Papal Masses: An Example to Us All

There is a very interesting interview on Zenit in regard to the various “novelties” that have appeared in the liturgies and dress of Pope Benedict XVI, covering everything from his red shoes to communion on the tongue. This interview sheds light on many of the questions pope-watchers have been asking since Papa Benny took the papal throne.

Particularly interesting is the discussion of the distinction between the “right” to receive communion either standing or kneeling and the “indult” from the universal norm to receive communion in the hand.

But I thought the final comment by Father Mauro Gagliardi was most appropriate:

Naturally, I can only speak here from a personal perspective and not officially on behalf of the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff. To me it seems that what is being attempted is a wise joining of the ancient with the new, to actuate in spirit and letter, as much as possible, the indications of the Second Vatican Council, and to do this in such a way that the pontifical celebrations are exemplary in all aspects. Those present at the papal liturgy should be able to say: “Ah, this is how you do it! This is how we should do it in our diocese too, in our parish!”

Certainly this is the way in which the Roman Rite spread throughout the West in the first place. We pray that it may be so again!

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22 Comments

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22 responses to “Papal Masses: An Example to Us All

  1. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    Sorry David, the “first place” happened by papal decrees backed up by soldiers and other forces of the states whose church it was. Likewise the repression of anything else. An “again” that should not have happened once, let alone again.

    • I thought you were giving up commenting on this blog, PE? In any case, history shows otherwise. While in some places local rites held out until the Council of Trent (which recognised all rites then in existence more which could claim an antiquity more than 200 years old), by that stage most localities in the West had adopted more or less the Roman way of doing things. I think that is an historically recognised fact. The few exceptions rather prove the rule.

  2. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    Well, once again you miss my point entirely, in the service of preserving your romantic Romanist reverie.

    I did not say that most localities in the West did not adopt more or less the Roman way of doing things. What I said was, this in no way happened by people coming away from papal liturgies saying wow this is how we should do it at home too so let’s change.

  3. Christine

    Papal masses??

    Nah, David, as a European myself, trust me when I say that Europeans (especially Italians!) love a spectacle.

    Here in the good old USA people complain if a mass runs over 45 minutes.

    Christine

  4. matthias

    So PE are you saying that David is a Papal syncophant?

  5. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    God bless me sideways.

    Perhaps you mean sycophant. Judas no, he is anything but. Neither in its modern usage as one who seeks to gain by another’s influence, nor in the actual meaning of the word, from the Latin for “trickster”, nor the Greek from which that came, “to show the fig”, a vulgar sign of the female organ which politicians would have their followers use but not use themselves. Not even the popefig, so sadly passed from the splendour of English profane and vulgar usage.

    Actually quite the opposite, as his pursuit of the Roman delusion appears rather as the discovery of the fullness of the church of Christ from which a Christian, once aware of that, may not remain absent, which charge he has followed at considerable hardship and loss.

    Which nothing that I say should be taken as finding less than honourable, however mistaken.

    • Why, thank you, PE! That was very kindly and charitably said. At least you understand my reasons and actions. Now, I will just have to apply myself to understanding your reasons and actions – which I have been trying to do, with equal charity, for some time now!

      • Terry Maher (Past Elder)

        Blow me out the door if WordPress blogs aren’t annoying as all hell with these subthreaded comments. You have to go through the whole bleeding comment box to see who said what to what when. I have one in a business context, and I hate it. Great blogging Judas I hope my former presence here played no part in the decision to move to Wordbloodypress.

        But you’re welcome, although, being charitable was not my motive, just to call it as I see but be sure it is clear what that is and is not.

  6. matthias

    Good point re the grammar ,and I must agree with you that he-Schulz- from my observations his decision to cross to the Tiber rather than stay with Wittenberg has come at considerable cost. Being a member of the LCA when he changed,and a member of one of his best friend’s parishes,I saw the effects within a microcosm of the Victorian District and can remember the then District president writing about issues around authority. i thought at that time that it took faith and guts and demands/commands respect.

