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The Pope’s Painful Liturgies

By | March 19, 2013

As much as I enjoy talking him up, watching Pope Francis celebrate Mass is—at least for me—a painful experience.

From what I can tell, I’m not alone. There’s an almost unchecked suspicion that the Holy Father’s tendency toward simplicity will usher in the death of the Benedictine reforms. The real suffering servant, some claim, will not turn out to be the humble Bishop of Rome but rather Monsignor Guido Marini, his (at least for now) master of ceremonies. The pope’s radical austerity is a sticking point for many—and a profound one, at that.

None of this, though, is why I find the new pope’s liturgies to be painful. Having watched all of them to date on Radio Vaticana, there’s clearly a dimension of frugality at work in Francis’s approach to prayer. Of course, there’s his Jesuit background—enough said, for most. Add to that almost two decades of on-the-ground, no-frills, get-your-hands-dirty pastoral work and things click even more. His Franciscan moniker is icing on the (not too sweet and maybe just a little stale) cake. Yet the “good stuff” of Catholic liturgy hasn’t really lacked all that much.

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The painfulness of the Holy Father’s liturgies, I think, arises not from the character or celebration of the Mass itself, but from the clear lack of affection that Pope Francis maintains for the finer points of liturgical precision and splendor. It goes without saying that each of the pope’s Masses has been valid, undeniably reverent, and probably more visibly beautiful than all but a handfull of Masses throughout the world. There is noticeably absent, however, the positive liturgical zeal of Benedict—that which many already (wrongly) construe as a negative and destructive force in itself. Denying that Pope Francis isn’t Pope Benedict is hardly a criticism against him; furthermore, suggesting that love for the liturgy consists uniquely in Benedict’s disposition toward it is short-sighted and thoroughly un-traditional.

But why does a lack of affection cause pain?

Without supposing to know the Holy Father’s heart, it seems clear that the celebrated liturgy, to him, is viewed as something incomplete in itself. That’s not to suggest, of course, that he considers it somehow deficient. Rather, in approaching the liturgy, Pope Francis seems always to have in mind its connection to real effects, both in the soul but also in the flesh.

We can talk all day about the theology of liturgy—which I’ve done many times—connecting its ordination to transcendence with the possibility for deeper prayer and more profound acts of charity in daily life. And it’s all true—and hopefully even productive of real wisdom. Yet isn’t there always something unnerving about leaving that reflection to pursue the inglorious work of serving others? No matter how much we know of the liturgy, its beauty and meaning, rarely does such awareness ever prepare us well to set it all aside and to take up the sullied practice of service.

If Benedict reclaimed the Spirit of the Liturgy, then perhaps next for the Church is to focus on its Flesh. I don’t suppose that Pope Francis will offer a comprehensive theology in this regard, or even that he should. Indeed, it appears he sees his apostolic vocation in a totally different light than as a theologian. Still, those of us who would continue along more academic lines might do some of that work for him.

On the other hand, there is the illuminating observation by Chesterton that what St. Benedict stored up, St. Francis saw as his mission to scatter about. The works of storing up and of sowing are very different ones. The first entails arduous, long labor: gathering a full crop into the barns for safe keeping is no light task. The second, scattering, is perhaps lighter work; though it requires significantly greater risk, since an entire season’s hopes are pinned on the irreversible distribution of a very limited and valuable supply of seeds.

The pain I experience with seeing the new pope’s liturgies is probably more the result of his intense joy at all other times. I sense acutely that my desire to serve is much thinner than my affection for a beautiful Mass. And I’m aware that the joy I know is possible through a sacramental encounter with the Lord is not often enough reflected in my life with family and with others.

The absolute wrong response, here, is to cast off the sacred liturgy as something overblown and impractical. However, fostering an affection for the liturgy in se is hardly enough, either. I don’t believe those are the only two options on the table; but determining what other concrete options do exist is not, perhaps, as easy as we’d like to think.

In the meantime, many of us will continue to suffer for a while, until we learn to love other people as much as our understanding about them. Enjoying the fruits of the harvest has the unfortunate effect of making one less eager to repeat the long, grueling process of cultivation from the beginning. At least for me, seeing someone who’s willing, above all, to begin the work of scattering afresh is an invaluable, if bittersweet reminder that much more heavenly nourishment still awaits, as long as we’re willing to labor.

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  • http://www.jtruettglen.com Jason Glen

    Thanks for the thoughtful post Andrew. Convicting indeed is the passion that Francis shows toward serving the marginalized. We can all learn a lot from his example.

  • http://sancrucensis.wordpress.com/ Sancrucensis

    Very good reflection.

  • Joe

    re: The Pope’s Painful Liturgy. Andrew Im just commenting briefly on your article. I draw your attention to one of your paragraphs: “Without supposing to know the Holy Father’s heart, it seems clear that the celebrated liturgy, to him, is viewed as something incomplete in itself. That’s not to suggest, of course, that he considers it somehow deficient. Rather, in approaching the liturgy, Pope Francis seems always to have in mind its connection to real effects, both in the soul but also in the flesh.”
    I think youre on to something. Consider that the root of the word ‘Mass’ is the same as for the word ‘dismissal’. In other words, while the Sacrifice of the Mass is perfect and complete in itself, our participation is incomplete if we do not take we receive and give it to the rest of world- the Gospel message. Perhaps this notion is worth contemplating as you view/participate in the next papal Mass. Very good and thoughtful article. – Joe

  • davep

    I am a convert and love the Mass. While I certainly don’t have Andrew’s credentials, I found his article confusing, unconnected and unconvincing.

  • http://te-deum.blogspot.com Diane K

    Excellent commentary and pretty much speaks for me, and I go to TLM every Sunday and many weekdays.

  • Kathleen Gibbons

    Andrew, first I have to admit that I have not seen Pope Fransis’ Liturgy. I am responding to your article. As mentioned we do not know his heart but and Catholic Church has been The Church of the poor. People’s are leaving the Catholic Church because they do not understand the Liturgy because they are not listening and don’t want to listen to God speak in the Liturgy. When a Priest is in love with what he is doing during the Mass, it shows, then the Holy Spirit can reach their open hearts and fill it. If the Mass is lived for the purpose to get out a serve, we miss the point and whom we are receiving and adoring, everything will then fall into place, LITURGY, prayer, service in that order. The Holy Spirit when listening incites us in our duties in God’s will we cannot miss Him unless we are rushing through the first two. God is the beginning and the end. Remember the poor will always be with us, maybe sometime in future the Church, Liturgy, may be under ground for a time, then our service may not come so easy without burdens to heavy to carry without being fed because we took it lightly. No, your article is important to give us and keep us decserning, being aware And in love with the
    Mass and Who it is giving us our Food from Heaven, or all the service in the world will be in vain. Kathleen, pax Christ

  • Kathleen Gibbons

    Andrew, first I have to admit that I have not seen Pope Fransis’ Liturgy. I am responding to your article. As mentioned we do not know his heart but and Catholic Church has been The Church of the poor. People’s are leaving the Catholic Church because they do not understand the Liturgy because they are not listening and don’t want to listen to God speak in the Liturgy. When a Priest is in love with what he is doing during the Mass, it shows, then the Holy Spirit can reach their open hearts and fill it. We need to discern and be aware what is happening around us, even within the Church.

  • Benedictgal

    On the morning of March 13, 2013, I woke up with a feeling of dread. Later that afternoon, when I saw the smoke billowing from St. Peter’s Piazza, I had a gut feeling that things would be interesting. The announcement by e proto-deacon seemed to lack the joy that I saw emanating from Cardinal Medina back in 2005 when he made the proclamation in several languages. Even as the new Holy Father made his way onto the Loggia, I did not sense joy from ose who were near him. Msgr. Marini’s face spoke volumes.

    That is also the sense that I have about Pope Francis’ liturgical Ars Celebrandi. Inasmuch as it would be unfair to compare him to our beloved Benedict, there seems to be a palpable rupture, or at least a small fissure. Vestments not withstanding, the method of distributing Holy Communion leaves me at a loss. The kneeled are still there, Deo gratis, but it is not the Holy Father distributing. He has delegated this to the deacons. It makes me wonder: if the Holy Father can muster up the energy to stand during the preaching of the homily, meet and greet the faithful and even get down from the Popemobile to shake hands and so forth, why can he not feed his sheep by giving them Holy Communion? Even the Pope Emeritus was able to rally enough strength to do this.

    I do pray that the arrow of liturgical beauty and joy pierce and wound Pope Francis’ heart and that he will see that he has a wonderful and deeply spiritual maestro in the humble and learned Msgr. Guido Marini.

  • Francis

    This article is ridiculous. Andrew get a life. You say he did not say mass Joyfully. Perhaps I wonder how would you like a man with one lung to talk, loud???? Stop coming up with such articles that could confuse others. I am going to check your credentials.

    I don’t see anything wrong with the mass. Your article is baseless and its Painful not the liturgy. People like you are trying to weaken the Church from within wont work.

  • Cindy

    I enjoyed the balanced approach to this article. I agree with one of the comments above, that the Mass is ended to go and “live” the very purpose of the sacrifice. Without this end goal, there is no purpose in having the most extraordinarily beautiful mass on earth. I think liturgical beauty is very important, it is the source and summit of our faith. However, we must not forget that the first Mass with Our Lord Jesus Christ, was probably much simpler and rough around the edges.

  • Maria Lancaster

    What my mother would say about your article, is that you are on a “witch hunt”. It means you see the negative and not the positive. The article speaks of your heart, not the Pope. I like the new guy. He gets I Cor 13. We should all read it every day. It is about love, and HIS love for YOU and Me. Be thankful it will change the way you look at things,

  • http://FatherWagner.com Fr Joshua Wagner

    Well, this is certainly an article that is designed to get Mr. Haines followers on his website, as it is designed to spark controversy. If you want a perfect guy to be Pope, then you are going to wait for awhile, because even the first guy wasn’t perfect liturgically, I would wager.

    If you want a painful liturgy, just go back in time to a JPII liturgy. I loved that guy with my whole heart, but in my years at NAC I saw some pretty crazy stuff, like dancers for instance, DURING mass, that I would never permit in my liturgies. Some of those liturgies I served as a Deacon of the Eucharist at. It seemed to me that Pope Francis did the best he could. Liturgy is hard when you have never celebrated in front of a crowd that big, with MC’s like that, and even harder, sometimes, when you are deep in prayer while trying to remember the finer points.

    No doubt his Jesuit background will have an effect on the liturgy, but I don’t think one liturgy warrants the criticism you have given here. Liturgy is first foremost prayer, and that is what I saw Pope Frances doing during the mass. At any rate, I hope your “painful” article gets you the outcome that you probably want, and that is followers on your website. It wouldn’t be the first time someone sacrificed the Pope to get ahead in the world. I hope your conscious is clear about all that.

