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The Pope's Painful Liturgies Comments

The "good stuff" of Catholic liturgy hasn't really lacked much in the new pope's Masses. But his overwhelming affection for service can be a bittersweet reminder of what's really at stake. Continue Reading

11 - 20 of 26 Comments

  1. Michael Brooks
    2 years ago

    If all of you may recall, Pope Francis is Bi-Ritual, ie; He is Celebrates both Liturgies of the East and the West. In the Byzantine/Orthodox Church, the Priests and Bishops do not Genuflect at the consecration, they make a very pronounced/profound bow. After all, did not Blessed Pope John Paul II (The Great) say to look to the East in one of his writings? Maybe that was what Pope Francis was doing. We should not look upon what Francis does at Mass. He is joyful in Public, and around people. Mass is a Solemn occasion, and that is reflected in Pope Francis' simple, and humble demeanor all through the Mass. We cannot know what is truly going on in his mind at the height of the Mass, unless we are mind-readers. Each Modern Popes have brought in different personalities of their own.

  2. IvL
    2 years ago

    We cringe, perhaps because we have not detached ourselves from the richness of the Liturgy that we have come to expect from our previous Pope. However, perhaps God is trying to tell us that the austerity with which our new Pope has led his life may be a reflection of how God would like for the Church to be led in the future That is not to say that all liturgies from here on out will be 'painful', perhaps we just need new ears to hear and to become accustomed to how God is leading us through our new Pontiff. We must have the understanding to take this journey in a different light, not cringe in agony because it is not what we are 'used to'. Think of going from eggs Benedict to a simple boiled egg for breakfast. It's the same element, different form and different expression. Give it time, not necessarily for our new Pope to become accustomed to our ideals but for our hearts to be molded to what God desires it to be at this time. Pray for wisdom.

  3. Angelo
    2 years ago

    This is a great and consoling article. Many are deeply disturbed that the Sacred Liturgies of the Holy Father will be a continuance of the banality so much abhored by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVl. Simplicity should be practiced by all in our personal lives. But God should not be humbled. The Beauty of the liturgy is food for the flesh because it awakens our senses to the greatness of God. May God grant that the reforms begun by Benedict XVl, not be discontinued but that the Church continue to place beauty back into the Holy Mass and to all the Sacraments.

  4. Jake Allsop
    2 years ago

    May I prayerfully suggest that we leave the sniping to the media.
    If I have issues with the governance of the Church, I will discuss them in private with my priest or other people wiser than I am.
    Pope Francis has the loneliest and most difficult job in the world: let us pray for him.

  5. Samantha
    2 years ago

    Andrew, I have to agree with you. Right from the old testament God had ordained priests and specified religious garments and rituals. The liturgy is itself an offering of beauty, love and giving the best of oneself materially and artistically to God. As a young person, we are surrounded by so much ugliness and sin in todays society in the form of music, so called art and the list goes on. However each time I immerse myself in the liturgy I get a taste of Gods majesty and beauty and my soul finds itself rejoicing as this is an undeniable aspect of God. I hope one day to be with him and his angelic choirs praising him in heaven.

  6. MJM2000
    2 years ago

    I find your dichotomy of praying the Liturgy and serving the poor most disturbing. It has not, nor it ever will be an "either-or" experience or expression of our faith and love of Jesus. It forever will be a "both-and" sort of thing. Both are valid expressions of faith and love of Jesus. Both are a radical experience of Him. Yet there is something supreme about Liturgy and about receiving the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus in the Sacrament of Holy Communion that our Church calls the "source and summit" of our faith. There we find the source of our love and strength to serve others. So then we go out, rather, we are sent out to serve and love Jesus in the poor among us, beginning with our own families (as Mother Teresa of Calcutta put so well.) It is then that we bring our life of love and service back to Liturgy as the summit, the highest point, united to Jesus in the Holy Spirit for the glory of the Father as a holy offering. This sacrifice of the Mass is Jesus crucified and offering Himself and us united with Him, of which our own human suffering finds strength and meaning. It is also Jesus risen and glorified, empowering us all again to go forth and live the Gospel in our daily lives. We need both. One without the other is sorely lacking.