  7. Christine

    Schulz- from my observations his decision to cross to the Tiber rather than stay with Wittenberg has come at considerable cost.

    Insofar as David left the ordained ministry I can certainly appreciate that. He and I also shared the “obstacle” of having our marriages “regularized” in order to become Catholic.

    After that, it’s actually not too difficult. I had heard about the “authority” of the Roman Church from my Catholic relatives from the time I was a kid.

    Only to find that when I finally swam the Tiber, it wasn’t at all what I expected. The Roman tent is very, very roomy these days.

    If you ever get a chance, Matthias, read up on the story of Rod Dreher, a columnist for the Dallas Morning News. Dreher and his wife converted to Catholicism with the deepest hopes of having come home to the “true church.” Now, in all honesty, the diocese they belonged to was one of the worst hit with the sexual abuse scandals but even that didn’t drive Dreher out of the church. He writes that when he finally came to the point where he felt he couldn’t trust his priests and bishops to teach his children the authentic faith he and his family had to leave.

    They are now Orthodox but even there the Drehers have found clerical scandals but they are determined to stay and work through them this time, and that is quite right. There is no church body that hasn’t been hit with abuse scandals. But when the “teaching authority” of a church is compromised, that’s another matter.

    Christine

    • You are right that the only difficulty in being a Catholic is the scandal of the behaviour and teachings of some Catholics, Christine. Otherwise it really is very “easy” – at least on the soul!

      The case of the Dreher’s is very interesting. I can understand the reasoning which goes: “We’ve been Protestant and that obviously wasn’t the true Church because their teachings were not faithful to the Tradition; we’ve tried the Catholic Church, and that obviously obviously wasn’t the true Church because even though the Catholic Church’s teachings are orthodox, so many of their priests and bishops don’t actually teach the faith of the Church; so now we will try the Orthodox.” The fact is that the Orthodox WERE their final option meant that when they discovered imperfections there too, they had finally to either knuckle down and deal with the fact no Christian body is going to be perfect, or cease membership in any Christian body whatsoever.

  8. matthias

    Thank you Christine,I think i recall something about the Drehers pilgrimmages. Yes all churches are hit with scandal-currently an extreme Pentecostal sect here is in the news for the financial mismanagement by one of their pastors.(Revival Centres International for Aussies)
    It reminds me that Francis Schaeffer the great Christiana (Proddy) Apologist of the mid 20th Century,collaborated with his son Franky Schaeffer V ,a film maker,on many projects -how shall we then live?,and WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? Franky is now Orthodox and wrote abook about his journey from being one of the Moral Majority to orthodox. Last i read his son wasin the USMC serving in Iraq

  9. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    Odd. I found the scandal of the behaviour and teaching of some Catholics the easiest part of being Catholic. The problem was there before Vatican II, was not created by Vatican II, and there is no other church body anywhere that does not have its own version of same, and the NT indicates this has been a problem from the start and is not going to go away in this age.

  10. Christine

    You are right that the only difficulty in being a Catholic is the scandal of the behaviour and teachings of some Catholics, Christine. Otherwise it really is very “easy” – at least on the soul!

    David, as gently as I can say it, I couldn’t disagree more. Scandal has appeared in many insitutions, religious or not. That’s not the point. Being Catholic is, in fact all too easy (as long as one doesn’t have the forbidden “impediments”). If you’ve found it “easy on the soul” then you and I have had a very different experience of being Catholic.

    As far as the Drehers go, it was interesting to me that once Dreher left the Catholic church he was able to quite comfortably reassess his views on the papacy and conclude that the Orthodox position was correct.

    Christine

    • Not so incredible. Presumably he had changed his mind on the papacy at least once before, in becoming Catholic in the first place. Presumably you have done the same. Me? Nup. Never. I guess there must be some underlying difference in the way Dreher, you and I each came to affirm the Papacy in the first place.

