Pope Francis: A Trendy – Traddy Debate

Meet Randy Trendy and Maddy Traddy: See who you agree with….

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Randy: Don’t you think Pope Francis is great! He is a man of the poor for the poor.

Maddy: I like the fact that he serves the poor, but people aren’t good just because they’re poor. And rich people aren’t bad just because they’re rich.

Randy: Are you kidding me? Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor” and “It is more difficult for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Maddy: I think you’ll find he said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” What he meant was that those who are humble of heart are blessed. Surely you don’t think that Jesus meant that being poor is something good or that a person is blessed just because he lives in poverty?

Randy: What about the rich person not getting into heaven?

Maddy: Are you rich?

Randy: No!

Maddy:  Compared, let’s say, to a single mother living in a one room cardboard shack with five children in a slum in Brazil are you rich?

Randy: OK. I’m probably rich.

Maddy: The point I’m making is that wealth and poverty are relative. I find it strange that I’ve never met anyone who thinks they’re rich–not even people, who by anyone’s standards are fabulously wealthy.

Randy: So your point is?

Maddy: Just that the rich-poor thing is slippery. We almost always compare ourselves to someone who has more than we do and so we think ourselves poor. We rarely compare ourselves to someone who has less and discover that we’re rich. It’s even more slippery when we try to judge others. This is the real reason why Pope Francis’ emphasis on the poor is important–because he makes all of us shift our attention to those less fortunate than ourselves rather than being envious of those who are more wealthy.

Randy: OK, but don’t you think Pope Francis is great to have got rid of all that fancy stuff that Pope Benedict wore? He’s putting all those fancy clothes, the red shoes, the big miters and all the extra gear into mothballs. Did you see he replaced the papal throne with a more ordinary chair? This is going to make a big, big impact.

The vast majority of people love those kind of gestures. They think the Catholic church is rich and full of old, rich white guys sitting on a pile of wealth. A pope on a throne wearing a gold miter gives the wrong impression. St Francis is probably the best loved Catholic saint in the world. Everybody knows him and loves him, so to take the name Francis and live like Francis is the best move forward for evangelization possible. I’m thrilled by it.

Maddy: Are you so thrilled by it that you intend to follow his example?

Randy: What?

Maddy: Are you going to move out of your nice house and sell your nice car and ride the bus and stop eating out and give your money to the poor?

Randy: I think you’re missing the point. It’s important that the pope does this.

Maddy: Uh huh.

Randy: So you’re actually in favor of all those trappings? The red silk cape, the ermine trimmed vestments, the golden crowns, the red hand made shoes, the throne, the old fashioned hats–all that fancy stuff?

Maddy: I once heard about this English priest who was appointed to be a Bishop–let’s say the Bishop of Bootle, and he said he didn’t want to wear the cope and miter and carry the crozier and do all that fancy stuff. He just wanted to be known as “Bishop Ted”. He just wanted to be down to earth and be one of the guys. One of his advisors said, “With respect Bishop, the people don’t really want you to be ‘one of the guys’. They want you to be the bishop. They don’t care about “Ted” they care about the Bishop of Bootle. They want to see the Bishop in his miter and cope and crozier. If you deprive them of that and give them “Bishop Ted”  who is just one of the boys, they won’t thank you for it. Anyway, why would you want to impose your personality on the Bishop’s office in such a way? You think it would be humble to be just Bishop Ted–one of the guys–but wouldn’t it be more humble to be the Bishop of Bootle and allow Ted to disappear within the office and the vestments of the office? By being “Bishop Ted” aren’t you sort of showing off how humble you are, and if so, is that really humility? If the vestments and the limousine really don’t matter to you why not be humble enough to just use them and not make a fuss?

Randy: Oh, very sly. But I’m afraid it doesn’t wash. In fact, the vast majority of people think it is great that Pope Francis has a simpler style. They like how he relates to people and is not all distant and cut off from them. They like his simplicity and they’re impressed by his humility and service to others. Don’t you see how much all that pomp and circumstance with fancy vestments and choirs singing Palestrina and Vivaldi and a bulletproof popemobile and all that–it just alienates people. They think the Pope and Cardinals are all renaissance princes of the church.

Tell me. What do ordinary people in Africa or South America or the suburbs know or care about all that fancy stuff? You’re probably also into the Latin Mass. I’m not getting on your case, but how does that help evangelize? How does that help reach out to people? How does that communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ–who was born in a stable, worked as a carpenter, had fishermen for followers and died on a cross as a common criminal?

