Quo Vadis, Papa Francisco?01- WILL POPE FRANCIS WASH THE FEET OF WOMEN AT HOLY MASS THIS WEEK?

 
 

 

MARCH 28/29/30/APRIL 4/9/15/MAY 17, 2013

Quo Vadis, Papa Francisco?

01- WILL POPE FRANCIS WASH THE FEET OF WOMEN AT HOLY MASS THIS WEEK?

 
 

Pontiff Desires Simple Mass for Holy Thursday

Pope Francis to Celebrate Mass of the Lords Supper at Local Juvenile Detention Center

http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pontiff-desires-simple-mass-for-holy-thursday

Vatican City, March 26, 2013 (Zenit.org) Junno Arocho Esteves | 515 hits

According to the Holy See Press Office director, Fr. Federico Lombardi, Pope Francis has expressed his desire that the Mass of the Lord’s Supper be very simple.

The Holy Father will celebrate the Mass in the chapel of the Casal del Marmo Penitential Institute for Minors (IPM). Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of the Diocese of Rome, and Fr. Gaetano Greco, chaplain of the Institute.

Of the 10 girls and 40 boys expected to attend, the Holy Father will wash the feet of 12, who will be chosen from different nationalities and diverse religious confessions. The youth will also participate in the mass by proclaiming the readings and the prayer of the faithful.

The youth as well as the IPM’s personnel will meet with Pope Francis after the Mass at the Institute’s gymnasium. Also expected to attend will be Paola Severino, the Minister of Justice, Caterina Chinnici, head of the Department of Justice for Minor’s, Saulo Patrizi, Commander of the Institute’s Penitentiary Police, and Liana Giambartolomei, director of the Institute.

The youth will give Pope Francis a wooden crucifix as well as a kneeler that they made in the Institute’s workshop. According to the communiqué released by the Holy See Press Office, the Holy Father will bring Easter eggs and “colomba”, a traditional Italian Easter cake in the shape of dove, for all present.

Due to the intimate nature of the Holy Father’s visit, the Holy See stated that journalists will be restricted to the outside area of the Institute, as well as no live coverage of the Mass.

 
 

From:
Vatican Information Service – Eng – txt
To:
VISnews engTXT

Sent: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 7:04 PM Subject: VISnews130326

POPE FRANCIS WANTS “IN COENA DOMINI” MASS TO BE SIMPLE AND INTIMATE

Vatican City, 26 March 2013 (VIS) – The Mass of the Lord’s Supper that Pope Francis will celebrate on Holy Thursday in the chapel of the Casal del Marmo Penitential Institute for Minors (IPM) will be, by his express desire, very simple, as reported by the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J. Concelebrating with the Holy Father will be Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of the Diocese of Rome, and Fr. Gaetano Greco, chaplain of the Institute.

Around 10 girls and 40 boys will take part in the Mass. The Pope will wash the feet of 12 of them, who will be chosen from different nationalities and diverse religious confessions. The youth will also say the readings and the prayers of the faithful.

After the Mass, the Pope will meet with the youth and the IPM’s personnel in the Institute’s gym. Around 150 persons are expected to attend, including the Minister for Justice, Paola Severino, accompanied by the Head of the Department of Justice for Minors, Caterina Chinnici, the Commander of the Institute’s Penitentiary Police, Saulo Patrizi, and the Institute’s director, Liana Giambartolomei.

The youth will give the Pope a wooden crucifix and kneeler, which they made themselves in the Institute’s workshop. The Holy Father will bring Easter eggs and “colomba” (the traditional Italian Easter cake in the shape of a dove) for all.

Given the intimate nature of the pastoral visit, journalists will be restricted to the area outside the building and no live coverage will be transmitted.

 
 

OUR LETTERS TO POPE FRANCIS AND TO SOME VATICAN DEPARTMENTS

From:
Michael Prabhu
To:
av@pccs.va ; cancilleria@arzbaires.org.ar
Cc:
cultdiv@ccdds.va

Sent: Monday, March 25, 2013 5:49 AM

Subject: YOUR HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS, PLEASE DO NOT WASH THE FEET OF WOMEN THIS MAUNDY THURSDAY…

 
 

1.

 
 

 
 

 
 

To,

His Holiness Pope Francis,

Vatican City, Rome

                                                                                                                                             March 25, 2013

   
 

                SUBJECT: WASHING THE FEET OF WOMEN AT HOLY MASS ON MAUNDY THURSDAY

   
 

Your Holiness,

We understand from news reports that You intend to wash the feet of six men and SIX WOMEN at Holy Mass on March 28, 2013, Maundy Thursday.

We pray that there is no truth in that information.

In case there is any truth in that information, we request You to please refrain from doing that and only wash the feet of twelve men. 

If You wash the feet of women during the liturgy, it will send a wrong signal to many and give an impetus to some enemies of the Catholic Church.

We have nothing against Your washing the feet of women on Holy Thursday if it is done outside of Holy Mass, in a non-liturgical service.

We understand that the rubrics of the liturgy permit only the feet of “viri” (men) to be washed by a priest; so we humbly suggest — in the event that You really do want to have the feet of women washed — that You change the presently-existing rubrics to include women before their feet are washed by You.

Yours obediently,

MICHAEL PRABHU

Catholic apologist, INDIA

 
 

From:
Michael Prabhu
To:
cancilleria@arzbaires.org.ar ; av@pccs.va
Cc:
cultdiv@ccdds.va

Sent: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 2:32 PM

Subject: ASUNTO: LAVADO DE LOS PIES DE MUJERES EN LA SANTA MISA DE JUEVES SANTO

 
 

A la atención de:

Su Santidad el Papa Francisco

Ciudad del Vaticano, Roma

                                                                                                                                            25 de marzo de 2013

                             
 

             ASUNTO: LAVADO DE LOS PIES DE MUJERES EN LA SANTA MISA DE JUEVES SANTO

   
 

Su Santidad,

Hemos podido saber a través de ciertos informes que tiene intención de lavar los pies de seis hombres y seis mujeres durante la Santa Misa del 28 de marzo de 2013, Jueves Santo.

Rogamos que no sea verdad esta información.

Pero en caso de que haya algún tipo de certeza en ella, le solicitamos que por favor se abstenga de hacerlo y sólo lave los pies de doce hombres.

Si Su Santidad lava pies de mujeres durante la liturgia se enviará una señal equivocada a mucha gente y dará impulso a las críticas de algunos enemigos de la Iglesia Católica.

No tenemos nada en contra de que lave los pies de las mujeres el Jueves Santo si se hace fuera de la Santa Misa, por ejemplo en un servicio no litúrgico.

Entendemos que las reglas de la liturgia sólo le permiten a un sacerdote lavar los pies a “viri” (hombres), por lo que humildemente sugerimos-en el caso de que realmente quiera lavar los pies a mujeres- que cambie la normativa actualmente existente para incluir a las mujeres en el lavado de pies hecho por Su Santidad.

Suyo humildemente,

MICHAEL PRABHU

Apologista católico, INDIA

[My email letters to Rome in English and Spanish were on this ministry’s letterhead –Michael]

 
 

From:
Croydon D’souza
To:
av@pccs.va ; cancilleria@arzbaires.org.ar

Cc:
cdf@cfaith.va ; ladaria@unigre.it ; servus@urbaniana.edu ; segreteria@propagandafide.va ; mjconde@ediurcla.it ; nonducorduco@fastwebnet.it ; mab_8@msn.com ; pellerey@unisal.it ; kkasteel@corunum.va ; arcivescovado@diocesi.genova.it ; uzgnadb@zg.t-com.hr ; erzbischoefliches-haus@erzbistum-koeln.de ; gombp@katolikus.hu ; primadodemexico@yahoo.com.mx ; archevechedkr@sentoo.sn ; cultdiv@ccdds.va
Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 8:04 PM

Subject: LAVADO DE LOS PIES DE MUJERES DURANTE LA MISA DE JUEVES SANTO

 
 

2.

 
 

 
 

A Su Santidad el Papa Francisco

Ciudad del Vaticano, Roma

                                                                                                                                 27 de marzo de 2013

   
 

              TEMA:
LAVADO DE LOS PIES DE MUJERES DURANTE LA MISA DE JUEVES SANTO

 
 

Su Santidad,

Hemos sabido a través de noticiarios que Usted tiene la intención de lavar los pies de seis hombres y SEIS MUJERES durante la Misa de Jueves Santo del 28 de marzo de 2013.

Rezamos para que esa información esté equivocada.

Si es exacta, le pedimos que por favor no lo haga y lave unicamente los pies de 12 hombres.

Si lava los pies de mujeres durante la liturgia, enviará una señal equivodad a muchos y dará ímpetu a algunos enemigos de la Iglesia Católica.

No tenemos nada contrario a que Usted lave los pies de mujeres el Jueves Santo fuera de la Santa misa, en un servicio no litúrgico.

Entendemos que las reglas litúrgicas permiten unicamente que los pies de los “viri” (hombres) sean lavados por un sacerdote; por lo cual sugerimos humildemente – en el caso que Usted quiera efectivamente lavar los pies de mujeres – que se cambien las reglas litúrgicas para incluir a las mujeres antes del lavado de los pies.

Le saluda atentamente,

CROYDON D’SOUZA

Apologista Católico, 601/602, Greenlands CHS, Opposite St Anthony’s Church, Malwani Village, Malwani, Malad (W), Mumbai, INDIA

 
 

A LETTER FROM A LATIN AMERICAN EUROPE-BASED APOLOGIST AND MY RESPONSE

From:
Apologist
To:
Michael Prabhu
Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 2:46 PM Subject: Re: YOUR HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS, PLEASE DO NOT WASH THE FEET OF WOMEN THIS MAUNDY THURSDAY…

From what I understand, there is a huge issue in India about this matter, probably because of all the liturgical abuse that has been going on. From a European/Latin American point of view, where cases of liturgical abuse are rarer or less extreme, it seems as an exception to liturgy that can be granted by Bishops, in particular if it is the Bishop of Rome. 

I think that for Westerners, you should explain why this matter is so important, because otherwise, the first reaction to your letter is very negative. Catholic communities of Europe and Latin America are very sensitive towards women’s responsibilities and place in the Church and in liturgy. In fact, this gesture of the Pope will probably be very positively viewed by Catholics from those regions.

From:
Michael Prabhu
To:
Apologist Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 3:36 PM Subject: Re: YOUR HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS, PLEASE DO NOT WASH THE FEET OF WOMEN THIS MAUNDY THURSDAY…

I am not going by sentiments but by the rubrics of the Maundy Thursday liturgy and by the findings of my research into the matter based on email questions that I received in the past. You can read my document at

WASHING THE FEET OF WOMEN ON HOLY THURSDAY

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/WASHING_THE_FEET_OF_WOMEN_ON_HOLY_THURSDAY.doc

Recently some liberal theologians raised the issue and my correspondence with them is also in the above document. There are wider implications to this issue of washing the feet of women on Holy Thursday. Personally, I have no problems with it.

Also, one of my good Indian conservative friends in the US wrote me that he planned to join the SSPX if this happens tomorrow. I just managed to talk him out of it.

From:
Apologist
To:
Michael Prabhu
Sent: Thursday, March 28, 2013 1:55 PM Subject: Re: YOUR HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS, PLEASE DO NOT WASH THE FEET OF WOMEN THIS MAUNDY THURSDAY…

Indeed I suspected that it was a problem linked to liberal clergy who might use it as justification for the ordination of women. But it would in my eyes be – again – an unfair interpretation of a gesture that the Pope clearly intends otherwise.

I trust that the person in charge of the liturgy for the pontifical house will find a solution. 

I agree with you, that it is better to respect the liturgical norms. What is happening, I believe, is that Pope Francis is not used to dealing with this type of problems, and therefore has a very candid and spontaneous approach, without realizing the implications it might have on other levels. He never lived outside of Argentina, and he might need time to understand this type of problems and decide how to deal with them. But I am quite sure that he doesn’t mean the gesture as a justification for the ordination of women. He is known in Argentina as very “conservative”, which is the word they use for people faithful to Catholic doctrine. Let’s pray and see what happens.

From:
Michael Prabhu
To:
Apologist
Sent: Thursday, March 28, 2013 2:56 PM Subject: Re: YOUR HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS, PLEASE DO NOT WASH THE FEET OF WOMEN THIS MAUNDY THURSDAY…

You understood… It will be very difficult for us in these ministries in future when liberals on the one hand keep shouting “But Pope Francis did this or that…” and the Traditionalists on the other hand have more ammunition to fire at us.

The joy of the liberals will be difficult to contain and will be difficult for us to tolerate. The latter we can continue to ignore.

Pope Francis is making our circle of apologists very anxious.

 
 

3.

 
 

Pope Benedict’s convert Magdi Allam has left the Church; Pope Francis thinks nothing of distributing Holy Communion in the hand as against the preference of his predecessors, Cardinal Arinze, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith and others for the tongue… and so on. The reverence for the liturgy and the dignity of the seat of St. Peter appear to have diminished in the name of humility and simplicity… Nothing wrong with that per se, but we as yet cannot estimate the impact that all of this will have in the long term — whether it will pan out for ‘good’ or for bad. We don’t want Catholics leaving the Church for these of all reasons, for God’s sake!

We face great uncertainty. If there is laxity at the very top in the liturgy and other critical areas, there will be a free-for-all at the diocesan and parish levels; and, the Society of Jesus, already rightly held responsible for the non-evangelization of Asia over the past few decades because of their “social gospel” will turn out to be the greatest beneficiaries of this situation. I wonder if the Pope is even aware that most conservative Catholics blame his Jesuit order [the exceptions are few and far between] for almost every liberal and modernist situation in the Asian church. I think it is high time that I write a report on this issue, as I have been preparing my documentation for it since a long, long time.

See the response from “Apologist” on page 105 after “Apologist” read this report.

 
 

1. Pope washes feet of young Muslim woman prisoner in unprecedented twist on Maundy Thursday

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/the-pope/9960168/Pope-washes-feet-of-young-Muslim-woman-prisoner-in-unprecedented-twist-on-Maundy-Thursday.html
EXTRACT

Pope Francis continued his gleeful abandonment of tradition by washing the feet of a young Muslim woman prisoner in an unprecedented twist on the Holy Thursday tradition.

By Harriett Alexander, and agencies, March 28, 2013

While popes have for centuries washed the
feet of the faithful on the day before Good Friday, never before had a pontiff washed the feet of a woman. That one of the female inmates at the prison in Rome was also a Serbian Muslim was also a break with tradition. “There is no better way to show his service for the smallest, for the least fortunate,” said Gaetano Greco, a local chaplain.

 
 

 
 

Pope Francis
washed the feet of 12 inmates aged 14 to 21, among them the two women, the second of whom was an Italian Catholic. Mr Greco said he hoped the ritual would be “a positive sign in their lives”.

Catholic traditionalists are likely to be riled by the inclusion of women in the ceremony because of the belief that all of Jesus’ disciples were male.

The pontiff, who has largely disregarded protocol since his election earlier this month, urged his fellow clerics before the ceremony to prioritise the poor.

“We need to go out to the outskirts where there is suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight, and prisoners in thrall to many evil masters,” he said at a mass in St Peter’s Basilica.

“It is not in soul-searching or constant introspection that we encounter the Lord.”

Francis, the first leader of the Catholic Church from Latin America, led a mass with a mixed group of young offenders at the Casal del Marmo prison outside of Rome.

The 76-year-old, who was archbishop of Buenos Aires until chosen as pope, has already made a name for himself as a champion of the disadvantaged. In his homeland of Argentina he was known for his strong social advocacy, working in slums and shunning the lavish lifestyle adopted by some senior clerics. He lived in a small flat near the cathedral, flew to the Rome conclave in economy class, and chose to travel with his fellow cardinals by minibus rather than in the papal limousine.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio – as Pope Francis was previously known – had already washed and kissed the feet of women in past ceremonies in Argentinean jails, hospitals and old people’s homes, including pregnant mothers and AIDS patients. […]

4.

 
 

 
 

2. Pope includes women for first time in Holy Thursday rite

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/28/us-pope-idUSBRE92R0B020130328
EXTRACT

By Phillip Pullella, Rome, March 28, 2013

Two young women were among 12 people whose feet Pope Francis washed and kissed at a traditional ceremony in a Rome youth prison on Holy Thursday, the first time a pontiff has included females in the rite.

The pope traveled to the Casal del Marmo prison on Rome’s outskirts for the traditional Mass, which commemorates Jesus’ gesture of humility towards his apostles the night before he died.

The ceremony has been traditionally limited to men because all of Jesus’ apostles were male. The Vatican spokesman said two of the 12 whose feet were washed were Muslim inmates.

While the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio included women in the rite when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, it was the first time women had taken part in a papal Holy Thursday ceremony. […]

 
 

3. Pope Francis washes feet of young detainees in ritual

http://m.usatoday.com/article/news/2028595
EXTRACT

By Nicole Winfield, March 28, 2013

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of a dozen inmates at a juvenile detention center in a Holy Thursday ritual that he celebrated for years as archbishop and is continuing now that he is pope. Two of the 12 were young women, a remarkable choice given that the rite re-enacts Jesus’ washing of the feet of his male disciples.

The Mass was held in the Casal del Marmo facility in Rome, where 46 young men and women currently are detained. Many of them are Gypsies or North African migrants, and the 12 selected for the foot-washing rite included Orthodox and Muslim detainees as well, news reports said.

Because the inmates were mostly minors — the facility houses inmates aged 14-to-21 — the Vatican and Italian Justice Ministry limited media access inside. But Vatican Radio carried the Mass live, and Francis told the detainees that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion in a gesture of love and service.

“This is a symbol, it is a sign — washing your feet means I am at your service,” Francis told the youngsters. “Help one another. This is what Jesus teaches us. This is what I do. And I do it with my heart. I do this with my heart because it is my duty, as a priest and bishop I must be at your service.”

Later, the Vatican released a limited video of the ritual, showing Francis washing black feet, white feet, male feet, female feet and even a foot with tattoos. Kneeling on the stone floor as the 12 youngsters sat above him, the 76-year-old Francis poured water from a silver chalice over each foot, dried it with a simple cotton towel and then bent over to kiss each one.

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio would celebrate the ritual foot-washing in jails, hospitals or hospices — part of his ministry to the poorest and most marginalized of society. It’s a message that he is continuing now that he is pope, saying he wants a church “for the poor.”

Previous popes would carry out the foot-washing ritual on Holy Thursday in Rome’s grand St. John Lateran basilica and the 12 people chosen for the ritual would always be priests to represent the 12 disciples.

That Francis would include women in this re-enactment is noteworthy given the insistence of some in the church that the ritual be reserved for men only: The argument is that Jesus’ disciples were all male, and the Catholic priesthood that evolved from the original 12 disciples is restricted to men. “The pope’s washing the feet of women is hugely significant because including women in this part of the Holy Thursday Mass has been frowned on — and even banned — in some dioceses,” said the Rev. James Martin*, a Jesuit priest and author of “The Jesuit Guide.” “It shows the all-embracing love of Christ, who ministered to all he met: man or woman, slave or free, Jew or Gentile,” he said. […]

 
 

*Who is the “Rev. James Martin”?

On February 22, 2013, UCAN news carried a most irreverent — considering the sanctity and gravity of the issue — article by Rev. James Martin. He is
culture editor of the liberal-left dissenting ‘America’ magazine which has been castigated by Rome,
see http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/dissent/index.html. A priest who identifies himself as Fr. Osie wrote in the comments box, “What is your purpose in publishing this. To entertain us?” The article:

Rev James Martin tells us why he should be pope

http://www.ucanews.com/news/rev-james-martin-tells-us-why-he-should-be-pope/67481

Father Martin has come up with 12 reasons why he should be the one elected.

Dear Cardinals:

Eminences, I know you’ve got a tough job coming up in the conclave. You have to do the impossible: elect a guy who is super holy, wicked smart, speaks about a dozen languages and can run an international conglomerate. And if I can be a little blunt, chances are you may not know everyone in the room that day. Especially if you’ve just gotten that red hat you might be sitting in the Sistine Chapel listening to someone talking in French about aggornamiento and ressourcement and be too embarrassed to say to the guy on your left, “Who’s the heck is that?” Besides, everyone sort of looks the same: gray hair, red hat, glasses. It’s hard to keep them straight, no matter how many of those handy “Who’s Who” charts you might have studied. 5.

 
 

 
 

So to make things easier, I’d like to suggest a candidate who you might not have thought about but upon a few seconds of reflection you’ll know is your man: Me.

Here are 12 reasons why you should elect me pope, which I’m calling: Twelve Reasons Why You Should Elect Me Pope.

1. I’m a man. That’s half the battle, right?

2. I’m baptized. And I’ve got the papers to prove it. No birther controversy here.

3. I speak several languages. Not well, but you know, who does really? I speak English, as you can see from this little essay. And guess what: Bonjour! That’s right: French! I started studying Français when I was in seventh grade. (Notice I used the little thingy under the “c.”) That means I can talk to pretty much all of West Africa and France: that’s a lot of Catholics. Unfortunately, if I have to use the subjunctive or the pluperfect we’re out of luck, but all I have to do is avoid saying, “If I were” in any of my encyclicals and we’re golden.

But there’s more: Hola! That’s right: I speak Spanish. More or less. Or, “Mas o menos,” as we say in the biz. Now, in this case, I can’t really handle the past or future tenses, but that’s OK, because that means I’ll be speaking all about the present – which will make me sound forceful and confident. You know, “Now is the time!” Or “Ahora es la … well, ora, I guess.” Anyway, there are lots and lots of Spanish-speaking Catholics and once they hear my rendition of “De Colores,” they’ll be sold on the Servant of the Servants of God muy rapido.

4. I’m half Italian. I almost forgot: Ciao! I’m half Italian. On my mom’s side. So once I’m the Bishop of Rome I’ll easily be able to deal with any problems in the curia, because all the Italian curial officials will instantly recognize me as a paesan. Scandals? Finito! Mismanagement? Basta! (That’s Italian for “done” and “over,” in case yours is rustissimo.) My election will also satisfy anyone looking for an Italian pope: i.e., all the Italian cardinals, who you definitely want on your side. The other half of me, by the way, is Irish, which goes a long way in the States, believe you me.

5. I worked in Africa. I almost forgot my other language. Jambo! That’s right! I speak Swahili. Or Kiswahili. (That’s Swahili for Swahili.) Well, at least I used to. I worked in Kenya for two years. So for all those people who want a pope from the developing world, well, I’m not exactly from there, but there are three babies who were named after me while I was working in Kenya. (They’re not mine, if that’s a worry.) That’s got to count for something.

Now that you know that I speak English and Spanish and French and Swahili, you’re probably thinking, “Gee, why not Jim as the Pontifex Maximus?” Why not share that thought with the guy in red sitting next to you?

6. Books. You probably want a pope who is literate but maybe not someone who spends so much time writing books, what with all the stuff he has to deal with. I know that this was sometimes a criticism of Pope Benedict XVI – not that I’m casting any stones! But I’ve already written my books, so when I’m in the Vatican I’ll be 100 percent on the job. Nine to five. Weekends too, if things ever get really busy. Sundays, of course, I’ll be available for Masses.

7. Business experience! Speaking of jobs – guess what? – I’ve got a degree from the Wharton School. That’s one of the big business schools here in the States. Plus I worked at General Electric for six years. So here’s some good news: say arrivederci to any managerial problems in the curia. Ever heard of Management by Objectives? The marginal propensity to consume? The “Four Ps” of marketing? You will after I’m Supreme Pontiff. That place will run like a top. A top that makes money, too.

8. I’m ordained. I almost forgot: I’m already an ordained priest. That means that, since I meet all the other requirements, the only thing that left is for me to be willing to be ordained a bishop. And guess what: I’m willing. Now let me anticipate a minor objection. I’ll bet that you know that I took a vow as a Jesuit not to “strive for or ambition” any high office in the church, but I’ve got a nice, easy, canonically doable way around that roadblock. Once you elect me pope, I’ll be my own superior! After I put on those white robes, I can just call up the Jesuit superior general and say, “Hey, how about letting me accept that ordination as bishop and my election as pope?” And I figure he’ll have to say yes because he takes orders from me. Problem solved. Besides I’m not striving or ambitioning anyway. I’m campaigning.

9. Educated. The Jesuit training process is really, really, really long. I can’t even remember how many years I was in studies. That means that I studied philosophy (good to know), theology (really good to know) and a whole lot of other stuff like church history, which I think would be pretty helpful as pope. And guess what? I know Ancient Greek, too. That really impresses the scholarly types in the church. E.g., when scholars ask me, “What translation of the New Testament are you using?” I’ll say, “My translation.” They love that kind of thing. Plus, that appeals to the Ancient-Greek-speaking demographic that the church may have given up on.

10. Willing to travel. OK, I admit it. I’m not all crazy about air travel, what with all the delays and having to take your shoes off and sitting next to someone who keeps coughing up a lung, but it just dawned on me that this won’t be a problem at all. The Pontiff has his own airplane: Shepherd One. So once you install free movies in my gold-and-white plane I’m golden. I’ll go wherever you want me to go. To the ends of the earth, if need be. As long as I get an extra bag of peanuts.

11. Humility. I can already predict what your last objection is: My campaigning for pope may make me seem a tad less humble than you might hope for. But isn’t the fact that I’m willing to campaign a sign of my humility? A less humble guy would assume that everyone already knows that he’d be a good candidate and so wouldn’t say anything out of his pride. Kind of counterintuitive, huh? Ergo: Since I’m campaigning, I’m No. 1 when it comes to humility.

12. Cool Name. Everyone knows that the first big decision the pope makes is his choice of name. Plus, I know everyone’s always worried about continuity. With that in mind (I like to think ahead, which is a good trait) I’ve already picked my name. As you know, Pope Paul VI’s successor chose the name “John Paul I,” to show his continuity with Pope John XXIII and Paul VI. Everyone was pretty impressed with that. Next you had John Paul II. More continuity.

6.

 
 

 
 

And of course next we had (or have, depending on when you’re reading this) Benedict XVI. If you elect me, and I hope you will, after I say “Accepto” (see I speak a little Latin too), I would choose my name: John Paul Benedict I. That takes care of everyone from John XXIII to Benedict. Continuity plus. Of course saying “JPB1″ might take some getting used to but Catholics are pretty flexible, and I’ll bet before long there will be lots of babies baptized John Paul Benedict.

Anyway, I hope that helps you make a tough decision easier, Your Eminences. Did I leave anything out? Well, I’m a fast typist, I can draw pretty well and I tell some really funny jokes. For example, here’s a good one: “What did the Jesuit say when he was elected pope.”

There’s only one way to find out.

UCAN sourced the story from the Huffington Post,
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-james-martin-sj/12-pretty-good-reasons-why-i-should-be-pope_b_2735852.html?utm_hp_ref=religion, a
liberal-left, New Age-promoting news web site and blog, see http://ephesians-511.net/docs/UCAN_WANTS_TO_DO_AWAY_WITH_THE_PRIESTHOOD.doc.

Jesuit Fr. James Martin posts on dissident blogs such as at http://www.americamagazine.org/blog/entry.cfm?blog_id=2&id=DE2868B4-3048-887F-8F92F2808CD479AB.

The America magazine blurb says:
America magazine, “The National Catholic Weekly”, “One of the nation’s oldest and most respected Catholic Magazines”. Don’t be fooled by that.

America
magazine:
A column for the Jesuit magazine America, in which Rev. James Martin, S.J. criticized Pope Benedict XVI’s pro-life and pro-family message in Portugal as “bizarre,” and implied it was contrary to the Gospel, has been revised to omit the strongest language…- May 20, 2010 (
LifeSiteNews.com). See also below**

So, who are among the first “Catholics” to celebrate the washing of the feet of women by a Pope? Dissenters and the liberal-left, priests such as James Martin.

 
 

** A Jesuit guide to almost everything

http://womenofgrace.com/newage/?p=162#more-162

By Susan Brinkmann July 26, 2010

 
 

AS writes: “Our book club leader is asking us to review A Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything by James Martin for our next book. This book looks like New Age to me? I would appreciate your comments on this book.”

 
 

I can certainly appreciate why AS would think any book with the word “Jesuit” in the title is suspect, what with all the dubious teachings coming out of that order these days. And this particular book would certainly seem likely to spew dissent seeing as the author is the culture editor of the infamous America Magazine, a Jesuit publication not known for its faithfulness to Church teaching.

While I have not read the book (as a rule, I can’t get involved in doing book reviews because that would be like another full-time job), I was able to peruse its content on-line and found it to be very centered on the Ignatian way. It did not appear to be promoting any New Age ideas and even mentioned a few of my personal favorites, such as Avery Cardinal Dulles and Fr. Walter Ciszek. But as I said, I did not read the book and can only offer a limited assessment of its content.

Having said all this, I question why a Catholic book club leader would be recommending a book by an editor of a publication that is so well-known for its dissenting positions. Why play with fire when you don’t have to? 

America Magazine had become so scandalous a few years back the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had to put pressure on the owners to remove its former editor, Fr. Thomas Reese. Under Reese’s tenure, essays were published that explored the moral arguments in favor of approving the use of condoms for HIV/AIDS, criticizing the 2000 document Dominus Iesus (on religious pluralism), an article about homosexual priests and even a guest essay written by Rep. David Obey (D-WI) and challenging the idea of refusing Communion to Catholic politicians who do not vote in accordance with the teachings of the Faith.

As for Fr. Martin himself, he recently criticized the pope for equating abortion and same-sex marriage and mentioned that a gay friend of his had recently left his position at the U.S. Conference of Bishops because “‘abortionsamesexmarriage’ had become one polysyllabic word among some of his bosses.”

Of course, this doesn’t mean that Fr. Martin’s book has anything in it that is contrary to the Faith, but he’s obviously comfortable around dissent (or what the cultural elites like to call “intelligent discourse”). I can only question why your book club leader would want to risk it when there are so many other books out there that could be read instead. 

 
 

4. Pope washes women’s feet in break with church law

http://www.wral.com/pope-washes-women-s-feet-in-break-with-church-law/12282355/,
http://news.yahoo.com/pope-washes-womens-feet-break-church-law-002454620.html,
http://www.newser.com/article/da5adu101/pope-washes-young-womens-feet-on-holy-thursday-in-break-with-church-law.html
EXTRACT

By Nicole Winfield, March 29, 2013

ROME (AP) — In his most significant break with tradition yet, Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of two young women at a juvenile detention center — a surprising departure from church rules that restrict the Holy Thursday ritual to men.

No pope has ever washed the feet of a woman before, and Francis’ gesture sparked a debate among some conservatives and liturgical purists, who lamented he had set a “questionable example.” Liberals welcomed the move as a sign of greater inclusiveness in the church. […]

 
 

 
 

That Francis would include women in his inaugural Holy Thursday Mass as pope was remarkable, however, given that current liturgical rules exclude women.

Canon lawyer Edward Peters*, who is an adviser to the Holy See’s top court, noted in a blog that the Congregation for Divine Worship sent a letter to bishops in 1988 making clear that “the washing of the feet of chosen men … represents the service and charity of Christ, who came ‘not to be served, but to serve.'” While bishops have successfully petitioned Rome over the years for an exemption to allow women to participate, the rules on the issue are clear, Peters said.

“By disregarding his own law in this matter, Francis violates, of course, no divine directive,” Peters wrote. “What he does do, I fear, is set a questionable example.” *See pages 18, 19, 35, 36, 74, 99, 106-108

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said he didn’t want to wade into a canonical dispute over the matter. However, he noted that in a “grand solemn celebration” of the rite, only men are included because Christ washed the feet of his 12 apostles, all of whom were male.

“Here, the rite was for a small, unique community made up also of women,” Lombardi wrote in an email. “Excluding the girls would have been inopportune in light of the simple aim of communicating a message of love to all, in a group that certainly didn’t include experts on liturgical rules.”

Others on the more liberal side of the debate welcomed the example Francis set. “The pope’s washing the
feet of women is hugely significant because including women in this part of the Holy Thursday Mass has been frowned on — and even banned — in some dioceses,” said the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author of “The Jesuit Guide.” “It shows the all-embracing love of Christ, who ministered to all he met: man or woman, slave or free, Jew or Gentile.”

For some, restricting the rite to men is in line with the church’s restriction on ordaining women priests. Church teaching holds that only men should be ordained because Christ’s apostles were male. “This is about the ordination of women, not about their feet,” wrote the Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, a traditionalist blogger. Liberals “only care about the washing of the feet of women, because ultimately they want women to do the washing.”

Still, Francis has made clear he doesn’t favor ordaining women. In his 2011 book, “On Heaven and Earth,” then-Cardinal Bergoglio said there were solid theological reasons why the priesthood was reserved to men: “Because Jesus was a man.”

On this Holy Thursday, however, Francis had a simple message for the young inmates, whom he greeted one-by-one after the Mass, giving each an Easter egg.

“Don’t lose hope,” Francis said. “Understand? With hope you can always go on.”

One young man then asked why he had come to visit them.

Francis responded that it was to “help me to be humble, as a bishop should be.”

The gesture, he said, came “from my heart. Things from the heart don’t have an explanation.”

 
 

5. How Should We Understand Pope Francis Washing Women’s Feet?

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/how-should-we-understand-pope-francis-washing-womens-feet?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NCRegisterDailyBlog+National+Catholic+Register

By Jimmy Akin, jimmy@secretinfoclub.com, March 28, 2013

It has been widely reported that, when he was still the cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires, the future Pope Francis washed the feet of women during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Now he has done so as pope.

Here are some thoughts on Pope Francis’s decision and what it means.

This Year’s Mass of the Lord’s Supper

It was surprising but not surprising when the Holy See announced that Pope Francis had chosen to celebrate this year’s Mass of the Lord’s Supper not in one of the papal basilicas of Rome but, instead, in its juvenile prison. That’s precisely the kind of gesture that we have come to expect from the new pope in the short time we’ve been getting to know him. It’s not traditional, but it’s humble and evangelistic. And it corresponds to Jesus’ remarks that, when we visit those in prison, we are spiritually visiting him (Matthew 25:36-40).

It’s also in keeping with things he’s done before, such as holding the service in a maternity hospital in Buenos Aires in 2005.

So what happened with the footwashing ceremony this year?

The BBC is reporting:

During Thursday’s intimate service, the Pope washed and kissed the feet of 12 young detainees to replicate the Bible’s account of Jesus Christ’s gesture of humility towards his 12 apostles on the night before he was crucified. The 12 inmates included two girls, one Italian Catholic and one of Serbian Muslim origin, local prison ombudsman Angiolo Marroni said ahead of the ceremony.

That’s certainly a dramatic gesture.

A Muslim Girl?

It had been announced, in advance, that the young people who were going to be participating in the ceremony would be coming from different religious backgrounds, so this wasn’t a total surprise, but it was a striking choice.

What should we make of it?

8.

 
 

I think we should understand it in the same light that explains the initial decision to celebrate this Mass in a youth prison: Pope Francis wants to reach out to the young people in the prison and bring them the light of Christ.

He is taking the role of a servant and an evangelist.

What he is doing hopefully will have a profound impact on the lives of these young people, hopefully setting them on the right path both in terms of civil law and in terms of their faith life.

He’s also, by this action, showing the world that he takes his role seriously as a servant of all people and an evangelist to all people.

Washing and kissing the feet of a Muslim girl in jail signifies that rather dramatically.

It also raises questions.

Questions

Here are a few:

1. What do the Church’s liturgical documents say about footwashing?

2. How does Pope Francis’s decision relate to this?

3. If the pope is going beyond what the Roman Missal says, can the pope just do that?

4. If he can do it, can others?

5. What should we expect in the future?

6. How should we understand the rite in light of this?

Let’s look at each of these . . .

 
 

1. What do the Church’s liturgical documents say about footwashing?

There are two key places one should look for an understanding of the footwashing ceremony. The first is found in the document that governs the celebrations connected with Easter, which is called Paschales Solemnitatis. According to this document:

51. The washing of the feet of chosen men which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came “not to be served, but to serve.” This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained. [Emphasis the author’s]

Please take note of the highlighted phrase. It will be important later.

The second document is the Roman Missal, which states:

10. After the Homily, where a pastoral reason suggests it, the Washing of Feet follows.

The men who have been chosen are led by the ministers to seats prepared in a suitable place. Then the Priest (removing the chasuble if necessary) goes to each one and, with the help of the ministers, pours water over each one’s feet and then dries them.

Meanwhile some of the following antiphons or other appropriate chants are sung. [Antiphons omitted]

13. After the Washing of Feet, the Priest washes and dries his hands, puts the chasuble back on, and returns to the chair, and from there he directs the Universal Prayer.

The Creed is not said.

There are several things to note here:

1. The text does speak of “men” having their feet washed. The Latin term that is used in the original (viri) indicates adult males specifically.

2. This rite is optional; it is done “where a pastoral reason suggests it.”

3. There is no specific number of men specified. It does not say twelve men are to have their feet washed. How many is a decision open to the celebrating priest.

4. Although I have omitted the antiphons for reasons of space, none of them speak of the “apostles.” They either use the more generic term “disciples” or they do not mention the disciples at all but rather Jesus’ example for us or his commandment to love one another.

   
 

2. How does Pope Francis’s decision relate to this?

Pope Francis’s decision goes beyond what is provided in these texts in at least one respect: Instead of washing the feet of adult males, he decided to wash the feet of young women as well.

The fact that one of them was a Muslim does not go beyond what the letter of the text specifies, since it does not indicate that the chosen men are to be Catholics (or other Christians).

One would expect that they would be Catholics, and one could argue that this is implied in the text, but since Pope Francis is now the individual who is ultimately responsible for interpreting the text, if he judges that it does not prevent washing the feet of non-Christians then it doesn’t.

His decision does go beyond the text in the matter of men, however.

   
 

3. Can Pope Francis just do things that aren’t provided for in the law?

Yes. The pope does not need anybody’s permission to make exceptions to how ecclesiastical law relates to him. He is canon law’s ultimate legislator, interpreter, and executor.

And it’s not uncommon, at least in recent decades, for a pope to make exceptions to the law in how papal ceremonies are performed.

John Paul II frequently held liturgies that departed from what the Church’s liturgical texts provide, particularly when he was making a form of dramatic outreach, and Pope Francis seems to be following in his footsteps. 9.

 
 

4. If he can do this, can others?

Technically speaking, no. If a pope judges that, due to the particular circumstances of a papal celebration, an exception should be made, that does not create a legal precedent allowing others to do so.

After all, not everybody is in the same situation as the pope. They don’t have the same pastoral circumstances or the same legal authority, and so if he makes an exception in his application of the law in his own case, it does not create a legal precedent for others doing so who do not have his circumstances or authority. [Emphasis mine]

On the other hand, if people see the pope doing something, they are naturally going to treat it as an example to be followed.

People naturally imitate their leader. That’s the whole point behind Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. He was explicitly and intentionally setting an example for them.

Pope Francis knows that he is setting an example.

It has been reported, e.g., that when he was told that he didn’t need to pay his pre-conclave hotel bill that he insisted on doing so, saying expressly that, as the pope, he needed to set an example.

   
 

5. What should we expect in the future?

It’s hard to say.

On a practical level, I would expect that there will be more priests who do things similar to what the pope has done.

On a legal level, the matter is more uncertain.

We may get a clarification of the matter, perhaps from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

I suspect that, if we do get a clarification, it is likely to be one allowing more flexibility in terms of who has their feet washed. [Emphasis mine]

Already, the Congregation for Divine Worship has, apparently, indicated privately that a bishop can wash women’s feet if he feels a pastoral exception should be made. At least, that’s what Cardinal O’Malley indicated he was told when he asked them about the subject (see here for more info).

We’ll have to see, though. They may not say anything.

   
 

6. How should we understand the rite in light of Pope Francis’s action?

There has been a tendency in some circles to see the footwashing rite as linked specifically to the twelve apostles, and this has been presented as a reason why it should be limited to men.

In the past, I myself promoted that understanding, because that is how it was first explained to me.

It’s a natural understanding, particularly when twelve individuals are chosen to have their feet washed, and in an age when altar girls and women’s ordination have been receiving attention.

However, as I’ve looked more closely at the texts, other elements have struck me:

First, as we mentioned, the number twelve is not mandated in the text. The number is the choice of the celebrating priest. That, right there, loosens the connection of the rite with the apostles.

Second, this event is recorded only in John’s Gospel, and John does not describe Jesus as washing the feet of “the apostles.” Instead, John says that he washed the feet of “his disciples.” Disciples is a more generic term than apostles. Although they are sometimes used synonymously, Jesus had many more disciples than he did apostles.

Third, none of the antiphons sung during this rite (which might give clues to its meaning) speak of the “apostles.” They either use the more generic term “disciples” or they do not mention the disciples at all but rather Jesus’ example for us and his commandment to love one another. 

Fourth, none of the explanatory texts for this rite explain it in terms of an action directed specifically to the apostles.

   
 

The most direct explanation of the rite’s purpose is found in Paschales Solemnitatis, which says:

51. The washing of the feet of chosen men which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came “not to be served, but to serve.” This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained.

This indicates that we should understand that this rite “represents the service and charity of Christ”–not as a statement about ordination to the priesthood. To read it that way goes beyond what the texts indicate.

According to the texts, our focus should be on the service and charity displayed in the rite and how we should serve and be charitable to one another.

The rite should not be read in the matrix of issues like women’s ordination. This rite isn’t about ordination, the way the Church understands it.

At least that’s how Pope Francis seems to understand it.

   
 

A Final Thought

I’d add one more thing, which is that it’s understandable that we might be perplexed or concerned about this.

After all, we do live in an age in which authentic Catholic teaching involving gender is under assault. The last few years have seen a lot of flashpoints involving the idea of women’s ordination. It’s under-standable that issues like altar servers and footwashing would be viewed in that matrix. [Emphasis mine] 10.

 
 

 
 

At the same time, we should keep this in perspective.

The footwashing ceremony is only an optional rite, and it was only made part of this Mass in 1955 by Pope Pius XII, so its modern liturgical use doesn’t even go back that far.

The question of who serves at altar is far more closely connected to who is likely to think about becoming a priest than the question of who has their feet washed on Holy Thursday.

If the Holy See were to decide to expand how the law is to be applied in this case, it would not signal the end of the world.

If the Church can survive altar girls, it can certainly survive a change in the discipline regarding who has their feet washed. [Emphasis mine]

The National Catholic Register is a 2013 finalist for the Best Catholic Newspaper award.

 
 

SELECTED COMMENTS [CONSERVATIVES — THAT IS ONE IN TWO COMMENTS — DISAGREE WITH CATHOLIC ANSWERS APOLOGIST JIMMY AKIN]

 
 

Dear Jimmy Akin: There is no other way to explain what the current occupant of the Chair of St. Peter did today other than to call it what it is: “A wicked gesture against Our Lord and Saviour Himself.” In fact, Jesus Himself said this would happen on March 14, 2013 through Maria Divine Mercy.  Read at the link below.

http://www.thewarningsecondcoming.com/this-wicked-gesture-during-holy-week-will-be-seen-by-those-who-keep-their-eyes-open/. I respectfully disagree with you, Mr. Jimmy Akin. I wish people would open their eyes to the prophecies of MDM and pray about them instead of ignoring them. A Pope is supposed to set an example. Disregarding your own Liturgical Rules that calls for 12 men and adding 2 women does not sound good. He should have changed the rules first if he didn’t like them instead of disregarding them altogether as if the rules do not exist. Bad, bad, precedent. All these parsing of what “men” mean is irrelevant to those of us who have been skeptically watching. -Fidelis


I disagree [with Jimmy Akin]. Jesus washed the feet of 12 men. I figured excuses were going to be made for our Pope. Hope there aren’t more changes against tradition. –T.G.

 
 

Mr. Akin, Your quote: “It’s not traditional, but it’s humble and evangelistic” is in error. To break traditions and to re-fabricate them according to one’s own ideas is quite egocentric and prideful. … It is a false showboat form of humility. A truly humble man guards tradition, preserving it intact and passing it on unmodified to the next generation. –Chris Lauer


Entirely spurious reasoning. The Pope, as Supreme Legislator can, indeed, change Ecclesiastical law like our legislative bodies can. But, to ignore the law entirely as he did is an act of the worst sort of monarchism and, indeed, smacks of the clericalism so many people abhor. It’s not Pope Francis’ Mass, it’s the Church’s Mass.
Leave it to the Jesuits to send us a Pope who is unfaithful to himself (in his office). (Yes, yes, fine: the Pope judges all and is judged by none, fine, but it remains a duty to speak the truth.) -JRP


“The washing of the feet of chosen men which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came ‘not to be served, but to serve’ (Matt XX: 28)…this tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained.”

-CDWDS document, Paschales Solemnitatis, 1988 –Oatmeal

 
 

Sadly it looks like the Roman Church’s liturgical tradition is going to continue to unravel. –Walt

 
 

Mr. Akin, You argue above that the use in John’s Gospel of “disciples”, rather than “apostles”, lends ambiguity to the link, since the terms are not always interchangeable (though they can be). However, does not the fact that this took place at the Last Supper strongly imply that only the Twelve were present to have their feet washed? -LV


I anticipated this, after seeing footage of him doing the same thing in his home town. Whatever his intention, it will be seen by very many secular priests as a big fat red line through the rules of the GIRM.

Now everything will be seen as up for grabs. He has also greatly hampered any efforts by those of us who are trying to bring back more faithful liturgical practices.

In our parish church on Holy Thursday there is a drama of the last supper acted out by adults with oral script while the priest separately goes about consecrating the Body and Blood of Christ up on the altar. Thank God and Benedict XVI for the EF in the neighbouring diocese. –Jonah

 
 

If the Pope wants to change it, then so be it. But just do it right. Change the rubrics and explain why they are being changed.  Then follow the new rubrics.  That’s both good leadership and the pastoral approach. –Stu

 
 

While the Pope can “get away” with breaking canon law as the supreme legislator, he is setting an example, as you point out, for others to follow. However, unless Francis changes canon law—and there is no time before this evening to promulgate it, it will be a sin for others to do the same. Francis, as pope, is leading his priests to sin. Fortunately, under the circumstances, probably only venial. But intentionally leading others into sin is about as evil as evil gets. –Cassandra

 
 

 
 

I have always placed the liturgical ceremonies of Holy Thursday as our commemoration of the institution of the priesthood and the institution of the Eucharist. There is no mention of any women being present at the Last Supper – truly extraordinary as the Mother of God was most definitely in Jerusalem, she would next day be at the foot of the Cross. Twelve men had their feet washed by Christ as these twelve would take the burden of Christ’s priesthood – thus when we wash the feet of females and those who do not share our faith, we lessen the focus on those who would be ordained. Today, we really need to concentrate the hearts and minds of those who are now ordained as priests and those who will be ordained or who are discerning a vocation to the priest – there is a journey now lasting 2,000 years that brings us to this time. Let’s stay the course! That this liturgical innovation dates only to 1955 is neither here nor there – it is like saying that the Roman Missal in its current form was only approved for use in its new translation from Advent 2011. –Martin Shanahan

 
 

PASCHALIS SOLLEMNITATIS – The Preparation and Celebration of the Easter Feasts Congregation for Divine Worship

http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CDWEASTR.HTM
EXTRACT

 
 

IV. HOLY THURSDAY EVENING MASS OF THE LORD’S SUPPER

51. The washing of the feet of chosen men which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came “not to be served, but to serve. [58] This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained.

 
 

6. What is Pope Francis really saying?

http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/03/what-is-pope-francis-really-saying/

Posted on 28 March 2013 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Here is what I think Pope Francis is up to.

In this explanation I am not necessarily endorsing specific things that he is doing (washing the feet of females in a prison) or not doing (refusing the mozzetta, etc.).

I am trying to get at what I think Pope Francis is really up to.

Before liberals and traditionalists both have a spittle-flecked nutty, each for their own reasons, try to figure out what he is trying to do.

Firstly, we are not succeeding in evangelizing.  We are going backwards, globally. Francis knows this. This has to be foremost in his mind. This fact was probably foremost in the considerations of the College of Cardinals.  How could it not be? So, Francis is faced with the obligation to address the problem of evangelization.

In the wealthy west, the Church is often perceived (and it is so very often portrayed) as not being compassionate. The Church doesn’t care about women in crisis pregnancies (and therefore we don’t condone abortion or contraception because we are not “compassionate”. The Church doesn’t care about the divorced and remarried (because we don’t admit them to Holy Communion and therefore we are not “compassionate”). Likewise, getting down into the nitty-gritty of defending small-t traditions and fighting over their meaning, their larger value, history and worth today, we are not compassionate (because we talk about the details of worship we are therefore ignoring the real needs of people and we are therefore not compassionate).

There are all sorts of ways in which people have lost the sense that the Church is actually about compassion, properly understood.

I think what Pope Francis is up to is trying to project, re-project, is an image of the Church as compassionate. He is trying to help people remember (or learn for the first time) that she is actually all about compassion, charity in its truest form.

We’ve lost the message and we have to get it back.

For example, in his sermon for the Chrism Mass he indicated that priests need to be edgier, take more risks in getting out there with people. He is probably thinking (like a Latin American bishop might with enormous slums in the diocese) that you depart from certain things for the sake of connecting elsewhere. You risk being over-interpreted or losing control of the message for the sake of getting the real message out there again.

I’ll wager that, as a Jesuit, Francis doesn’t care about liturgy very much. He is just not into – one whit – either what traditional liturgy types or what liturgical liberals want.

Some liberals live and breathe liberal liturgy. On the other end of the spectrum, such as the undersigned, traditional Catholics think that liturgy is critical but for different reasons (“Save The Liturgy, Save The World”, comes to mind). Francis isn’t invested in either of these camps.

For Francis, I think, it is more a matter of “a pox on both your houses”.

Putting it in a vague way, Francis wants people to leave Mass feeling “joy”, or something having to do with the “kingdom”, etc.  As he said at the Chrism Mass he wants people leaving Mass “as if they have heard the good news”.

Look. I am not saying his is the right approach. I am saying this is what I think he is doing in his liturgical and personal-style choices (where he is living, what chair he sits in, etc.).

Francis wants priests to talk to people and find out what they need and get involved in their daily struggles. Liturgy, for Francis, seems to be involved precisely in that. Do I think Francis may be missing huge points in this approach? Sure, right now I do.  But I am leaving the jury out. 12.

 
 

 
 

 
 

I don’t have to 100% embrace what Francis is doing even as I struggle to see and understand what he is up to.

I am quite sure, however, that Francis isn’t trying to ruin what Benedict and John Paul before him tried to construct. He is up to something else. He is getting at the problem of the Church not making any headway in evangelization.

Here is a problem.

Liberals will find it far easier than conservatives to claim that Francis’ actions are endorsements of their liberal thing. Remember this: Liberals could give a damn about the gender of the person whose feet are being washed. Their focus is really the gender of the one doing the washing.  Liturgical liberals are included in this. They only care about the washing of the feet of women, because ultimately they want women to do the washing. This is about the ordination of women, not about their feet.

Before these liberals start taking their victory laps, I would remind them that Francis is not going to touch doctrine.  He has clearly talked about the Devil.  He has spoken clearly before his election about same-sex stuff as discrimination against children.  He has firmly fought Liberation Theology.

What liberals forget in their present crowing is that even as Francis makes himself – and the Church – more popular by projecting compassionate image, he will simultaneously make it harder for them to criticize him when he reaffirms the doctrinal points they want him to overturn.

Bottom line.

Francis is pushing out to the world (ad extra) an image of compassion.  I think he is correcting both sides, within the Church (ad intra), which may both be, both sides, losing the forest for the trees: we are not succeeding in evangelizing and we cannot sacrifice doctrine for the sake of mere popularity or worldly acceptance.

 
 

33 SELECTED [OUT OF 83] COMMENTS

I think a great deal has to do with him being a Jesuit, as you say. I have never known a Jesuit personally who gave a care about the liturgy, one way or another. So maybe we should not read too much into Pope Francis’ style as it emerges. Now if he doesn’t wear the mozzetta for the Via Crucis, well all bets are off! –Marcello

I think he’s going to have the effect—and very soon—of undoing a great deal of what Benedict did. Moreover, he is giving lots of ammo to those who want to put the worst possible spin on Benedict’s pontificate.

I’m not throwing a spittle-flecked nutty. But I am coming quickly to terms with a sinking reality that the Benedictine reform is dead in the water. Yes, the priests were empowered and shown a fine example, but there was not enough time for momentum to develop or for the biological solution to take its effect. –Vox Borealis

Madness. Jesus Mercy. – Louis IX

I suppose my concern isn’t that Francis is washing the feet of a Muslim in a prison or not wearing the mozzetta. My concern is that Francis is projecting the image that he knows better. As Father Z wrote last week, Francis risks making this look like it’s all about him. I certainly don’t think that’s his goal, but that’s an impression that can be drawn from his actions.

It’s been a whirlwind two weeks since Francis was chosen so we all must give him time, even if we are uneasy about some of what we’ve seen. Hopefully, Francis will come to realize some of the outward signs of traditions he’s chosen not accept aren’t a sign of a disconnected Church, but a reflection of the traditions and beliefs that have made the Church endure for 2000 years. -Robbie

I am happy that I do not have to like the liturgy of the Holy Father, any of them for that matter, and can remain Catholic. I’ll leave it at that. It reminds me of when Benedict mentioned condoms in that interview with Peter Seewald. It was completely misunderstood and it took much heavy-lifting and hand-wringing by others to make it not sound heretical. I fear the same this time. Why do these men of God have to make our job as Catholics harder? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?Lavrans

I don’t think it matters any more what he’s trying to do. He now has no moral authority, since he flouted the norms – and the usual result of flouting norms is chaos. Nanette Claret

Thank you Father but I am having a spittle-flecked nutty anyway. Pope Francis has an enormous responsibility toward the liturgy and adherence to canon law.
His love for the poor and for people on the margins is admirable and winsome, but it is not necessary in the least to bless a liturgical abuse in order to demonstrate love for an outcast. In choosing to engage in a liturgical abuse much loved by liberals, he has not put any pox whatsoever on the liberal camp. Rather, he has endorsed that camp’s views about the liturgy. He at the same time has undermined the Vatican’s authority, which is his responsibility to uphold. Why should anyone take what the Vatican says seriously if the Pope doesn’t?Donato

Simply put, I’m scandalized, confused and frightened. Beyond that, I have no words.David Andrew

I am a bit concerned about this, not because I think washing the feet of women is the lynchpin of the Catholic faith, but because Pope Francis is setting an example that it’s OK to break canon law.

Dr. Edward Peters has a great, level-headed as always, post on this: [See page 18]

http://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/popes-like-dads-dont-have-a-choice-in-the-matter/

I see all those who have been abusing the liturgy and violating canon law as being validated. I see the Bishops who won’t apply Canon 915 as being validated, even lauded, for standing up to that big bad Canon Law.

This is what pops in to my mind, but I’m new to the Catholic Church and don’t know much about these things, so Fr. Z., please relieve my fears. –O. Possum

I don’t know about any of this. We live in an insane age that thinks it has the right a complete understanding of every single thing we see at the moment it passes before our eyes. I do fear that Francis’ papacy will be a tragic one because of all the expectations (and I even hear these from the priests in my own parish) heaped on the poor man from the instant he walked out on the balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square; it isn’t called the ‘room of tears’ for nothing I suppose.

 
 

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In any case the man has barely been pope for two weeks, and a month and a half ago he was thinking only of the concerns of his Archdiocese in Buenos Aires without a second thought to the papacy, so give him a break. His papacy may turn out to be a disaster for the Church in which case it will be our Cross to bear patiently and without complaint, but then again it may not be so bad and may even might be a good thing. And no matter what your opinion of his recent actions PRAY FOR POPE FRANCIS with all your heart because he needs it. –Priam

I too am scandalized, confused and frightened, but I have many words. I don’t know how I can stay in a church where the pope not only refuses to refer to himself as pope, but refuses to follow church law. If he breaks one law, what assurance do we have he will not break more. I am not convinced that he will not change any doctrines. So many Jesuits want women priests, abortion and same-sex marriage. I can’t feel good about him not being in that camp. This foot free for all has scandalized me unbelievably. This, I fear, is only the beginning of the end. The only constant I have ever had in my life has been the unchanging Church. Now that too is gone. It will be a sad, sad Easter.Pooh Bear

“Liberals will find it far easier than conservatives to claim that Francis’ actions are endorsements of their liberal thing.”
And there is what has me worried most (aside from episcopal choices, perhaps). Francis may have said that the Church isn’t an NGO, but his emphasis on compassion-and-humility makes it that any liberal can portray it as such. In fact, any liberal (as measured relative to the societal mean) will see it that way too, as they won’t give a tenth of a penny about salvation and all the other elements that sets the Church apart from your run-of-the-mill NGO. At the end of the day, the Church must be compassionate, and it’s certainly helpful to be regarded as such. But the Church’s mission is not to alleviate poverty – I’d go so far as to say compassion can never strike a decisive blow against poverty; only good governance (freedom and rule of law) can do so. The Church mission is first and foremost to get souls to Heaven. To make it clear: I’m not saying Pope Francis has any other mission in mind. But what he does, is thus far giving a wholly different impression. And impressions count too. –Phil

Unfortunately, I don’t believe returning to tactics and techniques from the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s is going to evangelize anyone! It is what got us into the mess the Church is in today. –Acardnl

The great danger is that however well intentioned Pope Francis may be, others will interpret the gestures toward their own ends which will, in the end, do no good for the Church.
I agree we should give him some breathing room but flouting law and tradition only undermines his own authority so that for all the help he wants to bring to the poor, the world will pay very little mind to what he has to say. After all, the next guy may change it all anyway, so what’s the bother?

I still do not think he has grasped the enormity of his office. He is not a bishop of a struggling Third World diocese. He is the Supreme Pontiff and should not only look but act the role. The humble little pastor of the poor is endearing to many pious souls but Mammon will tire of it very quickly and turn on him in a New York minute; what moral authority he has now will vanish in the blink of an eye. -Marcello

I hope you are right in your analysis, Fr Z. I noticed that for the Holy Mass in prison, the number of candles had also been reduced to one at each side… If Pope Francis is not bothered liturgically, why would he order this change as well, going against a simple Benedictine arrangement? Maybe God is telling us that the Novus Ordo is beyond a reform of the reform… maybe we should be looking forward to its abolishment some time in the 21st century, to be replaced by the vetus ordo or the byzantine mass all over the world. -Ambrose

I think it will be difficult for Pope Francis or the CDWDS Prefect to address reports of liturgical irregularities while the Holy Father is breaking rubrics himself [without modifying them beforehand as far as we know].Dr. K

That is a charitable way to look at what he is doing Fr Z. I never thought it possible but less than a month into this papacy it is safe to say it is a failure. Go ahead, jump all over me and say it has only been 2 or 3 weeks blah, blah, blah. If indeed we look at this in the best possible light as Fr Z just did. It reeks of incompetence and ignorance. Or he could be doing something on purpose. Many were saying that the next Pope needed to be someone who could speak through the modern media. Well, message heard loud and clear Francis!
If he is not doing this on purpose, he is incredibly naive. Once the modern leftists and the media get a toe in the door they open it with great force. We were already getting our brains bashed in by the secular liberal world. Now, by showing them “compassion” it will only be taken as a sign of weakness. The wolves will redouble their efforts. It was hard enough to fight for Truth when we had an Orthodox Pope. Now, this will disintegrate very, very quickly. Francis strikes me as a very powerful man. As a very forceful man. The media portrays him as meek and humble but his actions have been hostile and aggressive. If you are going to do mental gymnastics and twists to fit this Pope into Traditional Catholicism and explain away every thing he is doing you will go mad Fr Z!
This battle is LOST! This Pope has done more for the progressives in 2 weeks than the last 2 Popes have done in 30 years for traditionalists.
And we are arguing if he is doing it on purpose or not!?
It does not matter. The damage and scandal is just as damaging no matter what the intent.
A Pope elected by the curia, at a time when people were talking of cleaning the curia… and this Pope diminishes the Papacy. Uh oh!
God help him.
God help us.
God help the world.
God help our Church.
God help me see that I am wrong… -Potato

If a Pope is prepared to simply ignore whatever he wants it doesn’t bode well. People may put a positive spin on what he is doing- but it seems at the moment that the Papacy is all about him and not much else. In terms of liturgy it seems he doesn’t give two hoots about beauty or reverence, and doesn’t seem to care about following the rubrics as laid down. I fear a succession of deeply depressing events during the course of this pontificate, events that will do nothing to help bring about Christian unity, and do everything to push many people over the edge towards sedevacantism.
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Hand on heart I feel they have elected the wrong man, and we are doomed to a return to 1970s style bland liturgy and catechism that is just monumentally awful, with emboldened liberals thrusting their heretical ideas onto impressionable young minds. Alex P

As for me, the dam is breaking. I hoped against hope that all the signs weren’t true, even as they were mounting: reportedly endorsed civil unions, reportedly spoke dismissively of the Regensburg address, showed no care for the liturgy while archbishop of Buenos Aires, reportedly said that some priests over emphasize sexual morality and that this is an impediment to evangelization, and seems hostile to the primacy of Rome. There is no doubt about it: at the liturgical level and level of sensibilities, he is an out an out liberal. Like poohbear, I too fear that these attitudes will infect doctrine. Here however we must have faith, faith in Christ’s promise that the gates of Hell will not prevail. Our faith requires only that the Pope not teach error in matters of faith and morals. Jesus did not promise that none of the successors of Peter would trash the liturgy or flout canon law.-Donato

“I am trying to get at what I think Pope Francis is really up to.”
Why would we HAVE to figure out what he is up to? I’m very much afraid that Dr. Peters is correct. Why reform the law when it is easier to flout? Very much saddened to witness this by the Holy Father as well as the apologists working over time to excuse. –Keith

1. Can anyone imagine this level of liturgical knowledge, general outrage, and public education ten years ago? We’re much stronger and more knowledgeable than we were in the “pro multis” days.

2. Any pastor worth his collar won’t want anything to do with the foot washing ceremony after this. He can’t win. So this might be the death knell of this Bugnini innovation.

3. The ne0-evangelists can’t hope against hope anymore. They have nowhere to hide, and frankly owe the traddies an apology. Going forward, they are going to have to decide whether obedience in liturgy and beauty matters or not to the new evangelization. It’s a time for choosing for those folks. -Rellis

A few weeks ago would breaking liturgical law have been considered productive to evangelization at this blog?David Werling

I wanted to respond to two thoughts mentioned by others. First, someone said the Holy Spirit chose Francis. I would disagree with you and so would the former Cardinal Ratzinger. In 1998 I believe, he wrote that the Holy Spirit does NOT choose the Pope and the best evidence of that is the fact we’ve had some bad Popes (Alexander VI, Urban VII).

Second, someone mentioned that much of what we’re seeing has to do with the fact Francis is a Jesuit. I suspect that has played a huge role, but Francis is no longer a Jesuit who happens to be the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. He’s the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Now, don’t misunderstand me. I don’t believe he should cast aside all that has formed him life, but the Papacy is bigger than just being a Jesuit, correct? –Robbie

One card at a time, Pope Francis is showing us his philosophy. I agree with Vox Borealis that the reform of the reform is toast. It’ll slide into oblivion and be replaced with all that many of us have fought against for 40 years. Many of our Bishops that have wavered on the edge will swing back to the “left”.
Having said all that, I must add that this is our Cross to carry for at least 6-10 years. Perhaps the pendulum will swing back next time.
Sword

I only have one problem with what Pope Francis did. He should have FIRST revised the official liturgical rules, and then went ahead and washed women’s feet. I love Pope Francis a lot and think he is a holy man, but this is the sort of thing that can cause division and a lack of obedience to spread.Dave M

To poohbear and david andrew : My friends in Christ, just keep your eyes on Jesus, read the Catechism and the Bible, pray and ask for the prayers of our Blessed Mother and our Saints and be thankful for all the many joys and blessings to be found in the Sacraments and in the little things that make life worthwhile. We’re going to be tested and we must keep the faith. “Be ye not afraid”.
If I were you I wouldn’t waste my time speculating about what is going on in Rome right now. As I said in a post the other day, I feel we’re on a slippery slope and it’s imperative to keep focused on Jesus. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart. Lean not unto thine own understanding.” We’ve been given all that is needed but we must trust and obey our Lord and Church teachings. Thank God they’re all written down… let us write them on our hearts! – D B Wheeler

What is Pope Francis really saying when he states that the Moslems worship the same God as Christians do? –Nancy D

A person can give a good example and a person can give a poor example. Francis may have given us both at the same time.

I think he could have solved this (as the churches chief legislator) by simply issuing a Motu Proprio modifying the Mandatum. Problem solved. –pseudomodo

“For example, in his sermon for the Chrism Mass he indicated that priests need to be edgier, take more risks in getting out there with people. He is probably thinking (like a Latin American bishop might with enormous slums in the diocese) that you depart from certain things for the sake of connecting elsewhere.” Father, with all respect, I heard all this stuff in the 60′s and 70′s. It didn’t effectively evangelize anybody then, and I have no confidence that it will be more successful now. My attitude is to hunker down and await the coming storm, and pray that we will have the strength to persevere. When the storm breaks, all the departures from tradition will not buy any good will or forbearance from the world. Rather, they will be a source of weakness. wecahill

I asked myself, were I the devil, what would I want for Easter? The answer, of course, is the uproar we’re having now. I do not have the good fortune of living in a conservative/traditional-minded diocese. (If I revealed which diocese, many on this thread would be shocked. X diocese has such an appearance of tradition that even the liberal bastion next door would be surprised.) On the Feast of the Exultation of the Cross, 2007, four of our priests ‘came out’ regarding the TLM. All had made preparations quietly for years, betting against the odds–one beginning in his seminary days, I believe. They did not enjoy support from the bishop, and not all their fellow priests reacted well. (I don’t hesitate to use the word cruel in certain instances.) But the law is now on their side, and they are making a difference, although progress sometimes seems awfully slow. 15.

