My friend Fr. Gerald Murray has a good commentary at The Catholic Thing on some comments Pope Francis made about people, especially about young people, who desire the older, traditional form of Holy Mass and the Latin, Roman Church’s sacred worship.
In Ecclesia Dei adflicta, St. John Paul II said that the desire for the traditional forms were “legitimate aspirations’. He even commanded by his Apostolic Authority that they should be provided with what they desired generously and that respect should be shown to them everywhere.
Pope Francis, however, does not seem to agree with his predecessor, St. John Paul. He sees these younger people who want tradition not so much as having legitimate aspirations, but rather having a “defensive” attitude of “rigidity” that hides their “insecurity” or “perhaps something else.”
Fr. Murray digs digs into this a bit to help us understand better what’s being said. HERE
We jump in part way…. with my patented… you know.
Fr. Spadaro [here he is again…] continued and asked Pope Francis: “Other than those who are sincere and ask for this possibility out of habit or devotion, can this desire express something else? Are there dangers?”
Pope Francis replied:
I ask myself about this. For example, I always try to understand what is behind those individuals who are too young to have lived the pre-Conciliar liturgy, and who want it nonetheless. I have at times found myself in front of people who are too rigid, an attitude of rigidity. And I ask myself: how come so much rigidity? You dig, you dig, this rigidity always hides something: insecurity, at times perhaps something else. . . .The rigidity is defensive. True love is not rigid.
This sweeping psychologizing indicates that the pope sees no reasonable motivations for those want to attend the EF Mass. The young cannot be nostalgic, since they did not grow up with the EF Mass. Rather, they have a “defensive” attitude of “rigidity” that hides their “insecurity” or “perhaps something else.” What does this mean?
Rigidity is a psychological impairment, an unreasonable refusal, if not a complete inability, to change one’s outlook or behavior. Francis says it is “always” a mask for insecurity or “at times perhaps something else,” which I take to mean something worse than mere insecurity.
In the last fifty years, “rigidity” has been a code word used to denigrate conservative Catholics who treasure the spiritual patrimony of the Church.
Earlier Pope Francis said: “It is necessary to approach with magnanimity those attached to a certain form of prayer.” Yet this spirit is absent from his remarks that characterize attachment to the EF.
This is really a caricature. It displays a readiness to find psychological deficits or imbalance as the cause for such interest among both young and old. This line of argument frees one from the need to engage in an objective analysis of the reasons why a young (or old) person might be attracted to the Church’s perennial form of worship instead of to the reformed Mass, as experienced in many parishes.
As regards Pope Francis’ statement that “to speak of a ‘reform of the reform’ is an error,” this notion is something that has been widely discussed and, in some ways, already put into effect (e.g., the 3rd edition of the Roman Missal and the new accurate translation of it into English) precisely because, as Pope Francis told Fr. Spadaro “Vatican II and Sacrosanctum Concilium must go on as they are.”
The reform of the reform is an effort both to implement the reforms of the Mass that the Conciliar Fathers voted for when they approved SacrosanctumConcilium, and, as needed, to undo the innovations and accretions they never dreamed of, and that were introduced into the Roman Missal or became standard practice with the new Missal.
Those who love the EF Mass are serious, sane Catholics who seek God in the beauty of sublime worship. They deserve a sympathetic hearing from their shepherds.
Can one wonder how much of that is Francis and how much of that is actually Fr. Spadaro? Who’s to know?
Moderation queue is ON.