I have been saying all along, Pope Francis needs some time to learn how to be Pope.  We also have to learn to have him be our Pope.

He has done things that I think are both strange and ill-considered.  On the other hand, he minces no words about the warfare we are in with the Devil, to whom he refers clearly and boldly.  He spoke about the need for priests to hear confessions, though that was in private.  I’ll bet he speaks about it publicly too, before long.  In his homilies has has entirely eschewed a modern biblical exegetical style in favor of a more Patristic, allegorical style… even as Ratzinger famously used.  His use the image of the garb of the Old Testament priesthood and the chasuble priests put on for Mass was like something Pope Benedict would have offered us, and he wrote it before he was elected: it was his own work and not that of some flunky in the Secretariate of State.  There are a lot of things Francis is showing which traditional Catholics can sincerely applaud (if they can get over themselves long enough to see them).

Even though Francis has painted himself into a corner through his abrupt dramatic changes, he is more than likely going to adjust to the exigencies of his office, which include decorum at a different level and an awareness that he is more than the bishop of a diocese somewhere.

Time, friends.  Patience.  And pray for him.  He must be wondering if he is going to wake up from some sort of long, strange dream.

Here is my point.

We must not pit Francis against Benedict right now. We find the continuity between them.

Read Francis through Benedict.

 

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55 Responses to One look at Pope Francis’s first Holy Week. Fr. Z responds with brief manifesto.

  1. A point that we need to remember: that we call the pope our “father” for a reason. How ought we to speak of our father?

    That’s not to say we can’t disagree with our father, or wish he would do something different; but first and last, we owe our father respect, obedience, support, and quite simply, love. We owe him an attentive hearing, when he speaks; attentive first, questioning or disagreeing only after a hearing. And that always in respect and support.

    I like that you touched on the issue of the holy father learning how to be pope. That bears some consideration on our part. I know I had to learn how to be a priest, after being ordained; I had to learn how to be a pastor, and that involved a learning curve over several years. I’m a priest ten years and still learning. I’m sure it’s true for bishops; and it must be true for popes! And in such situations, you often get people who say, “whatever you want,” and that isn’t always helpful.

  2. wolfeken says:

    “Read Francis through Benedict.”

    Honestly, after the last few weeks, I much prefer to read Peter through Pius XII.

  3. Lucas Whittaker says:

    I agree that patience will be key as we allow this Holy Father to settle into the papacy. I believe that he has a lot to offer to us as a father. I hope that he will begin to embrace his role as father because we need guidance as we walk through these strange times.

    I am unfamiliar with Pope Benedict’s book on the Spirit of the Liturgy. I will have to get a hold of it soon.

  4. Jon says:

    My apologies, Father, but I think it’s more like “Read Francis through Kasper.”

  5. Me says:

    Magister writes, “It was precisely on Guardini that the Jesuit Bergoglio wrote the thesis for his doctorate in theology, in Frankfurt in 1986.”

    There is no evidence that Pope Francis wrote a dissertation, let alone a dissertation on Guardini, as Magister alleges.

    So I am fairly sure that Pope Francis’ problem cannot be remembering what he wrote in his dissertation.

  6. anna 6 says:

    I can’t say enough how much these post are helping me “to learn how to have him be our pope”. There is a great need for patience all around.

    It isn’t that I don’t love and respect Pope Francis…I already do. But I admit to being very confused by some of his actions. It didn’t help that I spent Easter listening to family members make ignorant comparisons between the two popes.

    Benedict’s papacy was a great blessing in my life. I learned so much from him about the joy and beauty of faith. Losing him has been more painful than I could have ever anticipated. It will take some time to adjust. “Reading Francis through Benedict” will be a great help.

    Thank you.

  7. mburduck says:

    So did he or did he not write a dissertation?

  8. Andkaras says:

    It took most of us time to grow into our roles as parents.What was important was that we continued to grow and learn as we went along, hoping that our children sensed our love despite our failings. I definitely sense Pope Fransis’ love ,especially when he speaks of the sacraments.

