WSJ: Pope Francis and the New Rome

One Saturday last month, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at Ognissanti (All Saints’) Church in one of Rome’s working-class neighborhoods. Little known to tourists or art historians, Ognissanti was the site of a momentous event in the modern history of the Catholic Church: Exactly 50 years earlier, Pope Paul VI had gone there to celebrate the first papal mass in Italian rather than in the traditional Latin.

In marking that anniversary, Pope Francis made plain his view of the vernacular Mass, one of the most visible changes ushered in by the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). The practice still pains Catholic traditionalists who mourn the loss of churchwide unity that came with a common language.

Allowing Catholics to pray in their local languages “was truly a courageous act by the church to draw closer to the people of God,” Pope Francis told a crowd gathered outside. “This is important for us, to follow the Mass this way. And there is no going back…Whoever goes back is mistaken.”

In his two years in office, the pontiff has drawn attention for his unconventional gestures—such as personally welcoming homeless people to the Sistine Chapel last month—but those gestures matter most as signs of the radical new direction in which he seeks to lead the Catholic Church: toward his vision of the promise of Vatican II. Both the acclaim and the alarm that Francis has generated as pope have been responses to his role in the long struggle over the council’s legacy.

For a half century, ordinary Catholics and their leaders have debated, often passionately, whether the changes that followed the council went too far or not far enough. Pope Francis’ immediate predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, devoted much of their pontificates to correcting what they deemed unjustified deviations from tradition in the name of Vatican II.

wsj.com/articles/pope-francis-and-the-new-rome-1428075101?mod=WSJ_hp_RightTopStories

FWIW,

The US priest who translates the Pope’s tweets into Latin

Who is the best at Latin? “Pope Benedict speaks it smoothly and perfectly.” What about Pope Francis? “It’s not true he doesn’t like it, on the contrary he knows it very well and also makes corrections but he doesn’t speak it much.”

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I think when the title of a news article includes the phrase “the new Rome”, one can be pretty sure an agenda is at work.

Kind of like the use of “Novus Ordo”, “New Mass”, or “NO” here on CAF from some members, when referring to the “Ordinary Form” or “OF”. Just sayin’ :smiley:

I see an agenda when people refer the Mass in OF as the “New Mass” or “Novus Ordo” :smiley:

Pope Francis doesn’t seem to particularly worry about relations with traditionalist groups. He’s much different from Pope Benedict in that regard.

exactly my thoughts !!! I didnt even bother reading the article…Happy Easter!

Pope Benedict bent over backwards to bring those separated groups back into the fold. It was they who made the choice to continue their disobedience. Do you actually think those groups are wanting to put aside their pride and arrogance and dialogue with Pope Francis?

I think that has more to do with the facts on the ground than anything. The traditionalist groups, though some of them (not all, but some) reject the validity of the Pope’s election (often saying that there hasn’t been a validly elected Pope since before Vatican II), or vehemently disagree with the Pope (sometimes in a manner so divisive that it causes schism), still try to remain faithful to the Church’s traditional teachings (though not always in a charitable manner). In other words, the traditionalist groups are like the “older brother” in the story of the Prodigal Son. They can be angry and spiteful, but the hope is that eventually they’ll come around with loving, compassionate dialogue and example.

Francis’s main goal is to reach out to the lost sheep - those who may be culturally Catholic, but have never been catechized, with many never having even been sacramentalized. Many cultural Catholics have never been inside a church building, let along attended Mass, except maybe for their own baptism (if they have been baptized). In other words, he’s trying to reevangelize a world that has forgotten the gospel message. And just as in the early days of the Church, the gospel message flies in the face of the prevailing culture.

In the gospel story, the Older Brother was safe and in secure; part of the establishment. TLM Catholic groups are in the opposite situation in the great majority of dioceses, and had almost no support in the Vatican till the late 1980s; and limited support since then. They were treated like the Prodigal; and still are in some places, though not necessarily in Rome.

The term “traditionalist” can mean almost anything, thus it means almost nothing. The article clearly is pushing an agenda, and is unfair to Pope Francis; using him to make their own point. Pope Francis, like the 2 prior popes, identifies the vernacular as the “ordinary” form. He also respects the “Extraordinary” Form.

