Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A note on the new Pope and LIturgy

From Dom Charles Gilman, o.s.b.
Abbey of Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, Canada

"The Lord said to Francis, "Rebuild my house which as you see has fallen in ruin."

Dear friends,

Did you see the Mass of Inauguration today and read the full homily.? The liturgy was beautiful (in Latin), the music superb and the homily first class (and somewhat shorter than his predecessors). It would not surprise me in the least that he will keep Monsignor Marini (the papal Master of Ceremonies) on board. The Pope is not a singer. So he does the right thing by not trying. At same time he is a very recollected and prayerful celebrant.

I can not imagine that he will not carry on the Reform of the Reform of the liturgy. It just won't be as spikey as some had hoped, thereby making it more accessible to the whole Church.

One can already see that doctrinally and spiritually he is very much part of the hermeneutic of continuity in terms of the appropriation and understanding of Vatican II.

As for Pope Benedict ,he has given us a treasury of Theological, Spiritual, and Liturgical riches in his writings and personal example that will nourish the Church for a long time to come.
The homage that Pope Francis paid to him at the beginning of his homily today was truly touching.

I share these thoughts with you as a monk of the Solesmes Congregation and a child of the Oxford and Anglo-Catholic movements. Is not Pope Francis' passion for the poor just that intense living out of the implications of the Incarnation "with all of its enormous consequences" so dear to Dom Guéranger and the great Anglo-Catholic slum priests of the 19th and 20th centuries centuries?

Bishop Frank Weston of Zanzibar was the great hero of the Anglo-Catholic movement in the early 20th century. He gave a now famous speech at the Anglo-Catholic Congress of 1923 at the Albert Hall in London entitled Our Present Duty. These are his concluding words. The photo of Cardinal Bergoglio says the rest.

"But I say to you, and I say it to you with all the earnestness that I have, that if you are prepared to fight for the right of adoring Jesus in his Blessed Sacrament, then you have got to come out from before your Tabernacle and walk, with Christ mystically present in you, out into the streets of this country, and find the same Jesus in the people of your cities and your villages. You cannot claim to worship Jesus in the Tabernacle, if you do not pity Jesus in the slum.

Now mark that—this is the Gospel truth. If you are prepared to say that the Anglo-Catholic is at perfect liberty to rake in all the money he can get no matter what the wages are that are paid, no matter what the conditions are under which people work; if you say that the Anglo-Catholic has a right to hold his peace while his fellow citizens are living in hovels below the levels of the streets, this I say to you, that you do not yet know the Lord Jesus in his Sacrament. You have begun with the Christ of Bethlehem, you have gone on to know something of the Christ of Calvary—but the Christ of the Sacrament, not yet. Oh brethren! if only you listen to-night your movement is going to sweep England. If you listen. I am not talking economics, I do not understand them. I am not talking politics, I do not understand them. I am talking the Gospel, and I say to you this: If you are Christians then your Jesus is one and the same: Jesus on the Throne of his glory, Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus received into your hearts in Communion, Jesus with you mystically as you pray, and Jesus enthroned in the hearts and bodies of his brothers and sisters up and down this country. And it is folly—it is madness—to suppose that you can worship Jesus in the Sacraments and Jesus on the Throne of glory, when you are sweating him in the souls and bodies of his children. It cannot be done.

There then, as I conceive it, is your present duty; and I beg you, brethren, as you love the Lord Jesus, consider that it is at least possible that this is the new light that the Congress was to bring to us. You have got your Mass, you have got your Altar, you have begun to get your Tabernacle. Now go out into the highways and hedges where not even the Bishops will try to hinder you. Go out and look for Jesus in the ragged, in the naked, in the oppressed and sweated, in those who have lost hope, in those who are struggling to make good. Look for Jesus. And when you see him, gird yourselves with his towel and try to wash their feet.."