  9. JacobWall says:

    “Read Francis through Benedict.” Wonderful! It’s incredible how, even in the few comments to this post above, people are so much more willing to look for rupture than continuity. Running around screaming “rupture” is essentially saying that the liberals have been right about everything all along.

  10. Anchorite says:

    Father,
    I see your point. When a 76yo is elected to Papacy, we really don’t need to figure out who he IS by looking into who he WAS in his student days – we only have to look at his immediate record of being in power. And THAT record is worrysome.
    Reading Francis through Benedict creates the same cognitive dissonance as interpreting Vatican II using “hermeneutics of continuity.”

  11. Anchorite says:

    JacobWall,
    Yes. There. Was. A rupture.
    Read Pope Paul VI’s introduction of the Vovus Ordo Missae – he says so himself.

  12. oldcanon2257 says:

    I think the Holy Father is still in a state of shock about having the weight of the world being thrusted upon his shoulder overnight. It’s not even a month yet.

    Give Francis time to settle into his new role. A while ago, one of my friends became a father for the first time at 42, and of identical twins at that. He was so overwhelmed that it took him at least a year to become proficient at the daily chores involving taking care of the 2 boys. And here 7 years later, my friend admits that he’s still learning how to be a father to the kids. Imagine what it feels like when you’re suddenly responsible for billions of souls.

    Pray for our Holy Father Pope Francis. Entrust him to the care of Our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of the Clergy.

  13. JacobWall says:

    @Fr Martin Fox,

    Excellent parallel! We can even know for a fact beyond any reasonable doubt that our father is wrong about something, but, as you say, “first and last, we owe our father respect, obedience, support, and quite simply, love.”

    What you say about being a priest is what I feel about being the father of children. I started fatherhood with some fairly silly ideas of what it meant to be a good father. 2 toddlers (with two more on the way) have cured me of much of that. Now, I am just beginning to learn.

    (Fortunately for me, children under 6 don’t keep blogs to document my every error and stupid choice! Although, sometimes I wonder if my wife doesn’t take notes somewhere … )

    Wonderful words, Fr. Fox, and I am ever more thankful for this excellent blog from Fr. Z who does not shy away from disagreeing or pointing out error, but at the same time is such a great example of the respect and love we owe to our Holy Father.

  14. Lou K says:

    I started reading this blog because it was referenced repeatedly in discussions about Pope Francis’s Maundy Thursday service. I have learned much already and am deeply impressed with the knowledge, insight and devotion of many of those here.

    Although I understand why some of Pope Francis’s actions may be upsetting to some traditional Catholics, I think Pope Francis’s Holy Week and the time since his election have been a homerun for most Catholics and the RCC. I say this because I think there is little doubt that the militant secularists were ready to immediately tar whoever was the next Pope as ‘out of touch with the people’ and tainted by scandal. The secularists know the value of primacy in messaging and wanted this papacy DOA before his first address stopped echoing in St. Peter’s Square.

    Instead, the election was a surprise and they had to race to get dirt on PF. The best they could do was some vague allegation that he did not do enough during the “Dirty War” (without of course saying what he could have done and/or whether it would have made a difference). The object was to simply put PF on the defensive. It appears that this tactic has failed to gain any traction.

    Next, PF wrong-footed the secularists by presenting an entirely different image of the papacy – one of simplicty and humility. I think deep down people are tired of ‘swag’ and ‘bling.’ Many more worldwide are frustrated and angry at remote instuitions (govt’s, banks, etc) that are too big to fail and create havoc for many while suffering none of the consequences of their own misdeeds. PF presents an image opposed to that world and if not drawn people back to the Faith, at least made them open to his and the Church’s message. One of my favorite posts to an article about him said, “I’m not religious, but I like what this cat is laying down.” The militant secularists fear a Pope that even the non-religious will listen to; and the minute they see an openning they are going to come after him with a vengence we have not witnessed in our lifetime.

  15. Acanthaster says:

    Mm, thank you for this, Fr Z!

    I have a question about it, though…Does Pope Francis make all of these decisions? Things like which readings are said at Easter Vigil, who gets their feet washed, what songs are sung, which chalice is used, etc. In many parishes, especially when a new priest comes in, it seems like the volunteers/staff who had been working there before just keep doing what they do until the priest advises them to change it…Would that be possible in the Vatican?

