British Papal Visit & Anglican Talks Updates

Westminster Cathedral

Westminster Cathedral

by Edward Pentin,  NCR

An official announcement of a historic papal state visit to Britain is now not expected until toward the end of this year, the Register has learned.

News that Pope Benedict XVI would travel to the British Isles, probably in September 2010, was leaked to the media last week, but contrary to speculation, there is no likelihood of a visit to Northern Ireland this time around. That is more likely to take place in 2012, according to an informed source.

Any such visit to Britain would come at a time when the country has fallen further into a culture of death. John Smeaton, the U.K.’s director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, writes on his blog: http://spuc-director.blogspot.com/2009/09/pope-will-be-visiting-britain-valley-of.html

When the Pope visits Britain next year, the country he will find is the valley of the culture of death. In Britain, the government organises secret abortions on schoolgirls behind parents’ backs. The chief prosecutor has today [Sept. 23] issued rules tolerating assisted suicide, under which the disabled will be treated as second-class citizens. The leaders of the major political parties all voted for sinister destructive experiments on embryonic children. I hope that Pope Benedict will issue stern reminders to church leaders and Catholic parliamentarians of their absolute duty to place the right to life from conception to natural death at the top of Britain’s moral and political agenda.”

The Holy Father’s trip to Britain will be timely for positive reasons, too. As well as possibly coinciding with the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, thousands of traditionalist Anglicans are expected to come into communion with Rome sometime in the near future, perhaps around the same time as the Pope reaches Britain’s shores.

Talks between the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) and the Vatican stepped up recently, and a viable structure to accommodate them is said to be taking shape. Sources say it will probably resemble something between a personal prelature and an apostolic administration, with the end result looking similar to a rite, however nothing has yet been confirmed.

Talks with the Vatican have been taking place for many years following the TAC’s split from the Anglican Communion in the early 1990s over the Church of England’s decision to ordain women. The TAC claims to have around 400,000 members worldwide, and the corporate reception of so many Anglicans into the Catholic Church would be unprecedented in the Church’s history.

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Today is Michaelmas Day

From our friend at TEA AT TRIANON:

Michaelmas

It is Michaelmas Day. According to Lives of the Saints:
 

St. Michael, who ranks among the seven archangels, is also one of the three angels mentioned by name in the Scriptures, the others being St. Raphael and St. Gabriel. St. Michael is spoken of twice in the Old Testament, and twice in the New. The first reference occurs in the Book of Daniel (chapter x), where Michael comes to comfort Daniel after he has had a vision, and promises to be his helper in all things. In Daniel xii, Michael is called “the great prince who standeth for the children of Thy people.” In these references Michael is represented as Israel’s great support during the seventy years of the Babylonian captivity. Daniel, wise and holy leader that he was, wanted his people to understand that God had not forgotten them, and that, even though enslaved, they had a royal champion. In the New Testament (Jude ix), we are told that Michael disputed with the devil over the body of Moses; this episode is not mentioned elsewhere in the Bible.

In the Apocalypse (chapter xii) we find the most dramatic reference to St. Michael. Here John recounts the great battle in Heaven, when the wicked angels under Lucifer revolt against God, and how Michael, leading the faithful angels, defeats the hosts of evil and drives them out. In this role he has been painted by many artists, and the poet Milton, in book vi of , recounts the famous struggle. Because of this victory, St. Michael is revered in Catholic tradition and liturgy as the protector of the Church, as once he was regarded as the protector of the Israelites. In the Eastern Church, as well as among many theologians in the West, St Michael is placed over all the angels, as prince of the Seraphim. He is the special patron of sick people, mariners, and grocers; in Asia Minor many curative springs were dedicated to him. His cult has also been popular in Egypt, Rome, France, and Germany. His emblems are a banner, a sword, a dragon, and scales. The name Michael is a variation of Micah, meaning in Hebrew, “Who is like God?”

 

The Archangel St. Michael is one of the patrons of France, partly because of his various manifestations in that country, most notably to St. Jeanne d’Arc. In the middle ages the Order of St. Michael was the highest among the orders of chivalry.

Carmel Traditional Latin Mass Location Change

Mass is every Sunday @ 3:00 PM at

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Church

in the Day Chapel

seas-1

 

Perfect Storm?

jpeg
 
After a quiet summer, clouds gather over Rome…

By Robert Moynihan, reporting from America
A storm is about to be unleashed on the Pope, the Vatican, and, by extension, the Catholic Church.

