AP: Pope’s foot-wash a final straw for traditionalists

Writing for AP, Nicole Winfield summarizes well the liturgical significance of Pope Francis:

Pope’s foot-wash a final straw for traditionalists.”


Francis’ decision to disregard church law and wash the feet of two girls – a Serbian Muslim and an Italian Catholic – during a Holy Thursday ritual has become something of the final straw, evidence that Francis has little or no interest in one of the key priorities of Benedict’s papacy: reviving the pre-Vatican II traditions of the Catholic Church.

One of the most-read traditionalist blogs, “Rorate Caeli,” reacted to the foot-washing ceremony by declaring the death of Benedict’s eight-year project to correct what he considered the botched interpretations of the Second Vatican Council’s modernizing reforms.


  1. That did not seem to take long… *sigh*

    Thus we see the illustration of what goes wrong when one side or the other, so to speak, tries to claim or decry the Church and her actions. Not to mention such factions make for poor eucharistic theology. So that all might be one…

  2. It’s good to keep in mind our RC sisters and brothers are on the front porch of Luke 15, refusing to come into the house. Emulating the example of the Lord, we can emerge from the festivities and encourage them to enter. After all, no women are getting washed in their houses of worship.

    Failing that, perhaps we note the sky is still blue and still in place. And that Jesus remains more concerned, as should we, about the one, not the 99.

    1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #2:

      Todd, why the condescending attitude to traditionalists? As I’ve said, I am not concerned about the washing of the feet of women, but the greater preservation of the traditional way of life. Is not progressivism about inclusiveness? Why does this inclusiveness stop at a priest’s utterance of introibo ad altare dei? We traditionalists, even those who have tried to conciliatory and honest about the moral and ethical flaws of our rite and culture, have received no welcome into the progressive house. We are invited to the party, only to have the front door slammed squarely in our faces.

      I never thought I would have to pray for division during Easter and Easter octave. The only way we traditionalists loyal to Rome can stay in the church is through a complete canonical annulment from the Ordinary Form. The “ordinary form” and “extraordinary form” must become separate rites, with a separate traditionalist diocesan structure, a separate process for the ordination of secular priests, and also strong protection for churches which decide to become or remain exclusively Tridentine. An autonomous traditionalist government with major archbishop is the only way to amicably heal a massive fracture.

      A solid juridical division is the only path to lasting peace.

      1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #14:

        Sacramental apartheid is not a solution. There will be no segregated apostolic line of succession for such a rite. Ever. Because that would bless a mechanism for schism.

      2. @Karl Liam Saur – comment #15:

        Karl: There will be no segregated apostolic line of succession for such a rite. Ever. Because that would bless a mechanism for schism.

        I mostly agree, but I am not sure if schism would absolutely happen. The Union of Brest has survived more than 400 years (including most recently harsh persecution of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics by the Moscow Patriarchate), but then again the liturgical and political situation in Brest in the late 16th century was quite different from the fate of Roman traditionalism today. In particular, the Ukrainian and Ruthenian Byzantines who submitted to Rome are Byzantines and cannot be accommodated except by sui juris.

        My only concern about autonomous or semi-autonomous Tridentine government is actually the return of Lefebvrists into the structure and not necessarily schism. I also realize that bitter hatred of other religious or ethnic groups will merely explosively germinate within a separate structure, especially if some priests of the SSPX cross over and gain a foothold. I will admit that I am petulant, but try talking to a Lefebvrist over coffee.

        Yet, what other option are there for us? If Pope Francis abrogates Summorum pontificum, where will the licit traditional faithful go? During the “indult years” I heard Low Mass is some of the oddest places. Is there not a better deal to be struck than to leave traditionalism at the whims of pontiffs?

      3. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #21:
        “Yet, what other option are there for us?”

        Seriously: discuss your commonality with feminist Catholics who believe they have a genuine call to serve the Church as priests. How does one survive, or better, thrive, on the margins of a community? For that matter, start a dialogue with the poor.

        If the traditionalist movement were more evangelical, I suspect much grace would be found there.

      4. @Todd Flowerday – comment #23:

        {ed: sorry for the many rapid posts]

        Todd: Seriously: discuss your commonality with feminist Catholics who believe they have a genuine call to serve the Church as priests. How does one survive, or better, thrive, on the margins of a community? For that matter, start a dialogue with the poor.

        First, with regard to your invitation to your church [March 30, 2013 – 9:29 am]: yes, I would attend Mass at your church. Yet I would always sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land (Ps. 137:4), even if not aloud. When I hear contemporary English hymnal versions of the Sequences, I often “listen” to the chanted tune and Latin words in my mind. This gives me great comfort, as I often find modern hymnody distracting or even alienating. And yet, when one accepts hospitality, he or she must give as much of himself or herself to the liturgy offered. This is true even if modern hymnody is not by the means offered that a person understands prayer.