    I can’t imagine all the decisions and adjustments Pope Francis has to make, but with that blitzkrieg of information coming at him, is it possible he is letting other people make these decisions for him early on? These others would have the freedom to do as they please, then…possibly putting forth their own opinions. I know a few priests who have been “sabotaged” by this kind of behavior…

  16. JacobWall says:

    @Anchorite,

    I agree with your comment about the rupture in the introduction of the Novus Ordo – especially in the manner in which it was introduced. However, I was speaking specifically about the current situation with Pope Francis.

    In light of that, I disagree with your assessment of Vat II – “Reading Francis through Benedict creates the same cognitive dissonance as interpreting Vatican II using “hermeneutics of continuity.” ”

    I disagree with both halves of your parallel – all the comparison is EXTREMELY USEFUL. The problem with Vatican II was that from the beginning, those who read it using “hermeneutics of continuity” (i.e. correctly) were drowned out on one side by liberals looking for rupture, and, on the other side, “traditionalists” of the more extreme sort who essentially bought into the liberal program by unquestionably accepting their “hermeneutics of rupture.” (They accepted the liberal reading of the council because it suited their agenda, not because they like the liberals.)

    It looks like many liberals and more extreme traditionalists are again willing to make this same “pact.”

    (Just for the record, I by no means believe that the two groups are “in on something” together or anything of the sort, but, again, the distortions presented by the liberals turn out to be very convenient for those on the other extreme.)

    Now, considering that Benedict XVI was at the forefront of reading Vat II using hermeneutics of continuity – which you clearly scoff – what do you think he would say about this transition in the Papacy?

    Fr. Z’s encouragement to read “Read Francis through Benedict” is very Ratzingerian.

  17. Mari Kate says:

    Speaking for myself, I cannot join in on all the criticism. Instead, perhaps I need to scrutinize my own misguided actions. Perhaps I need to spend more time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and less time throwing curve balls at the Pope. It is not my job to place his papacy under my personal microscope which is often distorted and ego driven. Jesus does not do this with me, why should I do this to one of his bravest, Pope Francis? Who am I to cast stones? He wears black shoes so do I pick up a rock and hurl it at him? He washes the feet of women in prison. How dare him? Do I throw an even bigger rock because how he really has done it? Every time I have to pick up a rock to throw at all the things that seem to be wrong according to my legalistic and narrow view, I have to lay down my cross, the one that Jesus has given me. The entire weight of this Church is the cross that Pope Francis now carries. He needs my prayers, not my stones.

  18. Mandy P. says:

    Thank you, Father Z. for continuing to examine the actions and words of our Pope rationally and charitably. I agree with everything you’ve written so far and I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to really dig into the example we’ve been given thus far by Papa Francis.

    I also largely agree with Father Martin Fox upthread. Learning to be a father (and a mother as well, as I can personally attest) is a lot of work and one in which sometimes your parental instincts are at odds with propriety, rules, decorum, or whatnot. And maybe that’s what we’re looking at here: Pope Francis trying to find the balance between his paternal instincts (ex, washing the women’s feet out of love and a desire not to exclude the women, who are in a spiritual sense his children, and cause them pain) and his duties as Head of the Church (follow and enforce the rules, set a good example, etc and so on). Speaking as a parent of two children (6 and 3), it can be very difficult to reconcile the two when they are at odds and sometimes, when the situation calls for you to do one or the other, it’s hard to know which is right or most needed.

    I am of the opinion that Pope Francis’ instincts are good, but that he just needs some time and patience to grow into the bigger role and to find that balance between his pastoral instincts and the necessity for our structures to be upheld.

  19. MikeM says:

    I don’t know where people are getting the idea that Pope Francis is a big theological break from Benedict. While his liturgy might not show Guardini’s influence, his preaching sure does. While his preaching style is less “elevated” stylistically than Benedict’s, the message is entirely consistent. And, yes… Pope Francis said something positive about Kasper. Didn’t Benedict remark positively on one of Kasper’s works in Jesus of Nazareth?