Do you think people will actually be converted and have a profound encounter with Christ because the pope wears silk vestments, a golden crown and red shoes? C’mon. The world is starving for the reality and the grit and grace of the gospel and you guys are getting huffy because the pope didn’t wear the right hat.

Maddy: I do actually believe that people are converted by beauty, truth and goodness. Are you suggesting we should dumb down the liturgy? I suppose you want to bring in guitar masses and have clowns and big puppets to help “relate” to people.

We’re talking about the worship of Almighty God. We’re entering the court of heaven. It’s supposed to be grand and glorious, and why should poor people or ordinary people be short changed and given a dumbed down liturgy, tacky music and a kind of game show instead of the Divine Liturgy?

Randy: I’m not saying you have to do all that stuff. I’m just saying it’s about people for goodness sake! It’s about souls right? It’s about the gospel. It’s about God taking flesh from an ordinary peasant girl called Mary and living as one of us–not as a prince, but as a pauper.

Don’t you see what we’ve done? Jesus comes to us as an ordinary person: God in the guise of the common man, and we’ve turned him into some sort of high class hoity toity Episcopalian with perfect taste and perfect teeth and beautiful robes and combed hair. You traditionalists have become the very people he condemned: the ones who love to wear fine robes and sit in the best seats in the temple and have people bow and give you respect. Thats’s what people think of a Pope who expects everyone to kiss his ring and bow down to him.

Maddy: Sounds Protestant to me.

Randy: Have you ever asked yourself why the Protestant Reformation happened in the first place? Maybe they wouldn’t have all gone off in a huff if the Catholic Church hadn’t been so obsessed with fine vestments, papal palaces and thrones and all that stuff. If the pope then had been humble like Pope Francis maybe the Reformation wouldn’t have happened!

Maddy:  OK. I like Pope Francis, don’t get me wrong. I’m glad he is who he is and I hope his ministry will be all that we hope it will be. I’m just a bit cautious about his style. I’m not convinced that the stuff he’s doing is much more than a gimmick. I get worried whenever I see people washing the feet of AIDS victims and making sure the cameras are there. You know?

Randy: What about him going to the prison for Holy Thursday? That’s pretty impressive no?

Maddy: Will the cameras be there?  Probably. And if they are, then it will probably be good for the image of the papacy and good for the church and the gospel. However…

Randy: You’re not going to slam that are you?

Maddy: Well, think it through. St Francis kissed the sores of lepers, but he didn’t do so at the Mass of the Last Supper. Popes have always washed the feet of their fellow priests in the Basilica of St Peter. Jesus washed feet, but he didn’t wash the feet of just anybody. He washed the feet of his apostles. The foot washing is linked with the apostolic ministry and the ordination of the first priests. It’s a reminder that the pope and the priests are servants first of all.  This is why the successor of Peter–in Peter’s basilica–washes the feet of priests with whom he shares the apostolic ministry of service. This is done with reverence and honor in a grand liturgy showing that within the liturgy itself is locked the simple and humble sacrament of service.

The pope going to wash prisoner’s feet is a beautiful and humble gesture, but he’s sort of thrown out all that other rich symbolism and connection with the gospel by doing so. Is the gain in good public relations and the strong action of washing the feet of the prisoners enough to cause us to sacrifice these other rich and meaningful traditions? Not in my opinion. Furthermore, I’m not blaming the pope for this, but usually when people are set out on reform they are invariably aiming to destroy something–not build something. Pope Francis wants to do something beautiful and good by washing the feet of prisoners, but maybe in the process he’s throwing out something which was even better and more beautiful.

Randy: I can’t believe you’re so cynical and negative.

Maddy: I can’t believe you’re so ignorant and naive.

Randy: Let us share with one another the kiss of peace.

Maddy: The Lord be with You

Randy: And with your Spirit.

About Fr. Dwight Longenecker
  • http://www.thecatholicbeat.com Gail Finke

    Great piece! I especially love this:
    Maddy: Are you going to move out of your nice house and sell your nice car and ride the bus and stop eating out and give your money to the poor?
    Randy: I think you’re missing the point. It’s important that the pope does this.
    Maddy: Uh huh.
    and the end. I love the end.

    • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

      Indeed, I can’t stand the hypocrisy of people wanting a “simple” church when their parish needs a new building, all the while their own homes are lavishly furnished and decorated, costing far more per area than a fine church building.
      But when we go to the churches of the poor in third-world countries, they are truly palaces for the King of Kings, richly decorated by the generosity of paupers and widows.
      If anything, the clamor for simplicity in churches tells more about where one’s treasure is.

  • vox borealis

    You go, Maddy!

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      It will be interesting to see how people take sides. I tried very hard to allow both Randy and Maddy to make good points.

      • vox borealis

        Many will take sides in the direction of their own biases, no doubt. On that I am guilty as charged.

  • vox borealis

    Though I am a bit surprised that Randy used the phrase “kiss of peace” and didn’t respond at the end, “and also with you.”

  • Bill

    I like the point about the Reformation. If the Church wasn’t so wrapped up in temporal politics of the HRE she might have held off the wave of Protestantism and could have had more moral authority to stop Henry VIII.

    • mike cliffson

      Remember the blood of 70000 to 100000, out of pushing 4 million, but only one Bishop! Yeah, there could have been more Bishop martyrs , more witness, hence a liklier and more heartfealt return to Catholicsm under Mary ( only two of Cardinal pole’s Bishops caved to reprotestantization under Elizabeth , they risked Death although mainly they got imprisonment– but it hadn’t percolated through, the placemen and jobsworthies and the fairweather whatever the going religion for the sake of my wallet, ) but I don’t think HeneryVIII was particularly stoppable – would you kill one in every forty of your fellow countrymen countrychildren, and countrywomen, starting with your best friend and your mother’s confessor*, for the sake of oodles of boodle and what you’ve got in your underwear ? I can’t say no, if I could get away with it , and I don’t think Id worry any more about 50 bishops than one – who knows?
      Come to that , the martyrs amongst the friars and monks who DID tend the poor and were sorely missed by them were pretty high – and the slain out of hand and left to die in the ditch have never been counted.
      *Oh Nb St John Fisher : did you know he WAS an eat old crusts whilst feeding paupers Bishop? Henry’s 00 agents poisoned the d meat stew in the bishops kitchens , several paupers died , but he didn’t , his dinner that day was boiled fish’ eads or summat.So Henery had to be more open.
      The scandals of highliving churchmen are an excuse.
      Like today.

    • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

      Ahem, if it weren’t for kings trying to control the Church, Protestants would have never found in them the sponsors that gave them a future. It was the equivalent of instead of being a martyr for the True Faith, one would agree to burn incense to Caesar and get a fine living alongside courtesans, like… Martin Luther.

    • http://gmail Frank Cioppa

      Well, that’s what Protestants tell us. And history books are written by the victors.

  • Bill

    The progressive is a smug Whig, all teleological in the secular, not eschatological, sense. Arrogant

    But the traditionalist is extraordinarily insecure.

  • mike cliffson

    Well done Father ! I think!
    You could do one on Paul versus Peter, Charism versus Authority – except I hae me wee suspuscions that the versus weren’t there,that WE put in the “versus” like hollywood “jazzing up” a story they find boring by simplifying it into conflict with simplistic motives and painting one side “the bad guy”.
    Like Benedict versus Francis.Which they’re at right noo, the scurrilous rogues.
    Still , you could do a cool one.

  • Alex

    Randy wins this one. The award for most creative argument goes to Maddy for “humble yourself and accept the limo ride.” Maddy has a lot of chutzpah to say this with a straight face. She must be a lawyer.

    • Nathan

      The argument isn’t “humble yourself and go for the limo ride” as much as humble yourself and allow your personality, your preferences, to disappear in the office. It’s “humble yourself and do what you predecessors have done” rather than draw attention to yourself, to your person, by breaking with tradition.

  • MaryMargaret

    Maddy was doing well until she said that Pope Francis’s humble gestures were a gimmick..then she lost all credibility. Good job, Father. Randy lost his credibility when he said it was important that the Pope does these things..but not me..heaven forbid! lol

  • Cassandra

    I’ve been doing some reflection on those “red shoes”. From the standpoint of simplicity, can it really be said that red shoe dye is more expensive than black shoe dye? I think not.

