Vernacular liturgy and Pope Francis’ “hermeneutic of continuity”

Here is the liturgy booklet for Pope Francis’ Mass this Sunday at St. John Lateran, the cathedral of the diocese of Rome, at which he will take possession of his chair (“cathedra,” from which we get “cathedral”) as bishop of the diocese.

This is significant: the liturgy is all in vernacular, except for the Gregorian Chant Latin Mass ordinary and propers, and all the vernacular is Italian. This isn’t an international event that calls for Spanish and English and Vietnamese and so forth, though people from all over will be there. This is a celebration of the diocese of Rome, and they speak Italian there.

To be sure, eight years ago when Benedict took possession of the cathedral, the liturgy didn’t look that much different from this. Benedict began his administration in continuity with what went before. But gradually over the course of Benedict’s eight-year papacy, at the behest of Benedict or his MC Guido Marini, papal liturgies increasingly shifted to Latin. Near the end, in Rome or elsewhere, Benedict was pretty much always doing the Eucharistic Prayer in Latin. But now with Pope Francis it’s in Italian.

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In his first year as pope, on December 22, 2005, Benedict gave a very famous speech to the Roman curia. He criticized ways of interpreting Vatican II which he called “hermeneutics of discontinuity and rupture.” The problem here is that the church after Vatican II is treated as something entirely new, a complete break with the preconciliar church. In contrast to this, he proposed a “hermeneutic of reform” which emphasizes continuity between the church before and after the council. He has also called this way of interpretation a “hermeneutic of continuity,” and it is this phrase which became most identified with his viewpoint.

Benedict is certainly correct that the Catholic Church after Vatican II is the same church as the one before. We don’t create a new church. We respond to the promptings of the Spirit who ever renews and reforms – sometimes markedly – the one church of Christ. But Benedict also took a sour, pessimistic view of liturgical renewal since Vatican II, including a pretty sharp critique of the supposed invention of a new liturgy under Pope Paul VI. He couldn’t bring himself to accept the “new thing” (cf. Isaiah 43:19) the Spirit was doing.

Benedict’s “hermeneutic of continuity” was never about continuity with the past fifty years of Catholic liturgical renewal. It wasn’t about the sensitivities of current-day worshipers or continuity with current liturgical practices. It was about establishing continuity with practices lost fifty years ago. It was about re-doing the liturgical reform as it supposedly should have been done. Ironically, Benedict’s “hermeneutic of continuity” meant a rupture with present practices and became a pretext to introduce liturgical changes, sometimes great changes, of a traditional sort. (Think wall of candles between celebrant and congregation, or two forms of the Roman rite.)

It was always a rather small group which supported Pope Benedict’s liturgical thing, albeit a very vocal and enthusiastic group. Most of those by far in liturgical and musical ministry saw their life’s work being called into question by the new direction under Benedict, and they had reason to feel confused or worried or demoralized. (Think new English missal.)

Most of the Catholic church, most of the PIPs (“people in the pews”), wouldn’t have been tracking all this. They don’t read Pray Tell or Worship magazine. They go to Mass on Sunday and Father does it in their language, and they would wonder what all the fuss is about around here. They would have little reason to know that Pope Benedict had packed the Congregation for Divine Worship with advisors sympathetic to the 1962 missal, or that there was talk of re-writing all the introductions to the reformed liturgical rites. For these people, it is entirely unremarkable that Pope Francis celebrates Mass this Sunday in vernacular, facing the people, with simple but attractive vestments: he’s doing what most all the Catholic Church does.

But for those of us who track what’s going on behind the scenes and what it means for the future of Catholic liturgical renewal, Pope Francis’ Mass this Sunday at the Cathedral of John Lateran is one more indication of the direction of his papacy. It is part of Francis’ “hermeneutic of continuity” – with Vatican II, with Pope Paul’s reform of the rites, and with the rest of the Catholic Church.