    I don’t love everything Francis does, but I see a lot to love in him. Why don’t we stop relying on rumors and innuendo about the guy? (“Did you hear what some, obviously 100% honest, gay activist said he said in a private conversation??” “Yeah, we’ll, I heard that he didn’t like Anglocanorum Coetibus!” “Well isn’t that obvious? He quoted Kasper… He must endorse everything Kasper says and does!!!”). Why don’t we let him speak for himself? A lot of conservatives are treating him the way the liberals treated Benedict. If he says something wrong, please do criticize, but there’s no need to portray him as the anti-Christ based on anything he’s publicly said so far.

  20. chonak says:

    Magister has been informed of the mistake about the Pope’s studies and has corrected the chiesa website.

  21. sirlouis says:

    Let us pray that Francis grows quickly into being pope. But is his liturgical “style” the most important concern? I hope that he moves pretty quickly on reining in the Vatican curia so that the next Benedict can accomplish more than papa Ratzinger was able to. The curia is a block of granite and that is actually to the good when it comes to maintaining liturgical standards. But for the reform and development of such standards, having to shove a block of granite around is not at all good. If Francis will crack open the block, I am willing to leave it to the next pope to work with it in respect of recovering the liturgy.

  22. wolfeken says:

    oldcanon2257 — Let’s hope your friend, the 42 year old first-time father, doesn’t put the kids in a closet instead of their prepared nursery, skip their first birthday party to go do his own thing in private, reject gift clothing presented by friends in favor of a burlap sack to wear, and focus on how wonderful everyone else’s kids are while neglected his own.

    Humility for the father will probably consist of doing things the way they have pretty much been done by many other fathers before him, until the need for necessary improvement arises.

  23. I think part of the problem lies in the age along with the pastoral style of the Pope, having been the head of a diocese wrought with many problems. Old men have a hard time adjusting to new circumstances and often can come across as the bull in the china shop. Someone needs to sit him down and be honest with him, and let him know that the perception of him is rather mixed. Perhaps a retired cardinal who has nothing to gain nor to lose. This seems to be the most loving thing one could do for him. In the meantime do pray for his ministry, and learn to love the person behind the robes and even the mistakes.

  24. Mr. P. says:

    Thank you, Fr. Z, for yet another refreshing defense of the Successor of Peter, esp. your Francis-Benedict continuity approach.

    Many of the traditionalist rants I’ve read are the same as liberal dissenters’ tones.

  25. Anchorite says:

    JacobWall,
    I see now what you specifically meant. Thanks! A kind of rupture is evident: there wouldn’t be so many posts on mozzetta, Mandatum, etc. – a rupture is clear. The extent of it will be even more apparent as changes continue.
    Now, I scoff at the hermeneutics of continuity in the context of the current time – after half a century of nearly-complete selfdestruction, soft and gentle Ratzengerian introduction of such approach at interpreting Vatican II and remedying its “fruits” appears as “too little, too late.” If it was done immediately by the previous three popes – yeah, good idea.
    Pope Ratzinger was a miracle, a perversion of the liberal project, an actual visible divine intervention in the midst of the conclave of nobodies.
    In regard to others, repeating the mantra “give him more time to grow into papacy” – how many hours/days/weeks/years, in your estimation, Cardinals Burke, Ranjith, Scola, Bagnasco, Bishops Fellay, Schneider, Morlino or Father Zuhlsdorf would need, if elected, [ ;) ], to “grow into the office?”

  26. Joshua08 says:

    Could it be something as simple as his health and stamina?

    People were remarking on how he omits genuflections, and was looking at his watch during the Mass. It occurred to me that he also didn’t distribute communion either, which could suggest that he is not up for extended periods on his feet. One doesn’t have to be sickly for that to be the case, it could just be bad knees.

    I think there is something to be said for the old practice whereby the pope did not have to personally celebrate every Mass publicly, but could have a Cardinal celebrate Mass in his presence.

  27. Josephus Muris Saliensis says:

    My thanks, Father Z, for this post.

    We must all learn patience and perspective in these changing weeks.

    You stand nearly alone in the blogosphere as a beacon of Catholic charity and sanity in our relationship to the Sovereign Pontiff.