 
 

 
 

What I’m trying to say is, yes, it would be great if Francis was another Benedict, but he’s not. If the only time we can expect to make headway toward liturgical renewal is when a conservative pope is sitting, then I agree, let’s pack up and quit right now–isn’t there anyone else who finds this notion utterly ludicrous? Since when has any lasting change come from the top down? If we’re going to have reform, it MUST be implemented from the bottom up. (Think about that the next time you run across one of those “This means YOU” ads.) I’m sorry Pope Francis isn’t observing his own rubrics; we should be honest and admit that few priests do. We can hold them to a higher standard. We must be both patient and persistent.

And we need the good natured pluck of the little boy who, when shown a pile of manure, joyfully attacked it with a shovel. “With all this @&$%,” he said, “There has to be a pony in here somewhere!”

Somewhere, in all this @&$%, is a reform of the reform. –Therese

Fr I wish I shared your certainty about his intentions in regards to the issues you raise. I do not share your confidence, especially in regards to the Liturgy. Things appear to be “spirit of Vatican II” full steam ahead despite the approach of humility and trying to make the Church relevant to those who have dismissed it as uninterested in the unfortunate of this world. The “reform of the reform” is over and the approach, whatever the direction it is headed in is more like that of a heavy earth mover than a piece by piece approach. There will be a lot more surprises to come as he breaks with tradition at every opportunity. –Hank Igitur

Sure you will get some new people into the Church with this method and at the price of others being fed up with the instability and disorientation. Yeah, we all know it is on your soul leaving the Church but that doesn’t stop them. People leave for the very chaos that they are going through now. The “Catholic Come Home” thing that has been going on the last few years probably brought in some people. People who may have left during the crisis years because they saw something familiar in Benedict and the Church. More stability etc. And now they will exit in distrust and with resentment. So in the end it is the shifting of numbers. And I don’t believe at all this is the right approach. The Church is supposed to be a huge umbrella where everyone can take shelter and feel at home. The continuing shifting of groups, reaching for one while putting off another is a lose, lose situation. What surprises me most is the hubris with which this is being done and at such a rapid pace. Did no one learn of the dizzying effect this had in the 60′ and early 70′s ? For a Pope to subject the Faithful to this, with no explanation doesn’t strike me as humble at all. At least with each symbol or restoration that Benedict did there were explanations, reasons grounded in sound Tradition and logic. Setting himself against Benedict’s reforms and John Paul II’s conservative moments is how it is coming off to folks. And Rome knows that which makes the silence about why day after day all the more deafening. –Mitchell

 
 

7. Washing women’s feet?

By Fr. Dwight Longenecker, March 28, 2013

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/2013/03/washing-womens-feet.html

Today Pope Francis washed the feet of twelve detainees in a youth detention center. Two of them were female.

Last year I wrote this post* explaining why the rubrics call for men to have their feet washed. Jimmy Akin explicates the texts and offers an excellent commentary here**. **See pages 8 ff.

What are we to make of the Holy Father disregarding the rubrics which call for “selected men” to have their feet washed, and what does his washing feet of females say about the link between the foot washing and the apostolic ministry?

Jimmy Akin points out that the church documents don’t actually link the foot washing with the apostolic ministry, although that is one level of symbolism. Instead it states that the foot washing is primarily a sign of service.

Clearly, the Holy Father wishes to emphasize this symbolic aspect of foot washing more than the link with the apostolic ministry. At the heart of the symbolism of foot washing are the Lord’s words, “I have not come to be served, but to serve.” And “The greatest among you must be the slave of the least.” By taking a step to the lowest of the low in society and washing their feet he is emphasizing the heart of the ceremony–at the expense of the other rich symbolism of Holy Thursday.

What do I make of it? It’s okay. He’s the Pope. I’m concerned that his willingness to disregard the rubrics may give the wrong signal and give carte blanche to every other priest who wants to use the liturgy to make a personal point. I personally wish he had found a way to combine all the elements of this rich symbolism together–maybe by choosing to wash the feet of selected priests and brothers who spend their lives serving the poor. He would thereby have also re-emphasized his role as “the servant of the servants of God”. By doing this within his basilica of St John Lateran (I know he hasn’t yet taken possession of it) he would also be showing through rich and traditional symbolism, the role of the Bishop of Rome as the servant of the poor by washing the feet of those priest members of the Body of Christ who serve the poorest of the poor.

On the other hand, by taking a radical step and washing the feet of poor young prisoners – women as well as men – he not only reminds us of the radical nature of the symbol, but also the unexpected and sometimes upsetting example of the Lord himself – who upset some religious traditions in order to make a point.

In the gospel Jesus repeatedly flouted some strict rules for a greater good, and so upset the religious legalists. Did the Pope break the rubrics? At the end of the day the rubrics are there to serve the gospel–not the gospel to serve the rubrics.

*http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/2012/04/men-only-foot-washing.html,
see further below; the above article seems to be a complete reversal – or “adjustment” – of his initial position.

 
 

6 SELECTED [OUT OF 35] COMMENTS

I fear that this is a case of the right thing done the wrong way. The Holy Father’s actions would have had more impact if he had changed the rubric instead of defying it. –Wineinthewater

 
 

 
 

 
 

If one takes Sacrosanctum Concilium seriously; the Holy Father as the Bishop of Rome and the Chief Liturgist not only for that Diocese but also for the Church… one may conclude that if the Chief Liturgist chooses to ignore the liturgical rubrics, then he is sadly setting the example that could be followed by all other bishops and priests – ignore the rubrics for a “higher cause”. If this is the pattern he is setting, I fear we’re back to the 1960′s-70′s with clown Masses and pizza and beer instead of break and wine – as long as the “innovations” (deviations from the rubrics) serve a perceived “higher cause”. –Robert

There is no excuse for this and none should be given. We all know the ramifications to his public witness to his own disobedience. This is beginning to look like a show of self love in the name of humility. We must wait for his appointments before we form any convictions but so far, his judgment is starting to smell of a wreckovator. – Carol

I appreciate your kindness toward the Holy Father, but this is a sad thing to watch. Yes, we’ve always had priests who loved innovation – they were disobedient to Rome. But when Rome improvises? The fall out from this is anybody’s guess. I feel especially sad for faithful priests who hold fast to doctrine in the face of an incredibly hostile culture. They may have ’70′s mindset’ bishops, but they could always look to the Holy Father… -Anne

Why is it OK for the pope to violate liturgical rubrics and, in doing so, set a very bad example for priests & bishops? Is he deliberately advocating disobedience to Church law in a era of widespread disobedience on the part of clergy & laity alike? Why take a chance on causing even more harm when Catholics are already walking a tightrope in so many areas? I don’t care if he’s the head of the Church–as such, he’s even more obligated to set the example for all Catholics. Guess it’s OK for me to disobey now as long as it benefits the poor and marginalized, right? I’m following his example. Somehow, I don’t think Jesus would approve of it. One of the holiest days of the year for Catholics and he excludes his fellow Catholics from this Mass. How wonderful! –Ben

As Pope Benedict said “One must not just come in as pope and start to make things the way he would like to.” I am really concerned at these changes which are making the previous popes look like evil men. Something is not right. –Taad

 
 

*Men only foot washing

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/2012/04/men-only-foot-washing.html

April 2, 2012, By Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Thomas MacDonald writes well here about the foot washing to take place at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday.

What he doesn’t mention is that the rubrics at the Mass call for men to have their feet washed. I wonder how many parishes have “creative” priests who use this as an opportunity to be “inclusive”. I’ve already had one person ask my advice on Facebook on how to respond to his priest who wants his seven year old daughter to be one of the people having their feet washed.

We should get this straight. The tradition and the rubrics mandate that men are to have their feet washed. Not little girls, not women, not boys. Men.
Why is this? Because the foot washing ceremony is not only an example of Christ being the lowest servant of all, as Tom’s article makes clear, but it is also a consolidation of the apostolic ministry. How often have you heard this one? “Jesus never ordained priests and bishops–the whole masculine hierarchy thing is a man made invention.” Not so. The Church teaches that the Last Supper was not only the institution of the Holy Eucharist, but also the ordination of the first presbyters of the church. Our Lord establishes the Eucharist and says to the twelve, “Do this in memory of me.” As the Passover is re-configured into the Eucharist, so the twelve tribes of Israel are re-configured into the apostolic ministry. Furthermore, when we read the text closely we see that the whole passage which we call ‘the high priestly prayer of Christ’ not only establishes Christ as the great High Priest, but we also see how he is sharing every aspect of his priestly ministry with his apostles.

Twelve men are chosen to bear the authority of Christ on earth and at the Last Supper he passes on his authority and ministry on to them. This is why in John’s gospel, at the Last Supper, Christ’s long discourse has as its theme “As the Father has sent me, so I have sent you.” (John 18.18) The entire long discourse is his delegation of authority and ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles. The fact of the matter is that despite the Lord’s mother being the holiest of people, and despite the fact that he had many holy women in his entourage, Jesus chose twelve men to be his apostles.

The foot washing therefore has a strong resonance with the establishment of the apostolic ministry. As Christ has served them, they are to serve the rest of the church and the world. The twelve men who have their feet washed therefore represent the twelve apostles as well as representing the whole people of God. As Christ has become the slave of all, so the apostles too are to be “the servants of the servants of God.”

Washing the feet of little girls – sweet though it may be – does not have quite the same symbolic power.

 
 

6 SELECTED [OUT OF 33] COMMENTS

Don’t start me on the female altar servers mistake. Yes, without being a raving heretic or sedevacantist, I can call it a mistake. The Pope is guaranteed infallibility, but this is very clearly defined and does not mean that every single thing a particular Pope says is infallible, nor does it mean that every liturgical change a particular Pope permits is infallible or written in stone. There are many good, orthodox Catholics, including a priests I know personally, who believe, with clearly reasoned arguments, that the permission to use female altar servers was a grave mistake. I believe that one day that decision will be reversed. In the meantime, it in no way excuses people from the Church rule regarding the Washing of the Feet. For several important reasons the Washing can only be done to men.Veritas

What was the mistake? I thought it was approved by Pope John Paul II. –Will

Will, disagreeing with something a Pope has allowed is a very sensitive topic. One group see you as a heretic who challenges Church teaching, the other group see you as a sedevacantist – someone who thinks the present Popes are illegitimate. I can assure you I am neither. I believe absolutely in Papal Infallibility.

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However, this is a very carefully defined dogma and does NOT mean that everything a particular Pope does, says or allows is correct. For example, Pope Alexander VI was, I believe, an absolute disgrace and an embarrassment for Catholics. His personal life was by any moral standards, appalling. If I had lived at his time I hope I would have been brave enough to join vocal opposition to his lifestyle. However, I also believe that God totally protected him from formally teaching any heresy. The Church was protected by Papal Infallibility.

I greatly admire Pope John-Paul II. The example of living faith he showed us by the way he handled his physical decline and death was beautiful. However I believe he allowed several things to become established that were a mistake. One of these changes was the introduction of female altar servers. -Veritas

Thanks for this post, Father, here’s another good one that goes along with yours:

http://www.catholicliturgy.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/lawtext/index/6/subindex/97/lawindex/31

Q.
Can the priest wash women’s feet on Holy Thursday?

A. According to the Sacramentary, “The men [vir] who have been chosen are led by the ministers to chairs prepared in a suitable place. Then the priest (removing his chasuble if necessary) goes to each man. With the help of the ministers, he pours water over each one’s feet and dries them.”

In 1988 the Congregation for Divine Worship reaffirmed that only men’s feet are supposed to be washed: “The washing of the feet of chosen men [vir] which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came ‘not to be served, but to serve’ (Matthew 20:28). This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained.”–Paschales Solemnitatis, 51. In both cases the Latin word vir is used which means that men is not referring to mankind but only to males. Therefore, only men may have their feet washed on Holy Thursday. The practice of having the congregation wash each other’s feet is also not allowed as the instruction refers only to the priest as the washer of feet. – Erika

What makes the situation “muddier” as Jimmy Akin posted back in 2005 is that Cardinal O’Malley was permitted to do this — http://jimmyakin.com/2005/03/quo_vadis_viri_.html. Mark Shea (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2012/04/women-and-footwashing.html) points to the USCCB website which indicates it is permitted (http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-resources/triduum/holy-thursday-mandatum.cfm). It bothers me that my own parish does this, but knowing that this matter can be argued from both sides makes me not want to even say anything.- Tom Grelinger

Apparently, Pope Francis has a different opinion on the matter. –James,
March 28, 2013

[This last post was made TODAY, March 28, 2013. All the other (32) comments were posted between April 2 and 7, 2012]

 
 

8. Popes, like dads, don’t have a choice in the matter

http://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/popes-like-dads-dont-have-a-choice-in-the-matter/

By Dr. Edward Peters, Canon Lawyer, March 28, 2013 [See pages 7, 8, 19, 35, 106-108]

Pope and dads set examples whether they want to or not. If I have dessert despite not having finished my supper, my kids do not experience that family rule as something presumably oriented to their welfare, but rather, as an imposition to be borne until they, too, are old enough to make and break the rules. Now, none will dispute that Pope Francis has, by washing the feet of women at his Holy Thursday Mass1, set an example. The question is, what kind of example has he set?

As a matter of substance, I have long questioned the cogency2 of arguments that the Mandatum rite should be limited to adult males (a point lost on Michael Sean Winters in his recent nutty3 over a Mandatum-related post by Fr. Z that linked to my writings on the subject). But I have never doubted that liturgical law expressly limits participation in that rite to adult males, and I have consistently called on Catholics, clerics and laity alike, to observe this pontifically-promulgated law in service to the unity (dare I say, the catholicity) of liturgy (c. 837). Pope Francis’ action today renders these arguments moot. Not wrong, mind. Moot.

By disregarding his own law in this matter, Francis violates, of course, no divine directive, nor does he — to anticipate an obvious question — achieve the abrogation of a law which, as it happens, I would not mind seeing abrogated. What he does do, I fear, is set a questionable example at Supper time.

We’re not talking here about, say, eschewing papal apartments or limousines or fancy footwear. None of those matters were the objects of law, let alone of laws that bind countless others.

(Personally, I find Francis’ actions in these areas inspiring although, granted, I do not have to deal with complications for others being caused by the pope’s simplicity).

Rather, re the Mandatum rite, we’re talking about a clear, unambiguous, reasonable (if not entirely compelling or suitable) liturgical provision, compliance with which has cost many faithful pastors undeserved ill-will from many quarters, and contempt for which has served mostly as a ‘sacrament of disregard’ for Roman rules on a variety of other matters. Today, whether he wanted to, or not, Francis set the Catholic world an example, about solidarity with outcasts, certainly, and about regard for liturgy.

A final thought: we live in antinomian times. One of the odd things about antinomianism (a condition that, by the way, does not always imply ill-will in its adherents though it usually implies a lack of understanding on their part) is that antinomianism makes reform of law not easier but harder: why bother undertaking the necessary but difficult reform of law when it’s easier simply to ignore it?

It’s a question with reverberations well beyond those of a foot-washing rite.

 
 

18.

 
 

 
 

 
 

1Pope Francis includes women in papal feet washing ceremony for first time

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/28/pope-francis-women-feet-washing

Reuters in Rome, March 28, 2013

 
 

2Toward resolving the annual Mandatum rite controversies

http://www.canonlaw.info/a_footfight.htm

By Dr. Edward Peters, Canon Lawyer [See pages 7, 8, 18, 35, 106-108]

Holy Week is almost upon us, and that means that, while we try to prepare for the awesome mysteries of the Triduum, we’ll also have to endure the annual Lenten foot fight: You know, “Is it okay for Father to wash the feet of women on Holy Thursday?”

The foot-washing rite, called the Mandatum (command), was re-introduced into the liturgy by Pope Pius XII in 1955. A recent circular letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship explains its purpose: “The washing of the feet of chosen men which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came ‘not to be served, but to serve’ (Matt XX: 28). This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained.” CDW, Paschales Solemnitatis (16 January 1988), n. 51

Present liturgical law is clear that only adult males (viri) may have their feet washed at the Mass of the Last Supper: “Lotio pedum …11. Viri selecti deducuntur a ministris ad sedilia loco apto parata. Tunc sacerdos … accedit ad singulos, eisque fundit aquam super pedes et abstergit …” (Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Roman Missal 2002) Therefore, if someone is washing the feet of any females (or, it seems, even of males under 18, per 1983 CIC 97), he is in violation of the Holy Thursday rubrics.

But there are two significant problems.

First, it is common knowledge that permissions have been granted to individual bishops to permit women to have their feet washed. Under canon law, such variations do not constitute a change in universal norms nor do they provide others a precedent upon which to adopt practices contrary to law (see 1983 CIC 16 § 3). Still, such exceptions inevitably make people wonder why something like this is illicit in one diocese yet permissible in another. Moreover, Rome’s practice of granting such permissions privately makes it difficult to know the level of authority involved in making the exception and to refute rumors that others were granted. Second, the rubric provokes the bigger question of why the rite is restricted to adult men in the first place. Most commonly, it is argued that the rite represents Christ’s actions at the Last Supper and therefore it must be done as He did it.

Consider two liturgical experts, ambo
resplendentes in scientia et fide: Rev. Edward McNamara: “This means preparing the rite following liturgical law to the letter, [and to] explain its meaning as an evocation of Christ’s gesture of service and charity to his apostles, and avoid getting embroiled in controversies that try to attribute to the rite meanings it was never meant to have.” (Zenit, 28 March 2006) And Mr. Jimmy Akin: “Since the rite re-enacts Jesus’ washing of the Twelve Apostles’ feet (all of whom were men) and since the text for the rite in Latin refers to it being performed on viri selecti (“selected men”) … only men should be used.” (Blog, 21 Mar 2005) and “This rubric requires twelve males because they are representing the Twelve Apostles whose feet Jesus washed.” (Blog, 28 Feb 05)

There are problems with both of these explanations.

Besides the fact that the entire rite is optional and so need not be done at all, consider:

  • no specific number of men is required for the rite, so the connection asserted between 12 men and the 12 Apostles is at best ambiguous;
  • indeed, there are no references to “apostles” in the mandatum rubrics or the circular letter, which instead explain the rite in terms of “Christ’s gesture of service and charity”, a ministry obviously not limited to apostles; and,
  • Christ’s explicit mandate at the Last Supper was “you also should do as I have done to you”, a command no one reads as restricting the recipients of ordained ministry to apostles or their successors.

Thus, Fr. McNamara’s claim that the rite evokes “Christ’s gesture of service and charity to his apostles” and Mr. Akin’s statement that the rite “requires
twelve males because they are representing the Twelve Apostles” are eisegetical. Ironically, both men might still have a point, but one would have to look beyond what Rome has actually said to find it. In the meantime, we are left wondering, just what is the value served by restricting the rite to adult men?

Earlier, I said there are two problems with the law at present. But really, there are three.

Bishops who are, quite correctly, upholding the law as it reads, know that this matter is purely one of ecclesiastical law (which means it is changeable, albeit only by Rome per 1983 CIC 838). They know that the reasons commonly offered in support of the law are either literally non-existent (as above) or are inconclusive. And they know that in some places this rubric is unnecessarily divisive. At a minimum, then it is hard to reconcile this liturgical restriction with the principle of fundamental equality of the faithful succinctly set forth in Canon 208 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

But bishops know something else: they know that virtually every time a provision of liturgical (not divine) law has been challenged in recent decades (by people who love the Church, or otherwise) on such topics as Saturday Mass of anticipation, Communion in the hand, female altar servers, regular distribution of Precious Blood, lay service as extraordinary ministers — the list goes on and on — virtually every time, I say, that such restrictions have been challenged, Rome has changed the rule after a lot of hard feelings were generated in trying to defend it. And that is truly regrettable. Liturgical law should protect and enhance the essentials and beauty of divine worship; it should not become a proving ground of episcopal willingness to enforce Roman decrees.

 
 

 
 

 
 

Personally, it makes no difference to me which way the Legislator decides to go here; if he wants to emphasize the symbolism of apostolic presence at the Last Supper and therefore restrict those getting their feet washed to adult men, fine. If he wants to emphasize the symbolism of Christ’s love for all his disciples and therefore authorize women having their feet washed, fine. But I think we need to have a clear ruling, one way or the other, once and for all. It would also help to have an articulation of pastorally convincing reasons to back up the choice (though such reasons need not be “convincing” to everyone in order for the law to be binding.)

Finally, we really need to stop having this debate only during Lent; it’s too late to do anything about it by this time of the year. This question should be studied, and answered, during the coming year. There are many more important things to ponder during the Church’s holiest season.

The Washing of the Feet is a time-consuming rite that breaks up the flow of the liturgy, is difficult to see from any place besides the front few pews, and leaves the congregation with nothing to do for a prolonged period. Why not, then, move it from Holy Thursday in parishes to the Chrism Mass, a special Mass that bishops and priests typically celebrated some days or weeks before Holy Week, and have the bishop wash the feet of 12 of his priests? The symbolism of the rite would be much stronger, and all controversies instantly resolved.

 
 

3What Drives Me Crazy about the RC Right

http://ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/what-drives-me-crazy-about-rc-right

By
Michael Sean Winters,
March 27, 2013 [The liberal, pro-women priests National Catholic Reporter –Michael]

None of us wishes to be judged by our worst moment, our worst decision, or our worst blog post. But, this blog post by Father Zuhlsdorf**, with a link to a post by canonist Ed Peters, is a perfect example of what makes me crazy about the Catholic right. They are so obsessively focused on whether or not a bishop or priest can/should wash the feet of women during the Mandatum Rite in the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, they put heavy emphasis on the fact that the rite is optional and Peters suggests it should only be used at the Chrism Mass. I have brought many people, including many non-Catholics, to the Mass of the Lord’s Supper and the thing that they always remark upon afterwards is the Mandatum Rote. It is the rite that most perfectly incarnates the Great Commandment. It captures the essence of Jesus’ ministry and, just so, the essence of all Christian ministry. It is a rite that should bring tears to the eyes. But, heaven forfend if a bishop or a priest washes a woman’s feet! Better to opt out and not do the rite at all. This is insane.  

This NCR article has 95 mostly dissident comments.

 
 

**Of Holy Thursday and the foot-washing rite: problems – solutions

http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/03/of-holy-thursday-and-the-foot-washing-rite-problems-solutions/

Posted on 26 March 2013 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Dr. Peters at In The Light Of The Law, a blog on matters canonical, has this to day. He doesn’t have an open combox (which I quietly envy sometimes), so we can have the foot-fight over here.

The annual Lenten foot-fight is almost upon us. Again.

May I suggest that discussion of this matter begin with what canon and liturgical law actually say (and don’t say) about the Mandatum rite, and that serious attention be given, if not this year then next, to eliminating this ill-conceived and merely optional rite from parish liturgies altogether and instead making it a powerful part of the bishop’s Chrism Mass?

First, let it be remembered that the foot-washing thing during Holy Thursday’s Mass of the Last Supper is an OPTION. Many problems (and violations of law and good taste and common sense) could be avoided by choosing NOT to do it.  All manner of absurdities are inflicted on God’s people because of this option.

Second, let it be remembered that the Church’s legislation allows for the washing of the feet of only men.  MEN = VIRI = MEN. Not man-ish women or any other critter. Even if some claim to have received permission to wash the feet of women, and even if the claims were true, those permissions would in no way change the law for the rest of the world. Period. Furthermore, I have never seen a letter or a copy of a letter from the Congregation in Rome granting such a permission. I doubt anyone else has either.

Third, the rite of washing of the feet of men harks to Christ washing the feet of the Apostles… not just the feet of anyone out there in the highways and byways.

Finally, Dr. Peters would like to see this rite moved out of the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper and into the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass. An interesting idea.

There are 114 responses at the above blog. They are significant because the first comments commence from March 26 while the 114th is posted on March 28 — after the Pope Francis foot-washing event. Some samples:

 
 

Reported in the Italian press (La Repubblica) today: Papa Francesco laverà piedi a giovani detenuti:
per la prima volta ci saranno anche due ragazze = Pope Francis will wash the feet of young prisoners: for the first time there will also be two girls [amongst the twelve]. He is evidently continuing the tradition he adopted in Buenos Aires. The Holy Father has my prayers, my respect and my love. As the successor of Peter he commands my obedience also but in this matter the Holy Father is wrong. –Tim

I think I will break with tradition this year… Perhaps I will redirect my Peters Pence to a more appropriate direction. Perhaps I will purchase “The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described by Adrian Fortescue” for a worthy young priest. Thanks, Francis. -pseudomodo

20.

 
 

 
 

I was so hopeful for his pontificate… It could always get better and we’ve survived worse, but wow… You know this is going to be used as justification not just for thus abuse elsewhere, but for other things. Just wow…-dropper

Just when I was beginning to warm up to this Pope. Few followed the wonderful liturgical example of Pope Benedict, but I’m afraid many will follow here. If the Supreme Pontiff can’t follow the rules how can we expect parish priests to? –Jim

So, do I give up my nudging of a certain priest to only wash the feet of men? Now that the Pope has done it as Pope, I’m not sure I have any legs underneath me. O Lord, some continuity, some stability please! -chantgirl

March 29, 2013, 11:00 am

 
 

LET US EXAMINE SOME MORE NEWS STORIES ON THE LANDMARK MARCH 28 EVENT

9.
Pope Francis and a holy, humble break from tradition

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-leadership/pope-francis-and-a-holy-humble-break-from-tradition/2013/03/28/a9a5f2b4-981e-11e2-b68f-dc5c4b47e519_story.html

By Jena McGregor, Friday, March 29, 2013

Over the past two weeks, with one act of humility after another, Pope Francis has proven he’s willing to break with tradition. […] But an act of Pope Francis’s on Thursday perhaps says the most about his humility.

Taking part in a tradition of Christianity’s holy week that reenacts the humble gesture Jesus made toward his 12 disciples before the Last Supper, Francis washed the feet of 12 people. What was unusual, however, was that he did not wash the feet of priests or even lay men, as have his predecessors, and he did not do it within the hallowed walls of a Roman basilica. Rather, he washed the feet of 12 juvenile prisoners at the Casal del Marmo Penitentiary Institute for Minors. Two of the young people were women and one was a Muslim, marking the first time a pope had included either group in the ceremony.

The move to kiss the feet of women has some religious experts expecting controversy, saying the pope’s action could “set a questionable example.”
Meanwhile, those who hope it’s a sign that he will consider ordaining women* as priests may be disappointed. The Associated Press reports**that in his 2011 book, he voiced support for the theological underpinnings of excluding women from the priesthood.
**See page 8

Still, the pope’s latest convention-busting move at the very least shows an interest in greater inclusivity. It reveals Francis to be a leader who is not merely humble, but courageously willing to reach beyond the Church in new ways. Thursday’s breach of established ritual may have been his most significant break from tradition so far. My guess is it won’t be his last.

 
 

*U.S. Catholics in Poll See a Church Out of Touch

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/06/us/poll-shows-disconnect-between-us-catholics-and-church.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN and MEGAN THEE-BRENAN, March 5, 2013
Roman Catholics in the United States say that their church and bishops are out of touch, and that the next pope should lead the church in a more modern direction on issues like birth control and ordaining women and married men as priests, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Seven out of 10 say Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican have done a poor job of handling sexual abuse, a significant rise from three years ago. A majority said that the issue had led them to question the Vatican’s authority. The sexual abuse of children by priests is the largest problem facing the church, Catholics in the poll said.

Three-fourths of those polled said they thought it was a good idea for Benedict to resign. Most wanted the next pope to be “someone younger, with new ideas.” A majority said they wanted the next pope to make the church’s teachings more liberal. With cardinals now in Rome preparing to elect Benedict’s successor, the poll indicated that the church’s hierarchy had lost the confidence and allegiance of many American Catholics, an intensification of a long-term trend. They like their priests and nuns, but many feel that the bishops and cardinals do not understand their lives.

“I don’t think they are in the trenches with people,” said Therese Spender, 51, a homemaker in Fort Wayne, Ind., who said she attended Mass once a week and agreed to answer further questions after the poll. “They go to a lot of meetings, but they are not out in the street.”

Even Catholics who frequently attend Mass said they were not following the bishops’ lead on issues that the church had recently invested much energy, money and credibility in fighting — artificial birth control and same-sex marriage.

Eric O’Leary, 38, a funeral director in Des Moines who attends Mass weekly, said: “I would like them not to be so quick to condemn people because of their sexual preference or because of abortion, or to refuse priests the right to get married or women to be priests. I don’t think the church should get involved in whether or not people use birth control.”

The nationwide telephone poll was conducted on landlines and cellphones from Feb. 23 to 27, when many Catholics were still absorbing news of the first resignation of a pope in 600 years. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points for the 580 Catholics, who were oversampled for purposes of analysis in the survey of 1,585 adults.

Benedict, a soft-spoken scholar and a church traditionalist, had apparently made little impression on American Catholics in his eight years as pope. Half of those in the poll said they either had no opinion of him or had not heard enough about him. Nevertheless, 4 in 10 had a favorable opinion, and only one in 10 unfavorable.

“He’s written three or four books, and his writings are incredible,” said Leonard Lefebvre, 70, a retired economist in Tequesta, Fla. “He’s continued on course, and he’s held the religion to where it’s supposed to be at.”

The poll suggested that the papacy no longer occupies the exalted position it once did. Asked whether the pope is infallible when he teaches on matters of morality and faith, 40 percent said yes, 46 percent said no, and 14 percent said they did not know. Nearly 8 in 10 Catholics polled said they would be more likely to follow their conscience on “difficult moral questions” than to follow the pope’s teachings.

 
 

 
 

When asked which “one thing” they would “most like to see the next pope accomplish,” the most common responses that respondents volunteered were, in order: bring people back to church, modernize the church, unify the church, and do something about sexual abuse.

A spate of new information about prelates hiding the misdeeds of pedophile priests appeared to have taken a toll. A higher percentage of Catholics said the pope and the Vatican had done a poor job of handling reports of past sexual abuse recently (69 percent) compared with 2010 (55 percent), when the abuse scandal flared in many European countries. This is despite the church’s many reforms in the last 10 years and reports of abuse by priests in the United States declining drastically.

Majorities said they wanted to see the next pope maintain the church’s opposition to abortion and the death penalty, even though they themselves were not opposed to them. Three-quarters of Catholics supported abortion under at least some circumstances, and three-fifths favored the death penalty.

“I can understand how the Catholic Church stands against it,” said Geri Toni, 57, of abortion. “We are not supposed to kill. That is one of our Ten Commandments.” “But as a woman,” said Ms. Toni, who lives in Fort Myers, Fla., and attends Mass weekly, “I have to make sense of it, and I believe choice comes down to the individual.”

On every other hotly debated issue, Catholics wanted the next pope to lead the church in an about-face. Seven of 10 Catholics polled said the next pope should let priests marry, let women become priests and allow the use of artificial methods of birth control. Nine of 10 said they wanted the next pope to allow the use of condoms to prevent the spread of H.I.V. and other diseases.

Sixty-two percent of Catholics said they were in favor of legalizing marriage for same-sex couples. Catholics approved of same-sex marriage at a higher rate than Americans as a whole, among whom 53 percent approved.

John Sadel, 28, a supervisor in a plastics production facility in Bethlehem, Pa., said, “I’m not saying change everything the church stands for, but you need to evolve with the times if you want to remain a viable religion.”

The American bishops also appear to have lost ground among their own flock in their campaign to fight the White House rule that requires employers to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives — a campaign the bishops say is about religious freedom.

One year ago, two-thirds of Catholics polled said that religiously affiliated employers, like hospitals or universities, should be allowed to opt out of covering birth control for their female employees because of religious or moral objections. In the most recent poll, only about half of Catholics said they agreed.

The issue has become a political litmus test, with Catholic bishops and religious conservatives saying that their religious freedom is being threatened by President Obama’s policies. But when asked what the debate is about, only 40 percent of Catholics polled said “religious freedom,” while 50 percent said “women’s health and their rights” — an indication that Mr. Obama’s framing of the issue is holding sway even among many Catholics.

Catholics seemed to feel far more warmly toward their local priests than those in the hierarchy. Seven in 10 Catholics in the poll said they felt that their parish priests were “in touch with the needs of Catholics today.” Eighty-five percent of those who attend Mass said the sermons were excellent or good.

Nearly two-thirds of Catholics polled said they had not changed the amount of money they contributed to the church in the last few years; 16 percent said they gave more; 17 percent said less. Of those giving less, half said it was because of financial circumstances, and one-quarter cited unhappiness with the church.

Nationwide, bishops are closing parish churches and schools to save money and to respond to changing demographics. The reorganization is so sweeping that the poll found that 11 percent of Catholics who attend Mass said their parish church had closed or merged in the last few years. [Allison Kopicki, Dalia Sussman and Marina Stefan contributed reporting.]

 
 

9. Pope Francis includes women in papal feet washing ceremony for first time

http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=770052

March 29, 2013

Forgive me, I mean no disrespect to the pope. I realize that he is above the rubrics and rules that the church puts forth for the rest of us. I thought that washing the feet of women is against the rubrics. Have I been misinformed? I ask because my former pastor was roundly castigated by a few women parishioners when he refused to include women in his foot washing ceremony a few years ago. I assumed he was only following the Holy Thursday rubrics, but maybe I have assumed the wrong thing? -Lormar

The Pope is not above the law. Nor is he a prisoner of tradition. He is the successor of Peter and final arbiter of how scripture and tradition should be interpreted. If he includes women in the foot washing ceremony on Holy Thursday, then those who barred women from it in the past did so in error and he is correcting this error. –Bellasbane

He actually is above Canon Law. http://forums.catholic.com/showthrea…0#post10540320 “Everyone is assuming that he or she has a right to comment on what the pope does that is not a sin. There is no sin involved here, if he did wash female feet, because as Boniface said, the pope is above every rule and law in the Church. Therefore, he cannot break what does not bind him. The only law that binds him is revealed moral law. This is not a matter of revealed moral law. God is not trying to bind the pope, people are. But people don’t have that right”. -Marie

Well, even the Pope should act within the bounds of applicable law or go about changing it/dispensing it in an orderly fashion. So, I would be cautious about saying the Pope is above the rubrics, even regarding something rather minor such as this. Anyway, yes, the rubrics say that “men” may have their feet washed. –Dan

There is, as everywhere else on this event, no consensus. The discussion continues over several pages.

 
 

10. Francis washes feet

http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2013/03/francis-washes-feet
EXTRACT

By John Paul Shimek, March 28, 2013

 
 

The Mass has attracted some criticism, however. In 2012, the detention center housed 251 inmates. Of those, 172 were male and 79 were female. The inmates are Italian and foreign. Some of them come from Africa. This suggests that there are Christians as well as non-Christians housed there. The Vatican’s press office announced that “the pope will wash the feet of twelve of [the inmates], who will be chosen from different nationalities and diverse religious confessions.” And therein lies the rub.

Some Catholics have registered disapproval with the fact that the pope will be washing the feet of women and individuals of “diverse religious confessions.” In their defense, both the Roman Missal and the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDWDS) instruct that the feet of men (viri) alone are to be washed. For instance, the CDWDS document Paschales Solemnitatis of 1988 observes: “The washing of the feet of chosen men which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came ‘not to be served, but to serve’ (Matt XX: 28).” It adds that “this tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained.” On these grounds, some Catholics allege that the pope is abusing the tradition in washing the feet of women, let alone non-Christians.

But, lest one become lost in minutiae, we are talking about the pope, here. The 1983 Code of Canon Law states that “the bishop of the Roman Church, in whom continues the office given by the Lord uniquely to Peter, the first of the Apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, is the head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the pastor of the universal Church on earth. By virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely” (1983 CIC c. 331) Of course, there are things that no pope could ever do. For instance, popes can neither ordain women to the priesthood nor consecrate invalid matter at the altar. But we’re talking about an optional rite — the so-called mandatum — and not one of those things.

At this writing, the Vatican’s Sala Stampa has not clarified whether the pope will wash the feet of non-Christians, such as Muslims. We do know that when he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio used to celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at prisons, hospitals, and hospices for the poor and migrants. He received neither censure nor sanction in the past.

The Vatican’s Press Office describes this evening’s ritual as a continuation of that established custom.

What seems to be on the heart of Pope Francis — the Vicar of Christ and the pastor of the universal Church on earth — is a desire to move out from under a stifling, dull, and technical rubricism toward the Paschal light of Christ’s redemptive charitable love. Papa Francesco is seeking to bring Christ to the women and men of diverse religious confessions of Casal del Marmo. He is able to do this because he is the bishop of Rome.

 
 

SELECTED COMMENTS

Are you seriously-suggesting that the Pope is changing law with his illegal innovation? That is not only twisting yourself into a pretzel in order to let him off the hook, it’s illogical. If he changed the law by this action, why is the law unchanged for everyone else? He didn’t change any law at all here–he simply violated it. As he has been doing for years, long before he was Pope. What a nightmare.Ryan Ellis

It has been reported that at least one girl was included among those whose feet were to be washed by Pope Francis. There is nothing pastoral about arbitrarily breaking rules, especially if the prerogatives of the Pope as monarch are invoked as the justification. Why should anyone take anything the Vatican says seriously if the Pope does not?
Dan

The law has not been changed. Priests, when you become Pope you can wash women’s feet too. Until then follow the law. -Fr. J

 
 

11. Francis washes, kisses feet of two women, two Muslims

http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/francis-washes-kisses-feet-two-women-two-muslims
EXTRACT

By
Thomas C. Fox, March
28, 2013

Pope Francis today kneeled before 12 juvenile detainees in a Rome detention center during a Holy Thursday ceremony. He washed, dried and kissed their feet. Two in the group were women; two were Muslims, according to the Vatican.

The symbolism of these gestures will certainly move quickly beyond the Catholic church.

See an earlier NCR online story on page 25 -Michael

 
 

AN UNDERSTANDABLE OBJECTION TO THIS REPORT, AND MY EXPLANATORY RESPONSE

From:
Name Withheld
To:
Michael Prabhu
Sent: Saturday, March 30, 2013 8:33 AM

Subject: RE: QUO VADIS PAPA FRANCISCO 01-WASHING THE FEET OF WOMEN ON MAUNDY THURSDAY

My dear friend and brother,
I have been praying about how to express best to you the pain I have experienced when reading your comments about the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday by Pope Francis. I have found some comments harsh and judgemental. However, I do not desire to enter into a lengthy correspondence on this, only to express my personal thoughts.
The Pope has just begun his ministry. Why the hurry to find things that are wrong, and overlooking the great messages coming across through the type of man God has chosen? The first thing God brought to my mind was the Pharisees condemning Jesus for healing on the Sabbath. Why doubt his genuine spirituality just because he is a Jesuit?
While I have always supported your ministry, in this particular case, I do not.
Enclosing the comments made at the Vatican regarding this issue (emphasis mine). It expresses some of my feelings of admiration for the universal love and compassion of Pope Francis.
Please treat this letter as a personal communication between friends.

A senior leader in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal

23.

 
 

 
 

Vatican Spokesman on Participation of 2 Women in Foot Washing Ceremony

http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/vatican-spokesman-on-participation-of-2-women-in-foot-washing-ceremony

“The very beautiful and simple gesture of a father who desired to embrace those who were on the fringes of society”

VATICAN CITY, March 29, 2013 (Zenit.org) – Here is a press release Fr. Thomas Rosica, CEO of Salt & Light and Assistant to the Director of the Vatican Press Office, sent today to journalists regarding Thursday’s Mass celebrated by Francis at the Juvenile Detention Center, “Casal del Marmo”.

In response to the many questions and concerns raised over Pope Francis washing the feet of 12 young people at the Roman Juvenile Detention Centre on Holy Thursday evening, especially that two were young women, Fr. Lombardi has sent me the following information to be shared with you.

One can easily understand that in a great celebration, men would be chosen for the foot washing because Jesus, himself washing the feet of the twelve apostles who were male. However the ritual of the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday evening in the Juvenile Detention Centre in Rome took place in a particular, small community that included young women. When Jesus washed the feet of those who were with him on the first Holy Thursday, he desired to teach all a lesson about the meaning of service, using a gesture that included all members of the community.

We are aware of the photos that show Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, then-Archbishop of Buenos Aires, who in various pastoral settings washed the feet of young men and women. To have excluded the young women from the ritual washing of feet on Holy Thursday night in this Roman prison, would have detracted our attention from the essence of the Holy Thursday Gospel, and the very beautiful and simple gesture of a father who desired to embrace those who were on the fringes of society; those who were not refined experts of liturgical rules.

That the Holy Father, Francis, washed the feet of young men and women on his first Holy Thursday as Pope, should call our minds and hearts to the simple and spontaneous gesture of love, affection, forgiveness and mercy of the Bishop of Rome, more than to legalistic, liturgical or canonical discussions.

From:
Michael Prabhu
To:
Name Withheld
Sent: Saturday, March 30, 2013 9:51 AM

Subject: Re: QUO VADIS PAPA FRANCISCO 01-WASHING THE FEET OF WOMEN ON MAUNDY THURSDAY

I thank you for your letter and for expressing your feelings. I understand what you mean.

However, I am puzzled because I myself have not made any negative comments against the Pope — my comments are always in green colour. If you recall, regarding the washing of the feet, I had written in my letter to Rome, “If You wash the feet of women during the liturgy, it will send a wrong signal to many and give an impetus to some enemies of the Catholic Church. We have nothing against Your washing the feet of women on Holy Thursday if it is done outside of Holy Mass, in a non-liturgical service … we humbly suggest — in the event that You really do want to have the feet of women washed — that You change the presently-existing rubrics to include women before their feet are washed by You.”

The reactions that I anticipated turned out to be true, if one goes by more recent news stories which are being continuously added on to the two articles on my web site related to this issue*. I was constrained to publish this article because of many reasons. Either time will justify my stand as prophetic, or the Pope will himself note and/or be advised by his officers of the polarisation that is going on in the Church since his installation, and be more careful of what he says and does. Just because some of what he is saying and doing is being “liked” and applauded by the media, by liberals, and by less-knowledgeable Catholics, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a good thing just as it was not a bad thing that Pope Benedict XVI was unpopular with them for his words and deeds.

You must have noted that I present the news stories of those who agree with my conservatism as well as those who do not. The only additional thing that I do is to reproduce the posted comments of those Catholics who I agree with, mostly those at least. The others – the ones that I omit — are largely liberal, or from my perspective, uninformed. 

The high profile Magdi Allam has left the Catholic Faith citing Pope Francis’ laxity on Islam and attitude to other religions. I share that concern since the day of his election as Pope.

A comparable situation is this: I have Brahmin and Hindu friends who converted to Catholicism but want me to explain to them why they had to leave paganism for Christianity only to find it entrenched in our liturgies.

There are various other serious issues that are developing. I can assure you that I have prayed more — already — for Pope Francis than I ever did for all the earlier Popes combined. You are already assured of my orthodoxy and loyalty to Rome. But, we always must keep in mind that the Pope can err in anything that is not ex-cathedra, and that lay people have, always in the history of the Church, been called to a prophetic ministry.

That is apparently completely lacking in the Indian church and in the Indian Catholic Charismatic Renewal, but you can already see from articles reproduced at my web site that priests’ blogs are speaking up, and it will not be too long, seeing the present condition and trend of things, before lay ministries will also be expressing their concerns. I pray that such a situation is not precipitated. I for one cannot keep silent because of my conscience that reminds me of the unique calling that God has given me. In answering it, I have to be CONSISTENT and IMPARTIAL.

Concerning the Jesuits, you must have already read that I wrote in an email to someone, “Catholics blame his Jesuit order [the exceptions are few and far between] for almost every liberal and modernist situation in the Asian church.” I have tons of information to support that statement. I have shared this a couple of years ago with an Indian Jesuit priest who is stationed at the Holy See and he took no offence but waits for my article.

I am sure that I will get a few more letters like yours, and I welcome them because they help me to re-look at what I have already written and to be more balanced and objective in what I write in the future. Thank you and God bless you.

PS. I copy below one of the first “criticisms” that I am including in my report [not really a ‘criticism’ because it is a secular media story]. I have been an early bird in anticipating this scenario, and I had long back, independently anticipated the foot washing-women’s ordination [virtual] “link”:

 
 

 
 

*12. Pope Francis: papal feet washing sparks fears over women priests

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/29/concern-pope-francis-feet-washing

By Lizzy Davies in Rome, March 29, 2013

Pontiff shocks devotees by washing women’s feet, prompting some to question whether he may consider ordaining women.

Traditionalists in the Roman Catholic church have expressed concern after Pope Francis became the first pontiff to wash the feet of two women during a Maundy Thursday mass, a move liberals welcomed but some conservatives feared set a worrying precedent.

[…] He had surprised the Vatican with his decision to wash the prisoners’ feet – a move that echoed the early years of John Paul II, who once performed the rite in the St John Lateran basilica with a dozen homeless men.

But it was his inclusion of two young women, as well as Muslims, in the ceremony that was the most dramatic break with tradition. It even caused some traditionalists to wonder openly whether Francis, who is doctrinally a theological conservative who has explicitly stated he is against female ordination, might one day be willing to open the priesthood to women.

The Vatican’s spokesman Federico Lombardi insisted the rite took place in “a specific situation in which excluding the girls would have been inopportune in light of the simple aim of communicating a message of love to all”.

Chris Gillibrand, a British commentator, wrote on his blog, CathCon: “We will see whether it is a particular case, as Lombardi suggests, or the beginning of a journey. Given his active support for the charismatic movement in his diocese, one can only be concerned that he could be prepared to ordain women … How can the pope maintain discipline in the church if he himself does not conform himself to prevailing ecclesiastical legislation?

This was not the first time Francis had washed female feet. As Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio and archbishop of Buenos Aires, he often included women in the gesture. However as pope, his move was quietly groundbreaking. In their later years John Paul II and Benedict XVI had restricted the rite to 12 Catholic priests.

 
 

Speculation on the new Pope by the liberal and dissenting elements; here, it is the NCR

One of Pope Francis’ allegiances might tell us something about the church’s future

http://ncronline.org/blogs/grace-margins/one-pope-francis-allegiances-might-tell-us-something-about-churchs-future

By Jamie Manson, March 15, 2013

I suppose my assessment of the new pope is probably similar to those who have been reading the mainstream news since Wednesday night’s historic election.

I have been touched by Francis’ clear love of the poor and the images of his bathing the feet of sick children and AIDS patients. I am troubled by his alleged failure stand up with Argentine dictators during the “Dirty War” and his harmful words about LGBT families. I am worried by reports that he was unpopular among his brother Jesuits because of his unfavorable views of base communities and liberation theology.

But what most piqued my interest about Pope Francis is his strong tie to a movement called Comunione e Liberazione, or Communion and Liberation (CL).

As John Allen reported in the days before Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Francis, the Argentine cardinal “became close to the Comunione e Liberazione movement” over the years, “sometimes speaking at its massive annual gathering in Rimini, Italy.” Allen also notes Bergoglio presented the books of CL’s founder, Fr. Luigi Giussani, at literary fairs in Argentina. (It should be noted that Cardinal Angelo Scola, widely considered the conclave’s front-runner, is also a longtime CL collaborator.)

Giussani started CL in 1969 in response to a period of rapid social and cultural change in Italy. The movement blossomed among high school and university students, especially since its main instrument of evangelization came in weekly catechetical sessions. These gatherings, called Scuola di comunità (School of Community), are considered the heart of the group to this day.

Its popularity has spread globally in the last 15 years. Although it now claims to be present in 80 countries, its presence in the United States is not as apparent as other groups like Opus Dei or the Legionaries of Christ. Its lack of visibility is ironic, since when compared to these two organizations, CL is far less secretive and its membership is far more open and flexible.

But CL has not been immune to intrigue, especially in commentaries among Italian journalists. In his 2011 book La Lobby di Dio (God’s Lobby), Ferruccio Pinotti argues CL is “more powerful than Opus Dei, more well-oiled than freemasonry, and more ‘plugged in’ than Confindustria, Italy’s manufacturer’s association.” La Repubblica‘s editor, Eugenio Scalfari, has been quoted as saying, “Not even the Mafia has so much power. In hospitals, healthcare, universities …”

Members of CL are known as ciellini, and Bergoglio’s relationship with them was another cause for consternation among his Jesuit brothers since, as John Allen noted, “the ciellini once upon a time were seen as the main opposition to Bergoglio’s fellow Jesuit in Milan, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini.”

It was Martini who, before his death last year, gave a highly publicized last interview saying the Catholic church is “200 years out of date.” [For the correct perspective on this, see page 28 –Michael]

Much of what I have learned about CL, other than from the organization’s website, comes from the essay “Comunione e Liberazione: A Fundamentalist Idea of Power,” written by theologian and political scientist Dario Zadra. The article appears in the volume Accounting for Fundamentalisms: The Dynamic Character of Movements (University of Chicago Press, 2004), edited by Martin Marty and R. Scott Appleby.

25.

 
 

 
 

The book was one of several volumes that came out of the work of The Fundamentalism Project, a program that offered a scholarly investigation into global conservative religious movements. Marty, who is the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago Divinity School, and Appleby, who directs of Notre Dame’s Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, co-directed this project.

In his article on CL, Zadra explains that the movement’s worldview stems from two main ideas: “That Christ is the saving event in human history, and that religious authority is a fundamental element of the human condition.” He continues: “Members place religion at the center of a new worldview and in their evangelistic efforts at transforming the relationship between modern society and religion.”

Much like evangelical Protestantism, CL understands the central, saving event of one’s life begins with a graced encounter with Christ. But unlike the Protestants, CL understands the saving agent to be the Roman Catholic church. Zadra explains: “In CL the authoritative character of the event of salvation is directly translated into the authority of the Church. … The central event in life is a saving encounter with the communion embodied in the Church.”

The church’s “authority,” Zadra explains, is best expressed by the pope. CL’s insistence on “total fidelity and communion with the Succession of Peter” (a direct quote from Benedict XVI himself) has made the movement particularly popular among members of the hierarchy.

Obedience to the authority of the church seems as crucial to Pope Francis as it did to his predecessor and as it does to CL. In a 2005 profile of Cardinal Bergoglio, Jose Maria Poirier, editor of the Argentinean Catholic magazine Criterio, wrote, “He exercised his authority as provincial with an iron fist, calmly demanding strict obedience and clamping down on critical voices. Many Jesuits complained that he considered himself the sole interpreter of St Ignatius of Loyola, and to this day speak of him warily.”

After spending a good part of his research interviewing leaders in CL and its young members, Zadra realized that, though the organization had broad appeal, it was different from typical traditionalist movements:

Its beliefs and practices offer a new religious and countercultural way of looking at modern society and culture. CL boldly claims that the Church embodies authoritative truth that is binding on society at large. By claiming the presence of Christ, the Church also claims divine authority — a kind of inerrancy, not of the biblical text (as in Protestant fundamentalism) but of the Church.

This belief in the inerrancy of the church influences CL’s understanding of human conscience. “The conscience of the individual is shaped by and beholden to the Church,” Zadra writes, “and the Church ought to be considered the living and legitimate paradigm of society.”

Although CL members are comfortable in the modern, technological and political world, they reject the modern insistence on “a freedom of conscience that excludes the religious attitude at its very root.” Zadra explains that those who center their political and cultural ideas on human values rather than the living presence of Jesus Christ are considered “enemies of CL.”

Zadra concludes that “the political rhetoric and vision of the movement seem to continue a long-standing political position in the Catholic world — that of returning the Roman Catholic Church to its traditional role of political power.”

My purpose in exploring CL is not to demonize the movement or the new pope, but rather to piece together a fuller picture of Francis by exploring in a little more depth an organization with which he has an enduring relationship. Those who hope Francis’ humility indicates he may decentralize Rome’s authority or relax the demand for absolute orthodoxy to the pope may want to read more about CL’s understanding of the papacy.

Those who believe that Francis’ criticisms of his fellow bishops indicates he may embrace those who are critical of some of the church’s positions should be aware of CL’s belief that the individual conscience is beholden to the church.

Those who are convinced that Francis’ zeal for the poor and marginalized will lead him to engage the secular world without the broader agenda of “evangelizing” it ought to learn more about CL’s belief that the church’s authoritative truth is binding on all of society.

On this last point, Pope Francis actually tipped his hand in his brief opening statement on the evening of his election. Just before he asked the people to pray for him, the new pope said, “My hope is that this journey of the church that we begin today, together with help of my cardinal vicar [of Rome], be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city.”

Whether Pope Francis will have better luck than his predecessor in evangelizing Europe remains questionable, especially given the church’s track record in his native land. Although Cardinal Bergoglio encouraged his flock to join political campaigns against same-sex marriage, Argentina became the first Latin American country to pass marriage equality in 2010. And as The Associated Press reported Wednesday evening, while Argentina’s 33 million Catholics account for more than two-thirds of the country’s population, fewer than 10 percent attend Mass regularly.

CL’s organization and ideology may be mighty in Italy, but time will tell whether it can achieve global influence — and what role Pope Francis might play in wielding it.

[Jamie L. Manson received her Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, where she studied Catholic theology and sexual ethics. Her NCR columns have won numerous awards…]

262 comments

 
 

…and a response to what he calls the NationalSCHISMATICReporter,
from a priest:

Liberals will soon turn on Pope Francis

http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/03/liberals-will-soon-turn-on-pope-francis/

Posted on 17 March 2013 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
[All emphases Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s]

26.

 
 

 
 

We are still a bare few days into the pontificate of Pope Francis. I have therefore declined to gush out lots of entries here, burbling my every half-formed notion about what is going to happen. I have also avoided surfing from site to site, news agency to news agency, to sift the wonky grindings of those who want to be in-the-know.

Today, however, I went to see what the National Schismatic Reporter had to say. John Allen is a well-informed, hard-working analyst, of course, and well-worth consulting, while the rest of the writers over there are good for a laugh.

With amused anticipation I clicked open the remarks on Pope Francis by Jamie Mason, the Yale-Presbyterian-educated disciple of Sr. Margaret Farley and lesbian activist darling of the LCWR. Knowing that Pope Francis upholds the Church’s teaching on marriage, I expected a slightly hysterical diatribe against him as a homophobe, and how the Church – in conformity with the world – needs more queering, etc.

I got a surprise!

Jamie doesn’t like Francis, yes, for the obvious reason, but her real dislike seems to come from something else. In her expression of this dislike, she may be ahead of the pack of liberals that are – fairly soon – going to turn on Francis. They will turn on him savagely.

In the meantime, Manson shows what direction they are going to go:

I have been touched by Francis’ clear love of the poor and the images of his bathing the feet of sick children and AIDS patients.  [Predictable] I am troubled by his alleged failure stand up with Argentine dictators during the “Dirty War” [She needs to get up to speed on the facts.] and his harmful words about LGBT families. [The Pope is Catholic, Jamie.  Speaking clearly about the Church’s teaching, is not “harmful”, it is charitable… but let’s go on…] I am worried by reports that he was unpopular among his brother Jesuits because of his unfavorable views of base communities and liberation theology. [Because she, of course, would support base communities and liberation theology.]

But what most piqued my interest [Now we get to it…] about Pope Francis is his strong tie to a movement called Comunione e Liberazione, or Communion and Liberation (CL).

There it is.

Now, to her credit, she does a little homework about CL.  She didn’t like what she found.  To wit… […]

Much of what I have learned about CL, other than from the organization’s website, comes from the essay “Comunione e Liberazione: A Fundamentalist Idea of Power,” written by theologian and political scientist Dario Zadra. … […]

In his article on CL, Zadra explains that the movement’s worldview stems from [NB: Whether Zadra is right or not is not the point here. Mason is taking Zadra at his word] two main ideas: “That Christ is the saving event in human history, and that religious authority is a fundamental element of the human condition.”
[Get that? “religious authority”] He [sic] continues
: “Members place religion at the center of a new worldview and in their evangelistic efforts at transforming the relationship between modern society and religion.”  [People like this are viewed as the enemy by the Fishwrap types. Religion, and religion which leans on authority, is at the center of everything?  Imagine!]

[…] Zadra explains: “In CL the authoritative character of the event of salvation is directly translated into the authority of the Church. … The central event in life is a saving encounter with the communion embodied in the Church.”  [Not just any Church, the Catholic Church.  Not the catholic Church of the National catholic Reporter, but the actually Catholic Church, which has a Mass with rubrics and a Catechism with teachings, and a Code of laws and … all that stuff that you can look up.  This isn’t the National … Schismatic Reporter’s de-centralized association of self-affirming blobs of vaguely catholic identity.  Nope.  What NSR/Mason fear is a vigorous and clear reiteration of Catholic morals and doctrine to counteract all the great strides that have been made in reducing the church to an instrument of social justice without any strong voice in the public square contrary to relativistic trends in society.]

[… ] CL’s insistence on total fidelity and communion with the Succession of Peter
[sic] (a direct quote from Benedict XVI himself) has made the movement particularly popular among members of the hierarchy. [hierarchy (male) = enemy]

[Here it is…] Obedience to the authority of the church seems as crucial to Pope Francis as it did to his predecessor and as it does to CL. [Get that?] In a 2005 profile of Cardinal Bergoglio, Jose Maria Poirier, editor of the Argentinean Catholic magazine Criterio, wrote, “He exercised his authority as provincial with an iron fist, calmly demanding strict obedience and clamping down on critical voices. Many Jesuits complained that he considered himself the sole interpreter of St Ignatius of Loyola, and to this day speak of him warily.”
[Papa Bergoglio isn’t into interminable text/content distorting dialogue and consensus building?]

[…] CL boldly claims that the Church embodies authoritative truth that is binding on society at large. [Not just Catholic members of society but all members of society.] By claiming the presence of Christ, the Church also claims divine authority — a kind of inerrancy, not of the biblical text (as in Protestant fundamentalism) but of the Church. ”

This belief in the inerrancy of the church influences CL’s understanding of human conscience. “The conscience of the individual is shaped by and beholden to the Church,” Zadra writes, “and the Church ought to be considered the living and legitimate paradigm of society.”
[In other words, you can’t say “I’m Catholic, but I don’t believe the Church’s teaching on ___” (e.g., homosexual acts, abortion, contraception, to name a few items).  No, we are bound to form our consciences according to the mind of the Church.  This is enshrined in Vatican II’s Lumen gentium, of course, but those paragraphs aren’t generally read by liberals.]

27.

 
 

Although CL members are comfortable in the modern, technological and political world, they reject the modern insistence on “a freedom of conscience that excludes the religious attitude at its very root.” […]

Zadra concludes that “the political rhetoric and vision of the movement seem to continue a long-standing political position in the Catholic world — that of returning the Roman Catholic Church to its traditional role of political power.

My
[Jamie’s]
purpose in exploring CL is not to demonize the movement or the new pope, but rather to piece together a fuller picture of Francis by exploring in a little more depth an organization with which he has an enduring relationship [“Not to demonize”, eh?] […]

Manson’s piece is a foretaste of what is to come.

Liberals are all gushy and gooey about Pope Francis right now. Gosh, he’s the Pope of the poor! That means he is going to dismantle everything that John Paul II and Benedict XVI did, those meanies. They somehow manage to imagine that not putting on a mozzetta is the moral equivalent of donning sack cloth and a piece of twine as a belt. Wearing black shoes is the equivalent of wearing tattered sandals. Just like St. Francis of Assisi, right? He’s going to ratchet down all the high liturgy. How wonderful after these horrible years of gold and lace. Hopefully he’ll soon just wear a little wooden cross around his neck and maybe say Mass on a card-table set up in the middle of the Via della Conciliazione. Then he’ll walk down the Tiber River to the card-board box he sleeps in under the Milvian Bridge.

Nope. Pretty soon they are going to see that Pope Francis is hard core when it comes to Catholic teachings. They will become more and more afraid of him as his warm style, yes simpler style, begins to win people over.

Right now Francis is the Pope of El Pueblo. And since NSR is the Voz del Pueblo they are swooning for him… now.

But they will turn on him.

NSR‘s Jamie is out ahead of the pack.

I make available here just the first 2 out of 172 responses

Wow. That piece, alone, should be enough to convince anyone that the NSR is a danger to the faith. –Rich

I was thinking about this just last night. A lot of people on the conservative side are griping about the liberal praise for Pope Francis as though that means Pope Francis is/will be an awful pope. I wish they wouldn’t give these people so much power. We have to remember the media frenzy leading up to the conclave. They had their lists of likely candidates. They were telling people that this was our chance to have a pope for the 21st century, who would change church teaching on all of the liberal pet causes. They were WRONG. Now they will spend a little while pretending he somehow fits their criteria so that they do not lose their credibility and relevance. –Mamajen

Let us pray that Fr. John Zuhlsdorf and Mamajen are correct in their assessment of things –Michael

 
 

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf’s take has always been clear on the foot-washing issue norms. This is his blog from exactly a year prior to the Pope Francis controversy:

Holy Thursday Mandatum and female feet – wherein advice is sought and Fr. Z ranteth

http://wdtprs.com/blog/2012/03/quaeritur-holy-thursday-mandatum-and-female-feet-wherein-advice-is-sought-and-fr-z-ranteth/

Posted on 12 March 2012 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
[All emphases his]

Q:
As it is Lent, it is undoubtedly time to ask the question of women having their feet washed on Holy Thursday. I am well aware (from reading your blog) that it is contrary to law and custom to have women have their feet washed during the Mandatum on Holy Thursday. However, I am somewhat deficient in cite-able resources to support this claim, particularly with the recent translational corrections to the Roman Missal that I haven’t yet studied in-depth.

Apparently, our pastor is considering opening up this year’s rite to include women for, as you may have guessed, reasons of “hospitality”, “inclusivity”, and “pastoral” reasons. [Dreadful reasons] Several of us young (20s-30s), conservative members of the parish would like to respectfully present a case to our pastor expressing why we find this practice to be distasteful, and would like to have concrete references to cite when doing so. Can you offer any guidance?  I wish not to speak for myself or my own opinion, but rather that of Holy Church and Her sacred traditions.

A:
First, if you have something to say to the pastor, make an appointment and go say it!  Respectfully, with a smile, and briefly. This whole debate has been cleared up more than once by the Holy See, especially in the 1988 document Paschales solemnitatis of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments. Moreover, the rubrics of the 2002 Missale Romanum retain the viri selecti.  Viri cannot include “females”. Viri is an exclusive term. I don’t believe any Conference of Bishops has ever received explicit approval from the Holy See for a variation, and only the Holy See can do that. Conferences of bishops, individual bishops, and pastors all lack the authority to change this on their own.

To do it is wrong.

 
 

There was a mention of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini on page 25. For the truth about his statement, read

1. Don’t believe what you’ve read about Cardinal Martini’s last interview

http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2012/09/04/dont-believe-what-youve-read-about-cardinal-martinis-last-interview/

The cardinal was calling for a religious revival, not for the abolition of unpopular Church teachings

By Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith, September 4, 2012…

2. 200 years later, the Church still won’t capitulate to secularism

http://www.catholicregister.org/columns/item/15030-200-years-later-the-church-still-won%E2%80%99t-capitulate-to-secularism

By Dorothy Cummings McLean, September 5, 2012…

 
 

 
 

 
 

A FEW MORE IMMEDIATE-POST-ELECTION ANALYSES

Why Pope Francis May Be a Catholic Nightmare

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2013/03/pope_francis_to_lead_the_catholic_church_cardinal_bergoglio_s_election_as.html
EXTRACT

He may seem like a humble reformer, but Cardinal Bergoglio is the last thing the Vatican needs.

By Michael Brendan Dougherty, March 13, 2013

Liturgical traditionalists (myself included) can only be depressed by this election – it is almost the worst result possible for those of us who think the new liturgy lost the theological profundity and ritual beauty of the Tridentine Mass. Benedict’s liberation of the traditional Latin Mass and revisions to the new vernacular Mass have not been implemented at all in Cardinal Bergoglio’s own diocese. Already some of the small breaks with liturgical tradition at the announcement of his election are being interpreted as a move toward the grand, unruly, and improvisational style of John Paul II; an implicit rebuke of Benedict.

 
 

Pope Francis against Rome

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2013/03/pope-francis-against-the-roman-curia.html

Posted by Alexander Stille, March 14, 2013

A cautiously bold move. Or, perhaps, a boldly cautious move. In choosing the Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the cardinals of the Catholic Church are trying to indicate that they are open and listening to calls for change, while hewing carefully to their traditions and the conservative doctrine of the past two Popes. We will see in the coming months whether to put the accent on caution or boldness.

The choice of Cardinal Bergoglio does mark a series of firsts: the first non-European Pope in modern times (there were Middle Eastern and North African Popes in the first several hundred years of the Church); the first Latin-American Pope; the first Jesuit Pope — interesting, since the Jesuit order has been viewed with some suspicion in Vatican circles as excessively liberal and intellectual; the first Pope to take the name of Francis, in homage to St. Francis of Assisi, whose life of poverty and attention to the poor was a radical challenge to the monarchic papacy of his time. Bergoglio made a point of wearing simple vestments, even as he greeted the crowd in St. Peter’s Square. Rare among modern Popes, he has not served any time in one of the offices of the Vatican bureaucracy in Rome; indeed, he has made some sharp remarks about the vanity, self-infatuation, careerism, and pursuit of promotions in the Roman Curia. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he apparently preferred to be called Father Jorge, and was known for his preoccupation with the city’s poorest, reportedly washing and kissing the feet of patients suffering from AIDS.

