What Did St. Francis Really Say? 02

On matters liturgical, St. Francis of Assisi.

Epistola ad clericos

Let us all consider, O clerics, the great sin and ignorance of which some are guilty regarding the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and His most holy Name and the written words of consecration. For we know that the Body cannot exist until after these words of consecration. For we have nothing and we see nothing of the Most High Himself in this world except [His] Body and Blood, names and words by which we have been created and redeemed from death to life.

But let all those who administer such most holy mysteries, especially those who do so indifferently, consider among themselves how poor the chalices, corporals, and linens may be where the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is sacrificed. And by many It is left in wretched places and carried by the way disrespectfully, received unworthily and administered to others indiscriminately. Again His Names and written words are sometimes trampled under foot, for the sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of God.  Shall we not by all these things be moved with a sense of duty when the good Lord Himself places Himself in our hands and we handle Him and receive Him daily? Are we unmindful that we must needs fall into His hands?

Let us then at once and resolutely correct these faults and others; and wheresoever the most holy Body of our Lord Jesus Christ may be improperly reserved and abandoned, let It be removed thence and let It be put and enclosed in a precious place. In like manner wheresoever the Names and written words of the Lord may be found in unclean places they ought to be collected and put away in a decent place. And we know that we are bound above all to observe all these things by the commandments of the Lord and the constitutions of holy Mother Church. And let him who does not act thus know that he shall have to render an account therefore before our Lord Jesus Christ on the day of judgment. And let him who may cause copies of this writing to be made, to the end that it may be the better observed, know that he is blessed by the Lord.

Attendamus, omnes clerici, magnum peccatum et ignorantiam, quam quidam habent super sanctissimum corpus et sanguinem Domini nostri Jesu Christi et sacratissima nomina et verba eius scripta, quae sanctificant corpus. Scimus, quia non potest esse corpus, nisi prius sanctificetur a verbo. Nihil enim habemus et videmus corporaliter in hoc saeculo de ipso Altissimo, nisi corpus et sanguinem, nomina et verba, per quae facti sumus et redempti de morte ad vitam (1 Joa 3,14). Omnes autem illi qui ministrant tam sanctissima ministeria, considerent intra se, maxime hi qui indiscrete ministrant, quam viles sint calices, corporalia et linteamina, ubi sacrificatur corpus et sanguis Domini nostri. Et a multis in locis vilibus relinquitur, miserabiliter portatur et indigne sumitur et indiscrete aliis ministratur. Nomina etiam et verba eius scripta aliquando pedibus conculcantur; quia animalis homo non percipit ea quae Dei sunt (1 Cor 2,14). Non movemur de his omnibus pietate, cum ipse pius Dominus in manibus nostris se praebeat et eum tractemus et sumamus quotidie per os nostrum? An ignoramus, quia debemus venire in manus eius? Igitur de his omnibus et aliis cito et firmiter emendemus; et ubicumque fuerit sanctissimum corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi illicite collocatum et relictum, removeatur de loco illo et in loco pretioso ponatur et consignetur. Similiter nomina et verba Domini scripta, ubicumque inveniantur in locis immundis, colligantur et in loco honesto debeant collocari. Et scimus, quia haec omnia tenemur super omnia observare secundum praecepta Domimi et constitutiones sanctae matris Ecclesiae. Et qui hoc non fecerit, sciat, se coram Domino nostro Jesu Christo in die iudicii reddere rationem (cfr. Mt 12,36). Hoc scriptum, ut melius debeat observari, sciant se benedictos a Domino Deo, qui ipsum fecerint exemplari.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Supertradmum says:

    Glad you surfaced and this is great. Thanks.

  2. Sieber says:

    I haven’t seen “Shoes of the Fisherman” for some time, although it was directed by a friend of mine.
    I recall that when Anthony Quinn was elected, he also said to the cardinals,” May God forgive you for what you have done”…..or something quite similar. I do recall the actions he decided to take as Pope Kyril to resolve the world’s problem of the moment. I wonder if Pope Francis has seen this film.

  3. Fr AJ says:

    Yes this is my understanding of St. Francis, he was anything but lax when it came to Holy Mass. While embracing poverty, nothing was too good for the Lord in the liturgy. I’m afraid, though, most do not have this understanding of the saint.

    We have to trust in the Lord and I’m praying we don’t have a return to a 1970’s style spirit in the liturgy but when Cardinal Mahony starts celebrating, I get worried.

  4. tgarcia2 says:

    I would be more worried about the fact that JESUITS think that the Franciscans have taken the liberalization of liturgy too far….we have (for some reason) two ponchos in the sacristy that our former Newman center Friar had, and a Jesuit came to say Mass and said “..those brothers of Clair…they can’t even do Mass right”.

    So, as we are 2 full days after the election, let’s breath. I don’t know about Argentinan church liturgy but in Mexico they do some stuff with the youth that would cause traditionalists here to literally freak out (clapping in song after Mass, etc) BUT, they are the most solid in their apologetics and in defending their faith to where it has a tinge of SSPX at times….so, since Rome does move SLOWLY…let’s just relax, please.

  5. tgarcia2 says:

    On a side note, even if (God forbid) we regress as far as the liturgy is concerned, does that alter the consecration prayer/transsubstantiation that occurs?