    Blessings upon you.

  28. anna 6 says:

    Joshua 08,
    I thought that Pope Francis’ health an stamina could be a factor too, but that would be strange in light of the fact that the cardinals were well aware of the fact that Benedict resigned precisely for that reason:
    “in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me”

    Also, washing the feet of 12 people is a very exhausting activity which requires kneeling etc., so I am not sure that this is a major factor in his decisions. However, being pope, especially during Holy Week would probably exhaust a man half his age. It is amazing that B16 was able to keep up his schedule for so long.

  29. Ignatius says:

    I agree with Father Z on this. On the other hand, I find Hyeromonk Gregory’s suggestion very much on point. But do not forget that Card. Bergoglio is not just “strong willed”, he is decidedly stubborn, to the point of authoritarianism and we had a lot of examples of that here in Buenos Aires. The man to “convey the message” to the Pope should be Benedict XVI or some old Jesuit cardinal… Cardinal Karl Josef Becker SJ, perhaps?

    But the main issue here, for me is this: the liturgy in great and ancient sees around the world (Buenos Aires, believe me, is not “some diocese over there”, it was created in 1620 and has 2.5 million people in its territory, for crying out loud) is below standard. Buenos Aires is a great example and I believe the same happens generally in all South America. The Pope is “doing liturgy” WAAAAAAY better than he did as Card. Bergoglio, which never chanted a prayer, never spoke one single word in Latin, never, ever, celebrated ad orientem and had no liturgical music worthy of that name in his Cathedral. What has been Rome doing about this things???

    I really hope and pray that he grows to the height of his office, leaving the the old ways of Card. Bergoglio behind. he has the capacity to do it and be a great Pope.

    Best regards;

  30. Pingback: Giving Pope Francis Time to Learn to ‘Be Pope’ | Defend Us In Battle

  31. Read Francis through Benedict…

    Exactly! But how does that make it better? Benedict and Francis are birds of a feather, they just have different aesthetics.

  32. netokor says:

    My brother was telling me that Ratzinger was different from Benedict and that Imbroglio (just kidding) will be replaced by Francis. God allowed him to be Pope for a reason.

  33. Mandy P. says:

    “In regard to others, repeating the mantra ‘give him more time to grow into papacy’ – how many hours/days/weeks/years, in your estimation, Cardinals Burke, Ranjith, Scola, Bagnasco, Bishops Fellay, Schneider, Morlino or Father Zuhlsdorf would need, if elected, [ ;) ], to ‘grow into the office?’”

    This really isn’t fair to Papa Francis, at all. I would wager that all of these very good men you have suggested would need weeks or months to grow into the role of Pope as well. Pope Francis has gone from being a semi-private/public person as Cardinal to a completely public person overnight with almost zero privacy. He has gone from riding the bus to work every day like everyone else to having his every utterance and gesture make headlines. That’s a lot for someone to absorb. In the past we weren’t really subject to how well or otherwise the papal transitions went because we didn’t have the 24-hour/ instant media and the vast majority of us don’t live in Rome or Italy and wouldn’t be subject to the activities of the Vatican as regularly. And, as been admitted here multiple times, even Papa Benedict took a little bit to come into his own liturgically. As shy as he is I doubt he was ever even mildly comfortable with all the attention he received upon becoming Pope, as you could see even in his discomfort in his demeanor during his last audiences and appearances (And that’s not a slam on him, either. I adore Pope Benedict and he will always be my Papa).

    So, a little perspective and patience is what is really needed here. Offering charitable and contructive criticism is perfectlymfine when it is warranted (and I think that is what our gracious host on this site is trying to do). However, it is unrealistic to expect the man who was simply Jorge Bergoglio three weeks ago to turn into Saint Pius X at the height of his reign overnight. Give the man some time to adjust. His entire world was just turned on its head.

  34. kelleyb says:

    I believe Pope Francis is having a positive affect. This pew dweller sees Pope Francis as a powerful image for those struggling. A dear friend returned to confession after years away from the Sacrament on Good Friday. Confession lines for three priests were amazing. I have an additional friend who is thinking about coming back. Both have mentioned Pope Francis’ Holiness and simplicity in their discussions with me. Please pray for those who are suffering due to their fragile faith. May the Holy Spirit animate their desire to return to the Father.