These elements of novelty made Bergoglio attractive as someone who might counteract the growing perception that the leadership of the Catholic Church is a closed Roman fortress, hopelessly out of touch with the concerns of the 1.2 billion ordinary believers outside. “It seems the cardinals have gone to the end of the earth to pick me,” Pope Francis said yesterday. The majority of cardinals are still from Europe and the United States, while roughly three-quarters of the world’s Catholics are located in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

In an interview before the conclave, with the longtime Vatican correspondent Andrea Tornielli, of Turin’s La Stampa, Bergoglio made some highly revealing remarks that could be read as a rebuke of the Curia:

There is a tension between the center and the periphery… We must get out of ourselves and go toward the periphery. We must avoid the spiritual disease of the Church that can become self-referential: when this happens, the Church itself becomes sick. It’s true that accidents can happen when you go out into the street, as can happen to any man or woman. But if the Church remains closed onto itself, self-referential, it grows old. Between a Church that goes into the street and gets into an accident and a Church that is sick with self-referentiality, I have no doubts in preferring the first.

But when Tornielli asked him specifically about the Curia, Bergoglio was careful to reply that “the Roman Curia has its defects, but it seems to me that people often overemphasize its defects and talk too little about the health of the many religious and laypeople who work there.”

And, in many ways, Bergoglio is not such a radically innovative choice. He is the son of immigrants from northern Italy who settled in Argentina, which prides itself on being the most European (and Italian) country in South America. Bergoglio is a white male of seventy-six, only a year younger than his predecessor, Joseph Ratzinger, was when he became Pope Benedict XVI. Benedict’s advanced age and deteriorating health — the stated reasons for his surprising resignation last month — was seen as contributing to what is widely perceived as a fairly ineffective papacy that left the Church dangerously adrift. Bergoglio’s frail but kindly looking figure standing at the window of Saint Peter’s Basilica, asking the world to pray for him, as well as for Benedict, seemed eerily familiar: another fragile, elderly white man trying to uphold the tradition. (In the twenty years since Pope John Paul II developed Parkinson’s disease and began to show his age, this is all we have seen.) While Bergoglio is known for his belief in working with the poor, he is doctrinally a conservative very much in the mold of his predecessors. Indeed, all of the hundred and fifteen cardinals voting were appointed by Benedict and Pope John Paul II. Bergoglio was a staunch opponent of liberation theology (an attempt to mesh the Christian Gospel with left-wing politics). In Argentina, where traditional attitudes are changing much as in Europe, he clashed with the Argentine government on the issue of adoption by gay couples, a practice that he denounced as evil. As much as many American Catholics hope that a new papacy will reopen taboo subjects — such as the ordainment of women, married priests, divorce, contraception, and homosexuality — this is highly unrealistic.

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In truth, there was never going to be a battle between traditionalists and liberals in the Church. That doesn’t mean, however, that Francis isn’t stepping into the middle of a fight. The story line of leading Vaticanisti was that the main cleavage among the cardinals was not between liberals and conservatives but between reformers and defenders of the power of the Roman Curia. Pope Francis clearly belongs to the first category.

Before locking themselves in the Sistine Chapel for the conclave, the cardinals were apparently briefed on the contents of a secret investigation into the scandal known as Vatileaks, the systematic leaking of papal documents last year. The report apparently contains an account of bureaucratic intrigue, financial corruption, and mismanagement, as well as sexual misconduct.

One can expect a Pope who, assuming his health permits, will try to reach out to the periphery, as he puts it. Within the Vatican, there is a widespread view that one of the Church’s largest problems is communication and public relations. The Church’s message, the thinking goes, is deeply sound but needs to be delivered in a more effective way. And Bergoglio has a reputation as a communicator with an appealing down-to-earth touch. He understands the issues of the Latin-American Church, which has been losing ground to a variety of evangelical Protestant denominations. Interestingly, one of Francis’s first public acts will be a meeting with the world press corps — six thousand of whom have thronged to Rome — a highly unusual move, recognizing the need to court public opinion. But better communication may not be enough to reverse a series of negative trends within the Church: fewer people ready to become priests and nuns in many countries, declining church attendance in Europe and the United States, and a solid majority in those countries of Catholics who openly disagree with the Church on most issues of personal and sexual morality, from contraception and divorce to the ordination of women and homosexuality.

Before his death, last year, the Archbishop of Milan, Carlo Maria Martini, another prominent Jesuit, left a shockingly frank interview as a kind of spiritual testament, which was published in Corriere della Sera. In it, he said, among other things:

The Church is tired in Europe and America. Our culture has gotten old: our churches are large but our religious homes are empty, the bureaucratic apparatus of the Church grows while our rites and our vestments are pompous… The scandals of pedophilia should push us toward the road to conversion… We need to ask ourselves whether people are still listening to the Church on these issues of sexuality.

I think about divorced couples who have remarried, with expanded families… Let’s say a woman is left by her husband with three children. Her second marriage works. If this family is discriminated against not only she but also her children will end up outside the Church… and the Church will lose the future generation… The Church has remained two hundred years behind: Why doesn’t it move? Are we afraid?

Given Bergoglio’s age and doctrinal orthodoxy, his choice suggests that the Church does want to move — but not much, or too fast.


Choice of Jorge Bergoglio as pope shows a decisive shift from Europe

http://clericalwhispers.blogspot.in/2013/03/choice-of-jorge-bergoglio-as-pope-shows.html

March 14, 2013

The choice of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to take office as Pope Francis I is an extraordinary leap away from the conservative and cautious nature of the last two papacies. 

Although Bergoglio is described as a moderate conservative, the Jesuits have a reputation in the modern church for rigorous and independent thought.

And under Pope John Paul II they were in deep disfavour for their sympathy with liberation theology in Latin America.

The election of a Latin American Jesuit would also have been unthinkable 30 years ago. The choice of Bergoglio shows a decisive shift in the church’s centre of gravity away from Europe and towards the continent where most Catholics live, and where challenges to the church are different to those in Europe.

The overwhelming problem in Latin America is the shortage of priests and the shrinkage of believers. Although 40 per cent of the world’s Catholic population lives on the continent, it can no longer be automatically assumed that a Latin American is a Catholic. 

Pentecostal Protestantism has made huge inroads and, nowadays, secularism as well. These are problems which the church under John Paul II and Benedict XVI refused to confront head on. 

The choice of Bergoglio shows the question can no longer be dodged. If anyone can break the logjam around clerical celibacy, he is the man.

Although the church continues to grow in Africa, and the conclave shows that it can still hold the attention of the world when it puts on a show, the trend in most developed countries is deeply unfavourable. 

Partly as a result of shrinking family sizes – themselves a symptom of the way in which women ignore the teaching on contraception – Catholic church attendance in the developed world has been falling steadily in the last decade.

One in 10 adult Americans is now a lapsed Catholic. 

In North and South America those who leave the church tend to become charismatic evangelical Protestants or abandon religion altogether. In Western Europe there is no other form of Christianity picking up the slack. 

The church’s attitude to women, its teachings on sex, and the corrosive effect of the abuse scandals are blamed by some; others claim that doctrinal drift and dull, spiritless services are responsible for the problem.

Either way, Pope Francis I faces a giant uphill struggle to remoralise his ageing clergy and inspire the flagging faithful while making his religion appear intellectually coherent, and morally attractive to outsiders.

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Role of women

In this context it is vital that high-ranking Catholics in the Vatican have shown real interest in the evangelical Alpha course pioneered at Holy Trinity Brompton*. This marries conservative doctrine with great social flexibility and an emphasis on charismatic practices like talking in tongues and the expectation of miracles. It also emphasises the role of women, though mostly as part of clergy couples. 

And the ordination of married men to the priesthood is the single most talked about solution to the crisis of the Catholic clergy. The presence of priests is central to a flourishing Catholic Church. Only they can celebrate the Mass which is the central rite that nourishes and holds together congregations. 

Although the laity can, and do ignore the moral teachings and efforts of leadership of their priests, they have to have their services. And there is a huge crisis in the priesthood in many of its historic heartlands. 

Battered first by a widespread rebellion against compulsory celibacy – more than 100,000 priests were dispensed from their vows to marry in the 1970s and 1980s before John Paul II made it almost impossible as part of his more general crackdown on liberalism – and then by the reputational damage of the abuse scandals, the clergy had dwindled and aged at astonishing speed. 

The average age of American priests has risen from 34 to 64. The whole of England and Wales produces fewer priests a year than almost any single Anglican diocese. Seminaries have closed all over the western world. A high proportion of the remaining clergy are thought by qualified observers to be gay, if often celibate. In the developing world, the regulations on celibacy are widely flouted.

Yet the obvious remedy, to end compulsory celibacy for the parish clergy, would bring fresh problems in its wake and is certain to be resisted until it becomes unavoidable. Nonetheless, the election of a Jesuit is significant. 

Priests in religious orders, unlike the “secular” parish clergy, take deliberate vows of celibacy. It is not offered as part of a package deal with their vocation. So they are better placed to see the effects of the discipline on those who less willingly accept it. 

Although difficult to imagine a release of ordained clergy from their vows, a move to ordain married men would make a huge amount of sense and may well be inevitable.

But this cannot happen without a thorough clear-out of the conservatives in the Vatican. 

The Curia, as the Vatican’s bureaucracy is known, has been shaken by numerous scandals in the last eight years. The jailing of Pope Benedict’s own butler for leaking documents was the most notable case. 

But in those papers, and in the report prepared into them, there were allegations of financial corruption and of the existence of gay networks of influence.


Money-laundering protocols 

The reluctance of the Vatican bank to sign up to European money-laundering protocols means that it is unable to offer any cash machines inside the city state. All these are symptoms of a wider malaise. The curia is essentially a court in which promotion is by favour of powerful barons, who themselves hold office at the discretion of the pope. It operates with a remarkable combination of sloth and caution. 

In a world of lightning international communications, it is constantly embarrassed. 

Although it has managed to stamp out any open dissent from the church’s more controversial doctrines, among the bishops and in Catholic universities, it has been incapable of anything positive. 

The first Jesuit pope may show that independent thought was all the time flourishing in the wider church and with it an escape from stifling centralisation.

*ALPHA COURSE-IS IT GOOD FOR CATHOLICS?

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/ALPHA_COURSE-IS_IT_GOOD_FOR_CATHOLICS.doc

 
 

Pro-women’s ordination hopes [seculars, progressives] and concerns [conservatives]

Note to the New Pope: Half of the World’s Poor are Women

Or as Ronald Reagan would have put it: “Pope Francis, tear down this wall!”

http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/politics/6920/note_to_the_new_pope__half_of_the_world_s_poor_are_women

By Marian Ronan, March 13, 2013 [Marian Ronan is a liberal]

Well, we have a pope. After almost two weeks of speculation, prediction, even handicapping, the first non-European pope in over a thousand years, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, stepped out on the Vatican loggia at 8:22 Central European Time today to be introduced to the world.

In some respects, the election of Cardinal Bergoglio is a very promising sign. As an archbishop from the most populous Catholic continent on Earth, Latin America, the new Pope Francis I symbolizes a shift that has been a very long time coming, from Eurocentrism to the Church of the Global South. Not to mention his reputation as an advocate for the poor, emphasizing the Christian Gospel of love, washing the feet of AIDS victims, and more.

The new pope’s legacy will stand him in good stead as well, since his parents were Italians, and he speaks Italian fluently — not a bad thing for a pope — even as he has never served in the Vatican curia, the focus of much criticism and concern in recent months. He is also the first Jesuit pope in history. Being a member of the largest religious order in the Church certainly can’t hurt.

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For a Church that isn’t exactly known for headlong change, this may well the best we Catholics could have hoped for. But let’s be clear: Pope Francis is a conservative — as anyone elected by this conclave would have been. From the beginning of his career, he has opposed liberation theology, the Latin American-rooted progressive theology that has inspired many liberal Catholics, me included, since the 1960s. And he is opposed to homosexuality.

Most people have already heard more than they need to about the problems the new pope will face: the sex abuse scandal, corruption at the Vatican Bank and throughout the Vatican administration, secularism in the West, reaching out to the burgeoning Church in the Global South. Good luck to him on all counts, I say.

For me, though, the kicker, the “line in the sand,” as Archbishop Timothy Dolan would put it: the most important problem facing Pope Bergoglio is the Church’s benighted attitude toward and treatment of women. This could be perceived as the opinion of a privileged North American woman who cares more about gender than about the poor to whom this new pope is dedicated. But let’s be clear: half of the world’s poor are women, and the Church’s effort to deprive the Catholic women among them of contraceptives, of the use of condoms that could protect them from HIV-AIDS, and of the ministry of women priests who would marry, absolve, and anoint them, is no service to them.

Even as President Ronald Reagan challenged Michael Gorbachev to tear down the wall between East and West, the much-loved Pope John Paul II put every effort into freeing the Catholics of Eastern Europe from religious and political oppression. The new supreme pontiff of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis I, has the opportunity to end another form of oppression, the second-class status of women in the Catholic Church. Pope Francis, bring down this wall!

Marian Ronan is Research Professor of Catholic Studies at New York Theological Seminary in Manhattan and a former president of the Women’s Ordination Conference.

 
 

Pope Francis: papal feet-washing sparks fears over women priests

http://clericalwhispers.blogspot.in/2013/03/pope-francis-papal-feet-washing-sparks_29.html

March 29, 2013

Traditionalists in the Roman Catholic church have expressed concern after Pope Francis became the first pontiff to wash the feet of two women during a Maundy Thursday mass, a move liberals welcomed but some conservatives feared set a worrying precedent.
At the Casal del Marmo youth detention centre on the outskirts of Rome, the Argentinian pope washed and dried the feet of 12 inmates as part of the traditional rite representing Jesus’ final act of humility towards his disciples.
He had surprised the Vatican with his decision to wash the prisoners’ feet – a move that echoed the early years of John Paul II, who once performed the rite in the St John Lateran basilica with a dozen homeless men. But it was his inclusion of two young women, as well as Muslims, in the ceremony that was the most dramatic break with tradition. 
It even caused some traditionalists to wonder openly whether Francis, who is doctrinally a theological conservative who has explicitly stated he is against female ordination, might one day be willing to open the priesthood to women.
The Vatican’s spokesman Federico Lombardi insisted the rite took place in “a specific situation in which excluding the girls would have been inopportune in light of the simple aim of communicating a message of love to all”.
Chris Gillibrand, a British commentator, wrote on his blog, CathCon: “We will see whether it is a particular case, as Lombardi suggests, or the beginning of a journey. Given his active support for the charismatic movement in his diocese, one can only be concerned that he could be prepared to ordain women
… How can the pope maintain discipline in the church if he himself does not conform himself to prevailing ecclesiastical legislation?
This was not the first time Francis had washed female feet. As Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio and archbishop of Buenos Aires, he often included women in the gesture. However as pope, his move was quietly groundbreaking. 
In their later years John Paul II and Benedict XVI had restricted the rite to 12 Catholic priests.

 
 

Pro-women’s ordination expelled priest infused with new hope by election of Pope Francis

Father Roy Bourgeois asks to be reinstated to Maryknoll priesthood

http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2013/03/29/2443812/expelled-priest-appeals-last-popes.html

By Ben Wright, March 29, 2013

Hours after the annual School of the Americas Watch protest ended at the Fort Benning gate last year, the Rev. Roy Bourgeois said the Maryknoll headquarters called and notified him that Pope Benedict XVI had expelled him from the priesthood.

With the election of new Pope Francis, Bourgeois said Friday he is working with an attorney to appeal the decision that expelled him from being a Catholic priest for the next 40 years. “He signed the order in November and we are appealing it right now,” Bourgeois said of Benedict. “We hope the new pope will be more open to women in the church.”

Bourgeois, 74, said he was stripped of his position after he publicly supported the ordination of women priests. While actions were considered against him, Bourgeois said he was asked to recant his support and remain silent on women ordination, but he refused.

“I said what you are asking me to do would violate my conscience, would be a lie,” he said. “They wrote and said I was causing grave scandal in the Catholic Church. When Catholics hear that word scandal, they do not think about the ordination of women but about the thousands of U.S. Catholic priests who have sexually abused over 10,000 children.”

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The former priest’s views on what he describes as an injustice against women were published in a March 20 editorial in the New York Times. “Where there is injustice, silence is complicity,” he wrote. “What I have witnesses is a grave injustice against women, my church and our God, who called both men and women to be priests. I could not be silent.”

Bourgeois said sexism is a sin like racism.

“And no matter how hard we may try to justify discrimination against others, in the end, it is not the way of a loving God who created everyone of equal worth and dignity,” he wrote.

Bourgeois said he’s never met the new pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, but he was in Argentina in 2006 for the 30th anniversary of the coup that led to the “Dirty War” in March 1976. When the war ended in 1983, about 30,000 people had been killed or reported missing.

“When we were there for the 30 anniversary of the coup, the president announced before thousands shame on the military for what they did to our people,” Bourgeois said. “The president said shame on the Catholic Church for being silent.”

Pope Francis will be judged by his works but he’s optimistic, Bourgeois said. “I’m feeling better about this pope,” he said. “I’m feeling humble. He is much closer to the poor and he is calling for simplicity. I’m cautiously optimistic.”

 
 

THERE WAS JUST THIS ONE COMMENT

Someone tell Fr Bourgeois that he will be definitely exposing Francis as the FALSE PROPHET if he gets reinstated -Anapoli

 
 

…and another dissenting priest looks forward to a change in the Church’s worldview
A Conservative with a Common Touch

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/14/world/europe/new-pope-theologically-conservative-but-with-a-common-touch.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&
EXTRACT

By Emily Schmall and
Larry Rohter, March 13, 2013

Though he is averse to liberation theology, which he views as hopelessly tainted with Marxist ideology, Cardinal Bergoglio has emphasized outreach to the impoverished, and as cardinal of Buenos Aires he has overseen increased social services and evangelization in the slums.

“I am encouraged by this choice, viewing it as a pledge for a church of simplicity and of ecological ideals,” said Leonardo Boff, a founder of liberation theology. What is more, Mr. Boff said, Cardinal Bergoglio comes from the developing world, “outside the walls of Rome.”

 
 

Pope and Foot Washing of Females (Yes, that is the issue)

http://www.oswaldsobrino.com/2013/03/pope-foot-washing-of-females-yes-that.html

By Oswald Sobrino, March 28, 2013, updated later [all emphases his]
I noticed a little controversy on the internet today about Pope Francis’ washing the feet of a group of young people in prison, a group that included two females.
Well, as an American, I dutifully went to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website before I burdened the world with my own contribution to the discussion. Here is what I found. As I read it, the U.S. bishops (through their authorized agent or delegate) have apparently endorsed the Pope’s inclusion of females well before our new Pope arrived on the scene. In fact, the practice has been endorsed since 1987–over 25 years ago. By the way, another question that occurs to me as a civil lawyer (not a canon lawyer) is whether custom over many years can abrogate a liturgical law, as this 1908 Catholic Encyclopedia entry seems to say. Although this particular liturgical issue is not an issue of canon law (see Canon 2 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law), the general idea that custom can overturn even an explicit provision of ecclesiastical law under certain circumstances is interesting in itself when considering the practices surrounding the rite of foot washing (see link; also see the link to the blog of canonist Edward Peters on the technicalities of custom under canon law–to be clear to all readers, Dr. Peters emphatically
rejects the analysis that you are now reading in this blog post).
As an aside, in 1988, the Vatican “congregation” (department) on liturgical questions issued a wide-ranging letter on all the ceremonies of Holy Week and Easter in which, among many other matters, it simply referenced the liturgical law quoted below for the washing of feet of chosen males. But the issue or controversy of whether women could or could not be included in the foot washing rite was not addressed. Some take that 1988 letter as rejecting the inclusion of women; I do not take it that way since the controversy was not specifically addressed at all. It’s a judgment call, but I do not see the 1988 letter as adding anything significant to the discussion; in my view, the letter and subsequent editions of the liturgical books, over the years, have simply ignored the issue. Here is the link to the 1988 letter (go to paragraph 51). [Moreover, the 1988 letter does not say that “only” males can be chosen for the rite; in contrast, when affirming the teaching that the ordained priesthood must be reserved for males, John Paul II wisely made the “only” (tantum in Latin) explicit in order to settle the matter conclusively (see link).]
My conclusion: a pastoral exception permitting women to participate in this rite has arisen as a customary liturgical practice over several decades with the toleration and even, at times, the explicit approval of the Vatican (some Catholic sources report that explicit permission to include women has been granted in the past to certain bishops, including the archbishop of Boston in 2004). Note that I am not using the words “customary” or “custom” in the technical sense of canon law, but rather in the sense of ordinary English usage.

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Whether this custom meets the technical requirements of canon law (see Canons 23-28 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law) depends on how you interpret the actions and inaction of the Vatican over the many years that this practice has endured in the U.S. and in other nations. 
In my view, this liturgical custom (in the ordinary sense of the term “custom”) has in effect been fostered over the years by the Vatican itself by its inaction and by giving permission to some bishops to include women in the rite. So what Pope Francis did — which was apparently a continuation of his longtime practice in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires — is not surprising at all. 
Now, I respect the view of those who oppose this pastoral exception, although I do not share their opposition. Yet, it seems clear, regardless of one’s personal view of the matter, that a pastoral exception has in fact existed “on the ground” for many, many years with great impunity and also, at times, with explicit approval from Rome. (But please note the contrary view expressed in the comment below by canon and civil lawyer Edward Peters. You can go to his canon law blog at this link and, of course, come to your own thoughtful conclusions on the matter and how it should be handled. His view is that my analysis above is wrong on several — at least 5 — points.)
Below is what I found at the USCCB website (at this
link
):

USCCB  >  Prayer And Worship  >  Liturgical Resources  >  Triduum

Holy Thursday Mandatum

My parish liturgy committee has decided to allow both men and women to take part in the washing of the feet at the liturgy on Holy Thursday. I have always heard that only men may have their feet washed. Which does the Church allow?

The rubric for Holy Thursday, under the title THE WASHING OF FEET, reads:

“After the Homily, where a pastoral reason suggests it, the Washing of Feet follows. The men who have been chosen (viri selecti) are led by the ministers to seats prepared in a suitable place. Then the priest (removing his chasuble if necessary) goes to each one and, with the help of the ministers, pours water over each one’s feet and then dries them.”

Regarding the phrase viri selecti, the Chairman of the then-Committee on the Liturgy, after a review of the matter by the committee, authorized the following response which appeared in the Newsletter of February 1987:


Question: What is the significance of the Holy Thursday foot washing rite?

Response:

  1. The Lord Jesus washed the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper as a sign of the new commandment that Christians should love one another: “Such as my love has been for you, so must your love be for each other. This is how all will know you for my disciples: by your love for one another” (see John 13, 34-35). For centuries the Church has imitated the Lord through the ritual enactment of the new commandment of Jesus Christ in the washing of feet on Holy Thursday.
  2. Although the practice had fallen into disuse for a long time in parish celebrations, it was restored in 1955 by Pope Pius XII as a part of the general reform of Holy Week. At that time the traditional significance of the rite of foot washing was stated by the Sacred Congregation of Rites in the following words: “Where the washing of feet, to show the Lord’s commandment about fraternal charity, is performed in a Church according to the rubrics of the restored Ordo of Holy Week, the faithful should be instructed on the profound meaning of this sacred rite and should be taught that it is only proper that they should abound in works of Christian charity on this day.”1

  3. The principal and traditional meaning of the Holy Thursday mandatum, as underscored by the decree of the Congregation, is the biblical injunction of Christian charity: Christ’s disciples are to love one another. For this reason, the priest who presides at the Holy Thursday liturgy portrays the biblical scene of the gospel by washing the feet of some of the faithful.
  4. Because the gospel of the mandatum read on Holy Thursday also depicts Jesus as the “Teacher and Lord” who humbly serves his disciples by performing this extraordinary gesture which goes beyond the laws of hospitality,2 the element of humble service has accentuated the celebration of the foot washing rite in the United States over the last decade or more. In this regard, it has become customary in many places to invite both men and women to be participants in this rite in recognition of the service that should be given by all the faithful to the Church and to the world. Thus, in the United States, a variation in the rite developed in which not only charity is signified but also humble service.
  5. While this variation may differ from the rubric of the Sacramentary which mentions only men (“viri selecti”), it may nevertheless be said that the intention to emphasize service along with charity in the celebration of the rite is an understandable way of accentuating the evangelical command of the Lord, “who came to serve and not to be served,” that all members of the Church must serve one another in love.
  6. The liturgy is always an act of ecclesial unity and Christian charity, of which the Holy Thursday foot washing rite is an eminent sign. All should obey the Lord’s new commandment to love one another with an abundance of love, especially at this most sacred time of the liturgical year when the Lord’s passion, death, and resurrection are remembered and celebrated in the powerful rites of the Triduum.3

 
 

Notes

  1. Sacred Congregation of Rites, Instruction on the Correct Use of the Restored Ordo of Holy Week, November 16, 1955 (Washington, DC: National Catholic Welfare Conference Publications Office, 1955), page 6.

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  1.  

    In biblical times it was prescribed that the host of a banquet was to provide water (and a basin) so that his guests could wash their hands before sitting down to table. Although a host might also provide water for travelers to wash their own feet before entering the house, the host himself would not wash the feet of his guests. According to the Talmud the washing of feet was forbidden to any Jew except those in slavery.

    In the controversies between Hillel and Shammai (cf. Shabbat 14a-b) Shammai ruled that guests were to wash their hands to correct “tumat yadayim” or “impurity of hands” (cf. Ex 30, 17 and Lev 15, 11). Priests were always to wash their hands before eating consecrated meals. The Pharisees held that all meals were in a certain sense “consecrated” because of table fellowship.

    Jesus’ action of washing the feet of his disciples was unusual for his gesture went beyond the required laws of hospitality (washing of hands) to what was, in appearance, a menial task. The Lord’s action was probably unrelated to matters of ritual purity according to the Law.

  2. For a brief overview of the restoration of the foot washing rite in 1955, see W. J. O’Shea, “Mandatum,” New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX, 146, and W. J. O’Shea, “Holy Thursday,” New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII, 105-107; Walter D. Miller, Revised Ceremonial of Holy Week (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Company, 1971), p. 43. See also Prosper Gueranger, OSB, The Liturgical Year, Volume VI, Passiontide and Holy Week (Westminster, Maryland: Newman Press, 1949), pp. 395-401. For the historical background of the many forms of this rite, see the following studies: Pier Franco Beatrice, La lavanda dei piedi: Contributo alla storia delle antiche liturgie cristiane (Rome: C.L.V. Edizioni Liturgiche, 1983); “Lotio pedum” in Hermann Schmidt, Hebdomada Sancta, Volume II (Rome: Herder, 1956-1957); Annibale Bugnini, CM, and C. Braga, CM, Ordo Hebdomadae Sanctae Instauratus in Biblioteca “Ephemerides Liturgicae” Sectio Historica 25 (Rome: Edizioni Liturgiche, 1956), pp. 73-75; Theodor Klauser, A Short History of the Western Liturgy: An Account and Some Reflections, second edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979), p. 81.

This is the latest statement of this Secretariat on the question. No subsequent legislation or instructions have necessitated a modification in the statement.

 
 

Dr. Edward Peters said…

Hi Oswald! Happy Holy Saturday. You make, I fear several (as in, at least five) errors in the above post. As a civil lawyer, too, I know how easy it is for civil lawyers to misread canon law. Anyway, check out my blog posts on this matter. I’m sure you would find them interesting. Best, edp.

Retrospectives on the Mandatum rite controversies

http://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/retrospectives-on-the-mandatum-rite-controversies/

By Dr. Edward Peters, Canon Lawyer, March 29, 2013
[See pages 7, 8, 18, 19, 36, 106-108]

It’s a very big Church and there are many issues competing for the pope’s attention. Let me address just that issue I know something about, namely, ecclesiastical law, and try to talk sensibly about it. I’ll leave to finer minds the task of situating legal concerns in the wider ecclesial context.

For starters, perhaps Fr. Lombardi was misquoted or taken out of context when he apparently said, “the pope’s decision [to wash the feet of women on Holy Thursday] was ‘absolutely licit’ for a rite that is not a church sacrament.” That remark is confusing because it implies that liceity is a concept that applies only to sacraments; but of course, liceity is an assessment of any action’s consistency with applicable law (canon, liturgical, sacramental, etc). One would never limit questions of Mass liceity to, say, the matter used for the Eucharist or the words of institution (that is, the sacrament at Mass) as if all other rubrics were merely optional. No one understands liceity so narrowly, and so, as I say, we are probably dealing with an incomplete answer.

In any case, I think some conclusions can be drawn about the foot-washing incident already.

1. If liturgical law permitted the washing of women’s feet at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, no one would have noticed the pope’s doing it. What was newsworthy (apparently, massively newsworthy) is that, precisely because liturgical law does not authorize it, the pope’s performance of the action was huge news.

2. I and many others have long been open to revising the Mandatum rite so as to permit the washing of women’s feet although I understand that strong symbolic elements are in play and I might be under-appreciating arguments for the retention of the rite as promulgated by Rome. I take no position on that larger issue, it being ultimately a question for experts in other disciplines. My focus is on the law as issued by Rome (c. 838).

3. Few people seem able to articulate when a pope is bound by canon law (e.g., when canon law legislates matters of divine or natural law) and when he may ignore it (e.g., c. 378 § 1 on determining the suitability of candidates for the episcopate or appointing an excessive number of papal electors contrary to UDG 33). Those are not hard cases. Most Church laws, however, fall between these two poles and require careful thinking lest confusion for—nay, dissension among—the faithful arise. Exactly as happened here. Now, even in that discussion, the question is not usually whether the pope is bound to comply with the law (he probably is not so bound), but rather, how he can act contrary to the law without implying, especially for others who remain bound by the law but who might well find it equally inconvenient, that inconvenient laws may simply be ignored because, well, because the pope did it.

4. A pope’s ignoring of a law is not an abrogation of the law but, especially where his action reverberated around the world, it seems to render the law moot. For the sake of good order, then, the Mandatum rubrics should be modified to permit the washing of women’s feet or, perhaps upon the advice of Scriptural and theological experts, the symbolism of apostolic ministry asserted by some to be contained in the rite should be articulated and the rule reiterated. What is not good is to leave a crystal clear law on the books but show no intention of expecting anyone to follow it. That damages the effectiveness of law across the board.

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Additum 1: There’s a good article on this matter over at the AP, but I must comment on one point.

NW quotes me: “If someone is washing the feet of any females … he is in violation of the Holy Thursday rubrics,” Peters wrote in a 2006 article that he reposted earlier this month on his blog. In the face of the pope doing that very thing, Peters and many conservative and traditionalist commentators have found themselves trying to put the best face on a situation they clearly don’t like yet can’t do much about lest they be openly voicing dissent with the pope. By Thursday evening, Peters was saying that Francis had merely “disregarded” the law – not violated it.

Distinguo. I stand by my 2006 assertion, but the context then did not remotely embrace popes (or Jesus Christ, for the matter). Now, if a pope acts contrary to certain canons he might well “violate” them, or he might “disregard” them, depending on which ones they are. I am trying for a distinction that preserves the unique status of popes in canon law, but not one readily expound-able in a blog. So I used both words carefully, but not in any way ‘back-tracking’ from my objections to this action.

Additum 2: Dr. Peters: What about the idea that the washing of the feet is permitted by custom?

Good question. Custom is, per the great canonist Alphonsus Van Hove (Belgian priest, 1872-1947) one of the most complex topics in canon law. If you’d like to see what goes into a canonical argument from custom, click here. Now, among many other things, to be effective custom must be observed for 30 continuous years (c. 26) while a reiteration of the law in question sets the custom clock back again (Huels, CLSA NEW COMM. at 92). Because this law has been repeated in successive editions of the liturgical books, 30 continuous years have not yet run (even assuming the other elements of custom can be proven). So much for that argument.

But I’ll go you one step further: might Francis have given tacit approval to this custom contra legem. Again, possible, and if so that would obviate the need for the 30 years to run (see Abbo-Hannan I: 55-56) but, one must be sure that that is what happened (namely, that the Legislator intended to abrogate the norm in question, and did not simply disregard it). Fatal for that argument, however, seems to be Fr. Lombardi’s comment that “the ritual of the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday evening in the Juvenile Detention Centre in Rome took place in a particular, small community” hardly language suggestive of a papal intent to revoke universal law.

 
 

Catholic convert and apologist Steve Ray says “NO” to the washing of women’s feet with a picture at his blog, but he himself is non-committal [who wants to criticize the Pope?]. He posts an extract [that cites canon lawyer Dr. Edward Peters] from Fr. Z’s blog, see page 20; and Steve Ray asks his readers, “What do you think?”

Annual Lenten Foot-fight: Women’s Feet Washed on Holy Thursday

http://www.catholic-convert.com/2013/03/26/annual-lenten-foot-fight-womens-feet-washed-on-holy-thursday/

By Steve Ray on March 26, 2013

The Annual Lenten Foot-fight

By
Dr. Edward Peters

“The annual Lenten foot-fight* is almost upon us. Again.

“May I suggest that discussion of this matter begin with what canon and liturgical law actually say (and don’t say) about the Mandatum rite, and that serious attention be given, if not this year then next, to eliminating this ill-conceived and merely optional rite from parish liturgies altogether and instead making it a powerful part of the bishop’s Chrism Mass?”

What do you think?

Two bloggers comment:

I think we will have a whole new view of the matter in about two days. All eyes (well, the eyes of the Catholic world that pays attention to such matters) will be watching Pope Francis, I dare say. My feeling? It’s above my pay grade theologically and canonically. As far as preference goes, I enjoy the symbolic washing of the feet, but have been at parishes where the whole congregation gets their feet washed. While I appreciate the symbolism, I’m not sure the liturgy is the appropriate place for that magnitude of foot washing. On the other hand, personally, the act itself to me is one of the humility of the washer, not the gender of the recipient. As in all things, though, if this whole question of foot washing is taking our eyes off of the significance of the Holy Thursday Mass, that is Christ preparing to sacrifice his life for us that we may never perish, then let’s just come with clean feet from home. Or to the ladies out there, may I suggest a Holy Thursday pedicure prior to Mass? –Rakhi

The rubrics are to be followed by all, including the Pope. Adult male Catholics. –Lynda

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*The article [http://www.canonlaw.info/a_footfight.htm] by Dr. Edward Peters may be read on page 19

 
 

Two days later, on Steve Ray’s next blog, the embarrassing image is pulled and he, still not commenting [my guess is that he doesn’t approve] despite being a Catholic apologist, posts links to ten articles related to the issue that has now become controversial:

So, the Pope Washed Female & Muslim Feet on Holy Thursday

http://www.catholic-convert.com/2013/03/28/so-the-pope-washed-female-feet/

by Steve Ray on March 28, 2013

-USA Today

-Catholic World Report

-UK Telegraph, included kissing foot of a young Muslim woman

-Full Content of Pope’s Holy Thursday Foot-washing Mass

-NewVatican’s Comments on Pope Francis Washing Women’s Feet

-Jimmy Akin’s Comments here.

-Fr. Longenecker’s comments**

-Fr. Z’s comments***

-AP’s Pope’s Foot-washing Final Blow for Traditionalists

-New: Dr. Ed Peter’s Additional comments following up on the opinion below.

Ed Peters, Canon Lawyer writes, Popes, Like Dads, Don’t Have a Choice in the Matter****

[When you are afraid to comment, (try to) get others to comment for you].

One blogger comments:

I’m sure the Vatican would have heard our questions and would respond in time. In the meantime, let’s all pray we get the right message and propagate the same. –Marvin and Rhia

 
 

**The article [http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/2013/03/washing-womens-feet.html] by Fr. Dwight Longenecker may be read on page 16

***The article [http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/03/what-is-pope-francis-really-saying/] by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf may be read on page 12

****The article [http://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/popes-like-dads-I-have-a-choice-in-the-matter/] by Dr. Edward Peters may be read on page 18

 
 

Since the advent of Pope Francis, the Church appears to be now increasingly polarized between liberals and conservatives, with some conservatives either back-pedaling, sugar-coating their earlier pronouncements, or electing to observe a conspiracy of silence.

 
 

Is Pope Francis a Liturgical Liberal?

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/2013/03/is-pope-francis-a-liturgical-liberal.html

By Fr. Dwight Longenecker, March 17, 2013

There have been some rumblings amongst traditionalist Catholics that Pope Francis is going to turn out to be a liturgical liberal. Apparently a few extremists are worried that Pope Benedict’s encouragement of the Latin Mass and his bringing back some of the older styles of clerical dress and papal customs are going to be thrown out in favor of happy clappy masses, clowns, balloons and big puppets.

Everyone should stop and take a deep breath and get a sense of priorities. I am myself, on the more traditionalist side of the liturgy wars. I dislike anodyne, sentimental church music, a game show host style of priestly celebration, tacky day-glo vestments and the whole modernist dumbed down liturgical style. I’m all for the Spirit of the Liturgy and reverence and beauty in the liturgy. I’m down on big round churches, sloppy servers and feel good homilies in the style of a Hallmark card.

However, there are permissible variations in the way Mass is celebrated. Pope Francis may well turn out to be more “low church” and folksy in his style. That doesn’t mean he is going to ban the Latin Mass. He may be more informal and personable in his celebration of Mass. That doesn’t mean he’s going to send his liturgical police to confiscate all the lacy cottas and birettas in the world. Just because he wears a chasuble with grapes and wheat on it doesn’t mean he’s going to make everybody sing Eagle’s Wings every Sunday.

There are a couple of things to remember here. First of all, in the United States the liturgy wars are part of a bigger cultural divide within the American Catholic church. Liberal liturgy very often also means liberal theology. Often the big box Catholic Churches with their praise bands and “gather them in” style are also full of cafeteria Catholics and left wing Obama-voting ideologues, while the traddy congregations are full of right wing members of the John Birch society with “You’ll get my gun when you pry my cold dead fingers from around it” bumper stickers on their cars. (I’m exaggerating to make a point). Naturally, therefore, the liturgy starts being about much more than the liturgy…

In the developing world however, the more informal modes of worship are much more of a general cultural phenomenon.

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An informal style there doesn’t necessarily carry all the baggage it does here. Just because a priest, bishop or pope is a bit more informal in his style of celebrating doesn’t mean he is a theological liberal or will compromise the faith. Indeed, everything about Pope Francis indicates that he is not only completely orthodox in theology and moral teaching, but that he has suffered for being so.

What strikes me about Pope Francis so far is that he celebrates Mass reverently and beautifully, but that his simplicity of life and his example of poverty means that he may not be as concerned about the “finer things” in Catholic worship. That doesn’t mean he’s going to ban everything that is beautiful, sacred and reverent. The give back with his informal style is that his preaching is heart felt and immediate.

So he’s not Pope Benedict. That’s okay. We can be confident that the same Holy Spirit who led the Cardinals to elect Joseph Ratzinger eight years ago also led the Cardinals to elect Jorge Bergoglio.

We need to remember that progress in the church is like sailing. When sailing you don’t always have the wind at your back for clear straight sailing.  When you are sailing against the wind you have to beat the wind. You sail with the wind coming at an angle and go in a direction other than directly where you want to go. Then you swing around and sail in the opposite direction at a slight angle, then swing about again and repeat the process. You never seem to be going in a straight line where you want to go, but you get there in the end through this zigzag process–tacking back and forth sort of progress.

So it often is in the spiritual life and in the life of the church. Here we benefit from the charism and gifts of one pope. We learn from him and appreciate his emphasis. There we benefit from the different charism and gifts of another pope. We learn from him and appreciate his emphasis. So the fullness of the Catholic Church is experienced and the wideness and breadth of the work of grace can be seen.

I’m excited by our new holy father, and if everything he does isn’t exactly to my taste, well so what? I want to learn from him, learn how to be a better Catholic and learn how to be a better priest. Most of all, I hope he shows us the pressing needs of the world, and how much we need to proclaim the gospel with our words and our works.

The bottom line is this: it should not be a question of either good liturgy or faithful proclamation of the gospel. Indeed fine liturgy is an important part of proclaiming the gospel.

However, if I had to choose between a happy clappy pope who was a vital and dynamic witness to the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith, and a liturgically “proper” pope who was a sour, self righteous hypocrite, I’d take the happy clappy pope every time.

 
 

Pope Francis: A Trendy – Traddy Debate

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/2013/03/pope-francis-a-trendy-traddy-debate.html

By Fr. Dwight Longenecker, March 24, 2013

Meet Randy Trendy and Maddy Traddy: See who you agree with…

Randy: Don’t you think Pope Francis is great! He is a man of the poor for the poor.

Maddy: I like the fact that he serves the poor, but people aren’t good just because they’re poor. And rich people aren’t bad just because they’re rich.

Randy: Are you kidding me? Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor” and “It is more difficult for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Maddy: I think you’ll find he said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” What he meant was that those who are humble of heart are blessed. Surely you don’t think that Jesus meant that being poor is something good or that a person is blessed just because he lives in poverty?

Randy: What about the rich person not getting into heaven?

Maddy: Are you rich?

Randy: No!

Maddy:  Compared, let’s say, to a single mother living in a one room cardboard shack with five children in a slum in Brazil are you rich?

Randy: OK. I’m probably rich.

Maddy: The point I’m making is that wealth and poverty are relative. I find it strange that I’ve never met anyone who thinks they’re rich–not even people, who by anyone’s standards are fabulously wealthy.

Randy: So your point is?

Maddy: Just that the rich-poor thing is slippery. We almost always compare ourselves to someone who has more than we do and so we think ourselves poor. We rarely compare ourselves to someone who has less and discover that we’re rich. It’s even more slippery when we try to judge others. This is the real reason why Pope Francis’ emphasis on the poor is important–because he makes all of us shift our attention to those less fortunate than ourselves rather than being envious of those who are wealthier.

Randy: OK, but don’t you think Pope Francis is great to have got rid of all that fancy stuff that Pope Benedict wore? He’s putting all those fancy clothes, the red shoes, the big miters and all the extra gear into mothballs. Did you see he replaced the papal throne with a more ordinary chair? This is going to make a big, big impact.

The vast majority of people love those kinds of gestures. They think the Catholic Church is rich and full of old, rich white guys sitting on a pile of wealth. A pope on a throne wearing a gold miter gives the wrong impression. St Francis is probably the best loved Catholic saint in the world. Everybody knows him and loves him, so to take the name Francis and live like Francis is the best move forward for evangelization possible. I’m thrilled by it.

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Maddy: Are you so thrilled by it that you intend to follow his example?

Randy: What?

Maddy: Are you going to move out of your nice house and sell your nice car and ride the bus and stop eating out and give your money to the poor?

Randy: I think you’re missing the point. It’s important that the pope does this.

Maddy: Uh huh.

Randy: So you’re actually in favor of all those trappings? The red silk cape, the ermine trimmed vestments, the golden crowns, the red hand made shoes, the throne, the old fashioned hats–all that fancy stuff?

Maddy: I once heard about this English priest who was appointed to be a Bishop–let’s say the Bishop of Bootle, and he said he didn’t want to wear the cope and miter and carry the crozier and do all that fancy stuff. He just wanted to be known as “Bishop Ted”. He just wanted to be down to earth and be one of the guys. One of his advisors said, “With respect Bishop, the people don’t really want you to be ‘one of the guys’. They want you to be the bishop. They don’t care about “Ted”, they care about the Bishop of Bootle. They want to see the Bishop in his miter and cope and crozier. If you deprive them of that and give them “Bishop Ted” who is just one of the boys, they won’t thank you for it. Anyway, why would you want to impose your personality on the Bishop’s office in such a way? You think it would be humble to be just Bishop Ted – one of the guys – but wouldn’t it be more humble to be the Bishop of Bootle and allow Ted to disappear within the office and the vestments of the office? By being “Bishop Ted” aren’t you sort of showing off how humble you are, and if so, is that really humility? If the vestments and the limousine really don’t matter to you why not be humble enough to just use them and not make a fuss?

Randy: Oh, very sly. But I’m afraid it doesn’t wash. In fact, the vast majority of people think it is great that Pope Francis has a simpler style. They like how he relates to people and is not all distant and cut off from them. They like his simplicity and they’re impressed by his humility and service to others. Don’t you see how much all that pomp and circumstance with fancy vestments and choirs singing Palestrina and Vivaldi and a bulletproof pope-mobile and all that – it just alienates people. They think the Pope and Cardinals are all renaissance princes of the church.

Tell me. What do ordinary people in Africa or South America or the suburbs know or care about all that fancy stuff? You’re probably also into the Latin Mass. I’m not getting on your case, but how does that help evangelize? How does that help reach out to people? How does that communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ – who was born in a stable, worked as a carpenter, had fishermen for followers and died on a cross as a common criminal?

Do you think people will actually be converted and have a profound encounter with Christ because the pope wears silk vestments, a golden crown and red shoes? C’mon. The world is starving for the reality and the grit and grace of the gospel and you guys are getting huffy because the pope didn’t wear the right hat.

Maddy: I do actually believe that people are converted by beauty, truth and goodness. Are you suggesting we should dumb down the liturgy? I suppose you want to bring in guitar masses and have clowns and big puppets to help “relate” to people.

We’re talking about the worship of Almighty God. We’re entering the court of heaven. It’s supposed to be grand and glorious, and why should poor people or ordinary people be short changed and given a dumbed down liturgy, tacky music and a kind of game show instead of the Divine Liturgy?

Randy: I’m not saying you have to do all that stuff. I’m just saying it’s about people for goodness sake! It’s about souls, right? It’s about the gospel. It’s about God taking flesh from an ordinary peasant girl called Mary and living as one of us–not as a prince, but as a pauper.

Don’t you see what we’ve done? Jesus comes to us as an ordinary person: God in the guise of the common man, and we’ve turned him into some sort of high class hoity-toity Episcopalian with perfect taste and perfect teeth and beautiful robes and combed hair. You traditionalists have become the very people he condemned: the ones who love to wear fine robes and sit in the best seats in the temple and have people bow and give you respect. That’s what people think of a Pope who expects everyone to kiss his ring and bow down to him.

Maddy: Sounds Protestant to me.

Randy: Have you ever asked yourself why the Protestant Reformation happened in the first place? Maybe they wouldn’t have all gone off in a huff if the Catholic Church hadn’t been so obsessed with fine vestments, papal palaces and thrones and all that stuff. If the pope then had been humble like Pope Francis maybe the Reformation wouldn’t have happened!

Maddy:  OK. I like Pope Francis, don’t get me wrong. I’m glad he is who he is and I hope his ministry will be all that we hope it will be. I’m just a bit cautious about his style. I’m not convinced that the stuff he’s doing is much more than a gimmick. I get worried whenever I see people washing the feet of AIDS victims and making sure the cameras are there. You know?

Randy: What about him going to the prison for Holy Thursday? That’s pretty impressive no?

Maddy: Will the cameras be there?  Probably. And if they are, then it will probably be good for the image of the papacy and good for the church and the gospel. However…

Randy: You’re not going to slam that are you?

Maddy: Well, think it through. St Francis kissed the sores of lepers, but he didn’t do so at the Mass of the Last Supper. Popes have always washed the feet of their fellow priests in the Basilica of St Peter. Jesus washed feet, but he didn’t wash the feet of just anybody. He washed the feet of his apostles. The foot washing is linked with the apostolic ministry and the ordination of the first priests. It’s a reminder that the pope and the priests are servants first of all.  This is why the successor of Peter – in Peter’s basilica–washes the feet of priests with whom he shares the apostolic ministry of service.

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This is done with reverence and honor in a grand liturgy showing that within the liturgy itself is locked the simple and humble sacrament of service.

The pope going to wash prisoner’s feet is a beautiful and humble gesture, but he’s sort of thrown out all that other rich symbolism and connection with the gospel by doing so. Is the gain in good public relations and the strong action of washing the feet of the prisoners enough to cause us to sacrifice these other rich and meaningful traditions? Not in my opinion. Furthermore, I’m not blaming the pope for this, but usually when people are set out on reform they are invariably aiming to destroy something–not build something. Pope Francis wants to do something beautiful and good by washing the feet of prisoners, but maybe in the process he’s throwing out something which was even better and more beautiful.

Randy: I can’t believe you’re so cynical and negative.

Maddy: I can’t believe you’re so ignorant and naive.

Randy: Let us share with one another the kiss of peace.

Maddy: The Lord be with You.

Randy: And with your Spirit.

51 COMMENTS

 
 

Election of Pope Francis raises alarm for some Latin Mass fans

http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/election-raises-alarm-some-latin-mass-fans

By Brian Roewe, NCR staff writer, broewe@ncronline.org, March 25, 2013 [The NCR is a liberal site]

The simplicity dotting the first days of Pope Francis’ tenure gave many Catholics seeking a more humble church reason for optimism. For others, they represented cause for concern, specifically among those who celebrate the traditional Latin Mass. Francis’ decision to omit the papal mozzetta, or cape, from his clerical attire as he first appeared to the crowd in St. Peter’s Square launched a frenzy of worry for the fate of the Latin Mass among forums and comment sections of conservative Catholic blogs and websites:
“This is one of the worst possible men to be elected pope if you are a trad[itionalist]. This is totally depressing! Last one out of the Church please turn off the lava lamp.”
“Abito piano? No mozzetta [?] Not even John Paul II appeared for his first Urbi et Orbi without proper dress.”
“He referred to himself several times as the mere ‘Bishop of Rome.’ He only put the stole on for the blessing, and took it off afterward. I’m stunned.”
“I’m just sick over this. Traditionalists have nowhere to go. I really fear for the health of the Catholic Church.”
These comments and others flooded an initial post March 13 announcing Francis as pope at the traditionalist blog Rorate-Caeli. Its authors held similar apprehensions, and later that evening posted the opinions of a journalist in Buenos Aires, Argentina, sharing their alarm.
“Of all the unthinkable candidates, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is perhaps the worst. Not because he openly professes doctrines against the faith and morals, but because, judging from his work as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, faith and morals seem to have been irrelevant to him,” said Marcelo González, calling Francis “a sworn enemy of the Traditional Mass,” while rebuking his interreligious relations, lack of curial experience and his perceived soft stances on abortion and gay marriage.
But Rorate-Caeli wasn’t the only site fearing the traditional liturgy’s future.
Michael Brendan Dougherty, a national correspondent for The American Conservative, alleged March 13 at Slate.com that Francis had blocked adoption of Summorum Pontificum (Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 apostolic letter regarding use of 1962 form of the Latin Mass) in the Buenos Aires archdiocese and had not implemented the new missal translations.
The heightened scrutiny of Francis’ liturgical style is a product of too much focus placed on the pope in recent years, said Adam DeVille, an associate professor of theology at the University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne, Ind.
“Yes, he’s the bishop of Rome, yes, he’s got a special place in the church … but people need to wean themselves off looking to him constantly and assuming that everything he does we have to do, and everything he doesn’t do, we can’t do,” DeVille told NCR.
Some sites sought to temper the heated response, including the Catholic Answers forum, which posted rules for users when talking about the new pope. Among them: “[No] bashing the Holy Father” or “speaking about his papacy in a negative way, without giving the man a chance.”
Others followed suit in policing comments, including the traditionalist blog “What Does the Prayer Really Say?”
“I ask for respect and decorum when concerns or disagreements are expressed. If it turns out that our new Pope starts us down a path you or I don’t like, then we will discuss those matters as they come along. But … how long has he been Pope?” the author Fr. John Zuhlsdorf wrote March 14.
A poll on the site soliciting readers’ first impressions of Francis (on a 1-10 scale) showed that, as of March 18, more than half of respondents approve of their new pope, rating him an 8 or above.
Fellow Catholic blogger Taylor Marshall at “Canterbury Tales” expressed embarrassment with the vitriolic response among traditionalists and urged them to “take a deep breath!” and give Francis time and prayers.
“If you’re really worried, don’t log on to a blog combox. Fast on bread and water, pray the Rosary more, go to confession more regularly, give alms to the poor,” Marshall recommended, adding, “It’s really not our place to sift through what might be the future errors of a Pope that we don’t yet know.”

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At Patheos.com, Fr. Dwight Longenecker, an Anglican priest-turned-Catholic, also encouraged perspective. Francis’ own preferences for a simpler Mass likely reflects more informal worship common in Argentina and the region, he said, not a desire to eliminate the Latin Mass.
DeVille agreed, telling NCR he did not interpret Francis’ style as a signal he intended to reverse Summorum Pontificum, or make other dramatic liturgical changes.
“I strongly suspect his approach is live and let live. If people want to do Latin and lace, great, go for it. People don’t, they want to do something else, that’s great, too. He does not strike me as a person who wants to micromanage everybody’s life,” he said.

 
 

Pope Francis riles conservatives by washing feet of Serbian Muslim woman

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/03/28/ancient-christian-foot-washing-ritual-remembered-on-good-thursday/

By Agence France-Presse, March 28, 2013

The ritual washing of feet is a gesture of humility based on the belief that Jesus Christ washed the feet of his apostles on the evening of their final meal together before his arrest, crucifixion and death.

Vatican tradition has it that each year on Good Thursday the pope washes the feet of twelve priests of different ages and nationalities in a solemn ceremony held in Rome’s St John Lateran’s Basilica or in St Peter’s Basilica.

The priests are seen as representing the apostles.

Though retired pontiff Benedict XVI revised the ritual in 2007 by selecting 12 lay men from Rome for the ceremony, the new Pope Francis shook up Catholic tradition Thursday by choosing to honour not only prisoners, but women as well as men.

Catholic traditionalists believe that all of Jesus’ disciples were male and the historic decision to wash the feet of two girls — one Italian Catholic and one of Serbian Muslim origin — is likely to create friction in some circles.

The gesture appears to open to interpretation the importance of the gender of the apostles.

Calls from groups within the Church for women to be ordained have been rebutted on the basis that Jesus’ apostles were men.

There is no Catholic dogma which explicitly forbids the participation of women, though a circular letter from 1988 which explains the importance of the tradition refers specifically to the “washing of the feet of chosen men.”

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio — as Pope Francis was previously known — had already washed and kissed the feet of women in past ceremonies in Argentinian jails, hospitals and old people’s homes, including pregnant mothers and AIDS patients.

Other Catholic priests and bishops have also included women in the feet washing although this is considered highly unusual.

The role of women in the Church has become an increasingly hot topic, with campaigners and rebel clerics calling for a review of the dogma which bans female priests — particularly as male priest numbers are dropping in the West.

The practice of washing feet appears to stem from ancient hospitality customs, whereby hosts would provide servants to clean the feet of newly arrived guests.

There are some variations to the ritual as performed in churches across the world today.

In some cases whole congregations participate in the washing, or take it in turns to wash each other’s feet.

 
 

Inclusive Foot Washing on Holy Thursday

http://abbey-roads.blogspot.in/2013/03/foot-washing-on-holy-thursday.html
EXTRACT

March 28, 2013 […]

10 SELECTED [OUT OF 29] COMMENTS

If the Pope refuses to humbly and faithfully abide by instructions in the Sacramentary about foot washing, what is there to restrain any priest from ignoring any rubric issued by the Holy See? -Daniel Cassidy

The pope is the supreme legislator and he can dispense in disciplinary matters if he so chooses. A priest or bishop cannot. The Church is not a democracy. –Benvenuta

Even the Pope is obliged to follow the rubrics until he officially changes them.Donald

I think what the Pope did today is a bad idea.Patrick Dunn

I was just reading comments at Fr. Z’s – people seem upset. –Terry Nelson

It’s scandalous. If even the Pope doesn’t follow Church teaching, why should I stay with the Church?Nan

I avoid this problem by not washing feet at my parish on Holy Thursday night- which is optional- which most Catholics are not aware of. I do wish Pope Francis would have issued a decree saying he is modifying the practice instead of going against established liturgical norms by washing women’s feet. This is just feeding the people who don’t trust him and think he is a liturgical liberal- which as a Jesuit he might be since they are not known for Liturgical orthodoxy- but I do think he is doctrinally orthodox, but time will tell.Padre R

I’m hurt by this. I’m no expert in Canon Law and all that stuff so I won’t comment on those things. What concerns me is the precedent this will set. Already there is much liturgical abuse in the world, priests thinking they can get away with this or that. Even if the Pope is the interpreter of those rules, what I feel is that this action is but a step in that direction. Even if one argues that the circumstances were unique, it would still have the effect of being broadcast – that’s why we know about it, because every move of the Pope is followed by the media. But what worries me the most is the kind of rhetoric found in the part of the article quoted by Terry above. That reeks of “Spirit of Vatican II” liberalism. Same rhetoric which can be used to support gay marriage, women’s ordination, etc.Marian Daily

 
 

 
 

I agree with what Fr. Thompson, O.P. said about this:
The sad thing is that by this decision, priests who have been abused for simply following the rubrics have been hung out to dry. I would like to know how priests feel about it, priests who have tried to be faithful to the rubrics; faithfulness which has been returned at times by indifference, flippancy, false accusations, and more. –Patrick Dunn

As a pastor of two parishes who realizes my every move is analyzed I have to say with all due respect to Pope Francis what plays in Buenos Aires is not the universal Church. In retrospect this was not a prudential move on his part since now all people are focusing on is that he washed women’s feet and not the beautiful act of charity he showed in visiting the youth prison. This shows Popes are human and can make mistakes- they are infallible on solemnly teaching faith and morals- not on every action they take as Pope. As Terry mentioned earlier similar controversies happened with Pope John Paul II kissing the Koran- which most thoughtful Catholic commentators now point out was misguided- and the thing with Pope Benedict XVI giving Communion to a Protestant at JP II’s funeral Mass- I think this was the head of the Taizé community in France and apparently he was actually a Catholic who for many reasons never publicly proclaimed that- but I could be wrong about that. In the end one of the main parts of the Pope’s job is to confirm his brothers and sisters in the Faith as Jesus said to Peter on the night of the Last Supper. This action, even though in the big scheme of the things of faith is way down on the list has not confirmed the faith but instead has scandalized the little ones-by ignoring the clear liturgical norms of the Church (despite the fact that so many priests disobey the Church on Holy Thursday night by washing women’s feet when it is not permitted- yet at least), not the best way to start off as Pope some two weeks into your papacy.

Terry, with all due respect, without realizing it I’m sure he did hang all the priests out to dry who have stood their ground on this issue. I myself avoid it by not doing the foot washing which is optional, but I have priest friend who called me last night and was very discouraged since he says he knows his parishioners will note this- since he has not washed women’s feet because the norms of the Missal clearly state it is to be men- not necessary 12- but men nonetheless. So as my priest friend stated this is not that big of a deal in the big scheme of faith but the problem is with so many Catholics thinking the pope is like a king who can do whatever he wants that if he went against the norms here, why not other more important things, and it also undercuts the authority of pastors in their parishes and now people can just dismiss the pastors who have stuck to the liturgical norms as out of touch conservatives and so ignore what they say on other more important matters of faith and morals. - Padre R

 
 

Francis, Footwashing, and the End of Misunderstanding?

http://catholicmoraltheology.com/francis-footwashing-and-the-end-of-misunderstanding/

By David Cloutier, Editor, Mount St. Mary’s University – cloutier@msmary.edu

Jana Bennett, Assistant Editor, University of Dayton – jbennett2@udayton.edu, March 29, 2013

I have often gone to the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at a parish where everyone washes everyone else’s feet… during the Gospel. The people remove their shoes and socks when they stand for the Gospel, the priest reads up to the point where Jesus says, “Do you know what I have done for you?” and thereupon starts singing the mandate. He then goes to wash, and the whole Church then begins to move, coming forward to wash and be washed in turn. Ten minutes, with a musical setting of the mandate being sung and played throughout. Then, when this is complete the priest returns to the Gospel, and concludes, “The Gospel of the Lord.” It is, without doubt, the most powerful liturgical action I have ever seen.

Maybe until Pope Francis. Pope Francis, in his Holy Thursday Mass, washed the feet of women, prisoners, non-Christians. Rita Ferrone, over at dot Commonweal, links to the reaction in some quarters, which is so virulent that some express a hope that Benedict will rescind his resignation and Francis will become an “anti-pope.” Another says he is “almost tyrannical and very determined in his demolition of papal authority.”

The fact that some find the actions of Pope Francis and the parish described above as incredibly moving and extraordinary manifestations of the Faith, while others find them ugly and verging on sacrilege, is perhaps worth considering on Good Friday, the day we yell out “Crucify him!” and remember how spurned and rejected God was and is. The priest at my parents’ parish preached a very nice Palm Sunday homily, where he drew attention to the “two gospels” of the day, and reminded us that Jesus enters the city to palms and shouts of acclamation, but exits to insults, scorn, and bearing a cross. The Christian path, he said, must encounter both realities if we are truly following Jesus.

It’s obvious – really painfully obvious as these passions play out – that people in all roles in the Passion narratives misunderstand what is going on. The misunderstandings seem to hover in an uncomfortable place between confusion (Lord, shall we use the sword?) and willful contempt (We have no king but Caesar). That Jesus is rejected, scorned, abandoned, and betrayed is what is made clear.

Within the Church today, we seem to be trapped in a situation where we are also filled with misunderstandings about Jesus, with the result that we too often end up rejected and even crucifying one another – and so do so to Him as well. I think a comment from a young priest on Pope Francis’ action sheds light on this. He writes,

I am a young, recently ordained priest. Tonight, I planned on preaching about the Eucharist and the institution of the priesthood. How can I speak about such things – the self-offering of Christ, the 12 viri selecti – when our Holy Father is witnessing to something different? I feel like going up to the congregation and saying, “I don’t have any idea what the symbolism of the washing of the feet is. Why don’t we just all do what we want?”

What I find striking about this comment is how it leaps from the fact that Francis did not perform the rite as a tribute to the priesthood to the claim that “anything goes”. This is quite unjustified. Does this young priest, whom we should respect because he has in fact given his life in service to the Church, really have no idea what Francis is doing here?

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The pope did not do something crazy, like ordaining non-Christians – he simply enacted the footwashing in a way that brought out particularly the physical humility and vulnerability of the action.

Another commenter wrote:

To me, it seems like there are two separate messages in the washing of the feet: (1) God condescending to man in an incredible act of humility; (2) God teaching his apostles how they were to lead (as a prelude to instituting the priesthood). The Pope is teaching the world about the former, perhaps at the expense of the latter. But his message is being received well.

That is refreshingly nuanced. It seems to me that Francis did not perform this action in order to diminish the ministerial priesthood, but neither did he do it in some way that reduces Jesus’ mission to mere “social service”. What he did – what the parish above does – is make the actions of Jesus living. But it is worthwhile to pause and recognize that there is also truth in the idea that Jesus is specifically offering a “mandate” for leadership as well. After all, the pope’s actions are powerful in part because he is the pope. What seems harder for me to understand is how one then takes this “mandate” for leadership to be an occasion for forms of pomp, elaborate dress, and the like – in short, for attributing a kind of “honor” to the priesthood that looks more like worldly honor.

So I would like to believe that these kinds of actions, rightly understood, can push us past the misunderstandings – in caricatured terms, to be sure, views of Jesus and His mission that are “too high” or “too low”. For too long in the Catholic Church, we have been stuck in a place where Jesus’ mission has been used as the occasion for exaggerated misunderstandings, from the shocked reactions of traditionalists to the painful broadside of Gary Wills against the ministerial priesthood altogether. I am increasingly hopeful that Francis is a unique man, whose words and gestures are meant to draw us beyond these misunderstandings. I am sure there will be moments when Francis is faced with the cross, instead of the celebratory “palms” that greet his Holy Thursday actions. But let us pray that his actions can help us all stop reenacting the confusions and misunderstandings whereby we Catholics pierce the Body of Christ. From this pierced Body, then, by the Holy Spirit, we can arise for a new day.

 
 

The Washing of Feet on Holy Thursday: Discipline is not Dogma

http://ronconte.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/the-washing-of-feet-on-holy-thursday-discipline-is-not-dogma/

By Ron Conte,
March 30, 2013

On Holy Thursday, the Pope held Mass at Rome’s Casal del Marmo prison for minors. During the Mass, as is the practice worldwide in the Catholic Church, the Pope (as the celebrant of the Mass) washed the feet of 12 persons.

A minor controversy has arisen on the manner in which the Pope chose to carry out this practice.

1. The 12 persons included 2 women.
2. The 12 persons included 2 Muslims.
3. He also kissed the feet of all 12 persons.

The complaint is that the rubrics for this practice of washing feet states that the celebrant will wash the feet of the “men who have been chosen (viri selecti)”, and that the Church has never had a practice of washing the feet of non-Catholics or non-Christians, nor of kissing feet during that ceremony.

The mass media have claimed that the practice violated Church law. But as a matter of fact, there is nothing in Canon Law about the washing of feet. The liturgical norms are mostly extra-juridical; they are ruled by instructions, not per se by law. The document Paschalis Solemnitatis
by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments (1988) has the only instruction on this point of which I am aware:

51. The washing of the feet of chosen men which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came “not to be served, but to serve.” This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained.

The USCCB offers a document which comments on this point:

Because the gospel of the mandatum read on Holy Thursday also depicts Jesus as the “Teacher and Lord” who humbly serves his disciples by performing this extraordinary gesture which goes beyond the laws of hospitality, the element of humble service has accentuated the celebration of the foot washing rite in the United States over the last decade or more. In this regard, it has become customary in many places to invite both men and women to be participants in this rite in recognition of the service that should be given by all the faithful to the Church and to the world. Thus, in the United States, a variation in the rite developed in which not only charity is signified but also humble service.