  • Andrew Haines

    @Fr Joshua, your conclusion that this article amounts to a “criticism” of the Holy Father is sad to hear. Others seem to have picked up on the intent of my reflections, which is much more about self-awareness than “sacrific[ing] the Pope.” Perhaps read it again without the title in mind if you wish to give it a charitable hearing.

  • William Pottenburgh

    First off, Francis… Relax man. I think we are all just getting to know Pope Francis and I think if we do what he initially asked of us, which was to pray for him, things will fall into place. He seems exciting and Christ like. Seeing him in the crowd greeting people, talking about the poor, and living sacrificily gives me personally a greater understanding of Christ. I’ve watched as much coverage as I can, though I haven’t seen all his masses, and just find him to be endearing. I was at WYD in Germany, and heard Benedict speak, but there was nothing that drew me in or inspired me. God, through, Francis is doing that… And I hope he continues to draw me.closer.

  • Fred

    Whereas I had an undying affection for Pope Benedict having known him in his Ratzinger years and wondered why in his pontificate the central theme of ‘ad orientem’ was left aside – I found myself cringing at every liturgy this last year at least seeing him dressed up worse and worse as time went by as a victorian lace doll totally out of place in our age. It is my hope that we can continue in the balanced theme seen on Wednesday – good liturgy but with sensible vestments for all. If the master of ceremonies can unbend a bit, maybe so can the Pope for a blessed compromise good for the Church over all.

  • http://net-abbey.org Sue Joan

    I cannot believe you criticized the Holy Father for his manner of celebrating Mass. Yes, he’s simple but I love it like that. Mass is NOT SUPPOSED to be a show – and nothing needs to be added to the sacred liturgy because adding a lot, to me, takes away from the focus on Jesus. Just to say, I’m sure there are many others who like the new Holy Father’s bare bones manner of celebrating Mass to put the focus on Jesus as the Center!

  • http://RickMK.com RickMK

    There was just one thing in the article that I’m not sure is right:

    Indeed, it appears he sees his apostolic vocation in a totally different light than as a theologian. Still, those of us who would continue along more academic lines might do some of that work for him.

    All reports I’ve heard about him say that he is an extremely intelligent man. He was member of the Argentinean Chesterton Society, after all! I for one am anticipating some deep and profound theological and philosophical writings from him.

  • Donna Ruth

    Thank you for thoughtful, open sharing. This has been an incredibly difficult time for many faithful, knowledgeable Catholics who love the Church and the liturgy. You have encapsulated the mixed emotions many of us feel. And, more to the point, as you have done so, you point us to the crux of the matter: as the process of scattering the stored grain begins, we are in for a ride that will shake us. Here is what I see: God’s family is suffering. He is God of all, and many of His children are in desperate physical want. This is a sin crying to heaven and we can no longer ignore it. No longer can we placate our consciences by stuffing a cheque from our surplus into an envelope and sending it off to what we feel is a worthy charity for the third world. Social justice encyclicals and letters (especially those of JPII), as well as JPII’s very pointed calls tin his 104 journeys exhort us not just to think and reflect, but to act. Now is the season to turn to the Matthew 25 page. The Holy Father will point the way. In the process, we can do both: reverently attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, opening ourselves to all good graces – then allow these graces to expand our Grinchy hearts threefold and launch forth into the deep. I think we all know this – but like any scary venture into the unknown, those first big steps are the hardest.

  • happilyCatholic

    Thanks for your reflections. I found great food for thought in them as I was experiencing some similar emotions. I sense a true sincerity and humility on your part to publish them.

  • Mary Elizabeth

    Thanks for speaking your mind here. We are among those “who hunger and thirst for righteousness”, and maybe among those who Jesus was speaking to when He addressed Martha and told her that her sister Mary had chosen the good portion, while Martha was anxious and troubled about many things.

    There is nothing more beautiful to me than a liturgy said with great interest and reverance and holiness. It helps to bring me somehow closer to Our Lord. I strive to be in attention at every moment, which is not always easy to do with so many distractions in our Masses today. But God knows my heart. I will be satisfied with that. I can’t control the Church or the world, nor would I want to. Mine is to do the will of the Father, as Jesus told us. That is enough for me today.

    Blessings to you and to all who may be disappointed. Let us look up at Christ, and be joyful anyway.

  • http://www.battleforthecoreoftheworld.com Jon Haines

    Very well said. As long as Francis doesn’t try to reform the liturgy (which Hummes suggested he would…) then I think the Benedictine reforms will continue to gain momentum. I don’t think I even have to mention why here. When it comes to good quotes on the liturgy and reasons to continue the Benedictine reforms, look here: http://www.battleforthecoreoftheworld.com/2013/03/select-quotes-on-liturgy.html

  • http://thyselfolord.blogspot.com Pedro Erik

    I feel the same of you. May Pope Francis understand the beauty of the Church. I will pray for him (for us).

    Excellent post.

  • rebo84

    Very insightful and thought-provoking article. Thank you.

  • Will

    The celebration of the Eucharist is the “source and summit” of our Christian life. I agree with Andrew that on the few occasions we have had to see Pope Francis celebrate, there does seem to be something missing. Instead there’s a bit of a feeling of “let’s just get on with it!”

  • kelly

    I must say this post is sad to see, the concern is that our pope is too concerned about the poor and doesn’t seem to be pumped at mass. You might want to reevaluate the gospels, especially how Jesus will be judging us in the end and the life Christ lived, eating with sinners. I think more people are inspired by a pope who speaks off the cuff, tells personal stories and doesn’t fall into the “traps” of the papacy (choosing to be modest, taking the bus. Paying his bill etc) I don’t want these comments to seem to be a diss to recent popes, Paul told us that the body has different parts. Benedict and jp2 served the church in great and different ways, so will francis.

  • Clement XIV

    “Perhaps I wonder how would you like a man with one lung to talk, loud????”

    Hey, if the Duke could do this at 63, seven years after losing a lung…

  • Clement XIV
  • Craig Martin

    Andrew, a wonderful reflection on observations I have shared and, admittedly, agonized over. Thanks for the perspective and wisdom.

  • OFM

    I have to agree with Francis. It comes down to some trying to be more Catholic than the Pope. We don’t need the gold and the rest. All we need is Christ, in the Eucharist and in our actions. I think that is what the Pope is trying to say. I think His Holiness is a breath of fresh air. This Church needs to be more humble. I say that as a postulant in a religious order. I don’t hate the Church or it’s beauty. I love Holy Mother Church. But some have grabbed onto the finer things rather than the core message, the redemptive death of Christ. The rest, while nice, isn’t essential.

  • Susanne

    I thought your article was well balanced. Some posters prefer the Ordinary Form of the Holy Mass and that is fine. However I believe one should experience the Extra-ordinary form of the Holy Mass on a regular basis. It is our Catholic heritage and was the Mass that countless Saints worshiped at. So it can’t be all that bad. Yes it maybe foreign to you and difficult at first, but with patience and dedication you will see the benefits in your life. For priests it is a lot of work so no wonder it is intimidating. Please pray about it and think outside your comfort zone. The Liturgy is very important if we get it wrong we will get everything else wrong. What I mean by that, is deviating from the rubrics and being uncharitable and prideful. That goes for the ordinary and extra ordinary forms of the Holy Mass. May God protect both our new Holy Father Pope Francis and our beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

  • http://divinicultussanctitatem.blogspot.pt Francisco

    I don’t understand this article. You read the Pope’s mind?
    For me the only thing that causes me pain is the vibratto of the Pope’s capella, which was there in Pope St. Benedict XVI’s time.

  • Francis

    I’m not sure this article is particularly informative or meaningful. Did you catch the Pope’s recent comments on gossip? While it is fine to share your sentiments, you have a reaponsibility to support the Holy Father and to pray for him, not one to talk about how painful you find his “performance.”

    What’s more, your discussion of the pope’s theological commitments (or lack thereof) is a series of unformulated and ungrounded ramblings, which have emerged too soon into the Pope’s current term. Let’s let him be Pope for more than a few weeks before we start compartmentalizing him, shall we?

    My ultimate point, I suppose, is about self reflection: we as Catholics should be more suspicious of ourselves in these kinds of “issues,” and not of the pope’s apparent lack of zeal. G.K. Chesterton makes an excellent assessment of the various criticisms made against the Church, which reveals the true source of criticisms such as the one presented above:

    “This began to be alarming. It looked not so much as if Christianity was bad enough to include any vices, but rather as if any stick was good enough to beat Christanity with. What again could this astonishing thing be like which people were so anxious to contradict, that in doing so they did not mind contradicting themselves? …

    “Christianity was reproached with its naked and hungry habits; with its sackcloth and dried peas. But the next minute Christianity was being reproached with its pomp and ritualism; it’s shrines of porphyry and its robes of gold. It was abused for being too plain and for being too coloured….

    “And then in a quiet hour a strange thought struck me like a still thunderbolt. There had suddenly come into my mind another explanation…. Perhaps (in short) this extraordinary thing is really the ordinary thing; at least the normal thing the centre. Perhaps, after all, it is Christianity that is sane and all it’s critics that are mad–in various ways.

    “I tested this idea by asking myself whether there was about any of the accusers anything morbid that might explain the accusation. I was startled to find that this key fitted a lock. For instance, it was certainly odd that the modern world charged Christianity at once with bodily austerity and with artistic pomp. But then it was also odd, very odd, that the modern world itself was combined with extreme bodily luxury with an extreme absence of artistic pomp…; no man before [the modern man] ever ate such elaborate dinners in such ugly clothes.” (G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 91-92)

    To put it simply, perhaps the source of the storm of contradicting appraisals of Christianity (or, in our case, the Pope) inhere not in the object of criticism, but in the individual who criticizes. That is, to the man who puts stock in only a part of the Church (or is otherwise misguided through a vicious mind and heart) that which is ordinary–the center–will seem misshaped.

    I say we trust in the work of the Holy Spirit, who guides faithfully the actions of the Church; that we allow ourselves to be measured, and not the other way around.

  • Robert-Paul LeMay

    First, Benedict is not nor never was beloved to me as one writer wrote. Second, I had the uncomfortable experience of being on a flight with a rather large contingent of very effeminate gay men during Benedict’s papacy and the gist of their sarcastic bitchiness was that Benedict was into liturgical drag and that the Church was spending the poor’s money to dress him up like a pontifical Barbie. So much for beloved Benedict to many people. As for you and your unbearably smarmy article, I can’t believe that Catholic U. is going to give you a Ph.D in anything before you grow up.Thank God we are rid of Benedict, God’s Rotweiller, and JPII the politician.