        I have vowed to myself that if a Pope were to abrogate SP, I would seek out a Orthodox church and eventually receive chrismation (I can accept a non-Augustinian view of the orthodox apostolic faith.) And yet, I still should talk to Catholic women who feel called to the priesthood. What is the reason to stay in the faith even if one’s deepest desires are absolutely negated? I would have much to learn from that dialogue.

      5. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #28:
        Feel free to email me at any time. While I do not feel called to the priesthood, nor do I tend to refer to myself as feminist, I struggle mightily with my ministerial call to the diaconate. Leaving is not an option for me, and I doubt that it would be, although I believe a Mary Daly Exodus moment potentially awaits us all.

        For a long time I was very militant about what I wanted in church. As I age, I bristle in regard to the overall treatment of women. I do not feel personally marginalized, as I express myself freely through my writing and the ministries that I am called to that I can practice… Including that of service, and perhaps better yet, because I am free of the trappings as well.

        Now before I veer too far off topic, I should probably silence myself. I am not too hard to find; I believe that my signature here, leads to my blog, There Will Be Bread and I am easily reached by email.

        Indulge me another moment Jordan when I say that while I have no attraction to the liturgy pre-1962, I do feel concern over your feeling marginalized at the loss of the tradition of liturgy that you prefer. I do always wonder if what we prefer is what we all must lose; I dislike this thought, but maybe we all have something to gain from losing and letting go of what we love most. I do not say this lightly- especially on this day.

        Peace and good. Fran

      6. @Fran Rossi Szpylczyn – comment #37:

        I will email you Fran. I would like to have a dialogue. I will answer the question you have asked, however.

        Indulge me another moment Jordan when I say that while I have no attraction to the liturgy pre-1962, I do feel concern over your feeling marginalized at the loss of the tradition of liturgy that you prefer.

        No, I not characterize my feelings as marginalization. Rather, if Summorum pontificum were overturned, it would be as if I were a refugee from my own church.

        Any pope who overturns Summorum pontificum will implicitly state that traditionalists are absolutely no longer welcome in their homeland. We will then be forced to flee. I am not schismatic for moral reasons, so I cannot merely drive to the SSPX chapel. Why would any pope wish to expel a small but highly devout flock from his rite? This I don’t know.

        A pathetic plea to emotion: why would any Catholic wish to deny their traditionalist brothers and sisters the worship which nourishes their faith and charity? Yes, many traditionalists are bitter about the forty years of persecution and subsequently have mocked progressive liturgy through caricatures. I apologize for their lack of charity.

        I want to trust my progressive brothers and sisters, but I am so reluctant to reach out lest I be given a stone. Yet, I must show contrition. How many times have I thought a missalette to be nothing more than good kindling? How many times have I denigrated the Sacramentary as the “toddler-level” translation? Should I not thank God daily that I have the means to afford good education, the ability to read Latin, and the ability to actively participate in the EF? Is not the person who has struggled with the Sacramentary my brother or sister?

        My humility is false, my distrust at fever pitch. And still, the Exsultet: “The delight of unfathomable charity: you have handed over your Son so that you might redeem a slave!”

      7. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #41:
        Jordan there is and must be room for the EF, just as there has to be room for the type of liturgy the Holy Father had on Holy Thursday, whether that be women having their feet washed or a mediocre guitar ensemble. It isn’t either/or but both/and and the same goes for vestments of any type, nobly simple or fantastically Baroque and lacy. The Church is big enough for a variety of expressions of the liturgy within reason and Catholics of all stripes (clergy and laity) should be big enough to allow for it.

      8. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #43:

        What is the basis for continuing EF if the pope does not use it? That was always my sense of the liturgy, that we celebrate in solidarity with the founder, whether it is in a religious order, a city’s bishop, the one who evangelized the area, etc. The EF is from Rome, but is no longer used by the founders’ successors. Instead we have people from diverse areas essentially reviving what the Popes have left behind.

        I am not saying this because I think the EF should be stopped. Diversity is a good thing for the most part. I am just trying to grasp what the continuation of it would be. Would there be some central figure around whom the rite is organized, a minor Major Archbishop? Would communities be dispersed and unattached to one another? Or form another group like the Anglicans, attached to the Pope but independent?

        I cannot picture a resolution to this problem, so I’m hoping some have ideas to help me.

      9. @Jim McKay – comment #44:
        I had a large charismatic community in my previous parish and they liked for their own Masses to be charismatic (meaning their community ones). I don’t like charismatic Masses but acknowlege that this was beneficial for them and their spirituality. They are a minority in terms of the Catholics in Augusta, but by far have provided more vocations to the priesthood and religious life compared to any parish in the state of Georgia, both our diocese and the Archdiocese of Atlanta and they are quite active in the community in a variety of professions including serving the poor.
        EF Communities can be the same leaven if given a chance. In fact they are doing precisely what the charismatic community in Augusta does. The EF communities are just like any other “new movement.”