  11. Kiran

    And here I was thinking that it was all the fault of those Franciscans!

  12. Christine

    Nup. Never. I guess there must be some underlying difference in the way Dreher, you and I each came to affirm the Papacy in the first place.

    For me, after spending a good period of time soul-searching and poring over many resources, I came back to what I had believed as a Lutheran. The longer I was Catholic the more evident it became that the Catholic church filled the shoes of the dying Roman Empire with its own ruler, laws, subjects and mores.

    Christine

    • But why did you believe it in the first place, Christine? Why did the fact “that the Catholic church filled the shoes of the dying Roman Empire with its own ruler, laws, subjects and mores” (which is more or less undoubtedly true in one way or another) lead you to conclude that she was not also the Church of Christ? After all, Lutheran Churches began (and – in the most populous Lutheran countries of the world – continue to be) as departments of the State, and that doesn’t seem to invalidate Lutheranism for you.

      What I want to understand – because I think there is something important in this distinction – is how you (and the Drehers, but you can’t speak for them) first came to the conviction that the Pope was the Successor of Peter, the Rock on whom Christ founded the Church, and then change your mind. Were you in fact never actually convinced of this in the first place?

  13. Christine

    Were you in fact never actually convinced of this in the first place?

    Yes, David at one point I was. Of course, my background is somewhat different than yours. Growing up in a family of practicing Catholics and Lutherans I was always “listening in” to the conversations plus my Catholic Dad took me to the old Rite when I was a kid.

    Years later, most of my Lutheran affiliation was in non-LCMS congregations and having lived through the fervor of the ecumenical movement I began to erroneously conclude that there weren’t so many differences between Catholics and Lutherans anymore, and my time in the ELCA, which had adopted many of the forms of the novus ordo liturgy, prepared me, so I thought, for my Catholic conversion.

    I was received into the RC in 1997 but remember as early as six months later I began to suspect I had made a big mistake. As is my wont, I continued to read, ask questions and talk to other people. It gradually became obvious to me that the Catholic church I had known as a kid was not the same as the one I was experiencing now.

    When I converted I really was prepared to accept the papal claims as they stood. The reappearance of the Tridentine Rite along the Novus Ordo was a big trigger for me. They have no business living side by side in the RC, they express two different theologies. That, in turn, led to me question again why millions of Orthodox and non-Roman Christians reject the papal claims.

    There is simply no way to reconcile the teachings of earlier popes with what the RC holds now.

    As far as the Lutheran state churches go, yes, they did and do exist, but never in the way that the Church of Rome has been configured.

    That there are true Christians in the Church of Rome I do not deny. But the Roman system, as a whole, is a perversion of the Gospel. Where Rome teaches genuine truth, she is Christian. Where she does not, she is not Christian.

    I could not live with that dichotomy, and it has nothing to do with scandals, human weakness, wheat or tares. Having become reacquainted with my evangelical and catholic roots I see now that I should never have left them in the first place.

  14. Thanks Christine – that explains a lot. There is therefore a difference between my path into the Catholic Church and yours. You say that you were “prepared to accept the papal claims as they stood”. To Me that indicates that you had accepted the papal claims because you had accepted the Catholic faith – whereas I accepted the Catholic faith because I became convinced of the papal claims.

  15. Christine

    To Me that indicates that you had accepted the papal claims because you had accepted the Catholic faith – whereas I accepted the Catholic faith because I became convinced of the papal claims.

    With the important caveat that I found the papacy and faith of the preconciliar church to be quite different from that of the church of Vatican II.

    Christine

  16. Christine

    Your reasoning, David, also does not solve the vexing problem of the Orthodox. Many of us call her the “Eastern Orthodox Church” but she refers to herself as the “Holy Orthodox Catholic Church” whose Catholicity long preceded the papacy.

    Christine