11 August 2021

A Joy-free Pontificate??

As soon as he was settled on the Sedes Petri and had drafted his Christmas allocution to the Curia on their Seventeen Vices, PF sent a letter to his new nominees to the College of Cardinals ... telling them to receive their new status in a way "far from any expression of worldliness or from any form of celebration contrary to the evangelical spirit of austerity, sobriety, and poverty". 

The memory of this came back to me when I read Traditionis custodes ... especially the bit about new priests, ordained after July 16 2021, not being permitted to say their First Mass ... or any of their Masses ... in the Usus Authenticus

You see, hanging up here in my study I have this year's Papa Stronsay Calendar, which, for August, shows Father Martin Mary saying his First Mass (which, of course, happened last year).

It must be something like a decade or more since a group of the Transalpine Redemptorists, as we then called them, turned up at my house next to S Thomas's in Oxford. Sadly, I was out; Pam dispensed hospitality, and a few years later I had the inestimable privilege of spending some days on Papa Stronsay. And, when I said my First Mass "In Full Communion" at that joyous pietra dura  Lady Altar in the Brompton Oratory, there, to serve it, I had ... You've guessed!! ... but, sadly, the restaurant we rejoiced in afterwards is no more ...

Surely, it is a natural human instinct to celebrate New Beginnings ... so natural a human joy that it stretches far beyond the bounds of Christianity. We all know that, after the initial glee, days may come when the sun does not shine quite so brightly. But Rites of Passage ineluctably draw forth Celebration. Baptisms and the Bar Mitzvah; First Communions; Confirmations; Weddings; Professions; Ordinations; First Masses; Passing Out Parades; the winning of General Elections  ...

... perhaps they even draw forth "wine to gladden the heart of man", as the psalmist suggested. Horace wouldn't have contradicted him!

Human Beings, Christian or non-Christian, will not normally or naturally respond to such occasions in a "spirit of austerity, sobriety, and poverty". Unless they are rigid followers of the present Holy Father!

After the Conclave of 2005, even such a shy retiring academic as Benedict XVI hurried out onto the balcony, cheerfully dressed and with a beaming smile, receiving and sharing the joy of the crowds awaiting the appearance and Blessing of their new Pope.

But PF ... well, we soon learned that the Carnival was, indeed, over. 

Carni vale was Laetitiae vale.

15 comments:

Joshua said...

Nemo dat quod non habet.

How horribly unhappy Bergoglio must be.

PM said...

If PF is so insistent on obeying the liturgical norms of the Council, he may wish to explain two things:

1. Why has he taken to saying, not chanting, the prayers of papal Masses in St Peter's in Italian? His predecessors retained the use of Latin there in the Novus Ordo, presumably because there was an international congregation forost of whom Italian was a foreign language in any case.

2. Why has he twice abandoned his cathedral* on Maundy Thursday, in flagrant contradiction of the Council's stipulations on the liturgical role of the bishop, to go off on gimmicky liturgical frolics?

*Strictly speaking, the Lateran Basilica is the cathedral of the diocese of Rome, but I am treating St Peter's as an equivalent. Would it be stretching the point to say that St Peter's is his 'cathedral' as head of the Church on earth?

PM said...

I should perhaps clarify my comment about a gimmicky liturgical frolics.

It would be a praiseworthy exercise of pastoral charity for the Pope to ensure that the inmates of a prison had the opportunity to attend the Maundy Thursday Mass. But for him to abandon his basilica to do it himself is another matter. And as for Becciu's apartment ....

I am told that there is a common jibe among the clergy about Jesuits' lack of liturgical sensibility: 'lost as a Jesuit in Holy Week's.

coradcorloquitur said...

Francis's "austerity" (except when celebrating with twisted, faux joy sneaky circumlocutions of the Christian moral law in "Amoris Letitiae") might remind us of the anti-Catholic bigot but great poet Sir Edmund Spencer and his allegorical characters in "The Faerie Queene": Sans Loi, Sans Foi, and Sans Joie. But, then again, does anyone recall meeting a liberal "Christian" fitting the description of C. S. Lewis's "joyful Christian"? I, for one, do not---rather, I remember them, typically, as cheerless and sour-faced as their spiritual ancestors, the Puritans.