  6. Patrick-K says:

    I sometimes go to a church run by the Franciscans near my work. Its style is restrained, but elegant. The priests there hear confessions all day, every weekday. There is daily adoration before the daily Mass. It is reverent, but not ornate. There is occasionally an “Amazing Grace” sung, which I am ok with…

  7. catholicmidwest says:

    The problem isn’t with the faith, or even with those who really have a robust understanding of the faith like St. Francis did. The problem comes when people can only see part of the faith and misunderstand the whole picture because they get stuck on some part of it. Unfortunately this is present all over the place because we’re only human. We have to work through so many things and we make so many mistakes and miscalculations.

    You are going to see people who will say, “Oh goody, a complete rollback. Get me a tambourine!” But that’s not what this is about at all, precisely because tambourines convert no one. The unchurched can get a tambourine and sing a stupid song without coming to Church and they know it. They can hug and kiss and get all the affirmation they want. They can even pay for it if they have to do so. These things do not convert people. What converts people is the Gospel, told bluntly, completely, truly and then lived out so that it astonishes and confounds people who do not think it possible. The Gospel compels people to do things that have no explanation outside of the Gospel. This converts people. When they have no other way to account for what they see with their own eyes, then they believe, which means they have a choice to freely make. And no one can make it for them.

  8. catholicmidwest says:

    Now that said, it’s true that for some people, even tambourines can be used as a sort of communication shorthand that can support a choice already made, as can any other style of music or art depending on the personality structure and conceptual system of the person. So can Palestrina and everything in between with the right audience. And peoples’ feelings and tastes need to be taken into consideration. This is very important. There should be all these things for people because they need them. They are growth environment and they’re necessary. Plurality is a good thing and force is a bad thing. (And that’s really what was abusive about the post-V2 period, force.)

    However, I also know from experience that there is a monumental appetite among Catholics for edification. And edification can and does occur all the time, without conversion occurring. This is a very sly thing too, and appearances are next to worthless when trying to see this. However, it’s very important because if holiness is not increasing, what’s happening is circular and quite pointless. A pastor can work themselves silly and have little or nothing happen as a result. There is only one way to tell if something is working: Growth in virtue is the gold standard for growth in holiness.

  9. Father P says:

    However…nothing of what we have seen is unworthy of the liturgy. Simpler and less ornate but the chasuble was not off-the-rack polyester either. I also sensed that his heart and mind and soul were “ad Dominum” even if his body was not “ad orientem”. The prayer for peace please not was spoken directly to the Host…can get much more “ad orientem” than that. Personally, OK simplicity does not mean impoverishment. The simple mozzetta of a cardinal over a rochet rather than nothing, would be my preference. But I’m also glad to see linen rochets on men rather than the lace which again, personally, did not give the most masculine impression in tihe 21st century

  10. UncleBlobb says:

    “In like manner wheresoever the Names and written words of the Lord may be found in unclean places they ought to be collected and put away in a decent place.”

    I wonder exactly what St. Francis (!) means by “Names” in this context…?

  11. Father P says:

    Should have previewed. The prayer for peace was spoken directly to the Host. Can’t get more “ad orientem” than that. …is what the above should say

  12. Traductora says:

    There’s a wide variation among Franciscans. That said, I think the Franciscan “spirit” (NOT to be confused with the “Spirit of Vatican II”) is directed towards evangelization, and will make use of whatever serves that end. And as for the wide variation, one of the bad things about the Franciscan orders, because of their loose structure, is that it is very easy for them to bud off and go crazy – but one of the good things is that it is very easy for them to bud off and be evangelizing powerhouses. Look at the Friars of the Renewal. So in that sense, perhaps it’s necessary to be very specific when talking about Franciscans.

    The visual and aural expression of the faith was clearly important to Francis and to the Franciscan family. When the Franciscan missionaries came to Florida (16th century) and to California (18th century), they brought music and beautiful things for their churches (the inventory of the religious items, including vestments, possessed by these remote and often tiny missions is impressive). The Indian missions in Florida often seem to have been more elaborately decorated than the churches built for the Spanish themselves, and the reason for this is that the missionaries wanted to impress and attract their Indian converts. They also knew that religious pageantry (which is essentially what liturgy is) expressed truths in a way more intelligible than words and made them more accessible to their simple audiences. So anyone in the Franciscan mold would understand the importance of expressing the faith in a visible symbolic form.

    And it doesn’t stop with just the ritual, because St Francis knew that the Eucharist is more than the ritual. I will never forget the story of the early 19th century Franciscan Fr. Sarria (there shd be an accent over the last “a”), who was at the remote La Soledad mission in California during a famine at the time of the secularization laws passed by Mexico, which controlled California at that time, and collapsed and died of starvation while saying mass after having given away all his food to his little band of Indian converts.

    Perhaps the way to convince a Franciscan of the importance of liturgy is to try to demonstrate that saving the liturgy can save the world – by revealing through its ritual and its drama the divine mystery that is its only reason for being.

  13. OrthodoxChick says:

    I’m optimistically praying that Pope Francis will be open to taking some counsel regarding the Liturgy from Mnsgr. G. Marini and (please Lord) from Pope Emeritus Benedict when they meet and converse. I would be thrilled if what develops over time is the standardization of a reverent N.O. Mass as Vatican II actually suggested (versus the “spirit” of it). If the happy-clappy N.O.’s fade away due to parish priests worldwide adopting the good example of Pope Francis, then I’ll be jumping for joy. If something like that type of liturgical reform could develop while the EF continues to become more widespread, however gradually, I think this would be an amazing gift to Holy Mother Church.

