PopeWatch: Fashion?

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Rorate Caeli has some fairly dispiriting news about Pope Francis thinking that a desire for the TLM is a mere fashion choice:


[Abp. Jan Graubner speaks:] When we were discussing those who are fond of the ancient liturgy and wish to return to it, it was evident that the Pope speaks with great affection, attention, and sensitivity for all in order not to hurt anyone. However, he made a quite strong statement when he said that he understands when the old generation returns to what it experienced, but that he cannot understand the younger generation wishing to return to it. “When I search more thoroughly – the Pope said – I find that it is rather a kind of fashion [in Czech: ‘móda‘, Italian ‘moda‘]. And if it is a fashion, therefore it is a matter that does not need that much attention. It is just necessary to show some patience and kindness to people who are addicted to a certain fashion. But I consider greatly important to go deep into things, because if we do not go deep, no liturgical form, this or that one, can save us.

Go here to read the rest.  Hearsay of course always has to be taken with a boulder of salt, but if this statement does reflect the Pope’s views, he is gravely mistaken as to why the TLM has a growing number of adherents almost half a century after the conclusion of Vatican II.


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  1. “…to show some patience and kindness to people who (Are Addicted) to certain fashions.”

    In another word…tolerance?

    Reverence of Jesus found in our local TLM is going to be tolerated by Our Holy Father. Well thanks be to God.

    I had no idea that the beauty and love for God and neighbor found in this Latin rite was a fashion statement.

    So. Girls with low cut blouses and skirts above the knee can assist at the holy sacrifice of the mass, eucharistic distribution by Zigfield & Roy as well as pop music after reception of the blessed sacrament is….uhhh….normal or appropriate….but TLM is just a fashion thing.
    I pray Holy Father didn’t say it.

  2. I am so disappointed in Pope Francis. He isn’t a wicked Pope as were some during the Middle Ages. But he is liberal. He simply cannot help himself.

  3. I don’t really know what to think of that!
    He is seen to be so thoughtful and sensitive; but thoughtful sensitivity (like B Clinton’s ability to feel your pain)– requires not minimizing what is important to the other.

  4. After the whole broo-ha-ha about ‘trickle down economics’ which was never actually written in Pope Francis’ Exhortation, I don’t think any of us should focus on a word and make any judgments unless we literally get it from his mouth. I can understand any of you being concerned about the ‘word’, but we cannot be sure he said it (or meant it in that way).

    What I do find more significant is the statement (if he indeed said it) that we “need to go deeper into (liturgy) things, because if we go deep, no liturgical form, this one or that one, can save us.” That actually is far more substantial with great implications

  5. Am I missing something? As I read this, it would seem to indicate that he is saying neither the TLM or the VII hold the absolute liturgical code, but that people have grown accustomed to methods, maybe the music, the prayers, the sense of reverence, the sense of fellowship, the language, etc. But he acknowledges the truth, the sacred of our liturgy is found rather in a deep understanding of our theology. If so, I have no issues with that.

  6. ” It is just necessary to show some patience and kindness to people who are addicted to a certain fashion.” Patronizing attitude. Nice. From a Holy Father.

    And then more of Francis’ “profound gibberish”: “But I consider [it] greatly important to go deep into things, because if we do not go deep, no liturgical form (etc,etc)….” Once again, P. Francis just said utterly unprofound words and yet in fact actually said nothing. What does “to go deep” mean? Is it a post-pattern, flag-, or slant-in over the middle? ( I always preferred a wheel-route, myself.)

    Friends, this gibberish is becoming a hallmark of this Pontiff. Sorry, I don’t think much of his intellectual curiosity nor his depth of thought. ‘Go deep’ with that.

  7. David W

    Actually David you not only are not missing something, you hit the nail on the proverbial head. The Holy Father’s academic background is in literature [I am speakiing of his further academic life] rather than philosophy (as we saw with Blessed John Paul II) and theology ( as we saw with Pope Benedict). Thus he has a literary way of addressing things, and sometimes we even need a thesaurus lol rather than a theological dictionary.

    However, exactly as you intuited, Pope Francis is actually restating what Pope Benedict stated and enacted throughout his Petrine ministry: thus we have not only the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite, but the Ambrosian and now the Anglican usage (not sure if we can call it a rite): all expressing the real depths of the Latin Rite.

  8. I think people should keep in mind his background. It was in literature chemistry and psychology with a bouncer job thrown in so how should we expect him to speak? I personally don’t like this approach either but the Cardinal from Nigeria named Francis Arinze said last year EVERY POPE WILL NOT BE THE SAME, and it would not be about our likes and dislikes. He needs our prayers and fidelity not our constant complaining which is starting to make us look like SOURPUSSES. Just be thankful he has not completely abrogated the Latin Mass when asked to so by some Italian Bishops last year. Yes and hopefully the FFI mess will soon be resolved.