The first drops of rain have just fallen, with public accusations that the Pope lied this winter in connection with the “Williamson affair.” (see below)

 
============================

What is it about?

 
Whether this storm will “blow over,” or intensify into a “perfect storm,” only time will tell.

But whatever happens, there is this to keep in mind: many, inside and outside of the Church, would like the Church’s traditional liturgy, known as the Latin Mass — the old liturgy celebrated up until 1970, and two years ago designated by Pope Benedict XVI as the “extraordinary rite” of the Mass — to disappear.

 
And they are irritated that Benedict — against many and vociferous objections —  “restored” the old liturgy, which many thought had been buried definitively.
 
As strange as it may seem, this battle is in part about that — about the survival of the Church’s old liturgy — about her way of worshipping God.
 
But when I say this, I do not mean to downplay other, quite obvious concerns, for example, the tense situation in the Middle East, or in the world economy.
 
I mean to say that, on a fundamental level, it is not simply a political or economic battle, as important as political and economic factors are, but a spiritual battle.
 
===============================
 
Is Rome alone?
And at a time like this, when many forces in the West (the European Union, the new US administration)  seem to be aligning themselves in favor of a thoroughly secularized “new world order,” the ally most helpful to Rome may well be the ally who still celebrates a divine liturgy which has not been modernized: the Orthodox.
 
And the most numerous and powerful of the Orthodox are the Russians.
 
In this perspective, these attacks on the Pope and the Vatican may drive Rome to ally herself, after a thousand years of separation, with Contantinople, and with Moscow — reuniting the “three Romes”…
 
====================================

The allegation this morning is that Vatican officials (but not the Pope) lied when they said this winter that no one in the Vatican knew about Bishop Richard Williamson’s views about the Holocaust when the Pope decided to lift his excommication on January 24.

However, this allegation has been exploited by the Church’s current antagonist in Italy, Prime Minsiter Silvio Berlusconi, through his media empire, to suggest that the Pope, too, lied.

Here is the headline being run right now on Google news:

 
Swedish TV: Vatican knew about Holocaust-denier

Here is a link to the entire story:
 
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iSmeUYxiL3cK2bBxxIHl9aTafLoAD9AT13984
 
Here are the first few few paragraphs to give you the gist of what is being said:

 
By KARL RITTER (AP) – 4 hours ago

STOCKHOLM — A Swedish TV program to be aired Wednesday (
Note: today) claims that top Vatican officials knew that an ultraconservative British bishop was a Holocaust-denier when his excommunication was lifted in January. The program, which was obtained by The Associated Press prior to broadcast, could add new fuel to the controversy over Bishop Richard Williamson.

Jews and Catholics worldwide were outraged after Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication of Williamson, along with three other ultraconservative bishops, in an attempt to bring dissidents back into the mainstream church.

The order, dated Jan. 21, came as Sweden’s SVT aired an interview recorded two months earlier in which Williamson said he didn’t believe any Jews were killed in gas chambers during World War II.
Vatican officials have said they didn’t know about the interview at the time. Benedict later condemned Williamson’s remarks and spoke out against anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

Yet in a follow-up report, SVT says the Vatican had been informed of Williamson’s Holocaust-denial shortly after the interview was recorded in November. It doesn’t suggest, however, that the pope knew about the remarks.

The program singles out Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, who had been leading efforts to heal the schism with the ultraconservative Society of St. Pius X. The Vatican announced in July that Castrillon Hoyos was stepping down after reaching the customary retirement age of 80.

The SVT program says Sweden’s Catholic diocese informed the apostolic nuncio — the Vatican envoy to Sweden — about Williamson’s remarks and that he in turn informed Vatican officials, including Castrillon Hoyos…
 
===================

The Italian Front: “He Lied”

 

The second allegation is that the Pope himself knew.
 
This allegation made headlines today in Italy, where the Catholic Church and the Italian government of Prime Minister Berlusconi have been sparring for months over Berlusconi’s immiration policies and his alleged sexual impropriety. This morning, Berlusconi (or those close to him) took the gloves off.
 
(Here, in better times, Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi greets Pope Benedict XVI in Cagliari on the Italian island of Sardinia in this September 7, 2008,  photo — CNS photo/Reuters)
 
For the first time in the many months of acrimony, Berlusconi (or his associates) directly attacked the Pope. This escalates the battle.
 