  14. Tradcarlos says:

    When Cardinal Mahony is overjoyed and tweets “Mass with Pope Francis: moving from HIGH Church to LOW and humble Church! What a blessing that we are encountering Jesus without trappings!” & “Don’t you feel the new energy in the Church, and being shared with one another? We will experience a new Pentecost as the early Christians.” it makes me wonder as to why he is so happy and what he knows that we don’t. All this from he who wrote “Gather Faithfully Together: A Guide for Sunday Mass” by Cardinal Roger Mahony Archbishop of Los Angeles.

  15. mamajen says:

    A commenter named “Father G” posted this on another post, but I thought it bears repeating. Here are some pictures from Pope Benedict’s first mass in the Sistine Chapel (note, especially, the altar): http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/photogallery/2005/index_20050420.html

    People who are despairing after just these first few days need to cut it out. People like Cardinal Mahony who are rejoicing at the “changes” need to cut it out, too. We do not know yet what this papacy has in store, or what Pope Francis’ intentions are. Maybe Pope Francis himself doesn’t know, either. So far I have seen nothing from Pope Francis that contradicts St. Francis’ words above. I read Father Z’s post as a correction of the people who have hijacked St. Francis’ image, not an indictment of our current Pope, who has barely gotten started.

  16. Peter in Canberra says:

    Thanks for posting this.
    However, sadly, for the foreseeable future and for the greater number of Catholics (and non-Catholics), including bishops and priests, it is the popular (mythical) picture of St Francis, including as applied to the liturgy is what is going to obtain (propbably irrespective of what Pope Francis does or says).
    One hopes that the choices of our new Holy Father Pope Francis in matters liturgical do not mean that it is former Pope Benedict’s actions in papal liturgical practice and symbols that are seen as mere personal tastes, and silly, old fashioned self-indulgent ones at that.

  17. Jack Regan says:

    I rather suspect that liturgical matters aren’t high on this Pope’s to-do list…

  18. Jack Hughes says:

    Time for a Rosary crusade to preserve the Traditional Mass methinks

  19. Ambrose Jnr says:


    I see how you are coming to the defence of pope Francis and you are right to caution us against judging rashly. Nevertheless, a comparison of Pope Benedict and Pope Francis’s first mass in the Sixtene chapel is a non-starter, because it ignores the 8 years of brick-by-brick improvement of the liturgy initiated by Pope Benedict. What needs comparing is Pope Benedict’s last novus ordo mass at orientem in the Sistene chapel with Pope Francis’s first one…this is where substantial changes are visible, and why many traditionalists are panicking.

    However, I read that during the conclave Mass was celebrated with the extra movable altar in front of the gorgeous ad orientem altar…it wasn’t moved when Pope Francis celebrated his first mass as pope…so, we should rather blame cardinals like Tauran and Re for this liturgical regression, since they were in charge of the conclave…as to Pope Francis, it’s too early to tell yet…

    The only sure thing is that he will not go for historic papal paraphernalia…in my opinion, these are much less important anyway than having ad orientem masses, receiving communion kneeling on the tongue, the benedictine arrangement and leaving Msgr Guido Marini in place: verticality to counter the exaggerated horizontality of 95% of the novus ordo masses in the world.

  20. Pingback: St. Francis on Liturgical Propriety II | Dr. Leroy Huizenga

  21. mamajen says:

    @Ambrose Jnr

    I think Pope Francis’ altar was actually an improvement over the one used in Pope Benedict’s first mass–I think it reflects Benedict’s influence. There may be practical reasons for the versus populum setup that have nothing whatever to do with a request by Pope Francis. The chapel was not set up for conclave when Benedict last said mass there, so I don’t believe that would be a proper comparison, either. Not fair to consider this a step back, IMO. I know Pope Francis is a very different person from Benedict, so I’m not exactly expecting miracles as far as his liturgy is concerned, but I can’t draw conclusions yet, either. So far his reverence has been admirable, even in the supposedly damning children’s mass video that has been circulating the blogosphere. I’m optimistic.

  22. ByzCath08 says:

    I came across this from News.VA on Pope Francis meeting with journalist….He imparted his apostolic blessing, however, in silence – out of respect, he said, for the fact that “not everyone present belongs to the Catholic faith and others do not believe.” “I respect the conscience of each one of you”, he said, “knowing that each one of you is a Child of God.May God bless you”.

    I find it a little disturbing that the Successor to St. Peter felt the need to silently impart a blessing because some people may be offended by it.

  23. Uncle Blob – When Francis wrote “In like manner wheresoever the Names and written words of the Lord may be found in unclean places they ought to be collected and put away in a decent place.” he was referring principally to Scripture. The early lives record that he would pick up any written text and put it away somewhere safe because the very letters could make up the Name of God. Printing had not yet been invented so writing still had much of its ‘magic’.

    Some scholars have suggested that the roots of the Jesuit order are Franciscan. Perhaps Ignatius should have continued on his pilgrimage… To those who comment on Franciscans and the liturgy: there are about 20,000 Friars Minor (OFM), 11,000 Capuchins (OFM Cap) and 4,000 Conventuals (OFM Conv) not to mention Third Order Regular and other Franciscan groups. What goes on in one area does not represent what goes on elsewhere.