  • gaspar

    The author states:
    “I think, arises not from the character or celebration of the Mass itself, but from the clear lack of affection that Pope Francis maintains for the finer points of liturgical precision and splendor”

    It is troubling to think that some of the folks and the author of this confusing article should state that celebration of the Eucharist is about the finer points and splendor. I guess some of these folks and the author himself will be quite disappointed with the Last Supper celebration done Jesus Himself.
    The focus on Liturgy has taken away from what the Eucharist is all about.

    The author writes:
    “I sense acutely that my desire to serve is much thinner than my affection for a beautiful Mass.” What is a “beautiful” Mass? just the aesthetics – and that too Western aesthetics?
    These pystologists who engage in intellectual calisthenics, and call themselves “theologians” have taken Jesus away from the people and incarcerated him in the “sacristy.”
    The “Ite missa est” is not about a feel good exercise on a Sunday morning, but a “missio” to go out and live the gospel in the public square.

    I love the way Pope Francis celebrates the Eucharist – with prayer-fulness, and away from pomposity.

  • david ferraro

    My fear since Benedict resigned has come true….the loss of the Pope Benedict’s style is sorely missed….Yes Pope Francis is a Jesuit….but He is also a post V II Priest/Bishop, who most likely has never Celebrated the Mass in the E.F. like P.Benedict did for years prior to the N.Ordo…..

    Seems like he has said positive things about the Mass in the E.F. but one wonders…..the icing on that STALE cake that was mentioned in the article would be Msgr. Guido Marini being replaced….I do believe that he does suffer after working for Pope E. Benedict…..also continue to pray for the reform of the Reform…..

  • Jared Baker

    Dear Andrew, You have not been on the earth long enough to experience multiple popes to compare, nor have you studied the misguided history of the Church toward egocentrism vs. humility, toward indulgences vs. virtue, toward exclusion vs. inclusion, toward judgmental condemnation, heresy,excommunication vs. acceptance, and burning at the stake, hatred and adherence to rules vs. the revisiting the initial apostolic calling with the Holy Spirit and the mission of Christ and spreading the Good News. Nietzsche and Machiavelli and Bertrand Russell, may capture your mentation best. Perhaps you should expand your repertoire to reading Jaspers, Kierkegaard, Jean Paul Sartre. Your mentation is “painful” because you are disconnected from the Jesus of Scripture and Yahweh of the Old Testament. As you align with the Saduccees, make sure the nails penetrate deeply, but only after you flog Him. Love is apparently the true threat to your being. So crucify Him, Andrew. I know you have it in you. Viva il papa!

  • Eustace Sequeira

    Your article is certainly a perspective of where you come from regarding liturgy. If that was all encompassing then you are quite complete in your assessment. However, you have not taken into consideration Ignatian Spirituality in its ability to transform life into liturgy. That has been the spiritual formation of Pope Francis and has ruled his life, and your snide comment about his Jesuit background, perhaps does not consider that.

  • http://na Paul Kelley

    I am a senior, in my eighties, a graduate of Boston College and its Law School and attended BC High, its Jesuit high school. I and my wife have been a regular attendants at church and are supporters of the reforms of Vatican II. I have become a great admirer of Pope Francis and his chanes. I only says these things to indicate some credentials to comment. I do not understand your comments and find them. He certainly is a big improvement over Benedict with his red slippers certain affectation in his dress, although I do not mean to criticize him otherwise to any extent. The Liturgy should be performed with grace but it is not an art form

  • Gus Gordon

    Having just come back from Haiti, somehow it is not an urgent concern to deal with your pious pain.

  • Jozsi

    I wonder if anyone will ever come to the understanding why no Pope of the twentieth century called for defense of anti-Catholic movement of certain influential groups? The dictate of 1920 breaking up the territory of the Holy Crown was left without a word from Vatican. A millennium plus catholic culture, defense of human rights and human dignity was illegally destroyed and partitioned to dictatorial entities. When is a Pope going to defend the Holy Crowns Territory? It is not any particular people, it is all the inhabitants of the territory owned by the Holy Crown! There are movements to restore the unity of the Holy Crown. Why our Pope and Vatican not make this important? Jozsi

  • MB

    I think you’re all just shocked that the Pope is acting like a Pope.

    Can’t handle medieval faith, huh?

    Thought so.

  • MB

    Seriously? Your blog is exactly what’s wrong with modern Catholicism.

    I did not get born to get baptized by a drunk Irish priest in the backyard for THIS.

    Get with the program, dude. Show a little real faith or, you know, just be irrelevant.

  • Charles CLark

    I wonder how Andrew would have reacted to the simplicity of the first Mass.

  • Roisin

    “Thoughtful….great food for thought….excellent commentary….very good reflection.” Seriously?
    I’ve read this essay way more times than it deserves to be read, and I still am unable to figure out what this person is actually saying. Isn’t that the goal of all Church commentary since VII? It makes no sense, it has no point, and it offers no insight. I defy anyone to sum up the theme of this essay in a sentence. How about: stinking like sheep is better than stinking like incense cause you can’t do both. Is that it? Don’t give up your day job Andy.

  • Peter Salvet

    As a formerly devout young Catholic, and in religious recovery since my freshman year in college, I found the article to be a pedantic intellectual exercise. Isn’t it obvious that some of us are thinkers and others are doers? Our personalities manifest internal needs which must be satisfied.

    Benedict is a thinker, Francis a doer. End of story. Is being a thinker better than being a doer, or a doer better than a thinker? Of course not. Both types of personalities are needed. Why waste time intellectualizing about which is more worthy? Let’s be grateful that both exist.

    All organizations go through stages of contraction and expansion. Religious institutions are no different. The two previous Popes were thinkers at a time when that was likely needed. Now comes Francis saying enough talk already. The time has come to walk the walk. Jesus did both, he talked the talk and waked the walk, which made him the exceptional teacher and leader that he was.

    I love this Pope’s call to action because I think we are at a time when we need to be inspired to live Jesus’ teachings in our lives. The U.S. has grown into an increasingly selfish country, where the Waltons of the world accumulate wealth on the backs of struggling workers.

    I admire Pope Francis’ courage and conviction because we have like personalities. Why dress our personality needs in theological clothes? Different times call for different leaders. At this time, we are well to be reminded that we are our brother’s…

  • Armando Rancano

    I can’t believe how much time and energy is wasted in theological mumbo jumbo. Jesus called for us to make this a better world, not spend our time discussing stylistic irrelevancies. Like other readers, I could not make heads or tails of this article. Andrew, if you are writing a thesis, please learn to have a clear message.

    My message is that we have the right pope for the times. I take Francis to say that making judgments is not at all productive. Neither is pomp and circumstance. Making a difference in the world through what we say and do is what’s important.

    I don’t spend any time reading the Bible. For me, contemplating on why Jesus rose from the dead is a total waste of time. If he didn’t, he probably has been spinning in his grave for centuries hearing the misrepresentations made in his name. He might yet rise, perhaps again, if we continue not to get it. I think he sprung Francis on us as a last ditch attempt to see if we can.

    I was an altar boy during the days of the Latin Mass. In retrospect, the pomp and circumstance was enjoyable. I loved to ring that bell and shake that incense. I liked the theatrics of it all, but the temporary distraction it provided did not help me handle my very real growing pains.

    Francis’ words and actions serve as a daily reminder of what is really important, and confirm that we can only really know who we are in relationship with others. He is the role model I always wanted. Where have you been all my life?

  • Jim Able

    I think of Pope Francis as a Gorbachev. Had the cardinals who elected him been fully aware of his teaching methods, I doubt he would have been elected.

    Gorbachev tore down the Berlin wall. Francis is tearing irrelevance to uncover what is really important. Francis takes Jesus’ core teachings and strips away centuries of add-ons. It’s as if he is painstakingly restoring a masterpiece painting.

    Some say he is all style, since in reality doctrine has not changed. They are right, and that is good. I teach Supervision. How you approach someone is just as important, if not more so, than what you say. Employees can be coached, even terminated, in ways that leave them in a better place. Punishment, hell and eternal damnation as way less effective in changing behavior than demonstrations of love and care.

    Believing, in the Trinity, the need to be saved and the rest of the man-made nonsense, is not my cup of tea. I don’t need tradition and made up stories to do the right thing. I was a Catholic until I realized I could follow common sense.

    That is why Francis is so appealing to me. He seems to be saying that however we get to a good end is a valid path. The Catholic Church does not have a monopoly on wisdom. Claims of being the one true Church are the egotistical assertions of men, not Jesus. Pope Francis’ inclusiveness is, for me, a source of inspiration. If his liturgy lacks drama for some, so be it. He is probably as bored by ritual as I am.

  • robert

    Your perception about the liturgies of Pope Francis, I think, are insightful. Despite the criticisms of others, I do not think you are suggesting that liturgy need be ornamental or “imperial” or full of “religiousity”. That is NOT the point at all. Pope Francis is a different man than Pope Benedict, brought forth as Pope by the Holy Spirit to meet the needs of the Church at this time. However, I have also noticed a clear distinction in the way Pope Francis celebrates Mass from the manner of Pope Benedict. I love both Popes. I think Pope Francis is amazing gift to the Church. But I also believe the mind and spirit of Pope Benedict was also blessing that we will only begin to recognize as it takes blossom from the work of Pope Francis. Having said that, I immediately perceived something different in watching Pope Francis celebrate Mass. I did not attempt to articulate it , but your comment that you sensed that Pope Francis felt that the Mass was only completed by other work I think captures my sense fairly well. To watch Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II celebrate Mass was to see the visual expression of the Mass as the source and summit of the faith. Every motion articulated theology and Grace! Pope Francis does indeed make evidence the Gospel in his life as a result of the Real Presence of Christ in the Mass. With Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul , however, my very subjective response was that the liturgy of the Mass was itself the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • robert

    I find comments that suggest that theology or reading the bible is not important quite lacking in credibility in terms of knowing the true nature of Christianity and Catholicism! If you do not know the proper theology, do not have a proper grasp of Jesus Christ and the teaching of his Apostles from the bible, what you do means absolutely nothing! Furthermore, the liturgy of the Mass is theology in action, in motion! It is not just “mumbo jumbo” and so much religious ornamentation simply because one does not understand the meaning of the words and actions in the Mass. Each word, action, symbol, article, and piece of furnishing has a meaning! If you dont know that, dont blame the Church for being overly ornamental. That is our fault for remaining ignorant and not even attempting to understand the significant of such detail. For those of us how have been clued in on such meaning it is inspirational and helpful in our relationship with Christ. Yes, the words and deeds of Pope Francis are an inspiring model of Christianity. But, even without such inspiration, the Church does not rely on the charisma of a Pope for the life of the Christian. It relies on the Mass! And if you do not understand the Mass, you cannot understand the true meaning of Christ and without that, you cannot properly understand the context of the words and actions of Pope Francis!