Il Giornale, a newspaper owned by Berlusconi’s family, carried the exaggerated headline “He Lied” (“Ha mentito”), referring to the Pope and his handling of the “Williamson affair.”
 
(Below is a photo from three weeks ago of women reading Il Giornale. The Sept. 3 newspaper front page has a picture of Dino Boffo, editor of the Catholic newspaper Avvenire. Boffo resigned from Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference, in a row that has strained relations between the Vatican and the Italian government — CNS photo/Stefano Rellandini, Reuters)
 
Here are a few lines from a British newspaper today explaining this story:
 
Silvio Berlusconi turns his guns on Pope Benedict XVI
The Italian newspaper Il Giornale, owned by the family of Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi, carries a headline today dominated by the words “Ha mentito” – “he lied”, referring to Pope Benedict XVI. The paper is busy stirring up trouble over the claims by Swedish TV, due to be aired tonight, that the Vatican knew in advance about the Holocaust-denying background of Bishop Richard Williamson before his excommunication was lifted.That struggle, which is part of a left-right, secular-Catholic battle at the heart of Italian society and government, has already damaged relations between the gruesomely oversexed Berlusconi and the Holy Father…
 
 
=====================================
 
One consideration is the Italian situation.
 
There isn’t space or time here to go into the entire sordid affair. Suffice it to say that a rift between the Vatican and the government of Silvio Berlusconi has now become a chasm.
 
Since the Vatican, humanly speaking, is a tiny state entirely surrounded by Italian territory, it is naturally always a hope of the Vatican to be on close and friendly terms with the Italian government.
 
Therefore, this deteriorating relationship with the Italian governement led by Berlusconi is a real concern.
 
Here is a link to an Associated Press article on the background to this story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090906/ap_on_re_eu/eu_italy_scandal_3

And here is a link to a Time magazine story on Berlusconi: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1923076,00.html

==============================

 

The words “he lied” are admittedly taken from the programme. But it’s a malicious allegation: Benedict has told no lies whatsoever regarding this matter, even if Vatican officials working for him have a case to answer.

The background you need to know is that Il Giornale has been engaged in a furious battle with Vatican Radio and the Catholic newspaper Avvenire, whose editor Dino Boffo it forced to resign after claiming he was a homosexual with a police record. Avvenire

, not coincidentally, had consistently opposed Berlusconi, with the backing of the Italian Bishops’ Conference.
 
A second consideration is the relationship of the Vatican to the world Jewish community.
 
The re-emergence of the “Williamson affair” under these circumstances, with new allegations, shows that the “affair” was not settled in March, when the Pope on March 12 issued a dramatic letter of apology to the bishops of the Church.
 
Here are some key lines from that March 12 letter:
 
“An unforeseen mishap for me was the fact that the Williamson case came on top of the remission of the excommunication,” the Pope wrote.
 
“I have been told that consulting the information available on the internet would have made it possible to perceive the problem early on. I have learned the lesson that in the future in the Holy See we will have to pay greater attention to that source of news. I was saddened by the fact that even Catholics who, after all, might have had a better knowledge of the situation, thought they had to attack me with open hostility.
 
“Precisely for this reason I thank all the more our Jewish friends, who quickly helped to clear up the misunderstanding and to restore the atmosphere of friendship and trust which – as in the days of Pope John Paul II – has also existed throughout my pontificate and, thank God, continues to exist.”
 
 
Will the world Jewish community come to the Pope’s defense?
============================
 
A third consideration is the relationship between traditional Catholics, now un-excommunicated, and those we may call “conciliar” Catholics.
 
Is this case only about Williamson and his views, or are the “conciliar” Catholics actually unwilling to accept the readmission of “traditionalist” Catholics into communion with Rome, and themselves?
 
In this regard, a question arrises: who is really behind the re-emergence of attacks on the Pope for his January 24 action in un-excommunicating the four Lefebvrist bishops?
 
It isn’t fully clear.
 
But it has been reported in the La Stampa of Milan, Italy, that the Catholic bishop of Stockholm, Anders Arborelius, is in a very cordial relationship with the Swedish TV — and that he is a firm opponent of the Society of St. Pius X (the SSPX).
 
 
Arborelius said Wednesday in a statement posted on his diocese’s website that he was aware of negationist remarks Williamson made to an investigative news program filmed by Swedish public television SVT in November 2008 and which aired on January 21, 2009.