    Some people have commented on the net on the Holy Father’s coat of arms: a blue shield with the emblem of the Jesuits (the Holy Name of Jesus within a radiant disk) above a white five-pointed star and a white bunch of grapes. The explanation given by Rome Reports is that apart from the emblem of the Jesuits, the white star on the blue shield refers to the Mother of God and the grapes to Jesus as the grower of the faith. I was wondering about that interpretation. The first three letters of Jesus’ name in Greek is familiar to all Catholics and that image surrounded by rays goes back at least to the Franciscan St. Bernardine of Sienna promoter of devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. But it can also represent the Eucharist as can the bunch of grapes. A Jesuit pope who has devotion to St. Francis who himself promoted devotion to the Eucharist and Our Lady – that made me think some more. This pope has on his shield symbols of Christ and Our Lady, symbols that are also eucharistic. Could this be the pope St. John Bosco saw in his vision? Just thinking….

  24. O. Possum says:

    ByzCath08: That doesn’t sound like good news. :(

    Maybe Father Z. should start working on slavishly accurate translations of “Michael Row the Boat Ashore.” :P :(

  25. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Cardinal Mahony? Of the “trappings” like incense bowls, floofy dancers, bizarre vestments, and every possible complication of Mass ever? Do you really think he’s the observer to see or to like “simplicity”? Oh, heck no. He’s unhappy, but trying to seem happy. Anything to try to convince people that he’s in control. (Instead of being a negligent shepherd who’s practically banned from LA.)

    Suuuuuure he voted for this Pope. Yeah, just like Kung pretended to be happy about his classmate Ratzinger getting elected… until he couldn’t keep up the mask anymore, even for worldly advantage, and all his bile and chagrin spilled out.

  26. O. Possum says:

    Br. Tom: Thanks for that info, it’s really neat.

    I’m subscribed to the Franciscan Friars channel on YouTube and enjoy watching the homilies they upload every day. Judging by the vestments and what I see in the background and substance of their homilies, I would say the Franciscans represented on the channel are pretty solid liturgical (IMHO). I can tell they’re good because I hear words like “the Protestant Revolt” in the homilies. :D

  27. JLCG says:

    The Final judgment wall is at the west end of the chapel. Francis was facing east when he was facing the cardinals. It seems to me that some people understand that “ad orientem” means the back of a priest . Apparently if the celebrant faces the east but the congregation is facing him that is to the west some abnormality is perceived.
    The axis of the Sistine chapel runs from east to west parallel to that of that Basilica.
    It is hard for me to envisage a person that would consider taking seriously a religion that thinks a wall is the east whatever its actual position. To say that it is the “liturgical’ east is lame. No one could take the anathemata of that church seriously.

    [You have a lot of homework to do. Keep working on it. You’ll understand eventually.]

  28. Kathleen10 says:

    ByzCath08…your post is downright unnerving. All I can say is…uh boy.
    Am I imagining this, or does it seem like in all realms of life today all you find is uncertainty and change you don’t want. I’m still trying to come to terms with Obama. Any more of this and I’m gonna be a hermit myself.

  29. acardnal says:

    ByzCath08 wrote,
    I came across this from News.VA on Pope Francis meeting with journalist….He imparted his apostolic blessing, however, in silence – out of respect, he said, for the fact that “not everyone present belongs to the Catholic faith and others do not believe.” “I respect the conscience of each one of you”, he said, “knowing that each one of you is a Child of God.May God bless you”.

    I find it a little disturbing that the Successor to St. Peter felt the need to silently impart a blessing because some people may be offended by it.

    I have to say that bothered me, too. It reminded me of the Jesuits at Georgetown Univ. removing the crucifixes because they didn’t want to upset Muslim students and others. Odd.

    There is a video on YouTube of Prof. Peter Kreeft giving a talk on this and one of his Muslim students responds by saying “no”, he would not be bothered by seeing a crucifix on a Catholic university’s wall. He would expect to see one!

  30. Kathleen10 says:

    By “this” I mean change I don’t want, not the discussions, which I actually think are a good and helpful thing. Why not discuss concerns and what we’re thinking? And I certainly want to know what Fr. Z. and our knowledgeable posters think.

  31. JKnott says:

    His Holiness Pope Francis during his news conference today spoke more about Francis. This is from a Boston paper.

    “Sitting in the vast Vatican auditorium, Francis continued: ‘‘For me, he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation. These days we don’t have a very good relationship with creation, do we?’’ he said. ‘‘He is the man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man.’’

    ‘‘Oh how I would like a church which is poor and for the poor!’’ Francis said, sighing.

    Hasn’t our Church and her religious, lay and Saints always loved and served the poor through a variety of charisms given by the Lord? Not all of the charisms are called to practice the high degree of radical poverty as Francis did.
    But, I don’t understand what the other part of that means. Pope Francis “would like a church which is poor.”
    I hope it doesn’t mean our patrimony in the aesthetic treasures of the arts isn’t in danger of being sold.

  32. Father P says:


    I was a bit worried at first…but just over the first few days what I have picked up during the pontificate of Pope “just call me Frank” is that there is a subtlety of very deep (and very Catholic) theological thought that his demenor may hide.

    When I read his address to the media what came across was “Repent! and believe in the Gospel!” The address was not a “we are all just OK”. It was an invitation to know Christ. Truly a “come to Jesus” moment

    Some things that have impressed me as I’ve reflected are in fact the blessings for just their subtlety and theological precision. He did not ask the people in the square to give him a blessing but basically it was a kind of “Orate Fratres” even if it was “folksy”. And check out Canon 1170.