While this variation may differ from the rubric of the Sacramentary which mentions only men (“viri selecti”), it may nevertheless be said that the intention to emphasize service along with charity in the celebration of the rite is an understandable way of accentuating the evangelical command of the Lord, “who came to serve and not to be served,” that all members of the Church must serve one another in love.

Therefore, it has long been a permissible practice, in many dioceses and parishes, for the celebrant to wash the feet of men and women, indicating the humble service to which we are all called in imitation of Christ.

So the washing of feet has two meanings: (1) as an indication of the relationship between Christ and the Apostles, and as a sign of their call to serve, rather than be served, (2) as an indication of our role to serve others, in imitation of Christ. To emphasize the former meaning, only men might be chosen to have their feet washed. To emphasize the latter meaning, men and women and children might be chosen.

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And the Pope specifically stated his intention to emphasize this latter meaning:

This is moving. Jesus, washing the feet of his disciples. Peter didn’t understood it at all, he refused. But Jesus explained it for him. Jesus – God – did this! He himself explains to his disciples: “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord – and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you” (Jn 13:12-15).

It is the Lord’s example: he is the most important, and he washes feet, because with us what is highest must be at the service of others. This is a symbol, it is a sign, right? Washing feet means: “I am at your service”. And with us too, don’t we have to wash each other’s feet day after day? But what does this mean? That all of us must help one another. Sometimes I am angry with someone or other … but… let it go, let it go, and if he or she asks you a favour, do it.

Help one another: this is what Jesus teaches us and this what I am doing, and doing with all my heart, because it is my duty. As a priest and a bishop, I must be at your service. But it is a duty which comes from my heart: I love it. I love this and I love to do it because that is what the Lord has taught me to do. But you too, help one another: help one another always. One another. In this way, by helping one another, we will do some good.

Now we will perform this ceremony of washing feet, and let us think, let each one of us think: “Am I really willing, willing to serve, to help others?” Let us think about this, just this. And let us think that this sign is a caress of Jesus, which Jesus gives, because this is the real reason why Jesus came: to serve, to help us. (Source)

 
 

The Authority of Bishops

Bishops and Bishops’ Conferences
can adapt and change liturgical norms. For example, they can decide if the celebration of a holy day of obligation, under Canon Law, can be moved to Sunday, removing the obligation. They can also decide to depart from the general norms on many different aspects of liturgical form.

For a while, there was a controversy in the U.S. over girls as altar servers. Some Bishops chose to have altar girls, and others did not. I believe that it is still the case that a few Bishops in the U.S. have decided not to have altar girls, even though the practice is now approved. Before it was approved, some individual Bishops chose to allow altar girls.

Now the traditionalist and the Pharisee will say that it is against the rules to allow altar girls. But I say that the Bishops are the successors of the Apostles; they have Apostolic authority. The Pope is the successor of Peter, so he has authority over the other Bishops and the whole Church.

And as true Apostles, the individual Bishops are not mere servants of the Pope; they are called directly by Christ to the Apostolate of their office as Bishops. The bishops derive this right and duty to the apostolate from their union with Christ the head; incorporated into Christ’s Mystical Body through Baptism, strengthened by Confirmation, and chosen by and for Christ through Holy Orders to the Episcopal degree, they are assigned to this Apostolate by the Lord Himself.

An individual Bishop has the authority to make changes for his diocese in matters of discipline. He also has the authority, to some extent, to grant dispensations from Canon Law. And he can licitly alter the form of the Mass, to some limited extent. All this pertains to his authority as a successor to the Apostles. Thus, even an individual Bishop can licitly choose to allow the washing of the feet of men and women, not women only. He does not need to obtain special permission from the Holy See, nor does he need to formally issue a document on the subject.

Any authority possessed by the individual Bishops is also possessed by the holy Roman Pontiff. In addition, the Pope has the authority “motu proprio” — on his own initiative, meaning without review or approval or participation in the decision by anyone else — to make changes to Canon Law and to any practices or disciplines in the Church.

So this claim, by a popular traditionalist blogger, is foolish:

Of course the optional mandatum is something that, while widely symbolic of the link between Christ and His Apostles, is ruled by pure Ecclesiastical Law, not Divine Law, and, regarding it, the Supreme Legislator can do (almost) as he pleases, even remove its presence from a liturgical environment. As long as there are specific standing rules about it (viri, men), however, even the Supreme Authority is bound to humbly obey them, unless he formally changes them beforehand. It really is not that hard to understand this basic matter of legal logic, is it?

If the Pope is the Supreme Authority, how is it that a priest-blogger can judge and condemn him? If the Pope is the Supreme Authority, then by that very fact he is NOT bound to obey a mere rule. For ALL the rules are under his authority, to bind or to loosen. And there has NEVER been a teaching by any Pope or Council, nor by Tradition or Scripture, teaching that the eternal moral law requires the Pope to formally change a rule before doing the contrary. IN FACT, our Lord Jesus Christ (who some Catholics treat as a mere figurehead, not as a true ruler over them) specifically and explicitly taught the contrary:

[Matthew 12]
{12:1} At that time, Jesus went out through the ripe grain on the Sabbath. And his disciples, being hungry, began to separate the grain and to eat.
{12:2} Then the Pharisees, seeing this, said to him, “Behold, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbaths.”
{12:3} But he said to them: “Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him:
{12:4} how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests?
{12:5} Or have you not read in the law, that on the Sabbaths the priests in the temple violate the Sabbath, and they are without guilt?

 
 

 
 


{12:6} But I say to you, that something greater than the temple is here.
{12:7} And if you knew what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would never have condemned the innocent.
{12:8} For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Jesus taught that David did nothing wrong when he violated the discipline of the Old Testament, a discipline established by Divine Revelation, when he ate the bread of the Presence. Jesus taught that the priests of the Old Testament “are without guilt” when they violate the Sabbath (in certain ways).

So the assertion of Fr. A. Joseph Chauvin S.S.S. at the blog
Rorate Caeli
that the Pope is required to change a law or practice formally before doing the contrary IS PROVEN FALSE by the words of Christ and by the example of the Apostles.

[Luke 6]
{6:1} Now it happened that, on the second first Sabbath, as he passed through the grain field, his disciples were separating the ears of grain and eating them, by rubbing them in their hands.
{6:2} Then certain Pharisees said to them, “Why are you doing what is not lawful on the Sabbaths?”
{6:3} And responding to them, Jesus said: “Have you not read this, what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him?
{6:4} How he entered into the house of God, and took the bread of the Presence, and ate it, and gave it to those who were with him, though it is not lawful for anyone to eat it, except the priests alone?”
{6:5} And he said to them, “For the Son of man is Lord, even of the Sabbath.”
{6:6} And it happened that, on another Sabbath, he entered into the synagogue, and he taught. And there was a man there, and his right hand was withered.
{6:7} And the scribes and Pharisees observed whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might thereby find an accusation against him.
{6:8} Yet truly, he knew their thoughts, and so he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Rise up and stand in the middle.” And rising up, he stood still.
{6:9} Then Jesus said to them: “I ask you if it is lawful on the Sabbaths to do good, or to do evil? To give health to a life, or to destroy it?”
{6:10} And looking around at everyone, he said to the man, “Extend your hand.” And he extended it. And his hand was restored.
{6:11} Then they were filled with madness, and they discussed with one another, what, in particular, they might do about Jesus.

The Pharisees treated rules as if they were infallible dogmas on faith and morals. Then, by exalting rules to become dogmas, they also deprecated the dogmas of faith and morals as if they were mere rules. They denigrated the command to love your neighbor as yourself. And they exalted and distorted every rule, the greater and the lesser, as if each were the highest commandment. Many Catholics today behave the same way. They treat every rule, every minor point of form in the Mass, and every slight point of traditional practice as if it were an infallible dogma on faith or morals, necessary for salvation. They are the Pharisees of today. They are not imitating Christ.

Consider the practices of Pope John Paul II, who is on his way to sainthood. He permitted variations from the form of the Mass, for example, when he visited Africa; he allowed traditional African dances at Mass. He permitted girls to serve at the altar. He permitted women lectors.

At one point, Pope John Paul II appointed more Cardinals of papal conclave voting age (under 80) than the maximum number, 120, given in his own instruction (UDG) on the rules for a papal conclave. What would have happened if there were more than 120 electors in the subsequent conclave? They would all be able to vote, for the Pope chose them, and by that action, he nullified his own prior written instruction, limiting the maximum electors to 120.

All of these actions irk the ultra-traditionalists who have decided that Catholicism is nothing other than what they understand to be traditional.

Many of the more extreme traditionalists have indeed abandoned the teachings of Christ, and are in the process of developing their own new religion. They have become attached to mere rubrics. They set themselves up as judges over each Ecumenical Council and each Pope. They and they alone determine what is or is not Catholic. Does the Pope hold the keys of the Apostle Peter, the keys to bind and to loosen on heaven and on earth? They speak and act as if they have the keys, not the Pope.

[Matthew 16]
{16:17} And in response, Jesus said to him: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father, who is in heaven.
{16:18} And I say to you, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.
{16:19} And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven. And whatever you shall release on earth shall be released, even in heaven.”


But the main point to understand in this controversy is that discipline is not dogma. The Pope who violates the eternal moral law in the least way commits a sin, at least a venial sin. A Pope can possibly commit a mortal sin. No Pope is above the eternal moral law, not Peter and not any of his successors. Concerning doctrines on faith and morals, the Popes can only teach the truths found in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. But concerning discipline, practices, norms, and laws (per se) of the Church, the Pope can do as he sees fit. Discipline is not dogma. Practices are not infallible teachings. Norms are not unchanging and unchangeable truths of the eternal moral law.

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The Pope is free to eat from the grain fields, to heal on the Sabbath, and to act contrary to discipline and norms. And the individual Bishops are free to follow his example. If the Bishops wished to do so, they could follow the example of Pope Francis and wash the feet of women as well as men on Holy Thursday.

 
 

The Pope’s Authority

There are many Catholics who seem to think (based on their behavior) that they have been given the authority to judge the Pope. Whence do they derive this authority? From the internet. As soon as Pope Francis was elected, hoards of commentators began to judge his every word and deed and attempt to define his papacy. They show no restraint and no limits in their exercise of freedom of speech. They show no fear of proper authority in the Church, nor any true obedience to the Pope.

Some of these commentators have cried out against Pope Francis for his supposed disobedience to the Church’s laws, rules, and practices. Who has the greater authority, the Pope or an internet commentator? If it is the Pope, then how did these commentators attain to sufficient authority that they would be judges over the Pope?

7. Therefore, if the earthly power goes astray, it will be judged by the spiritual power; but if a lesser spiritual power goes astray, [it will be judged] by its superior; and truly, if the highest [power] goes astray, it will not be able to be judged by man, but by God alone. And so the Apostle testifies, “The spiritual man judges all things, but he himself is judged by no one.” [1 Corinthians 2:15]

8. But this authority, even though it may be given to a man, and may be exercised by a man, is not human, but rather divine [power], having been given by the divine mouth [of Christ] to Peter, and to him as well as to his successors, by [Christ] Himself, [that is, to him] whom He had disclosed to be the firm rock, just as the Lord said to Peter himself: “Whatever you shall bind,” [Matthew 16:19] etc. Therefore, whoever resists this authority, such as it has been ordain by God, resists the ordination of God. [Romans 13:2] Otherwise, he would be proposing two principles to exist, as did Manicheus, and this we judge to be false and heretical. For Moses testified that God created heaven and earth, not in the beginnings, but “in the beginning.” [Genesis 1:1]

9. Moreover, that every human creature is to be subject to the Roman pontiff, we declare, we state, we define, and we pronounce to be entirely from the necessity of salvation. (Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam)

The Pope is the highest authority in the Church on earth, and we are all subject to him. If the Pope chooses to wash the feet of women, or of non-Christians, he violates no provision of the eternal moral law. And since he has supreme authority over ecclesiastical law and discipline and practices, he is without blame, even if he violates Canon law (as long as it is per se of law, and not also an expression of a teaching on faith or morals) or departs from immemorial custom. All things to the contrary notwithstanding.

Ronald L. Conte Jr. is a Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

 
 

Other Catholic writers and bloggers apparently have not yet read Ron Conte’s or David Cloutier’s analyses. Reactions to them, if any, will be included later.

At this point, however, one can opine — from information that we have already studied on the preceding pages — that the action of Pope Francis in washing the feet of women at a Maundy Thursday liturgical service has evoked strong responses of opposing kinds as well as intense speculation as to what kind of Pope he will eventually turn out to be.

As I commented earlier, there appears to be a polarisation of opinions ranging from the extreme liberal left to the ultra orthodox right.

No single action of any Pope in recent memory has stirred up such a controversy among Catholics who appear to be both confused and angry or — at the other end of the spectrum — elated and hopeful!

Some Catholics tend to dismiss all the fuss over the foot-washing incident as over-reaction to the humane gesture of a simple Pope. If conservatives can be faulted for that, maybe someone could explain why certain radical groups find encouragement in the same event.

On pages 31 through 33, I have included a few reports under the heading “Pro-women’s ordination hopes [seculars, progressives] and concerns [conservatives]”. On the following pages, we will examine articles — and they are only the precursors of a deluge — that demonstrate that the seemingly innocuous decision of Pope Francis to wash the feet of two women has given a fillip to the women’s ordination movement. Is this not reason enough for Catholic conservatives to make themselves heard above the feminist clamour?

Only a few months ago, after a spate of reports from this ministry on the emergent women’s ordination movement in India, I received letters saying that I was flogging a dead horse as far as the universal Church is concerned. Pope Francis now appears to have infused new life into and resurrected that dead horse Easter 2013.

 
 

Information in this report is mostly arranged in chronological groups except where unavoidable.

We start with a few news stories from soon after the election of Pope Francis and proceed chronologically.

Pope Francis Women’s Issues Record is Abysmal

http://www.policymic.com/articles/29755/pope-francis-women-s-issues-record-is-abysmal

March 13, 2013

New pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, or Pope Francis, is being hailed by many as a beacon of reform for the Catholic Church. He is a fervent opponent of the unequal distribution of wealth; he’s swapped his swanky limousine for public transportation, and traded down from a mini-mansion to a modest apartment in Buenos Aires. He even washed and kissed the feet of a dozen AIDS patients in 2001. I know what you’re thinking: this dude is dynamite. I got 99 problems and a pope ain’t one. Before you do the twist and high-five a million angels, you may want to examine his dismal record on everything from – well, basically on everything that’s socially important. You might be surprised to find a lot of skeletons in the new pope’s cape closet.

For starters, it should come as no surprise that the new pope is a staunch anti-gay mercenary. He’s accredited gay marriage to the work “of the devil” and labelled same sex parenting as a form of “discrimination against children.”

Remember when Argentina gave us a collective civil rights heartgasm and became the first Latin American country to legalize gay marriage? Well guess who was strongly opposed to it? In his letter to the Monasteries of Buenos Aires, then Cardinal Bergoglio wrote:

“Let’s not be naive, we’re not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

Turns out, on top of a penchant for hyperbole and an obvious disdain for the gays; he’s got a beef with women too.

The new pope is against contraception and family planning, which, according to the vice president of Ibis Reproductive Health, is “the single most cost-effective intervention that can reduce maternal mortality, improve maternal and child health and help women and families achieve their desired family size.” You know, girl stuff. He has called on his followers to repudiate abortion because it is symptomatic of a “culture of death.”

Claiming that we should “defend life from the beginning of conception,” the elected Pontiff is basically one of those annoying balding white GOP dudes who rely on non-medical beliefs about pregnancy to restrict women’s reproductive rights. Except he wears a cape. And you probably won’t catch him Fox and Friends.

For all that he’s not, Pope Francis is a fan of the single ladies, perhaps even more so than Beyoncé, in that he doesn’t think they necessarily ‘shoulda put a ring on it.’

According to the Guardian, the new leader of the Catholic Church doesn’t condemn the children of unwed mothers:

“In our ecclesiastical region there are priests who don’t baptize the children of single mothers because they weren’t conceived in the sanctity of marriage. These are today’s hypocrites. Those who clericalise the church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish so that it’s baptised!”

So will the next pope really be a reformer? I think Sergio Rubin, Bergoglio’s authorized biographer answers the question.

When he was asked, “Is Bergoglio a progressive — a liberation theologist even?”

He simply said: “No.”

I guess we don’t have to worry about the autobiography being too verbose.

 
 

‘Breath of fresh air': Women religious welcome Pope Francis

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/13/17300722-breath-of-fresh-air-women-religious-welcome-pope-francis?lite

By Becky Bratu, March 13, 2013

As the last puffs of white smoke dissipated at the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday, women religious in the United States received the news of the pope’s election with a mix of surprise and hope that he would shepherd the church through its current crisis.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was chosen to lead the Roman Catholic Church as Pope Francis, a decision the nuns considered unexpected but auspicious.

“I think it’s just wonderful,” said Sister Michele of the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady Mother of the Church. “The Holy Spirit worked through the cardinals and God put in the man that he wants.”

Francis is the first pope to be a member of the Society of Jesus, an order founded in the 16th century by St. Ignatius Loyola. Its members, known as Jesuits, take a vow of poverty and are known for their scholarship and work among the poor, which is seen as a draw to nuns, who devote their lives to charity and caring for the less fortunate.

Nuns flock to the Vatican and celebrate as new pope is elected

“There’s a lot of promise in that (he’s a Jesuit),” said Erin Saiz Hanna, executive director of the Women’s Ordination Conference, which promotes women’s ordination as priests. “It’s a breath of fresh air,” she said, adding that Jesuits “are known to be more progressive.”

The Sisters of Life, an order founded in 1991 that helps pregnant women and organizes a retreat for women who have had abortions, welcomed the news with “great joy,” Sister Mary Elizabeth said.

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“We’re praying for [Francis], and we’re excited to see what the Holy Spirit brings,” she said. “We’re all part of the family of God; we would rejoice no matter where he came from.”

Sister Mary Elizabeth added that her order believes there’s a complementarity between men and women in the church, and they embrace their role modeled after the Virgin Mary, “a humble handmaid of the Lord.”

The church’s attitude toward women and its teachings on contraception, abortion and same-sex marriage are blamed by some for the decline in morale among Catholics. Last year, thousands stepped up in defense of American nuns after the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog issued a report questioning their loyalty to some church teachings, including the nuns’ lack of outspokenness on issues such as gay marriage, abortion and contraception. (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was the head of the watchdog group before he was elected pope in 2005.) The report targeted the Leadership Conference of Women Religious [LCWR], which represents about 80 percent of the 57,000 nuns in the United States.

Sister Annmarie Sanders, director of communications for the Leadership Conference, said Wednesday that while the sisters were surprised by the conclave’s decision, they welcomed Francis with “heartfelt prayer.”

“As a conference of leaders of orders of Catholic sisters in the United States, we welcome Pope Francis’ spiritual leadership and look forward to working with him in carrying forward the Gospel message,” LCWR‘s statement read.

A Pew Research Center poll conducted last month shows that 46 percent of U.S. Catholics surveyed think the new pope should “move in new directions,” while 51 percent say he should “maintain traditional positions.”

Hanna, of the Women’s Ordination Conference, says she has “a lot of hope” that the new pope will address issues such as gay rights, divorce and contraception, which cause some women to feel excluded from the church. And, she added, she hopes Francis will reopen the discussion on women’s ordination.

Last year, Pope Benedict XVI denounced the priests supporting women’s ordination, saying their desire to change the church was a “desperate push” driven by their “own preferences and ideas.” Instead, Benedict urged the “radicalism of obedience.”

But Hanna and Janice Sevre-Duszynska, a woman priest who was ordained in 2008, think the movement is growing and the time is ripe for women’s voices to be heard. “We deserve a better church than what we’ve been given,” Hanna said.

 
 

Pope Francis, a Moment of Hope for Women Priests in the Church

http://bridgetmarys.blogspot.in/2013/03/pope-francis-becomes-first-latin.html

By Bridget Mary Meehan, Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, March 13, 2013

Left to right: Janice Sevre-Duszynska, Bridget Mary Meehan, Lee Breyer, Michael Rigdon, Katy Zatsick

 
 

Pope Francis, a 76 year-old Jesuit from Argentina, became the first Latin American and first Jesuit to become Pope.
Wearing a simple cross, clad in the papal white, he walked into history and addressed the church as his sisters and brothers. He seemed so approachable, kind, and open. What really touched me the most was that he asked the people to bless him. Silence filled the Square as the people embraced Pope Frances with their prayer. It was a beautiful moment of warmth and joy! It was a moment of hope for the church!
He was archbishop of Buenos Aires until 2012. According to one Argentine commentator, Pope Francis is a humble, charismatic man who takes the bus to work and lives in an apartment. He has addressed issues of social justice for the poor. One of our Latin American priests said that he is a man who lives Jesus’ example of solidarity with the poor. She was moved to tears when she first saw the new pope.
One Argentine commentator criticized him for his record on challenging the government on violations of human rights and 
his opposition to same sex marriage and abortion.
I pray that he will support full equality for women in the church including women priests.

But even if we disagree on this issue, I hope he will realize that the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement is a liberating movement for the full equality of women in an inclusive church where all are welcome to receive sacraments.
In this moment of hope, Pope Francis could be a breath of fresh air for the church in solidarity with the poor and for genuine reform and change in our church.

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Roman Catholic Women Priests Congratulate Pope Francis

http://bridgetmarys.blogspot.in/2013/03/roman-catholic-women-priests_14.html

March 14, 2013

Worldwide members of the international movement of Roman Catholic Women Priests send our heartfelt congratulations to Pope Francis. 

We sincerely welcome him with our prayers and hopes for the future of the Roman Catholic Church. We look forward to the birth of a new era that promotes the inclusion of the voices of women, the poor and all others marginalized by society.

Our hope is for a vigorous renewal of pastoral Church leadership living the Gospel of Jesus the Christ.

We bless our new pope and pray with him. May God be with you, Pope Francis.

Visit our websites and support us in our continuing our work to support women called to be priests.  

www.arcwp.org

www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org

 
 

Pope Francis and Women Priests

http://bridgetmarys.blogspot.in/2013/03/pope-francis-womens-equality-and-women.html

By Bridget Mary Meehan, Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, March 14, 2013

What we know about Pope Francis gives me hope that he is compassionate and open to the Spirit of God in the people of God. He invited the people to bless him and bent over to receive an outpouring of prayer and love, not only from people in Vatican Square, but from millions around the world. At this historic moment the priesthood of the people rooted in baptismal grace was palpable.
What we know about Pope Francis gives me hope that his first response to people in painful situations will be compassion, not more canon laws. His openness to condoms to prevent infection and challenge to ultra conservatives to give communion to single Moms display Christ’s tender care for those in need.
His solidarity with the poor, specifically, his naming of social sin as a core issue in a world where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. With Pope Francis, who as a church leader took the bus to work and lived in a small apartment, solidarity with the poor could become an important priority for the hierarchy. 
Will more bishops move out of their mansions and follow his example anytime soon?
I hope that Pope Francis will recognize women and men as equal partners in the Gospel. Women’s unequal status in the church is the “elephant in the church’s living room” that needs to be addressed. He could appoint women to the top jobs in the curia and sweep away centuries of sexism in one big swoop! Although, I wish that our new Pope would affirm women priests and ordain women immediately, I realize that this may be a step too far for any pope at this time, given the hostility of the hierarchy toward their sister priests.
However, our new pope could reach out and take some positive steps that would make a difference. Pope Francis could remove Roman Catholic Women Priests from the category of most grievous crimes against our church. (On the same level as pedophiles according to canon law) He could announce that those who ordain women or support women priests no longer incur excommunication.
How about a new beginning? He could dialogue with women priests and with our inclusive communities, including the male priests who in growing numbers in countries around the world support us.  Perhaps, Pope Francis will ordain women deacons as leaders of communities of faith like our Sister Phoebe in Romans 16.

Who said prayers or dreams can’t come true. Pope Francis is the first Latin American pope and millions today have seen their dreams come true! One day, our dreams for women priests in the Catholic Church will be officially sanctioned by a Pope. One day, we may have a woman pope!

Francis, open up the Church

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/03/13/opinion/thompson-pope-next-steps

By Phillip M. Thompson, March 14, 2013

With the selection of Cardinal Jorge Maria Bergoglio, who will be known as Pope Francis, the cardinals have sent a signal to the Church about how Catholics should live in the world. Bergoglio is known to be a good administrator. But he lives very simply in a small apartment and rides a bus. He’s well known for his engagement in issues of social justice and in defense of the poor. Indeed, the very name Francis honors St. Francis of Assisi, a person of humility and deep caring. If he is anything like his namesake then this selection is good news indeed.

And now that he has been named pope, Francis will face a raft of advice. Some will call for improved administration, finding a way to draw new Catholics into the church where it is in decline, and increasing engagement with other faith traditions.

Other pundits were thinking in grand terms. Among the progressives, some believe the church should adopt a bold revolution, with new acceptance of women priests, homosexuality, etc.

The Cubs have a greater chance of winning a World Series. Change on controversial issues, if it happens at all, will be slow and incremental, since the church is bound by the requirements of tradition and precedent.

From the traditional side of Catholicism, expressed in a Wall Street Journal column by George Weigel, hope was for a pope who will be “a charismatic, missionary culture warrior, challenging the world’s democracies to rebuild their moral foundations.” 49.

 
 

 
 

 
 

The problem here is that in the United States many of the troops are not following the generals. For example, 90% of Catholics are using contraception and 82% think it is morally permissible.
Moreover, many American Catholics are more devoted to liberal and conservative political positions than the teachings of the church.

This poses a serious problem. The church has conservative positions on human sexuality, bioethics, etc., but liberal positions on issues such as economic regulation, the death penalty and immigration. A church divided against itself seems unlikely to renew our political or cultural structures.

So, in lieu of grand but seemingly unworkable schemes, I would suggest a much more modest but doable set of proposals to address a spiritual crisis of declining confidence in the institutional church. In a recent Pew Foundation survey of Catholics in the United States,
almost half listed the issues needing to be addressed in the church as the priest sex abuse scandal and a loss of trust.

What can the church do to resolve the trust problem? Why not begin a transparency and empowerment offensive? Transparency could be improved by placing in the Vatican Catholic lay experts in charge of the priest abuse investigations. Trust will not be restored by clerics investigating and judging clerics. We end up with Cardinal Bernard Law, who moved and protected pedophile priests, being granted a position of honor in Rome.

These kinds of decisions have seriously eroded trust in the pews. In the U.S., the Catholic Church finally awakened and began a process of lay review. A female judge and lay investigators restored a degree of trust. Bring this model to Rome.

Eliminating the Vatican Bank, a source of scandals for many decades, would increase transparency and institutional focus. The church is better with the deposit of faith than the faith of deposits. Turn the funds over to reliable banks subject to international regulatory requirements.

Resolving these transparency issues is based in part on empowering the laity for a greater role. And there are other empowerment possibilities. The church could allow more flexibility to local bishops and parishes, who can respond creatively to local conditions. In a global church, this will assist effective evangelization.

And why not have women deacons? This would add more personnel for critical church functions in locations without sufficient priests. It would ensure greater access to the sacraments and bring an often-alienated constituency into a critical role offering new gifts to the administration of the church. Another role for women could be an advisory board to the pontiff on the role of women and women’s issues in the church.

These proposals for transparency and empowerment are realistic ways to restore faith, hope and charity in the administration of the church. They would allow the church to pursue its spiritual mission more effectively and more fully use the gifts of its female members. These proposals can succeed because they will not require a radical change in theology, tradition or canon law. They require no major shift in doctrine.

I have one final suggestion to restore hope and trust. The church, starting with the example of Pope Francis, must embody the virtue of humility. It must listen as well as preach.

Consider also the example of Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines, who does not own a car and eats with workers. His words match his humble lifestyle. He has said, “(You) may be saying the right things but people will not listen if the manner by which you communicate reminds them of a triumphalistic, know-it-all institution.” Amen.

Phillip M. Thompson is the executive director of the Aquinas Center of Theology at Emory University.

 
 

Pope could bring change

http://bridgetmarys.blogspot.in/2013/03/pope-could-bring-change-by-bridget-mary.html
EXTRACT

By Bridget Mary Meehan, Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, March 15, 2013

While I would like to see Pope Francis affirm women priests, he could take some steps forward for women’s equality by hiring women for some of the top positions in the Vatican Curia to reform governance of the Catholic Church.

He could ask the bishops of the church to open more leadership positions to women in dioceses.

He could end the investigation of the [U.S.] nuns and offer the Church’s gratitude to the sisters for years of loving labor to those on the margins.

We look forward to the birth of a new era that promotes the inclusion of the voices of women, the poor and others marginalized in our Church, including gays, lesbians and transgender. All belong to God’s beloved family.

 
 

The Pope I know

http://bridgetmarys.blogspot.in/2013/03/the-pope-francis-i-know-by-margaret.html
EXTRACT

By Bridget Mary Meehan, Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, March 15, 2013

“There are two views on Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis. The world has warmed to the first Latin American pope, whose election has cracked open the Eurocentrism of the Catholic church, and who came across on the balcony as so humble, so genuine, so holy. But that is not all that can be said.
In the last 10 years that I have been watching this Argentinian papabile, I have heard two opposite opinions. One sees him as humble, the other as authoritarian. One as progressive and open, the other as conservative and severe. When I met him in Buenos Aires in 2004, he told me he did not give interviews to the press. But he did agree to sit down in the pews with me after his Sunday mass and have a friendly conversation off the record. He came over as a man who was not only passionately committed to the gospel of poverty, but also highly intelligent and cultured.

50.

 
 


We have been in touch a couple of times since, and when he was in Rome for the 2005 conclave, I dropped off a letter for him. He replied promptly by ringing up my hotel and giving me two excellent contacts: a well-informed Argentinian journalist in Rome, and his then press secretary, Guillermo Marcó.
As we were reminded on Thursday, Bergoglio’s name had been connected with the dirty war in the 1970s in Argentina. Was this unjust? I am convinced by Marcó’s assurance that it was a “very grave calumny”. From 1973 to 1979, as Jesuit provincial, Bergoglio had a confrontation with a couple of priests, Orland Yorio and Francisco Jalics, who were living in a poor barrio and carrying out dangerous work against the military dictatorship. They felt betrayed by Bergoglio because instead of endorsing their work and protecting them, he demanded they leave the barrio. When they refused, they had to leave the Jesuit order. When they were later “disappeared” and tortured, it seemed to many that Bergoglio had been siding with the repression. It was the kind of complex situation that is capable of multiple interpretations, but it is far more likely Bergoglio was trying to save their lives.
When I spoke with fellow Jesuits from other countries about Bergoglio’s prospects for becoming pope, I was taken aback by their dislike. He was harsh and disciplinarian, they said, and never went to visit his Jesuit brothers in the curia in Rome. According to Marcó, the alienation between Bergoglio and the Jesuits was a thorn in his side that he bore with silent patience.
Because of issues like this, and his confrontations with the Argentinian government on questions such as same-sex marriage, he has been classed as a conservative. But a different picture has been painted by one of Bergoglio’s friends, a radical feminist and Catholic called Clelia Luro, who is about as far to the left on the ecclesial spectrum as you can go. She married a prominent and respected bishop, Jerónimo Podestá – one of the leaders of the progressive reforms that followed the second Vatican council – and was sometimes seen concelebrating mass with him, the kind of thing that makes a Catholic cleric’s hair stand on end. But Bergoglio reacted differently.
Luro talked to me at length about her friend, of whom she has the highest opinion, and told me how she would write to him almost weekly, and he would always reply by ringing her up and having a short chat. When Podesta was dying, Bergoglio was the only Catholic cleric who went to visit him in hospital, and, when he died, the only one who showed public recognition of his great contribution to the Argentinian church.
Now he is pope, we can hope Francis may start not only with a new name but with a clean bill of moral health, and that the world can make its own judgment on what kind of man he is – not based on misunderstandings that come from painful and difficult moments in the past, but responding to his call from St Peter’s balcony for “fraternity, love and trust among us”. I believe he will not let us down, and will be a beacon of Franciscan poverty and simplicity in a Vatican that still operates like a medieval court.” – Margaret Hebblethwaite/ The Guardian

 
 

What Pope Francis Learned From His Crush

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/susan-milligan/2013/03/21/pope-francis-opened-the-door-for-womens-equality-in-the-church

By Susan Milligan, March 21, 2013

Newly-installed Pope Francis made some startling comments last year about the possibility of lifting the celibacy rule for
priests. And the move has implications not just for the church and the men who run it, but for women too.

The Pope, back when he was just archbishop of Buenos Aires, said in an interview for a Spanish-language book that the rule “can change.” And while Francis did not endorse such a change itself, the very mention of such an idea is dramatic.

It seems Pope Francis is drawing on his own experience, describing romantic feelings he felt toward a woman. As ABC recounts Francis saying: I was dazzled by a girl I met at an uncle’s wedding. I was surprised by her beauty, her intellectual brilliance … and, well, I was bowled over for quite a while. I kept thinking and thinking about her. When I returned to the seminary after the wedding, I could not pray for over a week because when I tried to do so, the girl appeared in my head. I had to rethink what I was doing.

Well, that’s something many of us have experienced, though it tends to interfere with our study or work schedules, as opposed to our absolute devotion to God. Still, Pope Francis said he counsels those who cannot reconcile celibacy with a commitment to the priesthood to go. Saying:

When something like this happens to a seminarian, I help him go in peace to be a good Christian and not a bad priest.

Changing the rule — should it ever happen — could do wonders for the church, attracting people (men, now, and maybe, one day women) to the priesthood. Eastern Orthodox priests are allowed to marry, and it works out just fine, Pope Francis noted, though he added that bishops must remain celibate.

Unwittingly or not, Pope Francis has defined the work-family balance women have wrestled with for many years. If you seek exceptional success at work, it’s hard to raise a family or have much of a personal life. If you choose to commit to a family, you tend not to be considered for the big jobs. The Catholic Church has merely made official for its priests what women deal with on an unofficial level all the time.

And the glass ceiling exists even for the Orthodox clerics. What if you do well in middle-management — say, as a priest — as a married man, and then decide you want to go for the bishop’s job? You literally have to decide between professional advancement and a family life. (However, one can see the complications of a Pope with a family. Who wants to be the nun at Catholic school trying to discipline the Pope’s kid? What if the spouse wants to redecorate the Vatican? What to do with troublesome in-laws?) 51.

 
 

 
 

The irony of Pope Francis’s talk is that it raises the question of expanding sexual freedom for men, but not for women. Since females cannot be priests, the celibacy rule isn’t all that relevant, but what could help women is a second look at the antiquated ban on contraception. That, of course, is a rule routinely broken by women with access to birth control. But it’s maddening to see Catholic clerics go to poor countries and preach against contraception when women are dying after multiple childbirths or unable to feed enormous families. Right now, men cannot advance to the top positions in the Catholic Church if they are not celibate, but women’s professional and economic advancement — even as followers of the faith — are linked to the ability to control the size and timing of their families.

Pope Francis has opened the door to a 21st Century approach to balancing work, family and faith. It’s time to Lean In.

Susan Milligan is a political and foreign affairs writer and contributed to a biography of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy,
Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy.

 
 

What makes Pope Francis ‘tick’ spiritually?

http://www.ucanews.com/news/what-makes-pope-francis-tick-spiritually/67828

By Fr. Michael Kelly SJ, Executive Director, UCANews, March 24, 2013

Much has been made of the impressions Pope Francis has created by his ordinary, every day activities: catching buses, using a telephone to make his own calls, not dressing in all the fine drapery usually worn by popes, treating people respectfully as he did the journalists, celebrating the Holy Thursday Mass in a Roman prison.

He is on record as being open to consider ending the celibacy rule for Roman Catholic clerics, caring about the pastoral care of divorced and remarried Catholics and reflecting the approach of Vatican II in decentralizing Church governance to allow local bishops’ conferences more initiative.

There seems little doubt that change is underway and the one thing we all know about change is that it has uncertain outcomes.

We are at a turning point in the Church and it will reward inspection of the key formative experiences in Pope Francis’ life to see where and how things might go in coming years.

The man clearly brings a great deal of pastoral and administrative experience as a Church leader. But about him personally there is something else.

As Jorge Bergoglio, the current pope’s first and then recurrent experience of ministry as a Jesuit was his making and directing the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. Twice at least he has made the 30-day retreat, and he has also guided others over many years through that experience.

The Exercises are at once a school of prayer and an experience with one purpose – making decisions about directions in life. Over four “weeks” of varying lengths, the retreatant prays for the freedom to make good decisions.

They are prayerful days when a retreatant contemplates her or his human condition as a sinner in need of God’s mercy, a companion with Jesus in his preaching and healing ministry, as one beholding the sorrowful and painful death of Jesus and then asking to share the new life of Jesus’ resurrection.

What impact does making a 30-day retreat have in shaping a person? As one who’s done two and has planned a third one for later this year, there is one uncompromising fact that has to be taken into account: God can only work with us as we are and sometimes God hasn’t got much to work with!
There is no big tally card in the sky that measures and rewards achievement of standards expected of someone making the retreat. The believer comes as he or she is, that mixture of virtue and vice, insight and stubborn blindness, intelligence and stupidity, generosity and mean spiritedness.

So there is no “standard product” at the end of the Exercises. However there are at least three things that not even the most narrow, hard-hearted and obtuse person can miss as the process of the weeks unfold.

They are:

A relentless focus on God’s love for us – from the first to last period of prayer over the 30 days – that has the corresponding effect of our appreciating how far we are from being loving creatures in response. We are sinners but loved sinners, which elicits greater self-knowledge, gratitude and humility.

A constant preoccupation with the person of Jesus – in his teaching and preaching in word and deed climaxing in prolonged meditation on his death and resurrection. The helpless surrender of Jesus to God’s love on Calvary and the astonishing reversal that comes with the Resurrection are seen through not only Jesus’ eyes but also in the Calvaries and resurrections of the retreatant’s life.

The recurrent practice of what Ignatius called the “discernment of spirits” – those mood swings and feelings in an individual that lead towards or away from deepening inner peace, joy and confidence. Those that lead to the positive feelings are believed by the retreatant to be those leading him or her to choose God’s will.

Self-knowledge, humility before the facts, decisiveness until another direction presents itself for consideration, looking for the traces of God’s presence to be found when a decision is taken – these are at heart what will focus the energies and priorities that Pope Francis will choose.

But as a Jesuit and a leader of them, Pope Francis is a practiced exponent of what has developed as a pattern of leadership that received its fullest expression in the Constitutions of the Order, developed over a decade by St Ignatius. The book is both a guide to administration and a set of open-ended suggestions about approaches to effective leadership.

They have been the subject of study and writing by a former American Jesuit, celebrated author and business consultant, Chris Lowney. He summarizes the Ignatian heritage of leadership as being marked by four key features that will turn up in this pontificate: 

 
 

 
 

Self-awareness: A good leader in this tradition will know his or her capabilities and, as a consequence, also areas of limitation. A leader with self-knowledge surrounds him or herself with people who complement his abilities and so makes up for gaps and short-comings.

Ingenuity: Good leaders are curious and Ignatian leaders are invited to look beyond the ordinary and the possible to the magis, the Latin word Ignatius used for the “greater” or “further” we are capable of, even what seems impossible. Ignatian leaders like and embrace challenges.

Love: Ignatian prayer leads to the specific and the actual because its purpose is to have the believer find God, the source and center of love, in everyone and everything, however unlovely they may appear at first sight. It is the engine room of service and, in Ignatian prayer, is met in the desire to do the best for others and oneself.

Courage: Ignatian prayer and governance is also about taking risks, thinking big, making things happen all in the service of God and human beings. For Ignatius, making things happen for God, oneself and others means not taking blocks and knockbacks in striving to make a positive difference.

This is where Jorge Bergoglio is coming from. Only time will tell where and to what extent Pope Francis will take this formative legacy.

[UCAN is a liberal news agency that militates, like Fr. Michael Kelly, for the ordination of women]

 
 

Ten ways Pope Francis can renew the Catholic Church’s relationship with women

http://www.newstatesman.com/religion/2013/03/ten-ways-pope-francis-can-renew-catholic-churchs-relationship-women

By Catherine Lafferty, March 27, 2013

The realm of sex and reproduction in particular is an area where the Vatican needs to improve its approach to its female followers.

What do you call a man who has become the leader of 600 million women?

Pope Francis.

Cardinal Jorge Maria Bergoglio, as he was, is an unassuming Argentinian Jesuit. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he acquired a reputation for a concern for social justice and eschewing the Episcopal limousine in favour of travelling by bus.

The vast institution he now leads is the oldest in the western world; its relationship to women characterised by paradox. Its priesthood is all male and apart from Eastern Catholics and Anglican converts, unmarried. Yet the most important saint in its communion, revered as the Theotokos (God-bearer) and Queen of Heaven, is the Blessed Virgin Mary and women, who tend to be more religious than men, form the backbone of its congregations. Despite this modernity poses new challenges for Catholic women particularly in the realm of sex and reproduction. As he gets ready to lead the Church through its great feast of Easter for the first time as supreme pontiff, Pope Francis also faces the task of renewing the Church’s relationship with women. Here are ten ways he could do that.

1. Start in the Vatican itself. There is a broad consensus that the Vatican’s bureaucracy, the curia, is in urgent need of reform. The curia in its current state is also marked by its dearth of women: the highest-ranking woman in the Vatican is a Salesian, Sister Enrica Rosanna who is undersecretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. The clamour for curial reform affords Pope Francis a golden opportunity to sweep out the back-scratching, occasionally backstabbing bureaucratic old guard and promote female excellence in the corridors of power.

2. Direct the reforming spirit downwards and outwards. Just as bureaucratic ineptitude isn’t limited to the Vatican; neither should a drive for professional civil servants with representative numbers of female staff end there. Church agencies, Bishops Conferences, diocesan offices should be dragged out of their sleepy complacency and firmly manoeuvred into a new era of industry and competence. As part of that drive female talent should be identified and nurtured.

3. Turn all Catholic workplaces into centres of excellence for family-friendly employment. Catholic social teaching stresses that access to employment and the professions should be open to all without unjust discrimination. The principle is a noble one but it needs to be underpinned by action to remove barriers to employment and the ones which women face are strongly linked to their family roles. Flexi-time, workplace crèches, allowance made for women who have had to take career breaks, all these should be the norm in the 21st Century Catholic Church workplace.

4. Take a lead in providing affordable childcare. The Catholic Church teaches that couples should be open to the gift of life, a principle which is made harder to live up to by women’s economic needs. At the same time research suggests women in the UK are not having as many children as they would want and that one of the obstacles they face in combining their reproductive and economic aspirations is a dearth of inexpensive childcare. We are used to free Catholic schools, why not free or cheap Catholic-run nurseries available to Catholics and people of all faiths and none too?

5. Invest in research into fertility awareness. One of the key areas of contention between Catholicism and feminism is the Church’s rejection of
contraception. Yet the Catholic Church also accepts that “responsible parenthood is exercised by… those who for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts decide not to have additional children.” The Catholic Church can plough funding for research into fertility management which complements rather than compromises its core principles.

6. Put women and their needs at the heart of its Pro Life activism. The Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion is where its most significant confrontation with feminism occurs. Elective pregnancy termination is also a commonplace in modern industrialised nations. A creaking Pro Life lobby is ill-equipped to consider why women opt to have abortions and what they need to continue their pregnancies willingly. Enlightened leadership by the new Pope would see a rejuvenated Pro Life lobby being as tough on the causes of abortion as abortion itself.

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7. Education as a good in itself and a key to women’s liberation. The Catholic Church was a pioneer in educating women and today educates ten of millions of women and girls worldwide. This is good but there’s still for improvement. Education leads to quantifiable improvements in women’s lives yet some 61 million children, an estimated 60 percent of which are girls, are denied access to education. The new Pope comes from an order, the Society of Jesus, which is justly famed for its educational mission; a campaign utilising the Jesuits’ centuries of experience and expertise to provide an education to every child in the world would ensure Francis’ papacy left a lasting legacy of good for women worldwide.

8. Women’s rights are human rights. Vatican documents are studded with references to the dignity of women and decrying their mistreatment. The Holy See also has Permanent Observer status at the UN and diplomatic relations with 176 states. The Catholic Church is thus uniquely placed to advocate for and assess progress on women’s rights at the local and national level. Inspired leadership from Rome could see use made of existing diocesan and parish structures to advance women’s rights, not just in lofty international conferences but on the ground, from the grassroots upwards.

9. Continue to lead opposition to Population Control campaigns; do so intelligently. From Peru to Mexico, India to China, the crimes which have been and still are being committed against women, especially poor and ethnic minority women in the course of population control campaigns is shocking. The Catholic Church has been the most consistent voice of opposition to these human rights violations yet time and again she has been outmaneuvered at the conference table and her efforts cynically misrepresented to the detriment of countless women living under authoritarian regimes. Effective action against population control must be prioritised by Pope Francis as a matter of urgency.

10. Spread the Word. In a world where crimes against women continue to stun, the Catholic Church’s insistence that women are not to be reduced to mere instruments for the satisfaction of men’s desires is more boldly countercultural than is realised. Under Pope Francis, the Church’s teaching that women have equal dignity to men should be boldly proclaimed. Some 50 years ago the reforming Second Vatican Council was in its first year. In its closing address, the Council declared, “the hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of women is being acknowledged in its fullness, the hour in which women acquire in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved.” The vision is a stirring one; time will tell whether it will be any further to being realised under Pope Francis’ pontificate.

Catherine Lafferty is a freelance journalist

 
 

Despite censures, Womenpriests movement grows

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/despite-censures-womenpriests-movement-grows/2013/03/29/60990986-989a-11e2-b5b4-b63027b499de_story.html

By Megan O’Neil, Religion News Service, March 29, 2013

If heading a religious community is a lonely job for any woman, a Catholic Womenpriest might be the loneliest of all.

Yet the ordination of Catholic women within the Womenpriests movement, which flaunts Roman Catholic Church law forbidding the practice, continues to grow, as members demand greater inclusion of women in the institutional church.

The most recent ordination was on February 9, in Toledo, Ohio, and five more are scheduled for 2013.

“I really believe that this is the time when we need to stand up for women’s rights in the church,” said Jeannette Love, 68, who helps lead the Catholic Church of the Beatitudes, a Womenpriests community in Santa Barbara, Calif. “Sure, it is easy for us to go to a Protestant church, but then we don’t become change agents in our own community.”

Beatitudes is one of nearly four dozen Catholic communities in the United States led by women ordained in the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last year. Its ranks now include more than 100 deacons, priests, and bishops in the U.S. and abroad.

The original members — known as the Danube Seven — were ordained in Europe in 2002 by Argentine Bishop Romulo Antonio Braschi, a progressive who broke with the Vatican in the 1970s. That ordination forms Womenpriests’ claim for legitimacy.

Subsequently, the Womenpriests have ordained each other. In 2008, church officials threatened excommunication on any woman seeking ordination, and any clergy member who assists her.

In a 2010 poll by The New York Times and CBS, however, 59 percent of American Catholics favor the ordination of women.

Support for women’s ordination as deacons is even stronger. One rung below priests in the church hierarchy, deacons can perform some functions, such as baptism.

Church law forbidding female priests is nuanced, said the Rev. James Heft, head of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at the University of Southern California. It is based, in part, on “fittingness”.

“It is more appropriate for a man to play the role of Hamlet than a woman,” Heft said. “You could say that the argument is that. If the re-enactment of the Last Supper presided by Jesus is a good analogy to the Mass, than it is more appropriate that a man preside.” There is historical evidence that women played an important role in ministry in the early church, but there is no proof they were ordained, Heft said.

“The present pope, before he became pope, offered his opinion that he thought it was an infallible teaching,” said Heft. “Strictly speaking, this could change.”

The Womenpriests movement represents one strain in a decades-old push for the ordination of women by some Catholics. Most of those ordained have advanced degrees in religious studies or theology, and years of experience in ministry, including stints as members of Catholic religious orders.

The movement attracts Catholics who have broken with the Vatican on issues beyond women’s ordination, including homosexuality, birth control and married priests. Most are of retirement age, although there are some young families. 54.

 
 

 
 

“What impressed me most was its aggressive inclusiveness,” said Mike Crowley, 66, a member of the Mary Magdalene Apostle Catholic Community in San Diego. “Not just (with) women; they aggressively include all the people that the church is doing its best to drive out — young divorced people, gays and lesbians.

Jane Via, a retired prosecutor who heads Mary Magdalene, acknowledged that Womenpriests have done little to trigger dialogue at the institutional level.

After being ordained a deacon in 2004 and a priest in 2006, she lost access to most clergy friends. They are too angry or too scared to maintain the relationship, Via said. Her congregation, like other Womenpriests communities, rents space in a Protestant church.

“It is a huge justice issue,” Via said. “It is not just about getting women ordained in the Catholic Church; it is about changing the Catholic Church so that gender equality pervades it.”

Members of the Womenpriests movement said they are hopeful that the election of Pope Francis will mean a renewal of pastoral church leadership.

“We look forward to the birth of a new era that promotes the inclusion of the voices of women, the poor and all others marginalized by society,” the organization said in a statement on its website.

In Santa Barbara, the Catholic Church of the Beatitudes is small — regular Mass attendance tops at about 35 people — but steady, Love said. “Our saying is we are here and we are not going away,” Love said. “My hope and dream is that we will continue to grow, not only in numbers, but in depth.”

 
 

Washing of girls’ feet ‘opens door to women priests’

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/faith/article3726461.ece

By Ruth Gledhill,
Times
Religion Correspondent, March 30, 2013

The Pope’s decision to wash the feet of female offenders has shocked some traditionalists, who fear that it could open the door to the ordination of women.

Francis washed and kissed the feet of a group that included two young women, one of them a Muslim, at a juvenile detention centre in Rome on Maundy Thursday, provoking criticism from conservative theologians.

“This is a symbol, it is a sign. Washing your feet means I am at your service,” Pope Francis told the group, aged 14 to 21, at the Casal del Marmo detention facility. “Help one another. This is what Jesus teaches us. This is what I do. And I do it with my heart. I do this with my heart, because it is my duty. As a priest and bishop, I must be at your service.”

Some churches in the US admit women to the Maundy Thursday foot-washing ceremony — but no Pope has ever done so. His actions raised hopes among liberals that he might one day relax the Roman Catholic Church’s ban on female ordination, despite reaffirming his opposition to the idea as recently as a year ago.

Chris Gillibrand, a British conservative commentator, wrote on his blog CathCon: “Given the Pope’s active support for the charismatic movement in his diocese, one can only be concerned that he could be prepared to ordain women, under a movement of the spirit. How can the Pope maintain discipline in the Church if he himself does not conform himself to prevailing ecclesiastical legislation? He has the power to change legislation but it would be advisable to do that first.”

Pat Brown, of Catholic Women’s Ordination, said: “Pope Francis’s action in washing the feet of young female prisoners has given me hope. I’m not expecting an announcement about the ordination of women tomorrow.

However, he has demonstrated through this and other actions that he will move the Church forward to a new place. He brings an ethos of humility, caring and working for justice. I hope he will recognise that the suffering of women called to priesthood and unable to test their vocations is a justice issue. My hope is that he will reform the Curia and make the Church an institution in which the ordination of women can at last be discussed and in which it will eventually be realised.”

Father John Zuhlsdorf, a conservative blogger, said that many people had lost the sense that the Roman Catholic Church was compassionate, and that the Pope was trying to counter this. But he warned that,
for liberals, “This is about the ordination of women, not about their feet”.

Edward Peters, a leading canon lawyer of the Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, wrote on his blog: “None will dispute that Pope Francis has, by washing the feet of women at his Holy Thursday Mass, set an example. The question is, what kind of example has he set?” He added: “I have never doubted that liturgical law expressly limits participation in that rite to adult males, and I have consistently called on Catholics, clerics and laity alike to observe this.”

Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said the washing of the women’s feet was a one-off and that, in a “grand solemn celebration” of the rite, only men would be included, because this reflected the fact that Christ washed the feet of his 12 male disciples. “Here, the rite was for a small, unique community made up also of women. Excluding the girls would have been inopportune in light of the simple aim of communicating a message of love to all, in a group that certainly didn’t include experts on liturgical rules.”

 
 

Pope Francis puts best foot forward

http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/columnists/margery_eagan/2013/03/pope_francis_puts_best_foot_forward

By Margery Eagan, March 31, 2013

This is a particularly sweet Easter. For the first time in years I feel proud of my pope.

 
 

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On Holy Thursday, this 76-year-old got down on his knees to wash and kiss the feet — not of priests in some magnificent Roman basilica — but of 12 juvenile inmates, two of them young women, in a prison. No pope has ever washed female feet. It breaks the rules. But then Francis can do whatever he wants now. He’s the boss.

“This is a symbol that I am at your service,” Francis said Thursday. Then he hugged and kissed the 12, who included two Muslims. On Good Friday he continued his theme of reaching beyond the usual suspects. He praised “the friendship of our Muslim brothers and sisters.” These same themes were at the center of a startling sermon to his fellow priests. He urged them to reset their priorities, get out of the rectory and become “shepherds living with the smell of the sheep.”

When he made his first appearance at St. Peter’s balcony after his selection as pope, Francis wore simple white robes and his own iron cross. Benedict the XVI first appeared in a red silk, gold-embroidered stole and a gold cross reportedly encrusted with emeralds. Francis still wears his scuffed black street shoes. Benedict wore custom-made red slippers.

Francis will live not in the luxurious, 12-room papal apartment with its marble floors and spectacular views but in a two-room apartment in the Vatican hotel where he will eat in a communal dining room and celebrate Mass with everyday Vatican workers.

All this harkens back to the humble simplicity of St. Francis of Assisi, the pope’s namesake, who not only focused on serving the poor and protecting the earth but also sought peace with Muslims, even during the crusades. “Make us instruments of your peace” is the first line of St. Francis’ famous prayer, which goes on to offer a blueprint for a life of love, forgiveness and service.

All this has also given Francis shocking “good guy” status on the wildly popular and typically agnostic — if not downright hostile to Catholicism — website Reddit. And it’s warmed this long-disappointed Catholic’s heart.

It has, however, devastated Catholic traditionalists. “Horror” and “outrage” about captures their reported reaction to Francis washing girls’ feet. It’s likely unnerved as well those Republican-leaning American bishops who fought health care for the poor but not Benedict’s inquisition against American nuns — the Catholics actually doing the most, up close and personal, for those poor.

I’m a social liberal. I want women ordained, priests to be able to marry, gays welcomed and silly contraception bans gone. I doubt Francis will go there. And while there’s no evidence he covered up sexual abuse in Argentina, he neither acted fast to protect children nor apologized to them. These are definite problems.

But Francis is not only talking the talk I don’t hear from Catholic leaders anymore. He’s walking the walk. He’s wagging no holier-than-thou, hypocritical fingers. And, most important, he’s touched a deep need and hunger among Catholics. We want to believe.

St. Francis believed centuries ago that God told him to “rebuild my church.” Let’s see what this Francis does.

 
 

With new Pope Catholic women hope to regain church leadership roles

http://www.npr.org/2013/04/01/175910981/with-new-pope-catholic-women-hope-to-regain-church-leadership-roles

By Sylvia Poggioli, April 1, 2013

The newly elected pope’s focus on the poor and the marginalized has instilled great faith among many Catholic women. They hope the papacy of Pope Francis will promote a leading role for women in the church.

A group of American nuns and Catholic women recently made a pilgrimage to Rome to make their requests heard. They visited ancient sites that provide evidence of the important leadership role women played in the early centuries of Christianity.

Sister Carolyn Osiek, a scholar of women’s role in early Christianity, guided the pilgrims through Ostia, the ancient port city of Rome. The excavations help illustrate how people lived in the early centuries of the first millennium, when worship was still relegated mostly to private homes. Ostia was the final stop on a pilgrimage to honor the many women who helped spread the faith at the dawn of Christianity.

The American women gathered on the steps of an old Roman theater and sang “Come Sophia,” a prayer song in which God is evoked in a feminine metaphor: “Come Sofia, holy wisdom, gateway to eternity. Sacred source of all that is from long before earth came to be. In your womb the primal waters from below and from above gently rock your sons and daughters born to wisdom and to love.”

Throughout the Mediterranean, inscriptions and images on tombstones, frescoes and mosaics provide compelling evidence that women held leadership and ministerial roles in the early church — roles identical to those held by men as prophets, priests and deacons.

These American pilgrims have visited catacombs where frescoes show women clothed in priestly vestments and celebrating the Eucharist.

“Certainly in the first two centuries, we see women — at least parts of the early communities — holding co-equal roles with men,” says Sister Chris Shenk, executive director of the Catholic group FutureChurch, which organized the pilgrimage.

She says everything changed after the year 313, when women were pushed out of the public arena and lost their roles as officeholders.

“After Constantine made Christianity legal, worship moved from the house church into the basilicas, and it became a public space where women’s leadership was not as accepted because of the cultural norms of the time,” Shenk says. “And so around that time, you see more and more suppression of women in leadership roles.”

The pilgrims also came to the ancient site to offer their individual prayers, reciting in unison: “We pray. Jesus prophet of wisdom, lead and guide us ….”

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Then one woman chimed in, “That all women may find their voice and realize its value.”

Shenk stressed that “part of the power of our pilgrimage is that women’s experience is validated not only in seeing women leaders in church archaeology, but it is also validated in prayer and often women do not experience that.”

The pilgrimage ended at the Vatican, where the group handed over some 25,000 signed postcards and open letters, asking Catholic officials to help resolve the growing problem of the worldwide shortage of priests by allowing celibacy for men to be optional and by letting women once again be deacons.

 
 

Progressive Pope? What Direction Will Francis Take The Catholic Church? (VIDEO)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/01/pope-francis-progressive_n_2992886.html
EXTRACT

April 1, 2013

Francis has only been leader of the Catholic Church since March 13th, but the new Pope has already made a deep impression on Catholics and non-Catholics by the choices he has made during Holy Week including washing the feet of Muslims and women inmates on Maundy Thursday and his calls for the church to be more involved with the poor, interfaith dialogue and peace.

Do the words and deeds of the newly elected Pope indicate a new progressive opening at the Vatican? Will it extend to LGBT acceptance and women ordination? Is the Catholic Church too complicated for binary political categories?

HuffPost Live host Abby Huntsman leads the conversation with Rev. Paul Raushenbush, HuffPost Senior Religion Editor; Jamie L. Manson Weekly Columnist at The National Catholic Reporter, Chris Stefanick @ChrisStefanick Catholic Youth Speaker & Author and Nicholas Collura Graduate Student At The Boston College School Of Theology And Ministry

Watch the full segment on the future direction of the church here. […]

 
 

Pope’s promising start gives reformists hope

http://www.independent.ie/opinion/letters/popes-promising-start-gives-reformists-hope-29167749.html

April 2, 2013

Pope Francis’s washing of the feet of women on Holy Thursday – previously a male-only preserve – (Irish Independent, March 29), combined with his adoption of the humble principles of his namesake, highlights once again the promising movement by the current Bishop of Rome away from the trappings of an intransigent, over-indulgent church.

My parish, St Michael’s in Inchicore, has long promoted the involvement of women in all aspects of a more inclusive, community-based pastoral engagement, both in our words (the promotion of gender-inclusive language in scripture) and in our deeds – particularly evident in our celebrations of Holy Week and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Female members of our congregation led many aspects of our activities, particularly evident on Good Friday in the Passion of the Christ and the Adoration of The Cross.

We even had a female Jesus in the children’s Stations of the Cross celebration, with my daughter throwing herself into the role with gusto in a wonderful evocation that involved over 30 children of all races, shapes and sizes, resplendent in their homemade costumes.

The principle of inclusivity and humility are what heralded the beginnings of Christianity some 2,000 years ago – it is high time that the current church returned to these principles, particularly in an age when many of us are struggling with our faith, particularly in the light of recent scandals and an apparent lack of contrition.

My faith has been based on an engagement in a community-focused interpretation of what Jesus preached all those years ago – to be honest, the influence of a Curia-dominated Rome has been minimal and while that will probably remain the same over the coming years, I see in the initial words and actions of the newly appointed Pontiff the seeds of a movement that may start to sweep away a lot of the pomposity and secrecy and make the church what it should be . . . a church of the people.

Mark Lawler, Kilmainham, Dublin 8

 
 

From:
JLT
To:
prabhu
Sent: Tuesday, April 02, 2013 9:20 PM Subject: Vatican defends Pope’s washing of women’s feet

Dear Michael 

Fr. James Manjackal MSFS [in Austria] read your email with the attachment on the washing of women feet. He fully agreed with you that it was a bad signal. See the below news. God bless you! Javier, Spain

Vatican defends Pope’s washing of women’s feet

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/30/vatican-defends-pope-francis-washing-of-womens-feet_n_2985784.html

By Alessandro Speciale, Religion News Service, March 30, 2013

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican on Friday (March 29) dismissed criticism of Pope Francis’ decision to wash the feet of two women during a Maundy Thursday Mass at a Rome youth prison.

The move has come under fire from Catholic traditionalists who say that the rite is a re-enactment of Jesus washing the feet of the 12 apostles before his death, and thus should be limited only to men.

Traditionally, popes have washed the feet of 12 priests during a solemn Mass in Rome’s St. John Lateran Basilica.

Edward Peters, a blogger and expert in church law at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, wrote on his blog that Francis was setting a “questionable example.” A 1988 letter from the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship states that only “chosen men” can be admitted to the foot-washing ceremony. 57.

 
 

 
 

But including women in the rite is a widespread practice in the United States and elsewhere. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio regularly included women in the rite.

The Vatican’s chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the pope’s decision was “absolutely licit” for a rite that is not a church sacrament. Francis also took into account “the real situation, the community where one celebrates,” Lombardi added. The Casal del Marmo prison where Francis celebrated houses both young men and women, “and it would have been strange if girls had been excluded,” Lombardi said. “This community understands simple and essential things; they were not liturgy scholars,” Lombardi said. “Washing feet was important to present the Lord’s spirit of service and love.”

A document issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says that the inclusion of women in the foot-washing rite is an “understandable way of accentuating the evangelical command of the Lord, ‘who came to serve and not to be served,’ that all members of the church must serve one another in love.”

The bishops’ document continues, “It has become customary in many places to invite both men and women to be participants in this rite in recognition of the service that should be given by all the faithful to the church and to the world.”

Since his election on March 13, Francis has shown a preference for a simple, humble approach to the papacy. He’s scaled back the elaborate rites and liturgical vestments his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, had reintroduced.

The moves have worried some conservatives.

The Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, a conservative blogger, said that Francis’ moves might be interpreted as a vindication of Catholic liberals that have been increasingly marginalized during the conservative papacies of Benedict and John Paul II.

“Liberals will find it far easier than conservatives to claim that Francis’ actions are endorsements of their liberal thing,” he wrote on his blog on March 28.

The inclusion of women in the Maundy Thursday rite, for example, could raise hopes that Francis will endorse women priests, Zuhlsdorf wrote. “Liberals,” he said, “only care about the washing of the feet of women, because ultimately they want women to do the washing.”

But Bergoglio wrote in a 2011 book that women cannot accede to the priesthood because “he maximum of the priesthood is Jesus, a male.”

“According to tradition,” wrote the future pope, “all that pertains to the priesthood must happen through man.”

Also at http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/vatican-defends-pope-francis-washing-of-womens-feet/2013/03/29/0f6232a4-98ae-11e2-b5b4-b63027b499de_story.html

Eminent priests have contested Fr. Lombardi’s defense of Pope Francis’ washing of women’s feet. One result of that unfortunate precedent is seen in the forward below that I received. “But the Pope did it” will be the response to any criticism of the likely liturgical free-for-all. The Bombay Catholic Sabha, a regular endorser of New Age error, does exactly what I and other conservative Catholics voices have predicted will happen:

 
 

From: Robin Viegas <robinviegas@hotmail.com> Date: Tue, Apr 2, 2013 at 8:44 AM […]
From
:
bcsabha.kalina@gmail.com
To: […]
From: Dolphy D’Souza <dolphydolphy13@gmail.com> To: […]

http://freepressjournal.in/a-mumbai-priest-remembered-in-new-popes-act/

A Mumbai priest remembered, in new Pope’s act: Late Fr. Hugh Fonseca.

Mumbai : Even as traditionalists took umbrage at Pope Francis I washing the feet of two young women on Maundy Thursday, some Mumbai Catholics on Sunday recalled the pioneering spirit of late Father Hugh Fonseca.

Among those whose feet the new Pope washed as part of the ritual prayer services of Maundy Thursday were prisoners at a detention centre in Rome, including a Serbian Muslim woman.

Welcoming the Pope’s move, Dolphy D’Souza, former president of the Bombay Catholic Sabha, reminisced on Sunday about a similar incident that took place here in late 1990s.

The Bombay Catholic Sabha is an organisation that works in the civic, political and social sectors for the all-round development of the community.

An elated D’Souza said that Pope Francis I has set the tone, and laid down an example. The gesture would go a long way in women’s empowerment within the Catholic Church.

“In the late 1990s, the late Father Hugh Fonseca, one of the few activist priests in his time, was the parish priest of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Malad,” he said. D’Souza was then chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council of the same parish.

“At the Parish Council meeting, it was decided that during the Maundy Thursday ritual, at the mass, the priest would wash the feet of 12 female domestic workers. However, some parishioners complained to the bishop about this, and Father Fonseca was told by the bishop that the said act was against Cannon Law, and directed to abandon such a move,” D’Souza reminisced. D’Souza said that while Father Fonseca relented, in keeping with his vows of obedience to the bishop, he did not abandon the idea entirely.

