Tuesday 19 March 2013

Papal Inauguration Mass

I've just watched the papal Inauguration Mass.  From a liturgical point of view my immediate reflections are that Pope Francis' Ars Celebranda is to focus very much on getting on with saying the Mass (he obviously isn't able to sing at all).  There was very little interruption of Mass for applause or cheering during the Mass in fact, I think only briefly after the Homily. (A homily which I think could be very well accepted by the world on a surface reading - the poor and the environment - but looked at a little deeper had the care of all human life at its heart, which from his and the Church's point of view would naturally include those in the womb and those near the end of life.)

The media have labelled him the "smiling Pope" but he didn't crack one smile during the actual Mass.  His informal and easy manner is for other meetings, audiences and communications but Mass is not about him - let's focus on the prayer.

I presume the mitre is his own and might have personal significance to him, just as Pope Benedict at first wore the mitre that Pope Paul VI had given him.

If a simpler form of liturgy means that the overblown Offertory Procession is to be no more, then I'm all for it.  Even under Pope Benedict, the Offertory was rather extended and played up to a sentimental oohing and ahhg over little children dressed in national costume tottering up to greet the Pope, so it became more about representatives meeting the Pope than offering the fruits of the earth to be transformed.

The Mass was in Latin and the chant would be recognisable certainly to anyone in this parish.  I hope they were joining in!

I noticed that the Holy Father glanced at his watch as he had venerated the altar at the end of Mass.  Much as I often do on returning to the sacristy - with the thought , "Well, that wasn't too long; I can't get any complaints about that!"

The only really discordant note came when I switched over to the BBC to hear Archbishop Peter Smith pontificating about the homily.  The Archbishop seemed to suggest that he wanted more collegiality, so the pope would share his authority!!!  The Pope spoke of power (not authority) as something that actually meant service.  it is interesting how many bishops are so very keen on the Pope giving them some of his power / authority but I don't often hear about bishops wanting to share their power / authority with those below them!  And by the way "the body or college of bishops has no authority unless it is understood together with the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter as its head." (Lumen Gentium 22 - and cf Catholic Collar and Tie.)  Wasn't Peter Smith as Archbishop of Cardiff forced to withdraw an imprimatur he had given from a dodgy theology book for schools?  


Anonymous said...

"Wasn't Peter Smith as Archbishop of Cardiff forced to withdraw an imprimatur he had given from a dodgy theology book for schools? "

I think it was BEFORE he became Archbishop of Caediff.

How sad that Professor Duffy was the ONLY one to pick up on SSM when he referred to the Pope's reference to respecting the order created by God.

I was glad that Jon Soper was there to gently correct his experts! Jon obviously prepares well, as he did lqast Wednesday.

How sad that Naughtie was not as well prepared. He referred to priests "bring bread and wine" to the people at Holy Communion. Appaling ignorance.

GWAM said...

Pretty much everything that has unfolded since last Wednesday has evoked one long "hmmm" from me.

GWAM said...

provoked, even!

Gertrude said...

I believe it was when he was Bishop of East Anglia Father, though it has to be said he was not universally popular when he was Archbishop here in Cardiff Archdiocese. Sadly his comments in Rome today are just as one would expect.

Sixupman said...

I have a 'bee in my bonnet' regarding collegiality, as assumed by the various national hierarchies and conferences: that it will naturally lead to the creation of 'national churches' with only a loose and nominal tie to Rome. The papacy merely a chairmancy of the occasional synod. ++Smith said as much.

Lord preserve us from such.

Anonymous said...

Sixupman: I agree with you wholeheartedly. I think if the Holy Father, who seems rather too shy of using the term 'Pope', continues with his reticence for whatever reason (and I've heard a quite plausible one about improving ecumenical relations with the Orthodox), then the argument for more collegiality will only increase from all the usual culprits.

Since the abdication of our beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI it has been rather disheartening to see and hear all the toads come out of their respective smelly little holes! Mahony in particular, is a nasty little man, so full of anger, pride and hubris. There are others not quite in his league. One thing I was particularly angry about was the prominent presence of Godfreed Daneels in today's liturgy along with Mahony on the front row.

I did not watch the Mass today (save for 5 mins at the beginning whilst I was eating my cornflakes – I am on holiday this week). I felt that it would become an occasion of sin to me....a fact I am quite embarrassed to confess. However, I am glad that I didn't.

I am somewhat struggling to adapt to the current circumstances. In fact I find myself in the same place that I did pre Benedict XVI. I just couldn't connect with Pope JP II. Yes, he was a holy man. Yes, he was a charismatic leader, but for me there was simply no connection. He was simply the Pope!

However that changed in 2005 and I very quickly warmed to Benedict, knowing not much about him. He then soon became the Holy Father, MY Holy Father.

Who knows how things will work out? Well The Holy Trinity for One (or should that be Three?). So I’d better leave it in Their more than capable Hands. But I’m still struggling and no amount of cheerleading so far has persuaded me. I know I need to pray for HH Pope Francis but personally I (and I suspect some others) could do with some prayers too!!

Lynda said...

Priests should not wear watches when offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. They should be removed before vesting.

johnh said...

So glad you mentioned the lack of smiles during the Mass Father - spot on. I crave humility , reverance and silence at Mass , I attend Manchester Oratory which is in Salford diocese - I live in Shrewsbury diocese.
Sadly , I spotted Law , Daneels and Mahoney today. If Mahoney gets any nearer the front he will be wearing white !! I can't believe these men have the spleen to show themselves in public , especially Mahoney. I also heard Abp Smith's collegiality suggestion. I don't hold out any hope at all on the conference of E&W making a decision collegialy or otherwise. It will however be interesting to see if they put into force Pope Francis' mandates quicker than Pope Benedicts. I suspect they will.

Anonymous said...

Here's the £1,000,000 question will Nicols be given the red hat in the next consistory as they seem to have a derth of senior Catholic primates at the moment?