    Another thing was the use of the stole only for the Urbi et Orbi. There was something (again) very subtile but profound there. There was a bit of the “with you I am a Christian, for you I am a Bishop” distinction that being without the stole as the people prayed with and for him and then taking up the stole as he imparted the Papal Blessing over them and to them. Also the putting on of the stole seemed to be saying “there is a time and place for everything”. We can be jovial and funny and “down to earth” but there is a time when we “lift up our hearts”.

    In terms of the “emperor has no clothes” appearance on the loggia… If it were me maybe to put on the simple Cardinal’s mozzetta over a rochet and the white simar without stole and then added the stole for the actual blessing would have simplified things toward a “Franciscan arrangement” without such a shock to the system. On the other hand, if I had been Msgr. Marini and the Pope was going out merely in house cassock I might have taken off the mantiletta and rochet as a sign of solidarity. (Of course that presumes that both men had the wonderful disinterest to think it through that I have since I was not in the moment) Though I have to say I prefer a little more subtantial albs and rochets on men than what we have seen of late. There was a bit of the “Victoria’s Secret” line of liturgical wear that had a time (and may again) but I don’t think that this is it.

    Although his posture at Mass was not “ad orientem”, notice the way he says the Prayer for Peace in that he speaks directly to the Sacred Species. Can’t get much more “ad orientem” than that.

    To paraphrase a line from the Seinfeld TV show: Maybe Benedict appealed to many of us but Francis is “a ‘pontifuss’ for the rest of us”

  33. TLM says:

    When the wealthy man approached our Lord and said, “Lord, I have followed the laws Thou hast set for us, what must I do to attain salvation”? Then Jesus said to him, “sell all that you have, give it to the poor and come follow Me”.
    Forgive my poor quoting…my only electronic capability is an iphone.
    But, I don’t think Pope Francis is going to be handing out free Bernini’s anytime soon.

  34. B.Questa says:

    While Pope Francis may not be an expert in matters of the liturgy, and its obvious he did not choose the name Francis because of St. Francis’ positions on the liturgy, I am entirely positive about the future of the liturgy. Pope Benedict 16 laid a tremendous foundation with his work and actions (encouraging the TLM in concrete ways etc), and the Spirit is still at work in the church’s liturgical reform (the reform of the reform, that is). Pope Francis will certainly have a different charism, as the Spirit gives to this one this, and to that one, another. As is sure, he will in no way “undo” the work of Benedict 16, he will in no way tamper with it.

    If it is time for Pope Francis to evangelize, if his work inspires help for the poor, then it is time. Hunger is a serious problem and if he inspires the world to increased love for their fellow man, increased vocations for this charism, than we should all be grateful.

    The love for proper liturgical worship is growing in the hearts and minds of all the faithful across the world. From this dimension it will continue to grow. If Pope Francis is not “leading” the way, but not hindering it, there is no need to concern, or worry.

  35. Traductora says:

    BzyCath08: You must not know a lot of Church-hostile people of good will. I work with them all the time, and the fact that the Church has been unable to communicate its message has left them running on fumes (but very disappointed about this situation, and as a result, hostile and blaming the Church). So I see nothing wrong with this. He silently blesses them as they are now (that is, unknowing heirs of Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian culture), encouraging them, and then someday, just maybe, he can bless them as members of the flock.

    Driving people away or asking for their ID cards is no way to spread the Faith, and I think his priority is on spreading the Faith. These people are the children at the gate, who, as TS Eliot said, will not go away and cannot pray. Why do you think the entire world (including some of my Church-hostile family members) watched every minute of the papal election and has been following every word said by Francis?

  36. TLM says:

    Hello Fr. P, I learned from another poster that the Sistine Chapel alter faces West, so when the Mass was said facing the cardinals, he was facing East and, therefore, “ad orientum”.

  37. Jason Keener says:

    I think Cardinal Mahony would do well to recall all of the beautiful and ornate churches built in this country by poor Catholic immigrants whose greatest concern was to give their best to God. The poor do not and never did want stripped down and minimalistic liturgies. The progressives in the Church wanted those things to push along their own agendas and pet projects. Ornate vestments and papal regalia give glory to God and edify the rich and poor alike. We must never forget that good Catholics can at the same time give their best to God through beautiful sacred objects and serve the poor through charitable acts. Moreover, it is a slap in the face to the poor to strip down the Sacred Liturgy, which might be the poor person’s only oasis in this world where they can experience beauty and edification.

  38. APX says:

    With regards to selling the Church’s art in order to make the church “poor for the poor”, it doesn’t seem like a logical financial plan for the poor. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the art the Church has was donated over the centuries, thus didn’t cost anything, and as of 2009 its value was estimated at $500 million. With tourists visiting Rome to see the artwork, the revenue the Church brings in each year after it covers it’s expenses, is around $100 million, which it gives to the poor. The artwork the Church owns is more valuable to the poor as a tourist attraction than selling it off to rich people in order to make the Church poor. I’m reminded of the story of the men who were given talents. Those who took them and made them more profitable were rewarded, whereas the man who buried his one talent, lest he lose it, was punished. I don’t think it’s God’s plan for us all to be poor. Some, yes. Others, no, but I do think those who are put in financial situations that are abundant, are to use their wealth to help those who are poor. The saints who were wealthy didn’t renounce their riches, but used them to help the poor.