  9. Janet: I appreciate your comments. Sincerely.

    But this Pope doesnt think deeply (“But I consider [it] greatly important to go deep into things…”, he doesnt communicate or even try to communicate precisely, and he has shown a glaring lack of serious study on matters that preceded him. It all doesnt seem to matter to him the edifice that was built by Ratzinger, JP2, Card Hoyos, Card. Stickler in the Ecclesia Dei commission’s work of over a decade: it is all shallow “fashion”, “muy de moda de hoy”, nothing more. His last theology degree was an M.Div at San Miguel in Buenos Aires, not exactly a hot bed of theological scholarship, and he couldnt finish his Ph.D. at Sahnkt-Georgen in Frankfurt because no doubt he tried to dazzle them with his “superstar-gibberish” that dazzled everybody in Argentina. Forgive my lack of being dazzled. He comes on the heels of two non-pareil scholar-popes, and the shortcomings are dazzlingly glaring.

  10. Just speaking for myself, while Not sour about pope Francis, I am also not filled with joy. I miss those days when I eagerly devoured what the popes said.

  11. ” no liturgical form, this one or that one, can save us.” – that quote does Definitely Not fill me with joy. I benefit from both forms being discussed here but this statement reminds me of Protestant digs at the mass, about rituals and prayers prayed according to form. While the Mass may not actually “save” us, ??? the importance of the Mass, the Obligation to worship at Mass has been too much misunderstood and derided.
    Dispensing with the “form”ality of the mass, more casual and modern, has brought about more relaxed attitudes throughout our practice and understanding of our Faith. – more people don’t go to mass and more don’t know there is any difference between Holy Communion in our Church and wine and wafers in the nearby Protestant church.
    I know the difference and I appreciate both forms, but laxity in how it’s done and laxity in talking about it can lead to too many liberties being taken with the Liturgy.
    Watered down meaning led our first parents to fall from grace. We should not obscure or be lax about meaning.
    (Remembering Viktor Frankel’s book) man’s search for meaning is never a fad.

  12. Anzlyne-

    I’m with you.
    If the pontiff said it as it’s portrayed above I agree with your sentiments.

    God bless them, but some priests that celebrate mass fly through the liturgy, the communion prayers we’re said as if it was a race. The “dig” intentional or not makes me sad since this is coming from the vicar of Christ.

    Are we to concentrate our thoughts on pleasures outside of mass and how fast we can return to them, when at mass?

    Strange times.

  13. Keep it in context. His remarks on “form” were directed at already approved liturgies. His use of “fashion” means the custom or variations. Not a word I would use, but it is not inappropriate in that context. In the 50’s I’m sure there were many masses said by less reverent priests that folks ho-hummed about as well . Let’s not make enemies were there are not any.

  14. David. Good morning.
    No enemies here.
    Just strange use of words from Holy Father (allegedly) and if true it’s uncomfortable.

    For the majority, we do pray for our clergy, and the use of addiction / fashion in relationship to TLM is “strange.”
    Have a good day.

  15. This Pope does not seem to understand the principle that we have to do the right thing in the right way. Let me give an example from working on reactor coolant flow transmitters at a Westinghouse Pressurized Water Reactor. There are 4 Reactor Coolant Loops each with 3 differential pressure transmitters. Each loop’s transmitters are connected in parallel with individual isolation valves for high and low pressure sides, and individual equalizing valves between high and low pressure sides. During normal operation the isolations are open and the equalizers are shut. When any 2 of 3 transmitters in any 1 of 4 reactor coolant loops sense low flow – that is, low differential pressure – the Reactor Protection System senses that and initiates a reactor scram to protect the reactor core against a loss of flow accident. If any one equalizer is opened at power, then all 3 transmitters for that one loop will sense low flow and cause an initiation of a scram. So when we have to do maintenance at power, we have to do it in the right way to prevent a spurious reactor scram – the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission takes a dim view of such spurious actuations. Thus, we have to shut the isolations for a single transmitter first before opening the equalizer (just the opposite of what we would do for most other flow and level differential pressure transmitters). The form or liturgy if you will is every bit as important as the function or substance. We have to do the right thing – maintenance – in the right way. Pope Francis, because he is not a theologian nor a philosopher nor an engineer nor a scientist apparently fails to comprehend this. And further, taken to its logical conclusion, such an attitude results in the ends justifying the means. In nuclear energy that can result in a very bad day. How much more so with the fate of souls into eternity hanging in the balance?

  16. Paul, good luck with that!
    But again, let’s keep the context … PF is not advocating “new”, “unapproved” “fashions” of the liturgy … so he is respecting the “deep” integrity of the ritual and rubrics. Just saying there are multiple approved liturgies.

  17. Dave W, I hope you are correct. But having read liberal thing after liberal thing coming from Pope Francis – albeit via problematic translation – I am skeptical. And yes, my analogy isn’t perfect. But JPII and BXVI were deep thinkers and precise writers. They would have addressed the issue of doing the right thing in the right way. This Pope is not a deep thinker or a precise writer and thus we have what we have.

