Pope Francis: liturgical first steps

I must say I was very moved by the fact that the new Pope, before giving his first papal blessing from the balcony of St. Peter’s, bowed his head and asked the community to invoke God’s blessing on him, to empower him for his ministry. I felt compelled myself to extend my hands over him, even if through a Television screen. And the silence he engendered with this small gesture of asking for the community’s prayers and blessing, and receiving them with bowed head, spoke loudly indeed.


    1. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #1:

      Pitied and yet chosen, perhaps? Rather than lowly. The phrase seems to come from a homily by the Venerable Bede on chapter 9 verse 9 of St Matthew’s Gospel (The call of Matthew). The words in latin are: Vidit ergo Iesus publicam, et quia miserando atque eligendo vidit, ait illi, sequere me.
      I’ve taken this from the website http://www.ilsussidiario.net
      I hope it is of some help. I’m afraid my Latin is not so good.

  1. Amen, Teresa. He also spoke first of being bishop of Rome, and only then of “confirming the brothers in faith” as pope.

  2. Asking the people to bless him before his blessing was very moving. I too extended my hand, and also prayed aloud with him the three basic prayers that all of us learned from our parents and, at least those of my generation, from the Sisters.

  3. I did like he had the crowd pray those three prayers. They are basically the three most essential prayers of the Catholic devotional life. Who doesn’t know them? They are so simple, yet so old and so reliable.

  4. The traditionalists must be howling. Again.

    The “Traditio” hardcore site called him a “newcardinal” for submitting to such a gesture before his brother/sister protestants in 2006.

    Last year he also referred to clergy who denied baptism to children of single mothers as “hypocrites.”

    I feel fairly optimistic about this man. I think the Holy Spirit hit it for us. Deo gratias.

    1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #5:

      Todd, I am no supporter of Traditio, the SSPX, or any group which is in open schism with the Church or sympathetic to radical traditionalism.

      Our new pope is not a friend of Latin liturgy in either form. This is very distressing to those Catholics whose liturgical life is heavily invested in Latin prayer, including myself.

      Could you be even a bit more considerate to your traditional brothers and sisters? We must strive for unity despite the tenor of the papacy.

      1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #6:

        Hello Jordan,

        Well, I recall that there was some schadenfreude in traddy circles – certainly RotR circles – back in 2005, so . . .

        It’s early innings yet, anyway. Popes almost always have a surprise or two for everyone, and I doubt that Francis will be different. Certainly his reputation is not friendly to liturgical tradition (Summorum Pontificum has been a dead letter in his archdiocese); but he seems firm on the moral teachings many want him to change. Disappointments will likely not be confined to any one part of the theological spectrum.

      2. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #6:
        Jordan, my brother: pardon my offense to you.

        I think the Church is catholic enough, open enough, to accommodate Latin liturgy with much, some, or even no support from the pope. If Pope Francis keeps the six candles, I will criticize that, to be sure.

        Most of what good Catholics want is the freedom to seek and find God as God calls, not as others call, and sometimes not even as tradition calls.

        Or consider what a professional colleague mentioned to me today: the pope doesn’t matter. We live our faith as best we can where we are. She may be right.

      3. Todd you’re not alone. Like my mother before, I prefer the sacred majesty of the Latin liturgy, and share your concerns about this new pope. Not to emphasize the trivial, but as an indication of what we are in store for, one only need look at the chosen dress when he gave his Urbi et Orbi. Where was the Mozetta? Austerity is one thing, but the pomp and circumstance of the church was never about self-aggrandizement, rather it was about the magisterium of the office and the Church. We went from a theological luminary to a papal lightweight. Its not a good day for us. Another weak pope like Paul VI. I’m sure the protestants will love him..@Jordan Zarembo – comment #6:

    2. @Todd Flowerday – comment #5:
      “I feel fairly optimistic about this man. I think the Holy Spirit hit it for us. Deo gratias.”

      “High Five” brother Todd!
      The windows have been thrown open by none other than the Holy Spirit.

      This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!

  5. Rocco has a very beautiful and meaningful translation of the Pope’s meeting with his people.


    Now I give my blessing to you and all the world – to all men and women of good will….

    If you study these “off the cuff” remarks, it is a very profound meditation on the communion between bishop and people, the church of Rome and the whole Church, the church and the world, in really very simple language.

  6. Jordan, I am not unhappy about the new pope’s apparent stance on Latin, but I am unhappy for you and all who invested so much in the more traditional aspects of the Roman Rite. I predict the following:
    1)He will graciously say nothing about the extraordinary form. He will leave that up to local bishops.
    2)The conversation with SSPX will be over for now
    3) He will institute significant reforms in the Curia.
    4) He will make adjustments to the synod of bishops to reflect greater collegiality.

    1. @Jack Feehily – comment #12:

      If he was “hostile” towards the motu proprio in his own diocese, I don’t think that bodes well for the universal church. It was never widely embraced by the cardinals either, and perhaps that says something. I expect within a year, he will begin to restrict the old Mass.

      1. @Sean Whelan – comment #13:
        Let’s keep in mind that for some, but not all traditionalist Catholics, “hostility” simply means a lack of support.

        I suspect that Archbishop Bergoglio’s pastoral emphasis was elsewhere, that he didn’t see the elevation of the 1962 Rite to be a fruitful path for his episcopal ministry. I suspect Jack, #12, is right.

        If Pope Francis continues to provide those visual examples (washing feet, Palm Sunday, with children at Mass) that will be a more powerful evangelical sign to the world and to its non-believers. Can we count on traditional-leaning Catholics to offer their best in the Church’s liturgy within this evangelical framework? In the same way I was asked to implement MR3?

  7. It struck me this morning during prayer…It seems this Pope encourages simple piety ( to put it over-simply). I think there is room under that umbrella for traditionalists and progressives alike.

    @ Todd Flowerday- comment #14:

    With visual examples, I know THIS trad minded Church musician will offer my best! Besides, what can be more simply pious than chant? 😉

  8. I would read Bede’s sentence as follows:

    “For Jesus looked on the publican, and seeing him as one deserving compassion but also worthy of being chosen, said to him, follow me.”

    It echoes the idea of humans as simultaneously the most pitiable and the most exalted creatures — in many ways worse than the animals, yet (though the grace of God and the Lord’s incarnation) ultimately placed over the angels.

    It is the ablatives that I find tricky here — and miserando (“with compassion”) is easier to render than eligendo.

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