  39. GordonB says:

    B.Questa – I agree with your POV. It’d be idea if he also led by example in matters liturgical, but hopefully, they are at least done reverently and by the book. I think we can just act that he act as much as a father and in fear of offending those with liturgical concerns as he did when he did not impart a formal blessing on the press core (an act I can only hope would spur some conversation amongst the nonbelievers, perhaps leave them to feel as though they were missing something (which they are).

  40. ByzCath08 says:

    @Traductora….I understand that there are many people hostile to the message of the church. However, you have the Bishop of Rome, giving an audience in Rome and he didn’t feel comfortable in giving a blessing to the crowd, which I bet had a decent number of Catholics. Why, because not everyone was Catholic or even a believer.

    Why stop there. How about not handing out communion at his installation mass because there will be a fair number of people present who are not Catholic or possibly even atheists. Of course, I’m not saying he would do this, but the logic is still the same. Don’t do something “Catholic” that might offend a non-catholic.

    I’m committed to the Church 100%, so in humility & obedience, I will devote more time to prayer for the Church and Pope Francis. But I have to say that inside I feel an uneasiness. I loved the way he spoke to the crowd and bowed his head for prayer from the faithful; I loved his visit to the Church in Rome and praying to the Mother of God; however, not doing something that comes with the office(Apostolic Blessing) or some of the other things that have come out leaves me in turmoil.

  41. Katylamb says:

    Well? What if he didn’t hand out communion at his inaugural Mass for the same reason he didn’t bless all the journalists? Wouldn’t that solve the Pelosi and Biden problem?

  42. r7blue1pink says:

    All I have to say is that the transition from JPII to Pope Benedict was a smooth one when it came to the Liturgy. Pope Benedict went SLOW to introduce and implement change. The transition that we have seen in the last 2 days went ENTIRELY too fast and gave us an extreme shock factor.. He could have and should have, in my opinion, continued with what Pope Benedict did and then slowly implement his own changes.

    But the other thing I think about…. Is the liturgy a “personal style” or personal preference in HOW to celebrate it?

    If it is- then the rubrics have entirely TOO much room for change/alteration from one person to another…

  43. r7blue1pink says:

    Who here thinks communion in the hand will be back?

  44. JKnott says:

    Thanks APX. Good answer!

    @ByzCath08 says:
    16 March 2013 at 8:23 pm My thoughts exactly. And I too feel an uneasiness. Just give it to our Blessed Mother.

  45. APX says:

    Communion in the hand is actually banned in a number of dioceses in Argentina (albeit, not his), perhaps…thinking really positively…his humility will cause a shift and a return to us humbling ourselves at communion rails receiving kneeling on the tongue.

  46. Emilio says:

    I am inclined to give the Holy Father the benefit of a doubt, let’s cut him some slack and relax a little. We certainly are within our right to be concerned that the exceptional liturgical catechesis and example of H.H. the Pope-Emeritus, as well as the hard work of the Congregation for Divine Worship and of the Office for Pontifical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, will not be demolished overnight. That would take almost inconceivable pettiness and wrecklessness… which I believe that Roger Card. Mahony is capable of, but not Pope Bergoglio. Let Cardinal Mahony gloat… as if he has walked two feet of the life of humility and self-abnegation exemplified by Joseph Ratzinger and Jorge Bergoglio. I believe that the Holy Father wants to confront the sins of corruption and unfaithfulness by some in the Church, with prayer, penance, and visible sobriety and austerity, himself a professed religious who sees himself bound to his vow of poverty. I really believe that he would not have rejected the red satin (summer) mozzetta or a simpler linen rochet, void of any lace. I think that it was just too much for the man within the Room of Tears, only minutes after assuming the burden of the Supreme Pontificate. Let us “pray, hope, and not worry” (to invoke Padre Pio’s frequent advice). We should pray for Monsignor Marini, that he be as cooperative and patient with the Holy Father as he can. As Cardinal Mahony shamefully makes evident, those faithful to Benedict XVI have enemies in the Church. He will have to sober it up and pick his battles from now on if he wants to continue… and the Church really needs him to continue! I wish I had an address for him, I would love to thank him and offer him my prayerful support and solidarity. We will be able to tell much more at the Inauguration Mass on Tuesday. Until then, let’s stay positive and PRAY HARD!

  47. kford says:

    I blame Anthony Quinn. Just sayin…

  48. And let us not forget these words that St. Francis gave to his brothers in his Testament just before his death:

    “And those, who might be found that do not perform the Office according to the Rule and want to vary it in another manner, or who are not Catholics: let all the friars, wherever they are, be bound by obedience, that wherever they have found any of these, they are to present them before the nearest custodian of that place, where they have found him. And let the custodian be firmly bound by obedience to guard that one strongly, just like a man in chains, day and night, so that he cannot be snatched from their hands, until he, in person, presents him into the hands of his minister. And let the minister be firmly bound by obedience to send him by means of such friars, that day and night guard him as a man in chains, until they present him before the lord of Ostia [that is Cardinal Hugolino], who is the lord, protector and corrector of the whole brotherhood.”

    Today one proof of real humility, after service to the poor, simplicity of life, and willing acceptance of obedience, is whether a cleric in a position of authority submits to the rubrics of the liturgical books. I urge every priest who reads this blog to conform to what St. Francis expects his friars.

