Saturday, March 16, 2013

Card. Mahony's tweets cause division, pitting one pope against another

I think Pope Francis would be very disappointed with some tweets by Cardinal Mahony. 

Rarely do I publicly criticize a prince of the Church, but when one makes a public effort to divide the faithful between two popes, I feel justified saying something publicly with the hope that Pope Francis himself will eventually see the divisive nature of Cardinal Mahony's tweets.  

It is not so much that it was hurtful to me personally, which it was; it's that he is fueling the very thing we should not want to see - pitting of one pope against the other, as better.  Pope Francis himself seems to be working over time to ensure that people don't do this, by referring to his predecessor, repeatedly, as meek and humble. 

Regardless of his liturgical preferences, I don't think Pope Francis would approve of this.... 

His Twitter account is here:

Pat Archbold responded with a number of tweets, then followed up with a post at his National Catholic Register blog.  Here are a few.

A Church truly dedicated to the poor would provide them the most magnificent liturgy possible. #LiturgyMatters

Humility is about forgetting self, not forgetting beauty. #LiturgyMatters

Would you dress the bride in rags as a sign of your humility? #LiturgyMatters

Read the rest of his long list of tweet-responses here:

It should be noted that Archbold was not referring to Pope Francis with the "bride in rags" comment, or in his other responses.  Rather, he was talking about how some would like to put on banal liturgies or bring back liturgical dancing and other abuses.  They think Pope Francis is their guy and I doubt it. He may not have Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI flare or taste in liturgical garb, but there is some latitude what is allowed.  I don't feel that Pope Francis not dressing like his predecessor is a slam against him as some are reading into it; I think he is simply doing what makes him comfortable.


For those of us with a more traditional preference in liturgy, you should read an excellent essay by Shawn Tribe (scroll down past the headlines in that post). He runs the blog, the New Liturgical Movement.  Shawn has always been level-headed and keen about all things liturgical, and he is a true advocate of the reform of the liturgy to get it more in harmony with Vatican II.  He writes some initial thoughts, given the panic some have over what could be the loss of some liturgical gains we had under Pope Benedict XVI.  Shawn rightly calls it a grass-roots movement and even if Pope Francis doesn't follow through with some of the things Benedict XVI did in his Masses, people - especially young people - have come to love more reverence in the liturgy.

Some feel the only way to make the poor feel at home in the Mass is to simplify it and get rid of all the beauty.  We tried that for 40 years.  In fact, I wonder if the Cardinal-electors would have felt as inspired by the Holy Spirit had they been put in to a white office room full of banalities.  As my mother said, when I was a kid, I was very poor, but I was not dirty because soap was cheap.  I think it is a mistake to presume that the poorest of the poor would not want to see God giving his due in the Mass with all splendor and dignity.  I don't know what Pope Francis things about this, but I am hopeful that we can try to discuss this with him, as a group.  We need to keep talking about it publicly and hope his humility will lead him to understand that a segment of the Church feels this way.  I have hope because he understands Eastern Liturgy.  Should we expect that to be simplified of all it's beauty?

It never ceases to amaze me when a bishop will go as far as putting on a yarmulke (skull cap) as a gesture of good will towards Jewish people at an ecumenical event.  Should we not hope that he would also make such a gesture of good will, even occasionally, towards Catholics who like to see beauty in the liturgy by putting on more festive vestments?

Pope Francis asked us to pray for him.  Let's do that.  Let's also pray for Cardinal Mahony and others like him who preach "tolerance" while themselves showing intolerance for some groups of Catholics.

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