Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Papal Liturgy...

It pains me that some people think I am less than Catholic because I didn't go along with the crowd, wave a Vatican flag, or shout out Viva il Papa during the four days of the Pope's visit. At Hyde Park on Saturday the arrival of the Holy Father was heralded by Handel's Messiah. I wondered at the time whether the words ''king of kings and lord of lords'' meant the Pope...all the time I looked about me, seeing starry-eyed devotees with their banners and flags I thought ''I don't believe the same as you,'' and I daresay that most of the thousands in the Park undermine Catholic teaching in some way. What were they there for? To gape at the superstar Pope? To show solidarity as Catholics by looking ridiculous in the eyes of the world and of posterity? There must be a grain of truth in the Protestant idea that Catholics worship the Pope - how else can you account for what happened? The Papal liturgies over the weekend were tacky and full of abuses - but this doesn't seem to matter to most enthusiasts, because Pope Benedict XVI is the Pope is infallible is the omniscient dispenser of Grace (I wonder who composed his speeches?), who can render abuse orthodoxy and travesty Tradition - merely to see him is to see Almighty God. I must say I felt sorry for the Pope for much of the visit, feeling for his shame. Celebrating Mass at a liturgically inappropriate time in an open field in Glasgow with crap music (arguably the worst part of that farcical liturgy was the Kyrie! Mass VIII is bad enough but they made it sound more ridiculous) can hardly have been to his taste. If St Leo the Great, worthiest of popes, had come to these shores would he have been received thus?

I think that Papal High Mass in the Old Rite celebrated in the Birmingham Oratory with the assistance of the Oratorian Fathers would have been far more impressive and appropriate for the beatification of Cardinal Newman than yet another open air Mass in a field with yet more tacky hymns. This would have attracted fewer crowds too...but then most of the devotees can hardly care for Liturgy, and the appalling Liturgy over the last four days only indicates that the cult of the Ultramontane Pope matters more in the Catholic Church nowadays than the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy. Liturgy is infinitely more important than the Papacy, and Popes bow to the Sacred Liturgy not the other way around (or at least they ought to, Pius XII and the other monstrous popes obviously thought otherwise). Something has become dislocated in the Catholic Church, otherwise the last four days would have been very different. I wonder if I am a minority of one.

Oh and erm...if the Pope doesn't (officially) recognise Rowan Williams' Orders why did he give him a Pectoral Cross? Out of the two photos which is more impressive?


  1. What is up with the candles in the window boxes flanking the "altar." It would have been better to just omit them. As it is, it looks sort of like they were saying [New Jersey accent]Ya want rubrics?! I got ya rubrics right 'ere![/New Jersey accent]

  2. Beatlemania, most of it. "OMG! He looked at me! I'll never wash again, etc, etc..."

    To be fair to Benedict, I suspect he genuinely detests having to jump through these ridiculous hoops; he's certainly on record as having grave reservations about the appropriateness of rock-venue, stadium Masses. It's not new, though - have a look at some old footage or photos of Eucharistic Congresses pre-war - all theatrical floats and pasteboard pageantry.

  3. Ultramontanism rules! Long Live the Pope!

    And I do think you're well on your way to "Orthodoxy" (or from this Catholic's perspective "heterodoxy") and I'm sad but that's your loss I guess.

    I don't ever want the Catholic Church to end up like Anglicanism - play dress up but no real religion, or like Orthodoxy - real religion but irrelevant and little impact to most of the Western world.

    I triumph in the sheer mass that is Catholicism - and hopefully once again the glory days of Christendom will sweep across the Western world and from corner to corner the world proclaims - the Lord is King, and his Vicar is the Pope..

    From pilgrims lips that kiss the ground breathes in one voice on only sound...God Bless our Pope the great the good!

  4. Hmmm...

    I made it all the way through your two most recent posts before I saw your photograph and realised who you are. Two mutual friends of ours have mentioned you in passing in conversation with me recently, both independently of each other, and now I just happen across your blog less than a fortnight later. I take it as a sign that I ought to say hello so, well, hello. :-)

  5. For the Holy Father's speeches etc see here http://www.thepapalvisit.org.uk/speeches

    @Justin: What Patrick espouses is the true Roman Catholic appreciation of the Papal Office before the triumph of the ultramontane movement at VCI, where Pio Nonno had raised himself up to just less than God. I was suprised at the number of frankly blasphemous comments being made by "fans" of the Pope that I suspect, would have made the poor man very uncomfortable. [If liberalism wasn't so rife in the Church I'd half expect Benedict to re-interpret "Pastor Aeternus" to a more theologically nuanced and sounder position Scripturally in accordance with Tradition - but I don't blame him for not giving the liberals any further excuse to run a muck.]

  6. As a mere lay Catholic who was at Cofton Park, may I just make the point that the Mass was incredibly prayful and that the Holy Father does not seek any attention for himself, but is utterly concentrated on the Mass.

    As a result the hoards of people around me - 60k- were kneeling silently and as they would in a Church, it's just that we were in a rain sodden field for 6 hours before the Mass started.

    Beatlemania? No just a very devotional Mass.
    I'm very pleased I went and all the feed back I have had from other parishioners is similarly positive.

    Looking forward to the Te deum after Mass tomorrow.