  • Payner

    You’re all right! Pope Fransis is different. He is a new type of man to be our Pope. Enjoy the fresh air. I like his style.

  • colkilgore

    I speak in simple terms…If Jesus came back right now and seen what you people do in his name he’d never stop vomiting. Stop trying to think like God it’s an impossibility! If you really want to get to heaven it’s simple….”Give everything you have to the poor and come follow me.” be the 13th apostle.

  • Michael

    Andrew, I’m sorry but I can’t seem to understand exactly what is bothering you. You obviously have some negative reaction to Pope Francis, but for the life of me, I can’t understand what it is. There is not a single specific dislike to his masses described; it’s all just vague feelings. Please be more specific in a future post.

  • Tim Spalding

    @Fr JoshuaWagner: Your comment seems rather uncharitable. Absent strong evidence, should you really attack someone for trying to create controversy and “sacrific[ing] the Pope to get ahead in the world”? As for “I hope your conscious is clear about all that,” I hope your conscience is clearer than your spelling! :)

  • Jude

    The author articulates well my own sense of dis-ease with how the Holy Father appears to approach the celebration of the Eucharist. Again, it is about appearances and perception; I have no knowledge beyond watching TV and listening to myself. The man is so utterly loveable, and speaks in his writing about the beauty of the Liturgy. But what I see is a man never less joyful than when celebrating the Eucharist. It’s just weird. I have attributed this to formation, to age, to spirituality, to Jesuit-ness rather than other spiritualities…but I too am mildly concenred. What’s not to love about Pope Francis? Nuthin [except his "smoke of Satan" stuff about gay folks...eww, let's watch this] …and he seems to have personally restored Pope Paul’s reputation, Deo gratias…. but there is something percolating under the surface that may challenge my love of Liturgy and Tradition. Time and the Holy Spirit will tell. Hold on for the ride….

  • Rondre

    With all the suffering in the world and we read how some people are concerned how Francis is celebrating the liturgy. Hopefully you are a minority. Marino humble. You got to be kidding right?

  • Kevin

    My only hope is Pope Francis would be surprised and mildly amused by this column and our comments.

  • http://www.imaginethekingdom.com Bob S.

    Andrew — While I don’t necessarily share your pain with Pope Francis’ liturgies (in fact, I’m thrilled with his approach), I do appreciate your authenticity in this piece.

    If we were all honest, every Catholic is challenged by Pope Francis and his predecessors over certain things – pastoral practices, doctrinal emphases, liturgical style, etc. Organic, reasoned dissent (emanating from conscience) is part of being in this community.

    We can contribute a lot more to the Church if we’re as honest about our misgivings about leaders as much as we are about our love for the People of God. Thanks for this.

  • Garry

    Yes, I agree, this pope is withdrawing the strong emphasis on high liturgy and also the emphasis upon costly vestments and costly symbols of princely power and authority. This pope wants to challenge our entrenched clericalis: a clericalism that contributed in no small part to the decades long cover-up of clergy sexual abuse. Clericalism feeds a sense of personal entitlement. Clericalism has prompted many bishops and pastors to act more as divine right kings ruling their particular fiefdoms rather than as humble shepherds called to feed Christ’s lambs. Many Catholics who left the Church have waited to see clergy who are shepherds and imitate Jesus’ humble compassionate service. We need shepherds as Pope Francis, who actively demonstrate Christ’s love the homeless, the poor and the marginalized. We need clergy who are alive with Jesus’ compassion and mercy and who reach out to those outside of the parish offices and roll up their sleeves to minister to the least among us. Gold chalices, gold thread vestments, marble statues, gold pectoral crosses, expensive clerical clothes, gilded mansions are not the Good News. And, come judgment day, we will not be judged by how beautiful or elaborate our liturgies but how we have loved as Jesus has loved us.

  • Adam Post

    In reference to the comment above, I can only say Wow! Thank you, Garry. I was going to comment but what you wrote said it so very well I don’t feel a need to expound. I’ll just simply say that it’s about time there is someone named Francis who is showing us how to live and love the way Jesus taught.

  • Tom K.

    Pope Francis is just a personification of your typical post-Vatican II liberal Jesuit. As with most of the Jesuits I’ve encountered over the past fifty years since the close of Vatican II none of the Pope’s statements and actions have surprised me at all. As a Catholic Traditionalist who has decided to remain within the Church I have encountered many “Catholics” who believe we haven’t had a real pope since Pius XII. I have also encountered many “Catholics”, prelates, priests and laypeople, who believe the Catholic Church really started after Vatican II and who view the pre-Conciliar Church as the “bad old days”.

    Pope Francis is a political Pope and I just hope and pray that he is aware of the consequences of his actions and statements. The Church has suffered terribly since the close of Vatican II and now with Pope Francis at the helm it seems the Church will continue to do so by its own self inflicted wounds.

  • Ed Hawkins

    Andrew. . . thank you for your thoughts. I also have watched all of the Holy Father’s liturgies (Masses, Benedictions, etc.) on Radio Vaticana. I initially thought his style of celebration was a tad laid back. Over time, however, and after many opportunities to watch him in liturgical action, I have come to believe that his affect is one of seriousness and prayerfulness. It’s fascinating to me to see the difference between his demeanor as celebrant and his demeanor as preacher. He comes alive during his homilies. He has told the story of his grandmother’s admonition to him when he was ordained. She told him that his mission as priest was to celebrate the Mass. He says that he never forgets that advice. I believe his demeanor as celebrant is that of a very prayerful, humble priest who cannot sing. Pax et bonum!

  • MikeF.M.

    Andrew: You seem to capture the zeitgeist of what I’d call cafeteria pseudo neoChristians. Have you heard of the Red line or blue lines of Jesus? All of Jesus’s words are turned to red (or blue). Reading just his actual words, versus the selectively chosen and interpreted, would, I’m certain, cause you even greater angst & cognitive dissonance. You would discover that the organized structure in which you worship suffers from a paucity of JESUS.

    I left the Church and any associations with Christianity because of the incremental historical disconnection between the structures and organized traditions and oversimplfied and misguided misinterpretations and constructed around Jesus by Catholics and Christians (not to mention, the subsequent actions). The incredible repeated violations and persistent inconsistency and revival of contradictory old testament words of prophets whenever convenient, and the obscuring, burying and reinterpretations imbued with social and economic preferences of the times, and the minimal survival of his words and intentions versus the evolved and selective reinterpretations His words are clear. Pope Francis clearly hears them, uncorrupted by the Church and traditions and reinterpretations, and I am now following him. You, in contrast, are left with the angst that comes from the inevitable shared cognitive dissonance caused by paying more attention to the pomp and socially constructed Jesus than the real one.

  • Lot

    the pope cannot save you
    only those selected by God
    will be saved
    and if you are not born again
    you will never see the kingdom of God

  • Dcn Frank Pavone

    Have you ever looked into the eyes of a dying man or woman? Have you ever hugged a woman whose 3-year old was just killed? Have you ever stood by someone’s bedside while they threw up the contents of their bowels, and refused to leave them until they were taken away by medical people? As a deacon, I elevate the Chalice with the Precious Blood at every Mass I attend. In it are not just the Blood, but the tears of the lame, the sick, and even the lazy that I see that week…and I couldn’t care less what anybody’s wearing. The simpler, the better I can focus on what’s important.
    Good for you on a thoughtful article, but we don’t really agree.

  • Michael Malak

    The most sacred part of the Mass is the consecration. The crucial words used at the Last Supper, and in every Mass since, are “Do This In Memory of Me.” The “Memory” of which the Lord speaks is His service to the poor, outcasts, and the marginalized. The men at the Last Supper were, largely, rough and unrefined but they understood the Lord’s injunction. He, who could’ve appeared among us as anything other than a humble carpenter, commended His own example to us. Nothing can compare with the majesty of a beautiful Papal liturgy, just as nothing can make the spirit soar more than seeing the architectural glory of St. Peter’s. They inspire visions of God, but they are mere accidents of faith, not its substance. To equate the accidental with the command of Christ who, probably, would feel uncomfortable at the grandeur of our highest constructs of traditional worship, is to place form over substance. To say that without properly interpretative liturgies man might feel less likely to help to the poor is a nullity of the first Mass, of every Mass. I am reminded of those brave priests who say Mass on the battlefields of war zones. Pope Francis, perforce, says his formal Masses in the most magnificent surroundings but they echo, no less, the Masses of a battlefield priest, dirty and even bloody, who invite us to welcome Christ in the midst of pain, death, and horror. These priests, without vestments or miters, bring the Real Presence to man, even in Masses no one ever wants to…

  • Joe

    Great reflection Andrew! As I read, I wanted to share a reflection.

    “Without supposing to know the Holy Father’s heart, it seems clear that
    the celebrated liturgy, to him, is viewed as something incomplete in
    itself..”

    Remember the root of the word “Mass” is precisely the root of the word “dismissal” – “The Mass has ended. Go in peace to LOVE and SERVE the Lord”. The sacrifice represented on the altar is complete, but not the work of the Spirit.

    Are you equally pained by the name we give our chief liturgical assembly because it denotes NOT what happens during the Mass but after?

  • Dianne Legault

    Instead of being negative of the Pope, why not pray for him? Why are you second guessing the Holy Spirits choice in the Conclave.

  • John McConnell

    ” It goes without saying that each of the pope’s Masses has been valid…”

    No it doesn’t.

    See the books Work of Human Hands, Tumultuous Times, Iota Unum, The Great Sacrilege, and The Destruction of the Christian Tradition.

  • lilburn jac

    Mr. McConnell,
    I want to understand your point. Instead of only referencing various books, please state the reason(s) why you have taken your specific position.
    Thank you.
    John Crean

  • lilburn jac

    Thank you for your article.

    In your article, you stated “The painfulness of the Holy Father’s liturgies, I think, arises . . . from the clear lack of affection that Pope Francis maintains for the finer points of liturgical precision and splendor.” I have a couple of thoughts about this.

    First, as you intimate, it’s impossible to know what’s going on in the Pope’s mind (or anyone else’s) during the Mass. So, you may or may not have captured the Pope’s true sense of the Mass. (My luck in guessing what another is thinking is almost nonexistant. Perhaps yours is better.)

    Second, the Last Supper is the sole model for the Mass. Did Jesus incorporate the “precision and splendor” of which you speak, in the Last Supper? He did not. It was a ordinary meal, elevated to holiness by God. If God had wanted precision and splendor, nothing could have prevented it.