  35. “He has done things that I think are both strange and ill-considered. On the other hand, he minces no words about the warfare we are in with the Devil, to whom he refers clearly and boldly. He spoke about the need for priests to hear confessions, though that was in private. I’ll bet he speaks about it publicly too, before long. In his homilies has has entirely eschewed a modern biblical exegetical style in favor of a more Patristic, allegorical style… even as Ratzinger famously used. His use the image of the garb of the Old Testament priesthood and the chasuble priests put on for Mass was like something Pope Benedict would have offered us, and he wrote it before he was elected: it was his own work and not that of some flunky in the Secretariate of State. There are a lot of things Francis is showing which traditional Catholics can sincerely applaud (if they can get over themselves long enough to see them).”

    What we are seeing with Pope Francis– what Fr. Z describes above– is much like what I have seen repeatedly in my travels. Those of you familiar with my writings may even remember: very often, a priest would not fit one of the little boxes that we would like to prepare for him. There are liturgically liberal priests with decidedly conservative views of morality. Don’t assume that because a priest offers Mass wearing only a stole, or because he leaves out the Gloria on Sunday, you’re going to get off easy in the homily; just as you’re sitting back to relax, you just might get hit with a fire and brimstone warning about getting to confession before it’s too late! Likewise, after you get an admonition against abortion or same-sex marriage, the priest just might use Eucharistic Prayer II or ask you to join hands for the Our Father. We simply have to appreciate the good and gently note the less good and pray that everything improves.

  36. OrthodoxChick says:

    Andrew Saucci,

    You said, “We simply have to appreciate the good and gently note the less good and pray that everything improves.”

    I’m sorry, but I disagree with this. We don’t have to just take note of what is “less good” and pray. We DO need to pray, of course. But while we’re doing that, we need to take action. Pope Benedict gave us Summorum Pontificorum for a reason, didn’t he? We need to scour our Dioceses for the few (or maybe even for the one and only) priest who shows an interest in learning the Latin Mass. And when we find that man – we must actively support him, if not financially, then with our time, talent, and presence at the TLM.

    I am growing less and less patient with the nonsense that occurs at the N.O. masses in the parishes in my area. It is going to be a financial sacrifice (in terms of gas $) for our family to get to the nearest TLM on a weekly basis, but it’s about time to make the sacrifice. I have a child receiving a Sacrament in a few weeks. Once that happens and the so-called “faith formation” classes at the N.O. parish wrap for the year, come “you-know-what”, or high water, I’m going to find a way to get my family to the TLM. I can’t take the type of spiritually comatose N.O. at our parish anymore. My nerves are shot. This has been going on in my area while B16 was Pope, so I can’t blame it on Pope Francis. BUT…those few priests who might have caved into that “small, but stable group” approaching them with a TLM request under B16, just might become even fewer now. I said “might”. Or they might react as my pastor did and just turn us down – flat.

    So…I’ll definitely pray. I’ll pray for my pastor during my 1 hour drive away from his parish and out to a neighboring Diocese to worship at the Latin Mass.

  37. mightyduk says:

    Mandy P

    simply Jorge Bergoglio? No, he was Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, shepherd of 2.5 Million Catholics, 183 parishes, 460 priests, and a half dozen auxiliary bishops. You (and others) treat him like he was a cloistered monk like Pietro Angelerio, and someday maybe he’ll figure out what it is to be the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. I give the man much more respect than to dismiss his decisions as immaturity. He is the man he chooses to be, and the pope he chooses to be, though God can change him his theological and liturgical approach is not an accident. The criticisms from the more liturgically minded Catholics are completely valid and Pope Francis is a big boy who can take it.

  38. Mandy P. says:

    My point was that he was still largely his own person. While he had an obvious responsibility to his flock in Argentina there is a gigantic difference between the degree of privacy he was allowed in his role as Cardinal versus the almost completely lack of privacy he will have now as Pope. That takes a lot of adjustment. As we can see already, every single thing he does, from what he does and does not wear to the current controversy is microanalyzed where those actions as a Cardinal at the bottom of the world most certainly did not garner that kind of attention.

