Cardinal Hummes, Close to Pope Francis: “New Methods of Doing Mass”

Cardinal Hummes, who is close to Cardinal Bergoglio, hugged and kissed him in the conclave as it became clear he would be elected Pope. Hummes said to him, “Don’t forget the poor.” This inspired the new pope to take the name “Francis.”

Now Cardinal Hummes has given an extensive interview to Folha de S. Paulo about the plans of the new pontificate.

“The church does not work anymore,” Hummes said. “We need new methods. Not just of the curia, but of many other things: our way of doing Mass, doing evangelization…”

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34 comments

  1. I am concerned with the possibility that Pope Francis cannot read or speak Latin well. At his very first Mass before the cardinals in the Sistine, he struggled with certain parts of the Mass in Latin such as the Confiteor. He could have been nervous (wouldn’t anyone be in his situation?) I also suspect that the Holy Father has used Latin at Mass sparingly or never during his priestly ministry to date. He was ordained after the permission for full vernacularization and just before the enactment of the 1970 Missal.

    I suspect that at one point or another all of Pope Francis’ public Masses will be mostly or completely in Italian, especially when the Pope celebrates Mass in the Roman diocese or in Italy in general. This is certainly a licit option and beyond my criticism. Previous popes have modified the vernacular/Latin ratio according to situation, so this is by no means a new phenomenon.

    My only fear is that Pope Francis’s possible challenges with the Latin language might have a longer lasting effect on papal liturgy. Put another way, lack of papal facility with Latin might result in less and less Latin in papal liturgy.

    Certainly, modern encyclicals and constitutions are usually written in a vernacular language, usually the language with which the pontiff is most familiar. Only then is the document translated into a typical Latin version. Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI both amended Latin proofs, sometimes with comments in Latin (JP2 once commented, quod scripsi scripsi ! in the margins of a document. 🙂 I do hope that Pope Francis displays a similar facility as his papacy matures.

    1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #1:
      For my comment, take every concern Jordan just had and make it a positive. I’m happy for the liturgy to be in vernacular and I have been concerned by the steps we have taken recently in returning to the Latin form. The mass should be in the vernacular it doesn’t make it more holy just because you can’t understand it. Some of the most transcendent liturgies I have attended have been the simplest. What is needed for good liturgy is everyone’s full, conscious and active participation. When we have that we lack nothing.

      1. @Ken Richard – comment #13:

        Ken, I have no difficulty with Pope Francis or your neighborhood pastor celebrating Mass entirely in the vernacular. My only concern is that the pope cultivates a continuity of knowledge of the Latin language for historical, doctrinal, and theological reasons. I suspect that Pope Francis would never impede education or scholarship in Latin even if he does not take an active interest in the language for its own sake. My anxieties, as always, are most likely unfounded.

  2. The Jesuits used Latin as their official language. Surely he will have been schooled in Latin, even in South America.

  3. A new way of “doing” Mass? Is he speaking of how South America does it or the world? From what I have seen of Pope Francis, even when he was a cardinal, he is very much like Benedict in style, although Francis can’t sing. His style as Benedict’s is austere, although Francis carries the austerity to “style” of vestments also.
    The most outrageous liturgy of the Cardinal was the one with the youth and while all the gimmicks and antics of this Mass were going on by the actors egging the children/youth on, the Cardinal was very serene doing the liturgy and quite austerely. I suspect the antics in this Mass is similar to an overly “lacy/brocade” Pontifical Mass in the traditional sense, adding nothing to the Mass but “silliness” or “confetti”? (BTW, I don’t own a lace alb or use an amice and if the cinture isn’t built in, it’s not used, I’m very austere in these things! 🙂 )

  4. As a non-Italian speaking resident of the UK, I am more than happy that the Bishop of Rome should use Italian. It is after all the language spoken by the Romans. Papa Francis will bring fresh air again, reopening the windows that John XXIII first pushed ajar. The use of Latin is very low down the agenda.