  7. michael
    2 years ago

    Our dearest Lord is very patient with us in many things. With the Jews, for example, He allowed them to marry pagan women and to have kings instead of judges. The Almighty knew that this was not ideal, but He allowed and tolerated such things. But when it came to liturgical things, the good Lord was and is a rigorist! If you doubt that, look what happened to Eli's priestly sons at Shilo.

    To purposely omit a non-optional rubric is serious matter and could very well be a mortal sin objectively speaking. Pope Francis' refusal to genuflect after the consecration is a major omission and is serious matter. I remember well, even in his advanced age, Bl. JP II struggling to genuflect after the Words of Consecration. But Pope Francis simply bows. Why this omission which is so essential for showing the Real Presence? Skipping rubrics and developing your own rules at Mass for a priest is serious matter and can meet with serious consequences.

    The Mass of Rome is supposed to be the Mass of the Latin Rite World. We are therefore in big trouble!

  8. Eleyesha
    2 years ago

    Dear commentators,

    Being this is a catholic site in support of the church, we should honor our new holy Father's methods of reaching out to the people. Especially in mass.
    Jesus lived in a very humble way among the people. As he said, it isn't the non sinner that needs a physician but rather the sinner. Our Holy Father does this completely. He gets out there among the people and lives as Jesus did. Exactly as God calls us to. Jesus told the wealthy young man to sell all his things and follow Him after he said he had done all that God asked. The young man refused to let go of his noble like possessions. Our Pope today however... Does live as Jesus asked that young man.

    I've never seen a mass that was painful. Each one I saw the glory of God transfigured into the Eucharist. Nothing is like it and nothing can take away from God's presence within the church. Try to embrace the humble nature of the Pope as that was how Jesus lived for the Father.

    Bless you!


  9. Guitarmeister
    2 years ago

    When one calls the Papal liturgy "painful," it shows the divide which has been occuring for some time in liturgical circles. As a contemporary musician at a Catholic Church for 40 years, I was pained at seeing the renewed emphasis in Gregorian Chant and the Tridentine Rite rescued from a near death experience under the last years of John Paul II and Pope Benedict. Many liturgists who are "Traditional Catholics" are taking to the written work in numerous internet posts concerned about Pope Francis being a "Liturgical Liberal." There is an assumption in all of these writings that a majority of Catholics support a return to Pre-Vatican liturgies and music. I do not believe that is the case at least in the United States. When looks at many poor Latin American parishes, Gregorian Chant and having an organ to accompany a congregation to "Holy God We Praise Thy Name" is not a priority. Pope Francis is aware that the evanglization process in many places of the world will not be rooted through "Traditional liturgies." As a progressive, we have been silent over the "painful" period of Benedict papacy. I hope that Pope Francis will return to the course charted many years ago by Pope Paul VI and realize that this is way to true spiritual growth with the Church -

  10. Andrew M. Greenwell
    2 years ago

    Thanks for your judicious and insightful comments. We must not forget that the splendor of the liturgy is for the poor, the poor in spirit, and this includes the poor in culture, in symbol, in poetry, in chaste drama, for the liturgy enriches all participants. Certainly, this includes a fortiori the essential core--the Eucharistic sacrifice--but to some extent also the sacramentals, rituals, rites, and liturgical accouterments and implements and seasons which add so much to the Eucharistic liturgy's beauty. Modern life is already drab enough, already shallow and banal enough, and the Catholic liturgy is often the last bastion of symbolic and poetic and beautiful life. In an artistic sense, it is often the only place we find beauty for God's sake. I understand there are exceptions--in battle, in prison, in extremis such as when St. Lucian celebrated Mass on his chest--but these extraordinary situations prove the rule that, in times of peace, in times ordinary, the liturgy ought to be glorious, even magnanimous, and we ought not to be apologetic about it because it is a service to the poor of God, the anawim. But I suppose, as long as the Church exists, there shall be the liturgical tension between resplendent Cluny and sober and stark Citeaux, and (I confess) I lean toward magnanimous Cluny and, though certainly and absolutely and without reservation cum Petro and sum Petro, am a liturgical traditionalist, and so I feel the pain.

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