Daily Archives: April 25, 2013

Radio Vaticana And The Pope

Not an easy job for people at the Radio Vaticana. They have been asked to publish the Pope's homilies in their entirety, but apparently the Pope tends to ramble, and they try to give structure to his more or less disordered or spontaneous words so that something coherent comes out of it.

The problem with this is that “ordering” isn't really so different from “editing”, and as the world basically reads and reports what it finds in the English version of the Radio Vaticana reports the risk of an “editorially adjusted Pope” is very real.

Once again, I must see in this an instance of poor standards from the Pontiff. If he wants to ramble he should give instruction that his homilies are not published or filmed at all: the message remains restricted to those present, the Pope sends out those well-thought and well-structured information he wants to send out, there are no misunderstandings and clumsy attempts at interpretation of spontaneous thoughts, and everyone is happy.

If, on the other hand, he wants to send regular messages through the medium of the homily, he should do what every organised person always does: think and write beforehand, and stick to the programme.

What we have now is, once again, a man who seems not to realise that his words and actions have consequences, and who appears to think about closing down banks with the same careless levity with which he commits liturgical abuses.

Can you imagine Pope Benedict XVI talking as he pleases at mass, microphones switched on, and expand on his thoughts of the moment with the world press listening? Is this prudent, or statesmanlike?

Pope Francis is not the parish priest, though he may like to think he still is. For example, he can actually close down his bank. What he says in the matter should be given careful consideration beforehand by him first.



The Right Stuff

Forget Simon & Garfunkel...

There are some interesting reflections on the stunningly beautiful Ars Orandi blog concerning the “reform of the reform”. In short, an outside blogger – fairly conservative liturgically, if very much V II – offered the suggestion a better Novus Ordo Mass is a very useful, possibly indispensable step towards the recovery of liturgical tradition, as the uneducated masses spoiled by the modern antics would not be able to properly “get” – and accept – the Traditional Mass without an intermediate and, so to speak, introductory step.

The blog author answered with the reflections that the “reform of the reform” has remained a limited phenomenon, proving itself unable to truly reform the liturgical life of the Church; that the parishes that have a conservative NO tend not to have a TLM; and that the slow but constant advance of the Traditionalist troops is fuelled by the latter, not the former.

As far as my anecdotal experience in concerned, I can only agree with the Ars Orandi blog: those who attend a reverent NO aren't, because of this, drawn to the Tridentine. Being educated to avoid the worst is not in itself an encouragement to yearn for the best.

I would make out of this a more general argument, as it was never my experience that encouraging people to do the wrong things properly will, ipso facto, motivate them to do the right things. Put in a slightly different way, a fan of Lady Gaga will not be introduced to Schubert by listening to Simon & Garfunkel. He or she will be introduced to Schubert by listening to… Schubert.

Consequently, I do not see any viable alternative in order to introduce the liturgically uneducated masses to the right stuff than introducing them to the right stuff. It might not be easy at the start, but this isn't bad at all, because it requires from the faithful that they make the choice to do things properly first. It is, in fact, a typical mistake of our times that everything should be made effortless or at least very easy. People must be told that there are choices to make. The idea that people need to be introduced by degree to everything because they are too lazy or too stupid to take responsibility for themselves is what gave us the horrible children's masses, and we have seen the results both on the children and on the understanding of liturgy.

People generally aren't stupid, and those who truly are can probably not be helped anyway, nor can idiocy be the inspiring liturgical criterion. The Faithful must be given the choice, and be plainly told the one is the Mass of the Sixty-Eighters and the other is the Mass of all generations before. Those who are able to think properly will be able to choose properly, and in time they will move other people to make the right choice; more and more so in fact, as the old Sixty-Eighters unavoidably start to fill the graves (or in their case, rather the urns).

Of course, ideally the Pope would announce a stepped but definitive return to the Traditional Mass and the abandonment of the Novus Ordo. God knows the present Pontiff is far from ideal – liturgically as well as in many other issues – so this is not going to happen either under Francis or – given the present Cardinals and those Pope Bergoglio will appoint – under his successor. Therefore, the best thing to do is to build on the limited strength that is there, insist on a vocal defence of Summorum Pontificum, and use the leverage we have to promote the best Mass we have.

The Traditional Latin Mass is the best. Jesus deserves the best. Let us not promote half ways as if they were an introduction to the best, I at least have lost hope things will work that way.

We don't need half ways. We need the right stuff.



Why The Abdication Was Wise

The Abdication Reblog

Mundabor's Blog


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Kindle Problems

If birds poop on you from the tree it isn't really a good experience...

I hate kindle books without an interactive table of contents. They do not make sense to me. A good book is not something one reads once and forgets, but one that one loves to go back to, refreshing this or that part when the fancy takes him.

After a couple of bad experiences in the past, I have started to look “inside the book” on the Amazon site to see whether the table of contents is interactive.

Unfortunately, it turns out the ToC might be interactive from your PC, but not in the actual Kindle book once downloaded, at least from the tablet app. This is nothing more than a slight disappointment if the book is free, but is outright bad service – or, I dare say, a fault in the product – if the book was purchased.

If anyone can give any indication as to how securely ensure a book has an interactive Table of Content in the Kindle before purchasing, I would be grateful for a line or two.

I also wonder whether it would be appropriate to complain with Amazon. It seems to me they should ensure the e-book standard promoted by them complies with minimum requirements, without which the perception of the entire “kindle book” can easily be damaged. I should not be required to ask the publisher – who would not answer anyway – before every purchase.

I am grateful for your experiences on the matter.



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