Daily Archives: March 29, 2013
We must live in very strange times indeed if every hour can bring further, disquieting news from the very top of the Church.
At Rorate Caeli there is a blog post and video (which is copyrighted, so I will not re-post it here) shedding further light on what has happened yesterday besides what I have already reported about.
Please note the following:
1. the official announcement of the fact that the Pontiff washed the feet of people of
different nationalities and faiths, including at least two Muslims and two women,
I have never read in the Gospel Jesus washed the feet of heathens, but again Jesus would obviously not be taken as an example of “inclusiveness” and “dialogue” by Pope Francis (Jesus came bringing a sword, Pope Francis came bringing peace) so He doesn't count. Perhaps Pope Francis has a different Bible than I, though. I am told in Argentina they do strange things anyway.
2. the horrible, horrible, horrible liturgy.
I have heard some sugary crap in my time, but what you hear in the video passeth my limited understanding of ugliness. It's like torture in the kindergarten. I cannot believe there are people – children, or adults – who can believe this utter crap has some semblance of spirituality and be in their right mind.
Called me a Conservative Catholic if you so wish, but to me if your liturgical views are gravely flawed your theology will be gravely flawed too. Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi. There's no escaping this simple truth.
Only two weeks into this papacy, and we wonder when it will end.
I am afraid we are only at the beginning.
And so the Pope did it and, as he regularly did during his time as an Archbishop (he seems obsessed with continuing to do everything as he did before becoming Pope; another sign of humility, or pride as the case may be) has washed the feet of at least one woman during his Maundy Thursday Mass.
Someone will correct me if I am wrong, but last time I looked the rules mandated (not suggested) the use of chosen men, viri selecti.
When I was (blessedly) scourged with Latin, there was no way Vir could be translated as “human”, and if I had done it the dreaded blue pencil of my severe teacher would not have been far away. But it was a very long time ago, or we must have been both wrong; or perhaps, who knows, Latin is becoming more “inclusive”…
Now, only two things may be happening here:
1. I do not remember, or we were wrong all the time. Vir means “person”, and viri selecti means “chosen people”.
2. The then Cardinal Archbishop and now Pope doesn’t have any problem in going against the rules both when he was Cardinal Archbishop and now that he is Pope.
“But Mundabor”, you may say, “this is not de fide, merely an instruction of the Missal! Of course the Pope can change the instructions; he is the Pope!”
Yes, and no.
Firstly, he can certainly change the instructions, but then he should first change them and then act in accordance to the thus changed rules. To just do what he pleases with the Roman Missal can only encourage many others to do the same. We are, here, confronted with a Pope sending a clear signal that rules can be disobeyed: certainly by the Pope every time his “humility” suggests to him that he may do so, and most certainly by the many liberal priests who will feel authorised – nay, encouraged – to follow his example.
Secondly, whilst I am not a liturgist – and am ready to stand corrected by intelligent arguments – I rather think that those like this Catholic blogger are getting the meaning of the washing of the feet in a deeper way than the usual (at least in the last decades) “it’s only a sign of humility” interpretation. I have no knowledge of women being chosen in past centuries among the “viri (cough) selecti” by Popes or other clergy. Please also note that, as explained here, Pope Benedict preferred to wash the feet of priests as opposed to laymen.
Be it as it may, it can’t be denied the instructions of the Roman Missal say “men”. Whilst I am not a mother tongue, I think it can be comfortably asserted that in English, “men” does not mean “women” by any stretch of the imagination. (It can mean “mankind” in some limited context, but you would use it differently: “we have brought Man to the Moon”, etc. This is clearly not the case here).
I am curious to read the reaction of liturgists to this. Again, the Pope may well change the rules, but he is doing something different: he is saying that he can make the rules as he goes along, and it is not so important that rules are respected.
I do not doubt, though, that today we will be overflowed by a tidal wave of sugary comments by NuChurch bloggers about the courageous and inclusive choice of the new Pontiff.
Benedict was, whilst largely ineffective, a Pope of intellectual depth whose acts and speeches spoke to intelligent people.
Make no mistake: in a sharp contrast with Benedict’s, this pontificate will please the stupid the world over.