  49. Pingback: Developing a Deep Prayer Life - Big Pulpit

  50. MikeM says:

    In response to ByzCath’s post,
    That bothered me, too. Honestly, I can’t make sense of it. He said that he was imparting the blessing, so if they were going to be offended by being blessed, then they were offended, anyway. If they’re offended by seeing/hearing displays of Faith, then it seems that they might as well be offended sooner rather than later… to give them more time to ask their bosses to reassign them to something other than coverage of the Vatican. I don’t get it. :\

  51. catholicmidwest says:

    Franciscan poverty has nothing to do with eradicating poverty from the face of the earth. Franciscan poverty is a demonstration that everyone is poor, and that God loves each and every one. If you notice, for instance, the CFRs in Brooklyn do not work like high-powered social workers to give away lots of money or goods to the people of New York. That’s not what they do each day. Rather, they live with the poor, and they are also poor. They spend their lives in fraternity with the poor. They remind the poor that God lives with them and loves their company because they depend on Him for their lives in a very direct way. It’s not about “stuff.” It’s about giving and receiving from the hand of God.

    As an example: In a very similar way, the Missionaries of Charity serve the poor. Their charism is very similar to the Franciscan charism in this same way. When Mother Teresa was still alive, a wealthy donor attempted to give her millions of dollars, provided she set up a hospital with the money and regularize her charity’s methods and fundraising activities. She turned the money down immediately, and many people were very upset with her. Some of them still are upset. But her would-be-donor had totally missed the point of her charism and her order’s activity. The Missionaries of Charity receive everything they receive from the hand of God as the poor do. To change that would be to destroy the order.

    So does a person with a Franciscan or MC charism give alms to the poor? Of course, but always remembering the reason for doing so. It’s not for wealth transfer or politics or social welfare purposes, heaven forbid. It’s because everyone, poor or rich, is a child of God. Everyone is precious to God, unlike what the world would have you believe, and everyone needs constant reminders of that on both sides, rich or poor or in between. To give is blessed and to receive is blessed, when it’s done as a reflection of God’s love for us all.

  52. Clinton R. says:

    “He imparted his apostolic blessing, however, in silence – out of respect, he said, for the fact that “not everyone present belongs to the Catholic faith and others do not believe.” “I respect the conscience of each one of you”, he said, “knowing that each one of you is a Child of God.May God bless you”.

    This is quite troubling. The Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church worrying about offending someone with the truth of the Catholic Faith? I do worry the days of Chastisement might soon be upon us. Domine, miserere nobis. Sancte Mariae ora pro Papa +JMJ+

    From the catechism of Pope Pius X:

    27 Q: Can one be saved outside the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church?

    A: No, no one can be saved outside the Catholic, Apostolic Roman Church, just as no one could be saved from the flood outside the Ark of Noah, which was a figure of the Church.

    But Peter said to them; Do penance, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    Acts 2:38

  53. CharlesG says:

    @r7blue1pink: I’m with you. I think the biggest problem is the shock of the sudden liturgical change. Even if Pope Francis has a different liturgical vision than Pope Benedict, it would have been better to ease it in over time, given the “organic” nature of the liturgy and the division and ill will that liturgical change inevitably causes, c.f. Cardinal Mahoney’s divisive and ridiculous “smear your face in it” endzone football spiking liturgical tweets. Moreover, there are a sizable number of people who do hanker after reverence, beauty and tradition in the liturgy (and such need not be opposed to simplicity, humility and a preferential option for the poor), so reaching out to such people, even as you change things, is a much more pastoral approach than the sneering, polemical Cardinal Mahoney approach. Let’s hope Pope Francis takes a higher road than that arrogant Cardinal. It will be interesting to see how the inaugural mass is handled. I would love to see as a magnanimous gesture if Pope Francis would allow Msgr Marini to continue in office and planning reverential and quality traditional liturgies with some chant and polyphony, even if he has to follow orders to simplify things a bit. May not happen, but I can dream. I also just hope and pray that if there is a sudden liturgical change of course at the top, it at least won’t stop or reverse the good things that have been happening at a local level to restore some reverence, beauty and tradition to the OF mass as well as allow more accessibility to the EF masse.

    @Brother Forde: The description of the coat of arms of Pope Francis didn’t mention something that struck me — the motif of the sun and the light blue background reminded me of the Argentine flag — that must have been intentional, no?

  54. Peter in Canberra says:

    “”Francis of Assisi for me is a man of poverty, a man of peace, a man who loved and protected creation. Right now our relations with creation are not going very well,” he added.”

    I fear that the Marshall Plan has just suffered a Prague Spring.

  55. PhilipNeri says:

    This Dominican is thrilled with our new Jesuit Pope. Long may he shepherd us!

    Fr. Philip Neri, OP

  56. APX says:

    So, I was just reading and apparently there was a mistranslation. When the pope was speaking of a “poor church” it should have been translated to “humble church”. I see thie language barrier is going to be something the media and liberal catholics pounce on to push their agendas. This was the same thing that happened when his request to ask the crowd to pray for him that God blesses was mistranslated on the news as him asking the crowd to bless him.

  57. APX says:

    Perhaps this blog will have to stay as WDTPRS- What Did the Pope Really Say?

  58. pmullane says:

    APX – yes, the devil is working hard against our Holy Father, is he not?

  59. Darren says:

    I find myself shaking my head at all the fears many have over what Pope Francis has done or appears to be doing. I, myself, a lover of things traditional and many of the “old ways” (having recently witnessed a traditional baptism for the first time – and loved it) can only see good things a comin’.