      10. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #46:
        Fr Allan,
        i do not think there is a “Charismatic mass”, but from what i know, it is the regular ‘ordinary’ mass with music and song from charismatic prayer style, but the actual mass ritual is OF?

        I am not sure you can equate the EF traditional groups and the new movements. there is a deeper distinction between the EF and OF that has not been mentioned enough…. it is .on the ecclesiological level and the new movements have embraced or were born out of the ecclesial model of Vatican ll, that is why they embrace the new liturgy.

      11. @Jim McKay – comment #44:
        And now we have sunk to the lowest common denominator – it is all relative and highly individualistic; driven by the current standards of marketing, advertising, etc. So, let’s advertise guitar masses, EF masses, charismatic masses (really?), organ only, silent masses, low masses, high masses, masses with latin, Novus Ordo in latin, new movements (e.g. Neo Cats), Benedictine style or Franciscan style, etc. It becomes ridiculous!

        IMO, all of this is part of the *tyranny of relativism* – it is self-referential and self-centered. In some cases (EF. TLM) it hangs onto a museum piece that is a rupture from 2000+ year tradition.

        We can debate and moan about how the reformed liturgy was implemented but, like legacy catholic communities since Jerusalem, liturgies have developed to reflect our current understanding of what it means to be *church* or *community*. Like previous catholic communities, this has involved dying, acceptance, and rising (think Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief). It also clearly reflects the gospel and Pauline stories about metanoia, not pouring new wine into old wineskins, and kenosis.
        Would suggest that, in all sensitivity, a period of time be set out to allow these last EF communities to have time to move towards the reformed mass and then stop these endless and useless *liturgy wars* – it demeans our total catholic community. Leave it to episcopal conferences and local bishops to wisely implement this period of transition.
        New movements – ask the Japanese bishops about the neo-Cats? Ask the French, Austrian, German conferences about EF, TLM, etc?
        It is the same process that has been used over the last 50 years worldwide (until SP – a rupture with unintended consequences) – it is Easter; the dying part has been transformed by our faith in new life. Our focus needs to be on *mission*; *service*, and *unity among christians and other faiths* – not this constant internal navel-gazing.

      12. @Bill deHaas – comment #47:
        And to follow up – from dotCommonweal and Joe Komanchak:



        – princeps legibus solutus”, translated as: “Released from the laws; not bound by the laws. An expression applied in the Roman civil law to the emperor.” As the example given shows, it is a very dangerous principle to allow into ecclesiology.

        – “bound to the Lord alone” council fathers refused this addition for two reasons: (1) its intent was already assured by statements about the pope’s freedom and independence, meaning by this that “there is no higher human authority which the Roman Pontiff has to observe”; and (2) because “the formula is over-simplified. For the Roman Pontiff is also bound to observe revelation itself, the basic structure of the Church, the sacraments, the definitions of previous Councils, etc. Formulas of this sort, using ‘only,’ have to be treated with the greatest circumspection; otherwise countless difficulties arise”

        Of course, as Fr. Joncas just posted SC 38 – the devil is in the details. Did B16 act as *legibus solutus* with SP? Or can one take SC 38 and its *varieties, adaptions, accomodations* and decide that this includes the formerly unknown practice of *two forms of the one rite*.

        Sorry, Deacon, think that the council fathers decided the question about *substantial unity* in the reformed rite.

      13. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #41:
        Jordan, I am late to this, and I’m sorry about that… life in church during these days, as employee in one, and liturgically involved in another! I hope to hear from you soon. As a result, I won’t reply to this, specifically, but will in our emails. Peace to you and may the delight of that unfathomable charity fill us all!

      14. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #14:

        How will this juridical division solve the dilemma of traditionalists experiencing frustration, crises of faith, or even temptations to schism when faced with popes who are (rightly or wrongly) perceived by traditionalists to be “anti-traditional”?

        It seems clear to me that traditionalists are very emotionally invested in the Pope and in the papacy. Even if the traditionalists were somehow given their own Patriarchate, would that be enough? Would they then cease to be concerned over what the Pope wears or does not wear, over how he positions his candles on his altar, and over what language he celebrates his Masses in (and in what direction he faces when he celebrates them)? I don’t think so.

        I think we could do like the Armenian Apostolics do and have two churches in every parish: one for traditionalists and the other for everyone else, with a decree set in stone from Rome that the Tridentine Mass would be celebrated alongside the current Mass of the Roman Rite, always and everywhere, and such an arrangement would still not solve the problem of the Pope not being a traditionalist, himself.