72 thoughts on “Vernacular liturgy and Pope Francis’ “hermeneutic of continuity”

  1. An interesting thing is the difference in the address to the Pope before the seating, which has been completely changed. As with other changes, it has been shifted to before the Kyrie, but the whole text has been changed. Also rather strangely, the traditional “Ad multos annos”, which would seem more suitable for the occasion, has been changed to the “Oremus pro Pontifice”.
    (The old text [as given in Italian; I will leave the translation to translation experts] was: “Beatissimo Padre, la Chiesa che vive a Roma partecipa con letizia alla presa di possesso della tua Cattedra, che è la Cattedra di Petro sopra il quale è fondata la Chiesa. Come il vignaiolo che sorveglia dall’alto la vigna sei posto in posizione elevate per prestare sollecita attenzione al popolo che ti è affidato. Ricorda che occupi la Cattedra pastorale per provvedere al gregge di Cristo. Il tuo onore è l’onore di tutta la Chiesa ed è per i tuoi fratelli valido e sicuro sostegno; sarai veramente onorato quando a ciascuno è riconosciuto l’onore che gli spetta. Tu sei “Servo dei Servi di Dio”!”)

  2. I know I sound like a tape loop on this, but I’ve always thought the whole continuity thing was a mark of spiritual immaturity. Certainly, there are times when we go slowly: people are in upheaval, or in pain, or otherwise have important needs to address.

    Marking continuity with some particular golden age (the 50’s, the 70’s, the 4th century) isn’t enough. The liturgy, great as it is, is a means to the end of Matthew 28:19. Or Mark 16:15. We were on the right track in the 80’s when a sound approach to liturgy had rooted out much of the craziness of the 50’s and the 70’s. We need to get back to it. Who here is satsfied with 1.2 billion Catholics? I’m not.

  3. Are you being intentionally divisive? This sounds like a rather uncharitable, even somewhat bitter reading of Benedict. Sure, he had some old-school tastes, but he did remain in continuity with Vatican II, which is why he ultimately could not reconcile with the SSPX.

    And by the way, I noticed that there were indeed candles on the altar at the Easter vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica – seven of them, with one smack in the middle. Not that I would read any significant ecclesiological statement into this, but I wouldn’t get too vindictive about the stylistic differences between the popes.

    1. @Julia Smucker – comment #3:

      Thanks for your comment.

      OK, I’ll be honest. As I posted this I had a twinge of conscience about exactly the good point you raise – being divisive. I wanted to add a paragraph on the need for reconciliation, on bringing everyone toward center. I couldn’t figure out how to word it or where to put it in the post, so I just went ahead and hit “publish”.

      On Pope Benedict, we can agree to disagree, for I stand by what I wrote. In my view, Benedict stood in continuity with some of Vatican II, but not all of it, and he undermined some of it with his one-sided interpretation of it. I don’t mean to be uncharitable to him, but I do want to be honest in my critique of him.


      1. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #4:
        ” I wanted to add a paragraph on the need for reconciliation, on bringing everyone toward center.”

        Does anybody have an alternative to left/right language–it almost always ends up (a) idealizing/idolizing the “centre,” which is unhelpful (was Jesus centrist?), and (b) aligning ecclesial divisions too closely with political party divisions (they’re different animals).

      2. @Michael O’Connor – comment #8:
        You raise a valid concern, as even others who share my commitment to the “center” have pointed out the danger of making “centrism” just another ideology. For me, the aim of “bringing everyone toward center” is not about idealizing a neutral or middle-of-the-road position on everything, but hopefully it’s a prophetic warning about the adverse effects of the idolization of ideology. The problem, particularly for Catholics in the US, is that we have indeed created ecclesial divisions that mirror political divisions, which is deeply detrimental to the Church’s witness.

        This is the problem that has troubled me the most since coming into the Catholic Church, and I am honestly not sure what the answer is.

      3. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #4:
        I appreciate your honesty, Fr. Anthony. While I don’t go as far as you do in your critique of Benedict, I grant that it has some validity. The debates on how best to interpret Vatican II are surely far from over, and yes, Benedict represents a particular school of thought on that question, which other corners of the Church can legitimately take issue with (which I have on some points, though on some others I think he has some valid points that are often overlooked).