  5. Thanks, Fr. Ruff – just waste time perusing traddie blogs (e.g. Allan) and you see *damage control* by the minute; rationalization; minimization, etc. And this was followed by his Angelus blessing today:

    From Grant Gallicho at dotCommonweal:

    – he spoke only in Italian (Benedict would read his address in several languages). And he spoke without a text (also a break with past papal practice). “Good day,” he began. The address continued the theme he’s been sounding since the cardinals’ pre-conclave meetings: mercy and forgiveness. Meditating on the Gospel passage
    – Underlining that theme, the pope cited the work of a cardinal whose name few were expecting to hear at Francis’s first Angelus: Walter Kasper, “a very capable theologian.” Francis referred to Kasper’s book on mercy, highlighting his point that those who experience mercy are radically changed by it. And he joked that he wasn’t in the business of doing “publicity for books by my cardinals.” (Recall that Cardinal Kasper has not always seen eye to eye with the previous pope – to previous posts on the Anglican Ordinariate)
    – In another interesting departure from his predecessors, Pope Francis did not chant the Angelus prayer. (Neither did he chant the Our Father, Hail Mary, or Glory Be on the night of his election.) He simply spoke it, and the crowd responded likewise. He also ended with – have a good lunch. (note – he waves one handed; not the grand two armed gestures of the two previous popes)

    Think you all miss his key message – he puts the people of God front and center in his eucharistic celebration. Thus, he uses the culture, language, and liturgical styles that best help and support the prayer of the people of God.
    Examples:
    – note that the liturgy was in a simple, neighborhood parish – not St. Peter’s
    – note – no increased ceremonies; frills, extra cardinals, etc. – it was a typical Sunday parish liturgy
    – why Italian – because that is the language of the congregation of the eucharist he is presiding ……if he travels to Argentina, Mexico, Spain – he will do it in spanish (am sure that his studies included latin but his approach is not to codify or deify latin – it has no more special place in active worship that Greek is today)
    – why no presider singing – because that is not necessarily the style of most liturgies in the slums of Buenes Aires or in the rural regions of Argentina – it depends upon the skills of the presider. OTOH, he obviously encourages singing, chant, etc. based upon the people who are present and doubt that he found the youtube video to be a scandal – it represents his style and approach.
    – finally, yes, it is good to pick up on what he, as bishop of Rome, does but would suggest that his message is that liturgy is de-centralized; focused on the local church; and that the pope is not the church; and the church is not the pope. Rather, the church is the poor and fancy/frilly vestments have no place in the liturgy with a predilection for the poor. Doubt he wastes much time debating whether to use or not use an amice, cincture, how communion is distributed, whether deacons do it or not, etc. – rather, he takes a broader view in terms of the church’s seasons, the principle behind the liturgical seasons, the scripture of the day, etc. (BTW – deacons doing communion would be a standard procedure in latin america parishes especially in rural or barrio areas.

    1. @Bill deHaas – comment #6:
      “- finally, yes, it is good to pick up on what he, as bishop of Rome, does but would suggest that his message is that liturgy is de-centralized; focused on the local church; and that the pope is not the church; and the church is not the pope. Rather, the church is the poor and fancy/frilly vestments have no place in the liturgy with a predilection for the poor. Doubt he wastes much time debating whether to use or not use an amice, cincture, how communion is distributed, whether deacons do it or not, etc. – rather, he takes a broader view in terms of the church’s seasons, the principle behind the liturgical seasons, the scripture of the day, etc. (BTW – deacons doing communion would be a standard procedure in latin america parishes especially in rural or barrio areas.”

      Kinda reminds me of the Anglo-Catholic slum priests of the 19th century, who moved into the poorest areas and brought the Gospel (and material relief) to the poor, along with the finest vestments and vessels, chant, incense, and the like. Meanwhile the establishment church wore no vestments but perhaps a surplice at Holy Communion and a preaching scarf at the offices, had no Cross or candles on the Table, and read the service from the north end of it. And…ignored the poor where they lived.

  6. Fr Allan probably understands that Pope Benedict’s style wasn’t all about lace, silk, or ermine.

    Does Pope Francis ad lib the Mass and not follow the books when he celebrates? Does he discourage the use of chant? What’s he doing that traditionalists are supposed to be having fits over, and are in denial about? Maybe some folks are surprised people like Fr Allan aren’t getting worked up over Francis as they were over Benedict and don’t understand how that could be.

