Wednesday 13 March 2013

Pope Francis -Called To Re-build But Likely To Re-Design?

We all, of course, promise respect and obedience to the new Pope, Francis. But there is already much talk about the man as being no friend of Tradition. Can this really be so, when Vatican II reminded us is part of the Deposit of Faith on a par with Sacred Scripture? Surely no one who accepts the Papal Office does so with the desire to change what has been received from the Apostles and its legitimate development down the centuries? Who would have such arrogance or absence of faith to act in such a manner? At any rate, my hope is that the people of God will realise that Francis is Vicar of Christ and as such, owed our obedience and respect. That said, if the fears expressed by others are justified, then I hope that Francis will, in his turn, give his faithful obedience to the Tradition of the Church.  

Unfortunately, for many Catholics today Tradition is regarded simply as custom, and therefore easily abandoned. We must then, as always, trust in the Holy Spirit and offer filial prayers for Pope Francis -not only for his person, but for his Pontificate, that he may demonstrate his firm adherence to the Deposit of Faith in Scripture and Tradition, and thereby serve as both a rallying point for the faithful and firm rebuke to the secular world.

We trust God will use Pope Francis to re-build the Church as he did with his name-sake from Assisi, and pray that he will not try to remodel what does not belong to him. A Pope is not, after all, all-powerful, and the new man surely knows this. Rather, he is caretaker of the Lord’s Body and not its master. One trusts, as all must do, that Francis is indeed aware that Our Lord “is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb.13v8) and as such does not speak doctrine or guide liturgical development with forked tongue: what was sacred before is sacred now -be that in doctrine or in liturgy. I feel sure Francis has the humility and wisdom to lead the Church authentically and remains open to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, faithful to the Tradition we have received. And who could suggest he does not..?


  1. I was shocked upon hearing of the choice but promised my support and prayers for the holy Father. In fact I am going to pray an extra rosary every day for him.

    I prayed in earnest for a traditional, Marian and holy pope. I had hoped for one who had a great love for the traditional Mass and who would continue in a concrete way the "reform of the reform".... I have been trying my best to understand what it is the LORD would like to accomplish through this pontificate. I was encouraged after reading this posting:

    1. Thank you for your comment.

      I'm of the opinion that we must give the man a chance; he must surely be a supporter of Sacred Tradition. And if he is not of the traditional liturgy, as long as he proves no enemy to the Church's liturgical patrimony then there is nothing to worry about.

    2. Father,

      I can hope but I have no illusions. As I read elsewhere, Papa Francesco is very much in the "Catholic mainstream". Watching the Mass from the Sistine Chapel yesterday where the free-standing table was brought in complete with a very large microphone, I have no illusions. I saw people coming to the kneelers to receive and kneeling to receive in the hand... I have no illusions. This is the new reality. It is what it is. I have promised to pray for Papa Francesco with an extra daily rosary. I have also promised myself to pray and watch from a distance in as detached a manner as possible but again I have no illusions anymore about a Catholic restoration especially in the liturgical sphere nor for a clarification of Vatican II. Those illusions are gone.

    3. Thank you for commenting.

      I have hope, but I too was disappointed with the roll-on, roll-off altar in the Sistine chapel, while the manner in which Holy Communion was received was a lapse back into the immediate post-Conciliar days when we aped Protestant practice. But I have to day was disappointed with Benedict too: only on very rare occasion did he celebrate Mass ad orientem -despite the fact the Missal given us by Paul VI specifically to give concrete form to the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council has always prescribed such an orientation. He could well have recalled the need to be faithful to the reform of the Council Fathers and Paul VI in this regard.
      I can only hope Francis will celebrate Mass with reverence and a clear focus upon God and not-as is inevitable if one faces the people- allow his own personality to take centre stage.

    4. Father,

      I too was very disappointed that Benedict XVI did not celebrate Ad Orientem as the norm. Especially considering how much he had spoken/written on the subject and his admiration for Mgr Gamber. If he (Benedict XVI) who was lamented the liturgical malaise of the past 40+ years, did not do so we can hardly expect Papa Francesco to do so. I may be wrong, but I suspect that liturgical issues are not high on his list of concerns. Again, I have no illusions. All we can do is pray for a restoration and clarification.

    5. Thanks for commenting.

      Perhaps we can give thanks that Francis does not have liturgical issues as a priority; it might mean he will celebrate with reverence and not go in for 'yoof-full' idiosyncrasies. I am disturbed by the huge puppets he allowed at the Mass he celebrated as Archbishop of Buenos Aires; if this is a sign of his liturgical understanding (i.e., as the entertainment of the people rather than clear worship of God) we might see some regrettable celebrations. World Youth Day will give us a better idea of where he is coming from and likely to lead us...


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