“Father Fonseca washed the feet of the 12 male domestic workers at the altar, but directed me to wash the feet of the selected female house workers at the same time in the midst of the community below the altar,” D’Souza said.

Stating that Father Fonseca’s actions at the Holy Thursday ritual set an example long back, D’Souza said he was glad that the new Pope was sending out a clear message to ensure that women are given their due by today’s church.

Maundy Thursday marks the time when Jesus laid down the ritual practice of the communal meal, as a coming together of disciples. The Sunday mass is a re-enactment of that meal. The Bible describes how Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, as a mark of the humility with which those who lead must serve. Traditionally, elderly people in a parish are called to the altar, and their feet washed during Maundy Thursday mass. – IANS

More on this on page 105.
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U.S. Catholics Happy with Selection of Pope Francis

http://www.pewforum.org/Christian/Catholic/US-Catholics-Happy-with-Selection-of-Pope-Francis.aspx
EXTRACT

March 18, 2013

In the days immediately following the selection of Pope Francis as the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church, nearly three-quarters of U.S. Catholics (73%) say they are happy with his selection, including 31% who say they are very happy. One quarter of Catholics do not yet have an opinion about Francis’ selection, while just 2% express unhappiness.

Francis is the first Jesuit and the first Latin American to be elected pontiff. But in these early days, Catholics are divided over how big a change Francis represents for the church. Four-in-ten Catholics (41%) say the selection of Pope Francis represents a “major change,” while a roughly equal number (44%) see his selection as “only a minor change” for the church.

When asked about a list of possible priorities for the new pope, seven-in-ten Catholics say that addressing the sex abuse scandal should be “a top priority” for Francis. U.S. Catholics as a whole attach less importance to other possible priorities on the list. But among Catholics who say they attend Mass at least once a week, roughly equal numbers cite “standing up for traditional moral values” (65%) and “addressing the sex abuse scandal” (63%) as top priorities for the new pope. By contrast, among Catholics overall 49% say that standing up for traditional moral values should be “a top priority” for Pope Francis. Roughly four-in-ten Catholics or fewer think that spreading the Catholic faith (39%), addressing the priest shortage (36%) and reforming the Vatican bureaucracy (35%) should be top priorities for the new pope.

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The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted March 13-17 among 1,501 adults (including 325 Catholics), also finds that majorities of Catholics want the church to change some of its teachings and policies. Three-quarters of Catholics (76%), for example, say the church should allow Catholics to use birth control. Nearly two-thirds of Catholics (64%) say that priests should be allowed to get married, and six-in-ten (59%) endorse the idea of allowing women to become priests.

By comparison, fewer Catholics think that these changes will happen anytime soon. About half of U.S. Catholics (53%) say the church definitely or probably will change its position over the next 40 years or so to allow Catholics to use birth control. And roughly four-in-ten Catholics expect that by the year 2050 the church will allow priests to marry (39%) and will allow women to become priests (37%).

Reactions to the New Pope  

Roughly three-quarters of Catholics say they are happy with Francis’ selection as pope, including 31% who are very happy. One quarter of Catholics (26%) say they have not heard enough to say whether they are happy with the selection or express no opinion. Very few Catholics are unhappy with the choice of Francis as pope (2%).

 
 

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Nearly nine-in-ten Catholics who attend Mass at least once a week are happy with Francis’ selection (87%). By comparison, 62% of Catholics who attend Mass less often express happiness with the selection of Francis; about one-third of Catholics who attend Mass less than once a week (35%) express no opinion.

Catholic women are happier than Catholic men about the ascension of Francis to the papacy (80% vs. 65%); more men than women express no opinion (34% vs. 18%). Catholics age 50 and older express greater happiness about the selection than younger Catholics do (82% vs. 66%). Nearly one-third of Catholics under 50 have no opinion (31%), compared with roughly one-in-five Catholics age 50 and older (18%).

Compared with Catholics, members of other religious groups are more uncertain in their reactions to the selection of Francis as pope. Among both Protestants and the religiously unaffiliated, roughly six-in-ten express no opinion on the matter, saying they don’t know or haven’t heard enough to say.

Half of Hispanics – many of whom are Catholic – are happy with the selection of Francis, the first pope from Latin America. Whites express a similar level of happiness (45%). Compared with Hispanics, blacks express somewhat less happiness (35%) about Francis’ selection; two-thirds of blacks (64%) express no opinion.

Catholics are divided over whether the selection of Francis as pope represents a major change or a minor change for the church; 41% of Catholics say this is a major change, while 44% say it is a minor change. The view that Francis’ selection is a major change is more common among Catholics who attend Mass at least once a week (50%) than among those who attend Mass less often (34%).

Compared with Catholics, members of other religious groups are less inclined to see Francis’ selection as a major change for the church. Less than one-third of Protestants (28%) and just one-fifth of the religiously unaffiliated (21%) say Francis’ elevation to the papacy represents a major change.

Roughly four-in-ten U.S. Hispanics (43%) say Francis becoming pope is a major change for the church; fewer blacks (30%) and whites (26%) express this view.

Three-quarters of Catholics say they followed the selection of the new pope very (39%) or fairly closely (36%). The selection of the pope garnered less attention among the public as a whole, with about half of all U.S. adults saying they followed the story very closely (21%) or fairly closely (28%).

 
 

Priorities for New Pope  

The sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church remains a major concern among U.S. Catholics. Seven-in-ten (70%) say addressing the scandal should be “a top priority” for Pope Francis. Of five potential issues listed, this is the only one that most U.S. Catholics agree should be a top priority. The next most commonly named priority, standing up for traditional moral values, is seen as a top priority by about half of U.S. Catholics (49%). Fewer Catholics say spreading the faith (39%), addressing the priest shortage (36%) and reforming the Vatican bureaucracy (35%) should be top priorities for the new pope.

Catholics who attend Mass at least once a week are as inclined to see standing up for traditional moral values as “a top priority” for the new pope (65%) as they are to say addressing the abuse scandal is “a top priority” (63%). By contrast, just four-in-ten Catholics who attend Mass less often (38%) say standing up for traditional values should be a top priority for Pope Francis. There also is a generation gap on this issue. Six-in-ten Catholics age 50 and older say standing up for traditional moral values should be a top priority for the new pope, but only four-in-ten Catholics under 50 (39%) express this view.

Regular Mass-attending Catholics also are more inclined than Catholics who attend Mass less often to say spreading the faith and addressing the priest shortage should be top priorities for the new pope.

Catholics’ Views on Married Priests, Women Priests and Birth Control  

Most
Catholics support expanding eligibility for the Catholic priesthood. Roughly six-in-ten U.S. Catholics say the Catholic Church should allow priests to get married (64%), and about as many (59%) say the church should allow women to become priests. The survey also finds that three-quarters of Catholics (76%) think the church should permit its members to use birth control.

On these issues, there is less support for change among Catholics who attend Mass at least weekly than among those who attend Mass less often. But even among regular Mass-attending Catholics, there is considerable support for change. Half of weekly Mass-goers say the church should allow priests to marry (53%) and allow women to become priests (49%). And 62% of regular Mass attendees say the church should permit the use of birth control.

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There is little in the way of generational or gender divisions among Catholics on these issues.

When asked whether or not the church will allow priests to marry by the year 2050, about four-in-ten Catholics say they think this either definitely will happen (7%) or probably will happen (32%). Similar percentages say the church will definitely (6%) or probably (31%) begin ordaining women to the priesthood by the year 2050. Catholics’ predictions about these matters have not changed significantly since 1999, when 43% said they expect to see married priests and 45% said they expect to see women priests by 2050.

About half of Catholics think the church will change its position on family planning to allow birth control by the year 2050 (53%).

 
 

BACK TO THE FOOT-WASHING-OF-WOMEN ISSUE – AND WHAT CATHOLICS THINK OF IT

Its official: the pope washed the feet of females at Holy Thursday Mass

http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2013/03/28/its-official-the-pope-washed-the-feet-of-females-at-holy-thursday-mass/

March 28, 2013 […]

This is a “progressive” blog and all of the 45 comments are in favour of Pope Francis’ action -Michael

 
 

Pope washes feet of prisoners—male and female—at Holy Thursday liturgy

http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=17463

Catholic World News, March 28, 2013

“I do this with all my heart,” Pope Francis said as he washed the feet of a dozen young prisoners at Rome’s Casal del Marmo detention center. “It is the example set by Our Lord,” the Pope said, recalling how Jesus washed the feel of his disciples. “It’s important for Him to wash their feet,” he said, “because among us the one who is highest up must be at the service of others.” He encouraged the young detainees to ask themselves: “Am I really willing to help others.”

As part of the traditional liturgy of Holy Thursday, at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the Pope washed the feet of 12 young detainees: 10 male and 2 female. He thereby disregarded the liturgical rules of the Church, which specify that the celebrant should wash the feet of males in the congregation, in a gesture that recalls Christ’s service to his own 12 apostles. Although many other bishops and priests have included women in the ceremony, Pope Francis became the first Pontiff to do so.

The papal Mass was not open to the media, but his homily was broadcast and photos were made available after the ceremony. Pope Francis had surprised other Vatican officials by his announcement that he would celebrate the Holy Thursday liturgy in a prison, following the pattern that he had established in the Buenos Aires archdiocese.

 
 

ALL 6 COMMENTS

So, once again, those who have gone out on a limb to defend a tradition are left “holding the bag.” They’re made to look like fools for trying to hold to traditional practices. It was the same story with girls serving on the altar. I think people in ministry like our new pope have to learn that this will cause many to throw up their hands saying “you simply can’t trust these fellows (i.e. Rome) not to change their ‘rules’ from one day to the next. Best to just cave in from the start.” - jg

Traditionally, the Pope CANNOT break a rubric. If he does something liturgically “contra legem,” then by that fact, it is then legal for all priests to do that in the liturgy. So we are now free to wash the feet of women without any moral qualm. Like it or not, that’s the tradition. - Don Vicente

It’s a lead story on the Drudge report; people are taking notice. Polemics will go on for some time. Nonetheless, we’re in confused times and this action is nothing if not a source of confusion. As we encounter tremendous confusion in the natural order related to serious issues and growing pressures on the Church to consider married priests and to expand the role of women in the Church to the point of ordination, it gives many pause. We can’t judge nor ought we pretend; “watch and pray.” Jim Grum

We just acquired a pastor who enforced the rubric for the first time in living memory in this parish. It is difficult to accept the point that Pope Francis is making here, and I sympathize with the other commentators.Agnes Day

Remember the priest, the Levite and the Samaritan? Are we asking Francis, acting like the Samaritan, to be more priest-like or Levite-like? I am not here to tell the pope what to do, but whatever he does should be regarded in good faith rather than with suspicion. –Mario

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Mario, I accept that the Holy Father has full authority to do what he did. The point all of us are making here is that everything he does has a huge impact at the parish level at East Wherever. If he is going to change liturgy, it should be a conscious process and the faithful should be given a heads-up.Agnes Day

 
 

Pope Washing the Feet of Women at Holy Thursday Mass

http://www.reddit.com/r/Catholicism/comments/1b6qr4/breaking_news_pope_washing_the_feet_of_women_at/

March 29, 2013

TWO SELECTED COMMENTS

Michael Voris is going to have a coronary over this. :) You can tell from his latest videos he wants so badly to criticize… But it’s the Pope. – Saddad

No he won’t. He knows who butters his bread. -Kaese Kopf

 
 

Francis set a bad example by washing the feet of two women

http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/inquiries-and-interviews/detail/articolo/francesco-francis-francisco-23683/

Alessandro Speciale, March 29, 2013

Traditionalists are fuming at Francis’ gesture during the Holy Thursday mass. He washed the feet of two women, one of whom was a Muslim.

Alarm bells rang straight after Pope Francis’ election when he presented himself to the world, from the Loggia of the Blessings, wearing a simple iron cross. No red mozzetta and no stole. Eyebrows were raised among traditionalist Catholics who defend the pre-conciliar Latin Mass.

The Argentinean Pope’s CV attracted instant criticism from fans of the Tridentine Mass. In an analytical piece published by traditionalist website Rorate Caeli, one Latin American journalist summed up his reaction to Bergoglio’s election as “The Horror”: “Of all the unthinkable candidates, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is perhaps the worst. Not because he openly professes doctrines against the faith and morals, but because, judging from his work as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, faith and moral seem to have been irrelevant to him.”

Above all, the new Pope was a “sworn enemy of the traditional mass,” the Latin Mass that is, and apparently forbid the implementation of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum – with which Benedict XVI liberalised the Tridentine Mass as an “extraordinary form” of the Roman Rite – in his archdiocese.

Another example was the piece by Catholic commentator Michael Brendan Dougherty published in the National Post, in which he rashly – just three days after the result of the Conclave was announced – defined Bergoglio’s election as “one more in the pile of recent Catholic novelties and mediocrities.” This is because Pope Francis “falls in line with the larger era of the Church in the past 50 years”, which has been defined by “ill-considered experimentation”: “a new synthetic vernacular liturgy” … the dramatic gestures and “saint factory” of Pope John Paul II’s papacy, along with the surprise resignation of Benedict XVI.

But hostilities exploded yesterday afternoon, after Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of two girls – one of them Muslim – during the Holy Thursday Mass celebrated in the Casal del Marmo detention centre for young offenders, in Rome.

Pope Francis was accused of setting a bad example and violating Church law, to the extent that Rorate Caeli promptly declared the “reform of the reform” – that is, the return to the more traditional rites and celebrations after the drift, seen by some critics as a path of carelessness and unjustified innovation after the Second Vatican Council – which many expected Benedict XVI to carry through.

Ed Peters, an expert on Canon law and a blogger who is famous in the Vatican, naturally did not accuse the Pope of violating a divine directive, but by ignoring it, “what he does do, I fear, is set a questionable example at Supper time.”

In 1988 the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments published the Circular Letter Paschales Solemnitatis on the celebration of Easter rites. No. 51 of the circular letter states: “The washing of the feet” is a rite that is only performed on “chosen men”. The original Latin viri selecti is crystal clear on the fact that the chosen ones must be male.

A year earlier, the U.S. Episcopal Conference had decreed that although the practice of washing women’s feet was not mentioned in liturgical books, “the intention to emphasize service along with charity in the celebration of the rite is an understandable way of accentuating the evangelical command of the Lord who came to serve and not to be served.”

The question came back into the limelight again in 2005 when the Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Sean O’Malley sparked a controversy because he wanted to open up the rite to women. On that occasion, the Congregation for Divine Worship had explained that whilst the “liturgical obligation” of washing men’s feet alone, remained, local bishops were free to decide otherwise, according to the pastoral needs of his diocese.

Then Pope Francis made his humble gesture. Speaking to Associated Press, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi explained that “in a ‘grand solemn celebration’ of the rite, it would make sense to only involve men because during the Last Supper, Christ washed the feet of the 12 apostles, all of whom were male.” But in the case of Casal del Marmo “the rite was for a small, unique community made up also of women. It was a specific situation in which excluding the girls would have been inopportune in light of the simple aim of communicating a message of love to all in a group that certainly didn’t include refined experts in liturgical rules.”

 
 

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Pope Francis’ new approach evident on Easter

http://www.dw.de/pope-francis-new-approach-evident-on-easter/a-16711875
EXTRACT

Julia Kammler csc, March 31, 2013

In celebrating his first Easter in Rome, the Pope has broken with tradition in a number of ways. Many faithful seem to be delighted, while Catholic conservatives have expressed displeasure.

Protocols and formalities seem to matter little to the Jesuit from Argentina, whose unassuming demeanor has been the focus of much discussion. His encounters with the faithful are often spontaneous, creating quite a headache for his security detail. But the new head of the Catholic Church refuses to distance himself from the people: As their pope, he wants to be amongst them.

So after celebrating his first Easter Mass in Rome, Francis had himself driven across St Peter’s Square, where around 250,000 people had gathered for the service, in an open-topped vehicle. He greeted the faithful, accepted the gift of a football shirt, and blessed large numbers of children. He spent an unusually long time with a young disabled boy, whom he embraced and kissed on the cheek. Particularly eye-catching posters and banners were given a hearty thumbs-up, in between the customary gestures of blessing. The new pope is certainly unconventional. […]

The new pope did not celebrate the Lord’s Supper service on Maundy Thursday in the Basilica of St John Lateran, as is customary. Instead, he spent time in the Roman young offenders’ institution Casal del Marmo. […] During the Mass, the Pope followed Jesus’ example by washing the feet of twelve young prisoners of different nationalities and religious affiliations. Two girls were also among those selected. Women do not normally take part in the ritual washing of feet.

The previous pope, Benedict XVI, usually selected priests for the performance of this duty. Francis chose to ignore this precedent, immediately attracting criticism from conservative circles. Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi eventually intervened in a conciliatory role and emphasized that this had been an exception.

 
 

Pope Francis sparks outrage with washing of women’s feet

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/mar/29/pope-francis-sparks-outrage-washing-womens-feet/
EXTRACT

By Cheryl K. Chumley, March 29, 2013

Pope Francis broke with Catholic Church tradition and washed and kissed the feet of two young women during the Holy Thursday Mass ritual that has always been confined to men. […]

Church traditionalists decried the move, and accused the pope of setting a “questionable example,” AP reports. Modernists, however, welcomed his action and perceived a church attitude of inclusiveness was on the horizon. […] Canon lawyer Edward Peters said the pope’s inclusion of women is setting the stage for confusion among church members, however. “By disregarding his own law in this matter, Francis violates, of course, no divine directive,” Mr. Peters said, as quoted by AP. “What he does do, I fear, is set a questionable example.”

 
 

FROM RADICAL TRADITIONALISTS AND THEIR COUNTERPARTS

FRANCIS: Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a Jesuit from “the end of the world”– may end up taking you there…

http://romancatholicworld.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/francis-i-jorge-mario-bergoglio-a-jesuit-from-the-end-of-the-world/

Posted on March 13, 2013 by Marielena Montesino de Stuart
[All emphases are the author’s]

Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?

Jorge Mario Bergoglio began to address the crowds in St. Peter’s Square by stating that the College of Cardinals had gone to “the end of the world” (referring to Argentina’s geographic location) to find a Pope.

Bergoglio is the first Jesuit to be elevated to the papacy–and the first Pope from the Western Hemisphere. He was influenced by Henri de Lubac – from the Nouvelle Théologie movement of the 20th Century, which was the same movement followed by Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI). The Henri de Lubac followers were considered the more “moderate” wing of the modernists that helped craft Vatican II. But Vatican II, including its ecumenical movement, remains the biggest disaster that the Church has experienced in modern times – a reality that has caught up to every Pope that supported Vatican II. Bergoglio will not be an exception, as you will see below.

Most of Bergoglio’s background and information is in Spanish and is connected with his clerical activities in his native Argentina. This makes it difficult for the average English speaker to read information about Bergoglio. I conduct my work in several languages – so I am pleased to provide translations into English, wherever and whenever possible.

 
 

Bewitched, bothered and bewildered…

It has been reported by traditional Catholics in Argentina, who have been closely watching Bergoglio for years that his record against gay marriage is weak and delayed, at best. You would not know this if you read the spin (or simply lack of information) coming out of the main stream secular and Catholic media. You see, Bergoglio is your typical modernist Cardinal – loyal to the Vatican II agenda. He has perfected the Vatican II art of sending ambiguous signals – to keep unsuspecting obedient Catholics ‘bewitched, bothered and bewildered’.

Bergoglio has scandalized Catholics and Orthodox Jews in Argentina– with his ongoing “interfaith dialogue” and honoring of Abraham Skorka, a liberal rabbi of the Benei Tikva community in Buenos Aires. Skorka, who openly supports homosexual unions, is also the rector of the Seminario Rabínico Latinoamericano (Latin American Rabbinical Seminary). Skorka is known for his heretical charlatanism, offensive in both Catholic and Jewish circles.

Bergoglio and Skorka were made for each other. 65.

 
 

 
 

 
 

Here is the Jewish Press Agency website page with the press release announcing Rabbi Abraham Skorka’s support of homosexual unions (in Spanish). The obvious and easy-to-understand title of the announcement, pretty much spells it out: http://www.prensajudia.com/shop/detallenot.asp?notid=19608.

Also available as a PDF file here: http://romancatholicworld.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/el-rabino-skorka-se-expresc3b3-a-favor-de-la-unic3b3n-entre-homosexuales.pdf.

This is another page from the Jewish Press Agency with Rabbi Skorka’s announcement (dated May 5, 2010): http://romancatholicworld.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/press-release-from-jewish-press-in-argentina-rabbi-abraham-skorka-in-favor-of-homosexual-union.pdf.

 
 

Heaven and Earth… but what about Hell?

Bergoglio has even gone as far as to co-author a book of “dialogues” with Rabbi Skorka, titled Sobre el Cielo y la Tierra (About Heaven and Earth). While the word sobre can also mean “above” – I cannot imagine that these two men would have the nerve to place themselves “above” heaven. But typical of modernists – they omitted the word ‘Hell’ in the title – a destination known for housing many heretics.

 
 

Get me off this bus!

Bergoglio enjoyed being known as “the Cardinal who rides the bus” – in other words, “the people’s Cardinal.”

That is great! It is expected that a Cardinal care for his flock and for the poor!

But it appears that Bergoglio’s bus tends to zigzag, allowing Bergoglio to make some unexpected stops – as in October 11, 2012, when he honored his friend, Rabbi Skorka, with the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa, at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina (UCA) / Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, on the 50th Anniversary of the opening of Vatican II.

UCA, like many Catholic universities in the world – has turned into a welcome mat for liberal “deep thinkers” disguised as ambassadors of social justice. We had plenty of these “Catholic social justice ambassadors” in Cuba, and they were instrumental in fomenting Communist unrest. One of these “Catholic social justice ambassadors” was Fidel Castro himself, educated by the Jesuits in Havana – and supported by certain members of the clergy.

After Skorka received his Doctor Honoris Causa from Bergoglio, they held each other in a warm embrace, while the audience of liberal “deep thinkers,” “intellectuals” and liberal clerics gave them an enthusiastic round of applause.

Folks, this took place at a “Pontifical” and “Catholic” university – with shameless disregard for Skorka’s public support of homosexual unions – and in support of Skorka’s accusation that “anti-Semitism also had roots in the theology that was developed inside Catholicism in Poland” – where his family lived.

Here is the video of this event (even though it is in Spanish, the actions speak for themselves). I strongly recommend that the reader seek the assistance of a FLUENT Spanish speaker– because rabbi Skorka’s speech and his honoring at this “Pontifical Catholic University” will become part of Bergoglio’s legacy:
http://www.gloria.tv/?media=357609 (VIDEO)

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Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio embraces liberal Rabbi Abraham Skorka, who publicly supports homosexual unions

 
 

Bergoglio honored Skorka with a Doctor Honoris Causa at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina on Oct. 11, 2012

Bergoglio’s enthusiastic relationship with Skorka is a reflection of Vatican II’s modern world values. That is not a good sign, because the only thing that can save the Church at this time is a vigorous rejection of Vatican II. Bergoglio will not do that.

Whatever Bergoglio has done to speak out against abortion (which is Catholicism 101 for any Catholic – never mind for a Cardinal) has been overshadowed by his scandalous liberal activities, which he carefully balances with his “people’s Cardinal” image – of riding the public bus and meeting with the poor. Bergoglio is actually a crafty PR man who knows how to perform the ‘dance of the seven veils’ – so as to keep his audience entertained with messages, which go out in every direction. Most Argentinian Catholics, like Catholics all over the world, have grown up under Vatican II modernism – and often lack the proper Catholic formation to discern when Holy Mother Church is being violated. In addition, Catholicism requires obedience– and most Catholics do not question Church authority. Fortunately, there are still some traditional Catholics in Argentina who are documenting and reporting the modernist activities of priests, Bishops and Cardinals – like the former Cardinal Bergoglio.

The other bad sign coming out of Argentina – are reports of Bergoglio being either lukewarm or less than friendly to the Traditional Latin Mass. While he did allow the Latin Mass to be said in his archdiocese, in order to comply with Summorum Pontificum (the Latin Mass initiative by Benedict XVI) – it appears that the traditional Latin Mass is not on his list of priorities. God help us.

 
 

Here is one of Bergoglio’s modernist outdoor masses for children (what a way to hurt their formation as Catholics!):

The next bad sign to come out of Argentina is a photo of Bergoglio, on his knees, receiving a blessing from a preacher of another denomination.  This does not surprise me– because it appears that Bergoglio is a big fan of ecumenical gatherings – and we know from the ecumenical “peace” gatherings at Assisi (which included the participation of obstinate atheists) what a sacrilegious circus these events can be.

 
 

 
 

It has also been reported that Orthodox Jews in Buenos Aires do not appreciate Bergoglio’s sacrilegious interfaith ceremonies (i.e., mysterious changes of venues suddenly take place).  This is not surprising.  People who take their religion seriously and have proper religious formation do not participate in interfaith ceremonies.

 
 

 
 

This is not the way a “humble” and holy future Pope speaks…

Will Bergoglio have the fortitude to immediately begin a clean up of the Curia, starting with the Cardinals and Bishops who have participated in, and/or covered up pederasty and homosexuality?  If the following shocking vulgar use of words by Bergoglio in defense of the Curia is any indication of what’s to come– then there won’t be much change:

“Journalists sometimes risk becoming ill from coprophilia and thus fomenting coprophagia: which is a sin that taints all men and women, that is, the tendency to focus on the negative rather than the positive aspects. The Roman Curia has its down sides, but I think that too much emphasis is placed on its negative aspects…” – Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (LaStampa.it Vatican Insider – February 24, 2012)

Here is the entire interview.  The reader will find Bergoglio’s use of coprophilia and coprophagia in the last paragraph of page 2:  http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/inquiries-and-interviews/detail/articolo/america-latina-latin-america-america-latina-12945/  (Available in PDF:  Part One and Part Two)

Bergoglio’s use of the terms coprophilia and coprophagia are vulgar and offensive – particularly when, in current times, the focus of most religious and secular journalists (liberals or conservatives) is to put pressure on the Curia in order to stop the sexual abuse of children – which for the most part is pederasty committed by homosexual clergy.

Will Bergoglio use the same words, coprophilia and coprophagia, when he addresses the pederasts, liars, cowards and thieves who have infiltrated the Curia?

If this is what the papacy has become — then I suggest to Bergoglio that the Curia is THE place where he should apply his choice of vulgar language – a linguistic predilection which has been well noted – not just in the interview by LaStampa’s Vatican Insider – but by his countrymen in Argentina, who apparently have been subjected to his profane language.

Personally, I have a strong mistrust of anyone who claims to be humble – while issuing insults involving terms found in manuals for serious psychiatric disorders.

Here is a report from Panorama Católico Internacional http://panoramacatolico.info/articulo/el-horror. Available in PDF here and translated into English HERE.

What can we expect?

If Bergoglio is going to do anything to stop the collapse of the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy – then he will have to act fast, since he is 76 years old and there is plenty of filth to deal with in the Vatican. This will be very difficult – if not impossible, because the entire Curia is part of a disastrous Vatican II agenda – and Bergoglio is completely invested in Vatican II.

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Vatican II is a dead end

Benedict XVI was only two years older than Bergoglio when he started his papacy. We already saw what happened with Benedict XVI when he ‘just could not take it any more’. HE QUIT and WALKED AWAY from the mess he helped create, by continuing to support Vatican II – and by looking the other way when sexual abuse cases and violations were taking place left and right, throughout his 24 years as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Will Bergoglio clean out the financial corruption in the Vatican? Does he even know where to begin, in order to unravel the financial chaos? Does Bergoglio understand that Cardinal Roger Mahony remains as one of the corrupt Cardinals holding the purse strings of the powerful Papal Foundation? The following is a screen caption of the Papal Foundation Board of Trustees, taken on March 14, 2013:

 
 

Cardinal Roger Mahony member of the Papal Foundation Board of Trustees under POPE FRANCIS (JORGE MARIO BERGOGLIO) – SCREEN CAPTION TAKEN 2013-03-14 at 6.18.56 PM (ET)

 
 

Based on Bergoglio’s public bus riding reputation in Buenos Aires, he may end up as a more simple version of Benedict XVI. In other words, no red shoes or trendy hats, or private dinners with scandalous German and Italian aristocrats. But based on his liberal background and profane rhetoric, there is cause to be seriously concerned.

Bergoglio’s roots in theology will define his papacy.

Here is another quote from LaStampa’s Vatican Insider of Bergoglio’s 2012 interview – where Bergoglio talks about Henri de Lubac:

“The cardinalate is a service, it is not an award to be bragged about. Vanity, showing off, is an attitude that reduces spirituality to a worldly thing, which is the worst sin that could be committed in the Church. This is affirmed in the final pages of the book entitled Méditation sur l’Église, by Henri De Lubac.”

It is important to understand Henri de Lubac – in order to understand Bergoglio. Here is a caption from Meet Henri de Lubac– which describes de Lubac’s admiration for one of the “Early Socialists” – Pierre Joseph Proudhon:

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

One of the first signs of Bergoglio’s approach to the papacy will be to observe how he handles Vice President Joe Biden’s upcoming visit to the Vatican, to join in the celebration. Will Bergoglio allow Joe Biden to receive Holy Communion while in Rome – given Joe Biden’s pro-abortion position? Will he dialogue with Biden — like he did with Skorka?

The bus to Bergoglio’s “end of the world” has left the station — and he’s taking you with him.

 
 

Next post FRANCIS HAS A VISION: A “poor Church for the poor”… What?

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Inquiries can only be accepted through the form below, which must be completed as indicated.

Inquiries from anonymous senders will not be honored. Anyone who operates in the dark is not serving Christ. They are serving someone else. I will, however, accept any tips about an impending inquisition, by a centralized or decentralized group of socialists from the Vatican, against faithful and obedient Roman Catholics.

If you are a Vatican official and you need my help – because you are ready to admit that Vatican II and its “spirit” is nothing but socialism disguised as “social justice” and “interfaith dialogue” (religious political correctness) – then do fill out the form below. If you are a Cardinal or a Bishop, please don’t run and hide in your neighborhood’s catacombs. I operate above ground – plus it makes it very difficult for me to reach you through a network provider.

The Vatican is a mess, so let’s begin the clean-up process in an orderly fashion, by properly completing the form below.

DISCLAIMER

From the day of his election, I have been swamped with literally dozens of radical Traditionalist emails with information such as the above on Pope Francis, most of them too hate-filled and vulgar to reproduce. I have only copied the above to give the reader an idea of how Traditionalists view the election of our new Pope -Michael

 
 

The Bergoglio Pontificate

http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2013/03/for-record-girl-among-12-inmates-whose.html, http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=19978542&postID=8665214740841374064

March 28, 2013 […]

SELECTED 16 [OUT OF 109] COMMENTS

Viri selecti deducuntur a ministris ad sedilia loco apto parata. Tunc sacerdos (deposita, si necesse sit, casula) accedit ad singulos, eisque fundit aquam super pedes et abstergit, adiuvantibus ministris. This just keeps getting worse and worse. –Marko

This is only the beginning. More of this kind of thing to come. Unfortunately. Thank you, previous Pope! -GQ

In ignoring the instructions of the missal the Holy Father is setting a very negative example which sadly WE KNOW many will imitate –Cure d’Eire

Me thinks the Papacy of His Holiness Francis is the ultimately triumph of Vaticanum II. The Abdication of Benedict XVI has turned to the fiasco, many have predicted. -J.G. Ratkaj

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Welcome to the New New Evangelization. To achieve greater inclusiveness, perhaps pets could be admitted next year. Donal

It certainly sets a bad precedent and I’m worried about where this will lead to. –Anthony

I agree with you Cure d’Eire. My pastor has always included 6 women in the Holy Thursday liturgy. He does it because our Bishop does it. For me, and I am a woman, it is very painful to watch. This year I will be attending tonight’s mass at another parish where I hope they do not do that.Anonymous

I am a young, recently ordained priest. Tonight, I planned on preaching about the Eucharist and the institution of the priesthood. How can I speak about such things – the self-offering of Christ, the 12 viri selecti – when our Holy Father is witnessing to something different? I feel like going up to the congregation and saying, “I don’t have any idea what the symbolism of the washing of the feet is. Why don’t we just all do what we want?” How hard this is for young priests. -Anonymous priest

Pope Francis has managed to do more damage in 2 weeks than any Pope in the Church’s history. - John Sobieski

One only has to wonder about what nutty thing the Pope is going to do next. Nearly every day it’s something different. I don’t blame him, though. I blame the Cardinals who elected him. The Pope is just being who he is. Obviously, this is what the majority of the Cardinals wanted. God help us. Marsaili

This seems reminiscent of the “Altar Girls” controversy that quickly went from a decried liturgical abuse to an approved practice. Back when Archbishop Hunthausen was washing women’s feet in Seattle, he was doing so in an explicit act of defiance to Rome – an act which conservative Catholics decried in the pages of the Wanderer and elsewhere. It turns out, Hunthausen wasn’t so much wrong as he was ahead of his time. -Paul William

Humility this…humility that…for the poor…by the poor…we are all poor…etcetera…etcetera.
But where is Pope Francis’ humility to follow the Church’s proper traditions, ceremonies and decorums? Can it be called selective humility?Drew

A week or so ago, Father Z listed what he thought were the crazy hopes of the liberals for Pope Francis. At the time, I found them somewhat implausible, but no more. Here are three of them.
1. Francis would decide to live somewhere other than the Vatican as a sign he prefers the simple life.
2. Francis would sell the Vatican Museum and donate the profits to the poor.
3. Francis would allow for women to become deacons.
Now, I ask each of you. How crazy are these ideas today? Francis has already decided not to live in the Papal apartments and Cardinal Kasper, a man who Francis cited as a great thinker, proposed women as Deacons just last month.
As I wrote earlier, I think the Church is in for a major revolution. He’s already discarded several traditions in short order and Cardinal Hummes, who joined Francis on the loggia, told a Brazilian newspaper celibacy and ordination of women were issues on which Francis would listen.Robbie

Bergoglio is bad news!! Yes, I’ve said about 25 times already on Rorate Caeli, yet Bergoglio keeps doing things that make me repeat myself. This is only the beginning my friends of the modernist apostasy this man will put on Holy Mother Church.Francis

IS He getting us READY FOR The next BOMB SHELL women clergy! Oreoman

Is there any liturgical law this Pope will respect? I guess Priests no longer have to follow rubrics and the GIRM is now moot…And the lay Faithful may choose what suits them and what does not. Very good lessons this Pontificate teaches. What is crystal clear so far in this Pontificate is that the Pope favors one group of people and ignores the sensibilities of some others. Hardly humble. Gregorian

 
 

Pope’s foot-wash a final straw for traditionalists

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/03/29/new-pope-washing-women-feet-is-final-straw-sorts-for-wary-traditionalist/

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, March 29, 2013

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has won over many hearts and minds with his simple style and focus on serving the world’s poorest, but he has devastated traditionalist Catholics who adored his predecessor, Benedict XVI, for restoring much of the traditional pomp to the papacy.

Francis’ decision to disregard church law and wash the feet of two girls — a Serbian Muslim and an Italian Catholic — during a Holy Thursday ritual has become something of the final straw, evidence that Francis has little or no interest in one of the key priorities of Benedict’s papacy: reviving the pre-Vatican II traditions of the Catholic Church.

One of the most-read traditionalist blogs, “Rorate Caeli,” reacted to the foot-washing ceremony by declaring the death of Benedict’s eight-year project to correct what he considered the botched interpretations of the Second Vatican Council’s modernizing reforms. “The official end of the reform of the reform — by example,” ”Rorate Caeli” lamented in its report on Francis’ Holy Thursday ritual.

A like-minded commentator in Francis’ native Argentina, Marcelo Gonzalez at International Catholic Panorama, reacted to Francis’ election with this phrase: “The Horror.” Gonzalez’s beef? While serving as the archbishop of Buenos Aires, the then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s efforts to revive the old Latin Mass so dear to Benedict and traditionalists were “non-existent.”

Virtually everything he has done since being elected pope, every gesture, every decision, has rankled traditionalists in one way or another.

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The night he was chosen pope, March 13, Francis emerged from the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica without the ermine-rimmed red velvet cape, or mozzetta, used by popes past for official duties, wearing instead the simple white cassock of the papacy. The cape has since come to symbolize his rejection of the trappings of the papacy and to some degree the pontificate of Benedict XVI, since the German pontiff relished in resurrecting many of the liturgical vestments of his predecessors.

Francis also received the cardinals’ pledges of obedience after his election not from a chair on a pedestal as popes normally do but rather standing, on their same level. For traditionalists who fondly recall the days when popes were carried on a sedan chair, that may have stung. In the days since, he has called for “intensified” dialogue with Islam — a gesture that rubs traditionalists the wrong way because they view such a heavy focus on interfaith dialogue as a sign of religious relativism.

Francis may have rubbed salt into the wounds with his comments at the Good Friday procession at Rome’s Coliseum, which re-enacts Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, praising “the friendship of our Muslim brothers and sisters” during a prayer ceremony that recalled the suffering of Christians in the Middle East.

Francis also raised traditional eyebrows when he refused the golden pectoral cross offered to him right after his election by Monsignor Guido Marini, the Vatican’s liturgy guru who under Benedict became the symbol of Benedict’s effort to restore the Gregorian chant and heavy silk brocaded vestments of the pre-Vatican II liturgy to papal Masses.

Marini has gamely stayed by Francis’ side as the new pope puts his own stamp on Vatican Masses with no-nonsense vestments and easy off-the-cuff homilies. But there is widespread expectation that Francis will soon name a new master of liturgical ceremonies more in line with his priorities of bringing the church and its message of love and service to ordinary people without the “high church” trappings of his predecessor.

 
 

There were certainly none of those trappings on display Thursday at the Casal del Marmo juvenile detention facility in Rome, where the 76-year-old Francis got down on his knees to wash and kiss the feet of 12 inmates, two of them women. The rite re-enacts Jesus’ washing of the feet of his 12 apostles during the Last Supper before his crucifixion, a sign of his love and service to them.

The church’s liturgical law holds that only men can participate in the rite, given that Jesus’ apostles were all male. Priests and bishops have routinely petitioned for exemptions to include women, but the law is clear.

Francis, however, is the church’s chief lawmaker, so in theory he can do whatever he wants.

“The pope does not need anybody’s permission to make exceptions to how ecclesiastical law relates to him,” noted conservative columnist Jimmy Akin in the National Catholic Register. But Akin echoed concerns raised by canon lawyer Edward Peters, an adviser to the Vatican’s high court, that Francis was setting a “questionable example” by simply ignoring the church’s own rules.

“People naturally imitate their leader. That’s the whole point behind Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. He was explicitly and intentionally setting an example for them,” he said. “Pope Francis knows that he is setting an example.” The inclusion of women in the rite is problematic for some because it could be seen as an opening of sorts to women’s ordination. The Catholic Church restricts the priesthood to men, arguing that Jesus and his 12 apostles were male. Francis is clearly opposed to women’s ordination. But by washing the feet of women, he jolted traditionalists who for years have been unbending in insisting that the ritual is for men only and proudly holding up as evidence documentation from the Vatican’s liturgy office saying so.

“If someone is washing the feet of any females … he is in violation of the Holy Thursday rubrics,” Peters wrote in a 2006 article that he reposted earlier this month on his blog.

In the face of the pope doing that very thing, Peters and many conservative and traditionalist commentators have found themselves trying to put the best face on a situation they clearly don’t like yet can’t do much about lest they be openly voicing dissent with the pope.

By Thursday evening, Peters was saying that Francis had merely “disregarded” the law — not violated it.

The Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, a traditionalist blogger who has never shied from picking fights with priests, bishops or cardinals when liturgical abuses are concerned, had to measure his comments when the purported abuser was the pope himself.

“Before liberals and traditionalists both have a spittle-flecked nutty, each for their own reasons, try to figure out what he is trying to do,” Zuhlsdorf wrote in a conciliatory piece.

But, in characteristic form, he added: “What liberals forget in their present crowing is that even as Francis makes himself — and the church — more popular by projecting (a) compassionate image, he will simultaneously make it harder for them to criticize him when he reaffirms the doctrinal points they want him to overturn.”

One of the key barometers of how traditionalists view Francis concerns his take on the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass. The Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that brought the church into the modern world, allowed the celebration of the Mass in the vernacular rather than Latin. In the decades that followed, the so-called Tridentine Rite fell out of use almost entirely. Traditionalist Catholics who were attached to the old rite blame many of the ills afflicting the Catholic Church today — a drop in priestly vocations, empty pews in Europe and beyond — on the liturgical abuses that they say have proliferated with the celebration of the new form of Mass.

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In a bid to reach out to them, Benedict in 2007 relaxed restrictions on celebrating the old Latin Mass. The move was aimed also at reconciling with a group of schismatic traditionalists, the Society of St. Pius X, who split from Rome precisely over the Vatican II reforms, in particular its call for Mass in the vernacular and outreach to other religions, especially Judaism and Islam. Benedict took extraordinary measures to bring the society back under Rome’s wing during his pontificate, but negotiations stalled. The society has understandably reacted coolly to Francis’ election, reminding the pope that his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, was told by Christ to go and “rebuild my church.” For the society, that means rebuilding it in its own, pre-Vatican II vision.

The head of the society for South America, the Rev. Christian Bouchacourt, was less than generous in his assessment of Francis. “He cultivates a militant humility, but can prove humiliating for the church,” Bouchacourt said in a recent article, criticizing the “dilapidated” state of the clergy in Buenos Aires and the “disaster” of its seminary. “With him, we risk to see once again the Masses of Paul VI’s pontificate, a far cry from Benedict XVI’s efforts to restore to their honor the worthy liturgical ceremonies.”

Also at http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5j-UBTUNC78JCbrYj7miw_DIi6Ijg?docId=4e59b003667d4e199e690f0e9784df57

 
 

Foot-washing devastates traditionalists

http://www.telegram.com/article/20130330/NEWS/103309860/1116/mobile&TEMPLATE=MOBILE

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, March 30, 2013 […]

 
 

Associated Press on supposed traditionalist concerns

http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2013/03/associated-press-popes-foot-washing.html

March 29, 2013

Ditto as in
Pope’s foot-wash a final straw for traditionalists
by Nicole Winfield, pages 71-73

 
 

All Hell Breaks Loose After
Pope Washes Women’s Feet

By Katie J.M. Baker, March 29, 2013

http://jezebel.com/5992878/all-hell-breaks-loose-after-pope-washes-womens-feet

The Vatican collapsed in a puff of smoke and funny hats this morning following Pope Francis’s sacrilegious decision to wash and kiss the feet of two young women at a juvenile detention center in Rome on Holy Thursday. Well, not yet, but the gesture angered conservatives and liturgical purists who believe Francis set a “questionable example,” since church rules restrict the ritual to men and no pope has ever dared to wash or touch the slutty toes of a woman before. What’s next? Rampant and secretive child molestation? Oh, wait.

Francis washed, dried, and kissed the feet of the young offenders: Muslims and Orthodox Christians, men and women, black and white, even those with tattoos — my stars, apocalypse is nigh — because that’s what Jesus would’ve done.

“This is a symbol, it is a sign. Washing your feet means I am at your service,” Francis told the group, according to the AP. “Help one another. This is what Jesus teaches us. This is what I do. And I do it with my heart. I do this with my heart because it is my duty. As a priest and bishop, I must be at your service.”

Popes typically celebrate Holy Thursday by choosing 12 priests to represent the 12 apostles whose feet Christ washed during the Last Supper before his crucifixion. But when Francis was archbishop of Buenos Aires, he regularly carried out the ritual in jails, hospitals or hospices — once he even washed the feet of a woman holding a baby. That was all well and good when he was a lowly archbishop, but now he’s expected to pretend that women, along with other marginalized groups, don’t exist. He broke the Pope Rules!

Cue outrage and an insane amount of time dedicated to debating the fact that he touched ladyfeet.

“By disregarding his own law in this matter, Francis violates, of course, no divine directive,” wrote Canon lawyer Edward Peters, who is an adviser to the Holy See’s top court. “What he does do, I fear, is set a questionable example.”

Indeed, many suspect that the foot-washing will lead to allowing women to be ordained as priests. “This is about the ordination of women, not about their feet,” wrote the Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, a traditionalist blogger. Liberals “only care about the washing of the feet of women, because ultimately they want women to do the washing.” And thus the evil plot is uncovered!

The funny/sad/predictable part is that Francis doesn’t actually think women should be priests. In his 2011 book, “On Heaven and Earth,” then-Cardinal Bergoglio said there were solid theological reasons why the priesthood was reserved to men: “Because Jesus was a man.” (“Because Jesus” is a fab way to end any debate.)

The AP notes that this was the pope’s “most significant break with tradition yet,” and he’s barely begun his reign; should we expect more groundbreaking reforms to come? Maybe he’ll smile at a gay person? We’re not holding our breath.

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

We move on to four of Fr. John Zuhlsdorf‘s [also see pages 12, 20, 26 and 28] latest blogs; in two of them, he cites canon lawyer Dr. Edward Peters* [also see pages 7, 8, 18, 19, 35, 106-108]

*Dr. Edward N. Peters holds the Edmund Cardinal Szoka Chair at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, MI, since 2005. For some twelve years he served variously as diocesan Director of the Office for Canonical Affairs, Vice-Chancellor and Chancellor, Defender of the Bond, Collegial Judge for the diocesan and appellate tribunals of the Dioceses of Duluth, MN and of San Diego, CA, and Special Assistant to the Bishop. From 2001-2005 he taught at the (Graduate) Institute for Pastoral Theology (Canon Law, Liturgy & Sacraments, Canonical Structures, and Ecclesiastical Latin) based on the campus of Ave Maria College. In 2010, Dr. Peters was named a Referendary of the Apostolic Signatura by Pope Benedict XVI.

 
 

Have we entered an age of a new gnosticism?

Posted on 29 March 2013 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
[All emphases are the author’s]

http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/03/have-we-entered-an-age-of-a-new-gnosticism/

There is an adage: Qui bene distinguit, bene docet, that is, someone who makes distinctions well, teaches well.

Distinguished canonist Ed Peters makes good distinctions about the Holy Father’s disregard for the Church’s duly promulgated law when he chose to wash the feet of women on Holy Thursday. My emphases and comments.

Retrospectives on the Mandatum rite controversies
By Canonist Ed Peters, March 29, 2013

It’s a very big Church and there are many issues competing for the pope’s attention. Let me address just that issue I know something about, namely, ecclesiastical law, and try to talk sensibly about it. I’ll leave to finer minds the task of situating legal concerns in the wider ecclesial context.

For starters, perhaps Fr. Lombardi was misquoted or taken out of context when he apparently said, “the pope’s decision [to wash the feet of women on Holy Thursday] was ‘absolutely licit’ for a rite that is not a church sacrament.”

That remark is confusing because it implies that liceity is a concept that applies only to sacraments; but of course, liceity is an assessment of any action’s consistency with applicable law (canon, liturgical, sacramental, etc). One would never limit questions of Mass liceity to, say, the matter used for the Eucharist or the words of institution (that is, the sacrament at Mass) [NB] as if all other rubrics were merely optional. No one understands liceity so narrowly, [ehem… I think some people do] and so, as I say, we are probably dealing with an incomplete answer.

In any case, I think some conclusions can be drawn about the foot-washing incident already.

[Here is an obvious point that must be made to help liberals sober up a little.]
1.
If liturgical law permitted the washing of women’s feet at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, [then] no one would have noticed the pope’s doing it. What was newsworthy (apparently, massively newsworthy) is that, precisely because liturgical law does not authorize it, the pope’s performance of the action was huge news.

2. I and many others have long been open to revising the Mandatum rite so as to permit the washing of women’s feet [I am not among them.  However, Peters is making a different point…] although I understand that strong symbolic elements are in play and I might be under-appreciating arguments for the retention of the rite as promulgated by Rome. I take no position on that larger issue, it being ultimately a question for experts in other disciplines. My focus is on the law as issued by Rome (c. 838).

[We get to the crux of the canonical issue…]
3. Few people seem able to articulate when a pope is bound by canon law (e.g., when canon law legislates matters of divine or natural law) and when he may ignore it (e.g., c. 378 § 1 on determining the suitability of candidates for the episcopate or appointing an excessive number of papal electors contrary to UDG 33). Those are not hard cases. Most Church laws, however, fall between these two poles and require careful thinking lest confusion for—nay, dissension among—the faithful arise. Exactly as happened here. [In spades!] Now, even in that discussion, the question is not usually whether the pope is bound to comply with the law (he probably is not so bound), but rather [pay attention…], how he can act contrary to the law without implying, especially for others who remain bound by the law but who might well find it equally inconvenient, that inconvenient laws may simply be ignored because, well, because the pope did it[That, ladies and gents, is the problem.  Liberals are going to claim that because of what Francis did, they can do whatever they wish.  Indeed, they will claim that others who uphold the clearly written law are wrong to up hold the law.  They will, like gnostics, appeal to some vague super-principle which trumps all law (and reason).]

4.
A pope’s ignoring of a law is not an abrogation of the law but, especially where his action reverberated around the world, it seems to render the law moot. [Moot means “doubtful, theoretical, meaningless, debatable”] For the sake of good order, then [Peters’ own recommendation…], the Mandatum rubrics should be modified to permit the washing of women’s feet or, perhaps upon the advice of Scriptural and theological experts, the symbolism of apostolic ministry asserted by some to be contained in the rite should be articulated and the rule reiterated. What is not good is to leave a crystal clear law on the books but show no intention of expecting anyone to follow it. That damages the effectiveness of law across the board.

Get that last point?

What is not good is to leave a crystal clear law on the books but show no intention of expecting anyone to follow it. That damages the effectiveness of law across the board.

This is a huge problem.

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Liberals such as Michael Sean Winters, who does not in this matter seem to make distinctions at all, think that Peters and I are “obsessively focused on whether or not a bishop or priest can/should wash the feet of women during the Mandatum Rite in the Mass of the Lord’s Supper”. He is wrong.  That’s just your usual liberal misappropriation of the situation.

Peters and I are actually concerned about the good order of the Church. A canonist and a man in Holy Orders ought to be. Winters, on the other hand, writes for the paper of record for dissenters and antinomians.

What this foot washing issue does is reveal how vast the gulf is now that divides those who maintain that order, law and reason are necessary in the Church and society and those who, like gnostics who possess secret powers of interpretation of even more secret teachings, apply super-principles which trump lesser matters such as reason, law and order.

The new gnostics (liberals) call upon “fairness” and feelings. There can be no valid response possible by argument or reason or precedent.

For a long time I have argued that we need a level of liturgical celebration which brings about an encounter with the transcendent, which cuts beyond our (by now) useless linear arguments.  People today can’t follow a linear argument.  You get to the end and they conclude, “That might be true for you…”   Now, however, we may be seeing more clearly, in reactions to what Francis is doing (not necessarily in what Francis is doing), the exaltation of the golden calf of immanence.

Have we entered an age of a new gnosticism, wherein only those who feel a certain way are the true authoritative interpreters?

 
 

74 SELECTED [OUT OF 187] COMMENTS

Since our Holy Father Francis is a humble man, I am sure that when senior prelates (Ouellet, Burke, Benedict, Scola???) point out to him the confusion that already has ensued, he will humbly take instruction and remedy the situation.

Is anyone collecting reports like the two in the monster thread on “What is Pope Francis Really Saying”. In one, a commenter reported that her priest, within the time-lag between the prison Holy Thursday service and her parish’s service, explicitly used the pope’s action as a warrant for his own ad-libbing. In the other, a RCIA instructor had the rug pulled out from under her after explaining the apostolic/priestly symbolism of the Mandatum, when her pastor replaced two of twelve designated participants at the last minute, again, citing (unless I am mistaken), the pope’s example.

Can a list of such reports be compiled and communicated to those prelates who might understand the consequences as outlined by Dr. Peters and Fr. Z?

I am appalled at the overreaction of some traditionalists on that thread. I am appalled at the “elder brother” mentality some exhibited, at confidant predictions of utter disaster. I do not think we do ourselves any favor by uncharitable, exaggerated, coarse, despairing reactions.

But I do think the Holy Father’s actions during these last two days have sowed, unnecessarily and imprudently but also probably unwittingly, confusion. The thrust toward evangelization, toward exhibiting compassion for the poor and weak and needy is a very good thing in my view. I can live with symbolic gestures like choosing the Domus over the Apostolic Palace even while concurring that many of the ceremonies and settings belonging to the office of Peter could be embraced by a humble man alive with evangelical fervor. But what I do not understand is why the fundamental symbolism of celebrating the Holy Thursday liturgy in a prison (very good, in my view) could not have been carried out without simultaneously ignoring the rubrics and sowing confusion and scandalizing many.

If Fr. Z is right in his assessment of “What Pope Francis is saying,” then wouldn’t it make it far more powerful and effective if it were said while also observing faithfully many of the small-t traditions and sticking to the prescribed liturgical rubrics?

I have studied Gregory I’s Pastoral Rule for many years now. Surely discernment could be employed to consider how best to say what Pope Francis is saying, how best to push to the forefront the Church’s deep and heartfelt concern for the marginalized while at the same time upholding the treasures of the Church’s liturgy and arts?

Is there no one in the Holy Father’s circle who could bring this message to him?

As others have pointed out, St. Francis was a stickler for respect for the liturgy (indeed, it’s through the liturgy, apparently, that he received his theological knowledge, since he had no formal schooling) and for priests. It IS possible to combine liturgical solemnity with radical evangelical love of poverty. Francis of Assisi is exhibit A in that regard.

Is there no one who can raise this with Pope Francis? It’s very early in his efforts to evangelize, it would be relatively simple (and a mark of great humility), to recognize and admit that some of the well-intentioned gestures might have been imprudent.

But to my fellow traditionalists who read this blog, I say: those of you who overreacted and who, yes, threw a nutty
are not making the task of righting the bark of Peter any easier. You bring discredit to all of us who care deeply about the liturgy and the small-t traditions. Yes some now use Pope Francis’s example of the Mandatum to justify totally unjustified departures from liturgical, doctrinal or moral laws. But this cuts two ways. The vitriol and hyperbole of some of the commenters (and those on Rorate all the more so) will now deliver justification to those who have distaste for liturgical and other traditions anyway.

Could we stop delivering ammunition to those who oppose the Extraordinary Form and its traditions? Would it hurt us to calm down, take deep breaths, and employ prudence and discernment in the comboxes?
-Dennis Martin

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The thing is, it’s not just “liberals” at the Reporter and the like who seem to drink deep from the cups of antinomianism and sentimentalism. The entire Catholic portal at Patheos is engaged in a group effort to condemn anyone who is critical of Pope Francis’ decision as pharisees, dismiss appeals to rubrics and canon law as irrelevant, all while crowing about how such “beautiful” and “humble” gestures effectively trump any other concern. This includes pretty straight shooters (from a Catholic perspective) like Mark Shea and Fr. Longenecker (the latter a fairly high church guy). Then Jimmy Akin ties himself up in knots arguing that the Mandatum business was hunky dory, after arguing previously that the rite involved men only. When I and others raised the issue of Canon Law (in fact, I cited Prof. Peters’ writings a few times) on Shea’s blog, the argument was specifically rejected as “the jots and tittles of canon law” and mocked (“so tell me what Canon law court is going to put the Pope on trial?”).

To this I can add my own personal experience after Holy Thursday mass in the sacristy at the parish where I happened to be reading that evening. Most were absolutely giddy that Francis washed the feet of women (ok, let’s grant that’s not an unreasonable position in the abstract), and they found it comical that some complained the pope had violated liturgical rules. This was not directed at anything I said. Rather, they had read in some or other paper or blog that “conservatives” accused the pope of violating rubrics, which very notion they found absurd. Partly because Francis is the pope, but also because the very idea of rules that govern church order are seen as silly.

All the while, no one is willing to confront the central issue that was raised, what good is it to have laws when there is no intention of following them or of reforming and modifying them, just as Peters asks. I ask the question more directly: shouldn’t we be able to expect our church leaders to follow the rules? And I am called a Pharisee, so end of argument.

Yes, these antinomian and gnostic times, and that is very dangerous. We are in for a very rocky road ahead. And no, I am not blaming Pope Francis. Rather, his particular aesthetic and decisions, especially in such (seeming) sharp contrast with Benedict XVI, has drawn the widespread, underlying sentiment to the surface. -Vox borealis

The foot washing at my parish was of 7 young girls, 3 older women, one boy, and one man complete with the priests renewing their commitment to the priesthood to the female president of the Parish Council accompanied by the music of a not so amazing sounding rock band complete with drums following a homily that lauded Pope Francis’ election. All what the pope did is give these people ammo to destroy the unity of the church. I think Francis is a very holy man but his actions as pope risk tragic consequences for the Church because of the tone that has been set. I think now that no matter what the Holy Father says, writes, or teaches the media template of him has been written. His homily about the fact that if one doesn’t pray to Jesus Christ then one is praying to the devil will be forgotten and all that will be remembered is that he washed the feet of women and a Muslim so we should not be so judgmental towards Islam and women should be ordained priests.
A lot of diocesan priests and bishops could not have cared less about what Benedict XVI was teaching or the liturgical example he was setting and had to be dragged kicking and screaming into following even the minor changes he made to the Mass; and some are starting to go back little by little to the old form now as well because they know they can get away with it. Anything that assaults the unity of the People of God is by definition evil and evil needs to be dragged out and exposed in the light for what it is. I hope that Francis will do this but I don’t know. Father Cantalamessa’s Good Friday homily stated that the Church was filled with clutter and debris piled up through the centuries (which sounds exactly like the language of those who did so much damage to Church unity in the wake of Vatican II) so I wonder what other centuries old tradition is next on the chopping block? PRAY FOR POPE FRANCIS. Priam

The level of confusion over this is really over the top, isn’t it? I can tell you are struggling with this, Father. You’re in our prayers. -David Werling

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving up. I’m not chased off nearly that easily. I’ve been witnessing this nonsense virtually my entire life, and I’ve seen far too much to let it go by now without calling it for what it is, childish rubbish. So far I like this pope less and less, but I still support the papacy, and the church it rules, whether the holder of the office wants to or not. I’ve seen posts from some very confused young people out there, and I sympathise with them. But kids, you’re going to have to be survivors, and you’re going to have to toughen up, there’s no two ways about it. You got a decent taste of Catholicism while you were young, and improvements can happen in the future, but for now you’re in for a spell of populism that isn’t going to be very tasty. Hold fast to the traditions of the Faith, to the things that last. Steep yourselves in knowledge of the church, it history, and its life, so that you can construct the church in which you wish to dwell in your mind. You must create that vision for yourselves. And try to be the kind of people who improve the situation where they find it. Make things happen, including liturgy (you CAN do the Divine Office liturgically on your own in private liturgical groups, you know). Be instigators. Whatever you see going on around you, gnaw on the truths of the faith as on an old shoe-leather. It’s not steak, but it will get you through the famine…should it come in force. And be patient. Pray for patience, and practice it. None of us rules the world alone, but if we keep our individual houses in order, when we join them together, we have a much bigger and far more pleasant house in which to dwell. -jbp

Hi jbp, I’m one of the people who stuck up for Pope Francis on this one. Only to read Fr Z’s blog entry and realize I was wrong. For the record I’m NOT young (far from it), not a ‘liberal’ (hate the term anyway) nor a gnostic. I am on the opposite end of your opinion of Pope Francis. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt that he made a mistake and that we were in error for defending that mistake. Most of us do hold fast to the Traditions of the Church, even the little t’s.

However, I’m just as uneasy when people hold fast to the little t’s and that’s where it ends. Maybe that’s why I do admire Pope Francis and believe he is the man for this time. Then this washing of women’s feet came up and it wasn’t so much that he did that-but that he broke a law to do so. There we were wrong to defend him and at some point I believe Pope Francis will see this corrected. I don’t think most of us KNEW. I do know this. Pope Francis came from a very poor country where corrupt governments deprive their own people to live luxurious life styles. There are plenty of those all over the world. I have the feeling Pope Francis cannot leave those people behind him-the marginalized. I would wonder about living what even appears to be a comfortable lifestyle when my own people are suffering. I don’t think i could do it either. I also KNOW for a fact that there have been many unfair attacks on Pope Francis already including questioning his motives.
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So we were just too ready to defend him perhaps.
Anyway, I was wrong and he was wrong and I think at the appropriate time he will correct it. Boxer

Yes, this is a frustrating situation to be in. I must say though, that I have implicit trust in what Fr. Z. writes about these matters, and follows his cue. I appreciate that he too is struggling with this predicament as he carefully lays out his response. It is well thought out and reasonable, and from his accurate analyses of past predicaments, he can be deemed trustworthy. Thank you Fr. Z. for your guidance!

Dennis Martin has suggested above a good point:
Since our Holy Father Francis is a humble man, I am sure that when senior prelates (Ouellet, Burke, Benedict, Scola???) point out to him the confusion that already has ensued, he will humbly take instruction and remedy the situation.

Fr. Z., as you have knowledge of those in Rome who frequent your blog, might not a discreet message be sent through one of them, perhaps to Cardinal Burke (yet still, the head judicial official) to approach P. Francis and with humility show to him, that as he desires to enliven the Church by his example, that he, because of his example, is causing distress in the Church – especially for the meek and humble members who so desire to do what is right and good. A loud demonstrative “appeal” will never work, as has been pointed out by others here. I am at a loss to think of any other options, because if P. Francis is truly a humble man, would he not accept in charity, a fraternal “suggestion”? Other possible means would be to present a petition, perhaps composed by Fr. Z. or Dr. Peters, that would, simply and directly, state our concern and be void of all rancor. The other might be to submit a Dubium to the liturgical office.
Widukind

I’m going to be perfectly frank here, touching on something that I’ve noticed going around quite a bit lately and which was brought to mind by what Vox mentioned regarding those in the blogosphere and other areas defending Pope Francis to the dying breath and naming as pharisees anyone who leveled even the slightest bit of criticism at his actions.

I think that there can be such a thing as too much loyalty to the Pope.

When your loyalty is so strong that you will bend over backwards to justify anything that a Pope does solely out of completely blind love, you’ve gone a wee bit too far.

We have to walk a very fine line where we affirm dogmatic teachings, maintain obedience and respect, but still notice and still voice when a Pope, who can and does sin and can be in error privately, starts making wholesale changes to ecclesiastical tradition and violates canon law. It was so bad with many folks that it seemed almost as though the deference that was needed in this situation was a simple laughing-off of the notion that a Supreme Pontiff could be bound by canon law. While this is technically true, it’s a complete cop-out, since it’s being used as a shield to avoid the question of whether the Roman Pontiff is acting outside of propriety and encouraging Liturgical abuse and scandal by implicitly invoking his power as supreme interpreter of canon law and exploiting the fact that he has no authority over him except the Holy Trinity when it comes to matters of governance and law.

May our Father bless Pope Francis. I pray that he is guided in the Spirit and that the Mother of God shelters him in a special way, as He acts as Vicar of Christ. I bend the knee… but I do not defend his actions, and I lament what Pope Benedict must be thinking of the toppling brick by brick of what he worked so hard over eight years to restore. -Jonathan

I am not a lawyer or theologian but have looked up some references.

1. Rubrics bear on essential rite, and if they are approved by a Supreme Pontiff, in the case of washing feet, Pius XII in 1955?, they are binding on all.

They can be Preceptive, (under pain of sin) or Directive not binding in themselves but stating specifically what is to be done. Which of these categories the washing of feet comes I, for one, do not know.

The universal norm for washing the feet is 12 men or less but exceptions, can be made, presumably, as in USA, by the Bishops Committee on Liturgy in February 1987, and which again which presumably had the approval of Pope Jean Paul II

2. The Pope is not an absolute ruler. As had to be pointed out to Paul VI, he is bound by the eternal truths of the Church, by Scripture, Tradition, Revelation and the infallible teaching of the Magisterium, the specific and defined Infallible teaching of Popes – as well as their prescriptive definition on rubrics, issued by predecessors until these rubrics have been altered by due procedure.

On balance, Pope Francis I’ action on washing the feet of women, was sailing very close to the wind indeed, and has created a disturbing precedent.

3. Then there is the kissing the feet. This is something that Jesus Christ never did, as far as I am aware? We have to be careful of virtues carried to extremes, as Chesterton indicated. Again a disturbing precedent. -Jacobi

Dear Father,

I am grieved by the divisions all this is causing. I live in Great Britain where heresies are so common that one is hard put to find an orthodox layperson. So many of the priests are so overworked they cannot contain the rot. Symbolic actions are so important, more than articles, which the vast majority of people do not read. I meet Gnostics daily here. They have not read the CCC; they have not conformed their minds to the mind of the Church. And, actions which contradict previous ones add fuel to their rebellious brains. What has happened to lex orandi lex credendi? I really am grieved. I have heard and seen more division in the Church in the past month, as ever liberal has her bit between the teeth. -Supertradmum

I am a liberal catholic, and I am also a little concerned. I understand the pain many here are experiencing it was the pain I felt during Benedict’s time. I am keeping you in my prayers.
Francis’ papacy has many responsibilities and one of them is to be a point of unity (he is more than the bishop of Rome) and at this rate he may lose this crucial role. My hope is that it all slows down – really slows down and he starts talking with his Bishops. For me this should be his priority. For example there is widespread talk of Kasper and his work on woman deacons (of which I am in favour). However I would be outraged if Pope Francis brought in a something such as this without discussing it with the wider church. I want a pope for all of us and not just for us liberals. Liberals who appeal to a secret ‘in crowd’ knowledge are not liberals but gnostics. I am not a gnostic. A good liberal is steeped in the tradition of the church but attempts to live the tradition in a new way and must not set up a second magisterium. Progressive

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It was just not a good example of leadership. Anyone who has led large groups of men in the military knows that one of the worst things you can do for good order is discipline is for you to openly violate standing orders. It creates confusion in the ranks, gives license to emulate your actions, takes away your credibility in enforcing other mandates and at its worst it opens you up to being labeled a hypocrite. Clearly, that is not what the Holy Father wants. But in terms of leadership, I do believe he (AND those advising him) had a misstep here.