    Third, there have been times when I have been so in awe of God, so overwhelmed by Him, that I thought anything less than absolute perfection ( at least to the extent same is humanly possible) would be unacceptable in the celebration of the Mass; that precision and splendor were demanded. But I was wrong. This is not what God wants. Jesus gave us the two great commandments, not one. Neither demands precision or splendor. Within the Mass, a demand for precision and splendor can even be dangerous. These focus the participants on form: we must adorn the alter with splendor; and we must be precise in how we celebrate the Mass. God asks us only to love Him and our neighbor.

    I think Pope Francis has it right.

  • disqus_KWqcWZOpiq

    Oh so sede vacante

    The JP2 “canonization” will seal the deal

    My bet is that they will just delay it. Papal canonizations are infallible and there’s plenty of doubt about what happened to JP2’s soul, not only with his complicity with the sex abuse scandals but also his lukewarmness against false religions and for Catholicism. They won’t show their cards on this one. If they do, I think the nearest sedevacantist may see me return!

  • Leon Ward

    Please try to understand that this Pope is trying to get us to understand Jesus. Jesus was not about ritual, He was about action. There was little or no pomp and circumstance with Jesus. Ans later St. Paul cautioned us about these kinds of things (organized, hierarchical religion, “authority”, wagging our hierarchical fingers in the faces of the faithful.
    Suggestion – get a hold of Hans Kungs’ “Why I am a Christian” and I guarantee you’ll come away from it with a refreshing understanding of what Christ was all about. And this Pope gets it.

  • garry

    I appreciate your honesty. Pope Francis’ approach to liturgy must be a big shock for a generation that has grown up with the strong emphasis on the absolute adherence to the proper rubrics and the use of the most expensive and elaborate vestments and the most precious and sacred vessels made of the finest gold and silver. Generations of orthodox (and particularly home schooled Catholics) were taught by EWTN that these were absolutely essential to preserve and protect the utter transcendancy and sacredness of the holy sacrifice of the Mass. So of course, you and others like you are shocked. But as you can see from these responses that there were many other Catholics who grew tired of what they perceived as too much emphasis on formal Masses presided by grim faced clerics who dressed in the finest robes and prided themselves in remaining aloof and removed from the every day world that they percieved as tainted. The world that Pope Francis highlights in his ministry to the poor and the outcast. He teaches that the shepherds of the Church need to work so closely with the poor that they take on the odor of the sheep. And, the princes of the Church are now embarassed to wear expenisve clerics and gold and jeweled pectoral crosses. He makes clerics who live in luxurious rectories and drive luxury cars uncomfortable. Challenging the wealthy elite, he is even making the wealthy donor friends of the clerical world uncomfortable too! Mass can be a very beautiful ritual; and it can be done in a formal and carefully planned and excellent way adhering to all the rubrics but if our individual and collective prayers do not lead us to a deep conversion of heart and a genuine love for the poor so that we hear the cry of the poor, then it is all for nought and does us little good. At the Last Judgment, if we have shown little mercy to the least among us, we will be no better than the pagans who just sought to eat, drink and be merry.

  • Patrick O’Brien

    Thank you Pope Francis’, you are such a inspiration for all walks of life. You lead by example and you put your fellow man first.

  • Don Brennan

    After all, He is the Pope and he leads by example. If the changes offend the purists…so be it. I am with the Pope on making the Holy Mass much more ‘the heart of man reaching up to God and God, in His love, reaching down…Who cares if the rubrics are bypassed? I don’t….and thousands will agree with this stance. D Brennan Warren MI USA

  • John McConnell

    If one buys just one of the books I mentioned, or even just scans the amazon.com reviews, it will be much clearer than space allows.

    Suffice to say, what would happen if sometime in future a pope denied the doctrine of the Trinity, stating Jesus was not God but like God, and that the Holy Spirit was a power of God, not a Divine Person. What would you do? Remember, a pope has declared this, in this hypothetical example.

    Would you say, well must be so because the pope says so. Or would you say something is definitely wrong – that this “pope” is teaching lies and is a heretic. And if you did realize he was a heretic by denying the de fide dogma of the Holy Trinity, what would that mean – can a heretic be pope? What would you think in this situation. After all, everyone’s acknowledging him as the bishop of Rome and the successor of Peter. Would you blindly follow the pope because he’s the pope? Or would you seek to find out what the Magisterium teaches about this situation.

    What has the Church taught *should* be what you would say, and that you will follow that wherever it leads.

    Putting that hypothetical scenario differently, can the Church teach error?

    Basically, your question as a Roman Catholic is, to whom does your loyalty lie – to the Scriptures and Traditions from which are drawn the teachings of the Church (the proximate rule of Faith), or to a pope.

  • John McConnell

    The “pope” [sic] is denying de fide dogmas. He’s not trying to get you to understand anything about Roman Catholicism. He’s trying to get you to think like a Protestant. And recommending Hans Kung, who is an Arian heretic who denies the Divinity of Christ, is preposterous. Of that I’m sure.

    My understanding – I haven’t run the references down so this is tentative but highly probable – is Kung also denies the miracles of the Gospel occurred as narrated, and he denies the Resurrection was a historical event.

    A heretic cannot be Catholic, and a non-Catholic cannot be pope. See Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, canon 188.4, see Pope Pius XII’s Mystici Corporis in which he states: “Actually, only those are to be included as members of the Church who have received the laver of regeneration and profess the true faith.”

    Is Frannie the Funky Faith Guy professing the true faith? Indifferentism, universal salvation, interfaith worship – all condemned pre-Vatican II.

    Ya, Leon, “this pope [sic] gets it”, alright.

  • John McConnell

    It doesn’t matter how many people agree with a person when he’s burning in hell. Truth isn’t about how many people answered incorrectly and then taking their answer to be truth. That’s simply the logical fallacy of illicit appeal.

    What does matter – for actual Roman Catholics who profess the true faith – is what the Church’s Magisterium historically has taught. For if truth cannot change, the Church’s teachings and dogmas cannot change. To suggest they can is either illogical or heretical.

    Re the “new mass” for example, it’s condemned in Pope St. Pius V’s Quo Primum, and condemned by the Council of Trent, 7th session, canon 13: “If anyone was to say that the traditionally handed-down rites used in the solemn administration of the sacraments [the Tridentine Rite] can be held in disdain or be shortened or be changed into new ones by whomsoever ["quiscumque"] of the pastors of the churches, may he be cursed.”

    Note, even *saying* the new mass is valid, which you are, Don, is enough to excommunicate you. So says Trent ex cathedra.

  • Leon Ward

    To John McConnell: I was educated at a Jesuit University in the early 1960’s. In those days we had to minor in Thomistic Philosophy as well as taking a course in Theology each semester. The most important lesson I learned from the Jesuits is that God gave us a brain for a reason.
    I have never read any one as inspired by Christ as Hans Kung is. He is absolutely fascinated by Jesus.
    The “problem” with Kung is that he has questions about the Hierarchy (and St. Paul warned us about a hierarchical church).
    Don’t you have a problem with Popes, Cardinals and Bishops who tortured and burned human beings alive because of interpretations on Theology? I bet you think Christ was jumping for joy when this nonsense was going on. And the Hierarchy, feeling threatened, has attacked him. His one notable critique is that the Pope is not infallible. I am a daily communicant and I agree. A person who had human beings burned alive, or who protected egregious pedophiles like Marciel Maciel and ruled over a program of hiding pedophiles and exposing innocent children to the predators, and who used the Body and Blood of Christ as a political tool, is not infallable. A man (any Pope) who thinks Jesus gives a crap if you or I eat a hot dog on Friday (remember that one, when our souls were subject to eternal damnation for eating meat on Friday?) is not infallable. It’s all about power and control.
    And this Pope has not given any indication whatsoever that he does not support and defend the teachings of the Church. Every time he has been asked, he has asserted the teachings. He’s saying something like this: “OK all you good Catholics, now get out there and emulate Christ. Feed the hungry and love the poor. Stop talking about it, and get into action”.

  • John McConnell

    Leon,

    Being “fascinated by Jesus” – I don’t recall that particular item in either the Apostles or Nicene Creed. Because it has nothing to do with being Roman Catholic. Apparently neither do you. Because for anyone not to denounce an apostate like Hans Kung is to profess a false faith in the external forum. Which you have just done. In fact you extol Kung. It would be more helpful for everyone if you simply prefaced your remarks with, “Hi, my name is Leon, and I’m an apostate.” That way we know where you’re coming from.

    But to the matter at hand. You state: “And this Pope has not given any indication whatsoever that he does not support and defend the teachings of the Church.”

    Really? Which church? You surely mean the post-Vatican II “church of the New Advent” [sic], which condemns nothing – not even Hans Kung. Because Jorge has made it very clear your statement above is tohu wa bohu were you speaking of pre-Vatican II Roman Catholicism.

    1. Jorge say we worship the same God as the Jews and Muslims, although both of those groups deny Jesus Christ was God. This contradicts the Magisterium and the Apostle John (1 Jon 2:23): “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father. He that confesseth the Son, hath the Father also.”

    2. Jorge praises Islam, another group rejecting the divinity of Christ, a group that teaches “He who believes in the Trinity is impure just like excrement and urine”. Jorge say: “Christians and Muslims, we are called to respect the religion of the other.” That is called INDIFFERENTISM.

    3. Jorge say no one needs to be converted to the Roman Catholic Faith: “The Catholic Church cannot engage in proselytism.” He has called proselytism “solemn nonsense”. That is called INDIFFERENTISM.

    Indifferentism has been condemned by:

    a. Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, ex cathedra, 1441.
    b. Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, 1832, #13.
    c. Pope Pius XI, Syllabus of Errors, 1864, #16.
    d. Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, 1907, #14.
    e. Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, 1928, #4.

    But Jorge he say, “No way, Jose”. Jorge like heap big indifferentism. So clearly Jorge has receded from a point of doctrine proposed by the Church’s authoritative Magisterium – contrary to your claim.

    Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, 1896, #9: “The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium. Epiphanius, Augustine, Theodoret, drew up a long list of the heresies of their times. St. Augustine notes that other heresies may spring up, to a single one of which, should any one give his assent, he is by the very fact cut off from Catholic unity. ‘No one who merely disbelieves in all (these heresies) can for that reason regard himself as a Catholic or call himself one. For there may be or may arise some other heresies, which are not set out in this work of ours, and, if any one holds to one single one of these he is not a Catholic’ (S. Augustinus, De Haeresibus, n. 88).”