The fact that people in groups apart from the Catholic Church are negative doesn’t negate the many faithful Catholics, fully inside the Church, who support the EF. I think Pope Francis affirms these individuals as much as his predecessor.

I have disagreed with the SSPX often on CAF. But to make a blanket statement describing them as the “Older Brother” is grossly inaccurate. They may be wrong. But they clearly have never been on the “inside”.

Yet groups like the SSPX choose to not be on the inside. Not from bad catechesis or worldly influence, but from a spirit of pride that they know better than the Holy Father.
Sorry if that ticks some off, but it is what it is and you can’t sugar-coat their willful disobedience.

Allowing Catholics to pray in their local languages “was truly a courageous act by the church to draw closer to the people of God,” Pope Francis told a crowd gathered outside. “This is important for us, to follow the Mass this way. And there is no going back…Whoever goes back is mistaken.”

It is good to have this definitively clarified. Sometimes I think people have mistaken the adjectives ‘Ordinary’ and ‘Extaordinary’ form as meaning inferior and superior forms. In context ordinary is meant as the usual or common and extraordinary as apart from the usual or common as in distinct or peculiar. I believe that most people are happy to accommodate lovers of the Latin Mass within the Church, but get weary of being told that the ordinary form is base, crude, ugly and all those other negative adjectives that are used to condemn it.

Banal, fabricated…

It’s interesting that the Pope chose the Missal that predated Paul VI’s 1970 Missal and ICEL’s royalty ambitions to make his point. It wasn’t the Ordinary Form at all.

But even the Archbishop said he preferred the Old Mass in the vernacular rather than the New Mass in Latin. And Pope Francis used the 1965 Missal as an example rather than the Mass he always celebrates himself. So what’s really going on here?

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I don’t know about “most people” but many, perhaps most people in charge of seminaries, diocesan newspapers, campus ministries, parochial schools, and those with influence over liturgy planning, were the opposite of happy to accomodate. Children were not exposed to it. Even when the Vatican pushed dioceses to allow it, it was often with foot dragging, no encouragement, no “diversity” when it came to the TLM. A priest in my then parish denounced the Vatican’s 1988 expansion as “dangerous”. In my diocese most of the people who attend the diocesan TLM are young adults now.

I disagree with those who have split off in one way or another over the extreme hostility against the TLM. I think the SSPX and others do more harm than good. But the reason they were able to attract so many good people is the huge blind spot or inconsistency, or condescension shown by dioceses towards Catholics who appreciate the TLM. We are gradually coming out of that desert now, mainly because of bishops appointed in the last 20 years. The TLM people I know are not attending out of nostalgia, they did not grow up with it.

Most of the time I attend an OF Mass in my parish.

I’m not sure about the older son comparison but I definitely think his priorities are more aligned towards cultural Catholics ( a much larger group than traditionalists). As far as I’ve heard the closest Pope Francis has come to a traditionalist group/leader is accidentally running into SSPX head Bishop Fellay during breakfast. Except for that he hardly mentions them. A lot of statements the Pope makes on issues aren’t particularly sensitive to traditionalist groups, probably meaning that he doesn’t highly prioritize relations and further efforts with this group.

The term “traditionalist” can mean almost anything, thus it means almost nothing. The article clearly is pushing an agenda, and is unfair to Pope Francis; using him to make their own point. Pope Francis, like the 2 prior popes, identifies the vernacular as the “ordinary” form. He also respects the “Extraordinary” Form.

I think wiki sums it up pretty well and I’ve understood it as this
“Traditionalist Catholics are Roman Catholics who believe that there should be a restoration of many or all of the liturgical forms, public and private devotions and presentations of teaching of the Church before the Second Vatican Council (1962–65 They are commonly associated with an attachment to the Eucharistic liturgy often called the Tridentine, Traditional Latin or extraordinary form of the Mass.”

But Vatican Council II did not abrogate anything. Neither the Mass nor devotions. All can still be observed.

That is true. However, the ICEL inter alia, who lobbied for the all-vernacular, seemed to have other ideas.

Very objective article. A secular periodical hits the nail on the head!

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