And the thing is, it didn’t have to be this way. The Holy Father is clearly making efforts to call us all to action in terms of real, visceral evangelization to the World and specifically with the poorest among us. Who cannot applaud that and recognize that it is needed? I can certainly do more and I would like to see my parish do more. But that message was clouded Thursday because of the way it was delivered. Instead, the lasting reverberation will be this issue. And it has created a situation where we have unwittingly pitted charity against the rubrics of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. And as you have seen in the Catholic blogosphere, those who simply would like to see BOTH calls for charity AND adherence to rubrics are quickly dismissed as being pharisees or other pejoratives (ironically in the name of “charity”). It’s divisive. Again, I don’t think that is what the Holy Father wants.

Instead, the Pope could have done one of two things. If it was this important, then change the rubrics. There was time to do so. Do it openly and use it as a teaching moment for all on why you are changing them. That sends a clear message and it is the pastoral approach. It’s textbook leadership.

But what I really would have liked to see is an approach that follows the rubrics and builds upon tradition, rather than changing it. The Holy Father could have instead washed the feet of some of his priests DURING THE MASS and then AFTER THE MASS those priests (and the Pope) could have gone out into the prison and washed the feet in the inmates. In that way, we maintain tradition, set a good example of the following the rubrics AND we still deliver the message that the Pope wants but in a much, much more powerful and symbolic manner that actually builds upon tradition and enhances it. It truly is a situation where everyone could win here and it would unite the faithful following of the rubrics with charity. It’s a winning , 1-2 punch. God bless Pope Francis. He has my love and obedience. Stu

Stu, above, made the point I’ve been making: there was a very easy way to do the good here, without the confusion: wash the feet of whoever, outside of Mass. Someone else quoted the aphorism, he who makes careful distinctions, teaches well. So let’s make some careful distinctions here:

> As noted, this isn’t about the value of evangelical witness or acts of humility–who is really against these?–but questions of law and respect for norms, and the power of example.

> And, for those who are meltdown, there are a lot of stops on the railroad between, “The pope is everything, no demurral can be permitted” and, “the pope is a heretic” and “it’s all over.” (The latter are not conjectures; there are folks saying precisely these things.)

Who knows? This may end up working out rather well. As someone said, the pope may take a look at this and say, hmm, that didn’t work out as I hoped. How could I have approached that better? -Fr. Martin Fox

Supertradmum, I see the same among parishioners in my NO [Novus Ordo] parish. I’m trying to transition over to an EF [Extraordinary Form] parish that is further away.

For those of us who feel that tradition is being threatened, I think that our answer has to be to support a pastor who reverently and properly celebrates the TLM [Tridentine Latin-rite Mass]. That means making a greater effort to get to a Latin Mass more frequently, even if it is far away. Give up a pricier, fancy coffee or lunch out and make coffee/brown bag lunch at home. Use the money you save to pay for the gas to drive further out for the TLM once a month or more, if possible. If that simply isn’t possible because there’s no TLM within hundreds of miles, then search the internet for some TLM parishes. Pick up the phone and call the pastor and at least give him your vocal support. Perhaps consider financially supporting him and whatever he needs to properly say the TLM. Maybe commit to even a modest donation if that’s all one can do. Even $10/month could help if you have a few traditionally minded friends who might consider joining their efforts to yours.

If we want tradition to prosper, then we need to find ways to support it. I know many of you here are already doing that, but for any that might not be yet, this is going to be a group effort. We ALL need to adopt a TLM parish/pastor. There is strength in numbers. If in time, the TLM parishes are the only ones thriving, while numbers of attendees continue to dwindle in N.O. parishes, then there will come a point in the future when we will not be considered a stuffy minority, we will be the norm. But we need to take action to make it happen. We all need to become a brick: BE THE BRICK! The sooner, the better. Orthodoxchick

Well Father, you made the news:

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_VATICAN_POPE_TRADITIONALISTS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-03-29-16-43-17

Apparently, we who respect tradition need to fold up our tents. -Fleeb

As regards the present controversy over the Holy Father’s actions on Holy Thursday, the problem with the Internet is that a few thousand people of varying opinions can appear representative when they are not. We represent those who care. Many do not or have not noticed. I don’t like the Mandatum ceremony and since I have, for the first time in fourteen years as a priest, just been celebrant for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper I made sure there was none! But in Ireland it appears to be quite common to have a group of men and women. What needs to be clarified is the status of the Liturgical law in question and how and when the Holy Father may dispense himself from that law and under what circumstances.

I think that he was right even if it did unintentionally cause a lot of consternation and confusion. Those who are liturgical terrorists will do what they want anyway. They did not need his example before. I am mindful though that our Lord broke the laws of His day by permitting His disciples to pick grain on the Sabbath, by touching the unclean, by speaking to the Samaritan woman. He was God of course and the Pope is only the Pope. -Fr. Tom Forde OFM Cap

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The most infuriating aspect of these incidents is the total lack of any explanation from Pope Francis either beforehand or afterwards. That (indifference? arrogance? whatever) towards the confusion and turmoil of his people certainly belies all of his so-called humble caring for them/us. The result of his silence is to distract Catholics from the work of being Catholic. Instead, for the foreseeable future everyone on all points of the traditional/modernist spectrum will be focused on watching and wondering what his next controversial action will be. Also, there were at least 50% more people attending yesterday afternoon’s Good Friday liturgy in our local SSPX chapel than last year. Coincidence? Tradster

Fr. Z, I, too, ask is there some way (not through a blog) or someone here in the U.S. that has the Pope’s ear for questions, clarifications, assists in serious matters?
-Cheerios

I see our Holy Father’s actions in the liturgical sphere not so much different from what many have come to expect in priests over the age of 50 but especially those 70ish—a disregard for rubrics and an “open mind” on many other issues as well. We have two retired priests that come to fill in sometimes and I try to avoid them; I think of them as “Father Ad-lib”. And the pew-sitters are mostly ignorant of it; they like the jokes and off the cuffs remarks and so on. When Cardinal Mahony is pleased about the liturgical looseness of the Pope, well that is not a good sign for that Cardinal has long been ignoring rubrics and more.

I guess what concerns me is the caliber of the men that this Holy Father will appoint to the episcopate. Will it be liberal Jesuits? There are plenty of them among the few left that is. Many bishops have ignored canon 915 and ignored the Summorum [Pontificum]
as well. If the Pope can ignore things and continue on, then surely they can too.

The liturgical abuses are very disconcerting. Many of us have lived with them for years and years and years. I would gladly be in an FSSP parish if one were nearby. I will not go into schism though but would put up with the liturgical irreverence as one must be with Peter. I hope all that our Pope Emeritus has accomplished will not be undone. -Joseph Mary

Hopefully Pope Francis will see this as an example of what not to do. I and many others understand what he was trying to do. Yet this entire scenario could only play out precisely the way it has played out. This isn’t just traditionalists who are worried. Pope Francis’ attempts at reform are going to be a lot more difficult now, and there was no reason this had to be so. Maybe we need to expect some growing pains here, as he learns that nobody really cares what a Cardinal in Argentina does, but they certainly do when he is the Bishop of Rome.

Fr. Lombardi’s statement on the matter is also essentially kicking anyone worried over this change in the face while they are down. His snark probably won’t help matters Instead of everyone focusing on our Savior’s Death on the Cross, everyone was discussing this instead, and not just traditionalists! This also was entirely predictable. -KM Tierney

Pope Francis has certainly caused confusion and possibly furthered divisions within the Church by his actions on Holy Thursday. Hopefully he is aware of this and will take some time to reflect and then correct his liturgical philosophies.

Could it be that he isn’t aware the rubrics call for men only? Could it be that throughout his entire ministry he sincerely believes the GIRM permits deviations? Let’s remember many priests formed in the 60′s & 70′s would have been taught such things. He’s washed women’s feet before. Maybe his first Holy Thursday as pope was a bridge to his past and going forward he’ll only wash the feet of men. Maybe he now recognizes his actions have been used to justify other liturgical abuses. He’s human; he’s capable of error. Those blessed with knowledge should display charity, wisdom, and leadership by instructing the ignorant and ease up on the admonishment.

What if the next pope is as traditional as anyone could realistically expect? How would we then respond to ‘liberals’ wailing and gnashing their teeth? So far Pope Francis seems to me an opportunity for traditional Catholics to step up and show the rest of the Church who we are.

Our pope committed a liturgical abuse. Let he without sin cast the first stone. However, it is a spiritual act of mercy to instruct the ignorant. My humble advice is to treat Pope Francis as any other priest who washed women’s feet: pray for him, and then contact him with charity, respect, and correction.
Glen M

Washed a Muslim woman’s foot? Now, true ecumenism would respect the separation of the sexes in Islam. Kissing a woman prisoner’s feet doesn’t respect Islamic tradition. Clearly, P. Francis is playing to a secular crowd. Grabski

It’s ironic to me that the same people who were accusing Pope Francis of being soft on celibacy (because of an interview they misread or partially read) see NO problem at all with married men getting their feet washed, but when women are involved it’s somehow a commentary on the priesthood. It’s also ironic that those same critics, who have accused our pope of looking for media attention, are giddy about receiving some themselves, but I digress.

Yes, I was disappointed that he went ahead and washed the feet of some females. However, I also was not surprised because he has done so before (albeit not as pope). I also think I understand his reasons for doing so. I lean toward keeping the law as it is, but people who link foot-washing only to the priesthood have too narrow an understanding of what Jesus was trying to communicate.

I definitely don’t see how Pope Francis’ ignoring this rule for a completely optional rite, and for which there was already the precedence of exceptions being made by the Vatican, gives license for priests to do whatever they want with the rest of the liturgy. It doesn’t mean that Benedict’s reform of the reform is over. Bad priests will look for any reason to justify what they are doing wrong (and I wonder how much the hand-wringing traditionalists are to blame for giving them the idea, in this case), while good priests will continue what they are doing, unless they are suppressed (which I think is very unlikely). Liberals aren’t alone in using this to their advantage, either–SSPX members have been spiking the football every time this pope does something “wrong”. Pope Benedict certainly did a lot to advance traditionalism, but there were good priests doing it long before him, even under supposedly “bad” popes. Growing up in the 80′s I went to a regular diocesan parish where the altar rail was used, communion was on the tongue only, and there were no altar girls. Perhaps I’m naive, but I don’t see this foot washing ordeal as a huge step backward (or forward, if you’re a liberal).

If there’s any silver lining to the controversy this has stirred up and the media attention it has garnered, hopefully it’s that Pope Francis will have a better awareness of the power of his example, and be a little more cautious (God-willing) going forward.Mamajen

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What fascinates me is how commenters refer to Pope Francis’ humility when he willfully rejects a liturgical rule-practice-tradition of the Church. That sounds more like hubris to me. However, he is the Pope.

It reminds me of how President Obama makes a pseudo military salute to observers as he exits an airplane. The Pope as well as our Commander in Chief can set whatever example he chooses – for better or worse. As one who served in the U.S. Navy, I know full well that I was authorized to salute only when in uniform and covered (i.e., wearing a hat). If my Commander in Chief chooses to salute when not in uniform and when uncovered that’s his business. It doesn’t change my responsibility to “do the red”. WGS

If my Commander in Chief chooses to salute when not in uniform and when uncovered that’s his business. It doesn’t change my responsibility to “do the red”.

Nice. Trying to put it another way: Even if it were to play out one day that the man heading us up proves to be a loose cannon, that eventuality wouldn’t prevent me from doing what I need to do to stay on course and to stay on target. Unless I let it. And if I let it, that’s my own fault. -Marion

A quick observation form Buenos Aires, Argentina:

The underlying problem is that Card. Bergoglio had been doing this and many other things contrary to ecclesiastical law and the rubrics for many, many years, sowing confusion and disunion among the Archdiocese and the whole country. He explicitly ignored warnings and observations about this issue of the mandatum for years, “humbly” washing the feet of women time and again, always for the cameras.

He has also quietly “punished” in subtle and not so subtle ways priests concerned with the proper celebration of the liturgy, with upholding the traditional moral understanding of marriage (he said, in one instance, that upholding that masturbation and fornication was wrong was “piantavotos” (local argot for something that “will drive people away” from the Church).

Some of us told this time and again to whomever wanted to hear. We wrote to Rome explaining what was going on. To no avail. We were ignored locally, treated as having “a problem of ecclesiality” (whatever that means in Bergogliotalk) and labelled as cryptolefebvrists.

The problem is: if Rome chose to ignore this for many, many years, as if it was right, why all the fuss now? The cardinals that chose him should have known about this. If not, may God forgive them for their shallowness. Ignatius

Can Ignatius’ claims about a pattern in Buenos Aires be corroborated? To me that’s a crucial question. I suspend judgment because I will not make up my mind about something based on anonymous combox claims. We need hard, clear evidence. The charges Ignatius makes are very serious. Are they true? I do not expect the issue to be clarified on blogs. I want to see some solid research in books or articles by solid researchers. In time, I expect, these will be forthcoming. This is an urgent task for Catholic World Report, National Catholic Register, EWTN, Ignatius Press etc. I hope they already have reporters at work on this. -Dennis Martin

To Dennis Martin: what I say is true. You may want to believe it or not. Many of the people that have witnessed Cardinal Bergoglio’s attitudes will not talk since they are part of the clergy of the archdiocese. Cardinal Bergoglio was a very cunning politician. He rarely does things that may reflect badly on him in the open. I am simply a layman with no particular axe to grind, but who suffers heterodox predication, awful liturgy and watches how poorly formed are the few seminarians in the Archdiocese (here, there is no “springtime”). If you want references, the only written work I know about the issue is “La Iglesia Traicionada” by Antonio Caponneto. Mr. Caponneto is sometimes over the top in his criticism and his political positions are questionable, but the facts he has documented regarding Cardinal Bergoglio are true and everybody knows them here. Many orthodox priests have left Buenos Aires for dioceses of the provinces, due to Card. Bergoglio’s policies. Another telling fact is that the SSPX, as nutty as it is, has attracted a lot of people due to Card. Bergoglio policies here.

Many people in the wider church knew what was going on here, people -clergymen- that have visited the archdiocese. I could give names. It is no secret what was going on here. But since we are in the bottom of the world, nobody really cared. We had to endure people like Mr. Weigel trumpeting how wonderful Cardinal Bergoglio was just because he was charmed by him in an interview for his book and because the Aparecida document was good. Many people contributed to the hype without really knowing what they were talking about. -Ignatius

Mamajen, I think your comments, and those of others in the blogosphere attempting to minimize the Holy Father’s ad hoc changes, may be seriously underestimating the consequences of not just “Footgate,” but the rest of the changes he has taken upon himself to impose upon everyone around him in the name of “simplicity.” It is not difficult to demonstrate that simplicity is an agnostic aim, and exercise. As a virtue, simplicity can be a virtue to rid an overdone situation of excess in a time of laxity. As a sin, simplicity can be used like 1000 gallons of napalm to scorch the earth to the dirt.

From Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Emeritus, in The Spirit of the Liturgy (2000):

“After the Second Vatican Council, the impression arose that the Pope really could do anything in liturgical matters, especially if he were acting on the mandate of an Ecumenical Council. Eventually, the idea of the givenness of the liturgy, the fact that one cannot do with it what one will, faded from the public consciousness of the West. In fact, the First Vatican Council had in no way defined the Pope as an absolute monarch. On the contrary, it presented him as the guarantor of obedience to the revealed Word. The Pope’s authority is bound to the Tradition of faith…”

I agree with Father Z in that I “get” where he might be going with this, and why. Nevertheless, I am more definitive in my own opinion that sudden change and the capricious yielding to preference by the head of the Church sets a very, very bad precedent.Norancor

If the law is now open to interpretation to anyone and everyone, why do we now need to be or remain Catholic, or for that matter catholic. After all it is now open to our bishops’ interpretation, or our priests’ interpretation, or our deacons’ interpretation, or OUR interpretation. Yes in essence that is free will but we used to have guidelines. With out these guidelines it seems to me that we are no longer the Catholic Church since we are not universal anymore in the sense that we no longer practice the same faith. It is now based on some feeling of the moment. This is very charitable and full of humility, but I am not sure why and for who. -Jim Dorchak

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Ronald Reagan once gave an outstanding talk about the different ways liberals and conservatives seek peace. He said “If all you want is peace, you can have right now. I mean it, right this very moment. How? Surrender. Give your enemies everything they want right now, and I promise you the end of war.”

And this, I greatly fear, is exactly how Church “unity” may now be obtained: by making the Catholic Church into a home of many or all mansions, where anything and everything can be embraced as true.

The headline in my morning paper on Good Friday in Rome was “Pope praises Muslims”.

Every faithful Catholic priest, everyone who venerated Lepanto and all the saints and martyrs who died for Christ by the hands of enemies of the truth needs to pick up their cross and live daily under the bus under which they have been thrown.

When we fight for truth, we fight for Him who is Truth. When we fight for everything, we seek and obtain nothing.

To have the faith, to keep the faith, to die in the faith. That is what is important. A unity grounded in situational relativism is not to be found at the foot of the cross, but by the wide gate. -Allan S

All the news articles, the ones that seem original, refer to the rite of footwashing. Did His Holiness actually say Mass there too? In which case the Muslim girl, at least, was not really part of the worshipping community, although she was part of the ‘community’. But if he didn’t say Mass, and just washed feet, it would have been an entirely different thing. This is, I think, particularly Jesuit, and perhaps general as well: the well-intentioned desire to do many good things, but mixing them up. The gesture could have been good on its own; it just didn’t have to be at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.Joe

What I find even more disturbing are the following sentences from Fr. Cantalamessa (Preacher for the Papal Household)’s sermon for Good Friday:

“We must do everything possible so that the Church may never look like that complicated and cluttered castle described by Kafka, and the message may come out of it as free and joyous as when the messenger began his run. We know what the impediments are that can restrain the messenger: dividing walls, starting with those that separate the various Christian churches from one another, the excess of bureaucracy, the residue of past ceremonials, laws and disputes, now only debris.

In Revelation, Jesus says that He stands at the door and knocks (Rev 3:20). Sometimes, as noted by our Pope Francis, he does not knock to enter, but knocks from within to go out. To reach out to the “existential suburbs of sin, suffering, injustice, religious ignorance and indifference, and of all forms of misery.” As happens with certain old buildings. Over the centuries, to adapt to the needs of the moment, they become filled with partitions, staircases, rooms and closets. The time comes when we realize that all these adjustments no longer meet the current needs, but rather are an obstacle, so we must have the courage to knock them down and return the building to the simplicity and linearity of its origins.”

http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=22262

What does this mean? Destruction of parts the Church, such as “past ceremonials and laws?” Or maybe I’m misunderstanding? [No, I don’t think you are –Fr. Z] And why is the Preacher to the Papal Household quoting Kafka? Of all the writers available to quote, he chose an Existentialist with Socialist leanings? He couldn’t have found something by Chesterton, Belloc, or Knox (among others) to quote? The red flags continue to go up! It seems to me that this pontificate, so far, has displayed elements of Modernism and Protestantism, which really annoys me. I grew up Presbyterian and if I had wanted to be Protestant, I would have stayed in that church. I don’t appreciate the beauty of Truth being obscured by Relativism, especially by those who are supposed to uphold and defend that Truth. Nanette

I guess I can’t help but think that, since Pope Francis is basically saying Canon Law does not matter, why shouldn’t I violate Canon Law and start attending an SSPX chapel where the tradition I know I need is being preserved? Including going to confession to their priests?

Also, my sister is all excited over Pope Francis; he’s so concerned for the poor, etc. But she still isn’t going to Mass.

I’m sorry, but I’m feeling really, really scared.Xgenerationcatholic

I think Pope Francis has forgotten what some of the Vatican II documents say (e.g., Gaudium et Spes, or the decree on Ecumenism), that we must have our own house in order to be effective in going out into the world. I think our house is not in order. I hope that he addresses this, or his efforts will be undermined. Fr. Z, you are right (I think) in assessing what he is doing, but he risks much if he does not clarify such issues. Confusion is not from God, and I pray he sees that while being clear in one way, our Pope is causing confusion in another way. -Rob KP

Sigh… I think we have a lot of extremely complicated issues going on here:

1. Our Holy Father’s zeal for serving the poor and reaching out to prisoners is admirable. His concern for the spiritual welfare of the “lost sheep” is certainly a big part of his position as the Servant of the Servants of God. Nonetheless, that zeal must be exercised in light of both canon and liturgical law. Empowered with his new position, the Holy Father must realize that every single thing he does is under constant scrutiny, and it’s the little things, such as not wearing the mozzetta, wearing black shoes, foregoing the gold pectoral cross, not singing, his choice in vesture, choosing not to live in the Apostolic Palace, whimsically changing the schedule (especially in Holy Week) by appearing impromptu whenever and wherever he pleases, and now violating liturgical laws have a profound effect on the Church and the world as a whole. Whether they want to admit it or not, people crave consistency and structure in their institutions, especially in the Catholic Church, which is not only holds the Deposit of Faith but is also the custodian of Western civilization. Perhaps Pope Francis has not been pope long enough to realize the gravity of what he may seem as unimportant deviations all in favor of “reaching out” and “identifying with” the poor.

2. The Holy Father’s “ingrained” background as a Jesuit, where rules and regulations seem to be constantly up for scrutiny and interpretation, as well as his seeming disinterest in liturgy (i.e. “lost as a Jesuit in Holy Week”) seem to influence his decisions. I could not help but think of the term “Jesuitical” when reading Fr. Lombardi’s response about Pope Francis’ decision to wash the feet of the two women on Holy Thursday.

3. At the same time, it seems the faithful are getting mixed messages here. While this may not be the case at all, Pope Francis’ actions seem to suggest a repudiation of all that Pope Benedict was trying to implement. At least this is the way many people (especially the press) interpret it.

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Additionally, Pope Francis’ disregard for liturgical and ceremonial directives and traditions also suggest to the people that he is also soft on doctrine and moral teachings. This precedent creates a dangerous slippery slope. While Pope Francis may appeal to the popular culture right now as a “breath of fresh air,” etc., in time, if they don’t eventually sell their souls to their supporters, populists are often turned against when they eventually start telling their people things they don’t want to hear. I submit this is going to happen soon enough.

4. While the Holy Father may initiate these innovations and exceptions, canon law and liturgical law remain in force. While the Pope is the Supreme Pastor of the Church, he is not (as Richard Nixon found out as President) above the law. He may be accountable to no one but God alone, he still has people in place to enforce and interpret directives for him, whom he seems to be undermining. I would be interested in knowing what Cardinals Burke and Canizares are thinking. I am also wondering if, in light of these recent developments, they will continue in their positions.

Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco. TNCath

Dr. Peter’s comments are important.

I grew up in Southern California in the 70′s-80′s. All of my siblings have left the Church – and there is an element of borderline PTSD when I recall the liturgical abuses I endured in my youth. I still recall my brothers saying that the Mass was like a “Monty Python sketch”. Point being – the law is essential in preserving the Faith. It provides a norm.

Let’s look at one example. I was chaperoning a high school “grad nite” which has Mass at the end. The intent was – provide a Mass for the kids at the end since they probably won’t go when they get home because they’ll be tired. When it was time to receive the Eucharist, a few parents came forward to serve as EMHCs. Hosts were distributed to the EMHC on paper plates and they walked around the gym floor to the students lying on the floor (they were tired, you see) and handed them the Eucharist off of the paper plates.

Pastoral necessity?

I think handling the Eucharist so casually directly undermines the Faith. While I see arguments on both sides regarding Pope Francis’ actions on Holy Thursday (Dr. Peter’s is open to changing the law) – in other words, his actions need not be viewed as the equivalent of distributing the Eucharist from paper plates to students lying on the floor – the question must be asked: if I object to this “grad nite” incident, citing law – what do I say when the Priest cites “pastoral necessity”?

I do think that when you haven’t lived through insane levels of liturgical abuse (how about a song tracing the migration of whales instead of the genealogy of Christ for Midnight Mass… etc…) you may not grasp how detrimental this stuff can be to the Faith. It just makes it seem like a joke. In that sense, we fly to the law as a refuge. St. Thomas More in “A Man for All Seasons” gives an extraordinary defense of the need for laws. And while “innovations” can be acts of goodness in a sense (washing the feet of an incarcerated youth is, to me, very different from washing the feet of the polished-toe-nailed, well coiffed, Starbucks drinking attractive professional woman who has a problem with male leadership….) – the law protects us from those who do not share that sense of goodness. And they’re out there! -Avecrux

I think Father Z, Dr. Peters, and many others who have not agreed with the pope in some instances but have been measured in their responses, are doing a good thing. For the rest, I ask: What constructive, holy thing are you hoping to accomplish with your extreme and dire declarations? If you managed to make all Catholics agree with you that we have a horrible, dangerous pope who is going to wreck everything, what have you achieved? What are we to do with that information? Feel justified in joining the SSPX (seems to be the thing in some places I’ve read)? Get some personal satisfaction from feeling like a victim? Feel pride when he does things wrong and makes us right? Feel comfortable in knowing the future instead of waiting to see what God has in store? What?

If I am trying to minimize anything, it’s the hysteria that threatens to turn souls away from God. We can’t control what the pope does. We can control and need to control how we react to what the pope does.Mamajen

The Holy Father reminds me of what Lorenzo de’ Medici once said of Girolamo Savonarola: “This fox has a barren tail” (i.e. a fox that has left the fur of his tail in a trap in order to get loose, has learnt to avoid further traps). Pope Francis is, in a positive sense, a fox – make no mistake – and I have the impression he is playing an aggressive game of chess by using gambits. Remember how lefties simply adored Paul VI; until he issued “Humanae Vitae”, of course: then the hosanna quickly became a crucifige. Paul VI’s aloofness played into his adversaries’ hands, a lesson, one may believe, not lost on Pope Francis. By his actions, dismaying as the may appear on the surface, he is in reality sacrificing less important pieces, in order to strengthen his main doctrinal attack , once he has forced the enemy into a corner. We should not grieve about losing a pawn or two – or even a bishop (no pun intended), if this means eventually creaming our opponents. -The Drifter

I wanted to add a few thoughts after reading through the comments. First, I agree with whoever wrote the net result of Francis’ trip to the prison, he’s taken the focus off Holy Week and placed it squarely on himself. I know that wasn’t his intention, but that’s what he’s done. Rather than discuss Good Friday, the AP ran a story saying Traditionalists had all but had it with Francis. Not the best Holy Week message, right?

Second, one of the first comments in this thread suggested Cardinals Burke, Ouellet, and even Benedict might hopefully help Francis realize he can’t perform actions that will cause such concern and be interpreted as violating canon law. I suspect all three weren’t thrilled by the action, but I doubt Francis will be swayed. Everything I’ve read is, while humble in many ways, he’s also strong-willed.

Third, I hope Francis doesn’t become a “style” Pope. By that I mean, I hope we don’t enter a phase where each new Pope comes to the Vatican to implement his vision of what the religion should be. In other words, I don’t want to see the Papacy become the White house where a Bush brings his vision for a few years, but then comes Obama and things move in a completely different direction. Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in a book once that’s exactly what the Papacy is NOT and shouldn’t be. The Church has seen a lot of turmoil since Vatican II and I don’t think the answer is another period of rapid change. Hopefully, things will quiet down. Robbie

 
 

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I only just heard of this controversy. I am so disheartened. I was unaware of the rubrics of this foot washing ritual. In my parish they’ve done men and women both for years so it didn’t register on my radar screen. This year I attended Holy Thursday at a chapel devoted to Eucharistic Adoration and there was no foot washing at all, Deo Gratias! But reading this I can see where people are disturbed. I don’t know what to say except pray for the Holy Father and pray for ourselves that we don’t lose our way. I want to hope for the best and believe the best about Pope Francis. I am torn. I love the traditional Mass although it is unavailable to me. I have long hoped and prayed for a universal return to that magnificent Divine Liturgy. I have watched family members fall away from the faith one by one, and my husband who had been a convert rail against the lack of charity among traditionalists. Truly some traditionalists make our job a lot harder. I don’t know the answer. I know intercessory prayer is what I can do, what I am called to do, what I must do. I am surrounded by unbelief, family, friends etc. Hardened hearts do not want to hear even the most basic message of Christ, so these controversies don’t even make it to first base in my circle. Those of you who dwell among devout Catholic believers, please thank God for it every day. Some of us are in the wasteland and the simplest message–God’s mercy and love–are the only tools we have.Adl

In regards to fulfilling the liturgy, isn’t the pope just the same as any other priest? He has the obligation ‘to say the black and do the red’, Father Z. (No?) [I think he is, at least morally and from the view of prudence. Unless he wants chaos to result –Fr. Z] In any case, this is just precious coming from Fr Lombardi…”The Holy Father has not violated the law, he has disregarded it”. I guess we are all Jesuits now… St. Ignatius, pray for us. Muckemdanno

If Cardinal Bergoglio was a “liberal”, how is it that he ended up being elected Pope by a college filled with “conservatives”? -Thomas Tucker

Fr. Lombardi: “Here, the rite was for a small, unique community made up also of women,” Lombardi wrote in an email. “Excluding the girls would have been inopportune in light of the simple aim of communicating a message of love to all, in a group that certainly didn’t include experts on liturgical rules.”

This explanation will be utilized by every progressive priest in the world to justify unisex foot washing in his parish on Holy Thursday. As long as there is one woman in the community, this excuse can be given. -Dr K

Whatever our Holy Father does or does not do, no one should use that as an excuse to become a schismatic and join SSPX. The job of the faithful Catholic, I suppose, is simply to hold on until the end even though it’s really, really hard sometimes. Don’t sacrifice your own precious once in the history of the world created soul on the altar of liturgical pride. There are still priests and parishes out there who do things right and as best they can even if it isn’t all in Latin. Find one and pray for all of the rest who are leading their flock into dark places. And for the record: my argument with what the Pope did is not about whether women get their feet washed or not. They could have twelve teenage girls up there including six Hindus, three atheists, two Buddhists, and a Muslim for all I care. After all we are called to serve unbelievers as much, if not more than believers are we not? My grave concern is how the evil forces that have long taken root and are now well established will take advantage of it to continue down their warpath of destruction of church unity through the promotion of ‘diversity.’ Diversity is a nice word for division, and division among the people of God is evil as has been shown time and again through the history of the world. I understand where the Holy Father is coming from and I have great respect for him and for the aspect of the Gospel that requires us to serve the least of our brothers though I would just say that these are evil times and so much that could and should be good and right is easily and often twisted to the service of the Enemy.Priam

I find it almost disheartening how certain Catholics here make every fellow Catholics who defends traditional practices and norms, or question this practice or that (no matter how strong or mild) into a Pharisee who serves no constructive purpose, but only “tears down.” It is a sad state of affairs when the messenger is shot for having delivered the message, and the Catholic that perseveres in traditional belief and practice is disobedient, Pharisaical, and some sort of museum piece collector. Is this what Catholicism has devolved to? Are we so anesthetized that we cannot discern black from white? O Lord, have mercy on us and dispel the haziness of mind in these times of such unnerving disorientation. -Norancor

I think Pope Francis is practicing the “dictatorship of humility”. I mean he is so “humble” that he disregards traditions and practices of the church. All of you who say maybe he doesn’t realize what he is doing are rather naive in my opinion. He knows perfectly well what he is doing, he’s not stupid. JPII, Benedict and I guess Christ can take a lesson from our humble pope. He is almost shouting out at all of us…see how humble I am. I had to get that out.
Now I admit I have a problem with pride. It is a sin I work on constantly. So I know it when I see it, but in all humility I certainly can be wrong. To me, keeping the law and the traditions instead of doing what you want would be the very definition of humility in this case. Doing what you want in direct contradiction to law and tradition is the very definition of pride. Being a servant of the Church and tradition is true humility. Putting your beliefs above the church is saying you know more then it. That sounds like a definition of Protestantism. With God’s help, I still believe that “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church”. I will pray for Pope Francis and the Church. I won’t leave like the SSPX, who were given a 10 year opportunity to return and didn’t. I won’t leave like the Eastern Orthodox either, who recently are rethinking the rule on contraception. I will stay with the Church and with the Pope in matters of faith and morals. I will believe that as Christ said, “the gates of hell will not prevail against it” is true. No matter what the SSPX and the Eastern Orthodox say, they don’t believe this and I think their pride or maybe a lack of faith is the reason, because this does put it to the test. It takes a lot of faith and humility to stay and to pray. At one time the whole world was Arian and St Athanasius saved it. Now the world adheres to Modernism, we need a St Athanasius, from within the church to save it again.Jofma

I’m no intellectual. But when this Bishop (of Rome) deliberately chooses to disregard a special tradition of the Church on a special day, he empowers liturgical abusers. I’ve lived practically all my life under this abuse. Pardon my directness, but I’m sick of it. Benedict brought hope and solace for a few wonderful years. Call me a Pharisee, hysterical. I’m just a man living in a world where gay “marriage” is soon to be the law of the land, where abortion and contraception are rampant, where the feminists rage against the unjust patriarchal Church, and where our new Pope is teaching that we can do our own thing. As has been suggested, we must do everything possible to support our Traditional Latin Mass communities. This Mass gives many of us the strength to cope with this diabolical world and I believe is a powerful tool of evangelization. Go bless everyone.
Netokor

 
 

 
 

Supertradmum, while Holy Thursday has to do with the institution of the priesthood, the foot washing does not, and is simply a lesson in humility and kindness. It was originally done only by the bishop to priests, and the once it spread out to parish use after Vatican II, then it was done by priests to laypeople. So it doesn’t mean that the person having their feet washed is future priest material! There’s no reason it shouldn’t involve females. I agree with an earlier poster who said it shouldn’t just be “church ladies,” though, that is, the prim and proper of the middle class Novus Ordo parish. But just imagine if Pope Francis had dis-invited the girls in that prison – they were already down and out, how would they have felt then? Maybe it should always be outside of the church now, and maybe the laypeople should go along ready to help whatever group is visited. An old age home? Then maybe parishioners will start visiting them or at least rise up when Obama declares the elderly to be expendable. Traductora

Norancor wrote: ‘how certain Catholics here make every fellow Catholics who defends traditional practices and norms, or question this practice or that (no matter how strong or mild) into a Pharisee who serves no constructive purpose, but only “tears down”.’

Can you step back enough to see how hyperbolic and strawmanish this is? Those of us criticizing “traditionalists” (I am a Traditionalist too) have not said that all those who defend traditional practices are pharisees. Don’t use “all” when you mean “some.” It undermines your point. Don’t write “no matter how strong or mild” when you mean “strong.”

Some of us believe that some of those critical of Francis have used hyperbolic, not mild, language and are excessively (not mildly) focused on rubrics. We have not criticized all who defend traditions and Tradition because that would be to criticize ourselves, who also defend tradition and Traditions.

Can you see that if we are criticizing all who defend tradition but, of course not criticizing ourselves, that logically you are saying that we are not defending tradition, only those we disagree with are doing so?

I’m sure you did not intend to, but what you wrote is a very good example of using unmeasured, exaggerated language to make what could be a valid criticism. Dennis Martin

Wow. Great post, Father! Fr. Jackson

Once there was Henry VIII. Things got awful, very quickly. You went along or you went into hiding or you went to jail. Edward VI was a child and his guardians were zealots, so things got worse. Then… Queen Mary! We’re saved! Only we weren’t. She died and Elizabeth I made things worse than anybody could have imagined. I’m so sad today. I think Benedict was Queen Mary.Hyacinth

A good brother in Ireland said in this thread:

“I am mindful though that our Lord broke the laws of His day by permitting His disciples to pick grain on the Sabbath, by touching the unclean, by speaking to the Samaritan woman. He was God of course and the Pope is only the Pope.”

Keeping this in mind, and the fact that some recent great saints lowered their gaze when speaking with women so as not to be tempted, can these two points be addressed?

1.) I being a man can attest that priests are men like me and not angels. I am assuming that the Holy Father is a man of great holiness, but not all of us whom he leads by example are. Washing and kissing (young) women’s feet can be a great occasion of sin, no?
2.) No one seems concerned right now about both the people who received and the manner in which Holy Communion was received in the Holy Thursday Mass at the prison. Can we assume that the chaplain was a liberal and if the proper order of the Mass (rubrics) was delegated to him, then major sacrilege occurred against the Blessed Sacrament? If so, then this is much worse than the washing of the feet. Am I correct? Mdv

I think part of the problem, in certain circles, is that the vitriol started strong and hard. The level of despair and detraction was and still is high. Some of are not responding so much to criticisms of how things are being done, but the despair, detraction, and vitriol that comes with most criticisms. Many understand people are nervous, in both “quarters” of the Church, but the nastiness and hysterics are wearisome. The idea of letting things unfold and see what happens without moving into complete histrionics, e.g. implying our Holy Father is going to personally destroy the Church. I’m one of those that happen to appreciate and enjoy both the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms and I prefer chant and organ music so I understand fully the appreciation of the “High Mass;” however, I am deeply concerned that the trappings are becoming our primary focus given the instantaneous frothing at the mouth and attacks that began the night of Pope Francis’ election. Obviously he is very specific about when he is acting as Pope and when he is acting as the Bishop of Rome, as shown by when he will wear the fisherman’s ring, and desires a simple approach to the Mass – a digression here would be that in some way he is restoring the “pontifical low Mass” or at least making the world aware that the Pope can and does celebrate Mass regularly without the pomp and circumstance of more “solemn occasions.” His desire to do this does not remove the respect we owe him as Pope even when we disagree with what his words or actions. In fact, if we take time to watch and listen without responding, but simply taking it in and keeping our thoughts to ourselves for an extended period time we might be capable of more rational discourse and able to figure out what he is teaching us. Most of what we’re experiencing right now is due to our attachment to instantaneous gratification through the media and modern forms of communication. I think everyone is bringing their own agenda to the table instead of seeing where things go from here and what actually happens – not their personal fears of what will happen. Often when a particular trait rubs us the wrong way it is due to the fact that is an area where we need improvement. I think it is time we take the plank out of own eye instead of focusing on the speck in those around us. -Ana

Ana begins with what I have come to believe is the crux of the beginning of Pope Francis pontificate.
I think part of the problem, in certain circles, is that the vitriol started strong and hard. The level of despair and detraction was and still is high. Some of are not responding so much to criticisms of how things are being done, but the despair, detraction, and vitriol that comes with most criticisms. Many understand people are nervous, in both “quarters” of the Church, but the nastiness and hysterics are wearisome. The idea of letting things unfold and see what happens without moving into complete histrionics, e.g. implying our Holy Father is going to personally destroy the Church.

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I haven’t seen it summed up better than that statement. I’ve said it several times that from the first 5 minutes of the time Our Holy Father was elected he was fly specked. They said he asked for a blessing from the crowd when all he did was ask for a prayer to have GOD bless him. The trouble began brewing from those first 5 minutes.
No sooner did he step out on the balcony (and most of us went “who?”) and it was maybe 5-10 minutes into his Pontificate he was accused of tearing down everything the Pope Emeritus stood for and destroying the Church brick by brick. And now that we do have a very serious issue (that needs resolved) we are into full battle mode the day before Easter.

To Fr Z’s credit he took a breath and stepped back in charity to “size up” our new Pope.
Unfortunately not true of everyone. We also have to know that every time the media gets a few words they take them out of context and play them up as much as possible.
Then the other voice of reason here-Mamajen-wrote seems to me that’s exactly how traditionalists justify all the “fanciness”. I did not get the impression at all that Pope Francis was decrying fine trappings, just saying that we need to properly understand the reason for it. I thought it was an excellent homily.”
Both these comments hit the nail on the head. We have gone into two camps and both camps are right. We are defending our Holy Father because the attacks on him when he was first elected were UNWARRANTED. Of course we were all concerned. ALL of us had questions, concerns, worries, even anxiety. His Holiness Benedict the XVI had just stepped down. It was a shock. In my opinion, no matter who stepped out on that balcony would have been measured up against our Pope Emeritus. Perhaps if someone we knew at least fairly well would have been elected it might have relieved some of the anxiety. Most of us did not have a clue who Our Holy Father was. I went through that Blessed John Paul moment of “who?” For that reason alone it was enough for most of us to take pause.

On the other hand there were those who were more like vultures. I don’t mean to be uncharitable to anyone but that’s the best description I can come up with. He didn’t wear this-he asked the people to bless him-he didn’t sing at Mass, on and on. The conclusion: he was tearing down the Church brick by brick. Fast forward: the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday. Now we have a REAL issue and some of the folks got what they were looking for. The reaction of those people doesn’t make what Pope Francis did right-nor does our defending Pope Francis make what he did right. It comes down to 3 camps. The folks I would call trads and their love of our Church and all that Pope Emeritus did to correct the liturgical abuses. It’s not just the people known as trads. Most of us want those abuses corrected. The camp that came to Pope Francis defense are not all gnostics and liberals (as much as I hate that word). The other camp is those who want the abuses corrected. A lot us saw first hand how much of the clergy and laity USED Vatican II as an excuse to do what they probably would have done anyway.

This camp may be concerned that some of the ” trappings” Mamajen mentioned while they have a great deal of meaning for many people-there are people who often go through the motions of trappings and it becomes just that. Motions. Beautiful but empty. I don’t mean to say everyone. There is always that danger. It doesn’t mean we toss them out the window because of it but I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with saying that’s true either. I started drifting away from the Church when we had the traditional Latin Mass before the changes (and liturgical abuse) started. It had nothing to do with how Mass was celebrated. I didn’t actually step out the door until we were well into the [Novus Ordo] NO. I cannot blame my leaving on the NO either. Our priests never abused the liturgy even in the NO. It was always reverent here. I have no problem with either the NO or Traditional. I prefer to attend the NO but we have always been blessed to have good priests. I am NOT opposed to the Traditional at all in case anyone thinks I’m attacking it.
All that aside I think we have a very serious issue here and it MUST be resolved.

This is where Ana is totally correct in her observations, I think part of the problem, in certain circles, is that the vitriol started strong and hard. The level of despair and detraction was and still is high. In other words, we face 2 problems. The one she mentions and Pope Francis actions on Holy Thursday. The 2 are not mutually exclusive. Then you have many of us in this camp that feel yes it is serious. Yes, it must be corrected but we are NOT prepared to go into the camp of the vitriol and despair. I will continue to defend our Holy Father and HOPE upon HOPE that his breaking of Canon Law is soon addressed but I don’t know that would even stop the camp of vitriol and despair. In the meantime the media may start having a field day with it and the New Evangelization might get put on hold. As for Pope Emeritus hopes to bring SSPX back into the fold. Questionable and not because of Pope Francis. Their basic foundation-as I understand it-is that any Pope after Vatican II and/ or John the XXIII was not legit. If that’s the case there is the REAL problem. Schism is a sin against charity.Boxer

Instead of letting the liberals own the football and letting them decide and spread that this is all about breaking rules and ordaining women, why not press the point of outreach which is the main meat here?
If I were somewhere on Holy Thursday and my priest told me to get a group of women because the Pope did, I would find it reasonable to ask, “Are you then the Pope?” (or a Bishop, since he is Bishop of Rome, and I think that people WITH AUTHORITY should have authority to break rules if they choose to do so); secondly, Are you conducting tonight’s Mass at a joint men and women’s prison?” (Location really is most of the message here, getting OUT of the Churches….)
Liberals ALWAYS come out of these tiffs appearing better because they spin the message to the popular one (empower women!), while conservatives are left moaning, “But the rules say…”
If this ritual really is about priestly character, then, considering the current state of the Church with less than one whole priest in many parishes and a near complete non existence of young men, only a Bishop should have this option at Holy Thursday Mass. Let him wash his seminarians, and let people from the diocese go there if there must be feet.
No married men, no women, no regular priests, JUST BISHOPS. PAMom

Dennis Martin: Oh save your lectures. You’re not more Catholic than we just because this doesn’t bother you. It is not a matter of dogma or doctrine. It is a Mass rubric from the 50′s. We hate how he changed it, not because it was some sort of sacred cow for us, but because of the repercussions the actions will have. We can see goofy grey-haired priests using this as license to change a host of more important, and yes even doctrinal, things. Francis did not commit a crime. But his action will be misinterpreted and used by those who seek to undermine Dennis Martin’s faith and mine. I love the Pope, but I do not have to like his liturgies. You can if you want, but it doesn’t make you any more Catholic.Lavrans

 
 

 
 

Muckemdanno says: In any case, this is just precious coming from Fr Lombardi…”The Holy Father has not violated the law, he has disregarded it”. I guess we are all Jesuits now… St. Ignatius, pray for us.

It’s truly splitting hair and resorting to legalism, but technically Father Lombardi is probably correct (who knows, he probably consulted the canonists there before making those statements.) Whether it is a “violation” or a “disregard” truly depends on the type of law he deviated from or chose to obey. As Dr. Peters explained above, if it’s divine law, then a violation (because no human can dispense himself from those). If it’s not, then being the Supreme Legislator of the Church, he certainly has the authority to dispense himself from it (whether it’s prudent to do so is another matter).

Now let me say upfront that I am NOT in any way, shape or form comparing the person of our Holy Father Pope Francis with the person of David Dinkins, former mayor of New York City.

However, reading what you wrote in your comment above (… coming from Fr Lombardi… “The Holy Father has not violated the law, he has disregarded it”), I cannot help but be reminded of another interesting quote from another spin doctor. I don’t know how accurate it is, but I read that when inquired about his failure to file/pay income taxes for some years, David Dinkins reportedly said, “I haven’t committed a crime. What I did was fail to comply with the law.” The only difference here is that Pope Francis does have the authority to dispense himself from some laws (again whether it’s wise to exercise that authority at all or how to go about doing so in the most prudent way is another subject altogether).

I only wish our Jesuit Pope would follow in the footsteps the Saint Ignatius and start vesting himself in something similar to what the great Jesuit saint was vested in to say Mass:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:St_Ignatius_of_Loyola_(1491-1556)_Founder_of_the_Jesuits.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vision_of_St._Ignatius_of_Loyola.jpg

We could learn something from the Jesuits: Saint Ignatius considered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass the most powerful weapon in his arsenal. Story has it that when he encountered ecclesiastical entities unfriendly to the society and unwilling to approve the Jesuit constitutions, he didn’t whine/complain but instead ordered his priests to have a lot of Mass said (thousands said for many years). Perhaps traddies worldwide could do the same and have thousands of Mass said for our Holy Father? Old canon

Everyone realizes, right, that this entire issue of faithful Catholics worried that the forces of relativism have broken free could be put to rest in an instant: if the Holy Father were to make a very short homily (or whatever) wherein he just said “Look, I understand there’s a lot of angst out there over how I have been doing some things, and people seem genuinely worried and upset. Let me be clear: I wholeheartedly believe that the Catholic faith is essential for salvation, and that my role is to win as many converts from within (as some need) and without, among the world’s other religions. I desire with all my heart that the authentic, unchangeable Catholic faith be embraced by Muslims, Jews and other Christians. I affirm every Catholic teaching on faith and morals from abortion never being OK, to an all male priesthood, to a ban on all forms of contraception. It’s just that I have decided to go about it from an entirely untried way. And I ask that you trust me to do the right thing, and pray for me.”

That’s it. That’s all it would take. We may all think he’s wrong in his choice of tactics, but he’s got the white hat and we would fall in line and trust him completely and we would back his play.

Now, that would be humble, wouldn’t it? That would be charity too, would it not? Making millions of people less anxious by simply affirming the entirety of the Catholic faith?

But here’s the thing… is there anyone here that thinks Francis will interrupt his current approach by quietly, firmly and clearly – without prevarication – confirming his fidelity to the Catholic faith? Exactly. It’s not going to happen. And THAT is the problem.
Allan S

“Liberals are going to claim that because of what Francis did, they can do whatever they wish.”

What the liberals are going to claim is hardly the issue. The Holy See, for one example, proclaimed quite clearly that anyone who attempted the ordination of a woman is excommunicated latae sententiae. Does this stop liberals from claiming that it is permissible? No! Instead, they “reject their excommunication”….they really do use that language!

No, the problem is with the poor people in the middle 60%. In the case of foot washing, they aren’t going to know who to believe.BLB

As a mere layman, who tries to stay informed on issues, from a respect for Tradition, the events of the last two weeks have been most unsettling – I know I am not alone in this, but it is nonetheless so. I have always tried to follow what the Church teaches, and obeyed her precepts and laws. Pope Francis is a “perfect storm” in the sense of it. All the prevailing liturgical ailments of the last 4 decades are very much part of his experience as a priest and bishop and now he brings these to the See of Rome. (for crying out loud – he does not even want to be called “pope” – and another blogger Sandro Magister reports there are various scholars attempting to press that a papacy that accepts a council of bishops -in effect a legislative body- would make reunion with the Eastern Churches a stronger possibility, more collegial etc… Why are we abandoning our institutions and our traditions to please others? Such false idea’s were once condemned) Many of these abuses etc. are the result of various National Bishop’s Conferences doing whatever they please -the comment of one Irish Bishop a year or so ago that he “tossed any instruction from Rome into the garbage” well illustrates the attitude (and we all know the results from that nation too) It is no different in my lived experience in Canada. We have had mixed gender washing of the feet for years. The homilies have been blanched for decades. It is all very well Father Z, to talk of tools and working for the EF etc. The Episcopal Dean of our cluster has stated there will only be an EF [Extraordinary Form mass] here “over my dead body”. His Holy Thursday homily went to great lengths to tell us how wonderful Pope Francis is – how the Eucharist is all about social service. Not one jot, not one mere suggestion of anything near Sacramental Grace, the Real Presence etc. Organs are all but unknown – it is all drums/guitars/etc. Happy clappy music -“what the people want” I have been forced to accept this so long – Benedict was a life saver. At least one could follow, with hope, what he did. Now that is gone; and we see every law and precept laid bare to the winds. I for one, feel like Tolkien’s companions of the ring, following the loss of Gandalf at Khazad Dum. I am not bitter, nor even angry, but terribly disappointed and a tad scared.Amont

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Think how much of this angst could be put away, how much good will our Pope Francis could instantly create, if, unlike his predecessor, he simply offered a humble low Traditional Latin Mass in the near future? It need not be a papal mass at St. Peters or the Lateran. Just a simple humble low PUBLIC Traditional Latin Mass at some out of the way chapel or parish. Since he does not feel bound by precedence or rubrics, he need not worry about lacking all the trappings and papal household elements his predecessor may have felt were necessary to “do it right.”Brian K

If Francis did do an Extraordinary Form Mass, it need not be fancy. Cardinal Burke did one at the Clear Creek Monastery which was as simple and humble as it gets. No microphones, no HVAC, barely any lighting besides windows and candles, all chant, and not much else. It was bare and beautiful. It was simple and holy. IF this is what Francis has in mind for simple, by all means go for it. If, however, simple means thousands of dollars spent on rock bands, puppets, projectors and screens, carpeting, microphones, speakers, lighting, and new agey art, then he is full of it. I trust that is not the case, but I hope he can let us know in a timely manner.Lavrans

I just spoke with a friend whose parish is in the Archdiocese of Newark. The pastor, who generally follows the rubrics, asked for six men and six women for the mandatum, something he’s never done. One of the ladies he asked to volunteer who is active in the parish objected and she was told, it’s OK, the Pope did it so who are we to question. This is literally within hours of Francis’ prison visit and the Holy Thursday Mass in a NJ parish. Those who think the Holy Father’s gestures and actions will not be followed, cited and used to justify deviance from the rules are fools–it’s happening in real time, right now. Marcello

Dennis Martin wrote: Can you step back enough to see how hyperbolic and strawmanish this is? Those of us criticizing “traditionalists” (I am a Traditionalist too) have not said that all those who defend traditional practices are pharisees. Don’t use “all” when you mean “some.” It undermines your point. Don’t write “no matter how strong or mild” when you mean “strong.”

1. I wasn’t talking about you. I was talking about three others. That is why I said “certain.” I made the generalization so as to not point out individuals and make this some sort of personal attack.

2. I’m not a traditionalist. I’m simply Catholic. I almost detest the word traditionalist. It is a dismissive euphemism. You would not have known me from any other layman in a parish 100 years ago. This is an important point lost on the conversation in the Church today. It isn’t simply nostalgia for the past. It is a mode of life and belief that existed, or should have existed, before the Council, that was destroyed or lost for most Catholics. I am not waxing nostalgic. I was born about a month after the Novus Ordo Missae was promulgated, outside the Church. I didn’t join the Church until 1994, under the Novus Ordo. I do not, generally, attend it now, since I am a parishioner at a diocesan Latin Mass parish. My parish, and I, enjoy a cordial and supportive relationship with our bishop. He utterly loves visiting our parish because of the clear faith and tradition, and the overwhelming number of children, and as important, how we actually treat him with slavish deference as our spiritual father and Apostle. That said, I do not pine for the past. Catholicism is about CHOICES, and I have chosen to embrace the “perennial” Catholic Faith and practices. It is who we were, and who we are meant to be. We are not meant to be middling mock Episcopalians with no women priests and a valid set of Sacraments. We are Catholic, and that means something formally, and in practice.

3. The only exclusive qualifier I used was “every.” I did not say this to this particular thread alone. I did mean it for this post, but also meant it as a general statement, because I have had, or seen, the assertion of virtually every traditional practice that contradicts current practice criticized by someone at some point, and virtually every criticism of the pontiff at the time (Benedict and Francis), combated with the charge that I or someone is Pharisaical, judgmental, rash, a rigorist, or reaching for some out of date past that no longer exists.

Taylor Marshall has done a good job pointing out that “trads” need to get a grip and put their claws in, refraining from spittle-flecked nuttiness (a classic phrase if ever there was one). I COMPLETELY agree.

Nonetheless I reiterate that is nearly disheartening to see almost every traditional practice at some point challenged, not by Father Z but in the combox, as somehow out of touch, antiquated, or disobedient by fellow Catholics when it happens to conflict with a current norm in the Church, or Heaven forbid people be really, truly unnerved by the Holy Father’s free wheeling manner with regard to the Papacy and liturgy.

Lastly, it is ironic that you accuse me of strawmanish arguments, sweeping generalizations and hyperbole when you are employing all of them, to some degree, in criticizing me.Norancor [all emphases Norancor’s]

Well Fr. Z, after re-reading your post… It seems to me the pastoral decision here was clear. I think as Pope he wants to be an example of how priests should think. I come from a very conservative Spanish family, and sometimes in the name of adhering to the law some things are done which God just cannot be pleased about, though I really hope He will honor our sacrifice in adhering to the law. Of course, where do you draw the line? I think Fr Z is (with good reason) concerned. Pope Francis, as I see from what he has said and done as Cardinal, shows compassion in the right areas but draws the line where it must be drawn. Now, I completely see the importance of obedience. But as an engineer I know that ‘processes’ (ie. laws) are good guidelines for general behavior 99% of the time, and I also know that the process must allow for human intervention, someone to step in and say, ‘following the process in this particular instance does not make sense’. Perhaps what he is trying to do with this gesture is teaching us to discard the mindset of utterly blind obedience and think about the what and why of laws, showing us how and where to draw the line, so we do not prevent needlessly the little ones whom God wants to come to Him. And without chaos. Is the Church mature enough to do this responsibly? The fact that THIS is the Pope the Holy Spirit has chosen gives me hope. I am sure there will be casualties, so let us pray, and particularly for our priests that they may always be guided by the Holy Spirit. Lana

We are not Muslims. I have never heard of a Catholic rule that men couldn’t touch the feet of women not their wives or daughters when they had a reason for it. The pope had a reason for what he did. Maybe we don’t approve of the reason, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have one.

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Please quit accusing the pope of these things. There is enough rightful criticism without bringing some kind of weird accusation of him behaving sexually. –Katylamb

No, we are not Muslims, nor are we Orthodox, nor Jews, nor Zoroastrians, but traditionally, Catholic celibate men and women observed a code of conduct that included maintaining a respectful distance from members of the opposite sex at all times, of refraining from physical contact apart from a handshake with them, even avoiding prolonged eye contact with them. Part of the reason that our church confessional boxes exist is to make it possible for priests to hear the confessions of females privately, without ever having to be alone in a closed room with any of them.

Toward the end of his life, Sister Clare begged of Saint Francis that he would take a meal with her. But Francis did not wish to do so. He felt that all unnecessary contact between religious of the opposite sex was to be avoided. And he felt this way because he knew the human heart: the mere close presence, the sight, the sound of the other might be enough to captivate the heart and to distract the religious away from pure devotion to God. Other, later saintly writers have advised men to keep their eyes upon the ground at all times when speaking with women; to touch one would be unthinkable.

To maintain this distance is a serious, ancient and venerable observance among devout Catholics, and is one which Catholics who have taken the time to study Church history and tradition would be very familiar with, and would understand. This is not a suggestion that any cleric who washes the feet of women has “behaved sexually”; it is a suggestion that any cleric who washes the feet of women has chosen to ignore Church law, and it is a suggestion that the existing Church law is a part of a larger structure of protocols which are designed to assist the Church’s sons to keep their difficult vows faithfully, peacefully, and with greater ease. –Marion

Marion, beautiful answer. And, I agree. -Supertradmum

Katylamb: I was not accusing the Pope of anything except poor judgment in making a gesture that could be taken badly by many people. What happens to one’s feet in the doctor’s office, your martial arts class, or a shoe store does not concern me, and it has nothing with “adultery” (as you put it). I’m sure His Holiness’ intentions were innocent, but that’s not how some people would read it. Shonkin

Shonkin: Well, I’m sorry if I misread what you meant. You said that a man handling the feet of a woman was doing something “sensual and sexual.” As for how people will read it, I’m sure there are people on both sides that will read everything he does as somehow wrong. There are also people who will read everything he does as right. I suppose he cannot worry that every single thing he does will displease someone. –Katylamb

I think the point that Our Lord was in effect creating bishops and giving them an example of how to serve others is a good one. The analogy is easily abused when it is interpreted as “let’s wash everyone’s feet!” –Ocalatrad

Amont,
I agree wholeheartedly with your post. I too feel as you do. I am just a simple man trying to live out my faith in accordance with Holy Mother Church and at the moment I am feeling concerned, not sure what lies ahead. As one who has dealt with safety in industry for many, many years I have grown to understand how critically important rules and regulations are. If someone ignores safety rules they have greatly increased their risk of injury or even death. I have come to see the rules of the Church in the same way. They are in place to help us to keep moving in the right direction. In the case of the Church, however, it is not to protect from physical harm, but more importantly, spiritual harm; and that it what has me worried. I fear that when lines become gray or blurred those that do not understand can unwittingly be led astray, either unintentionally or intentionally by those who deliberately mislead. I continue to pray for our Pope as I pray for all ordained – that they listen and follow the Holy Spirit in all they do. – Stillkickin

“For the sake of good order, then [Ed Peters’ own recommendation…], the Mandatum rubrics should be modified to permit the washing of women’s feet or, perhaps upon the advice of Scriptural and theological experts, the symbolism of apostolic ministry asserted by some to be contained in the rite should be articulated and the rule reiterated. What is not good is to leave a crystal clear law on the books but show no intention of expecting anyone to follow it. That damages the effectiveness of law across the board.”

## In other words, change the law, to sanctify the abuse. I’ve heard that one before – in defences of JP2′s capitulation to the abuse of having altar-girls. Either this is a bad idea now; or, philippics against the evul librulz for doing what led to Papal ratifications of what were, before those ratifications, deplored as abuses, were a mountain of hypocrisy. Supertradmum, Rome is like Mike the Headless Chicken – it’s alive, but directionless, and mindless. Whether it can last much longer than Mike did in its current state, is anyone’s guess. There are in this controversy some assumptions, either unexamined or not made clear, about the status of the Pope. Is he sovereign and absolute over the Church – or, supreme in the Church? If the Church is ruled by the principle of absolutism, & a Pope unconstrained by any law but his own will – that needs to be made clear. Because the obvious assumption is that he is not absolute, but supreme for those ends that lie within the scope of the Petrine ministry, and that his will has to obey that of Christ. -Parasum

 
 

Thank you, Pope Francis!

http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/03/thank-you-pope-francis/

Posted on 30 March 2013 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

In two weeks Pope Francis has done more to promote Summorum Pontificum than Pope Benedict did since the day he promulgated it.

After the decision by Pope Francis to wash the feet of two women on Holy Thursday, conservative Catholic priests and laypeople alike will now be looking for ways out of the dilemma posed by the foot washing rite of the Holy Thursday Mass.

The foot washing rite is actually optional, though that fact is little grasped by liberals who impose the options they like as obligatory on those who would prefer to opt out. Liturgical law prescribes that only men (viri in Latin) can be chosen for that rite. Priests who want to adhere to the law will find themselves facing fierce opposition by liberals demanding that women be included. Bishops will be hard-pressed to explain how priests should keep to the liturgical law when the Pope himself flouts it. By including women, the Pope has cast all liturgical laws into the hazard.

 
 

 
 

Priests who opt to omit the foot washing from Holy Thursday Mass will be seen – paradoxically – as dissenting from the law that clearly excludes women’s feet from being washed. To avoid the dilemma entirely, priests and lay Catholics who wish to see proper liturgical law observed will find a suitable option in the older form of the Roman Rite, the so-called “Tridentine” form emancipated in 2007 by Pope Benedict.

After Summorum Pontificum went into force, a clarifying document called Universae Ecclesiae was issued to help people interpret correctly how to implement Pope Benedict’s provisions. Universae Ecclesiae says that all customs or liturgical practices not in force in 1962 (such as altars girls, communion in the hand and now, apparently, washing women’s feet), are not to be integrated into liturgies in the older form of the Roman Rite. Priests and lay Catholics who want Holy Thursday without dilemmas and controversies and fights about whose feet can be washed, have the legitimate option of the traditional Roman Missal which is, effectively, bullet proof.

Don’t kid yourselves. Many priests and lay Catholics are upset by the Pope’s move and the dilemma this poses at the local level throughout much of the western Church.

War-weary Catholics are back in the trenches, but they now have Summorum Pontificum. And Pope Francis has done more to promote Summorum Pontificum then Pope Benedict ever did.

 
 

56 SELECTED [OUT OF 190] COMMENTS

I feel betrayed. That’s all I am going to say. If anything, this latest thing has made me think that God is really saying, “Leave the Pope to me. Pray for him. Concentrate on working out your own salvation.” Magpie

Thanks, Father. I couldn’t agree more. Even the Associated Press is fanning the flames, looking for a story:

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_VATICAN_POPE_TRADITIONALISTS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-03-29-16-43-17

Father Benedict has generously provided for us. Pope Francis is clarifying the situation. Do we really need to wait for the marching band? The show’s over–let’s stop ‘murmuring’ and get back to work restoring the liturgy. Therese

My question Fr. Z is, can Pope Francis abrogate the Traditional Mass and/or rescind Summorum Pontificum or Universae Ecclesiae? [Of course he can. But he won’t -Fr Z]Servus Fideles

This is upsetting and confusing. I agree with you Fr. Z. I hope many priests will turn to the Tridentine Mass as a solution. The Tridentine Mass would also solve the language problem as well. So many parishes have Masses said in other languages which actually divides the parish instead of unifying it.

I pray for Pope Francis and for Pope Emeritus. NBW

I am honestly astonished by the reaction to anything as trivial as including girls in a foot-washing ritual. I suspect the large majority of US Catholics are, and that like me, they were unaware of any debate about the sex of people who participate. (I never heard about this “controversy” until 2012). I never noticed the sex of the people getting their feet washed. [You have completely missed the point, I fear. This is not essentially about the foot-washing thing at all. It is about order, law and reason in the Church. It is about antinomianism –Fr. Z] Hey, it’s fine with me if we just don’t include foot-washing in Holy Thursday at all. It’s too touchy-feely for my sensibilities. Can we also eliminate the holding of the hands during The Lord’s Prayer? Touchy-feely stuff like that really turns me off. -Austin Catholic

I agree with what Father Z has written, but, I must admit, it saddens me this was written. It saddens me because Pope Francis has created a lot of confusion in just a short period of time. -Robbie

Last Holy Thursday the priest (ordained just one week ago), mentioning the example of Pope Francis and his call for mercy, “breaking the protocol”, told that all faithful should approach the altar to receive the sacrament without fear. Even those in mortal sin (it was implicit in his words) could receive the Eucharist if, afterwards, they wanted to go to confession. Sad. Awful. And I am not saying that it is Pope Francis fault this happened, but many will distort his words and actions to justify many abuses.
-EW Caetano

I remember I had a friend tell me not to go to Mass on campus Holy Thursday because they wash women’s feet… He took me to a church just off campus that is normally good… well… this year they had female altar servers wearing cassock and surplice, atrocious contemporary music, and the foot washing ritual, with only 6 people getting their feet washed, 4 of them women. After Mass my friend apologized to me for disappointing me.