    I myself am a more liturgically minded Catholic, which is why I often lurk here, and I choose to hold my tongue instead of criticize *because* I realize what a huge transition and adjustment this has to be for any person. As I said before, I am fine with people offering constructive criticism in a charitable manner. But part of being charitable is allowing that, big boy or not, the Pope is still a human being who has had his life altered in such a way that there is literally only one other person alive who can fully understand it. That’s just an acknowledgment of reality.

  39. Fr Z’s final comment: “We must not pit Francis against Benedict right now. We find the continuity between them. AMEN! As i read somewhere there are ppl who would love nothing more than to get at Pope Emeritus Benedict through Pope Francis. Besides,unless the man who followed His Holiness were a clone he wouldn’t have much of a chance. And here we are.
    Maybe we should say let’s not pit them against each other ever? We want to stay with Pius XII to Peter? What happened to the gates of hell will not prevail?

    Another comment,“I thought that Pope Francis’ health an stamina could be a factor too, but that would be strange in light of the fact that the cardinals were well aware of the fact that Benedict resigned precisely for that reason:
    “in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me”

    I think we all had the feeling they would elect someone younger. They elected this man for some reason that we may never know. You noticed what Pope Francis does not do either. Some ppl attacked him for this ASSUMING it was deliberate. If you watch Pope Francis walk(and the way he NEARLY fell several times)you know there is a problem. It could have been a health issue but not life threatening nor keep him from doing most of his duties as Pope. Perhaps that is why they went ahead and elected him anyway-perhaps there were more good reasons to elect him than health reasons not to. The last months of His Holiness pontificate his voice was barely a whisper and very raspy. You could see how weary he was. When he stepped down he was 1 yr older than Blessed John Paul was when he died. Old age is not fun and a tremendous task like being Pope is bound to take a toll on a person who is not very well to begin with. He said for the ‘good of the Church’ and that had to be the determining factor. He knew what lie ahead and what the Church needed. IMHO i was hoping for His Excellence Georg Ganswein but His will be done. I have been pleasantly surprised (though it’s been a raucous start to say the least). Maybe Pope Francis will raise the good Archbishop to Cardinal? (Hoping although i sent a tweet to @Pontifex putting a little bug in his ear). Pope Francis asked us to pray for him for a reason. Seems like he knew how much he would need our prayers.
    Fr Z’a words of wisdom …right to the point! hope we all take them to heart.
    Might Duk wrote,” I give the man much more respect than to dismiss his decisions as immaturity. He is the man he chooses to be, and the pope he chooses to be, though God can change him his theological and liturgical approach is not an accident. Yep. couldn’t say it better.
    Love this blog. Learned so much.Good discussions. Doesn’t it make your day to stop in here and see what Fr .Z has been up to?

  40. crumbz. forgot to close the bold command. :(

  41. netokor says:

    OrthodoxChick, I don’t blame you for feeling so frustrated. I pray with all my heart that Our Lady will help you. Benedict has made a great difference. If we had not had a Pope like him, the recent actions by Francis would have just been accepted in bitter resignation. I remember when JPII gave us Altar girls. All we could do was groan. However, Summorum Pontificum is here to stay and we are not groaning, but instead connecting and supporting the Latin Mass. I pray that little by little it will become more available. Our Latin Mass community was very small, but it has grown so much and more cities in my state are offering it. God bless you and hang in there!

  42. RichardT says:

    “it was not clear why at the Easter Vigil, after the singing of the Exultet, the biblical readings were cut to the bone”

    I wonder how far in advance these things are planned? I would guess before Francis was elected (2.5 weeks) and quite possibly before Benedict announced his resignation (7 weeks). The shorter readings may even have been chosen initially by people who were worried how an increasingly frail Pope Benedict cope with a long service.

    Yes, Francis has changed some things (notably the foot washing), but at this stage it will only be the things most important to him and it seems unlikely that picking the readings was high up on Francis’ priorities list for his first two weeks as Pope.

