2 June 2015


I don't know that I much liked Mgr Fisichella's reference to our Holy Father having a "programme". I rather approved of the somewhat unenthusiastic words about papal 'programmes' in Pope Benedict's Inauguration Homily. I don't actually think that a Bishop of Rome, who is not a secular politician, really needs much of a "programme", except the intention, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, to guard piously and expound faithfully the Apostolic Tradition, the Deposit of Faith, handed down through the Apostles; and to act as what Blessed John Henry Newman called a 'remora' against innovation; which amounts to much the same thing. That's his job and, given a World, and a Church, not completely free of errors and corruptions, I'd have thought that it was quite a big enough job-description without curialists trying to make him add 'programmes' to it. Our beloved Holy Father only has 24 hours in his day, and only seven days in his week. Members of the Curia should try to remember this. They should keep their 'programmes' to themselves.

But I got keener when I read on: the second Sunday in October next year is to be dedicated to our Blessed Lady, the Mother of Mercy. (I could have done without the very slight hint, though, that this is only for the sort of people who like that sort of Marian stuff.) This is a most intriguing return to the high baroque Renaissance encrustation of the Sanctorale which lasted until S Pius X (a bit of a sourpuss?) motored like a combine harvester through the Calendar. Until then, 'Green Sundays' barely existed, especially in October, when Holy Rosary Sunday was followed by Maternity of our Lady Sunday, and then Patronage of our Lady Sunday. That admirable pope Benedict XIV was one of the practitioners of this liturgical goodyism: Progress! Moving on! Bring on Benedict XIV!! Tally Ho!!! Lambertini rules OK!

But then things got even better: I recalled that our Lady's title Mother of Mercy was very dear to my old friend, John De Grandisson (pronounced Grahns'n), Bishop of Exeter in the fourteenth century. Even more progress! Back to John XXII!! Vive d'Euse!

Yet stay! Was not this title of our Lady on the dying lips of the much loved S Richard of Chichester, Chancellor of this University, in the century before? Faster still!! Ahead to the thirteenth century!

[The Missae pro aliquibus locis include a Mass for our Lady of Mercy. I expect we shall all be using it a lot during the Jubilee year. Will the Ecclesia Dei people give it an enhanced status so that it trumps ordinary double ... I mean, III class ... feasts?]


Jane said...

Salve regina! Mater misericordiae, vita, dulcedo et spes nostra, salve!

"Set down in its current form at the Abbey of Cluny in the 12th century, where it was used as a processional hymn on Marian feasts.
The Cistercians chanted the Salve Regina daily from 1218.
It was popular at medieval universities as evening song, and according to Fr. Juniper Carol, it came to be part of the ritual for the blessing of a ship." Wikipedia

Liam Ronan said...

Since it is likely that we will hear the word 'mercy' resounding in our ears over the next months/years, I ask a question of you kind Father or your informed readers.

My questions is this: Is there one whit of difference between 'mercy' and the theological virtue of Charity, which virtue according to the CCC states at 1824 "charity keeps the commandments of God and his Christ...and at 1829 "charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction...".

Is it fair to suppose these upcoming days of 'mercy' will be saturated with papal exhortations to keep Christ's commandments and offer fraternal correction, or is 'mercy' something altogether different than Charity?

Just curious.

Jane said...

Jesus IS mercy. Mercy IS Jesus.

Overuse of words leads to dramatic dilution in meaning and understanding.

The word LOVE, for example has come to mean a sentiment, a feeling; compare that with the Crucifixion, or the stable in Bethlehem, or VIRTUE.

I`m afraid that MERCY is undergoing the same reduction and metamorphosis: don`t people now understand mercy through sentiment rather than through anything as muscular as VIRTUE, FORGIVENESS, SALVATION?

The Holy Father might need to define his terms to help us understand what `the year of mercy` is about; to rescue mercy from the slush of modern usage.

Fr. Frank said...

The good people of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in my diocese will be the very last folk to be suckered in to a false notion of Mercy. Seven days a week, confessions are heard at 11 am and 5 pm, excepting Saturdays, when they are heard at 7 am, 9 am, 3 pm, and 5 pm. These people understand that mercy is God's response to *repentance*.

Unknown said...

Jane said: "The Holy Father might need to define his terms to help us understand what `the year of mercy` is about; to rescue mercy from the slush of modern usage."
But I have to wonder whether THIS Holy Father has any interest at all in doing that? He seems to thrive on using language strongly susceptible to misinterpretation so I tend to doubt that he would want to rush forth and clarify his definition. It may best suit his purposes to let the world think of it what it will.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

So often, Liam, your question on the new mercy V the old mercy (maybe we should have 'lipsync battle') is my question. Where's the line between confirming my wretched self in my error and with a shepherd's crood, leading me out of the mire and into Truth?

BTW, I wonder what it would be like to have had that 'combine harvester' in Rome rather than a 'genetic engineerer'?

Banshee said...

Well, that's a funny thing. English "mercy" is from Old French Old French mercit, merci, which is from Latin merces. That mercy is "forgiveness of offenses," and "disposition to forgive and show offenses."

But the year we're celebrating was announced by the bull "Misericordiae Vultus", and "misericordiae" is not mercy. That's the Hebrew "chesed," aka "loving-kindness" and a bunch of other stuff it's translated as, including "mercy."

This is the Year of Chesed. The Spanish and Italian versions say it's the year of Misericordia. I guess the English-speakers in the Vatican translation department doesn't care what English-speakers celebrate.

Liam Ronan said...

Chesed off more than likely.