  • Leon Ward

    Mr. McConnell: Like I said before, the Jesuits taught me that God gave us brains for a reason.
    And one more thing – I don’t appreciate right-wingers suggesting I am not a good Catholic and that they are. The last a-hole who suggested so much apologized before I kicked his #$@.
    Grow up, you brain-washed man-child.
    Jesus rose from the dead. Of that I’m certain. He didn’t create a religion full of man-made rules. His one rule was to “love God and to love your neighbor as yourself”.
    Too bad you didn’t live in the Middle Ages. You missed all the fun watching heretics being burned alive. And I bet you think Jesus was nodding his head in approval.

  • John McConnell

    Leon,

    Thank you for your thoughtful follow-up. Apparently you’ve forgotten your Jesuit training in logic – your post abounds in logical fallacies. Which explains your apostasy perhaps from Roman Catholicism.

    Your finding fault with the Roman Catholic Church because its members were not all saints begs the question, doesn’t it? Who taught you in the first place that membership in the Roman Catholic Church means instant sainthood? Your critique would be more to the point were you critiquing, say, the Eleusinian Mysteries. The mystery religions only permitted entrance to noble specimens of manhood like yourself. But the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ did and does things differently. You may recall Julian the Apostate commenting on that. Someone sympathetic to your views.

    You have no cogent replies for your heresy and apostasy because there are none.

    I’m not suggesting you’re not a good Catholic. I’m not even explicitly, explicitly, explicitly stating you’re no Catholic at all. Pope Leo XIII is explicitly, explicitly, explicitly stating you’re an apostate, an apostate based on your statements in the external forum, as you recede from defined dogmas of the Church. That is the definition of an apostate. I’m sure the Jesuits taught you that back in the 60s:

    Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, #9,1896: “The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium. Epiphanius, Augustine, Theodoret, drew up a long list of the heresies of their times. St. Augustine notes that other heresies may spring up, to a single one of which, should any one give his assent, he is by the very fact cut off from Catholic unity. ‘No one who merely disbelieves in all (these heresies) can for that reason regard himself as a Catholic or call himself one. For there may be or may arise some other heresies, which are not set out in this work of ours, and, if any one holds to one single one of these he is not a Catholic’ (S. Augustinus, De Haeresibus, n. 88).”

    “He [yes, that means you, Leon, and your exemplar Hans Kung] is not a Catholic.”

  • Chouds

    Funny thing about ‘traditionalists’ carping about the Pope, they’re all about revering the holy spirit’s choice of pope, but only if it agrees with their notions. Thank goodness for this Pope. He has all but erased the painful memory of the last pope, who had set a path to oblivion. As for all the pomp and ceremony, did you not get the memo “the carnival is over”.

  • Jonathan

    The tone of this article is very unseemly. We all need to learn humility.

  • D bran

    I have found many protestant converts came to the RCC because of the Mass liturgy.
    Hope it’s not changed to much.

  • marilyn

    WE ARE MOST PROUD OF YOU FOR YOUR LEADER SHIP AND
    DEVOTION TO THE LORD.IF YOU CAN SET A HIGHER PLANE FOR THIS GREAT CHURCH,ANY PRIEST THAT IS NOT UP TO THE TASK OF BEING A PRIEST,RID THIS CHURCH OF THOSE WHO DON’T MEASURE UP TO THE CALLING. I SEND MY LOVE TO YOU ALL ALL THOSE WHO LABOR FOR THE POOR

  • Frank

    Andrew, I find it PAINFUL to read YOUR shallow, stupid reflections on the Liturgy…. You seem to believe, naively, of course, that liturgy has descended from heaven and should be preserved in some pristine pure form. No! It began as a culmination of a life of self-sacrifice and love with Jesus washing the feet of his disciples and then symbolically breaking bread as a prelude to the breaking of his own body on the cross. Pope Francis has touched the hearts of millions, worldwide, and his homilies bear the mark of true ‘incarnate’ spirituality. He emulates Christ like few others. It would be better IF you listened to his words and followed his example rather than wasting your time to write this cheap, criticfal thrash that you write. Looks like guys like you want the Church to rush back into the Medieval Age. Yes, reading YOU and your stuff is PAINFUL, to say the least!
    * Frank

  • Robt. Drake

    I think you aptly explained how egotistical you are…. and as a Catholic I suggest you seek our Lords Mercy…. Put off your hate and re-read St Ignatius of Loyola’s writings about Mercy and memorize St. Francis’s PEACE Prayer ! It should give you a different perspective… Oh Yes! We are in the Easter Tide… I would be appropriate to read the Gospel of John chapter 17: 1-26…. then go back and read John’s entire Gospel after reading chapter 17.

  • Robt Drake

    John McConnell…. Keep His Peace in your heart and pray for our brother leon and his misguided sense of entitlement… Ask our Lord to give him the eyes to see and hears to hear

  • Lawrence Lo

    Lawrence
    It is not enough to have beautiful Mass, we need to extend that beauty to our lives and to the unfortunates around us. This, in my humble opinion, is the message Pope Francis wants to deliver. ‘… Do this in memory of me …” Our Lord has never explained in detail how this ‘memorial of Him’ should be conducted. Our Lord never says His Church has to do this at Mass or you have committed a moral sin or the heaven’s door will be slammed shut at your face. Instead, the Lord states clearly that we have to love our neighbors, serve the outcasts (this little brethen). Our Pope’s concern is that there are some that focuses too much on liturgy and not enough in the real practice of Jesus’ teaching that the whole Church starts looking like hypocrite. I am a professional accountant and there is a rule that we have to always bear in mind when preparing financial reports i.e. substance over form. Its intention is not to belittle the importance of ‘form’, but to stress that form without substance can be misleading and create confusion. In this present argument, we have to identify the form – liturgy; and the substance – the practical part of our faith. It is good to have both, but remember, substance is undeniably as supported by the Gospel and the testimony of the lives of the saints, the solid foundation of our faith. Can you imagine a Church with so many beautiful liturgies, but a terribly weak foundation of faith in practice. One day, if we are asked: where is our faith, We will show not only our beautiful liturgy, but our works of faith as well.

  • Richard C. Keller

    The tradition of the Church rests with the ancient Latin liturgy which should be much more widespread than it is. But Pope Francis seems to have no interest in it at all. What a shame.

  • John McConnell

    Frank,

    “Touching hearts” – is that from the Apostles or Nicene Creed?

    You state to Andrew: “You seem to believe, naively, of course, that liturgy has descended from heaven and should be preserved in some pristine pure form. No!”

    Great comment! If no one else did, I sure caught your reference. Specifically Pope St. Pius X’s 1907 Lamentabile Sane, in which he states:

    22. The dogmas the Church holds out as revealed are not truths which have fallen from heaven, but they are an interpretation of religious facts which the human mind has acquired by laborious effort. – Condemned

    26. The dogmas of the Faith are to be held only according to their practical sense; that is to say, as preceptive norms of conduct and not as norms of believing. – Condemned

  • D bran

    Jesus loved tradition. Even when he was a child he called it his father’s house. How many times have you been to your father’s house?
    I think the Catholic Church brings people to the fullness of Christ.

  • JMB

    Good speech, but not much essence.
    Follow Christ teaching in actions and forgo the formalities.
    Poor people need food and help not liturgies. The more simple it is, the closer it is to Jesus.
    And that is all what is about !

  • PARISHIONER

    5/5/2014, 2014

    Dear Pope Francis,

    Jesus teaching were directly and to the point as yours. No games. No politics, no medieval sick people.

    I respectfully write to you because I believe many high hierarchy
    Catholic leaders are acting in ways not for the good of the church, or
    consistent with Jesus’ teaching and example. In my letter, I suggest some
    changes for you to consider, in order to begin to address these issues.

    Overworked priests need to have the option of male/female marriage.

    Our parish priests are over worked! They also have a relatively low income and low pensions.

    Our priests are lonely; they have little or no friends (especially in the
    USA) because they will be perceived as crossing the lines. In I Corinthians
    9: 1-6, the original Apostles had the right to have a Christian wife. In the
    current system, the priests feel loneliness and depression, due to being
    socially isolated and addressing so many parishoner’s all problems. I believe
    the teaching of the Bible is clear on this issue. As a Roman Catholic, I
    believe that married priests would bring stability to the priesthood, would
    attract better candidates for priesthood, would allow many mature men (and
    women) to shift into the priesthood from other occupations as they matured, and
    would greatly assist priests that are counseling married couples.

    Priests are suffering from the scandals of sex abuse committed by fellow
    priests; some also maybe being sexually abused, which is unacceptable.

    Our priests have no free weekends, because they have to give at least 6 masses
    in two languages on the weekends (English and Spanish) and a weekly daily mass, plus confessions, sacraments, visiting the sick, funerals and so on.

    The rate of suicide, mental disease and burnout among priests is too high, because they do not have spouses to console them. A married priest would have a spouse who could help to support a family, as most Christian married ministers do. There are too few priests for the extremely hard job they have to do, so they have to do the work of several priests. Thus, they keep constantly moving and working, never having enough time for rest. Moreover, there are more than 3,000 parishes in the United States without their own priests.

    Women priests need to be allowed.

    We have forgotten that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one. In the Church Age, the first disciple of God was Mary. She believed and did not even question her pregnancy with Jesus. In his trial and crucifixion, she did not betray, abandon or deny HIM like many male disciples and/or apostles did. Women were there with Jesus at the Cross, and they were the first to whom the angels appeared telling that Jesus was live on Resurrection Sunday. Also, God created the woman from Adam’s flesh, thus we are the same, all equally part of God. Thus, women’s ordination is absurd not to consider. If women were ordained in the Catholic Church, it would help to decrease the workload of priests worldwide.

    The Catholic church needs to allow remarrying, and divorcees in the churches.

    None priest can judge what is like to live with a drunk, gambler, abuser;
    ie, a bad husband or wife. No children need to have their life destroyed
    because of the Catholic church’s strict rules on divorce.

    Rules on contraception need to be changed.

    Oral contraceptives are not abortive; they create conditions that
    resemble the physiologic conditions t in a woman’s menstrual cycle or in
    pregnancy. The church has to change, similar to opponents of Galileo who thought that the Earth was the center of the universe. Condoms for both male are female are the only real protection against HIV/AIDS.

    Gay couples and gay people need to be ministered to by the Catholic Church.

    They are our sisters and brothers, and their orientation could be partially secondary to abnormalities in the environment, or alterations in
    genes. If they are respectful, they should be accepted and ministered to.