    1. The pope, whoever he is, is the Vicar of Christ on Earth. To disrespect the pope is to disrespect Christ. To love the pope and respect him is to love and respect Jesus Christ.
    2. I think that by the fact that the first thing he did when he appeared on the balcony, after greeting all those gathered, was to pray for Benedict XVI (and ask everyone to join him); it was a very simple way to say, “I am not going to undo anything he has done.”
    3. Summorum Pontificum is safe. The Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite is safe. TLM’s will continue to increase. Tambourines will gradually be put away.
    4. A bus full of nuns is not going to pull into St. Peter’s Square and dance up the nave of the Basilica and surround the altar with tambourines, guitars and hands raised is praise.
    5. Hell will not prevail.

    Pray for Pope Francis, offer him all the prayerful support you can give. A humble man has taken on the most difficult “job” on earth, and will be held accountable by God for what he does and does not do. I believe, from all I have been taught and learned through reading, that final judgment for the pope is the toughest of all, as he has had the greatest responsibility of all on Earth.

    Pray for him and stop worrying. St. Pio of Pietrelcina DID say, “Pray, HOPE, and don’t worry… worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.”

  60. Darren says:

    This Dominican is thrilled with our new Jesuit Pope. Long may he shepherd us!
    Fr. Philip Neri, OP


  61. VexillaRegis says:

    APX: “What Did The Pope Really Say?” LOL!

  62. APX says:

    This just in, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/the-pope/9935615/Pope-Francis-appears-for-first-angelus.html

    He used it to emphasize his Italian roots, and states he chose the name “Francis” because of his connection with the area. He also escaped from security again to go see the crowds of people, and decided to do an impromptu procession in the crowd before the start of Mass. Note- he was wearing an amice (now many on here can be at rest again).

  63. oldcanon2257 says:

    PhilipNeri says:
    17 March 2013 at 5:37 am

    This Dominican is thrilled with our new Jesuit Pope. Long may he shepherd us!

    Fr. Philip Neri, OP

    Father, I am glad to see that a Dominican is thrilled having a Jesuit Pope with a Franciscan name.

    To lighten up the mood, it reminds me of an old Catholic joke:

    A Franciscan and a Jesuit were debating which order was the greatest. So, they decided to ask for a sign from God. This is what they received falling down from heaven:

    My sons,

    Please stop bickering about such trivial matters,

    God, O.P.

    The Holy Father did pray at the tomb of the great Dominican Pope Saint Pius V at Santa Maria Maggiore. May Our Blessed Mother and his saintly predecessor intercede for him. May the Holy Father follow the glorious examples set by St. Pius V in his actions in matters of ecclesiastical discipline and liturgy.

  64. Imrahil says:

    To second what dear @oldcanon2257 said,

    Sitting a Jesuit and a Franciscan in a boat in the Königssee, Bavaria. Shouts the Jesuit: “Quid est Franciscanus?”
    “… anus … anus … anus”
    Shouts the Franciscan: “Et quid est Jesuita?”
    “… ita … ita … ita”

    [Let “anus” be understood as the abbreviation for asinus.]

    Or, A Benedictinian, a Franciscan, a Dominican and a Jesuit praying their Breviary at night. Off goes the lamp. What happens?
    The Benedictinian… prays on. He knows his Breviary by heart.
    The Franciscan… goes into jubilation for the gift of the light, and the gift of poverty to make us value the gift of the light.
    The Dominican… thinks of a sermon about God illuminating human darkness by the Incarnation.
    Then the light goes on again.
    The Jesuit had been screwing in another bulb.

    Or, a Dominican, a Franciscan and a Jesuit go into a heathen country for mission. After a couple of years, they meet again to exchange their experiences.
    “Well, the grace of God and I converted fifty men”, says the Dominican. “I went into university and entered the discussings, convincing them with our Gospel’s truth: some professors first, but they had some students.”
    “Well, the grace of God and I converted five hundred men”, says the Franciscan. “I went into the slum and said nothing for a time, just sharing my life and Christ’s love with them. After some time many wanted to become Christians.”
    “Well, the grace of God and I converted one man”, says the Jesuit.
    One? No offense and God’s ways are unperceivable, but still, only one?
    “Yep. You know… it was the king of the tribe. Then all wanted to follow him into Christianity.”

    Stopping OT.

  65. catholicmidwest says:

    There’s one other thing that no one seems to be picking up on. Who was the last pope who was a consecrated member of a religious order? (I’m not talking now of 3rd orders, but of consecrated membership in a 1st order.)

  66. Katylamb says:

    I’m wondering what the difference would be between a “humble” Church and a “poor” Church. Is there a difference? What would it be?

  67. oldcanon2257 says:


    My 2 cents:

    -A humble Church is all about Our Lord (Christ-centric) and not about ourselves (me, myself and, I). In the sense that St. John the Baptist proclaimed about Christ, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30) A humble Church is not about us humans and what we want but about God and His will.

    -A poor Church does not necessarily mean a humble Church, if the motivation behind the Church becoming poor was to remove the foundation who is Christ and replace Him with secular humanism or with “moralistic therapeutic deism” (the name Bishop Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin gave to the worldly religion-like cult of today’s world). Loving our neighbors (including the poor), after all, comes after (but also indeed comes from) loving God.

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