Saturday, February 22, 2014

Some Insight On Pope Francis

Let's take a look at something Pope Francis said recently that has attracted no small amount of controversy. Per Rorate:

Yesterday (Friday, Feb. 14), Pope Francis held an audience with the Bishops of the Czech Republic who came to Rome for their ad limina visit.

In the visit, as it usually happens in such cases, other than the formal address, the Pope heard the questions and comments of the bishops. Archbishop Jan Graubner, of Olomouc, told the Czech section of Vatican Radio what the Pope told him:

[Abp. Jan Graubner speaks:] When we were discussing those who are fond of the ancient liturgy and wish to return to it, it was evident that the Pope speaks with great affection, attention, and sensitivity for all in order not to hurt anyone. However, he made a quite strong statement when he said that he understands when the old generation returns to what it experienced, but that he cannot understand the younger generation wishing to return to it. "When I search more thoroughly - the Pope said - I find that it is rather a kind of fashion [in Czech: 'móda']. And if it is a fashion, therefore it is a matter that does not need that much attention. It is just necessary to show some patience and kindness to people who are addicted to a certain fashion. But I consider greatly important to go deep into things, because if we do not go deep, no liturgical form, this or that one, can save us."

Anyways, there are a couple of noteworthy items in this selection.

First, let's start with the last bit first with His Holiness's comment on how no liturgical form can save us if we don't "go deep into things."

The Pope is absolutely correct here, and the folks not appreciating that need to slow their rolls. Initially, this is a pretty huge deal because his mentioning about liturgy in isolation not being able to save us shows that he acknowledges the Church is in trouble which is in contrast to stuff he's said in the past. Moreover, adherents to the traditional liturgies need to remember that the modernists and ephebophiles who have done so much damage to the Church in the last century were all formed in a heydey of the Traditional Latin Mass and strong Catholic culture. So yes, going deeper is necessary because if it wasn't then the ball of auto-demolition would never have gotten rolling.

But what about the Pope's comment about affection for the TLM being a "fashion" or an "addiction," especially among the young?

I suppose I might be surprised by the somewhat insensitive nature of the Pope's comments, again, especially about young people. An addiction? A fashion? How about giving them the benefit of the doubt that their attachment to the traditional liturgy isn't something so shallow?

Fr. Zuhlsdorf has given his take, but I think this is a bit more than that. He is skeptical of the reports veracity and/or relevance. I think it's highly relevant but for perhaps a weird reason.

We've mentioned before that the Pope's thoughts on a lot of stuff (say, section 60 of Evangelii Gaudium for a recent example) are possibly very much colored by his specific cultural background, namely his experiences in Argentina. I'm wondering if maybe this is another example of that. What does he really know about the desire of youth to participate in the Traditional Latin Mass? Or the Eastern liturgies?

I'm betting not much. Here's what I know anecdotally. When I go to one of the patristically-rooted liturgies, the average age is probably under 35. There are a few old folks, but the vast majority of the pew-sitters are people under 30. When you throw in the number of babies, the age curve drops even more. I say this having been to these types of deals in at least five different states.

You don't have to listen to me, though. This has been getting a fair amount of play over the last couple of years. Even the Anglican Use is bringing in the young crowd. That being said, I completely understand if the Pope is ignorant about this kind of stuff.

Instead of shoveling criticism at him, despite his sort of harsh way of putting things, maybe we should do as much as we can at the local and diocesan levels to spread the devotion to traditional liturgy. Send letters to the Pope even. What could it hurt?

Most of all, though, we should be praying for him personally and for those around him to be wise and virtuous advisers who can correct any misunderstandings or lack of knowledge he has about such things.


Turgonian said...

I don't see the argument here; how does the fact that the average TLM-goer is young disprove the judgment that it's a fashion? I thought young people were more susceptible to fashions.

Throwback said...

I'm not really making an argument. I'm giving my perspective on the Pope's comments.

First, his lingo seems unnecessarily coarse.

Second, what he's saying might be the case. I don't think it to be so, and I offered a possible explanation for why the Pope views the situation the way he does and why people shouldn't be criticizing him.