    The archbishops, bishops and high hierarchy catholic leaders need to be scrutinized for lavish mansions, lavish expending, meanwhile many churches struggle to pay their bills.
    I BEGG YOU MAKE RESING THESE TWO GUYS:

    Two examples: The Archbishop’s MANSION IN THE MOST EXPENSIVE AREA OF ATLANTA, GA (BUCKHEAD) and the New Jersey retirement home for an archbishop.

    http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-atlanta-archbishop-mansion-20140405,0,4357585.story#ixzz2yCn5Nu9N

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/after-bishop-bling-scandal-vatican-silent-on-atlanta-archbishops-2.2-million-mansion/2014/04/01/9cb422c4-b9ce-11e3-80de-2ff8801f27af_story.html

    http://ncronline.org/news/people/editorial-nj-archbishops-retirement-home-assault-parishioners-goodwill

    -The rules for what Ex-Priests can & can’t do need also to changed, because they are cruel.

    -Priest need to retire at the age of retirement of most citizens in each country.

    Abortion needs to be permitted

    At least in special cases
    such rape, and severe genetic abnormalities

    Sincerely and respectfully
    submitted,

    A Catholic parishioner

  • Lovelett Knight

    “…God gave us a brain for a reason..”
    Thank you for that statement!
    Being raised in an Evangelical family, church and school, I was taught to “love God with all my heart and all my body and all my soul and my neighbour as myself”.
    I came into the Catholic Church when I was thirty, more than thirty years ago.
    It has been only in the past two years that I have come to understand and deeply appreciate that He has also called me to love Him with “all my mind”.
    This clarity has revolutionized my spiritual life. I have come to understand how my will is involved in my love and my service and as a result my service to Him and to others has become more and more “effortless”; my desire has been sharpened and focused and there is so much peace and joy now than ever before.
    Just had to write this .

  • ndfansince53

    Excellent point. Jesus was not into ritual, but rather how we conduct ourselves especially when it comes to helping those less fortunate than us, but yet there are millions of people in this country who claim to be so “Christian” and who then vote for politicians who cut food aid to the poor. Jesus said “feed the hungry”. He put no qualifiers on that. He did not tell us to feed the hungry as long as they have a legitimate reason to be hungry. He did not tell us to feed the hungry, but it’s OK not to if we think they are welfare cheats. He told us to “feed the hungry” and to leave judging to God.

  • ndfansince53

    Just feed the hungry and help the poor and you’ll be OK. That’s not from me, but from a guy who was waiking around about 2,000 years ago.

  • Anna

    It was God himself who set the standards for his worship in giving His instructions to Solomon in the Old Testament about building the Temple and ways of worship. The Popes did not make this up. If God is not worth praising and worshiping with our best then nothing else matters.

  • Anna

    Yes Jesus was about Ritual, he took part in all the Jewish Ritual, observed all their fasts etc

  • Anna

    We need both, the Catholic Church is already doing its work with the poor, I know because I am in the midst of it. It is those Rituals and Liturgies that has kept the Church alive for all these centuries, Jesus founded His Church on Rituals when he set up the Sacraments, i.e Baptism, Eucharist (the last supper), Reconciliation (those whom you bind here on earth will be bound in Heaven), anointing of the sick, he took part in all his Jewish Rituals.

  • Anna

    Yes Our Lord never wrote it down but his apostles, those he instructed, knew and they did it in the early Church which is how the Mass we have now is celebrated.

  • Anna

    Why are people so opposed to glorifying God and praising God in our finest Tradition? Is he not worth our finest?

  • Anna

    It was the father of sociology Comte who wanted to use the structure of the Catholic Church to replace God with Humanity, we have now replaced the worship of God with the worship of Humanity. Humanity has finally replaced God, well done people.

  • D bran

    I am so grateful I found the fullness of Christ in the Catholic Church. pope Francis is awesome.

  • Bill

    I wish you would have given some specific examples of the differences. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • willbearalaska

    Just remember the new pope, Francis, comes from an area of the world where the church is the people, not the magisterium. Where Roman and European royalty do not dominate the church, but rather the streets full of people are the church, like 2000 years ago, where Jesus walked among the multitudes, that’s where you will find Pope Francis, out amongst the multitudes; He does walk in the Shoes of the Fisherman. The Christ..

  • Robert Pentangelo

    This Pope is either a fool, a modernist, or a closet Freemason. I am glad that most people think of him as Argentinian and forget he is of Italian ancestry–we have enough fools and villains already.

    You forget or never learned that the Mass is the representation of Christ’s very sacrifice on Calvary-and the the priest, acting with Christ, offers that eternal sacrifice to the Father for the glory of God (not humankind) and the salvation of God’s chosen people (no longer the Jews), but the Church.

  • Robert Pentangelo

    Hans Kung is not a Christian, so his book is either a pack of lies or belongs in the fiction section of the library.

    Leon, please tell me what New Testament you are reading since everything you mentiioned was left out of mine.

  • Robert Pentangelo

    Ok, let’s emulate Christ: so when do we start blasting the Scribes and the Pharisees? When do we condemn them for plotting and conspiring to murder Jesus? When do we demand the Jews take responsibility for the actions of their predecessors for engineering the death of Christ?

    Never. As long as people like yourself, the servants of Vatican 2 and this present Pope have anything to say about it.

  • Robert Pentangelo

    Love you neighbor? I agree. Guess you missed the point of the parable of the Good Samaritan-Jesus makes him the good guy-to the dismay of the Scribes and Pharisees.

  • Robert Pentangelo

    Whoever believes and is baptized shall be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.

    I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, whoever believes i me shall be saved.

    No one comes to the Father, except through me.

    This is the New and everlasting Covenant in my blood.

    Should I keep going?

  • Leon Ward

    I am part of a Catholic Bible study group. We actually read the New Testament rather than having someone else read it and interpret it for us.

  • Leon Ward

    Where does it say that?

  • Leon Ward

    We don’t have to blast the Scribes and Pharasees. Jesus took care of that for us. They were the only people that Jesus spoke ill of. He attacked them to their faces calling the hypocrites and “whited sepulchres”. Jesus had little tolerance for those in power walking around in their robes and ceremonial head-dress creating rules and laws for the little guy. Jesus couldn’t stand these types (sound familiar?)
    Demand the Jews take responsibility? Jesus took care of that too. I think he said something like “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do”.

  • Robert Pentangelo

    The Scribes and Pharisees are still around or to be more accurate their religion is; contemporary Jews deny that “the Jews” had any responsibility in the death of Christ. Jesus not only not only condemned their hypocrisy but the arrogance and faithlessness.

    We are children of Abraham; no you are not; or you would do as Abraham did–what was that? An act of faith that was credited to him as righteousness-the followers of the Pharisees are still with us–and chummy with the current Pope.

  • Robert Pentangelo

    The quotation you cite proves my point: Jesus is praying that they be forgiven-so that the wrath of God may not fall upon them for this terrible act–check out any of the “Jewish-Catholic” Dialogue videos on YouTube and NEVER will the “Catholic” or Jewish representative acknowledge any fault by the Jews-meaning the NT is a pack of antisemitic lies.

    Keep reading the NT-you will eventually catch on.

  • Robert Pentangelo

    “Not enough to have beautiful Mass”-just so you know it is 2014 and NOT 1964 so don’t worry we usually don’t have a beautiful mass.

  • D bran

    Love our Pope!

  • profling

    A sacred symbol should mediate directly between God and man without any human explanation. Since V2, the new Church has constantly interfered and tinkered with the liturgy to render it more “meaningful”– a big mistake.

  • JerseyTea

    ..and it was Jesus who came to refute the old way and bring in the Truth.

  • rodlarocque1931

    This isn’t true – Jesus was a very devout temple Jew. He took the temple worship very seriously and didn’t abolish it, but restored the spirit behind it.

  • ethaba

    back and forth, up and down, to and thro. the form of the mass needs to be stabilized. too many priests adopt this simple form and then get bored with it. then they bore the heck out of everyone else. there is a reason the Lord said do THIS in remembrance of me. o for a western st. john chrysostom.

  • herbharker

    Is the Pope to be our witness ?
    Or are the actions’ to be our witness ?
    Wisdom is not found in words,and words are not found in wisdom.
    Wisdom is a woman and she leads the church with wisdom
    Words are the writings’ of mortals’ and therefore corruptible over time.

    Follow his example and respect his example. This man walks the walk and talks the talk….and chews gum at the same time.

  • Cradle Convert

    Hans Kung is a notorious heretic. Do your homework. Your observation that the Pope agrees with him is astute. If you — and for that matter, any member of the hierarchy — including the Pope..doesn’t want to be catholic, please go BE something else and stop trying to further mutate and deform the church.

  • Cradle Convert

    Oh really? So we kick out the catechumens before the Canon? So we close the doors to the heretics and apostates? The new mass has nothing to do with the way it was done in the early church. It is simply a dumbed-down, stripped-down service designed to please protestants.

  • Cradle Convert

    Yes Garry. It is so much better now. Now we get teenagers in hot pants, sloppy “extraordinary” ministers with goofy grins, and some failed folk singer banging out “Lord of the Dance” while we try to adore our Lord. Yes, it is soooo much better now. Before you criticize proper liturgy garry, try going to your local FSSP high mass if you are lucky enough to have one within a couple hours of your house. If you have not seen a proper liturgy, please do not criticize what you do not know about. It is possible that you have never seen a properly celebrated mass. Most catholics haven’t.

  • Mara319

    Frank,
    Holy Mass did not just begin at the Last Supper. The Mass is the wholeness of Jesus’ being – divinity, incarnation, passion, death, resurrection, ascension, and commissioning of His disciples. His whole humanity is the Passion.

    At the penitential rite, we express the Old Testament longing for forgiveness of transgressions and His long-awaited coming. At the Gloria (sang by angels at His Nativity), His incarnation and birth as a human being.
    At the Readings, His public life and teachings. At the Canon of the Mass, His Supreme Sacrifice and Death (with the Blessed Mother becoming our own Mother, too.) At the Unde et memores, His descent into the limbo of the patriarchs and opening of Heaven. At the Agnus Dei, His resurrection – and so on, and so forth.

    Being that Holy Mass is the source and summit of our very lves, it deserves every best thing we could offer in union with Christ’s own Sacrifice.

    Be like the woman who broke an expensive alabaster jar of perfume (worth a year’s wages) to anoint Jesus for His forthcoming death and burial. Judas criticized her, saying the perfume should have been sold and the money “given to the poor.”
    But Jesus said to let her be. “For wherever the Gospel is preached, so this woman will be remembered for what she did.” The event is reported all the Gospels – in Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 7, and John 12.
    .
    So those of you who said all Christ requires is “give to the poor…the poor…the poor!” (not excluding Pope Francis!) and there’s no need to worship God in beauty and reverence – You may have Judas as your patron saint!

