The Emancipated Pope
Whilst it is very sad to have to comment again and again on the Pope’s words, I think it is worth doing, because the careless words of the Holy Father have become such a common occurrence that without any reaction we will drown in a tidal wave of novel thinking without even noticing.
in the times of the young Roman republic, marriages were made with the two family clans meeting very publicly in two groups standing in front of each other, and the pater familias (the head of the clan) of the bridegroom’s family again very publicly physically seizing the girl from her side and bringing her to his family’s side. The lack of reaction of the bride’s side was meant to show to the community the seizing happened with their consent. This “taking with the hand”, in Latin manu capere, became in time known as mancipio, that is, the taking of a person under the authority and dominion of another person.
Conversely, to be freed from another’s authority or dominion (to “take away from the hand”, ex manu capere) became in time known as emancipatio.
Therefore, a man (or woman) says to his day that he is emancipated, or has emancipated himself, to signify that he is not subject anymore to some authority of the past.
Exactly this is the meaning of the Pope’s words, who gave Monsignor Marini a true Judas’ kiss by saying that he decided to keep him – notwithstanding the suggestions of some – in order for the old to coexist with the new; though he, Francis, is, rather, emancipated in his liturgical vision.
It astonishes me that so many commenters would see and report the Pope’s words as good news. On the contrary, the Pontiff’s very choice of this word – emancipation – shows an ill-concealed contempt for the Mass of the Ages, seen as the dominion and authority of an old way of thinking from which he, the Pope, has freed himself.
The words of appreciation for Monsignor Marini, and the vague references to the old being also, in some way, worthy of existence are of little consolation, when the Pontiff in the same breath so bluntly shows his liturgical colours. I have difficulties in imagining even Paul VI of disastrous memory express himself in such a way, though undoubtedly the thinking was pretty much the same. Much less can I imagine Pope Benedict expressing himself thus during his reign.
You might say that this was a spontaneous, careless remark, to which we should not attach undue importance. I reply that it is exactly this kind of spontaneous talk that best reveals how a man thinks. Let us say it once again: the Pontiff considers the Traditional Mass the expression of an old liturgical thinking, from whose dominion and authority he has freed himself. The Pinocchio Masses, the puppets moving around, the crucifixes where Christ seems to be on holiday: this is his way of understanding the liturgy.
Nor there is any indication that having Marini near him will do much good. The Trinity Sunday Mass just celebrated is, if you allow the neologism, as Un-Marinian as they come, bar the Pinocchio & Co. Make no mistake, as Pope Francis “feels” himself into his new role his Masses will become worse, not better.
So there we are, with a Pope proclaiming his “emancipation” from, erm, pretty much the entire liturgical history of the Church whilst, ever the Jesuit, paying some lip service to it. He might not attack the TLM openly, because he does not seem sufficiently interested in such a fight and because an open confrontation on such heavy matters would expose his limitations in liturgical matters at the very least, leaving aside that modern Jesuits aren’t the born warriors anyway; but the hostility is clearly there in the thinking, if not yet openly in the acting.
Whence the end of such a liturgical – and not only liturgical – misery may come is beyond what I can rationally think. Expect Pope Francis’ appointments of bishops and cardinals to have pretty much the same quality as his liturgy, with the results we can easily imagine.
The only way out I can see is the Holy Ghost coming to our help and either radically changing this Pope’s ways, or providing for a big surprise when the time or the next conclave comes. It is true that the Cardinals, and not the Holy Ghost, elect the Pope, but it is also true that when the appointed time comes the Holy Ghost can move them in secret ways to pave the way for one reversing the current situation of fast degradation of Catholic patrimony, including but not limited to liturgical matters. Pope Bergoglio certainly won’t improve the average quality of a college of cardinals already able to elect him, so there you are…
I will not hold my breath waiting for improvements. My impression is that the Church is being punished, and there is no saying when this will end. A noted theologian – who then became Pope – wisely remarked that when the Bride behaved particularly badly, the Bridegroom disciplined Her with some dire affliction. The Great Schism in 1054, the heresies of the XVI Century, perhaps also the temporary obliteration of the Catholic Church from a very secularised France in the wake of the French Revolution can be seen as examples of this.
We are being punished. The utter madness of the “springtime of the Church” triggered the present decay; both in an earthly, practical, causal way and in a more general way, as Divine Punishment as just consequence of the arrogance of clergy – and countless followers – thinking they could reinvent Catholicism and make it sexy, easy, popular, and outright comfortable.
We are being punished, and deservedly so. Not for the first time in the history of the Church, or the last.
When one live in times of “emancipated” Popes, the only way is to cling the more firmly to the received Truth, and renew one’s efforts of prayer.
In your charity, pray for the Pontiff, too.