    Let’s remember that it took Benedict 2 years to replace Marini, and his liturgical style developed over the first few years of his office.

  43. pinoytraddie says:

    The Easter Vigil at Rome made One in My Parish,a little ‘decent’ in some aspects. Anyway,let us pray for True Liturgical Renewal to come back in the Pope’s future Masses.

  44. BLB Oregon says:

    “Time, friends. Patience. And pray for him. He must be wondering if he is going to wake up from some sort of long, strange dream.”

    This….and remember that no man can take over from an able predecessor in a day. If I wanted Archbishop Sample to be Archbishop Vlazny, let alone to be what Archbishop Vlanzy was five or ten years into his time in Portland, instead of the less-experienced leader he had to have been when he had been a bishop only seven years, would that be fair? And would I be as grateful as I ought to be for such a fine shepherd? Could I have appreciated Pope Benedict XVI, if I had sat around wishing he were Bl. John Paul II? Could I appreciate Archbishop Sample, if I only concern myself with how he is different than Archbishop Vlazny? And does either Pope Benedict or Archbishop Vlazny have the energy to keep being what we have grown to love? No. We have to be patient and we have to remember to be grateful for the blessings we have been given today, instead of wishing for something else or someone else.

  45. BLB lovely comment-right to the crux of the matter. Some have deemed Pope Francis pontificate a failure and he’s barely into his Pontificate.

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  47. Supertradmum says:

    A so-called Catholic at the Guardian has picked up on all the brouhaha.

    Sigh, and we are only two weeks into the papacy.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/03/pope-francis-foot-washing-easter-mass-imitate-jesus?CMP=twt_gu

  48. jhayes says:

    Francis on homilies:

    “In another passage of the interview, Bergoglio criticizes those homilies “which should be ‘kerygmatic’ but end up speaking about everything that has a connection with sex. This can be done, this cannot be done. This is wrong, this is not. And so we end up forgetting the treasure of Jesus alive, the treasure of the Holy Spirit present in our hearts, the treasure of a project of Christian life that has many implications that go much further than mere sexual questions. We overlook a very rich catechesis, with the mysteries of the faith, the creed, and we end up concentrating on whether or not to participate in a demonstration against a draft law in favor of the use of condoms.”

  49. Rich says:

    You have been inspired by the light of the Holy Spirit above, Fr. Zuhlsdorf.

  50. jhayes says:

    The rubrics say that, for pastoral reasons, the Old Testament readings can be reduced from seven to three, one of which must be Exodus 14 (the passage though the Red Sea).

    Even if the full set of seven Old Testament readings is used, the first reading from Genesis can be either the long form (Genesis 1:1–2; 2) or the short form (Genesis 1:1, 26-31a)

    20. in this vigil, the mother of all vigils, nine readings are provided, namely seven from the old testament and two from the New (the epistle and gospel), all of which should be read whenever this can be done, so that the character of the vigil, which demands an extended period of time, may be preserved.

    21. Nevertheless, where more serious pastoral circumstances demand it, the number of readings from the old testament may be reduced, always bearing in mind that the reading of the Word of god is a fundamental part of this easter vigil. at least three readings should be read from the old testament, both from the Law and from the prophets, and their respective responsorial psalms should be sung. Never, moreover, should the reading of chapter 14 of exodus with its canticle be omitted.

    24. after the first reading (on creation: gn 1: 1–2: 2 or 1: 1, 26-31a) and the psalm (104 [103] or 33 [32]).

    So nothing was improvised. It simply followed the options provided in the rubrics.

  51. maryh says:

    I have a pinterest board dedicated to Pope Francis (and just started adding Mother Teresa of Calcutta too). I arranged images of the Pope Francis and Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in one image to show their solidarity. At least, that’s what it looks like to me. http://pinterest.com/pin/985231140968682/
    Same pallium. Same kind of cross.

  52. OrthodoxChick says:

    netokor,
    Thank you! Sorry for venting, but it does get to me once in a while.

  53. wolfeken says:

    Richard T — you asked about the planning of the Holy Saturday liturgy. Here was the official booklet: http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/libretti/2013/20130330-veglia-pasquale-libretto.pdf

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