..., because the Roman Pontiff has consecrated it to S Joseph. And PF is going this year as a pilgrim to seek out the footprints of Abraham in Ur of the Chaldees.
Possibly, in a more joined-up potnificate, the Year might also have been dedicated to Abraham. (Arguably, since he is in the Roman Martyrology, I should refer to him as Saint Abraham.)
It is odd, when you think of it, that Abraham has so little cultus in the Latin Church. Every morning, her faithful priests commemorate him in the Canon of the Mass: Abraham our Patriarch. Even Novus Ordo clergy remember him twice daily, at Lauds and Vespers, in the Gospel canticles, every day of their lives. And how appropriately; after the Flood, and the incontinence of Noe, Abraham was the Just Man of Faith in whom YHWH founded a new humanity. The Authentic Roman Rite celebrates him on Quinquagesima Sunday. Our greatest theologian, S Paul of Tarsus, expounded his significance. Yet when did you last light a candle in front of his statue?
PF's visit to our Blessed Father's homeland in modern-day Iraq provides many wonderful opportunities. For example:
PF has expressed some sympathy for an inculturated liturgical culture, particularly in the Amazon. I share the apprehensions of some that this will end in tears, but the idea itself is one with many glorious precedents. In Iraq, for example, there is the ancient Chaldaean Rite, an inculturated expression of nearly two millennia of witness, martyrion. It is just waiting for a Vicar of Christ to come and celebrate it, Addai and Mari and all! Surely, PF will celebrate this Liturgy, or perhaps, as we used to say, 'preside from the throne' while his Venerable Brother, Patriarch Louis Raphael offers the Sacrifice. Any other possibility is too totally tactless to imagine: that a visiting Pope should celebrate the Roman Rite in such a place would be a piece of old-style Latinising. It would suggest that the Roman Rite had a sort of primacy over the other rites in which the Bride of Christ is so wonderfully adorned. It would recall the bad old days when sneering Latin priests and prelates despised authentic Oriental expressions of the Faith as being merely temporary condescensions, absurdities permitted simply to ease the way as members of reunited Eastern communities were gradually induced to become 'proper Catholics'.
But there might be something even worse than such tactlessness: for a visiting Pope to celebrate the the Roman Rite in its Novus Ordo form. This would mean privileging a bastardised form of that Liturgy, a form which emerged from the 1960s, over every other Rite, Western as well as Eastern, ancient as well as modern. And that is a liturgical form, moreover, which was created in the heart of Europe, overwhelmingly by white males of one particular and, please God, transient, culture. Arguably, this would be an act of diachronic and synchronic schism: a trampling over the ancient rites of the Middle East; a trampling over the Roman Rite itself in its authentic form. An act of overweening European cultural and spiritual imperialism; Western arrogance made manifest in the ugliest of ways; 'Colonialism', at its worst, expressed liturgically.
I have not always been uncritical of PF; but surely, even he would immedately perceive the unsuitability of such Latin and Westerrn Triumphalism.
To be concluded.