    Now, I’ve not particularly invested in the “red shoe” debate, but replacing them with black shoes seems a bit obscure on the part of Francis. No one would really even know if it weren’t for reporters with telescopic lens. If he’s *really* interested in putting aside the trappings of the papal office, why not replace the papal white cassock with a black one?! As a Cardinal, Francis wore his black clericals without the distinguishing marks of a cardinal. There’s no theological grounding in the pope wearing white. It’s no different than the red shoes. So why eschew (pardon the pun) the red shoes and stop half-way? Either you mean it or you don’t.

    In fact, given his apparent penchant for going among the people, wearing black would compensate for the increased security risk by making it more difficult for attackers to pick him out accurately.

  • Nathan

    I can’t believe anyone would think Randy wins this argument. The worst argument must be the whole, “if only the Church was more humble, maybe the Reformation wouldn’t have happened.” Yeah like Luther was the model of humility. When will people realize the beauty of the Liturgy, the beauty of the Church (yes even of those old hats) honors, not man, but God. When we fail to give God the best we can, we fail to live the Greatest Commandment, and when we fail to live the Greatest Commandmemt, we will, invariably, fail to love our neighbor next. Great article, Father!

    • Bill

      But it’s true, if the Church weren’t so caught up in temporal affairs, She could have stemmed the tide.

      It’s revisionism to take a Counter-Reformation tack (which the Tridentine Church is) and append it back to pre-Reformation times.

  • Cassandra

    OK the first post seemed to fail, so if this doubles it’s not my fault.

    I’ve been doing some reflect on the “red shoes” debate. Surely no one can make the case that red shoe dye is more expensive than black shoe dye. And switching is a rather obscure move since most people wouldn’t even be able to tell if it weren’t for reporters with telescopic lens.

    If putting off the “trappings” of the papacy is the goal, why make a such a half-hearted gesture? Why not replace the white cassock with a simple black one?! As a Cardinal, Francis wore his clericals without the distinctive cardinal markings. There is no theological or doctrinal basis for the white cassock. It seems rather contradictory to eschew (pardon the pun) the red shoes and then keep the white cassock. Either you’re serious about simplicity or you’re not.

    In fact, if he is going to “go among the poeple” as it appears, wearing black would compensate for the additional security risk by making it more difficult for attackers to pick him out.

  • http://www.sheepslave.deviantart.com Michelle Therese

    It is almost as if God is giving us a wee pause, a “Time out, let’s go over here and discuss the practical ways of living out the simplicity of the Gospel” in the midst of the great and deep philosophical and theological teaching and guidance of Popes John-Paul and Benedict.

    If that makes any sense?

    It is a bit of a gimmick when the cameras are there, yet an inspiring gimmick. The Pope is clearly taking advantage of modern technology to make a global example. I am not about to rush out and wash and kiss the feet of people, yet after Pope Francis’ example I am reminded to pause and look people in the eye and acknowledge their God given human dignity.

    Ultimately I feel that the message of Pope Francis goes even deeper then “love the Poor.” It is as if he is saying to us, we can be united in our love for the Poor, we can find common ground and heal the rift that was torn between so many of us by the “Spirit of Vatican II” and the 1960′s cultural revolution. It is now time to throw away the “Liberal” and “Traditional” labels and just be Catholics. No more trying to dominate a parish as Traditional or Liberal but instead… we are must now work together to embrace the simplicity of the Gospel and live it. In unity.

    Easy to say, not easy to do. People are going hungry while we bicker about vestments and hymns. But if Pope Francis can kiss the feet of anyone, be it Priest or Prisoner… can’t we at least, in the same spirit of acknowledging human dignity, set aside our differences and embrace our Liberal and Conservative brothers and sisters and love one another again? To the extent that we are no longer getting in the way of the great works of charity and love that we could all, in unity, extend to the suffering world around us?

    It is pointless to make a show of loving and helping “the Poor” when we can’t love the Liberal/Traddie Catholic in the next pew over from ours…

  • AnneG

    I really like your point about the foot-washing. The example of service to Aids patients or prisoners is a good one, but there is a divine order. Jesus healed lepers but the foot washing was at the Institution of the Eucharist and the ordination or passing on of the Apostolic office. As the Jesuits love to say, which is the Greater Good?

  • Lynda

    The truth of the Catholic Faith cannot be reduced to a “trendy” v “traddy” debate (though it may have some amusement value). There is the objective truth of the Faith and morals as handed down through Tradition, Scripture and Magisterium. There is the authentic doctrine of the Church and then there is error.