    BTW, why doesn’t he use the controlled language of Latin as his predecessors did in order to prevent confusion?

  18. Hope this helps. When the Pope mentioned “forms”: “no liturgical form, this one or that one can save us” he is speaking about “rites”. He certainly is not speaking in an anti-ritual sense. Passover itself is a ‘rite’: that’s what ‘Seder” means. That by way of the Institution of the Eucharist at the last Supper, Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross and the Acceptance of that Sacrifice in the Resurrection, and His entrance into the Heavenly Sanctuary in His Ascension [see Letter to the Hebrews] has given the Eucharist a ‘ritual’ from the very beginning.

    He wants us to go deeper into the Liturgy as he has noted in his daily homilies [see post on Theophany] There is no question that we all (myself included here) have a translation issue going on. He speaks ‘informally’ in his homilies. That actually is the form of speech that the homily should be using. Then you have his literary academic background, his South American casualness along with his Italian (roots) passion, and he communicates a great deal differently than our two Northern European popes: John Paul and Benedict. We are American and feel far more comfortable with the northern European mentality etc. Even most of the Italian Popes came from northern Italy (big difference from southern Italy)

    People have their own feelings etc about him I am not ‘going there’. However if we really want to understand what he is saying, we need to keep these things I mentioned in mind. We are going to have to work harder at the ‘translations’

  19. Casualness and informality in the case of nuclear energy can result in unintended and objectionable consequences.

    Casualness and informality in the case of souls hanging in the balance of eternity can likewise have unintended and objectionable consequences.

    We have had 40+ years of casualness and informality since Vatican II. It is time for precision, exactitude, and clarity.

  20. With you, my friends, I believe the Liturgy is revealed and given by the Lord and that the Church has authority on earth to discern and celebrate that Liturgy. The Latin Mass, and the Novus Ordo are both acceptable to Him.
    Yes, we may hope the pope not speaking in an anti-ritual sense, though he has already publicly eschewed some small t traditions related to his papacy. We are actually not sure what he means, going on what is reported. Nonetheless we continue in the hope that this son of the Church is a good pilot, and the sure hope that the Holy Spirit is always with us to the End.

    My hope and my concern in my post was that anti-catholics and non-catholics (and Catholics) don’t misunderstand his reported language. There has already been a certain amount of protestantization in the ways that the Mass is celebrated in local churches. When the pope’s language can, in Any way, be construed a denigration of the issue of form it makes the rest of us, as Ricky Riccardo might say, “have a lot of ‘splaining to do”. Why is it important that we have an “ordo” new or old?
    It is hard for people to understand why form is important and what it all means.

    The “within the walls” discussions that take place among committed Catholics can sometimes provide canon fodder for those eager to continue and to disseminate misunderstanding Catholic worship. We Catholics want to understand what he is saying and we want non Catholics to understand too.
    Our pope may be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove in his approach to the rest of the non catholic world, realizing that much of that non catholic world actually is “within the walls”. I don’t know. God bless Francis and for the world he is trying to reach, within and without the Church.

  21. Anzlyne,

    We are indeed still trying to understand how Pope Francis communicates, never mind ‘what he is communicating’. He seems to communicate in body language must better than his vocal language. I believe that will slowly shift-both as he learns that not everyone is Latin American lol and we learn not everyone is northern European lol

    I believe we are a time in which all of us who participate in an love the Mass, no matter what the rite, need to go deeper into the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist [Mass]. For example, I participate regularly at Mass in the Ordinary Form, yet I am fully aware of the great need of continued renewal (not changes per se) that needs to take place. For example, the four hymn Mass needs to return to the actual Liturgical principles and us the Propers (Entrance and Communion Antiphons). We are already quite used to participating in ‘the responsorial psalm after the first reading. It is not rocket science to move toward a similar format at the ENtrance Rite and while we are processing for Holy Communion [much easier to sing an antiphon than to sing a whole hymn]

    Another major dimension that needs to be addressed within the Ordinary Form is something we call “the domestication of Transcendence”. It is not the Rite itself but the way the Rite is celebrated and participated in-it is like the Lord is over having left-overs with us some night. It is as if we have “God in our back pocket” Needless to say nothing could be further from the truth, and as time goes on this is slowly being ‘adjusted’ [older clergy from that era are retiring etc]

    The Ordinary Form now has its liturgical vernacular (not the everyday street language that it first had). We are now experiencing the richness of what the Prayers actually say and not some dumbed down version. However, what Pope Benedict called “The reform of the reform” is actually taking place-but it can only continue by all of us going much deeper into the Mystery of the Liturgy.

  22. “Canon fodder”. :). I was sure I spelled that right when I wrote it! Maybe an intervention from a blithe spirit with a sense of humor!
    Cannon fodder

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