  • Art Morrissette

    You should reread the meaning of liturgy as outlined in ICor 11: the eucharist is not about rituals, but is always related to reconciliation in the body of Christ. Benedict has always, since the 60s when he was part of the Catholic Inquisition, represented the divisive and cerebral approach of faith in the church. It makes no sense to talk about his style of celebrating the mass while at the same time remembering his complicity by silence with the corruption of the church in Rome and elsewhere, and the perpetration of priests’ child abuses. Paul’s chastising the Corinthians for separating their treatment of others from their participation in the eucharist is a-propos. “Do you not recognize the body of Christ? Paul would approve of Francis.

  • David

    John, with all due respect, you’re an idiot, a pompous ass, and a Pharisee who Christ will throw out with the rest of the chaff that has failed to love as he loved us.

  • snapdragon

    This is my second try, as my comments were erased! I said , that it would be easy to say that Pope Emeritus Benedict, could well be almost an opposite to Pope Francis, in character, in personality, in culture.
    I agree with the author that Pope Benedict did so much to beautify the liturgy, and this was one of his many gifts to the Church. I believe Pope Benedict will be remembered fondly for his service to the Church. He could have been home in Bavaria by now, writing on many subjects.
    Pope Francis is Spanish, South American, a Jesuit.
    I am glad he wants to do something for the disadvantaged, and he wants us to also !
    As for his liturgy, I don’t speak Spanish, so cannot hope to say I understand half of what he says, but his Latin seemed to me, when I heard His Mass lately, sort of, … mumbled. Is that fair?
    When Pope Benedict was elected, having had Pope John Paul for 25 years? We were all a bit anxious. And then we were delighted, because we all knew Pope Benedict, as the faithful Defender of the Faith. He did more to identify the “filth” of sex abusers, and tried to bring Pope John Paul up to speed.
    Vatican insiders were grinning from ear to ear with delight. And they were right.
    His precise mind helped him to cultivate liturgies, and as he said , music and liturgy does not have to be banal. It can be modern without being banal.
    Let us remember that. Pope Francis, I don’t know, if he listens to liturgists. Let’s pray that he does.

  • tn

    2 Thessalonians 2. John 5 and 14. 1 John 1 through 5. Colossians 2. . 1 Timothy 4.

    Isaiah 14,42, and 45. Daniel 7. Revelation 1 through 22. http://www.audiobible.com/bible/bible.html http://www.jesus-is-lord.com/thebible.htm

  • tn
  • carolina

    your post reminds me of the song by Casting Crowns… “The Altar and the Door”… we are not quite who we want to be yet and we are starting to see that. Great article, thanks.

  • NEMODAT

    What, I wonder, does Art want to do with the thousands of Catholics who have left the church because they cannot abide what they regard as careless, cheap and vulgar liturgies?

    Are we to leave our two millennia of culture to the concert hall, the museum and the Episcopal Church?

  • William Jefferson

    Note: The Holy Spirit does not pick the Pope. Consult a Cardinal Ratzinger on that.

  • Rev.Dr… (Theol) K. v.Maydell

    I am in full support of Pope Francis, as he, like me, is God loving man. All the ordinances are only man made religious forms and God is stronger than religion. He, Pope Frances like some of his predecessors is trying to steer the belief in God into the right direction, just as Pope Leo X had done it with this quote: “How ell we know what a profitable superstition the Fable of Christ has been for us.” unquote (1513- 1521), as well as The Israelites in their 12th Principle state, quote: ” We are waiting and praying for the arrival for the coming of our Lord.” And this is not for the so called “Second Coming” From the beginning of time, God created us in His image, and the image is to love one another as He loves us, sinner and believers alike. He also does not set any conditions to love Him. Fact is He was born and named Jesus, and the title of Christ was first officially put on Him in the early part of the 4th Century AD. Much of what we, the Christians , read in our Bibles was copied from pre-historic cultures, dating as far back as between 56,000 and 220,000 years BCE, It would do the world good., to follow the belief of the oldest religion, the Hindhus, and follow the instructions of the Mahabarata, the Vedas. In closing, I shall say here as Christian Theologian, am myself writing a book on Universal religion, just as God had planned for mankind, to create a Holy catholic church (Catholic from the Greek means Universal), and has nothing to do with either Roman Catholic or Greek Orthodox. So once again, I salute Pope Francis for his efforts in a more Godly vein.

  • Grateful Smith

    Many members of the Roman Church are sick and tired of prissy precision.
    How precise was Jesus at the Last Supper?

  • John McConnell

    David,

    Your logical fallacy of ad hominem aside – which is all your post amounts to – what Catholic teaching are you backing that up with? I have backed up what I’ve stated with Catholic dogma of the ordinary and universal Magisterium articulated by Pope Leo XIII. See above. So in fact you are calling Pope Leo XIII a “pompous ass and a Pharisee” – which shows the true nature of your comment.

    Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, #9,1896: “The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium….

  • jerrym

    I do not believe that the “outward forms” of the Mass are essential to its inner meaning. Minimalist or elaborate I have found myself inspired by a wide range of liturgical celebrations when entered prayerfully. That said, I believe the original article was a reasonable critique. Underpinning it was a recognition that the sacredness of the liturgy lies in its power to draw us into the mystery of God’s saving love. When we allow it, our authentic response is awe, gratitude, and reverence. Authentic worship is never trivial. Of course, the liturgy also calls us to service by uniting us with Christ’s sacrifice. I found the author’s acknowledgement that both the Pope’s and the liturgy’s call to service needs more enactment in his life to be both humble and sincere. Unfortunately many of the responses posted have missed that mark. The Gospel of Christ is not a sledge hammer. It is not “conservative” or “progressive” it is an invitation to conversion. I would suggest less ardour on both sides to prove themselves right and more ardour to be right with God.

  • John McConnell

    Since He is God, He was beyond precise.

  • marilyn

    HE’S A JESUIET PRIEST,POOR BY BIRTH,BUT A HEART OF A LION.HE WILL BE GREAT FOR HIS HUMILITY,LOVES FOR COMMON SENSE,JUST WHAT A CHURCH THAT IS SLIPPING AWAY NEEDS TO RESTORE LOVE OF PEOPLE NOT LOVE OF RULES,WE ALL FACE OUR MAKER,WATCH FRANCIS HE IS A WINNER,WISH HE WAS IRISH

  • disqus_UPguSO3RR4

    I love Mass; I thoroughly enjoy it. And perhaps I’m missing your point, but it seems to me that even in it’s etymology, one central goal of the Mass is to give us strength, through sanctifying grace, to go out into the world to do His work. It also reminds me of the transfiguration. Though being in the radiant presence of Christ is indescribably good, we are not supposed to build tents and grasp at God … we are to come down the mountain and (by inference) do God’s work on earth. So, while I’m not suggesting we eschew the beauty of the Mass (particularly a Papal Mass), I don’t think Francis’ “get your hands dirty” approach is misguided. In fact, that’s what’s great about the saints. Each brought something of themselves to their mission; they used the gifts God gave them. I’m sensing Francis is doing the same. Just my two cents.

  • John McConnell

    lilburn jac,

    I’m assuming you aren’t Roman Catholic, or else dusty on your theology.

    Where did you read “the Last Supper is the sole model for the Mass”? Perhaps I’m misunderstanding you. Are you referring to the “new mass”, which is a protestant supper service? The Catholic Church has defined that the Holy Mass is a re-presentation of the Sacrifice on Calvary. See the Council of Trent.

    Next, some sacraments were given explicit form by Jesus Christ – baptism and the Eucharist, for example. Those forms must be respected by adhering to the actual words of Jesus Christ. Other sacraments, such as confirmation and extreme unction, have forms given by the Church. To say, as you do, that the Last Supper was “a [sic] ordinary meal, elevated to holiness by God” – again, with what Catholic teaching are you backing up that assertion?

    Next, what you “thought” God wanted is irrelevant. What IS relevant is what the Roman Catholic Church has decreed and taught about valid sacramental form. Otherwise, why were councils and popes repeatedly addressing the issue of valid sacramental form if you are right? They could simply have taken your stance and said, Oh do it anyway you see fit.

    Council of Trent, Session 22, chapter ix:

    1. If anyone says that in the mass a true and real sacrifice is not offered to God, or that to be offered is nothing else than that Christ is given to us to eat, let him be anathema.

    Same session, the Decree Concerning Things to be Observed and Avoided in the Celebration of the Mass:

    “What great care is to be taken that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass be celebrated with all religious devotion and reverence, each one may easily conceive who considers that in the sacred writings he is called accursed who does the work of God negligently.”

    The above might explain why you say: “I think Pope Francis has it right.”

  • John McConnell

    That’s what protestantism is all about, that’s correct.

  • John McConnell

    Jesus Christ said a lot of other things which you are conveniently ignoring. You’re also ignoring the Roman Catholic Church is His Church. What you’re saying has everything to do with protestantism and nothing to do with Roman Catholicism. For a Roman Catholic, your remark is presumptuous. See Thomas Aquinas, Book IIa, IIae, question 21, Summa Theologica, on the topic of Presumption:

    1. Presumption as a sin against hope is the wholly unreasonable expectation that God will save us despite the bad will in us which makes that saving impossible. Under the name and guise of reliance on God, presumption insults God and dishonors our own intelligence. It is presumption, for example, to expect forgiveness for sins without repentance. It is presumption to expect Heaven without working to get there by merit.

    2. Presumption is a sin, and can be a very grave sin, but it is not so grave a sin as despair. For, though it is inordinate and unreasonable in its expectation, presumption does recognize (however insultingly and distortedly) the divine goodness and mercy which despair utterly rejects and denies.

    3. Presumption seems, at first glace, to be contrary to fear rather than to hope. For the presumptuous man seems to fear nothing, whether by servile fear or by filial fear. But this is mere seeming. The virtue to which presumption stands directly opposed is hope. Hope and presumption deal with the same object; hope, in an orderly manner; presumption, inordinately.

    4. Presumption arises from vainglory, that is, from a prideful trust that a person has in himself as powerful enough to cope with anything, and as a being so excellent that God could not allow him to be punished.

  • http://batman-news.com/ Kullikoff

    Better suggestion: Avoid ANYTHING associated with Hans Kung..

  • http://batman-news.com/ Kullikoff

    He should be putting God and the souls of his flock first. That’s the problem with this disaster of a pope…

  • Teri Sheedy Liberator

    To make light of the glory of the Holy sacrifice of Mass, as if our human action in the world has more power than our prayers, is backward. The Blessed Virgin Mary herself has been telling us for over 100 years to return to holiness and prayer and to quit offending God. Jesus said the “Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her” when Martha asked Jesus to make Mary get up and help her in the kitchen. To sit at the feet of Jesus and to listen to Him is much more efficacious than to busy about in ministries that may or may not reflect the Will of God, since everyone is too busy to say, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.”

  • William Van Duzen

    Pope Francis Millie Cirrus the first. The further away from Rome the worst the church gets.