Arborelius wrote: “The content of the interview with Richard Williamson … was sent to the Vatican in November 2008, forewarning that the program with the Holocaust denial would be broadcast on January 21, 2009.

“We, at the diocese office in Stockholm, as we always do in matters of the Church, had forwarded the information we had about SSPX and Richard Williamson, including what we knew about the content in the interview Uppdrag Granskning had with him, to the Vatican,” Arborelius said.

“I want to underline that forwarding information to the Vatican is pure routine, and not something exceptional for this case,” he added.

 
(Of course, it is evident that such information could possibly have been held up on one desk or another, and never reached the Pope or his top advisors.)
 
====================================

A fourth consideration is the relationship of the Roman Catholic Church to the world’s Orthodox Churches.

 
It became clear last week, during a very cordial visit to Rome by a representative of the Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow, that relations between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, especially Russian Orthodoxy, at least on the surface, are much improved over the past few years.
Here are excerpts from an account of that visit I wrote for the Monday, September 21 edition of the Zenit news agency:
Recent Meeting Could Mark Turning Point
On September 18, inside Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer palace about 30 miles outside Rome, a Russian Orthodox Archbishop named Hilarion Alfeyev (photo), 43 (a scholar, theologian, expert on the liturgy, composer and lover of music), met with Benedict XVI, 82 (also a scholar, theologian, expert on the liturgy and lover of music), for almost two hours, according to informed sources.
 
(There are as yet no “official” sources about this meeting — the Holy See has still not released an official communiqué.)

The silence suggests that what transpired was important — perhaps so important that the Holy See thinks it isn’t yet prudent to reveal publicly what was discussed.

But there are numerous “signs” that the meeting was remarkably harmonious…

In memory of the visit, Archbishop Hilarion gave the Pope a pectoral cross, made in workshops of Russian Orthodox Church…

It is especially significant, in this context, that Hilarion, Patriarch Kirill’s “Foreign Minister,” has some of the same deep interests as Benedict XVI: the liturgy, and music.

“As a 15-year-old boy I first entered the sanctuary of the Lord, the Holy of Holies of the Orthodox Church,” Hilarion once wrote about the Orthodox liturgy. “But it was only after my entrance into the altar that the ‘theourgia,’ the mystery, and ‘feast of faith’ began, which continues to this very day.

“After my ordination, I saw my destiny and main calling in serving the Divine Liturgy. Indeed, everything else, such as sermons, pastoral care and theological scholarship were centered around the main focal point of my life — the liturgy.”

These words seem to echo the feelings and experiences of Benedict XVI, who has written that the liturgies of Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday in Bavaria when he was a child were formative for his entire being, and that his writing on the liturgy (one of his books is entitled “Feast of Faith”) is the most important to him of all his scholarly endeavors.

“Orthodox divine services are a priceless treasure that we must carefully guard,” Hilarion has written. “I have had the opportunity to be present at both Protestant and Catholic services, which were, with rare exceptions, quite disappointing… Since the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, services in some Catholic churches have become little different from Protestant ones.”

Again, these words of Hilarion seem to echo Benedict XVI’s own concerns. The Pope has made it clear that he wishes to reform the Catholic Church’s liturgy, and preserve what was contained in the old liturgy and now risks being lost.

Hilarion has cited the Orthodox St. John of Kronstadt approvingly. St. John of Kronstadt wrote: “The Church and its divine services are an embodiment and realization of everything in Christianity… It is the divine wisdom, accessible to simple, loving hearts.”

These words echo words written by Cardinal Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, who often said that the liturgy is a “school” for the simple Christian, imparting the deep truths of the faith even to the unlearned through its prayers, gestures and hymns.

Hilarion in recent years has become known for his musical compositions, especially for Christmas and for Good Friday, celebrating the birth and the Passion of Jesus Christ. These works have been performed in Moscow and in the West, in Rome in March 2007 and in Washington DC in December 2007.

Closer relations between Rome and Moscow, then, could have profound implications also for the cultural and liturgical life of the Church in the West. There could be a renewal of Christian art and culture, as well as of faith…

 
(Here is a link to the complete article: http://www.zenit.org/article-26932?l=english.)

====================================

As I said at the outset, the “Williamson affair,” and the effort to ascertain what the Vatican knew, and when, about Williamson’s views, may continue to dominate news headlines, or it may pass away into silence. Time will tell.

