Thursday, 14 March 2013

Papal Court liturgy...

With yestereven's news, and especially the choice of papal name, I have turned once again to the subject of Innocent III's liturgical reform, carried on by his successors Honorius III and Gregory IX, and taken to the farthest reaches of Christendom by the Franciscan Friars. A good reference for this subject is The Origins of the Modern Roman Liturgy: The Liturgy of the Papal Court and the Franciscan Order in the Thirteenth Century by S.J.P Van Dijk and J.Hazelden Walker. I doubt liturgy is on the agenda for pope Francis but it will be interesting to see what kind of liturgy he celebrates publically, and whether he retains much (or anything) of Benedict's reform. His time spent with the Easterns might have some positive influence. Who knows? As I said yesterday, the fact that he came out onto the balcony without scarlet almutia and stole speaks volumes; I wonder if he'll have this approach to liturgy in general? As he is 76 years old and has only one functioning lung, I say: use well the days!


  1. "I have turned once again to the subject of Innocent III's liturgical reform"

    Great! Maybe you might post something about the topic, I rather miss your posts on liturgical history.

  2. Well, he has celebrated his first mass now.

    He abandoned the graduale and didn't wear the fanon. A versus populum altar was added to the Sistine chapel, with a "Benedictine arrangement". His Latin is a bit shabby.

    It could have been worse.

  3. Yes, because a row of six candlesticks and a crucifix really makes a liturgical abuse more acceptable...puleeeez. An altar crucifix is itself superfluous, and a rather late addition; and it makes the addition of another one (in front and behind the celebrant) just ridiculous!

    Nevertheless I am rather glad we now have such a pope. Maybe in time he will abolish the Benedictine altar arrangement, as a nice holy father would...

    1. I listed the main things I didn't like. ;-)

      Two candlesticks are enough, and the crucifix seems best for churches without a rood. I think the a posteriori reasoning behind the 'arrangement' is that it hides the priest completely, so it feels less like versus populum.

      The American GIRM still requires six for solemn masses.
      The de facto return to two candles is the only good thing versus populum has brought with it. (Or perhaps also the destruction of gaudy high altars in certain dioceses.)

      Pope Francis probably won't forbid it, it seems he lacks interest in the liturgy, and at best it will probably fall into disuse. It's not a good sign that he dropped the fanon, which dates back to the eight century, but kept the benedictine altar arrangement.

  4. It may ''hide'' the priest from view but the abuse is still there, so the theory is bollocks.

    Pope Francis will not forbid anything enacted by Benedict, as this is bad for business. I think he will just let things slide and eventually fizzle out. Who knows, if he's still around in 2020 he may deliver the final blow and abolish Summorum Pontificum after seven years of not pandering to the Traddies, but one can only hope.

    ''It's not a good sign that he dropped the fanon, which dates back to the eight century, but kept the benedictine altar arrangement.'' Well, quite, but latter day popes aren't renowned for their knowledge of or care for Liturgy, so are you really surprised? Still, this one seems a welcome change to pope Betty!

  5. Of course it's bollocks, but six candles seems to equal good liturgy in the minds of many traditionalists. Pointing to the middle ages for example won't do a thing, because they'll cite Pius XII stance on "liturgical archaeologism", while ignoring the fact that a versus populum altar itself is misguided liturgical archaeologism. I'd say being 'traditionalist' and ultramontane requires a good amount of Orwellian doublethink.

    You're right, I shouldn't be surprised. But yes, liturgically, his lack of interest should be a welcome change.

    1. Much better IMO to have one who is not really interested rather than someone who is interested yet gets things seriously wrong.