  • AnneG

    One other comment. A while ago you wrote that vestments cover the man and show the world the priest. I think that is what you are saying about the “papal finery.” I lived in Eastern Europe for several years and the Soviet era neubau boxy, ugly buildings were functional and simple, but UGLY and depressing. People are converted and uplifted by beauty. Vestments, altar hangings, etc are inspiring and direct our hearts and minds to God. They also educate. I’m pretty sorry for all the Catholics who do not even notice change of seasons in colors and significance of vestment colors. Next time the priest at daily mass is wearing red, think about the martyr whose feast day we celebrate. When you see the priest wearing white in Ordinary time, look up the Solemnity. And, please, Holy Father, go into the sacristy at Saint Peter’s and pick out a new, white mitre. The one you keep wearing is Ugly.

  • CarolIne B

    Maddy for the win! Thanks for representing the non-rad Trads who love the Holy Father but are hurt by many of his (well-intentioned) actions. I especially like the part about Bishop Ted. Its the truth. Children, at least, want to see Almighty God Who loves them dearly and died for them, not just hang out with Ted at Mass. At least, that’s how I felt in my childhood, and I almost left the Church because people weren’t showing me where to find God there.

  • Kathy from Kansas

    What I get out of this is that BOTH Maddy Traddy and Randy Trendy make good points.

    Christianity has always been paradoxical. That’s a challenge for us, since it is human to be uncomfortable with paradox. But it is what Christ requires of us! When we try to take the easy way out — try to resolve the creative tension by oversimplifying things — we end up preaching heresies and making terrible messes.

  • Arnobius of Sicca

    I don’t know if I’m understanding Fr.s point, but it seems to me that both of them are making themselves the measure of how the Pope should behave instead of seeing the actions of the Pope as a call to rethink their own behavior and thoughts.

  • rd

    “humble yourself and don’t cure the sick on the sabbath.” :)

  • Will J

    Father, you have often stated that you prefer certain things in a Mass. I prefer occasional guitars, Hagen, Haas, etc. Hopefully we can co-exist in the same Church.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      I have just come from celebrating Mass at our parish. The music was a guitar, two flutes and a keyboard. The music was reverent and very pleasing.

      • Will J

        Thank you for your reply.

  • JG

    Excellent post, Father.

  • Paul H

    I would say that neither of them is right on all points, but they are both right on many points. Even on some points where they disagree, they are both saying something that is right — they are just emphasizing different aspects of the faith.

  • Paul Rodden

    I think Maddy is far nicer than bog-standard traddies, and Randy’s not nearly as passive-aggressive as he should be in real life…

    As to the debate, I couldn’t care a toss, really. “A man is most often right in what he affirms and wrong in what he denies.”. :)

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      I’ve heard that somewhere before…

      • Paul Rodden

        Guess where I heard it first, and thought – this is a blog worth following?
        Blessings, and thanks for all you do. I do worry about Mrs L though. Does she ever see you? :)

  • bill petro

    Funny and insightful once again. I have linked an articel re: St. Francis and his take on poverty – which many will find enlightening – especially in light of Fr. L’s Maddy and Randy. St. Francis felt churches should have all the best trappings (an priests the best clothing) in order to house the Eucharist.
    http://www.dfwcatholic.org/st-francis-poverty-often-misunderstood-priest-explains-79199/.html

  • Lila

    Actually, I’m sick of both trendy and traddy. Catholic—straight up, no ice—is for me.

  • Glenn Juday

    I’ve been quietly bemused by the vehemence of the traditionalist comments regarding Pope Francis. I am mostly a traditionalist myself, although I am also a product of the post-VII Church and I function more or less comfortably in the orthodox part of her, and do what I can for the semi-orthodox. In many important ways I would never want to try to recreate a papacy characterized by the secular trappings of a medieval European state, at least the rococo protocols and tendency for maddeningly elliptical and stilted language. Still, How can we account for this concern?

    Speaking personally, I never want to have to re-live the experience of the Church of the 1970s and 1980s. That’s when the deep clerical and liturgical rot and the massive lay apostasy set in. It was a time of desiccation, and the greatest gift I ever received in my life is the grace to somehow adhere to the faith and the Church despite the spirit of solipsism, prairie-flat horizontal liturgy, and the breezy abuse of the most sacred and precious elements of the sacraments and intellectual life of the Church through that time.

