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?]