        Traditionalists seem to need the Pope to be one of them, regardless of how much freedom they have to worship as they choose. They seem to need the Pope to be in their camp, wearing their vestments, appointed for a century ago, and oh, how grand it would be if he were to wear a tiara! But when the Pope isn’t one of them, there’s always going to be a problem, no matter how safe their rights and privileges are.

        Yes? No?

      15. @James Murphy – comment #16:

        James: But when the Pope isn’t one of them, there’s always going to be a problem, no matter how safe their rights and privileges are.

        Yes, I do agree. For my part, I must swear loyalty to the Holy Father. I know that he will undo Pope Benedict’s liturgical regime. However, I am convinced that Pope Francis is honestly charitable and deeply interpersonal in this charity. Pope Francis is also a forthright and clear preacher. Despite their profundity, beloved Pope Benedict’s homilies often reminded me of an academic conference presentation.

        Yes, many traditionalists (not me) would rather bring back the coronation, complete with sedia, flabellae, the Roman Court, and every single seminarian-acolyte in Rome. You are right James that for many traditionalists “a Pope isn’t a Pope unless he looks and acts like a Pope” (which begets a koan of sorts: “how should a Pope act?”) Yet relatively few traditionalists realize that the trappings of temporal monarchy are not necessarily appropriate in our time. This question might well be applied to the 1962 missal as well, though I of course am convinced that the Tridentine lineage can accept and grow into the theological prescriptions of the Council.

      16. @James Murphy – comment #16:
        The same seems true of people at the opposite end of the spectrum, though, which is probably why so many are glad Francis is dressing more simply and casting aside a lot of the things Benedict used – he’s showing he is one of them and not a traditionalist. There was plenty of rumbling from the “progressive” side when Benedict was Pope, and they pay just as much attention to lace and candlesticks as any traditionalist does.

        I don’t think a separate rite for traditionalists is necessary, or even a good idea. It’ll just breed the crazies on both sides and lead to more problems down the road. I have doubts that the traditionalist groups in irregular situations will ever come back in one large group. It’s better to just make the EF freely available in normal parishes so people won’t be tempted to join or remain in those groups because they have no other options.

      17. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #14:
        When the Father left the house to enjoin his older son to join in the festivities for the return of the lost son, it was not condescending.

        Now, I’m not responsible for the actions of people who have not welcomed you into their house, but I assure you that if you quit your job, uprooted your family, and moved to my town, you would receive a welcome at my parish. No, we do not celebrate Mass according to the 1962 Rite. But you would sing a bit of Latin, and you would find yourself at home in an expression of faith than includes a wider variety of liturgical and devotional practices you would find in most any other single community.

        But more importantly, you and yours would be welcomed into a community that is sinful, faltering, clique-y, and that struggles to live an evangelical Catholicism.

        You seek peace, but the Lord didn’t promise it. The Church is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Not peaceful, peaceable, or even serene. But that shouldn’t stop us from striving for the greater good.

        You seek peace, but that is not a lasting fruit of the spiritual life in this world.

  3. Well, if that blog is representative of “traditionalist” types (and I’m not convinced that it is) many of the comments there reveal just how shallow their ecclesiology and theology is. Frankly I know a handful of more traditionally-minded folk who have quite a bit of depth. That’s why I suspect that the blog in question is not representative of the best of trad thought and practice.

    1. @Fr. Jim Blue – comment #3:
      I suspect a goodly number of commenters are SSPX and not rank and file traditionalists who might be experiencing some disconnect right now but not to the extreme. Also, there is the normal grieving process going on a bit too late for a “deceased” pontiff, who isn’t deceased.

  4. 1. I’m happy for Jesus’ example that it’s OK sometimes to break some rules to do good. It is a powerful message to have Francis taking his cues from Jesus.

    2. In Buenos Aires, J.B. did this and it was well-known. He was elected Pope anyway. I assume this means that support for the RotR in the College of Cardinals was not very deep, or at least not a top priority.

  5. In following this conversation I began to wonder if this is an American preoccupation (or perhaps English speaking world) or do other countries have the same discussions (and angst) about washing women’s feet on Holy Thursday? I raise it since there are so many varied backgrounds and experiences on this blog and thought someone might know.

  6. Yes, if Benedict was the answer to one’s deeply-felt longings, Francis has to be somewhat of a shock. But Benedict, and JP2, did the best they could to bring all of us back, many of us screaming and kicking, to pre-1963.
    Francis, on the other hand, is an answer to the prayers of many of us. In fact, to be honest, he is much better than I had ever hoped for. (Not that all my fears are gone, as a feminist Catholic…). So I feel for the traditionalists. I hope they grow to see the beauty in these new ways…

  7. Traditionalism is a very broad term, and it’s difficult to really say they all think this or that, or that even a majority do. People at official Masses think differently than those at SSPX, Sede Vacante, and independent Masses, for example, and the group’s do not necessarily get along, especially when near each other. While the movement tends to be conservative on most issues, the only real defining feature of Catholic Traditionalism is preference for the EF.

