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A different viewpoint – Bishop Gracida on the FFI situation July 31, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, episcopate, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, Papa, persecution, religious.

Bishop Rene Gracida is an inspiration to me. The man is right around 90 years old, yet his mind is clear as a bell and his comments always Hist16Linsightful.  I frequent his blog regularly.  He has a post with his own thoughts on the situation with the Franciscans of the Immaculate, and also posts some text from an interview Pope Francis gave to a Russian news agency, which does have bearing on the Liturgy in the Latin Rite.  I continue to pray for Bishop Gracida’s health, he is a very valuable source of information and views, and possibly the most orthodox bishop in the United States right now (if retired!):

I first read Sandro Magister’s column printed below and I was shocked.  I seemed as though Pope Francis was possibly going to undo all that Pope Benedict had achieved with his motu proprio,  Summorum Pontificum, in which he decreed the freedom of everyone to celebrate and participate in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.  But, then on further reflection and upon reading Pope Francis’ remarks about the liturgy of the Orthodox Church during his press conference on board the flight from Brazil to Rome, I am not so sure.  I have two reasons for my very limited optimism.  First, the decree of the Congregation for Religious that Sandro Magister writes about came about because of group of dissidents in the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate had protested to the Congregation of the Religious that their superiors were forcing them to attend Mass celebrated in the Extraordinary Form.  [Was the really the case? Or that the TLM was being overemphasized, and maybe some pressure put on to offer it, but I’m not sure about “forced.”] The Congregation, with the approval of Pope Francis, solved the problem of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate by forbidding the celebration of the Extraordinary Form.  That, to me, was the wrong solution.  It would have been better and less drastic to work out an arrangement requiring the celebration of the Mass in the Ordinary Form as well as the Extraordinary Form. [I think Bishop Gracida might be misinformed here.  I did not understand that there was ever a “denial” to offer the NO?  Perhaps some pressure exerted to focus on the TLM, but from what I understand, the NO was always an option?  But I agree, there were many other options available to resolve this “dissension.”] But the Congregation did not do that.  It is important to note that the ban on the Extraordinary form was the work of the Congregation for Religious and perhaps Pope Francis, in giving his approval to the decree did not realize in the midst of his preparation for the World Youth Day what the full repercussion of the decree would be, both for the Franciscans of the Immaculate and the entire Church. [Good Heavens, I hope that is not the case.  I’d hate to think the Pope, any Pope, would be distracted when considering an issue of this magnitude] Pope Francis, in his efforts to be a simple and humble pope, may have made his first big liturgical mistake in approving such a simple solution to a very complex problem of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. [Big is relative. Washing female muslim feet on Holy Thursday was big to some.]

[Disclosure:  I regularly celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in my private chapel.] [Yay!  I might not agree with Bishop Gracida’s obvioius efforts to put maximal-charitable spin on this situation, above, but I always appreciate his views.]

Now, for Pope Francis’ statement to a Russian journalist, as reported by Dr. Robert Moynihan:

Toward the end of the interview, a Russian journalist asks the Pope to comment on the 1025th anniversary, currently being celebrated in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, of the baptism of the Rus’, the ancient Russian people, centered at the time (988 A.D.) in Kiev.

In response, the Pope makes a very positive judgement on the liturgy of the Orthodox. To my knowledge, this response has been little noted.

“They have conserved that pristine liturgy, no?” Pope Francis says. “So beautiful. We [i.e., the Latin Christians] have lost a bit the sense of adoration, they conserve it, they praise God, they adore God, they sing, time does not count. [Important point: Orthodox liturgies last how long they last, there is no imposed 1 hour or 45 minute time limit.  They frequently go 2 hours plus, which I’m fine with.  But they do stand much of that time!  I’ve always said there is a great deal to admire in Orthodox Liturgy – which always leaves me scratching my head, because the Mass is really, truly, the heart and soul of Orthodox belief, but only 2% go on any given Sunday!  What’s up with that?!?]  The center is God and that is a richness that I would like to emphasize on this occasion as you ask me this question.”

I had not seen that quote from Pope Francis before.  There is a bit of inconsistency in the Pope’s statements on many issues, including the Liturgy.  But I’m glad to know he said the above.  I must admit to remaining troubled, however. Even Bishop Gracida in his great charity had to grasp at straws.

Here is a nice, brief bio on Bishop Gracida.




1. Catholic4Life - July 31, 2013

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