    Slowly I have come to realize one aspect of what has been happening in these comments about Pope Francis – and within me. The anxiousness, the seeming hypersensitivity, the amplified reaction to the most mundane gestures and words of the Holy Father are exactly what we should expect of the survivors of abuse – spiritual abuse. Catholic lay faithful of orthodox belief who are of a certain age are part of a network of survivors of spiritual, liturgical, and theological abuse.

    I do not mean this as a metaphor. I mean it literally. There is a deep fear that the bad old days may come back, and this time, especially after the springs of living water unclogged late in the pontificate of John Paul II and especially during that of Pope Benedict, a fear we individually may not be able to spiritually survive this time. A fear that we will be sent back to the liturgical gulag, and this time we may lose heart and do something stupid enough to loose our souls. It sounds perfervid, but in the logic of orthodox Catholic belief it would be better to just experience outright martyrdom.

    To the victims of sexual abuse the Church has mostly acted with real solicitude, once the criminal bishops and priests have been taken out of the picture. There is an understanding that the damage done was extreme, and that steadfast patience and understanding is the appropriate response, even while the victims remain embittered and may even heap abuse on anyone or anything associated with the Church. The Church persists in a belief that grace may be the main healer in this situation in which we have been humiliated.

    But what about the victims of spiritual abuse? How is the Church to be reconciled to them? By ridicule for their “touchiness”? By bromides about how a desire for the form of worship that is of most spiritual benefit to them is evidence of a weak character and constitutes a general offense to the proper Catholic spirit? By making the claim that the desire to stand in unity with their ancestors, physical or spiritual, united by words, posture, sight and sound with the saints in Heaven is somehow a sick and twisted aspiration? Of course, they, in fact, should just suck it up and move on with their lives. But if the analogy is permissible, and I think it is, do you see how callous, how cold, how un-Christ-like that appears to the victims?

    Maybe some do not believe that anything like spiritual abuse ever took place in the Church. That attitude has its parallels in the arena of the Church’s response to the sexual abuse crisis. But just ask any priest of orthodox convictions of a certain age about his seminary formation. Ask the married couples who found their way back to the fullness of the Catholic understanding of the sacrament of matrimony after the malformation they got from the Church. Ask the little old ladies who kept the public recitation of the Rosary going, the men who kept the Knights of Columbus active and vital. It may not happen right away, but at some point the stories may come tumbling out. And, of course, ask those devoted to the Extraordinary form of the Mass. Ask them if they were ever treated as mentally deficient, emotionally crippled, as a despised minority.

    Of course, objectively speaking, the Church is not in the same situation as the bad old days. The scales in most Catholic seminaries and in a few Catholic universities have tipped in the direction of orthodoxy. The snarky, snarling, oafish ridicule of the secular culture has united those who remain Catholic. The disdain of the secular culture has given us a reason to see more clearly that we actually have been made different because of the faith we have embraced, we are not just a set of odd ethnic and cultural quirks in a melting pot of ever more secular life.

    I suppose it would go a long way toward calming and reassuring those who have been given the charism of maintain Catholic tradition if Pope Francis were to give an overt sign of support and encouragement for their proper aspirations. But he is a busy man in a wildly complex and brutally demanding ministry. He needs our prayer and spiritual support, as he so frequently reminds us. I pray that someone may convey the message that a small gesture toward Catholics devoted to tradition might be just the balm needed for this, admittedly, sometimes unruly flock, and that he might if he were to do so, mobilize a more fervent spiritual commitment on behalf of the entire Body of Christ.

    In any event, no matter what, I will stick with the successor of Peter.

    • http://www.pilgrimwoman.com Sue Korlan

      I was raised in the 60′s. During that liturgy so many want to go back to because of its profundity, I used to read the Latin side of my missal to see whether the priest or I would get through it first. My experience may have looked reverent from the outside, but there was nothing godly or reverent about it. And I certainly didn’t understand the Latin I was reading. So I would say that not all that was pre-Vatican II was any better than what immediately followed. There is something to be said for having the liturgy in clear, comprehensible, and simple English and for being able to see what is going on at Mass.