    I think under Francis we will see more of a split in the EF community. Under Benedict there was hope the SSPX would fully come back into the fold, and I doubt this hope will continue under Francis. You’ll end up having a clearer distinction between the breakaway EF groups who are still waiting for the Church to change for them and who will likely become more extreme, and the official SP groups that remain with the Church and become milder over time. Provided dumb limitations are not placed on SP, it will likely become the dominant group while the outlier groups go into obscurity.

      1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #11:
        No, Fr. Allan. No.
        Ultramontanism has a meaning. It is not the same thing as commenting on the new pope’s actions and rejoicing in them. Support for the pope is not the same thing as ultramontanist belief in centralism, top-down polity, reducing authority of bishops and bishops’conferences, and all the rest.
        Note that much of the rejoicing about Francis is that he is more collegial, less pompous in expecting ceremonial obsequiousness from others. This is not ultramontane at all.

      2. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #12:
        As with all groups of people, some maybe but not all. And in terms of rank and file people in the pews, it’s usually the decision makers who either like a more collegial approach or a more top down approach. So I should qualify that some of the new converts to the ultramontane camp are precisely rejoicing in that what Pope Francis is doing as it is indeed having a top down effect, whether imposed or not, collegial or not.

      3. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #13:
        Except that what you call ‘top-down’ doesn’t at all describe the way Francis is affecting and effecting change. He is leading by example. The inspirational effects are not the result of his exercise of executive, legislative or juridical functions. This is as far removed from ultramontanism as it is possible to be.

      4. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #12:
        More collegial? So far his actions have been those of an autarch, or have I missed the widespread consultations on the Holy Father’s actions to date?

        What I take heart from is that both sides in this polarised Church, “conservative” and “liberal”, want to claim Pope Francis for their own and are heartened by his actions. Today some of the “trads” are hurting, I expect that we can expect wails from the “liberal” wing when the Holy Father’s social conservatism gets a little more attention.

      5. @Thomas Dalby – comment #18:
        Thomas, if you are referring to “social conservatism” identified by the American GOP agenda, I fear the wails you expect will never appear.

        As for Pope Francis’ rejection of abortion on demand, and other associated matters, I find myself in agreement with him and with all the life issues of the Church. So no wails coming from me. And even among secular liberals, I’m sure they realize that they don’t take political marching orders from the pope, even if they are Catholic.

        I have no doubt the wailing is more intense among traditionalists simply because so many of them have invested so much in neo-aristocratic hopes under the last two popes, and in institutional Catholicism.

        The whole point is not the happiness and peace of disparate Catholic groups, but getting to work, and working together to preach the Gospel to the world. That means everybody. Even traditionalists.

      6. @Todd Flowerday – comment #20:

        Not being a North American, myself, I don’t tend to see things through the Republican/Democrat cultural lens that frames much of the conversation on this site.

        My view, expressed before on this site, is that the Holy Father will probably play “King Log” on liturgical matters (in him I see a man who doesn’t like fuss, but will go with the flow rather than make the liturgical weather, e.g. The much hyped abolition of the “Benedictine” candle-arrangement – check out the pictures from the Palm Sunday Mass: it was back). His confessed focus is on the new evangelisation and I pray that he will also find time to play “King Stork” on the venality of the Curia and the criminal stupidity vis-à-vis the abuse scandal of the episcopate.

        As a Church we are failing to evangelise and I expect that Pope Francis means to shake us up so that we can better achieve that goal: in short, we will all wail at some points during this pontificate.

      7. @Thomas Dalby – comment #31:
        Perhaps so, on the wailing. I tried to do my best eight years ago to curtail my wailing, and consider a theologian was elected pope. And look on the bright side. B16 is a writer and mystagogue, but perhaps from another age.

        More alarming to me was the promotion of the English MR3. I would have been alarmed under any pope, and would have been vocal in my criticism, even if the pope I liked supported it.

        As for evangelization, yes. I suspect we are getting what was asked for: a more outward looking Church. We need that desperately.

      8. @Thomas Dalby – comment #18:
        As a “liberal”?, “radical”?, I won’t “wail” at Francis’s social and theological conservatism. He has a reputation for believing in open discussion. So we can learn to listen to one another … and to the Holy Spirit.

    1. @Fr John Wotherspoon (Hong Kong) – comment #9:
      Are the rules about whose feet can and cannot be washed part of that inviolable Divine-Apostolic tradition? Perhaps not – but it is surely part of the Apostolic-Ecclesial tradition, these traditions whose origins go back to the earliest days of the Church, and are therefore not lightly to be discarded.”
      Prior to the Holy Week changes in the 50s many parishes never bothered with the mandatum on Holy Thursday, or any other time. Anabaptists and other 17th century Protestant sects were practicing it more consistently than the Catholic Church did.