    1. @Jack Wayne – comment #9:
      exactly, from what I’ve seen he celebrates the Mass very simply but by the book. The differences are style of vestments, lack of an ability to chant himself, longer elevations, very long at that, inability to genuflect, but a very profound bow, by the book and apart from the homily, doesn’t play to the “audience.” The homily is the place to do this and he knows that, unlike Benedict who didn’t always connect and was far too cerebral, academic and we all know about those academics.

    2. @Jack Wayne – comment #9:
      No, of course not, Pope Benedict’s style wasn’t about lace, silk, or ermine.
      That wasn’t his style.
      He just wore lots of lace, silk, and ermine, that’s all.
      Important distinction.
      🙂
      awr

  7. When did the bishop of Rome and the Petrine Office become the *chief liturgist of the Catholic Church*?

    Would suggest that the Petrine Office is responsible for the church’s liturgy but to the minute degree or approach that some here seem to advocate e.g. whatever a pope does needs to be repeated everywhere is a skewing of the Petrine Office and liturgy.

    The council fathers in SC explained the role of the Petrine Office in liturgy – is was to confirm what conferences had developed and approved.
    Do you think most of the council fathers would have watched a papal ceremony in St. Peter’s and then repeated that back home? That approach turns SC on its head.

    Moreover, SC lays out liturgical priniciples that would not align with the above approach. Liturgy starts with the people of God – not the Petrine Office.

    Think that this whole fascination with repeating what popes do (e.g. Benedictine Style) completely misses the mark and would suggest that even in things such as permission for limited use of the EF was taken out of context by many (not sure Benedict ever meant what some say he meant – looks more like folks took pieces to confirm their ideology and ran with it). The setting for papal masses is St. Peter’s – not local parish churches; not mission territories, etc.
    Lex ordandi; lex credendi – isn’t a top down, hierarchical model – ressourced by the council fathers to emphasize the people of God’s liturgies.

    1. @Bill deHaas – comment #12:

      Hello Bill,

      Would suggest that the Petrine Office is responsible for the church’s liturgy but to the minute degree or approach that some here seem to advocate e.g. whatever a pope does needs to be repeated everywhere is a skewing of the Petrine Office and liturgy.

      Now that would *really* be ultramontanism on steroids.

      *I* certainly would not want to be bound by every detail of papal liturgy as it exists on a day-to-day basis – almost certainly not of what I suspect will be the style of *this* pontificate. (But then I did not always enthuse to every aspect of the last, either). On this, Bill, we agree!

      Over at Rorate Caeli, whose discomforture has seemingly been a source of amusement and even schadenfreude by some regulars here, they’ve already posted these excerpts of this interview in something approaching profound alarm. To this I can only say: People are building mighty castles (or preparing to defend one) on thin wisps after 96 hours. Cardinal Hummes is, I do not doubt a very good friend and influence on Pope Francis. But he is, right now, only that. He can’t speak for the Holy Father in any way. Perhaps in the future he will, but not right now. A major reform of the Roman Missal is no small (or easy, or quick) undertaking.

      Think you all miss his key message – he puts the people of God front and center in his eucharistic celebration.

      For my part, I would hope that he puts *Christ* front and center in his eucharistic celebration (and I think he does). I don’t think that is, or should be at all inconsistent with his care for and understanding of the People of God, the care whose souls is his charge and whose office serves the same: “The servant of the servants of God.”

      Traditionalists (me included) are going to be (indeed, already are) disappointed with this Pope in certain ways. But I feel pretty certain the same is true of many progressive hopes, including yours, Bill. That’s just the way of things.

  8. I would actually argue that, especially at Papal liturgies, the Ordinary of the Mass be in Latin. Not only was this the express desire of the Council Fathers (SC# 36) for all Roman Rite liturgies, but in an age of frequent international pilgrimage a common language for the fixed parts of the Mass serves to enable the faithful to fully and actively participate in the Mass when abroad. It certainly is not difficult to learn.

  9. It was a blessing for me while visiting Rome that the ordinary of the Mass was in Latin both at Santa Maria Maggiore and St. Peter’s. Even though I’m not a Latin Mass goer typically, I have made myself familiar with the basics, like the Gloria, Sanctus, people’s responses, ect.