And to the earlier comment about Pope Francis being able to rescind Summorum Pontificum, this friend of mine said that if Pope Francis messes with Summorum Pontificum he may actually consider going SSPX… I yelled at him for that one of course and explained that that is not the proper response. Actually he could use prayers, he is trying to discern between the diocesan priesthood and the FSSP. He knows we need good legit diocesan priests who would “say the black and do the red” but our whole diocese would tear him apart for it and he doesn’t think he has the strength to deal with it. We go to a different diocese to find a TLM and the diocesan priest who says that Mass is hated by many just because he says a Low Mass everyday before the NO [Novus Ordo]. -Future sister

I hope the Vatican will issue a statement emphasizing that a Holy Thursday Mass celebrated in a prison in which Christians are incarcerated with Muslims and men with women is not to be taken as an example for all Masses in the Universal Church. When the Pope decides to dispense with a rule in this day and age, the need for explanation is far greater than when previous Popes dispensed with rules under circumstances that were not made known to the entire planet within the hour. It is unfortunate, but the uncontrollable nature of internet gossip cannot be safely ignored. The Pope has the authority to do many things, but the maxim sometimes attributed to St. Francis, “Preach always, and when necessary use words” has become “Realize that you preach always, and you can’t depend on words to clarify what you mean to say.” -BLB

The stark reality in the US and Europe is that the NO parishes that have had the worst liturgical abuses have hemorrhaged the youth and the majority of parishioners left are not reproducing.

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The EF [Extraordinary Form] communities (I am not speaking of the SSPX as I have never attended at their chapels, but the EF communities like the FSSP and ICKSP) are breeding at a steady clip and are attracting younger people in their 20s and 30s. The one exception are some of the JPII Catholics (my era) who were educated in the Theology of the Body and still go to the NO and follow the Church’s teaching on contraception. They are in the minority but are very committed to the Church.

Many NO parishes will be forced to close in the next 15 years, as the funerals far outpace the baptisms. The tactics of the 70s and 80s that lost us so many people will not now work again in the New Millennium. Many young people left because of them and it is absurd to think that they will now return because of them. Something’s got to give. The demographics are going to force the NO parishes to reform their liturgies and evangelization or they will die. On the other hand, those of us who attend the EF could use a little help getting outside of our communities to evangelize. I know it’s difficult because we are raising larger families, but we’re going to have to give more. Chantgirl

For me, this is a lesson to all that in disregarding liturgical laws, there for a reason and not to be ignored, we get into problems like Pope Francis has gotten himself into. I was already over that he was going to a youth prison, whatever, different venue I guess (personally I would have simply transferred all the pomp more rigorously to the new locale)? But for whatever GOOD intentions he originally had, for whatever ACT OF CHARITY he was trying to convey was completely swallowed by the liberal coverage of the event which emphasized THE WOMEN he washed. Every media outlet I went through couldn’t stop babbling on, not of his immense love for the poor, but the possible inclusion of women into the Church. Whatever he was trying to do: no one got the point. -Romantic Tradition

Father Z., You are trying very hard to put up a brave front, and I really do appreciate your effort. It is helping me a little, I guess, inasmuch as it gives me some possible means of explaining what otherwise seems to be the rapid unraveling of pope Benedict’s “marshal plan.” The problem with brick by brick is that it takes many, many years to build, but only one tremor to knock everything down before the construction is complete, especially when the edifice is built on already shaky foundations. I do hope you’re right. But I am pessimistic.
Vox borealis

It is kind of crazy to have this type of confusion thrown into the middle of the holy season of Lent, with Easter just approaching. I do not know how many of the things that go on during the Mass and other celebrations (such as the Good Friday celebration of the Passion of our Lord) are just being innovative, lazy, intentionally ignoring what is supposed to be done, or other reasons? For example, at the church we have been attending (at which they have a “fairly” reverent Mass – they even use incense!, a beautiful schola with awesome and beautiful music, etc.) at the Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper the “foot washing” time was opened as a “hand washing – and this year we are also offering foot washing” time. With probably nearly 100% participation! Totally waters down (excuse the pun) any real significance to the action, at least insofar as it has any connection to the manner in which Jesus performed this action and for whom. The Good Friday Passion was a mix of different things, from the narrator of the Passion stumbling over so many words, and the “voice” reader being totally emphatic with every line, but really being emphatic in a strange way. (Both were women, not that it matters so much, but even my wife made an observation about that.) The “Solemn Intercessions” were set up so that the priest(s) read the beginning of each prayer, and then they had the congregation read the priest’s part together in unison. (I was befuddled by that! They even have a deacon, who would have been perfectly suited to read the deacon’s part… and two priests!) The final prayer was interesting, too, in that that the pastor concluded with the wrong prayer mentioning the paschal mysteries and at the end said “Go in peace, alleluia, alleluia” to which most people dutifully responded “Thanks be to God, alleluia, alleluia.” This, on Good Friday… Not wanting to be critical or picky, but some of these things just seem downright wrong, and couldn’t people bother to preview the readings and prayers beforehand and have a more respectful presentation of everything?
Perhaps it is a personal problem with me, but I feel that these “little things” detract from the beauty and awesomeness of what is being celebrated and memorialized. Perhaps 99% of the people don’t really notice? Or don’t really care? -kjh

I was discussing “footgate” with a friend of mine this morning. He was talking me down off the ledge by pointing out that when Pope Francis went to that prison, it was a private act, and not part of a liturgy, so it was not a violation of Canon law. Any truth to that? -VARoman

On a lighter note, how about this oldie: Did you know there are only two things that a Jesuit won’t change at Mass?
Bread and wine –Tone sing

Basher wrote: Since this answer is obviously no, the obvious follow up is “Do you think Pope Francis is just staggeringly ignorant of the radical agenda of the female foot-washers in the Catholic world, or is in fact aligning himself with that radical agenda?”.

I don’t like Pope Francis’ decision on this at all, but it’s entirely possible that he’s aware of, and still not all that focused on, the agenda of the women’s ordination crowd. He seems to think that there are more important messages to send and issues to address than that, and that he doesn’t need to base his decisions on how they’re going to respond. Mike M

To offer evidence in support of Father Zuhlsdorf’s contention:

1) A year from retirement, the archbishop of the ______diocese ordered that no one should kneel until all had received communion. The response: aside from bewilderment, many people discovered that at the TLM we were allowed to kneel, and that they could teach their children to kneel before God. The TLM saw more adherents in a very short time.

2) Another bishop, following the recommendations of the CDC or some county health office, or using it as pretext, forbade the reception on the tongue for the duration of flu season. The result: the local TLM has seen a jump in the number of families, and the number of altar boys in training.

Standing Room Only is usually reserved for theatres, but to my direct knowledge, it applies now to churches offering the TLM. If God permits an evil, a greater good comes from it. Chris Garton-Zavesky

Am I the only one who bumps into feminists weekly at Mass? Hey, washing the feet of women is seen as part of the acceptance of women priests by them. If you have not had these discussions, good for you.

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The Institution of the Priesthood began at the Last Supper, ergo, the remembrance of that solemn occasion must include reference to that. All the apostles who had their feet washed by Christ were new priests. When Christ said that they were to do the same as He, be a servant, He was referring to the servant-hood of the priesthood.

(12) So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? (13) Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. (14) If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. (15) For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. (16) Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. (17) If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. John 13:12-17

Symbolic confusion adds fuel to the inflamed brains of those men and women who want women priests. -Supertradmum

lmo1968: Obedience? Yes. To Christ. To His Church, which means being obedient to her laws and teachings. To her dogma and doctrines. To even her rubrics and disciplines, which she can change, but we cannot. Obedient to our pastors, bishops, and Pope? Yes, provided they are not heretics. There were many heretic bishops in the days of the Arians. Heck, there have been a few in the days of Vatican II. Is Francis? I don’t think so, but I certainly hope not. At the end of the day, we are obedient to that which we are bound to be obedient to: ex-cathedra statements and teachings deemed worthy of belief or necessary to be followed. His breaking of Mass rubric is not one of those things. We need not follow his example at all in that case. He may like soccer. I hate it. I do not have to like it because he does.

There is a fine line between being obedient to the Pope and making him a god or an idol. I do the former and despise the latter. He is a man, like me, at the end of the day. I obey what he says when it is necessary – same would have been true for the Borgia popes, who were awful men in their personal lives.

I also have a right to gripe about this and can still remain Catholic. Unlike a liberal griping about Church teaching, I am simply griping about his liturgies and the fact that certain goofballs of a certain age will see it as license to do goofy things at Mass. I don’t want my kids sitting through that. It matters and I can complain without being a heretic or a dissident.

So please, keep your lectures for those who deserve them. -Lavrans

In the 1955 revision, the Mandatum could be either a separate ceremony (as pre-1955) or be part of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. If you choose to omit it from the TLM Mass of the Lord’s Supper, would you have to perform it as a separate ceremony after the Stripping of the Altar?

“In the pre-1955 ritual, the Washing of the Feet, commonly known as the “Mandatum”, from the first word of the first antiphon sung during the washing, is done as a separate service from the Mass. After the stripping of the Altar is complete, and generally after a break of some hours, the clergy and servers go in procession to a place set aside for the Mandatum. (The service was often done immediately after Vespers, but it was not obligatory for the Vespers to precede.) If there is no other place where the Mandatum may be conveniently done, it may be done before the main altar of the church, but this is not the ideal practice.

The Gospel of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper is repeated, with all of the ceremonies normally observed at a Solemn Mass. After this, the priest washes the feet of 12 men, wearing an apron as Our Lord Himself did at the Last Supper. As he comes before each of the twelve, the priests genuflects before him, in imitation of our Lord’s humility. The subdeacon kneels to hold up the foot of each of the 12 men as the priest washes it, and the deacon proffers a towel with which to dry it, after which the priest kisses it…

In the Holy Week reforms of 1955, the Mandatum was modified as follows.

It is permitted, but not required, to insert the Washing of the Feet into the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, immediately after the Gospel (and Homily, if there is one.) A new rubric specifies that as many of the antiphons as are needed for the length of the service may be sung, but “Ubi caritas” may never be omitted. The eighth of the nine antiphons in the Missal of St. Pius V is suppressed. The rubric no longer says that the priest kisses the feet after washing them.

Since the Mandatum may still be done outside the Mass, another new rubric specifies that in such case, the Gospel of the Mass is to be repeated at the beginning, as in the Missal of St. Pius V.

In the Missal of 1961, a further slight alteration was made to this rite, namely, that the collect at the end is to be said “versus populum.”
HERE –J Hayes

I agree with KJH’s comments which state:

“Not wanting to be critical or picky, but some of these things just seem downright wrong, and couldn’t people bother to preview the readings and prayers beforehand and have a more respectful presentation of everything?”

My family and I went to Good Friday ‘Passion of the Lord” liturgical celebration in a Discalced Carmelite-run parish which is quite orthodox. But I guess the Carmelite priest (presider) did NOT read the prayers beforehand:

1) Just remembering from his head, he asked that the response to the ‘Showing of the Holy Cross’ be “Come, let us worship (old English Translation, Pre-3rd Edition Roman Missal)” instead of the proper (current) “Come, let us adore (which is clearly stated in the Mass Guide used in that parish).”
2) He was late on his part (prayer after the petition) in The Solemn Intercessions for at the least the first five of the petitions. He used the opening prayer in response to the first petition. Then the deacon said the petition for (the second) the Pope and the priest said the prayer for (the first) Holy Church. No too many noticed because the petitions and prayers are not listed in the Mass Guide but I am using MTF’s Daily Roman Missal which have the texts. -Fides

I haven’t time now to read all the comments, though I hope to soon. I will say that my very dysfunctional alcoholic father’s practice of “do as I say, not as I do” raised 2 very confused and rebellious teenagers, only one of whom has converted and is trying to live the Faith. So this decision is a 50/50 shot of making things better, at best. It can go so many ways because confusion breeds chaos. And confusion is not of God. While that realization is a primary source of my conversion & my later journey to the TLM, that is NOT a gamble I would EVER take with the souls of my children now that I am the parent. Once I knew better, I did better. I am a small-town girl who has had to struggle to educate herself and her family on the Truths of the Church and her liturgy.

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(I thank God for the many faithful bloggers who have steered me in the direction of good books and resources along the way!) I find it extremely difficult to believe that cardinals, bishops, and the like who are far more educated than I, who have traveled the world, etc, cannot recognize Truth and embrace it in it’s totality when they bear the very responsibility to impart it to the rest of us, are given incredible grace through the sacrament of Holy Orders to do so, and take serious vows pledging to do just that.
Furthermore, while we are “reaching out” to people of different income levels, and nationalities, and religions, have we forgotten that we are in a crisis of the priesthood???? And this rubric that could & should dignify the priests of Holy Mother Church, in times of such chaos, was given away to someone else??? I feel cheated for them!
A very dear friend has recently “left” the priesthood– I am personally shaken by this. I had the privilege of attending this man’s ordination and served his first Mass as a lector (before I knew better ;) some 15 years ago. I have watched good, strong priests be battled, beaten, and broken by mothers who demand their daughters be altar servers. I have watched the complete feminization of the Novus Ordo by a most devout, traditional priest, who can’t get rid of them as lectors. They follow him in the Holy Thursday procession to the altar of repose as Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist. How can a priest possibly battle this now? The liberals who never copied Benedict’s “style” (as though it was a personal choice rather than authentic Roman Catholicism), who REFUSED to receive the Eucharist on their knees and on the tongue, who mock those of us who do, are now LOVING that “the Holy Father knows better than the rules.” I am afraid that I have watched these battles rage far too long to not be a tad cynical at this age. In my gut I know this is not as it should be, but I pray that I am wrong!

My feeling at a Mass offered in the last moments of Benedict’s pontificate, as our pastor faced the tabernacle and declared, “The See of Peter is vacant. May God have mercy on us!” was “how Holy Thursday-esque!” Perhaps Good Friday is around the corner as the Church must follow Christ in His Passion.
As my 8 year old son has begun to serve at Our Lord’s altar this past year, so much of this is tugging at my mind and heart. What will be left for him? The condition of our seminaries is frightening, even with recent “improvements”.
May all the Angels & Saints in Heaven pray for us and God’s Holy Church! –Stabat Mater

Where Pope Francis comes from his problem was not clown Masses and liberal priests ad-libbing the Mass. It was ultra-conservative priests who, for example, would not baptize children of unwed mothers. Also, you can see from his Holy Thursday morning homily, the tendency to over-spiritualize and forget to ‘give of the gift you have been given’. In this atmosphere, if I was him, I would have preferred SP not to be implemented, as it would give a locus for the malcontents to gather and encourage each other, who wanted things to stay ‘as they were’ but not in a good way. Our corner of the world is small. It should not surprise us that the priorities of a non-European Pope are different than ours. -Lana

‘War-weary Catholics are back in the trenches, but they now have Summorum Pontificum. And Pope Francis has done more to promote Summorum Pontificum then Pope Benedict ever did.’

Father Z, one has to admire your optimism amongst the bleakness that seems to be prevalent around. -Christopher

This whole issue is upsetting, but in addition, I am still wondering who received Holy Communion at that Holy Thursday Mass! Should I even ask?! Surely a Pope would not go so far as to… Another thing – it is so very sad that the feminists have priests so afraid that they (priests) will not even include in the Holy Thursday sermon anything about the institution of the priesthood, as well as the Eucharist, by Jesus on that day. -Sandy

Father Z beat me to it. This thought was crystallizing in my mind last night and today: that some number of seminarians and priests are likely to gravitate toward the Extraordinary Form, for precisely the reason he mentions.

What many people don’t appreciate–and on the part of some, it’s irritating, because they should know better (and some do know better)–is that the loosey-goosey approach to rubrics spawns an amazing volume of “why can’t we do ___” for priests, and not just about the liturgy.

And it’s fine for folks like Mark Shea to say–as I saw him say today on Facebook–that priests should just say no–but then Mr. Shea (who’s on the side of the angels in my opinion) is not known for what is called a “pastoral touch.” It gets exhausting to have these conversations over and over. It’s a terrible distraction from a lot of things a priest needs to do–and for many or most of us, we’d rather do.

A lot of priests–not all “trads” by any means–will often say to one another, over dinner and drinks, “oh I’d gladly stop doing X, but…” and then cite the example of other priests, or the fact that they’ve already said no to so many things, they figure, I have to let that settle in before I tighten up more; or they fear the bishop won’t back them up.

By the way, here’s where traditional types unwittingly do themselves so much harm. A lot of the immoderate reactions–the “nutties”–and free use of terms like “liberal” “modernist” “limp-wristed” etc., all make it easy for priests I’m describing simply to write off tradition-minded people as crazies who cannot be satisfied, so why bother?

Anyway, the situation for the present–until someone rectifies it–is that priests can expect even less backup if they stand strong.

Meanwhile, the underlying issues that have given rise to re-thinking how we approach liturgy–i.e., on some parts, the “reform of the reform,” and on other parts, the exploration of the older forms–haven’t changed. If anything, a spread of nuttiness in the liturgy may make the question more acute. Don’t think short-term. –Fr Martin Fox

Boxer, No, I do not believe that this was the Holy Father’s INTENT to demean the priesthood. I think this should be reserved for the Bishop’s Chrism Mass, and the Chrism Mass should be on a Thursday. (Not that anyone should care what I think on such a matter!) In this diocese the Chrism Mass is on Tuesday and “Protestantly Painful” with a songstress at the front of the sanctuary as our archbishop makes it all about the “Young Church” the “Church of the Youth” who occupy one half of the Cathedral they are bused into, wearing their Catholic school uniform polo shirt and SHORTS! They greatly outnumber our priests, and he gives them so much glory because adolescence is what life is all about and so we should cater to it and tell them how great they are because of their age, right??? But I digress. (Former youth ministry coordinatory, I am shamed to admit!)

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Again, I don’t think it was his intent, and I am not up to reading souls, either. But from a psychological view point, I think the misuse of the Mandatum and other priestly duties that are “equally distributed” to laity are detrimental to the faith and damaging to our sensibilities of proper authority, order, and accountability.
Too many lay people playing priests. I am aware of the shortage of priests, but if we prayerfully assisted in building up each priest in his vocation, and allowed what should be reserved for the vocation to remain reserved, even though we would sacrifice convenience of accessibility or frequency, etc. little boys would know just what a big fabulous deal it really is.
And little men KNOW the difference. I was sad to hear my son refer to one particular smiling, jolly Cardinal who does not carry himself as a Prince of the Church, in my opinion, nor does he kneel before the Pope or kiss his ring (at least not on the live coverage we have watched the past few years), as “Buzz Lightyear”. I was mortified, but remained silent. He then asked, “I sure hope when he consecrates the Eucharist he doesn’t add, ‘To infinity and beyond!’ I don’t want my son to be openly critical, but when he sees what we all see and knows it, I’ve got to let him call it!
Yes, I have directed him to pray fervently for our priests, bishops, cardinals, and the Holy Father– several times a day. And he is happy to do so!
Thanks for asking for clarification!
Off to Vigil Mass where a dear young friend will receive the gift of Confirmation and join her husband and children in the fullness of the Faith! And then back for TLM in the morning– such glory awaits! –Stabat Mater

Fr. Fox: No I think what’s happening is that the “rotr” ethos was symptomatic of the pendulum reaching the opposite extreme, and now we will we are finally coming back toward the sensible center position. –Fr Jim

Magpie, I’m still weeping because the church has lost its foundation. For me, the temple veil is now torn and the church doesn’t lead to salvation. –Nan

Here’s how I plan to respond to this disaster: 1) greater devotion to the holy Rosary. Mary will prevail! 2) I will study Latin with all my might. Took it when I was in school back in the Pleistocene era. Can pick it up on the web. And I will tell everyone I can how much I hope the Latin liturgy will be returned. –Marion

“the sensible center”, Fr. Jim , is what brought about the current (last 50 years) crisis in the Church, i.e., loss of regular Sunday Mass attendance, lack of reverence for the Holy Eucharist, no understanding of basic Catholic principles, failure to go to the Sacrament of Penance, and lack of understanding of Christian sexual morality. I should have added that Pope Francis, age 76, appears to want to return to that era of the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s and that will NOT foster a new evangelization at all! Save the Liturgy, Save the World are not empty words. –ACardnal

Father Jim said: Fr. Fox: No I think what’s happening is that the “rotr” ethos was symptomatic of the pendulum reaching the opposite extreme, and now we will we are finally coming back toward the sensible center position.

Oh no, Father. If time, my energy, and our genial host permitted, I would demolish that contention as thoroughly as the Romans demolished Carthage, ending with the ground being sown with salt.

The “reform of the reform” is the only hope the Ordinary Form of the Mass has. As it is routinely celebrated, with banal music (rather than the propers as called for), with endless and unpredictable variations, beyond those allowed for, with incessant talking, with the “versus populum” posture that cannot be defended, with the ritual as denuded of color and richness as too many post-Council churches have been, the Ordinary Form is, I fear, condemned to a long, slow, but inexorable decline.

The stunning fact is that when someone sees the Ordinary Form celebrated precisely as the rubrics presuppose: with the proper texts, chanted, ad orientem, in continuity with traditional forms, in ars celebrandi, vessels, vestments, and in setting, people will mistakenly not even recognize it as the Mass of Paul VI, and think it is some sort of “violation.” I’m reminded of Chesterton’s much-quoted witticism about Christianity: it isn’t so much tried and found wanting, but wanted but never tried. People who intensely dislike the Ordinary Form will say, this I could love.

The cheerleaders for the post-Vatican II mode of celebrating the Mass should be more circumspect; in what sense has their cherished project been a success? I am actually in favor of a proper liturgical reform, and so I read Pope Benedict. But sometimes, in order to go forward the right way, one must back up along ones path a bit. Again, if we have a breaking out of liturgical nuttiness again, more people will decide that the Extraordinary Form looks better and better. –Fr Martin Fox

I, too, am concerned by Pope Francis’s actions. We have liturgical rubrics for a reason and to have someone change them to suit their own purposes is confusing. Trads have been taking a lot of heat for their remarks on other blogs about the action of Pope Francis. Although some of the remarks are angry, paranoid, and disrespectful of the Holy Father, I know where they come from, and I’m willing to cut them some slack. Pope Benedict was like a drink of cool water after 40 years in the desert, and trads thought they might be gaining in the war. It was spiritual warfare, and they have been in the front lines.
People have forgotten what happened in the 70’s, so I’m going to offer a personal history lesson. I remember it very well. I started Catholic school in 1965, so I remember the transitional Mass in English that was very much like the Tridentine, with a few things omitted. It was said ad orientem, had the prayers at the foot of the altar, without the Judica Me, and the Roman canon, since that was the only canon then. (I think if the reforms had stopped here, there would have been no problem.) The sisters at my school still wore their traditional habits when I started school.
In 1969 everything changed. The Novus Ordo was introduced. With that, all traditional music was out and “Let it Be” and “Blowing in the Wind” became favorite hymns. Forty-Hours Devotion was out, as well as May Processions. Fortunately, our parish did not introduce communion standing or in the hand until much later. My mother and father had a very hard time with the changes. They tried to organize a group to lobby for at least a Latin Mass. They were called “heretics” by the priest and told “to get with the program.” We became “roaming Catholics.” We once attended a traditional Mass offered by an independent priest, but he railed against the parish down the street as being heretical so we didn’t return. We found a nearby parish with a Novus Ordo in Latin offered by a retired priest and went to that parish for years instead of our home parish. In addition, the sisters modified their habits, but within a year quit wearing them altogether, and the possibility of Mary not really being a virgin was discussed in religion class. My mother was told by her confessor to pull us out of Catholic school because “they were poisoning our minds.”

 
 


In the 80’s a Norbertine father came to the parish to offer a weekly Novus Ordo in Latin which was very successful. When a new pastor came into the parish, he put a stop to it. My father spoke to him about it, and was told, “Why do you want a Latin Mass. You don’t even understand Latin.” After that, my parents left the church and have never returned. They are now in the 80s, and I have been hoping that someday, we would get an FSSP parish, but this is LA. The traditional Mass has been kept going only because of the efforts of faithful who have fought the hard fight, been ostracized, and called names by their pastors. Since the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum things have improved, but Masses are spread out over the entire diocese and held at irregular times. For instance, there is a Mass offered at 1:00 p.m. in a local parish. If you want to observe the traditional fast, it truly becomes a weekly penance.
People today think Mass is a meal, not a sacrifice. I see comments criticizing people for criticizing the Pope for not genuflecting at the consecration. At first, I thought maybe he had a physical problem, but he seems to be able to kneel when he wants to. To kneel to wash feet and not kneel before Christ present on the altar is confusing, especially when no explanation is offered.

So have a little pity for trads. If it wasn’t for their efforts and others like them most of you who have easy access to the traditional Mass or a good quality Novus Ordo with decent music wouldn’t have that. I understand their comments and echo them to myself. This is more than about liturgy and other minutiae. It’s about Catholic identity and what sets us apart from just another Christian church, and constant change and uncertainty does nothing to help. –Tifosi

I think BLB is right: Because he washed the feet of Muslim women, that, along with this sermon, makes clear that the foot-washing ceremony has nothing to do with who can be ordained as a priest. Did any media outlet fail to comment that he was washing the feet of a Muslim woman?

A lot of people are uncatechized, but they’re not stupid. Wash the feet of married men – okay, married men can become priests. Wash the feet of women – maybe women can become priests. Wash the feet of a Muslim woman – oops, even the average media catechized know that doesn’t work.

I don’t think Pope Francis is naive in the least. He knows exactly what he’s doing. And he just did something that will be taken by the average undercatechized Catholic as a sign of service and, incidentally, as a sign that it can’t be about ordaining women. They can “wonder” and “hope” all they want, but I think the average Catholic is just going to think – he washed Muslim’s feet – so this can’t be about who gets ordained.

So he shows charity and does an end-run around the liberal spinmeisters. Because whatever the media says, everyone knows and saw that he washed the feet of Muslims.

As for whether his example promotes antinomianism, I’m beginning to think he’s not interested in changing any canon law at all. As the pope, it appears he can already dispense himself from this canon law, and I don’t think he’s willing to use the force of canon law to require anyone to allow washing the feet of women. He’s left it right where it was: canonically, footwashing should be reserved to men, but that particular requirement can be dispensed with. It’s up to the bishops.

And that’s the way I think he’s going to do things. He’s looking for a grassroots revival. And I agree with @The Drifter that he’s going be practical. He wants people back in the Church and we think the EF is a great evangelizer. So he’s going to give us a chance to walk the walk and do that. If we want the EF, it’s up to us to get together and get it.

I really like the idea of the average parish having at least one Sunday mass in the EF. It seems to me that would be more effective than separate FSSP or EF parishes. Besides which, if everyone who wants the EF goes off to a separate parish, who’s going to be left to bring it in to other parishes? This is NOT about the priest – it’s about the laity! –Mary

Nice positive spin on the first clear evidence that the new papacy is on a path to perdition. –Ann Asher

I agree that the Pope’s decision to set aside the rules in this instance was unfortunate, and, in particular, the example set by his doing so may prove to be beyond unfortunate.

That said: what would Mary do? I’m thinking, how would Our Lady have conducted herself toward Pope Peter I on that Sabbath day following Good Friday? It is plausible that Our Lady would have shared the Passover meal with the Apostles on that sad day before Easter. When she approached Peter, who had denied her Son three times, would Our Lady have reproached him? Would she have said, “I don’t want to sit near Peter, that creep; he denied my Son! I want to sit by anyone except him!”

Does that sound like Our Lady? I don’t think so. I think Our Lady would have remained calm and dignified and charitable even toward Saint Peter who had denied her beloved Son. She would have prayed for Peter; her demeanor toward him would have been sweet and gracious; she would have maintained confidence that the Holy Spirit would strengthen him to do what is right in the future.

I think that to imitate Our Lady in everything, we can’t go wrong. –Marion

J Hayes wrote, “51. The washing of the feet of chosen men which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who
came “not to be served, but to serve”. This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained.”

This is referring to the men, the Apostles, whom Jesus ordained at the Last Supper. He expected his priests and bishops to serve others not to be served by them. That is the meaning behind the washing of the feet. There is no other meaning. Jesus did NOT wash the feet of any other women present or even the feet of his Holy and sinless mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary who undoubtedly was present. To extrapolate beyond that is speculation. –ACardnal

I’m taking a lead from Saint Paul on this one. Sometimes the Holy Father is wrong about important matters. When we are wrong the most healing action to take comes by way of an apology, which would open the way for a reconciliation. Saint Peter did this by making public the truth that he should have been practicing privately in his own life. There can be no growth among any people without reconciliation. –Lucas W

I watched the Easter Vigil Mass. Francis baptized and confirmed three people at the Mass. Later, I watched to see if the prie-dieu Benedict had used for Communion would reappear. It didn’t and he gave the three of them Communion by intinction, standing, behind the altar. He did not come forward of the altar to distribute Communion to other people attending the Mass.

 
 

 
 

The laity received Communion, standing, from 120 priests and deacons, as at Benedict’s Masses. Camera closeups showed that they were giving on the tongue or in the hand as the person requested. I don’t recall seeing Communion in the hand at Benedict’s Masses but it may just not have been caught on camera. –J Hayes

“In two weeks Pope Francis has done more to promote Summorum Pontificum than Pope Benedict did since the day he promulgated it.”## So true. His scandalous behaviour is a powerful indication of the new rite’s capacity for being abused. It is a room in a half-way house between the True Faith in its beauty, and the abominations of heresy. Despite himself, he proves by his abuses that Vatican II was built on shifting sand, and cannot last. For that at least he can be thanked.

“After the decision by Pope Francis to wash the feet of two women on Holy Thursday, conservative Catholic priests and laypeople alike will now be looking for ways out of the dilemma posed by the foot washing rite of the Holy Thursday Mass.”## No dilemma. A liturgical abuse is a liturgical abuse, even if the wrong-doer is the Pope. There cannot be a stand for the Pope, and another for other priests. That would be relativism. Either liturgical law obliges, or it does not. The Pope did wrong, and caused scandal, as these comboxes shows. If a parish priest is rightly rebuked for washing the feet of women and not men in the Mandatum, the Pope cannot be less worthy of rebuke. The Church cannot have it both ways. At the very least, and as a work of mercy, the authorities in the Church need to make it unambiguously clear that, if the Pope can indeed commit abuses without being at fault, while lesser clergy sin if they imitate him, there is in fact, according to the mind of the Church, one standard applicable to him, but an entirely different standard applicable to them. The double standard needs to be made explicit, to avoid further confusion. Then he can rip up Tradition, the Faith, the Liturgy, morals, the sacraments, & meaning itself, to his heart’s content. And the rest of us can keep clear of his shenanigans, until the Church withers, and he has no Church to be Pope of. Let him explain that to the Great Shepherd of the Sheep :(

“The foot washing rite is actually optional, though that fact is little grasped by liberals who impose the options they like as obligatory on those who would prefer to opt out.” ## An excellent description of this Pope. [My italics] –Parasum

Fr. Z, I think the most important thing you observed is that “War-weary Catholics are back in the trenches.” We have no choice but to fight. It appears that Pope Francis is looking for a fight. Why? Could it be that he is not the humble man of peace he pretends to be, but a cunning fake? He knows exactly what he is doing when he ignores rubrics. He knows what he is doing when he greets every motley group of heretic and heathen but refuses to acknowledge the SSPX. Surely then are no further from the heart of the church than Muslims. He seems to be the classic bully doing what he wants–in disregard of people’s feelings and lawful aspirations– just because he can. Humble men don’t act like that. –Allan [I won’t write here what I think of suggestions like this in my combox.]

ACardnal wrote: “Jesus did NOT wash the feet of any other women present or even the feet of his Holy and sinless mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary who undoubtedly was present. To extrapolate beyond that is speculation.”

The idea that women or anyone other than the twelve apostles were there is speculation. It’s not established in any of the Gospels. Matthew uses both “disciples” and “the twelve” in describing those present with Jesus at he Last Supper, leaving the possibility that there were more than 12 disciples there. However, since Matthew says that Jesus gave the bread and wine to his “disciples” and told them to “drink from it all of you”, having more than 12 disciples present would cause many complications. –J Hayes

Kathleen, not sure what you mean when you say that innovation is not the responsibility of the Holy See; the Holy See has a long history of innovation, regardless of whether the Popes saw it as their responsibility to innovate. Many obviously thought that what they did was exactly as their forefathers did, but that has not been the case for about 1000 years since the first major innovation. Now the innovations have been coming pretty quickly, so that there’s barely little context left for Catholics to even recognize innovation. Take this service for foot washing. For generations, it was a separate service apart from the Mass. Then one of the greatest innovators over the course of his long influential life, Eugenio Pacelli, Pius XII, said it could be part of the Mass. So now many clergy and laity think if you don’t do perform the ceremony during the Mass, you are “breaking tradition.” And that’s one of hundreds of changes that deprive Catholics of the richness of their patrimony, from praxis (like fasting regs) to doctrine. So you can’t easily say that what Pope Francis did is in any way bad, without pointing out that he does it in the name of the Papacy, which of course Catholics cannot do; and so they enable the innovation to occur, again and again. Catholics cannot reject the innovations without rejecting the Papacy, and the latter they will not do; and so, by defending the Papacy, they by default end up enabling the innovations generation after generation. –Cheesesteak

Let’s see what occurs next year Holy Thursday before getting too concerned. If the Pope had done this on the altar at St Peters then I can understand the up roar. It was at a juvenile detention center. WWJD? Take a deep breath and pray. –John

It is not a blessing to have the TLM grow somewhat simply because NO abuse is allowed to run wild. Pope Benedict’s vision, as I understand it, was to have the TLM and NO cross fertilize each other and eventually merge. This is a beautiful vision. An anecdote illustrates my feelings about this. I work in an office that has about 40 upper middle class, mostly Caucasian, pretty secular professionals and about 80 support staff. The support staff is mostly Hispanic, many Catholic, some evangelical and some secular. One of the professionals who happened to be a Catholic returned to the Church when he was diagnosed with a fatal illness and then died. The entire office attended his NO funeral Mass, which was beautifully done by an obviously orthodox young priest. To have the entire office, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, at Mass praying together was one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced. So it should be with the universal Church. The most beautiful thing would be for us all to pray together in full communion with the Pope, the bishops, all the priests and the entire Church.

The shame of allowing a return to silly season is that it would undermine the liturgical unity that Pope Benedict fostered. Over the course of Pope Benedict’s pontificate, I went to Mass at many different parishes and I saw some signs that the celebration of the NO was improving just as envisioned by Pope Benedict: more chant, more reverence. This gave me hope because the NO, properly celebrated, can be quite beautiful and has some advantages over the TLM in my opinion (I for example think that it is a good thing to be able to hear and understand the Eucharistic prayer). If the Vatican starts to signal that the Mass can be a “let’s all gather around the table for a meal, hey, who’s turn is it to say the prayers?” kind of thing. it obviously will not help the NO develop. –Donato

 
 

 
 

I agree John, let’s wait and see what happens next year. What’s the bet if it’s in a Church that they’ll be all men?

My understanding is that the Holy See’s press folk have essentially said that only men can have their feet washed but that this Mass was not at an ordinary parish, rather it was under special circumstances at a youth detention center – previously visited by his Holiness Benedict XVI btw.

His Holiness Francis hasn’t been Pope for long, so let’s see wait and see how things go liturgically.

If anyone at my Parish brings up his washing the feet of two women (only two, the majority were men) then I’ll ask if we are planning on praying Mass next year in our usual liturgical setting or at a detention center. Maybe I’ll even bring up all the Latin and Chant and Communion on the tongue while kneeling at his installation Mass. –mbabc

Cheesesteak Expert: “So you can’t easily say that what Pope Francis did is in any way bad, without pointing out that he does it in the name of the Papacy, which of course Catholics cannot do…”

## Why ever not? A stupid, scandalous, or unorthodox act or utterance of the Pope is of that description regardless of who he is. Acting “in the name of the Papacy” could cover anything from waging war on an Italian city-state to defining a dogma. And not all acts of the man who is Pope are done in his capacity as Pope: he absolves in the confessional not because he is the Pope, but because he is a priest. It’s essential to make distinctions, otherwise people get the idea that to criticise the Pope, no matter how imprudent, scandalous, heretical or scandalous his actions or words, is tantamount to criticising Christ. But that is an exaggerated idea of the Papacy, one not supported by the facts.

“and so they enable the innovation to occur, again and again. Catholics cannot reject the innovations without rejecting the Papacy…”

## Not so. If the Pope prints a faulty edition of the Vulgate, as Clement V did in 1590, the fact of its being a Papal act does (& did) not alter the fact that it contained thousands of misprints. It had to be replaced, in 1592, which is why Clement VIII is more often associated with it.

The idea that the authority is rejected when one of its acts is rejected, is not logical. Maybe this is in part why people confuse disobedience with schism. –Parasum

Supertradmum, my point was that popular faith is not kept alive by laypeople hanging around the sacristy and checking on the positioning of Father’s vestments, scrutinizing his hand positions, etc. I think that laypeople, whether “traditionalist” or NO, are perhaps getting excessively involved in liturgical matters, to the exclusion of their real duty, which is not to supervise the sanctuary but to bring the Faith out into the world. And I think the excessive level of lay involvement has confused the clergy and made it easy for them to abandon their teaching and even liturgical responsibilities.

Places like Latin American, Spain, Malta or, most certainly, Italy itself now have a truly abysmal lack of knowledge of the Faith and its moral requirements because the clergy have abandoned their duties – no confessions in the parishes, catechism of both children and adults left to unsupervised laypeople who don’t even know the Faith themselves, and the liturgy taken over by self-important laypeople. The only thing that has kept even the memory of the true Faith alive in those places, however, has been the traditions of popular devotion – and the devout, serious laypeople who have worked hard to keep the processions, the pilgrimages, etc. going and visible, still reminding the average person of the real story behind daily life, the real drama of salvation.

And curiously enough, the clergy has often fought these practices. The Spanish cofradias really had to fight to keep the Holy Week processions alive in some parts of Spain where modernist bishops and clergy had been implanted in the 80s. That’s because popular devotions remained as an uncomfortable reminder of the reality of the Faith that the left wing official institutional segment of the Church was trying to erase.

Obviously, there are going to be some laypeople who have a legitimate reason to be involved with liturgy – musicians, church architects, designers, and other people whose professional knowledge is needed by the clergy. But I think a lot of us laypeople should really remember that our place is in the world and not in the sacristy. –Traductora

“I’m referring to the danger that advances in the reverence of those NO Masses will halt or disappear. That doesn’t mean there won’t be NOs, but it may mean there won’t be decent NO Masses

Twelve suggestions to promote more reverent NO Masses in your parish, and in your diocese:

1. Pray the Rosary on your knees every evening after dinner, as a family. We can obtain everything through the Rosary. It may take weeks, months, or years, but Our Lady will provide. Trust her.

2. After each decade, offer the following prayer: “God our Father, please continue to send us holy priests.”

3. Pray the Rosary in Church with other Mass attendees after daily Mass, especially on Saturday.

4. Propose to the other attendees that you add the “God our Father, send us . . . ” prayer after each decade. This will spread the devotion. It has worked wonders in our parish!

5. Before attending Mass each Sunday, ask the Holy Spirit to bless and inspire your celebrant and the congregation. Ask Him to provide a most holy and reverent celebration, with very great graces for all present and for the entire parish.

6. Week in and week out, wear your Sunday best to Mass each Sunday. Suit and tie; skirt or dress, if you can afford them, and if not, then the freshest and nicest that you have. I don’t mean razzle-dazzle catwalk-style; I mean simply clean, dry, and well-groomed hair, freshly shaved, neatly dressed, as carefully put-together as you can. How you look while present to others will matter to them, even to the priest.

7. Sit in the front row, or as close to it as you can, each week.

8. Arrive early, and settle into your chosen spot, each week. Let it be seen that you are offering silent prayers. Kneel; fold your hands in prayer; look up at the crucifix, or bow your head and close your eyes, and beg God for all the graces from this Mass and Holy Communion that He can possibly bestow. Don’t speak or move unnecessarily, and stay in that attitude until it’s time to rise for the procession.

9. Once Holy Mass begins, participate as if this were your last Mass on Earth. Offer most fervent prayers to God, imploring Him for a reverent and holy celebration now and in the future. Keep your nose out of the missalette and the bulletin; don’t take your eyes off the altar. Your actions will be noticed.

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10. After Mass is over, remain kneeling or seated in your pew for a few moments to offer thanks for Holy Communion. Let it be seen that you are in silent prayer. Three to five minutes – no more.

11. Speak with Father after Mass each Sunday. Thank him for celebrating Mass. Tell him you are praying for him, and ask him to pray for you.

12. Give as generously as you can of your time, talent, and treasure to your parish. Over time, your doing so can’t help but influence your pastor on your behalf. Be a lector, or teach CCD or RCIA, or offer to take Holy Communion to those who are homebound or in nursing homes; vacuum the Church, clip the hedges, make phone calls, stuff envelopes: the words and actions of those who clearly extend themselves to support the work of the parish are naturally going to carry a little more weight than those of parishioners who just sit back and kvetch.

Keep plugging away; the results you want may take time, but they will come. –Marion

Parasum, a blessed Feast to you.
Of what value is authority if it is accepted as an idea, but rejected in practice? Sounds like cafeteria Catholicism. The person rejecting has taken on for himself the authority to decide, and that is called being a protestant. My point is that, because of so many innovations authorized and promulgated by the Papacy, Catholics do not know what to do, believe or submit to, other than the reigning Pope. Which can be quite confusing, when this Pope says, Zig, but the last Pope said, Zag. A lot of zig-zagging. Which Fr Z can help with, of course. –Parasum

How many Catholics will begin to see SSPX chapels, or Orthodox Churches, as the only safe haven? –Grabski

The defenses of Pope Francis become more creative and desperate every day. Still, this one is a real howler. You may be correct that Francis will not launch a frontal assault on Summorum Pontificum (although I think that is far from certain). But he won’t have to in order to undermine it. Lukewarm bishops all over the world have been looking for an excuse to ignore it, and now they have one: a pope who ignores Church law himself. One thing is for certain: opportunities to attend a licit TLM will diminish during this pontificate. That will be the least of our worries. –Dr Timothy J Williams

Sandydeb, I seem to recall having heard many a view alike with yours during my teens and 20′s. Unfortunately, you seem to me to view the Church primarily as a political institution, a giant multi-national business, or perhaps a nice social services NGO, one with a few prayers attached for good measure. These reflect a very poor comprehension of the Church’s actual mission in the world. In fact, these views demonstrate precisely why many of us have been pretty uncomfortable with some of Pope Francis’ actions these past few weeks, especially with Holy Thursday.

I can’t help but think of the madness that I saw throughout the late 80′s and 90′s in particular with John Paul II, especially with regard to gender. Very simply put, many a radical-leaning feminist felt it worthwhile to hijack and manipulate almost anything John Paul II did. Rarely would they pay attention to the whole message; they’d always hear and see precisely what they wished. If some might complain that Benedict didn’t interact with the world so well in terms of actually teaching the faith–his comments regarding condoms come to mind–I think we might legitimately fear all the more aggressive of an approach to anything that can even be hinted at as being more “progressive”. Simply put, too many people simply have no interest in faith outside what they’ve already decided they wish to believe. I’d like to see our Pope expect us to demonstrate that we actually have some understanding of WHY our Church acts the way it does. –J Flare

Phil, thank you for your response. Yes, we all deserve reverent Masses. The only reverent NO Mass that I ever found was the one celebrated at the EWTN Monastery. At that time it was a long drive to get there. Now I am blessed with a weekly Latin Mass, and sometimes a retired Bishop will come to celebrate a High Mass. I pray that reverence will continue to grow in the NO Mass and that you never feel abandoned. The Latin Mass can seem cold and uninviting at first. The English translation on the side really helps to know what is happening. With a little effort it really grows on you. I have to admit that since my first language is Spanish, it didn’t seem too foreign to me, because Latin is the Mother tongue of Romanic languages like Spanish, French, Italian, etc. God bless you! Our Lady watches over us.

Fr Jim, thank you also for your kind reply and clarification. Sometimes your comments are very general and can be misconstrued. I apologize for my arrogance. God bless you also!

Sandydeb, I am sorry also for my lack of charity toward you. Today at Holy Mass I asked our Lord and Lady to protect you. I really think that you should consider that if the Catholic Church were as you describe it, it would have disappeared a long time ago, and that not many women would be faithful Catholics. Consider what a mystery it is that throughout the centuries her enemies have been obsessed with Her instead of simply ignoring Her. You may never accept the truth that contraception turns women into objects of pleasure and that abortion is both the murder of a life and the rape of a mother, but consider that many women are grateful that our Church has shown the true dignity of women throughout the ages by fighting against these and other evils regardless of the cost. May Our Blessed Mother protect your precious soul. –Netokor

Phil, I too agree with you that many people long for a reverent NO mass. Today we had a priest ad lib much of the NO Mass. In truth, the most reverent NO masses I have heard in the past year have been weekday masses. Perhaps because there are few in attendance, there is less tendency to ad lib. Plus, there is minimal music (which is the kiss of death for most NO masses.) –Giuseppe

Marion’s advice is great. Back when I was in the process of coming back to the Church, the examples of a few pious individuals – and solid homilies – helped tremendously. I wonder what type of example it would set of a dozen or so people would kneel for communion (yes, with a perfectly functional altar rail nearby).

Is Fr. Z correct that this could turn people to tradition? I certainly hope so.

As for myself, I’m dismayed at the state of the Church. I love Latin, the EF mass, and all of the things that form our Catholic identify (some of which I’m still discovering!). Contrast this with what you may see at a NO mass: immodest dress, lack of respect for the Real Presence, banal music. This compare and contrast can obviously go on and on.

I fear that these two worlds cannot be reconciled. –Nykash

 
 

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SSPX stunning announcement!

http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/04/sspx-stunning-announcement/

Posted on 1 April 2013 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

I received this note:

(WDTPRSNEWS.COM – Ecône, Switzerland) In a surprise move, the followers of the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in the Society of St. Pius X, have issued a document creating within their ranks an “Ordinariate” for Catholics who wish to celebrate the Novus Ordo according to the official rubrics.

According to the press release, the SSPX saw the need to provide a refuge for priests and lay faithful alike to preserve the few vestiges of Catholic identity they retained in the midst of their modernist errors.

Fr. Sven O’Brien, sub-vice assistant director of the eastern division of the Society’s German province, said in a phone interview, “Sure, they are dupes of modernist Rome, but they have souls. In these drastic new circumstances, we have to provide a refuge.”

The SSPX’s move was sparked by the recent decision of Pope Francis to wash the feet of women during a Holy Thursday liturgy, in clear violation of the duly issued rubrics in the modernist-influenced Novus Ordo Missale Romanum.

Some rank-and-file Catholics who attend Novus Ordo Masses still want to have Mass without the controversies caused by abandoning the law.

“We are the defenders of Eternal Rome,” Fr. O’Brien continued. “Their ship is sinking. We have to throw them a life-preserver.”

The 32-page SSPX document, entitled “Modernistarum coetibus”, establishes a sub-group within the Society that permits the members to celebrate the Novus Ordo of Pope Paul VI in Latin according to the rubrics and texts as they are printed in the official books.

“Like him or not,” said Fr. Eldon Friel of the SSPX chapel in Tall Tree Circle, “that Father Z, even though he’s a liberal, got it right. Say the black and do the red. Say the texts as they are written and follow the rubrics as they are printed. That’s a step in the right direction, a step towards eternal Rome.”

The new SSPX sub-group called the Ordinariate of Mary, Queen of Tradition, was established immediately by the issuing of the new document.

When asked about reception of the new provisions, Fr. O’Brien said, “Hey, it’s early, but we’ve had to assign more seminarians to answer the phones. They’re ringing off the hook!”

 
 

10 SELECTED [OUT OF 87] COMMENTS

April Fool’s Day! Mary

If this isn’t the best way to start off an April… I don’t know what is! Sheen

Very good, Fr. Z! Thanks for the chuckle. Warren

What a stunt! May you receive what you deserve for such mischief the description of yourself as a liberal gives you away. Hank

My sense of humor died on March 13th. -Jon

What a screeeeeeam. Some of these comments are pretty good, too. -Dr. Edward Peters

My favorite was back in 2009 on April Fool’s: SSPX Bishop Fellay named new Archbishop of St. Louis http://stlouiscatholic.blogspot.com/2009/04/breaking-news-sspx-bishop-fellay-named.html -Rich

I was tipped off by the language that the SSPX spoke with. Too casual.

But these days there is no April fools joke about a Catholic subject that is too far fetched.

While the joke was good. It made me sad. It made me mad. That with all that is going on in the Church stuff like this is actually believable. Actually it is more believable than these headlines would have been a month ago.
Pope resigns
Jesuits control Papacy
Pope does not want to be called Pope
Pope washes women’s feet.
Pope abandons liturgical matters.
Liberal claim Pope as their own

-Potato

Very funny, Father! I am reminded again and again how dear Pope Benedict spoiled us:
almost every move by Francis now appears nearing a headline from the Onion!
- Pope Washes Muslim’s Girl Feet, Says “Humble” For 254th Time.
- New Pope Never Says “Pope”
- New Pope Says “Shorten the Black, Do the Opposite of the Red”
Anyway, when all of that is over, history will mark him as “Jorge Maria Cardinal Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, a claimant to Papacy under the name ‘Francis, Bishop of Rome’ in the last years of Pope Benedict XVI’s reign. Last seen in 2013 in one of the corridors of Domus Sanctae Marthae in Rome, being ‘humble,’ and scared of ‘trappings.’ Present whereabouts unknown.” Anchorite

A few times since 3-13-2013, the thought of joining SSPX has crossed my mind. Each time I remembered that they are not the true Church. If there is a true Church without the Novus Ordo, only the TLM, please tell me where I can sign up – April first or April 2nd or…-Nun OCDS

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Sentimentality and feelin’ good V. reason and good order

http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/04/sentimentality-and-feelin-good-v-reason-and-good-order/

Posted on 1 April 2013 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

From the blog of Prof Ed Peters, canonist [See pages 7, 8, 18, 19, 35, 36, 74, 106-108]

Some thoughts on the VPO statement regarding the Mandatum rite controversy
by Dr. Edward Peters
The background to this controversy is the antinomianism that prevails today.

The Church is passing through a period in which the relationship between ecclesiastical law and the life of faith is widely misunderstood and the very content of Church law is often poorly explained. My attempts to address this double problem include explaining how law is important to a faith community, but even more, I try to explain what the law is at present—for one can hardly debate how ecclesiastical law ought to read if one does not know what it already says.

The controversy over Pope Francis’ disregard of a liturgical law in the Mandatum rite exposes, I think, how many others in the Church misunderstand important aspects of ecclesiastical law and how a misguided attempt to explain Church law can actually provoke more issues for the faithful than it settles.

A Vatican Press Office statement asserts:

“One can easily understand that in a great celebration, men would be chosen for the foot washing because Jesus, himself wash[ed] the feet of the twelve apostles who were male. However the ritual of the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday evening in the Juvenile Detention Centre in Rome took place in a particular, small community that included young women.”

Such language, I fear, confuses matters.

The basic meaning of a rite, and certainly the interpretation to be given a rubric like this one, does not depend on the number of people attending the liturgy. No theory is offered to show that in large congregations Christ’s modeling of apostolic ministry is intended by the Mandatum, but in small congregations his modeling of love is intended. Asserting otherwise only sows confusion for other liturgical questions. Similarly, to say that the interpretation of this rubric turns on the presence of “young women” is to make effectively universal that odd interpretation (really: how many pastoral settings consist only of males?)

“To have excluded the young women from the ritual washing of feet on Holy Thursday night in this Roman prison, would have detracted our attention from the essence of the Holy Thursday Gospel…”

This unguarded language risks being understood as “following this Church law detracts attention from the essence of the Gospel”. I cannot imagine that this was really meant, but that is basically what is communicated. I do not think there is a conflict between Church law and the essence of the Gospel, notwithstanding that Church laws, from time to time, need to be reformed (as I have suggested the Mandatum rubric should be). In any case, this problematic language exemplifies why Vatican press statements are not vehicles of official legal interpretation in the Church. Canon law makes clear who has authority to authentically interpret Church laws (1983 CIC 16 § 1, ap. con. Pastor Bonus 154 ff., and certain congregations in regard to certain matters).

“… and the very beautiful and simple gesture of a father who desired to embrace those who were on the fringes of society; those who were not refined experts of liturgical rules.”

Again, this is unfortunate language.

The implication seems to be that rubrics are understandable by (and ultimately applicable only to) “refined experts of liturgical rules”. I disagree: many rubrics indeed reflect deep theological truths (and thus rubrics are often exercises in something more than legal positivism), but most rubrics are meant to be easily understandable by normal priests ministering in typical pastoral settings. It is a disservice to suggest that respect for Church law is primarily the concern of “refined experts” or that ecclesiastical law has little bearing on how believers should conduct their faith life.

“That the Holy Father, Francis, washed the feet of young men and women on his first Holy Thursday as Pope, should call our minds and hearts to the simple and spontaneous gesture of love, affection, forgiveness and mercy of the Bishop of Rome, more than to legalistic, liturgical or canonical discussions.”

I agree that Francis’ action achieved this good effect.

What I find distressing is the inability to recognize (or refusal to acknowledge) that this action also had other effects, effects that might not be so benign. I have argued that among those effects was the sowing of new confusion about the binding character of liturgical laws in general, about the influence of a pope on good order in the community, and so on. Now, to be sure, there are sound answers to these questions, but they are not easily offered in the middle of the Triduum and splashed across secular news stories and blogs. This whole matter should have been handled differently from the start.

Finally, this sort of language pits “love, affection, forgiveness and mercy” against “legalistic, liturgical or canonical discussions.” Thus accepted is the well-worn but false dichotomy between the spiritual goods of the Church and her legal traditions. Such a charge is often leveled against canon law today, but it was expressly rejected by Pope John Paul II when he wrote that Church law “is in no way intended as a substitute for faith, grace, charisms, and especially charity in the life of the Church and of the faithful. On the contrary, its purpose is rather to create such an order in the ecclesial society that, while assigning the primacy to love, grace, and charisms, it at the same time renders their organic development easier in the life of both the ecclesial society and the individual persons who belong to it.” John Paul II, ap. con. Sacrae disciplinae leges (1983) 16.

Law in the Church — canon, liturgical, sacramental, etc. — is not an end in itself, but instead serves greater ends. Yet, precisely as law, it cannot serve these purposes if it is ignored and/or explained away, two fates often suffered by law in antinomian times.

More on this, and on the Press Office statement later.

 
 

 
 

20 SELECTED [OUT OF 95] COMMENTS

We can’t even rely on our Holy Father to keep things in order anymore. This throws every well-formed, rightly-minded priest’s arguments for liturgical propriety under the bus. “Well, the Holy Father washed the feet of women!”
Ocalatrad

On Holy Thursday, our Jesuit-trained priest quoted 4 times what the Holy Father said that day. He especially was strong about there being no, I’ll call it class distinctions, between the priest and the people. He hinted that he, and perhaps many priests, see themselves as above the people, or something like that. And after what was for me a message borne of his own projections on us, he then proceeded to invite all from the congregation to have their feet washed by him. I still can’t figure out the humility lesson in all of this.
Disturbed

Another home run by Prof. Peters (I understand why he does not have comments on his, but I hope he sees my complimentary comments here). I tried to post a link to one of his other articles on this same topic on one of the Catholic blogs on Patheos, but the blog owner (and not Mark Shea, believe it or not) deleted the comment and link as “critical of the Holy Father.” This same blogger proceeded to post several links about Francis’ Holy Thursday liturgy and to comment on how wonderful it was because the washing of women’s feet was “meaningful to me.” Antinomianism and sentimentalism reigns.
-Vox Borealis

Yes, the washing of feet by Christ teaches humility and service, but much more is going on in that gospel scene. Our Lord is teaching that one must be ‘washed’ (i.e., baptism) before participating in the Eucharistic table. But yet another importance of this action recalls that the levitical priests, before offering sacrifice had to wash their feet. Our Lord by his action, is teaching that these MEN are now his priests, and they are about to offer Sacrifice (the Last Supper). [Ex 40:31, 30:19] So there is a clear theological reason for not washing women’s feet. The liturgical law is teaching theology here. I fear that we are forgetting how we got here!
-Fr. W

A buddy of mine went to Holy Mass at his home parish on Sunday. There was an article on the Holy Thursday incident in their local newspaper on Saturday (top of page 2!) The priest said he applauded the changing of tradition the way Pope Francis did last Thursday. He went on to say that people in the Church “see things differently” than others. Some, he said, see the “glass as half-full; others see it as half-empty.”

My response to my friend was very simple:

What if I, as a volunteer at this priest’s parish, don’t see things the way the priest does? (or some other official Church “tradition” [big “T” or little “t”] be it faith, morals, liturgy or discipline)

What if I suddenly start doing things contradictory to some Church discipline (for all to see) or blatantly disobey something the priest wants done and is contradictory to his wishes?

How can the priest have a problem with this? After all, I am seeing the glass half-empty compared to his half-full.

This is why there are rules and regulations in the first place (hey, Kingdoms, including our Lord’s, have rules). So chaos and personal opinions will not enter into the equation (say the black, do the red, right?)

Rigid? Hardly! On the contrary it sets us free. –Midwest

I mentioned a few days ago that a priest is almost bound to know that he will spark confusion among the faithful (I used the word scandal then, which fits according to the definition of the word). As the encyclical caritas in veritate so well points out if that truth is know then the priest in question is no longer acting objectively in charity because charity that is not enlightened by truth becomes an empty shell. “So what do we think about the Holy Thursday Mandatum being set aside for the sake of showing compassion?” It seems clear to me: The Holy Father did not succeed in showing compassion because he made his love into an empty shell to be filled with opinions and emotionalism; the decision to neglect liturgical law erodes the good work of so many priests around the world who give their every energy to providing good liturgy.

I think that the Holy Father should speak to his mistake in a public way in the interest of holding back the eroding effect that this oversight has caused. I know from my own experience that an apology would also bring real healing to the many orthodox Catholics whose efforts to share the gospel of the True, the Good, and the Beautiful have been undermined to some extent by this recent show of false compassion. I am not saying that the Holy Father doesn’t care. I am saying that his caring was undermined by his oversight of liturgical law, and I believe that he knew that this was a possibility before he chose to disregard this liturgical law. If he does not admit the mistake so that we can get back to the business of being Catholic (united) then many things will continue to unravel: Catholic identity and authenticity take a hit when a public figure such as the Holy Father acts with disregard about liturgical laws, and those priests who are confused about what good liturgy is will find license to implement changes based solely on their own subjective opinions about the Mass. No good will come from this unless Pope Francis makes up for his mistake in an equally public way. -Lucas Whittaker

What worries me is people like Fr Thomas Rosica are now releasing press statements on behalf of the Vatican.-Paul K

People and the media have been very impressed with Pope Francis “humility”. I believe he needs to be careful with his humility. Humility is doing the lawful thing ever if you dislike it. Humility isn’t “doing things my way”. Humility can quickly slip into pride. I think Pope Francis is used to doing these good things in his country. I don’t think he yet realizes how public his gestures are. Let’s just say a lot of prayers for him and his (to me) impossible job. May the Good Lord bless Pope Francis in great abundance. –Jsing

Here’s another wrinkle I came across while doing some research on a separate liturgical/rubric question. Permit me to “drill down” further into this whole matter.

In the rubrics for Holy Thursday’s “Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper”, we read the following (as published and paraphrased in the Newsletter of the USCCB’s Committee On the Liturgy):

“The rubrics, by way of exception, allow for the local Ordinary to permit another Mass in churches and oratories to be celebrated in the evening, and, in the case of genuine necessity, even in the morning. Such Masses are provided for those who are in now way able to participate in the evening Mass and not for the advantage of individuals or (newly added) special small groups (Missale Romanum “Rubrics for the Evening Mass” (EM, no. 3)”

 
 

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According to the Vatican Press Office, it was specifically because this was a special group in a special situation that the rubrics governing the Mandatum were abandoned. (“However the ritual of the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday evening in the Juvenile Detention Centre in Rome took place in a particular, small community that included young women.”)

So the pattern is now clear: seize upon a situation that clearly cannot comport with the theology of the rites, such as offering the Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper in an environment and under circumstances that clearly preclude the entirety of the liturgy from being celebrated in the manner and for the purpose which is clearly stated by tradition and in the rubrics, that is, the memorial of the institution of the Lord’s Supper and enjoying the apostles and their successors in the priesthood to continue offering it in perpetuity, as well as the memorial of the institution of the priesthood itself, by which Christ’s mission and sacrifice are perpetuated in the world (to paraphrase the Ceremonial of Bishops). The table is now set for a complete re-contextualizing (or a re-theologizing, if you will) of the rites themselves.

It is an insidious form of iconoclasm cleverly disguised as “compassion” and “outreach to the marginalized,” in my opinion. We now have a situation where the Holy Thursday rites can mean whatever the celebrant wants them to mean, which if memory serves, is called relativism, and something which we have been warned against time and again. If these important symbols, even those that can be called simple “sacramentals” can be made to mean whatever is relevant at the time, what makes the Catholic Identity unique? If the Catholic Church can be reduced to meaningful “symbols” only, then the Eucharist becomes a memorial, the priesthood unnecessary or redundant and the Protestants our equals in all things.

I understand Francis’ motivations, and am not without compassion regarding his desire to reach out to those who are marginalized. However, the purpose and meaning of the rites of Holy Thursday are clear, or at least they used to be. Washing the feet of those who cannot become priests stands the symbol on it’s head, and re-contextualizes the symbol and the other rites of Holy Thursday completely. If he had simply gone ahead with the celebration of the rites of Holy Thursday as the Church clearly intends, and then gone over to the prison and done his thing there, the opportunity for scandal and confusion would have been mitigated.

In addition, I have so far found his homilies, which have been so wildly received, lacking anything which truly sets them apart from any sermon one might hear from a Protestant preacher. The theology is sound, and heterodox. We have a unique Catholic identity, remember? We were taught and exhorted by the Pope Emeritus repeatedly on the importance of our identity and its reclamation, and others took up the call, proclaiming that it was only through an unashamed and steadfast fidelity to our liturgical identity that we as Catholics would regain our legitimate voice in the public square. “Save the Liturgy, Save the World” was the rallying cry. Remember Benedict’s “Marshall Plan” and how true and faithful liturgical reform was “the tip of the spear”? Some plan, some spear. The spear has been used to open a gaping wound in the side of the reform, and the plan burned as kindling to start the fires of the new iconoclasm. And it would seem that the same voices that rallied for saving the liturgy and the world now ring hollow and hoarse.

Other questions come to mind: Was there a Chrism Mass for the diocese of Rome? Was there a proper Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper for the diocese of Rome? Have the priests received any kind of exhortation (as has been tradition) on Holy Thursday from the Holy Father?
Can the Holy Father simply disregard 2000 years of received tradition and establish a new theology at the foundation of the rites of the Church? What of the notion of confusion and scandal?

Honestly I have no idea where any of this is going, but what is clear is that the flock is being scattered, and somewhere the ravening wolves await. -David Andrew

Dear David Andrew, in all outrage against our Holy Father’s action (which I don’t share, but which I don’t reproach you for), we still might as well remember that the Mandatum never had to do with Holy Orders, except the coincidence that it was done to the Apostles. This was, however, a coincidence. The Mandatum has to do with service, and with the sins remaining after Baptism, or perhaps the venial sins remaining in him who has sanctifying grace. [Should the latter part of the preceding sentence get a “[!]” into it? You decide.]

At least I have never yet seen a theologian who positively and by reasons and reasonings upholds that the Mandatum has a systematic connection to Holy Orders. Dr Peters, after all, called for abolishing the norm.

We have a case of a Pope exempting himself for the law, apparently with writing himself a formally promulgated dispensation. I do not say that this is, or is not, a light matter (I think it is, but this is a parenthesis; again, Remember it’s Italy). But I do say that, with the women, we do not have more than that. –Imrahil

“One can easily understand that in a great celebration, men would be chosen for the foot washing because Jesus, himself washed the feet of the twelve apostles who were male. However the ritual of the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday evening in the Juvenile Detention Centre in Rome took place in a particular, small community that included young women.” Once again, the word “Jesuitical” keeps popping up in my mind… -TNCath

Father, the title of this post spoke of reason and good order, but unfortunately this is age is an age of unreason and anarchy, at least in the Western world. It is, I think, a product of the technological ease with which we live our lives and our fantastic material wealth. One says to himself why do I need to employ the wisdom of the long ages that went before me, after look at all that my generation has accomplished. We possess such wonders and they are all our own creation (and here is where they slip into Satan’s own sin) so why do I have to listen to anyone. Why shouldn’t I just do whatever feels good and right, look how far it has already gotten us. Material poverty would cure this, and poverty may be what is coming to this world, but until that day arrives this is just something that all of us are going to have to deal with and suffer through. Again I am not so much talking about the Holy Father’s action here as the multitude of priests and bishops who will use his behavior as an excuse to do whatever they feel like with the liturgy.
Priam

I am reminded of the scene from Fiddler on the Roof where the guests at the wedding ask the rabbi about men and women dancing together. The rabbi barely gets half a sentence out “Well, it’s not exactly forbidden” before the hootenanny starts.

Similarly, priests and laity who need some outside encouragement to respect the rules hardly ever stick around to hear the rest of the explanation if they have been given the slightest approval to break them. The sentimentality vs. reason debate can be seen in the push to redefine marriage, the abortion debate, the welfare state debate.

 
 

 
 

How do we reason with a culture that does not know how to think? We certainly can’t re-educate a majority of adults. We have to somehow persuade them that the logical answer is also the compassionate answer. Somehow, we need to be proactive in our own media image, rather than simply responding to what is said about us. I can understand Pope Francis wanting to project a more compassionate image, but some care needs to be taken that we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot in the process.
Chantgirl

Dr. Peters’ blog post links to an earlier. Post that provides some useful information:

He points out that Rome has already authorized some bishops to permit washing women’s feet. Since Francis has been washing women’s feet since at least 2005, to me it seems likely that he is one of those bishops who had permission to do it.