  8. This sort of instability is an example of what made me leave the Catholic Church. Including women in this ritual never bothered me at all, but the fact that easily changed rules are being ignored does. It just seems hypocritical to have a rule saying we’re going to do one thing, and then do something else, regardless of what the topic is.

  9. I don’t get these traditionalists, in his first year and a half Benedict removed the tiara from the papal coat of arms, removed the title of ‘Patriarch of the West’, had lunch with Hans Kung without rebuking him, became the first pope to pray in a mosque, made Cardinal Levada head of CDF, oh and a week before becoming pope he gave holy communion to Brother Roger who refused to be formally received into the church. They really have a short memory, Benedict might have dressed more like pre-vatican ii popes, but he still did some radical things that were very upsetting for them.

  10. Such misogynists among the so-called Tradtionalists. They are more concerned that the Bishop of Rome washed the feet of a woman than a Muslim. And in the context of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Did I miss something?

  11. This is my commandment: Love one another as I have loved you. The world will know we are Christians by our love, not our rubrics or vesture or liturgical arrangements. As a progressive I might welcome the ordination of women some day, but that is not a priority. When I washed the feet of women on Thursday I wasn’t thinking about how great it will be when women can do the washing. I am deified by a pope who so clearly conducts himself as a disciple whose goal is to love as Christ loves the church– with complete abandon and no thought as to what people may think about what he’s up to. Imagine allowing a sinful woman to wash his feet with her tears and dry them with her feet. Is he crazy? Perhaps it is by Beelzebul that he drives out demons? Did you hear he’s forgiving people’s sins? I heard he cured a couple of infidels!

  12. Jordan

    I have zero sense that Pope Francis would abrogate SP. I just expect that his Curia would not interpret in the extreme fashion demanded by some traditionalists (specifically, that the request of a small handful of people becomes a command, as it were); I don’t think B16 intended it to be interpreted that way, either, but some of his fanbase sure did try to spin things that way. COunt me unsurprised if Pope Francis even celebrates the EF publicly on occasion, which, if it happened, if it were a signal, would be a signal that he’s not interested in the liturgy wars that drain attention from where our attention ought to be.

    1. @Karl Liam Saur – comment #27:
      As to what Pope Francis will do in the future about SP … or anything else … I think we all have zero sense. I would caution people on all sides of making predictions, of getting their hopes up. Maybe he’ll leave SP untouched. Maybe he’ll abrogate it. Maybe he’ll alter it. Maybe he’ll celebrate in the extra-ordinary form. But as of right now, there really is zero evidence for any of this. The most we have is a report from Argentina that he didn’t support SP and didn’t promote 1962 celebrations.


      1. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #33:
        I think we have a bit more information, Father. The District Superior for South America for the SSPX has issued a statement about Pope Francis:

        I think the following parts are most pertinent: “[Pope Francis] is a man of consensus, who hates confrontations….
        I have met him 5 or 6 times and he has always received me with benevolence, seeking to grant me what I wished, without going out of his way to overcome obstacles….”

  13. Karl Rahner: The Shape of the Church to Come 1974

    “The Church’s public life is dominated to a terrifying extent by ritualism, legalism, administration and a boring and resigned mediocrity along familiar lines.”

    We are in a time of transition, he wrote; “to a Church made up of those who have struggled in order to reach a personally clear and explicitly responsible decision of faith. This will be the Church of the future or there will be no Church at all.”

    Rahner again:

    “The devout Christian of the future will either be a “mystic”, one who has “experienced” something, or he/she will cease to be anything at all.”

    Reform will never get off the ground until the theological schema of salvation that gives power and authority to clerical leadership is challenged and changed.

    That’s the task versus getting hooked into particular issues.

  14. I really don’t see Pope Francis dumping SP either. Besides, he even set up an EF location within two days of SP being issued. While he might not be an ardent promoter of the EF, he doesn’t seem to have taken any steps to show he is an enemy. He seems to have enough to do, including a lot of real problems to solve, and I’d be shocked if he ended up wasting his time persecuting traditionalists.

    I know in my own corner of the world there isn’t all the anguish over Francis you see in the Rorate Coeli combox. We’ve been too worried about preparing for Easter to get all upset at some imaginary worst case scenario, never mind that all the real world traditionalists I know seem to more-or-less like the new Pope.