 
But the re-emergence of the issue reminds us that there is a larger battle occurring, a battle for the “deposit of the faith,” a battle for our tradition and the beliefs handed down to us from the Apostles, and it is that battle that we should be aware of and concerned about.
Last week, I had a wonderful and productive meeting in New Rochelle, New York, with Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, 86, who has given me some documents which may help me to understand better the history of the Church in our time.
 
I will be returning to Rome soon, God willing, and reporting on these documents, and on other matters which I have left unfinished.
 
====================================
 
“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.”Blaise Pascal (French mathematician, philosopher, physicist and writer, 1623-1662)
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Is Catholic-Orthodox Unity in Sight?

Kirill-and-Benedict-XVI

Posted by Edward Pentin 

Monday, September 14, 2009 11:10 AM

The Catholic Archbishop of Moscow has given a remarkably upbeat assessment of relations with the Orthodox Church, saying unity between Catholics and Orthodox could be achieved “within a few months.”

In an interview today in Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper, Archbishop Paolo Pezzi said the miracle of reunification “is possible, indeed it has never been so close.” The archbishop added that Catholic-Orthodox reunification, the end of the historic schism that has divided them for a millennium, and spiritual communion between the two churches “could happen soon, within a few months.”

The Pope with then-Metropolitan Kirill in December 2007. (CNS/Reuters)

The Pope with then-Metropolitan Kirill in December 2007. (CNS/Reuters)

“Basically we were united for a thousand years,” Archbishop Pezzi said. “Then for another thousand we were divided. Now the path to rapprochement is at its peak, and the third millennium of the Church could begin as a sign of unity.” He said there were “no formal obstacles” but that “everything depends on a real desire for communion.”

On the part of the Catholic Church, he added, “the desire is very much alive.”

Archbishop Pezzi, 49, whose proper title is Metropolitan Archbishop of the Mother of God Archdiocese in Moscow, said that now there are “no real obstacles” on the path towards full communion and reunification. On issues of modernity, Catholics and Orthodox Christians feel the same way, he said: “Nothing separates us on bioethics, the family, and the protection of life.”

Also on matters of doctrine, the two churches are essentially in agreement. “There remains the question of papal primacy,” Archbishop Pezzi acknowledged, “and this will be a concern at the next meeting of the Catholic-Orthodox Commission. But to me, it doesn’t seem impossible to reach an agreement.”

Prospects for union with the Orthodox have increased markedly in recent years with the election of Pope Benedict XVI, whose work as a theologian in greatly admired in Orthodox circles. Benedict is also without the burden of the difficult political history between Poland and Russia, which hindered Polish Pope John Paul II from making as much progress as he would have liked regarding Catholic-Orthodox unity.

Relations have also been greatly helped by the election of Patriarch Kirill I earlier this year as leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, which is by far the largest of the national churches in the Orthodox Church. As the former head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external relations, Kirill met Benedict on several occasions before and after he became Pope, and the Russian Orthodox Patriarch is well acquainted with the Roman Curia and with Catholicism.

Female Servers in the Extraordinary Form

ROME, SEPT. 8, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.

Q: Is there any definitive answer available regarding the use of female servers at celebrations of the extraordinary form of the Roman rite? — A.J., Pontypridd, Wales

A: Although a clarifying instruction on several such questions was frequently described as “imminent,” a long time has passed and it would seem that it is still in the pipeline.

All the same, it is important to remember that, even in the ordinary form, the use of female altar servers is in virtue of a specific permission and is not automatic. As the Holy See has explained on several occasions, the local bishop may permit the use of female servers but may not oblige the pastor to use them.

Also, the Holy Father’s motu proprio granting permission for the celebrations of the extraordinary form was for the Roman Missal according to the edition issued under Pope John XXIII. Since the rubrics of this missal in no way contemplate the possibility of female servers, then it must be surmised that only altar boys or adult men are allowed as servers in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite.

To help us to understand the underlying logic behind this we can reflect on a particular situation.

It appears there was at least one case in which women were allowed some functions habitually carried out by the servers. In the preface to the 1936 first edition of H.E. Calnan’s guide for altar servers, he mentions the following circumstance: “In most parishes, a dozen influences combine to restrict the supply of efficient Mass servers. Layfolk must be asked to serve at short notice, or without warning. A woman with knowledge of Latin may venture, because she has only to answer and not to move about.”

The case foreseen here is when there were no assigned altar servers present. In such a plight a woman with knowledge of Latin could do the responses.