    I really hope the Pope’s church liturgies retain Latin, otherwise we will have far exceeded the notion that the vernacular is something permitted for the people’s sake, while Latin remains the ideal. Having the Mother church of the Latin Rite continue to utilize Latin maintains our historical origins. A step away from this would be yet another step away from our own history that would further sadden those of us attached to tangible signs of the Catholic heritage.

    1. @Jordan DeJonge – comment #18:

      History history history… no need to preserve everything from history. The celebration of the Eucharist for 2000 years is plenty. Insisting that it be in one language is silly. Why didn’t the Spirit give the people the gift of Latin instead of the apostles the gift of tongues?

      As if we have nothing else to do but find ways to teach the parishioners how to speak Latin. I have yet to see ANYONE return to the fold now that we have the new and “improved” Missal – will they be knocking the doors down if we did use Latin? The structure of the Mass is enough for people to understand, and that’s the beauty of this ritual.

      John XXIII made it clear that V2 was a start and that we must be mindful of the times. You can’t honestly say that maintaining Latin in the liturgy has been any priority of the majority of Catholics.

      1. @Sean Whelan – comment #19:

        Speaking of John XXIII…

        . . . the Apostolic See has always been at pains to preserve Latin, deeming it worthy of being used in the exercise of her teaching authority “as the splendid vesture of her heavenly doctrine and sacred laws.”5 She further requires her sacred ministers to use it, for by so doing they are the better able, wherever they may be, to acquaint themselves with the mind of the Holy See on any matter, and communicate the more easily with Rome and with one another.

        Thus the “knowledge and use of this language,” so intimately bound up with the Church’s life, “is important not so much on cultural or literary grounds, as for religious reasons.”6 These are the words of Our Predecessor Pius XI, who conducted a scientific inquiry into this whole subject, and indicated three qualities of the Latin language which harmonize to a remarkable degree with the Church’s nature. “For the Church, precisely because it embraces all nations and is destined to endure to the end of time … of its very nature requires a language which is universal, immutable, and non-vernacular.”

        . . . And We also, impelled by the weightiest of reasons — the same as those which prompted Our Predecessors and provincial synods 13 — are fully determined to restore this language to its position of honor, and to do all We can to promote its study and use. The employment of Latin has recently been contested in many quarters, and many are asking what the mind of the Apostolic See is in this matter. We have therefore decided to issue the timely directives contained in this document, so as to ensure that the ancient and uninterrupted use of Latin be maintained and, where necessary, restored.

        – Pope John XXIII, Veterum Sapientia, 22 February, 1962

        Which, if it isn’t clear, is merely a reminder that there were limits to Pope John XXIII’s willingness to change the Church’s worship and tradition in response to the times.

      2. @Richard Malcolm – comment #20:
        Pope John XXIII, Veterum Sapientia, 22 February, 1962

        We have been around and around on this on PTB. Some here have gone to great pains to post internal notes, autobiographies, actae from the preparatory committees of VII which explain and provide the context of John XXIII’s VS. These notes clearly indicate why he did it; that it was a compromise gesture and a document that was never even partially fulfilled or implemented.

        Vatican II, the preparatory stages, etc. quickly made VS moot. One could suggest that a couple of sub-points of one article of SC retained some of the language of VS….again, the internal Actae, etc. shed light on what those articles and sub points meant.

        Your final paragraph is fantasy or mere wishful opinion as evidenced by John XXIII’s intervention at the first session which threw out the schema of Ottaviani and the curia and allowed the bishops time to meet, get to know each other, and form committees to present their own schema. Would suggest that John XXIII understood exactly the impact this might have on issues such as the place of latin in liturgy, music, seminary, etc.

        He was already aware of preliminary documents in areas such as ecumenism and liturgy.

        Actually, VS is a good example of papal pronouncements that need to be taken at face value rather than producing policies that are set in stone. Like many papal policies, they can be subsequently overturned, modified, changed, etc.

        In all of the conclave, Pope Francis excitment, you appear to have quickly forgotten or ignored what Fr. Joncas recently posted: http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2013/03/07/re-reading-sacrosanctum-concilium-article-36/

        Read through the comments especially:
        #42 and this link to events right after session one

        http://conciliaria.com/2013/03/vatican-ii-early-appraisal/

        Key Point:

        “The debate on the use of Latin in the liturgy of the “Western” Church provided, in large measure, a good opportunity to discuss a far more profound question. The prelates deeper concern was to determine the function and responsibility of bishops as successors of the apostles and associates of the Holy Father in the governance of the whole Church as well as of their individual dioceses. In theological literature of recent years, this is referred to as a return to the concept of episcopal collegiality.”