Fr Edward said...

No one can know what is is going on inside any man's head or heart. Still, when any man looks so sad all the time, when his words and actions bring such sadness, and when those who love him most cannot get near, let's not get down, let's just lift him through our prayers into God's light. And yes, it really is so simple.

The luminous mysteries of the rosary are full of real deep down happiness (water into wine, not wine into water, sort of happiness). I've been thinking about them recently in themselves, not just as rivals to other mysteries on a Thursday, but each in its own theological depth. Each one of them seems just so very apt right now, and seems to match many of the regular worries that come up for Catholics.

I've never used them on Thursdays to be honest, but as a practical 'raccolta devotion' I can really understand their worth for the first time. And so, I'm going to say them every day for the Pope, who looks and sounds really sad right now.

And get laughing saints on the job too; Ss Fran├žois de Sales, Philip Neri, Thomas More, Padre Pio, etc ad inf.

Just a suggestion as a happy way forward.

Grant Milburn said...

I believe it's Spenser with an S.
I once wrote "Spencer" in an essay on "The Faerie Queen" and earned a mild rebuke from my tutor.

coradcorloquitur said...

The great Renaissance poet's surname should be "Spenser" rather than "Spencer." Mea culpa.

coradcorloquitur said...

The great Renaissance poet's surname should be "Spenser" rather than "Spencer." Mea culpa.

coradcorloquitur said...

Thank you, Mr. Milburn, for your correction. I believe it and mine must have crossed Internet paths, as I realized my mistake as soon as I sent my comment (I'm sure good Father Hunwicke's computer can testify to that were it necessary). One fraternal, orthographic correction to your kind correction, though---one I imagine your tutor would not have overlooked: the correct title of Spenser's epic poem is "The Faerie Queene," with a final "e" in the Renaissance spelling of "queen."

Stephen said...

PM, while there may be some who wish St. Peter's Basilica to be the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, St. John Lateran is indeed his seat. At one point, St. Peter's was informally accorded the status of a "patriarchal basilica", reserved specifically by pious custom for Latin Rite ceremonial patriarchs (Pope Pius X was Giuseppe Cardinal Sarto, Patriarch of Venice for example before his election to the Papacy), one then later for the Patriarch of Constantinople as his seat in Rome AFTER a reconciliation with the Pope. St. Mary Major was similarly reserved for the Patriarch of Antioch, St. Paul Outside the Walls for the Patriarch of Alexandria, and St. Lawrence Outside the Walls for the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Pope Benedict XVI abolished the title of patriarchal basilica, as he did the title for himself of Patriarch of the West, so the Pope now is less one title, and those houses of worship now called only as major basilicas.

E sapelion said...

I have been told that whereas Abp Worlock required his clergy to make contact through his secretary and an appointment, +Patrick on succeeding him immediately contacted each of his clergy to give them the number of the phone on his desk.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

The Good Shepherd does what he can to return to the fold even one lost sheep.

The Bad Shepherd tells the sheep he doesn't like to get lost.

Grant Milburn said...

coradcorloquitur: Thank you for your correction to my correction.
Speaking of joy, I think Spenser's Epithalamion must be one of the most joyful poems there is.

coradcorloquitur said...

Yes, Mr. Milburn, "Epithalamion" conveys the joy (and legitimate sensuality) of the wedding morning and feast. In my book, it is one of the great poems of that miraculous century, when good English and brilliant ideas were in the air, so to speak. Another favorite of mine are "The Mutability Cantos" (modern spelling), with their delicious and melancholy contemplation of the passing of time and its ravages. But the question for me is this: how can such a privileged intellect as Spenser's have rejected so passionately the Catholic Faith?

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

I'd settle for a stupidity-free one.

AvB.