  15. Concerning all this rankling of traditionalists: I was going to say that it couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of people. But, as Richard Nixon once said, that would be wrong. Tonight is the climax of our great annual festival of charity, when we purge out the old snarkiness.
    Seriously, several times in my past when I have moved, I have joined congregations that were, in one way or another, farther out liturgically than I was. Every time this has happened, it has been an occasion for me to learn something. Maybe a similar grace can operate in the Rorate Coeli people and those who think as they do. Let us pray.

  16. I wonder, are the traditionalists upset because they are concerned about losing the EF or are they more concerned about the loss of influence (and gleeful pride) they had to shove the reform of the reform down our throats?

    I suspect the latter.

    They have done nothing but cause problems in my neck of the woods including in one local church completely removing all Vatican II remodeling and installing a Tridentine altar, altar rail and built an ugly “novus ordo” altar and a high ambo with stairs needed to climb to get into the ugly thing. Mass attendance went from “standing room only” to one person to a pew. Just awful. All in the name of ROTR and B16’s suggestion to influence the OF with the EF.

    My only concern is when will they approach “pope emeritus” B16 to lead them???

    1. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #40:
      Your experience would seem to be the exception rather than the rule. I’m sorry that you had a bad experience in your area and hope you have a Blessed and peaceful Easter.

      Most traditionalists are probably worried about losing SP, or once again having their religious lives made unreasonably difficult. That’s if they are worried at all. I’m sure there was a little gleeful pride too, since those who had treated them unfairly no longer had the right to do so.

      1. @Jack Wayne – comment #42:
        Jack, I agree.
        I thing that sometimes posting on a blog gets confusing with complicated subjects.
        I think we need to untangle this issue because they get all mixed together and becomes confusing.

        I propose 4 areas:

        1. The OF
        2. The EF
        3. ROTR and the attempt to influence the OF
        4. A future “hybrid” mass.

        1. The OF is a no brainer, except for the rads, it’s the ordinary form and needs to remain as we have it now… again, as we have it now…no changes or influences ie altar rails, ad orientem etc.

        2. The EF. Most who attend are not looking for trouble. I’m not against it. In my humble opinion they should have their own jurisdiction and canon law rite. Now, in the spirit of reconciliation I think we should help them. Lord knows there are plenty of church buildings, some very beautiful, that are being shuttered and dioceses’ can at least give them churches at no cost to them. This actually happened in the archdiocese of Chicago, Card George donated a church to them that had been slated to be closed.

        3. ROTR This is where the problem lies… B16 made it clear that the EF would somehow influence the OF, altar rails going up, ad orientem, etc. In my opinion I’ve seen the destructiveness first hand. It must STOP. And I think that we are seeing this with Pope Francis.
        Otherwise shouldn’t the OF influence the EF, maybe I can go to the EF and stand for communion and receive in the hand? What do you really think would happen??? I shudder.

        4. Hybrid mass. Bandied about on this site and elsewhere. DEAD, No way.

        Just my opinion but would solve lots of angst for everybody.

        A Joyful and Happy Easter to you Jack and everyone on PTB, we ALL love the church and like all large families we have our family squabbles. One thing is for sure, nobody posting here is a “lukewarm” Catholic. Bravo!

      2. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #49:
        I think the ROTR can be very successful in the right parish, and know of a few churches that have come back from the brink of closure, as well as others where going in an even more traditional direction would be welcomed because that’s what they’ve been doing all along. The problem lies in priests trying to force changes the congregation doesn’t want. I often feel like the bishop doesn’t take into account a parish’ s community when assigning a priest – like he throws the names in a hat every 7 or so years and draws them randomly. The progressive church then gets the ROTR priest who would love to have more Latin and give communion kneeling while the church that’s been doing those things for the past thirty years gets the priest who wants to end those practices (I’m thinking of real parishes in my town when writing these examples).

        I think for fun next week I’ll ask the priest at my EF what he would do if someone tried receiving in the hand. Standing doesn’t seem to be a problem at EF Masses, providing you stand along the communion rail. It would likely be assumed that you were physically unable to kneel. I imagine different priests would react differently to someone trying to receive in the hand.

      3. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #49:
        The OF permits altar rails, to suggest otherwise is to impose your own personal piety on to the OF. Receiving communion in the hand is not a component part of the OF. Millions of RC’s receive on the tongue in OF all over the world every day of the year. Simply put, the rotr is about removing unwarranted expressions of minimalism from the OF.

      4. @Daniel McKernan – comment #55:
        We like our minimalism.
        Altar rails are permitted but were removed or not built in new churches, there is precedence for this. When altar rails are forced on us where only several out of hundreds of parishoners want it then there is a problem. As far as communion in the hand we have an indult. Are you suggesting that the indult is illicit? Are you saying that we should be forced to receive on the tongue?
        Your attitude, that you know what is good for us, is typical for the rotr group. You want to kneel, go ahead. You want to receive on the tongue, go ahead but don’t try to interfere where you are not asked to.