A woman could carry out this role because it was properly speaking a role of the assembly. In making the Latin responses the altar boys in a way represented and substituted the assembly, who frequently did not know the liturgical language. One of the challenges of being an altar boy (and a source of legitimate pride to his parents) was memorizing the Latin texts to be recited.

However, years before the conciliar reform there was already a liturgical movement that encouraged the whole assembly’s recitation of these parts, and not just the server. This practice is relatively common today among communities that habitually celebrate the extraordinary form.

Father Calnan’s mention that the woman “has only to answer and not move about” makes it clear that she did not carry out any of the other functions of the altar boy in serving the Mass. Since in these roles the altar servers substituted some of the functions of those who had received minor orders (and who were thus canonically numbered among the clergy), only males could carry out these functions.

In the ordinary form the clerical minor orders have been replaced by the lay ministries of lector and acolyte. However, even though they are lay ministries, only males may be instituted as lectors and acolytes. Since instituted lectors and acolytes are uncommon in most parishes, other lay readers and servers may be delegated. At this stage the rubrics allow either men or women to be chosen as readers and, were permitted, as servers.

In the extraordinary form, though, the minor orders and the liturgical logic behind them still exist. For this reason I would say that in this form the rule reserving altar service to boys or men remains in force.

Papal Masses as “liturgical paradigms”

2008-01_papal-mass-ad-orientem
UNAM SANCTAM CATHOLICAM – The Holy Father recently gave an improvised talk to the members of the Choir of the Pontifical Chapel. In this talk he made some truly extraordinary statements regarding the function that papal liturgies play in setting the liturgical tone for the universal Church. Benedict said:
Papal liturgies, broadcast internationally, are a model by which all liturgical celebrations can be measured…papal ceremonies should be liturgical paradigms for the entire world. Those who follow papal ceremonies probably use them as a measure of accord by which the liturgy must be measured. In this way, the liturgy is transformed into a path through which the Pope teaches the Catholic faithful, giving them a proper idea of what they should expect [from the liturgy].” (Miles Christi Report, no. 107, Sept. 2009).
.
Two things to point out about this simple but true statement:

Number one. The pope is very clearly stating that his own liturgies are meant to be instructive. This means that when he decides that all communicants at papal masses will receive kneeling, or that he will celebrate Mass ad orientam in the Sistine Chapel, he is not simply doing these things because he is an antiquarian who happens to personally have a taste for them. When he celebrates ad orientam, he is saying in effect, “I am doing this to show you what you should be doing.” This should give some ammunition to priests or bishops who want to institute these practices in their own parishes – the pope has stated that he is intentionally setting an example that he wishes the faithful to follow. I think this is common sense, so I’ll move on to point two.

Second, the pope states something that should give us pause: whether or not the pope intentionally tries to teach through the liturgy, he points out that this is what will in fact happen regardless:

Those who follow papal ceremonies probably use them as a measure of accord by which the liturgy must be measured.

In effect he is saying, “I know that my liturgies will be used as examples to follow regardless of whether I want them to or not; therefore, I’d better make sure all my liturgies give positive examples.”

This provides the justification of the well-known disdain of trads for the masses of John Paul II, which were frequently the scenes of grave liturgical abuse (click here for a video of JPII’s World Youth Day Mass from 1995, and watch around the 0.55 – 1.20 area to see liturgical dancing and a weird neo-pagan incensing from a bowl). This is one reason why I think that John Paul II, for all his personal piety and self-service, failed fundamentally as a shepherd of the Church. Pope Benedict points out the obvious truth that people will mimic what they see the pope doing – what does it mean then when John Paul II declares in encyclicals like Redemptionis Sacramentum and Eucharistia de Ecclesia that liturgical abuses are to be curbed immediately but then permits them at his own masses? We can only conclude one of two things: that John Paul II was terribly naive or else he was just a negligent pastor. However you slice it, John Paul II’s liturgical administration was definitely not praiseworthy. I’m not going to say that this alone makes or breaks his papacy, but it should definitely be taken into consideration, especially when questions about canonization come up.

Papal liturgies should be teaching moments, Benedict reminds us. The pope should do the liturgy the way he wants the Church to do it. He ought not to do a liturgy one way and then tell the Church to do it another; it was doing precisely this that led to the confusion of the JPII years. Hopefully we will see more bishops and priests taking the pope’s liturgies as paradigms around which to structure their own masses.