  • Yae

    Neither one wins, in my opinion. Blessed JPII did not wear the mozzetta but a few times from what I remember and did not wear the red shoes either, he wore brown ones. From what I have been watching and listening to so far, Pope Francis is solid and orthodox. I continue to pray for him and his role as our new Holy Father.
    I decided, to the best of my ability, that I am not going to waste my time comparing him to Benedict XVI in what he wears or does not wear, in what he does and does not do. I am interested in how he will be an example to all of us in the Church and in the world, as to how to carry our cross with joy and in service and in love.
    I am looking forward to watching his example bear fruit as many are converted and brought to Christ by his example of love for Christ and for his Church. Pope Francis radiates joy in his faith, I want that same joy so when asked, I too, can witness for Christ.
    Beloved Benedict was a beacon and still is of that same joy. Seeing them together yesterday was pure joy and it gives me hope that eventually, everyone who claims to be Catholic will truly all be one so that the world believes, is converted and saved.
    Mary, Mother of Humility, pray for us.

  • Jacob

    There’s a super secret fix all to this: If you prepare a will to give away all your money when you die, you won’t be rich when you get to heaven!! (The Pharoah’s will need more help from Christ.)

  • Patricia

    I like both sides of the discussion. I believe the Catholic thing is to espouse “both/and” rather than “either / or”. Whether the Pope wears red shoes or black, gold or iron, takes a limo or subway, are moot points in the big scheme of things. These are style points, not substance. I see essentially Pope Francis and Pope Emertus Benedict as being complimentary. We are a big church , as long as they are preaching the same gospel, there is room for both styles in the church, and one shouldn’t be threatened or discounted by the other.

  • http://onecatholicsstruggle.weebly.com Theresa

    Ok- I honestly fall somewhere between the two views. On one hand, I really do think it is great that he’s willing to use the open air popemobile- I like that he seems very accessible. I question the choosing of a more simple Chair and vestments. I’m no expert on these things, but how much did it cost to get those things made, albeit simple in design. How much would it have cost to “repurpose” a previous, similar-sized pope’s Chair and vestments (provided that’s allowed…)? What I honestly dislike, though I see the temptation, is all the comparisons, indirectly if not directly, to Pope Benedict. It’s the same Holy Spirit that guided both conclaves. I recall something in scripture about having different gifts (charisms) but them being from the same Lord. Can’t this apply to the papacy as well. I’m sure there are valuable things to be learned from both men without having to through the retired pontiff under the bus.

    • Brian

      Theresa, With the chair and vestments, I don’t think it’s a matter of expenses; there was already a red mantella ready for him, and I imagine he could have just used the existing throne without any expense at all. I think it’s about symbolism; the symbolic point of a throne, in particular, seems to be the set the occupant above other people, and Francis probably didn’t consider that symbolism desirable.
      I agree, though, that it’s not necessary to “take sides” between the pope and the pope emeritus.

  • Brian

    I’m not sure Maddy Traddy is really that Traddy in the case of the Mass of the Last Supper. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, on Holy Thursday, “In the latter half of the twelfth century the pope washed the feet of twelve sub-deacons after his Mass and of thirteen poor men after his dinner. The “Caeremoniale episcoporum” directs that the bishop is to wash the feet either of thirteen poor men or of thirteen of his canons.” http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Washing_of_Feet_and_Hands

    As Mandy says, the foot-washing is “a reminder that the pope and the priests are servants first of all.” But they’re not servants just of each other, right? Francis’s gesture seems to be a powerful reminder to the whole world that the pope and priests accept the mission to serve everyone. Maybe more importantly, it’s a reminder to the young prisoners that they too are worthy of being served and capable of serving. So it IS, as Mandy nicely puts its purpose, “showing that within the liturgy itself is locked the simple and humble sacrament of service.”

  • bill bannon

    Excellent piece Father L.

  • joshaurora

    “Once for all, then, a short precept is given unto you: Love God, and do what you will: whether you hold your peace, through love hold your peace; whether you cry out, through love cry out; whether you correct, through love correct; whether you spare, through love do you spare: In all things, let the root of love be within, for of this root can nothing spring but what is good.”
    or, in a shorter form
    Love God and do what He wills.

  • Theodore Seeber

    “We’re talking about the worship of Almighty God. We’re entering the court of heaven. ”

    The real problem, as I see it, is heaven means different things to different people. I’m all for a campfire singalong heaven- but I can also see the wish for an extraordinary beauty and artwork kind of heaven.

    BOTH of these visions are beautiful, and there is room in the church for both- and I believe, that includes in the Church Triumphant.

