I watched the video of this morning's canonisations and thought what a marvellous occasion it was. The canonisation of a married couple together ... I think it said more about Marriage than all the hot air in and around the Synodal aula.
All very decently done. The Holy Father ... like me ... is not very confident about liturgical chant, but he did sing at least the eirene pasin; and I'm pretty sure that the oscula solita occurred, although the cameras were some distance away. I refer of course here to the rites of the Greek Gospel. Nice to see it happening, by the way: there was, I think I recall, one little blip months ago when the Double Gospel at Solemn Papal Liturgies was reduced to just one. The Double Gospel says so much about the universality of the Church and the parity of esteem between the two lungs of the Church. I speak open to correction ... but isn't it one of the few survivals from the old ritual of the Solemn Papal Mass? Anyway, eis polla ete Despota.
There was the now usual participation of laypeople at the Intercession, where a very cheerful woman with a comfortable English accent looked spectacular in a distinctly jolly mantilla; and at the Offertory. I thought our beloved Holy Father looked rather solemn as he received the oblata; Pope Benedict used to give each of the laity concerned a friendly little chat and several renderings of his shy and engaging smile; this morning, from Pope Francis, they got simply a formal handshake and a quick grin. The Roman Pontiff, of course, faced East throughout the Liturgy, and censed the oblata with the cross and the circular movements of the thurible, much as in the Extraordinary Form.
The assisting presbyters wore chasubles and, I therefore presume, concelebrated. Is this now customary? I know many Traditionalists dislike all concelebration, but, as Eric Mascal pointed out, the ethos of Private Masses, and that of Concelebration, do both point to the principle that a priest at Mass should behave like a priest. And, in the Tradition, concelebrating with a Pontiff finds much more support than an all-presbyter concelebration. Some of the clergy administered the Blessed Sacrament into the mouths of the People, even when individuals offered their hands; others, not. I was glad to see the Host being administered to two of the Swiss Guards: I've sometimes felt uneasy in the past that they appeared to be behaving, and being treated, as soldiers on duty rather than as part of the plebs sancta Dei. If this is a 'Franciscan' reform, I'm all for it.
The double canonisation has so much, surely, to say to the world of 2015. It points both to Continence and to Fertility: the two saints at first lived in perfect Continence and then, on the advice of a confessor, converted their relationship to what S John Paul II called Generous Fruitfulness, resulting in nine daughters (quelle richesse!). Nowadays, so many people seem to be ready for neither Continence nor Fertility! And there was a great deal of the Good Wife of Proverbs 31 in S Zelie: she was a robust and no-nonsense woman; her tightly managed domestic industry and her very strong business sense led to considerable economic success ... and quite eclipsed her husband's trade!
Why is it that Mills-and-Boon romantic tear-jerkers are read by girls, and yet, for actual soppy real-life sentimentality, chaps are the all-time winners? Take some of the Sad Stories being recounted by the liberal synodal Fathers to make each other weepy, like the one about a little boy at First Communion sharing the Host with his divorced and remarried father ... I don't think I can imagine any of my own innumerable womenfolk sobbing into their hankies about such tales.