It is well-known Italians are an emotional bunch, and generally a pleasantly emotional one; but what happened in Italy during the weekend is truly beyond the pale.
No less than a priest apparently dared to burn a photography of, no less, the former Pope.
In church. During the Homily.
The man (I do not know how long he will be active as a priest; perhaps at 67 he is simply looking for a way to be pensioned) is, we are told, incensed at Pope Benedict’s abdication; so much so that he compared the Pontiff Emeritus to Mr Schettino, the man in charge of the Costa Concordia and all too ready to abandon ship when the going got very, very rough. Though one wonders whether he burned in church Schettino’s effigy, too…
I must first remark that I thought that in every criticism of a Pope (or former one) one remains within the boundary of elementary decency; if not out of respect for the man, certainly out of respect for the office. That a priest of all people should recur to methods fitting for Muslim fanatics is truly more than we should ever be forced to hear.
Secondly, I cannot avoid noticing that in this day and age the suspicion is justified such stunts are put in place to attract the attention of the media, as noone in his right mind can think he can do such a thing and escape publicity. The least offensive comment that can be made is that the pulpit is evidently not enough for the unfortunate man.
The third reflection is that I have the suspicion such senseless hatred is the result of pent-up aggression towards the Church, grown to the point of fanaticism and which finds, one day, an escape valve in a broadly unrelated event, taken as excuse. This priest can’t be normal, or feel good within the Church. On the contrary, this looks like one who has a huge gripe against his tunic, and looks for a scapegoat and for a convenient (for the publicity) outlet for his rage. A normal priest might, in case, well be angry, or critical, or ironic, or even slightly sarcastic. But this is really too much.
Being this the nuChurch of Vatican II, the bishop was apparently told to “mind his own business” after criticising his rather emotional subordinate.
I do not know the age of the bishop of Ventimiglia, but I hope he never becomes Pope. Then in such a case we’d be in huge trouble.
After the tragedy in Tuscany, you could have bet your pint that some alternative priest would have profited to put himself at the centre of the attention and at the same time show how little respect he has for the Mass.
The feat has been perfectly achieved in the Isola del Giglio (along whose coast the Costa Concordia ran aground). In order to make of the thing an exercise which would put the attention away from Christ to direct it on the usual “gandhism” of these occasions and, of course, on himself, the celebrant of Giglio’s main church thought it fitting to put on the altar the following offerings: a life vest, a rope, a rescue helmet, a plastic tarp and some bread.
This is not even Mass as a sacred ceremony. This is a macabre vaudeville without paying the ticket.
But if we reflect attentively, isn’t this what is wanted with the Novus Ordo? Is it not so, that the desire to entertain the poor souls rather than inspire and elevate them is very high in the priority of the new rite?
What else if the meaning – even when things do not degenerate to such level of parody – of the gifts to be brought to the altar? Were the prayers offered in the Tridentine not good enough? Do we really need the cheap piece of entertainment in 3D, with some (alas, it seems to me, rather often, sanctimonious) people feeling the lead actor for a minute? What is the aim of all these antics, if not distract or positively lead away from what the Mass is about in the first place?
But you see, the priest who had the brilliant idea of being the hero of the simple for one day probably understood the Novus Ordo better than we did. He understood, namely, what the Novus Ordo was introduced for: to entertain the people in the pews and let them feel they are “actively” participating.
The rest follows automatically. If “participation” is a value, then you can have the football during the World Championship, the engine on Formula One days, and whatever other idea lets the people feel they are “sharing in the Mass”. It follows from the premise like the day follows the night. How can, then, the commingling of sacred rite and unholy show be criticised? Isn’t it all meant to let people “share in the experience”?
The Novus Ordo is what would happen if you asked a bunch of children how to change the Tridentine Mass. They’d take away the “boring” bits, make all more “entertaining”, require active participation as they did with the merry-go-round, and mix it with elements of their everyday life so it doesn’t become too much of a bore. Clap your hands, everybody! Ah, and they’do it as similar as they can to what their friends from the other school do; so you can all meet together before the football match.
If I had been one of the unfortunate souls who lost their lives in the tragedy of the Costa Concordia, I’d feel as if they had drawned me for a second time.
At Rorate Caeli, they have defined the events in a beautiful way:
No shame. No rules. No sobriety. No propriety. No sense of ridicule. No respect for God, for the living, and for the dead. Novus Ordo.