This Post originally appeared on Saint Patrick's Day, 17th March, 2013.
|POPE FRANCIS - HIS INITIAL ADDRESS TO THE FAITHFUL|
Reactions to the new Holy Father have covered a very wide spectrum from glee to frothing at the mouth hatred.The mainstream media were as much thrown off balance as everyone else by the speed of the Election - only five Ballots - and the totally unexpected choice.They quickly recovered and decided to run with the stuff they love best - Sensation! Surprise! Who is this? And then they got a bonus : the new Pope's unconventional approach to matters of form." Man of the people" they cried!
But not everyone was so lyrical. Sadly the very worst of the carping came from the most extreme of Traditionalists in matters Liturgical. Now, here at Vexilla Regis we are convinced "Say the Black and Do the Red" believers and devoted admirers of the Extraordinary Form. But there are those whose dedication , especially to the latter cause , is quite inordinate , they are the ecclesiastical equivalent of those who in the days before Communism imploded, saw "reds under the bed" everywhere. I am no great admirer of much of Psychology's effects in the Church or in the general community.But in the case of people such as these there are obvious personality flaws.
At one of the main Traditional Mass advocacy Blogs - Rorate Caeli - numerous comments have been posted and allowed to stand that are truly lamentable, some deliberately deceitful and some simply perverse.
The Perceived Offences
Much of the criticism has surrounded the new Holy Father's choices in dress. For example his decision not to wear the Mozzetta - the short red elbow length cape - when he stepped onto the balcony of the Basilica for the first time. Or his decision at that time to wear his Archiepiscopal Pectoral Cross rather than one of those set out for him. And again the fact that he did not wear the great Stole until he was about to bless the faithful and then, that liturgical action complete, he reverenced the stole by kissing the Cross on it , and removed it. This simple series of decisions sent some Traditionalists into fits of apoplexy! They were totally hysterical.
These people need to look into the mirror and pour a bucket of cold water over their heads - to see how stupidly they are behaving. Not every item of Papal vesture has a significance as great as an expression of Faith. They are confusing form with substance.
Then they are driven to total distraction by the Holy Father's decision to travel in a mini-bus to collect his things from his accommodation in Rome and to pay his bill there in person. Why are they so pre-occupied with trivia? If the Holy Father chooses to make these little and insignificant gestures, that is his prerogative . It is not a denial of the Faith - it is not even anything important - just a symbolic gesture. Some might, in all loyalty, wonder if the time consumed might have been better spent - that is their prerogative. But the venomous diatribes launched against the Holy Father on account of these actions are not only inappropriate and unwarranted - they are disgusting.
At the Same time
Sadly, elsewhere along the spectrum of opinion, there are a number of rogues using Pope Francis' simple approach to resume their war against the sacred liturgy , Pope Benedict XVI and Blessed Pope John Paul II in a back-handed way by lauding inordinately the approach of Pope Francis.
No better example of this can be found than the Archbishop (Emeritus - hardly! of Los Angeles) Cardinal Mahony, who has recently been deprived of all public duties by the Archbishop of Los Angeles in the light of discoveries of Mahony's outrageous efforts to cover-up his mis-handling of several pedophile cases. Mahony has recently posted a number of tweets lauding the Holy Father's simplifying matters liturgical and even waxing lyrical over him wearing black shoes(!) - these it has since been revealed, his Holiness has continued to wear because they were a gift upon his departure from some Buenos Aires friends who noticed that his shoes were rather down at heel.Implicit in Cardinal Mahony's language is a denigration of the devotion of Pope Benedict XVI to the sense of the sacred in the Liturgy.
A similar example can be found in The Christian Science Monitor in a 15th March article quoting John De Gioia President of Jesuit run Georgetown University( Salary 2008 $ 911,613 U.S.). It entirely falsifies Pope Benedict's Pontificate, the Second Vatican Council, Pope Francis intentions and the state of the Church to spin the dying " spirit of the Council" myth.
So we can see that the new Holy Father has himself become the target for abuse as a symbol for whatever cause all manner of rogues wish to use him - whether to attack him personally ( when he is perceived to be insufficiently conservative - no matter what the realities) , or to endeavour to turn him into an exemplar contrary to his two predecessors ( no matter that the truth is entirely opposite.)
The sooner the " honeymoon " is over and the hard work of the Pontificate gets under way the more quickly the rogues, both Traditionalist and Dissenting, will be left with nowhere to posture any longer.