  • midwestlady

    This is all rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic unless it’s about Jesus Christ. I believe that in all these comments about furniture and music, this is only the 2nd mention of his name. Interesting, no?

    • Theodore Seeber

      A find in Chrome says it’s the 7th, but point taken.

  • Glenn Juday

    OK, midwestlady, I’ll interpret the language for you. The issue is HOW we access Christ. Those who have the charism of supporting, and living, Catholic tradition, find that the graces of the Holy sacrifice of the Mass (that is the re-presentation of Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice) flow most effectively into their lives and bring about the fruits of the Holy Spirit when they assist at a the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. It is ALL about Christ. The tragic record of abuses, and let us be clear, heresy, that became not uncommon in the Ordinary Form of the Mass disfigured and even estranged Catholics from Christ, was and is largely absent from the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Is it clear, now, how this “relates” to Christ?

    • Alyssa

      I’m a recent convert to Catholicism. I was just going along for the ride and becoming a Catholic to make my fiance happy until I saw an EF Mass. I just didn’t get the message in the Ordinary Form. After I saw a Latin Mass, everything changed. Until then I don’t think I fully realized the weight of the decision I was making to become Catholic. The type of Mass can make a huge difference in individual souls. I see Glenn’s point and agree.

  • Andy

    The Really Good Catholics are all in a tizzy. We are having, overall, a difficult time adjusting to this perceived “setback”. Your fictional Traddy expressed the thoughts I was having a hard time putting together. And then it occurred to me. Rather than say, “If he was truly humble, he’d lose the schlub act and accept the trappings of the office.”, I should say, “If *I* was truly humble, I’d shut up like a good little sheep and listen for my Lord’s voice.” The fact is, the Church has failed over the last 40 years. We hope the springtime is coming, but do we really deserve the papal tiara right now? Is the Church really triumphant and splendid right now? Not in the West. She is rife with scandal and corruption. And we must do better than begrudging acquiescence. “I will be faithful to Peter… but blog about his ugly vestments in my spare time…” No. Not good enough. It’s a real test of faith. Do I enjoy being Catholic because it is pretty and intellectually stimulating? Or do I really believe the Holy Father has been chosen to teach us all a lesson here?

  • Maryann

    I am concerned by all the confusion. We were all “spiritually abused” during the 70′s. The liturgy is important, body language during mass is important it helps Us to rember who we are about to receive. We are worshipping the Lord during mass so we want to look respectable so that we might be humbled. When I see girls wearing shorts, teens chewing gum during mass and the parents that are ok with that, it tells me something about them. I am not saying Pope Francis does not love our Lord; just please don’t confuse the next generation they need to know and believe in the real presence and if we don’t set a good example we will loose them and their souls. I came back to the faith and was in a very confused parish with a confused priest. Is not about the clothing as much as about having the humility to respect what was there already, the traditions. It seems to me “the bishop of Rome” came and totally disregarded them. In a man that supposedly is so humble it seemed like an aggressive act. Someone mentioned Mother Teresa and that Francis reminds him of her? Mother Teresa:always dressed like a nun, lived in India and truly had starving people to save and am sure could not have cared less if she took the bus or a limo to get good to her flock.? Folks sorry but Buenos Aires is not India and and Argentineans are very, very and too much proud of that. Also sorry to brake the bubble for Americans: Argentines think of themselves as Europeans that live in South America So, the media Latino humble Pope is not Latino or from the third world. He is an Argentinean and a Jesuit and that is the part that interest me the most. I have read Saint Ignatius and lots about Saint Xavier. Is Pope Francis a follower of them or is he a follower of confused Jesuits: the Marxist liberation theology type I am not leaving the Church but I have to say my mind has played tricks on me this week. just when I felt we were getting it all together the Church seems divided in confusion. My husband who is calmer about things in general also expressed concern when he Francis broke off with tradition of not blessing media or just kissing and not blessing, shortening of mass, not greeting in different languages, taking the washing of feet out of the church and including women instead of priest etc. i could have lived with that but it is the way it has been done without a true explanation. Mother Teresa, Padre Pio, Saint Xavier, Saint Ignatius, Saint Catherine of Sienna help us, we want to trust our Pope Francis, most of all Jesus let us know if we are misguided in our thoughts. You gave us eyes, ears and reason so helps us see the truth. We are not judging we want to understand.


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