        If anything, this article by Xavier Rynne shows that John XXIII wanted even more debate on the floor of St. Peter’s.

      3. @Bill deHaas – comment #21:

        Would suggest that John XXIII understood exactly the impact this might have on issues such as the place of latin in liturgy, music, seminary, etc.

        Based on what evidence?

      4. @Richard Malcolm – comment #28:
        Gave you the link above – this is only one small part ….have you read the Actae which includes notes, minutes, etc. from key participants?

      5. @Richard Malcolm – comment #20:

        The reality is that it has not been accepted and interest from the mainstream Catholics will continue to dwindle.

        Go ahead and issue documents in Latin – that’s fine. Just don’t expect to find it in parish life much anymore, nor a willingness or even desire for average folk to learn it.

      6. @Sean Whelan – comment #19:

        “history, history, history…”. Perhaps you right. I do understand I am in a minority here. Perhaps one day I will have to make the migration into an Eastern rite. If I can not have my own people’s history, perhaps it will be in my best spiritual interests to adopt that of another.

        “A people without a history is not redeemed from time”

      7. @Jordan DeJonge – comment #24:

        I’m speaking of Latin here – and if Latin is all that keeps you in the Roman Rite, well, so be it. There are FAR bigger fish to fry than Latin.

      8. @Sean Whelan – comment #25:At any rate, Sean, if “the celebration of the Eucharist for 2,000 years” is history enough for everyone, it is not quite clear how the Roman Rite is to remain “Roman” in any meaningful sense.

      9. @Jordan DeJonge – comment #24:
        Suggest that you confuse an understanding of history with repeating history – that is why you study history – to try to analyze and avoid repeating mistakes and patterns.

        To use your analogy – what happened to the early church’s aramaic and greek – have we failed to be redeemed?

  10. I am no theologian, nor am I a liturgist. But in my own little way I have always thought that it wasn’t about putting the people front and center, or about putting Christ front and center, but rather about uniting Christ with his people, and it takes both parts for that to happen. In the consummation of the sacrifice, we do as He taught and eat His flesh and drink His blood and become one with Him. Literally. The rest, it seems to me, is details.

  11. Well, you seemed to imply a great deal more than the the question of Latin: “history, history, history… no need to preserve everything…the celebration of the Eucharist for 2,000 years is plenty”.

    Of course Latin alone is not my “make or break” with the Roman rite. But it’s abandonment by the Holy See would just be one more action in a long series of reductive actions wherein your above logic is clearly operative.

  12. Bill deHaas : @Richard Malcolm – comment #28: Gave you the link above – this is only one small part ….have you read the Actae which includes notes, minutes, etc. from key participants?

    Hi Bill,

    What we’re talking about is what John XXIII himself thought about these things. The Fr. Murphy (Xavier Rynne) piece is nice, but we know that Murphy had his own agenda (which he was entitled to)…the reality is that no conciliar document, on the liturgy or otherwise, had been issued before his death. In the absence of concrete statements about what Pope John intended for the liturgy, it’s hard to make too much in the way of projections, beyond what we already have in his record – including Veterum Sapientiae. But that goes for me, too: I can’t claim that he would have completely opposed any introduction of vernacular into the liturgy with certainty.

    No, I’ve not read more than a sampling of the Actae and notes on this question, and that was several years ago. As I said, I’d be curious to see any specific references you can produce indicating the Pope’s thinking on this.

  13. There are very many more important issues facing the Church and Pope Francis than the use of Latin in Vatican liturgies; but it is, I think, important that the Holy See does not appear in its liturgies, general audiences etc. to be a national (Italian) institution. Some use of Latin is symbolically important. Latin is more inclusive than Italian for non-Italian visitors to Rome. General audiences, for example, can seem very exclusively Italian (and did so in the previous pontificate) despite the multinational crowd. Some greater use of English, too, might also be welcome at such events. The Vatican is (unlike the UN, international business etc.) resolutely linguistically Anglophobic.

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