      5. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #56:
        You may like your minimalism, but that minimalism is not inherent to the novus ordo. You wrote:

        1. The OF is a no brainer, except for the rads, it’s the ordinary form and needs to remain as we have it now… again, as we have it now…no changes or influences ie altar rails, ad orientem etc.

        And now you add receiving on the tongue. These things aren’t “changes or influences” to the novus ordo (though they may be to a particular parish’s practice). Rather, they’ve been found (and permitted) in the novus ordo from the beginning.

        … maybe I can go to the EF and stand for communion and receive in the hand? What do you really think would happen??? I shudder.

        I can tell you what my pastor did yesterday. He gave the man communion and moved on to the next person.

      6. @Samuel J. Howard – comment #57:
        You’ve lost me SJH, where did I say receiving on the tongue was not allowed?
        It has always been allowed, but we have an indult to receive in the hand. Where did I say you couldn’t receive in the hand? I think you misread my post.
        RE your pastor, you better appreciate him, he sounds like a good man. I’ve heard differently from others. Any girl altar servers at your EF?

      7. Dale,

        a). altar rails are not only about kneeling for holy communion and they have been rebuilt or added to churches in recent years.
        b). the fact that communion in the hand requires an indult tells us clearly that it is not part of the OF per se,
        c). the rotr are part of the OF community, anyone interested in good pastoral practice must consider the needs of all parishioners including those interested in contemporary liturgical reform.

        The impression I get from many progressives who post here regularly is that they often mistake their own personal preferences, certain expressions of their own personal piety, for the post V2 OF liturgy. The truth is that the OF liturgy includes things like Latin ordinaries, the vernacular or both, sanctus bells, & clappers (on Holy Thursday), fine vestments (and simpler ones), celebrations with celebrant and people facing in the same direction (or not), organ or piano (or neither). We can use the proper entrance chants or hymns (or both), we can use the proper gradual or the R. Psalm. I see more continuity than discontinuity.
        Re. comment #56 Dale, if there is any “forcing” going on in reference to communion it is far more typical for communicants to be “forced” to receive from the common chalice whenever they seek communion under both kinds. Though the Church permits intinction and even though our present Holy Father uses intinction regularly, many Progressives continue to withhold it from the people.

  17. @Jordan: Well, I would’ve been ordained a decade ago under other circumstances. And I still would be if I could. But fundamentally a call to serve conflicts with the urge to leave, doesn’t it? At the end of the day, it’s just not about me.

    1. @Catherine Osborne – comment #42:

      Thank you very much for your comment.

      Traditionalists indeed must resist the temptation to become self-appointed pontifices. Then, they are “individualist schismatics” with no tether to apostolicity and thus no tether to the nourishment of the deposit of faith. I must very strongly ponder, even to the point of despair, whether the extraordinary form must be defended above magisterium.

      qui in ligno vincebat in ligno quoque vinceretur — from the Holy Cross preface

  18. After watching Easter Sunday Mass from St. Peter’s today it seems to me that “traditionalists” who are concerned about papal celebrations can calm down and that “progressivists” who are crowing about how Pope Francis is now going to repudiate the traditional flavor of papal celebrations can sit down and be quiet. I don’t believe I’ve ever witnessed a more sumptuous papal liturgy from the Square.

    I think both the trads and the libs are getting excited over nothing when it comes to papal liturgies (as usual). There is no program of repudiation on the part of Pope Francis. He’s just a more down-to-earth kind of guy than Pope Benedict was.

    He isn’t going to wear a tiara while borne aloft on the sedia gestatoria and he isn’t going to abrogate the Latin Mass and bring in Joan Baez to sing “Cumbaya”. Voices on the far right and on the far left seem to be engaged in a somewhat ridiculous war of words over a gauntlet that has not been thrown down.

  19. Altar rails are not mentioned in SC, they may be allowed or not. Most bishops have ordered them taken down. Fact is 95% of all churches here in the US do not have them. After 40 yrs there is precedence and possibly 90% plus do not want them. Because of a few ROTR folks they are being rebuilt.
    Communion in the hand, yes an indult but show me in SC where communion on the tongue is mandated. Anybody can receive either way, not an issue.

    From the constitution on Sacred Liturgy 22.2 In virtue of power conceded by the law, the regulation of the liturgy within certain defined limits belongs also to various kinds of competent territorial bodies of bishops legitimately established.

    Bishops eliminated altar rails and decreed ad populum.
    And we know their decree was confirmed and approved by the Apostolic See.

    And I’d say any of the Rotr individuals attempting to foist these things on those who don’t want them then they are guilty of “personal piety”.

    However, with Pope Francis the ROTR and God willing, the disruptive Rotr will come to an end (see my post a # 40).

    I think we’ve beaten this one to death. This is my last post on this one. I’ll give you the last word.

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