“[I]t is common knowledge that permissions have been granted to individual bishops to permit women to have their feet washed. Under canon law, such variations do not constitute a change in universal norms nor do they provide others a precedent upon which to adopt practices contrary to law (see 1983 CIC 16 § 3). Still, such exceptions inevitably make people wonder why something like this is illicit in one diocese yet permissible in another. Moreover, Rome’s practice of granting such permissions privately makes it difficult to know the level of authority involved in making the exception and to refute rumors that others were granted”. He also points out that the argument that the foot washing should be limited to adult men because it is symbolic of Jesus washing the feet of the Apostles is not justified by any statement of the Church:

“- no specific number of men is required for the rite, so the connection asserted between 12 men and the 12 Apostles is at best ambiguous;

- indeed, there are no references to “apostles” in the mandatum rubrics or the circular letter, which instead explain the rite in terms of “Christ’s gesture of service and charity”, a ministry obviously not limited to apostles; and,

- Christ’s explicit mandate at the Last Supper was “you also should do as I have done to you”, a command no one reads as restricting the recipients of ordained ministry to apostles or their successors.

Thus, Fr. McNamara’s claim that the rite evokes “Christ’s gesture of service and charity to his apostles” and Mr. Akin’s statement that the rite “requires twelve males because they are representing the Twelve Apostles” are eisegetical. Ironically, both men might still have a point, but one would have to look beyond what Rome has actually said to find it. In the meantime, we are left wondering, just what is the value served by restricting the rite to adult men…?

Bishops who are, quite correctly, upholding the law as it reads, know that this matter is purely one of ecclesiastical law (which means it is changeable, albeit only by Rome per 1983 CIC 838). They know that the reasons commonly offered in support of the law are either literally non-existent (as above) or are inconclusive. And they know that in some places this rubric is unnecessarily divisive. At a minimum, then it is hard to reconcile this liturgical restriction with the principle of fundamental equality of the faithful succinctly set forth in Canon 208 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law.”

http://www.canonlaw.info/a_footfight.htm

I take Dr. Peters’ argument as being not that anything wrong has been done this past week, but that Rome’ existing system of giving private permission to individual bishops to permit women to be included in the foot washing ceremony should be handled in a way that doesn’t create the impression that bishops who include women are simply ignoring the rubrics. –J Hayes

Mamajen wrote, “I think that line of thinking (as much as I really respect and like what Dr. Peters has to say), further demonstrates why we should think of the foot-washing as more of a re-enactment of Jesus’ actions (hence the adult male requirement) and not an interpretation of what he did. Changes to the law in this case may seem harmless and even good, but people are using the same kind of logic to justify other things, like women in the priesthood. It’s a slippery slope.”

I agree. If a priest, bishop or Pope wants to wash the feet of women to show his solidarity with the poor and marginalized, he should do so outside of the Holy Thursday Mass of the Last Supper. ACardnal

I got to listen to a sanctimonious lawyer and his sanctimonious-lawyer-friend-turned-priest talk about how great it is to wash women’s feet, and finally the Pope is gonna show these closed-minded uptight reactionaries to just get over it, and it’s not even in canon law, and the USCCB told everyone YEARS ago that it was okay … enough to make me want to hurl my Easter ham all over him. -jmody

Thank you, Dr. Peters, and Fr. Z., for sharing this in a place where I would find it and be able to thank Dr. Peters. Jacob

Kathleen says: I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again. It is often astounding to me how much most of you know about how the Church operates. Matters of rites, rubrics, history, how you all know as much as you know, is something I don’t know! I know you aren’t all clergy, so, it’s pretty amazing to me. As just your ordinary person in the pew, here’s how it looks from where I sit. The Vatican is the authority. The world is in a constant battle now, with that authority.

I generally agree, with one small exception. The Vatican is not the authority. Rather, it represents the authority, which is Scripture and Tradition. -Rob T Brown

1. The significance of the foot washing is a function of the pressure to ordain women. If that weren’t the case, it wouldn’t be so important.

2. The pope is a Jesuit, and Jesuit life is ordered toward Mission. They have a habit of concealing their loyalties. Jesuits are/were highly trained priests who wore the cassock of a diocesan priest. And Jesuit Missionaries sometimes adopted the local attire (Matteo Ricci) or local customs.

3. My hope is that the pope attempts to reform the Society of Jesus.
-Rob T Brown

Did anyone else happen to catch “The World Over” on EWTN last night? They ran a translated interview with (then) Cardinal Bergoglio from 6 months before he was elected Pope. Maybe it’s just me, but the man speaking in this interview doesn’t even sound like the same man in the homilies of Pope Francis. I’m wondering if he’s actually writing his own homilies yet? Maybe someone close to him or in papal service who is a little more liberal leaning is drafting the homilies in the beginning until Pope Francis settles into a schedule? I don’t know. I could be completely wrong.

It still doesn’t explain the low Masses and foot washing, but to me, the difference is striking.

Cardinal Bergoglio sounds almost Ratzingerian in this interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7A0PyKITdw

-Orthodox Chick

 
 

Other reports on the foot-washing incident

Latin Mass enthusiasts are alarmed at Pope Francis’ election

http://clericalwhispers.blogspot.in/2013/04/latin-mass-enthusiasts-are-alarmed-at.html

April 01, 2013

The simplicity dotting the first days of Pope Francis’ tenure gave many Catholics seeking a more humble church reason for optimism.
For others, they represented cause for concern, specifically among those who celebrate the traditional Latin Mass.
Francis’ decision to omit the papal mozzetta, or cape, from his clerical attire as he first appeared to the crowd in St. Peter’s Square launched a frenzy of worry for the fate of the Latin Mass among forums and comment sections of conservative Catholic blogs and websites:
“This is one of the worst possible men to be elected pope if you are a trad[itionalist]. This is totally depressing! Last one out of the Church please turn off the lava lamp.”
“Abito piano? No mozzetta [?] Not even John Paul II appeared for his first Urbi et Orbi without proper dress.”
“He referred to himself several times as the mere ‘Bishop of Rome.’ He only put the stole on for the blessing, and took it off afterward. I’m stunned.”
“I’m just sick over this. Traditionalists have nowhere to go. I really fear for the health of the Catholic Church.”
These comments and others flooded an initial post March 13 announcing Francis as pope at the traditionalist blog Rorate-Caeli. Its authors held similar apprehensions, and later that evening posted the opinions of a journalist in Buenos Aires, Argentina, sharing their alarm.
“Of all the unthinkable candidates, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is perhaps the worst. Not because he openly professes doctrines against the faith and morals, but because, judging from his work as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, faith and morals seem to have been irrelevant to him,” said Marcelo González, calling Francis “a sworn enemy of the Traditional Mass,” while rebuking his interreligious relations, lack of curial experience and his perceived soft stances on abortion and gay marriage.
But Rorate-Caeli wasn’t the only site fearing the traditional liturgy’s future.
Michael Brendan Dougherty, a national correspondent for The American Conservative, alleged March 13 at Slate.com that Francis had blocked adoption of Summorum Pontificum (Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 apostolic letter regarding use of 1962 form of the Latin Mass) in the Buenos Aires archdiocese and had not implemented the new missal translations.
The heightened scrutiny of Francis’ liturgical style is a product of too much focus placed on the pope in recent years, said Adam DeVille, an associate professor of theology at the University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne, Ind.
“Yes, he’s the bishop of Rome, yes, he’s got a special place in the church … but people need to wean themselves off looking to him constantly and assuming that everything he does we have to do, and everything he doesn’t do, we can’t do,” DeVille told NCR.
Some sites sought to temper the heated response, including the Catholic Answers forum, which posted rules for users when talking about the new pope. Among them: “[No] bashing the Holy Father” or “speaking about his papacy in a negative way, without giving the man a chance.”
Others followed suit in policing comments, including the traditionalist blog “What Does the Prayer Really Say?”
“I ask for respect and decorum when concerns or disagreements are expressed. If it turns out that our new Pope starts us down a path you or I don’t like, then we will discuss those matters as they come along. But … how long has he been Pope?” the author Fr. John Zuhlsdorf wrote March 14.
A poll on the site soliciting readers’ first impressions of Francis (on a 1-10 scale) showed that, as of March 18, more than half of respondents approve of their new pope, rating him an 8 or above.
Fellow Catholic blogger Taylor Marshall at “Canterbury Tales” expressed embarrassment with the vitriolic response among traditionalists and urged them to “take a deep breath!” and give Francis time and prayers.
“If you’re really worried, don’t log on to a blog combox. Fast on bread and water, pray the Rosary more, go to confession more regularly, give alms to the poor,” Marshall recommended, adding, “It’s really not our place to sift through what might be the future errors of a Pope that we don’t yet know.”
At Patheos.com, Fr. Dwight Longenecker, an Anglican priest-turned-Catholic, also encouraged perspective. Francis’ own preferences for a simpler Mass likely reflects more informal worship common in Argentina and the region, he said, not a desire to eliminate the Latin Mass.
DeVille agreed, telling NCR he did not interpret Francis’ style as a signal he intended to reverse Summorum Pontificum, or make other dramatic liturgical changes.
“I strongly suspect his approach is live and let live. If people want to do Latin and lace, great, go for it. People don’t, they want to do something else, that’s great, too. He does not strike me as a person who wants to micromanage everybody’s life,” he said.

 
 

Pope Francis Washes Feet at Casal del Marmo

By Nathan O’Halloran SJ, March 28, 2013

http://vox-nova.com/2013/03/28/pope-francis-washes-feet-at-casal-del-marmo/
EXTRACT

David Cruz-Uribe, SFO,
March 29, 2013:

Some commentators (cf. Sandro Magister) are getting concerned that he is ignoring his identity as universal pastor.

 
 

The normally verbose Sandro Magister, a Vatican expert, has carefully evaded making any comment on the foot-washing ceremony. I have searched his posts with no success. –Michael

103.

 
 

UPDATE APRIL 5, 2013

Dippy coverage from Reuters on Pope Francis’ General Audience

http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/04/dippy-coverage-from-reuters-on-pope-francis-general-audience/

Posted on 4 April 2013 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
[Fr Zuhlsdorf’s emphases/comments on the story are in
bold/red]

It is hard to imagine how wrong newsies can be… and then you run into the abysmally twisted report from Reuters about what Pope Francis said today in his Wednesday audience about women.

Pope stresses “fundamental” value of women in Church

By Naomi O’Leary, Reuters, Rome, April 3, 2013
Pope Francis stressed the “fundamental” importance of women in the Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday, a message hailed as a significant shift from the position of his predecessor Benedict.  
[ROFL!  Over HERE we saw that Francis was virtually quoting Benedict.  Furthermore, Francis stressed motherhood.  But let’s go on…]

Supporters of liberal reform of the Church have called on it to give a greater voice to women and recognize their importance to the largest religious denomination in the world, and some groups call for women to be ordained as priests.

The head of the Women’s Ordination Conference, [ROFL!  Here we go!] which calls for women to be treated equally in the Church [Naomi is not actually reporting at all, now, is she…] and to be allowed to become priests and bishops, said Francis’s words were the most encouraging she had heard in her lifetime, but did not go far enough. [They will wait a looooong time, I’m afraid.]

“While the pope was trying to be positive about women’s role, where he’s actually wrong is that women were actually disciples, like Mary Magdalene,” [that’s not the point] WOC [spell it backwards] Executive Director Erin Saiz Hanna told Reuters.

“He said women are able to communicate Christ’s words, but actually women can’t preach so that’s a false statement.” [So, Francis is a liar.]

The Vatican [I love it when they write “The Vatican” like that.] says woman cannot be priests as Jesus Christ willingly [translation problems? purposely… intentionally…] chose only men as his apostles. Advocates of a female priesthood reject this position, saying Jesus was merely conforming to the customs of his times.  [What is so funny about this is that, today, Francis said in his talk that the ancient cultural norms were being contradicted by what happened at the time of the Resurrection.]

Francis, elected last month as the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, said women had always had a special mission in the Church as “first witnesses” of Christ’s resurrection, and because they pass belief onto their children and grandchildren.  [There it is, but poor Naomi and the others don’t get it.  They do this as MOTHERS, not MINISTERS.]

“In the Church, and in the journey of faith, women have had and still have a special role in opening doors to the Lord,” Francis told thousands of pilgrims at his weekly audience in S. Peter’s Square.

He said that in the Bible, women were not recorded as witnesses to Christ’s resurrection because of the Jewish Law of the time that did not deem women or children to be reliable witnesses.  [Is Naomi unaware that the Gospels are part of the Bible?  Or is Naomi of a tradition that doesn’t accept the Gospels as part of the Bible?]

“In the Gospels, however, women have a primary, fundamental role … The evangelists simply narrate what happened: the women were the first witnesses. This tells us that God does not choose according to human criteria,” Francis said.

REFORM

The address was the second time Francis had spoken of women’s role as witnesses to the resurrection of Christ, a subject of bedrock importance to the Catholic faith. [The Resurrection is of “bedrock” importance, but not women’s role as witnesses.]

His Easter Vigil address on Saturday made prominent mention of women and urged believers not to fear change.

Francis’s decision a week ago to include women in a traditional foot-washing ritual drew ire from traditionalists, who see the custom as a re-enactment of Jesus washing the feet of his apostles and said it should therefore be limited to men.

Marinella Perroni, [Who?] a theologian and leading member of the Association of Italian Women Theologians, which promotes female experts on religion and their visibility in the Church, said the pope’s words marked a significant shift from the previous pope.

“The fact that the Pope acknowledges that the progressive removal of female figures from the tradition of the resurrection … is due to human judgments, distant from those of God … introduces a decidedly new element compared to the previous papacy.” [This incomprehensible. Translation problem? Bottom line: silly.] […]

This is just dumb.

 
 

5 SELECTED [OUT OF 33] COMMENTS

What we have here is a lack of reading comprehension.

104.

 
 

 
 

Professor Perroni clearly either did not read the Pope’s actual statement, or is so dense that she did not understand it. Clearly what the Pope said went about fifteen feet over the author’s head, or she would not have said what she did. Presumably she fed her own misapprehension to the “scholar,” who reacted with a statement that is a reasonably commentary on the article, but a complete hash next to the actual text of the statement. –Titus

Actually women can’t preach” — Ha, that’s news to me and any other female Dominican! Or any Catholic woman in general, really. It is people like WOC who are limiting women by limiting preaching to giving homilies and sermons from the pulpit. Women absolutely have the ability and the responsibility to preach, whatever their state in life may be, but particularly as mothers, as Pope Francis says. Those of us who are not married nor have children of our own, nevertheless touch many lives in our families and in society and can act as spiritual mothers.

Some of my Catholic relatives were discussing a similar article and being under the impression that Pope Francis is the first and only pope to have such a positive view of women. I told them they need to read Pope John Paul II’s writings on woman’s dignity and human sexuality in general {Mulieris Dignitatem
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_15081988_mulieris-dignitatem_en.html}. I think Pope Francis might begin building on those teachings and taking them to a wider audience. I hope so, because apparently they haven’t yet gotten through to many people. -Heather Barrett

I find this constant dissing of Pope Benedict not just painful, but heartbreaking. It seems like Pope Francis is being built up by the dissidents/media for the sole purpose of putting Benedict onto the scrap heap of history. Presumably the detractors are under the impression that the present pope is less Catholic than the former. Their anger will, I hope, be multiplied an hundredfold as this papacy progresses. –Genna

You got it. TOOOOO much “ample opportunity”. Jimmy Akin bending over backward to defend this pope washing the feet of women etc…. I’m thinking to my self “we sure look like buffoons now!” -Grease Monkey

Dear Pope Francis & all Catholic Clergy,

Please get rid of all ‘Pastoral language’. It is vague. Your opponents never get it. They will twist its meaning. Impressionable Catholics will be led astray. You accomplish nothing. You have never accomplished anything by it. You only make things worse. And all you had to do to avoid articles like this was to add the words, “Although the Church cannot ordain women,…” before the rest of the sermon. Please stop being politicians, and be priests. Thank you. -Johnno

 
 

See pages 3, 4 for my correspondence with “Apologist”. This is the most recent response from “Apologist”.

From:
Apologist
To:
Michael Prabhu
Sent: Monday, April 08, 2013 3:28 PM

Subject: RE: UPDATED FILE TO BE UPLOADED IN “REPORTS” SECTION

Thank you for the complete file on the Maundy Thursday washing of feet.

I have gone through its main points and comments (unfortunately, lack of time prevents me from a complete reading). I think you did an excellent job in putting together all the main articles and commentaries published on the matter, rendering your report a most precious tool of reference.

I think that your comments also help to understand why the matter preoccupies so many Catholics. 

As you know, from where I stand, it did not seem as such a big deal, and I tend to have an attitude similar to that of the National Catholic Register article. But the Church is universal and we need to be sensitive to the problems faced by the Church wherever it is present. I do hope that with time and as the Pope gets to know better the problems of all the local dioceses, this type of situations will tend to diminish.

 
 

Continued from page 58, a post by Dolphy D’Souza, former President, the Bombay Catholic Sabha

Has Pope Francis Violated the CANON LAW?

http://silentmaj.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/has-pope-francis-violated-the-canon-law/
EXTRACT

By Greg Pereira, April 1, 2013

Why is SILENT VOICE questioning whether POPE FRANCIS has violated Canon Law?

Because, as the following article suggests, a pro-reform Priest was refused permission to carry out a similar exercise by the Bishop citing CANON LAW. -Greg

CATHOLICS FOR TRUTH, TRANSPARENCY, AND WEEDING OF CORRUPT PRACTICES AT PARISH LEVEL

Dear SOULmates / Friends,

I was delighted to read the news article with different headlines in today’s several newspapers “Pope washes women’s feet, breaks church rule”

Pope Francis has set the tone and lived by example by this gesture on women empowerment which needs to be accelerated in the church of today.

I recall a personal episode in the late 1990′s when the Late Fr. Hugh Fonseca, one of the few activist Priests during his time, was the Parish Priest of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Orlem, Malad West and I was the Chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council of the said Parish.

Fr. Hugh Fonseca also thought many of us the role activism has to play for a just society and always guided and supported us in taking stands against injustices of every kind.

At the Parish Council meeting it was decided that on Maundy Thursday ritual, during the Mass the Priest would wash the feet of the 12 Female House Workers.

 
 

105.

 
 

 
 

We had located the 12 female house workers from the Parish and on the appointed day when we reported early, Fr. Hugh Fonseca said: “I knew this would happen”

Some Parishioners had complained to the Bishop about this and Fr. Hugh Fonseca was told by the concerned Bishop that washing of the Female House Workers was against the Cannon [sic] Law and was directed to abandon such a move.

Fr. Hugh Fonseca was much ahead of his time and while he relented keeping in mind his obedience to his Bishop, he washed the feet of the 12 Male House Workers at the altar.

But directed me to wash the feet of the selected Female House Workers at the same time in the midst of the community below the altar.

Holy Father’s actions at the Holy Thursday ritual sets an example and a message to ensure that women are given their due place in the church of today.

Dolphy D’Souza – 9820226227, Email: dolphydolphy13@gmail.com

SOUL TEAM
Related articles

Retrospectives on the Mandatum rite controversies (canonlawblog.wordpress.com) See page 35

Pope Francis washes women’s feet in break with church law (ndtv.com)

Pope washes women’s feet in break with church law (modernghana.com)

Pope Francis sparks outrage with washing of women’s feet (washingtontimes.com)

Pope Francis washes and kisses the feet of women, Muslims and criminals. So, what next? (thedailyshift.com)

What the pope can do, can’t do, might do, won’t do (canonlawblog.wordpress.com)

Pope washes feet of women, in sharp departure with church tradition (vindy.com)

 
 

When discussing canon law, Primum non nocere

http://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/when-discussing-canon-law-primum-non-nocere/

By Dr. Edward Peters, April 4, 2013 [See pages 7, 8, 18, 19, 35, 36, 74, 99, 107-108]

This post arises in the wake of, but is not about, Pope Francis and foot-washing.

Rather, this post addresses the problems occasioned for others when canonical misinformation is injected into popular discussions of controversial matters. Although errors about canon law can be made very quickly, the time required to correct them allows such errors, thanks to modern technology, to be widely propagated among audiences largely unable to recognize them. But, like physicians honoring the Hippocratic maxim “First, do no harm”, those making canonical arguments should “First, don’t misrepresent the law.” I address here a misrepresentation of the law in one area that is being parlayed into a defense of disregard for it in others.

Several places assert that Pope St. Pius X (reigned 1903-1914) acted contrary to Church law when he famously authorized administration of Holy Communion to a young English child. One phrasing of the Pius-qua-autocrat claim runs as follows (emphasis added):

The pope … can either depart from mere ecclesiastical law … or completely change it …. A good example is that of St. Pius X who, in order to combat growing threats of modernism and moral Jansenism within both the Church and the wider culture, lowered the age of Holy Communion from that of canonical adulthood to that of the age of reason. … St. Pius X also would have
violated several canons when he ordered that a young child who had expressed to him faith in the Real Presence, but had not yet reached canonical age, be administered Holy Communion. It was only after that experience that he changed the law.

Now, whatever rhetorical use one wishes to make of this famous story, one cannot cite it as an example of a pope changing, let alone violating, Church law for Pius did not change or act contrary to the law of his time in this regard. Indeed he expressly and correctly described such action as being in full accord with then-current law. I will contest two specific allegations, namely, that Pius: (1) “lowered the age of Holy Communion from that of canonical adulthood to that of the age of reason” and (2) would seem to have “violated several canons when he ordered that a young child who … had not yet reached canonical age be administered Holy Communion.” I think both of these assertions are wrong.

A preliminary point

Both assertions (that the age of Communion was “canonical adulthood” and that several canons seemed contravened by the pope’s action) are offered gratuitously. Granted these assertions are made in internet posts, and internet posts need not be written as quasi-dissertations, but neither are internet assertions exempt from the norms of discourse, especially not when their claims concern technical and controversial matters. So, Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur, the public has a right to ask for evidence that the age of holy Communion in Pius’ time was “canonical adulthood” and that several canons stood in the way of the pope’s action with the child. Recalling that Pius X lived completely under Decretal (not codified) law, we would, of course, be awaiting evidence of these claims under the Ius Decretalium.

To save some time, let me suggest that no evidence supports these claims. While it is not my duty to prove negatives, I am willing to attempt that burden here.

1. The age of Holy Communion in Pius’ day was not “canonical adulthood”.

We begin by asking, what was “canonical adulthood” in Pius’ time?

The canonical age of adulthood under current canon law is 18 (1983 CIC 97 § 1); the canonical age of adulthood under Pio-Benedictine law was 21 (1917 CIC 88 § 1). The canonical age of adulthood in Decretal law, however, depended on many factors including sex, location, state in life, and the context of the question (DDC I: 317 and DMC I: 128), but ranged from about 12 to about 25. Wernz-Vidal II: 4-5. No set age for “canonical adulthood” can be identified in Decretal law, so one should not claim that it was abandoned by Pius.

 
 

 
 

This obvious complication for the Pius-qua-autocrat argument need not detain us, though, for the age for licit reception of Holy Communion in Pius’ day had nothing whatever to do with “adulthood” of any sort. Notwithstanding controversies among authors in Pius’ day, the canonical age for holy Communion was, under Decretal law, clear and Pius observed it.

2. In Pius’ day, Holy Communion could be licitly administered at age seven—or even earlier.

Summarizing his presentation of the late Decretal law under which Pius governed (including citations to Lateran IV, St. Thomas, Trent, and several Roman interventions against local bishops delaying Communion), Crotty (1947) at 19, 21, wrote: “Despite the teachings of many theologians and the decrees of various local councils and synods, the official teaching of the Church from the thirteenth century has been that children should begin to receive Holy Communion immediately after attaining the use of reason. … [and] it is clear that Rome regarded children as having reached age of discretion when they could distinguish the Blessed Eucharist from common bread; … the opinions of those who demanded a more advanced age were not in accordance with the mind of the Church” (my emphasis).

So, how does one view Pius’ action now? The pope encountered a child who, in his opinion, “could distinguish the Blessed Eucharist from common bread” and, contrary to widespread practice, but not contrary to the law, he administered holy Communion to that child. I conclude that Pius followed Church law (an unpopular one at that); he certainly did not contravene it.

In 1910 (I suppose after the incident with the English child) Pius authorized publication of the famous curial document on early Communion, Quam singulari
(good summary here). That document plainly reiterated that early holy Communion, administered around the age of reason — with ‘reason’ to be assessed partially in terms of years but more specifically in terms of a child’s ability to distinguish the Blessed Eucharist from common bread — was what Church law and teaching had long held and still held about early holy Communion, albeit in the face of many who were claiming that the law (or at any rate common practice and various extraneous factors like keeping kids in Catholic schools longer) supported delay.

In short, there is far more evidence that Pius was, and saw himself as, applying Church law on Communion exactly as it then existed, and that he boldly called on others to observe the law, too, even if that meant giving Communion to a four year old child when that child could distinguish the Eucharist from ordinary bread. Pius indeed received criticism for his actions, but it was criticism for having followed what was the law, not for his having changed it (which he did not do in this regard), and certainly not for his having disregarded it (which, again, he did not do). Pius brought about a welcome change of practice precisely by recalling the law for those who had — not malevolently, but misguidedly — strayed from it. His example is that, and nothing else.

I trust the above is sufficient to cast doubt on casual claims that Pope St. Pius X changed the age of Communion, let alone that he acted contrary to Church law in that matter, and reminds the public of their right to ask those making canonical arguments to be prepared to document or demonstrate their claims.

 
 

It’s hard to find answers when the questions are ignored

http://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/its-hard-to-find-answers-when-the-questions-are-ignored

By Dr. Edward Peters, April 6, 2013

The German edition of the Radio Vatican blog, authored it seems by Fr. Bernd Hagenkord, SJ, has opined at length on Pope Francis’ foot washing. While not trusting my German to have caught all of the nuance of Hagenkord’s remarks, I think he defends Francis’ actions along the well-worn lines that “liturgy is a living thing and needs to adapt to the times” etc, etc. I agree. Indeed, who could dispute that in principle?

What I find disconcerting in Hagenkord’s blog is that, having linked to my 2006 critiques of the Mandatum rite itself and to my recent critiques of Fr. Lombardi’s inept defense of Francis’ disregard for the rubrics of the rite, Hagenkord seems not to have read them, or he does not understand them, or he simply ignores them. My comments therein, I suggest, turn on points quite different from whether the liturgy may undergo change.

In my 2006 commentary on the annual and unseemly conflicts occasioned by the foot-washing rite, I expressly suggested that Scripture scholars and theologians should help the Church understand the symbolism of Christ’s action (which I’m guessing operates at several levels, some sacerdotal, some charitable, but all ministerial) whereupon, as appropriate, Rome could either open the rite to women (if the symbolism is primarily that of charitable service) or transfer it to a liturgy wherein the bishop and priests could perform the rite among themselves (if the example is primarily that of apostolic ministry). But Hagenkord ignores these 2006 points — which actually support his analogy of the liturgy as a living thing able to be adapted over time — and instead uses them as an occasion to make a joke about “foot-gate”.

Meanwhile, in my recent critique of Lombardi’s ‘explanations’ of Francis’ actions, I tried to point out the serious negative pastoral consequences of his encouraging every liturgist to become, in effect, a legislator unto himself. But again, Hagenkord ignores this point, which makes one wonder why he even bothered to link to it.

In any case, once again one may ask, what is so difficult about following this line of thought? (A) Rome rightly claims nearly exclusive competence to direct the liturgy (c. 838 § 1), one of the principle characteristics of which is unity (c. 837 § 1); (B) The foot-washing rite, though optional, is restricted to males (viri); and (C) a pope has the authority to modify this rite, but no one else does (Sacrosanctum Concilium 22.3).

Now, did Francis disregard the rubrics? Indisputably. Does his action constitute an abrogation of that rubric? (I would argue No, but have others contrary arguments?). If Francis’ action does not constitute an abrogation of liturgical law, where does his example leave many priests next year who, still being bound by the rubrics, will doubtless be pressured to ignore them based precisely on Francis’ example? Or, if Francis’ action does constitute an abrogation of liturgical law, are other liturgical norms likewise abrogated by similar papal actions (and if so which ones), and if not, why not?

 
 

 
 

I think, and I think I am reasonable in so thinking, that these are questions worth asking. What I don’t understand why so many folks seem frightened by the very possibility that these questions have been put in play, and go to such lengths to deny that they have been raised.

There are, I am sure, very good answers to such questions, but those answers won’t be explored as long as people ignore the questions.

+ + +

Additum: The always excellent Deacon Keith Fournier has weighed in on the foot washing incident*. Like most commentators, he prefaces his comments by wondering why so many people are commenting on it.

I on the other hand understand why so people keep talking about this: it’s because most of the foot-washing discussion (which immediately dives into what the rite means, with most folks thinking it’s about service, and some arguing that it’s about ordination — an argument I stay out of), but anyway, most of the discussion, as I say, avoids a crucial point, one that won’t go away till it’s honestly addressed: namely, what does Francis’ action teach about the import of liturgical law when Rome keeps repeating the law, even though the law makes people uncomfortable, and then exempts itself from the law?

My concern is legal (not Scriptural, not theological), legal. I think law contributes, on the whole, to the welfare of society; I think disregard for law sends a bad (or at best, a mixed) message, and that Francis’ action needs to be considered in this light. The question isn’t going away because it’s not being acknowledged, let alone considered.

Or so it seems to me. [Emphasis mine –Michael]

 
 

*Whose Feet Did Pope Francis Really Wash? The Call to Return to Gospel Simplicity

http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=50413

By Deacon Keith Fournier, April 7, 2013, Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The endless articles over what is essentially an in house debate did little to assist us in our primary call to proclaim the saving message of the Gospel in word and deed to an age which has lost its way.

“Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:37-48)

CHESAPEAKE, VA – I have stayed away from a rather contentious dialogue in the blogosphere over the choice made by Pope Francis to wash the feet of two women on Holy Thursday at that juvenile prison in Rome. There are two streams in the tradition concerning this profoundly meaningful activity of washing feet; both of which are ancient and beautiful.

One directly connects the activity with the institution of the ministerial priesthood at the last Supper. This is how the optional Rite of Foot Washing became liturgically connected with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday.

The other was practiced in monasteries and religious houses in the Church during her early developmental years. It is associated with the practice of hospitality and our prophetic call to imitate Jesus the Servant. Given the fact that travelers walked long distances, their feet were dirty and sometimes even wounded. Foot washing was a profound sign of the humility of the host and an act of Gospel hospitality. 

Sadly, the tussle over these two beautiful and meaningful symbols has become fodder for a discussion which made its way into the secular press. The endless articles over what is essentially an in house debate did little to assist us in our primary call to proclaim the saving message of the Gospel in word and deed to an age which has lost its way.  
The Vigil Mass of Holy Thursday deepens our understanding of that Mystery of the self emptying of Jesus Christ. We do indeed celebrate the gift of the ministerial priesthood which continues to make present the Priesthood of Jesus Christ. When our Priest stands at that altar, it is Jesus Christ in whom He stands, Christ is the victim, and Christ is the Holy Oblation.
Jesus gave Himself to us in the great meal in which we participate in on this Holy Night. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the Holy Oblation of Incarnate Love and we are the beneficiaries, receiving the very life of God. At the Last Supper, Jesus Sacramentally anticipated the altar of the Cross at which He would willingly pour out the very last drop of His Blood so that we could be set free to live free.
When the Lord rose from that table, He showed us a naturally supernatural expression of that Love; an expression that reveals the heart of the Christian vocation and can be expressed in many ways. He, who is Lord and Master, King of Kings, took off His Cloak of Royal Splendor and became a Servant. He washed the feet of those whom He had chosen to continue His Redemptive work. He showed them what they were chosen to do and then He enlisted them to live lives of self emptying Love for the world. To bear the name Christian is to walk in this kind of love in the midst of a broken and wounded world that is waiting to be reborn.
Foot washing as a symbolic action expresses what living a life of self emptying love in imitation of the Lord who emptied Himself for us, looks like. It is an invitation to become a man or woman poured out for others. A Christian who lives the love of Charity (Caritas), the Love of Jesus Christ, makes Jesus Christ real in the real world. In so doing, the Incarnation continues.

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Foot washing took place in the ordinary life of people in the days when Jesus walked among us. As our celebration of the Octave of Easter progressed, I was unable to get another significant foot washing from our the Gospel out of my heart every time I see that picture of our Holy Father Francis washing those feet at that juvenile prison. So, I I will weigh in after all. It is recorded in Luke’s Gospel:
“Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, he stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, “If these men were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.”
“Jesus said to him in reply, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?” Simon said in reply, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.” He said to him, “You have judged rightly.”
“Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:37-48)
There is a saying attributed to St Francis of Assisi.  Whether he actually said it or not matters little. It expresses the heart of his charism, “I preach the Gospel at all times and sometimes I use words.” St. Francis became a word from the Lord through the witness of his life.  Chapter 11 of the Legenda Maior, of Bonaventure explains what Bonaventure called the spirit of prophecy in the life of Francis of Assisi.

Francis of Assisi was a word walking. He lived the Christian life and vocation in a manner that is intended – through example- to invite others to follow the same pattern. I suggest that his namesake, the 265th successor of Peter, also named Francis, is following in his footsteps. Are we hearing that message with the eyes of our heart?

When I read the 25th chapter of Matthews Gospel I am drawn to my knees by the words of Jesus, “I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me; I was naked and you gave me clothing; I was sick and you took care of me; I was in prison, and you visited me.” (Matt. 25: 31-46)

I understand the question posed by his stunned disciples, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs.” (Matthew 25.35-36) It was an extraordinary statement! However, as I have aged I have come to see there are so many faces of poverty. I am just beginning to learn to recognize the face of Jesus revealed in them all. Francis is becoming my teacher.

Have you ever considered the significance of the fact that the same Jesus who promised to be with us always also told us that the poor would be with us always? That is because they are connected. Indeed, in a sense, they are one and the same – in a way that is revealed with the eyes of living faith. “The poor you will always have with you; but you will not always have me” (Jesus, Matthew 26:11) “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Jesus, Matthew 28:20)

The face of Jesus is found in the face of the poor, for those with eyes to see. The word of Jesus is spoken through the poor, for those who cultivate the ears to hear Him. The cry of Jesus is heard in the cry of the poor, at least for those who stop to listen. That is the deeper meaning behind this sobering scene recounting the last judgment recorded by the Evangelist Matthew in the 25th Chapter of his Gospel:

“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'”

Those who love the poor – like Jesus loved the poor- are given as a gift and instruction manual for the rest of us. They are a sign of the kingdom, making it present in their wake. We have a Pope named Francis who taught us in prophetic action in that visit to the Jail on Holy Thursday. As he washed the feet of those prisoners, he washed the feet of Jesus with an alabaster flask of ointment and tears.  So, I ask, whose feet did Pope Francis really wash? He washed the feet of Jesus.

Pope St Leo the Great once wrote of Jesus: “He took the nature of a servant without stain of sin, enlarging our humanity without diminishing his divinity. He emptied himself; though invisible he made himself visible, though Creator and Lord of all things he chose to be one of us mortal men. Yet this was the condescension of compassion, not the loss of omnipotence. So he, who in the nature of God had created man, became in the nature of a servant, man himself.”

God became the least of these. Will we? Will we allow the truth revealed in the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ to become our pattern for daily living? Will we cooperate with the grace of conversion and be emptied of ourselves for others? When we empty ourselves, He comes and takes up His residence within us.

Then, we can become His arms, embracing the world; His legs, still walking its dusty streets; and His Heart, still beating with the Divine Compassion manifested in Jesus Christ, the One who became the least of these in order to bring all of us into the full communion of Love. The Call we are witnessing is a call to return to Gospel Simplicity.

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3 SELECTED [OUT OF 20] COMMENTS

You have done an excellent job, dear deacon, in helping many solid Catholics to cope with the actions of our Holy Father … Will it take Pope Francis using wooden, porous chalices at Holy Mass or him eating a T-bone steak on Good Friday before the children will speak up? As the supreme legislator and moderator, he can do such things. But don’t you think it might cause a bit of scandal? So many good priests and good bishops have been holding the line on the Holy Thursday mandatum, yet this one act deflates them. It was this way with altar girls, too. So many held strong to liturgical tradition, and then Pope John Paul II approves female service at the altar calling it part of the “feminine genius.” A reality check is needed, not further acts of denial. Be good, dear deacon, and make reparation for the actions of the pontiff. –Michael

I do not see how kissing a Muslim’s feet who refuse to convert to Christ, or kissing Qurans and dialogue with Muslims who, according to their own literature, use these false meetings/dialogues to deceive, corrupt and render useless any real productive dialogue, will help Christians or any one in any Muslim country. As we speak Christians are being killed, tortured, burned alive, brutalised and oppressed in any satanic way (by these very same Muslims who we have “nice discussions with) you can possibly imagine, and yet Catholic leaders still cave in and refuse to confront Islam, out of fear of violent backlash, as usual. Did our Christian forefather during old roman times, refused to confront pagan Romans, out of fear of homicidal “roman pagan backlash”? Of course not, so why are we doing this suicidal Islamic appeasing to ourselves? This is a complete betrayal of God. I will never accept it as a Catholic and will always consider it a mortal sin! Obviously our Pope is a very good person with really nice ways, but that will not bring peace to the world if He and us, his flock, continue refusing to convert and spread our faith in Christ, as divinely commanded! Its not happening when is concerns Muslims because we behave like cowards…this has to stop! –William

The furor seems to be over whether the foot washing of the rite is reserved for priests or is the sign of hospitality and service you suggest. In another article the words of the rite seem to suggest that it is for Jesus’ disciples, not necessarily apostles. Women are among the disciples even if they were not among the apostles.
I don’t think the ‘traditionalists” were so upset because Pope Francis washed the feet of women per se, but simply that it gave the anti-Catholic media and dissenters an opening on the whole women priests issue. They just don’t get that John Paul II closed that door in May 1994 when he declared “in virtue of my ministry” as Pontiff in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis that “the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this JUDGMENT IS TO BE DEFINITELY HELD BY ALL THE CHURCH’S FAITHFUL.”

-Joanne

 
 

The Pope, outcasts, washing women’s feet, and antinomianism

http://pblosser.blogspot.in/2013/03/the-pope-outcasts-washing-womens-feet.html
EXTRACT

March 29, 2013

An excellent post by Canon Lawyer, Edward Peters, “Popes, like dads, don’t have a choice in the matter” (In the Light of the Law, March 28, 2013)… [See page 18]

What I find particularly insightful here is the possibility, not merely of the obvious connection between antinomianism (disregard for law) and ill-will, but between antinomianism and good will, and even compassion. As my mother used to repeat ad nauseam: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Food for thought here. Thank you Dr. Peters. Or, would I have rather preferred the unperturbed bliss of remaining undisturbed?
Update (3/29/1013):

Dr. Edward Peters has followed up his earlier post with another provocative and thoughtful retrospective on the Mandatum right controversies. As he admits, his area of expertise is ecclesiastical law. But then, this allows him also to say that he has, along with many others, “long been open to revising the Mandatum rite so as to permit the washing of women’s feet,” which might lead one to wish to consult someone with some theological expertise, like, say, Fr. Zuhlsdorf, who offers appreciative constructive disagreement with parts of Peters’ post like these (I recommend reading Fr. Z’s commentary along with Peters’ post). In fairness, Peter’s does add that he understands that “strong symbolic elements are in play [in the Mandatum rite] and I might be under-appreciating arguments for the retention of the rite as promulgated by Rome.”
Concerning Pope Francis’ breach of liturgical law on Maundy Thursday, Peters writes:

If liturgical law permitted the washing of women’s feet at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, no one would have noticed the pope’s doing it. What was newsworthy (apparently, massively newsworthy) is that, precisely because liturgical law does not authorize it, the pope’s performance of the action was huge news.
… Few people seem able to articulate when a pope is bound by canon law … and when he may ignore it …. Most Church laws, however, fall between these two poles and require careful thinking lest confusion for — nay, dissension among — the faithful arise. Exactly as happened here. Now, even in that discussion, the question is not usually whether the pope is bound to comply with the law (he probably is not so bound), but rather, how he can act contrary to the law without implying, especially for others who remain bound by the law but who might well find it equally inconvenient, that inconvenient laws may simply be ignored because, well, because the pope did it.
… A pope’s ignoring of a law is not an abrogation of the law but, especially where his action reverberated around the world, it seems to render the law moot…. What is not good is to leave a crystal clear law on the books but show no intention of expecting anyone to follow it. That damages the effectiveness of law across the board. (Emphasis added)

 
 

1 SELECTED [OUT OF 5] COMMENT

Dr. Peters is a mo’smarter (Lincoln used to say that) man than am I but, as might be expected, his approach to the radical novelty of Pope Francis’ action is anchored solidly in positivism; that is, the law.
110.

 
 


How about the fetid fact that he is the FIRST Pope in the entire history of The Catholic Church to do such a thing?
Laws, schmaws, man.
How about choosing a slammer for Maundy Thursday Mass?
Those quick to defend that decision would be damn slow to choose a prison for their Wedding, Funeral, or First Communion.
He who, repeatedly, refers to his own self as The Bishop of Rome has a Totalitarian Humility and everything WILL surrender to his humility, or else.
His refusal to follow in the red shoes footsteps of his predecessors can be seen as humility (I do, but I use totalitarian as a modifier) or it can also be seen as an ostentatious display of I-am-holier-than-those-Popes-who-came-before-me-and wore-all-of-those-gaudy- things-and-did-all-of-those-fancy-schmancy-things.
Until this Bishop of Rome came along, we all thought those ecclesiastical traditions had some meaning and symbolised the authority and majesty of a Monarch occupying a Divinely-Designed Office but now we are having our noses rubbed in the dog shit that it presumably really is.
When will we know that he has true humility?
Well, when he does something he does not want to do – you know, like wear the mozzetta, wear the shoes, live in the apostolic palace, give blessings to those not Catholic, wear the Fisherman’s ring, wear the Papal Mitre, etc, etc…
A real act of humility would be an abdication. Immediately.
It is clear he does not want to be identified as Pope – he signs his letters with Francisco with no indication he is the Pope and he self-identifies, repeatedly, as Bishop of Rome.
He will drag our Sacred Rites down into the ecclesiastical version of a Buenos Aires slum and the conservative cheerleaders will rhetorically do the wave in celebration of his simplicity.
I’ll guaran-damn-tee you that the conservatives who defend all of this putative humility would have looked like Spider Monkeys throwing their feces at a Zoo Keeper if Ronald Reagan refused to live in the White House and called his own self, Governor; but let a Pope pee on precedent and suddenly he is the bees knees.
Do we REALLY think he is Holier and Humbler than Pope Saint Pius X who did ALL of the things, and MORE, that the new Bishop of Rome refuses to do?
As Haley Barbour routinely says; I was born at night, but not last night.
And I will finish by confessing I am far more of a sinner than is he and far Mo’dumber (Lincoln, again) than he but I can not let this revolution go down the road past me without registering a complaint – not that it will change one blessed thing for he is on his absolute best behavior right now; wait’ll ya get a load of what is coming down the pike…

 
 

Fighting over Washing of Feet

http://thydailybreadforum.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=catholic&action=display&thread=5466

Thread started by Flo on April 1, 2012

Year after year we see these abuses in our churches.
Watch the video — only 6 minutes long – -to learn more: http://www.realcatholictv.com/daily/?today=2012-03-30
You could also print out the script which is less than 3 pages and give it to your pastor and all omen who are “honored” to get their feet washed. It is all the responsibility of the pastors, but if women knew the mistake it is, they might refrain from doing it.
Print version http://www.realcatholictv.com/scripts/vort-2012-03-30.pdf
Fighting over Feet
vort-2012-03-30
Hello everyone and welcome to The Vortex where lies and falsehoods are trapped and exposed.

I’m Michael Voris.
As we advance into Holy Week, beginning with Palm Sunday … it is worth noting that all over the United States and many other parts of the world, the Sacrifice of the Mass which brings an official end to Lent … the Mass of the Last Supper … Holy Thursday … will be marred by abuse in thousands and thousands of parishes.
Why?
Because … in a tip of the hat to political correctness … and wanting to make nice-nice with everyone in the parish … and to go out of the way so as not to offend anyone at all whatsoever … and in some cases owing to a dearth about the dignity of their own office as priest … priests all over the place will wash the feet of women and children during that part of the Mass that most of us have come to recognize each Holy Thursday evening.
The Church absolutely clear … unequivocally clear about this … IF the washing takes place … and it is not mandatory … it is optional … but IF it is chosen … then only men are to have their feet washed and it may only be done by a priest or bishop, not even a deacon. Additionally … it is ONLY feet that are to be washed … not hands.
The liturgically abusive practice of washing the feet of women (and sometimes children) has become so institutionalized and common practice, that no one pays any attention to it any more. Nevertheless, it remains a very grave abuse.
Now no doubt, some will cry about being this mean to women and just another example of the grumpy old celibate men in Rome who secretly hate women and think of them as second class citizens.
And amid all that clamor, the entire point will be missed. The washing of the feet is directly linked to the male-only priesthood. While many of the laity have no idea about this link, many of the modernists DO. In fact, the reason they like to distort this part of the Holy Thursday Liturgy, is to push the cause for women priests.

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The Mass on Holy Thursday is about the institution of the Priesthood. And the Washing of the Feet (in Latin it’s called The Mandatum) is intrinsically linked to the priesthood.

In the Old Testament, those who get their feet washed are those who come from Heaven.

Specifically, the angel that comes to visit Abraham and the angel that visits Lot. In the New Testament … Our Blessed Lord gets his feet washed as evidence that he comes from heaven.
We’d like to share a short section from this publication that is most helpful.
“Meanwhile, in the Old Testament, those who were ordained as priests were ritually washed. When Jesus begins to wash the apostles’ feet to illustrate that what He was making them like the ministering angels who came down from heaven, Peter finally accepts by saying, “wash my hands and my head as well,” that is, “make me your priest.” Christ replies that the washing of feet is sufficient. He also says that the apostles should “do this unto one another.”
With the command “Do this in memory of me,” Christ made them priests. With that command, He completed what was begun with the washing of feet. He made the priests holy, and like unto ministering angels. They minister the sacraments to us. So, when Christ speaks of “doing this (washing of feet) unto one another,” He is telling them that He has established His new priesthood to sanctify the people. When the people are made holy by the sacraments, they, too, will be like ministering angels unto the world.”
We highly recommend you go to the website that we’ve linked to on this page and read the full document. It does cost a couple of dollars but is extremely well put together and very helpful.
Now some people on parish staffs will say, well the US Bishops have allowed that practice here in America, so its OK here. And if they do say that, they are wrong. In February, 1987, the USCCB claimed, via the Chairman of the Bishop’s Committee on the Liturgy, that the washing of feet is merely an act of charity, and thus may properly include both men and women. It took a little less than a year for the Vatican to blow that notion out of the water with the document Paschales Solemnitatis:
“The washing of the feet of chosen men (emphasis added) which, according to tradition, is performed on this day [Holy Thursday] .. This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained.”
Nothing new has come from the Vatican since this 1988 document allowing any variation of any kind whatsoever.
Now, it may very well be the case that large numbers of priests have simply been instructed very poorly in all this. After all, it would be a little naïve to think that it was only the Catholic laity that got poorly catechized during the crazy days of the past 40-50 years. Many seminaries also did an extremely poor job of transmitting the faith to their priests in training.
Whatever the case may be … here is the simple takeaway. The washing of the feet is intimately linked to the priesthood because it was performed by Our Blessed Lord those he was about to make priests at the Eucharist.
Only men are to have their feet washed an only by a priest or bishop and it is only the feet that are to be washed. When some other variation is done, it confuses the faithful and is a grave abuse because it tears away from the sacred character of the priesthood instituted by Christ Himself on this most Holy of nights.
GOD Love you. I’m Michael Voris.

 
 

Church sees no radical changes in sacramental roles

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-04-07/kochi/38345514_1_women-priests-pope-francis-catholic-church

By T.S. Preetha, April 7, 2013

KOCHI: When Pope Francis I spoke about the fundamental importance of women in Catholic Church, many heard it as an indication of the impending ordination of women priests. But, Kerala’s catholic churches see no radical change in the sacramental roles in near future.

While many liberal reformers of the church across the globe feel this would mean a more prominent role for women in religious affairs, there is a mixed reaction from the clergy in the state. Though the church here considers it as a significant change from what his predecessor Benedict XVI stood for, no claim is made on the possibility of women assuming a greater role as heads of parishes or dioceses.

The conventional theory floated by the Catholic Church on why woman cannot be priests is that, Jesus Christ had only women as his apostles. Though Anglican and Protestant churches have long ago accepted women into sacramental positions, a change in policy is not seen likely in the coming years for the Catholic Church.

“Though the new Pope is quite daring in his approach and has urged believers not to fear change, not many expect him to take such a bold step soon. This message does not mean that the church is going to have women priests and bishops,” said Fr Paul Thelakat, spokesperson of the Syro-Malabar Church.

He feels there would not be any drastic change soon in church affairs.

“There would be stiff opposition from the traditionalists within the church. They are not at all pleased by the Pope’s unprecedented move of washing and kissing the feet of two girls during the Holy Week ceremonies,” he said.

Fr George Madathiparambil, former vicar general of the Canada diocese of the Syro-Malabar Church, also feels that, unlike what the liberalists call for, the Pope’s message would not bring in a revolutionary change to the church.

“There might be an increased presence of women in church’s administrative sections, like in the US, where many churches have women in charge of liturgical coordination, choirs and service activities. Other than that, there might not be any change to the Church’s old norms,” he said.

 
 

A VERY STRANGE FALSE PROPHECY

See my report MARIA DIVINE MERCY-THE WARNING SECOND COMING AND THE BOOK OF TRUTH on false mystic “Maria Divine Mercy” [MDM] at http://ephesians-511.net/docs/MARIA_DIVINE_MERCY-THE_WARNING_SECOND_COMING_AND_THE_BOOK_OF_TRUTH.doc. One of the articles reproduced by me [on pages 42 through 49] in that compilation of articles was written by Catholic Answers apologist Jimmy Akin. I copy here below the title and link to that article along with two relevant comments posted by readers [one prior to and the other after Maundy Thursday, March 28] of the referred National Catholic Register article:

9 things you need to know about “Maria Divine Mercy”

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/9-things-you-need-to-know-about-maria-divine-mercy

By Jimmy Akin, jimmy@secretinfoclub.com, March 3, 2013 […]

Maria is saying there will be a wicked gesture during Holy Week. Watching for that. -TG, March 26, 2013

First, MDM prophesied about two years ago that Pope Benedict would be forced out and would be replaced by a false prophet.  A lot of people said she was crazy, as it would be impossible to have two living popes.  It happened this year, and people are now arguing over the peripherals, namely, whether Pope Benedict resigned or was forced out. Second, MDM prophesied that those with their eyes would notice during Holy Week by the action of the new Pope that would show he was not sent by Christ.  The new pope arrogantly disregarded the Church’s existing liturgical law and washed women’s feet on Holy Thursday, and people are now arguing whether what he did was charity or disobedience.  When The Warning takes place, I would not be surprised to see some people try to argue away that also. -Fidelis, April 4, 2013

TG and Fidelis appear to be MDM believers; they are aplenty. Her Facebook page — Jesus to Mankind — presently has more than 17,000 “Likes”.

 
 

Neal Ford, in Who is “Maria Divine Mercy”?

http://street-called-straight.blogspot.in/2013/03/who-is-maria-divine-mercy.html, March 16, 2013, [see pages 52 of the MDM report] furnishes us the details of that alleged prophecy of “Maria Divine Mercy“:

There is to be a particular insult, which will be inflicted upon My Holy Name, in an effort to desecrate Me, during Holy Week. This wicked gesture, during Holy Week, will be seen by those who keep their eyes open and this will be one of the signs by which you will know that the imposter, who sits on the throne in My Church on earth, does not come from Me.
Neal Ford then comments:

All of Maria Divine Mercy’s “prophecies are flawed to one degree or another. Not one of them is a true hit. There is just enough vaguery to make them believable to many.
Well, the litmus test comes this month. She has predicted the following for Holy Week. Note the wiggle room she left herself…

She does not tell us what this ‘insult’ will be. So when nothing happens she can wiggle out by incorporating into her next prophecy where it will be revealed in greater detail.
There is one simple thing to remember that should be enough to protect you from falling for false prophets: Jesus Christ Himself said “The gates of hell shall not prevail against My church”.
And if a pope ever tried something resembling an abomination of desolation, don’t you think that even in a church that has been infiltrated, that SOMEONE would call him out on it?
The test of a prophet is that they must be 100% right 100% of the time. What I see here is someone whose track record is not much better than the astrology column in your daily newspaper… and probably has the same source, the father of lies.

 
 

A commenter named PocketSketch at the following blog,
http://miraculousrosary.blogspot.in/2013/02/maria-divine-mercy-deception-of-satan.html,
records that that particular MDM message was given on March 14, 2013.

 
 

On page 8 of the present report, I had reproduced a post-Maundy Thursday NCR article by Jimmy Akin:

How Should We Understand Pope Francis Washing Women’s Feet?

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/how-should-we-understand-pope-francis-washing-womens-feet?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NCRegisterDailyBlog+National+Catholic+Register
[…]

The same
TG and Fidelis commented, see page 11:

Dear Jimmy Akin: There is no other way to explain what the current occupant of the Chair of St. Peter did today other than to call it what it is: “A wicked gesture against Our Lord and Saviour Himself.” In fact, Jesus Himself said this would happen on March 14, 2013 through Maria Divine Mercy. Read at the link below.

http://www.thewarningsecondcoming.com/this-wicked-gesture-during-holy-week-will-be-seen-by-those-who-keep-their-eyes-open/. I respectfully disagree with you, Mr. Jimmy Akin. I wish people would open their eyes to the prophecies of MDM and pray about them instead of ignoring them. A Pope is supposed to set an example. Disregarding your own Liturgical Rules that calls for 12 men and adding 2 women does not sound good. He should have changed the rules first if he didn’t like them instead of disregarding them altogether as if the rules do not exist. Bad, bad, precedent. All these parsing of what “men” mean is irrelevant to those of us who have been skeptically watching. -Fidelis

I disagree [with Jimmy Akin]. Jesus washed the feet of 12 men. I figured excuses were going to be made for our Pope. Hope there aren’t more changes against tradition. –T.G.

113.

 
 

A LETTER FROM MEXICO

From:
María L
To:
michaelprabhu@vsnl.net
Sent: Friday, May 17, 2013 10:42 AM Subject: Washing the feet of women.

Dear Michael:    
I am perplexed by the fact that Pope Francis specifically broke tradition and several other regulations established in the Church, when he washed the feet of 2 women this past Holy Thursday (evidenced in the documents you provide on your site). Why is it then, that nothing no clarification or judgment upon the Pope has been issued by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith? Does this have to be initiated by someone outside of the Curia? Why is this not enforced automatically? Have you received or heard of anyone having initiated any action or request for action on this issue?
I graciously welcome your comments regarding this issue. María

From: michaelprabhu@vsnl.net To: María L Sent: Friday, May 17, 2013 6:37 PM Subject: Re: Washing the feet…

Dear Maria,
I understand that you are writing from Mexico. I thank you for your letter and your concern about the sad event.
Unfortunately I do not have the answers to the questions that you have put to me.
As you can see from my compilation of information in the two documents on my site, there are priests and other lay Catholics who are similarly concerned. To give evidence of that, I have reproduced dozens of comments from reliable
blogs.
Let us pray for Pope Francis and for one another. Apart from prayer, I do my bit to create awareness among Catholics about these things — and that is how we are now in touch. May your love for the Church ever grow… Michael

From: María L To:
michaelprabhu@vsnl.net
Sent: Saturday, May 18, 2013 12:47 AM Subject: Re: Washing the feet…

Dear Michael,
I graciously thank you so much for your prompt response. Yes, I am Hispanic and I am writing from Mexico where I live.

I’ve also studied in Catholic schools all my life, however, despite this strong awareness of my Catholic heritage instilled in me all through out those years, and because of my lukewarm  practice of Christianity and the enticement of the world, I,  much like yourself, disassociated myself from God and vehemently pursued the ways of the world. Fortunately and gratefully, for me and certainly many others, God in His infinite Love for us is persistent, never ceasing to search for His stray flock and so as of 12 years ago I am convincingly and wholeheartedly all His.
Today, immersed in my Faith, I seek many answers and find myself enormously appalled and heartbroken by the decline of the Catholic Faith and Church and by how we all have allowed this to happen right under our nose. I have also come to witness how in these trying times the Catholic Church is so dynamic mostly due to the laity, you included, who have
used the internet as an important and effective vehicle to communicate and avail much information on our Faith and events in the Church. I myself have found myself making use of these resources to inspire me in denouncing acts committed by priests and labeled as abominable by the own tenets of the Catholic Church, all the while continuing to pray for those who have committed these transgressions.
As to my many questions posed to you regarding the rite of the washing of feet by Pope Francis, I guess that since I noticed that much of the information regarding this violation of the Rite was from a number of years ago and referred to lower echelons within the Church, I was hopeful that somehow you might have more recent information to share on what and how to go about denouncing it or what if anything there is to do, considering that we are talking about the Pope who is in violation. I might have to consult with someone within the hierarchy of the church.
Anyway, I pray that we may not lose hope and etch deep in our hearts that Christ Our Lord promised that “the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18).
I pray that you and yours continue to be blessed by God in His most Holy Trinity, and that our Blessed Mother Mary, may keep you safe from harm. María

 
 

As I have repeatedly emphasised in the present report as well as in the other directly related one, it is the feminist theologians and the women’s ordination lobby that is most keenly interested in the foot-washing issue. Here is a letter published in the Bombay archdiocesan weekly, The Examiner, of April 13, 2013:

Pope washes women’s feet

The news item, “Pope washes women’s feet” that appeared on March 30, 2013 in the Times of India has prompted me to share a few comments…

According to reports, the gesture of Pope Francis has sparked a debate among some conservatives and liturgical purists…”

As per their standards, the Pope had set a “questionable example”. The reaction of the conservatives speaks volumes about their traditional mindset that obstructs their perception of the magnanimous spirit of Pope Francis. Thanks to the Pope for breaking the “unbroken tradition”, and thereby setting a wonderful illustration of humility and greatness to Church leadership today. As liberals call it, it is indeed “a sign of greater inclusiveness in the Church” that has yet to overcome the many socio-cultural and religious hurdles standing in the way of realising Jesus’ vision of “discipleship of equals”.

Dr. Sr. Pauline Chakkalakal, DSP, Mumbai

 
 

MY COMMENTS

Sr. Pauline Chakkalakal reveals her mind when she divides Catholics into two categories: “conservatives and liturgical purists” and “liberals“.

 
 

114.

 
 

 
 

She quickly makes a pretence of lauding Pope Francis for his “humility and greatness” and immediately launches into voicing the real message that she intends to convey, which is her satisfaction in noting the foot-washing incident as “a sign of greater inclusiveness in the Church” which translates as the feminist theologians’ fervent hope that it is an indicator that Pope Francis might just be soft on the demands of the women’s ordination lobby.

Who is Sr. Pauline Chakkalakal? A Professor of theology, she belongs to the congregation of the Daughters of St Paul. Her name was supplied to me in an email of April 5, 2010 by a lay feminist theologian Astrid Lobo Gajiwala in a list of those who favour the ordination of women as priests. The subject of my enquiry was “RESEARCH INTO PROPOSED ORDINATION OF WOMEN“.

I could only access the first page of this pdf file
Feminist Theology
by
PAULINE CHAKKALAKAL
http://fth.sagepub.com/cgi/pdf_extract/9/27/21
which said,

This item requires a subscription to Feminist Theology Online.” On that page, the author writes about the
“Shakti (feminine force)”
that keeps one Leelavathy going. I reproduce here her letter to me [I was using an alias] of April 8, 2010:

From:
Pauline Chakkalakal
paulinec_dsp@yahoo.com
To:
name withheld
Sent: Thu, 8 April, 2010 9:15:49 AM
Subject: Re: The Ordination of WOMEN as PRIESTS in the Catholic Church

Dear name withheld

At the outset let me congratulate you on your courage and commitment to deal with the Ordination issue in the C. Church.  

To respond to you quickly, I would suggest that you read my book (originally my Doctoral Thesis) entitled Discipleship – A Space for Women’s
Leadership? - It is a Biblical – Theological work based on sociological analysis of patriarchy in society & church. I have also done a field survey which will be helpful for your work. There is a section that deals with Revisioning Priesthood, essence of Jesus’ priesthood, women’s ordination, etc. (see pp. 233-249).

My book is available at Daughters of St. Paul Book Centre, 143 Waterfield Road, Bandra West, Mumbai – 400050. The book was first published in 2004; reprinted in 2007. Only a few copies are left with us. If you want, please contact the Book Centre at the earliest.  

Wishing you BLESSINGS of the RISEN CHRIST,

Dr. Pauline Chakkalakal, dsp, DSP Convent, Bandra

Have I made my point?

 
 

The Examiner, of April 6, 2013 carried a letter The Call to Service from one Ralph Fernandes of Mumbai.

EXTRACT:
Maundy Thursday’s call to service has been given a boost by the Holy Father’s washing the feet of prisoners – both male and female. [In his parish]… washing the feet of women also was introduced by telling the chosen ‘apostles’ to go into the congregation and wash the feet of chosen individuals, women included…”

 
 

The New Leader, of May 1-15, 2012, reported that a parish in the Madras-Mylapore archdiocese had instituted the practice BEFORE Mass even a year before the Pope washed the feet of women.

Maundy Thursday celebrations at Fatima Church held with a difference EXTRACT

Before the service began… an altar boy’s and an altar girl’s feet were washed… A female parishioner washed the feet of three mothers from our parish whose sons are now priests… ”

Since some people are already looking for an excuse to contravene liturgical norms, what will be the state of things on Maundy Thursday 2014, now that Pope Francis has himself done it?

 
 

In The New Leader, of April 16-30, 2011, radical feminist and pro-women’s ordination activist wrote a full page article titled, “Women Washing Feet
– Re-reading John 13: 1-15“. The title is deceptive, false and misleading, intentionally I presume. It should instead have read as “Washing
the feet of women“.

In it, she makes the outrageous claim that “Most men would find it humbling to wash feet, to step down from their pedestals and bend low, to touch feet“.

She immediately goes on to write, “Every ‘Maundy’ Thursday I sit in the pew why women’s feet are never washed.

From her choice of words [here and elsewhere], she perceives most men as chauvinists, and finds herself out of her element in the pew. Up at the altar, concelebrating Holy Mass, officiating as a woman priest — or at least as a deacon for the moment — is where she would love to be.


DOCUMENTS ON THIS MINISTRY’S WEB SITE RELATED TO THE ORDINATION OF WOMEN

1. VIRGINIA SALDANHA-ECCLESIA OF WOMEN IN ASIA AND CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE-FEMINIST THEOLOGY AND THE ORDINATION OF WOMEN PRIESTS

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/VIRGINIA_SALDANHA-ECCLESIA_OF_WOMEN_IN_ASIA_AND_CATHERINE_OF_SIENA_VIRTUAL_COLLEGE-FEMINIST_THEOLOGY_AND_THE_ORDINATION_OF_WOMEN_PRIESTS.doc

2. VIRGINIA SALDANHA-WOMENPRIESTS INFILTRATES THE INDIAN CHURCH-CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE

 
 

 
 

 
 

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/VIRGINIA_SALDANHA-WOMENPRIESTS_INFILTRATES_THE_INDIAN_CHURCH-CATHERINE_OF_SIENA_VIRTUAL_COLLEGE.doc

3. WOMEN PRIESTS-THE NCR-UCAN-EWA NEXUS

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/WOMEN_PRIESTS-THE_NCR-UCAN-EWA_NEXUS.doc

4. UCAN WANTS TO DO AWAY WITH THE PRIESTHOOD

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/UCAN_WANTS_TO_DO_AWAY_WITH_THE_PRIESTHOOD.doc

5. UCAN CONFIRMS IT FAVOURS WOMEN PRIESTS

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/UCAN_CONFIRMS_IT_FAVOURS_WOMEN_PRIESTS.doc

6. UCAN CONFIRMS IT FAVOURS WOMEN PRIESTS-02

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/UCAN_CONFIRMS_IT_FAVOURS_WOMEN_PRIESTS-02.doc

7. UCAN’S SLANTED QUESTIONNAIRE ON THE CATHOLIC’S CHOICE FOR POPE

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/UCANS_SLANTED_QUESTIONNAIRE_ON_THE_CATHOLICS_CHOICE_FOR_POPE.doc

8. NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 15-DEMAND FOR ORDINATION OF WOMEN PRIESTS-FR SUBHASH ANAND AND OTHERS 

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/NEW_COMMUNITY_BIBLE_15-DEMAND_FOR_ORDINATION_OF_WOMEN_PRIESTS-FR_SUBHASH_ANAND_AND_OTHERS.doc

9. ARCHBISHOP OF DELHI SUPPORTS WOMEN’S ORDINATION

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/ARCHBISHOP_OF_DELHI_SUPPORTS_WOMENS_ORDINATION.doc

 
 

For a more detailed examination of information compiled prior to March 28, 2013, please read

WASHING THE FEET OF WOMEN ON HOLY THURSDAY

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/WASHING_THE_FEET_OF_WOMEN_ON_HOLY_THURSDAY.doc



Categories: Ordination of Women Priests Movement in India

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