        These ongoing intra-ecclesial debates are healthy, as long as we keep the need for reconciliation in sight. That, as you know, is my driving aim. My concern here was on the temptation to draw battle lines between “Pope Benedict Catholics” and “Pope Francis Catholics” or some such.

  4. The assembly refrain of “Iubilate Deo” (p. 3) has an impossibly wide range. Is this someone’s favourite?

    1. @Michael O’Connor – comment #5:
      That was my first thought too. But then I remembered that they’re Italians. They can all sing the most famous opera arias – most with a wider range than an octave and a fifth!

  5. Following on what Julia said, I wonder if you aren’t being a bit too restrictive in what Benedict meant by the “hermeneutic of continuity” and “hermeneutic of reform.” It wasn’t only about liturgy, but about staking a claim that Vatican II was in continuity with the past teachings of the Church. Which is why the SSPX wouldn’t reconcile with the Church: they rejected Benedict’s claim that the teachings of Vatican II on religious liberty, the Jews, etc. were in fact in continuity with the great Tradition of the Church.

    Benedict thought the liturgy was important, but he knew it wasn’t everything. Let’s not distort what he meant by “continuity” be reading it as a code word for returning the liturgy to its preconciliar state.

  6. Mr. O’Connor – John O’Malley purposefully avoided the left/right or progressive/conservative language when studying VII and Trent. He chose to use the terms *majority*/*minority*.

    Would suggest that Benedict had a late tendency to think and say that the minority was continuity – not in everything but most especially when describing liturgy – Summorum Pontificum is an apt example and over the prior pope’s concession & episcopal conferences and then basically *inventing a hermeneutic* to justify his liturgical decisions.

  7. I found this article divisive. As if pitting Benedict XVI with Francis. As if Benedict was wrong and Francis is now right. To be honest I found the liturgy now confusing. I am speaking about my experience here in our diocese. Every season of the year we have different songs and hymns, all new and all in the vernacular. It seems there is no end to innovations. Its like buying and wearing clothes and after that the clothes are discarded for new one. Vatican II did not specifically say that the whole mass should be entirely vernacular. The all vernacular mass is actually a deviation from the intent of Vatican II and yet I wonder why people always justify it in the name of Vatican II. Have they read the documents? or are they simply assuming that anything new is always Vatican II. The exodus of the religious, the dampening of religious enthusiasm. The breakdown in discipline is really appalling. There must be a rupture somewhere. VATICAN II is not a super-dogma that erases everything prior to it. Vatican II is only one of the many ecumenical councils that the church has had in the past 2000 years. Vatican II will only be plausible if it is interpreted in relation to the other council. I am amused when I read remarks saying that Vatican II abolished the Latin Mass. I wonder where they picked up those notions.

    1. @Herbert Rosana – comment #10:
      I think we can all agree that Vatican II did not abolish Latin Mass.
      Rather, within a few years of Vatican II, bishops’ conferences, with Rome’s approval, allowed an entirely-vernacular Mass as an application of other parts of the liturgy constitution about, eg. active participation.

    2. @Herbert Rosana – comment #10:
      I would agree that novelty in liturgical song is tiring. My sense is that there is a large body of repertoire fairly common with any single publisher. You have to have a music director really attached to seeking novelty to find what you describe. Of course, if you are switching to the Mass propers, then you will get a new set of music every week, and it probably won’t repeat till next year.

      The vernacular Mass was justified by the world’s Catholic bishops after Vatican II, and done on the principles laid out there.

      The rupture of which you speak is in the culture: post-WWII, civil rights, television, suburbs, automobiles, the end of urban Catholic ethnic communities, women’s rights, the counterculture, the internet–and that’s just in the US.

      1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #18:
        “I would agree that novelty in liturgical song is tiring. My sense is that there is a large body of repertoire fairly common with any single publisher. You have to have a music director really attached to seeking novelty to find what you describe. Of course, if you are switching to the Mass propers, then you will get a new set of music every week, and it probably won’t repeat till next year.”

        My sense, brother Todd, is that “large body” constitutes a gluttenous, ravenous consumer mentality that more resembles lines of French waiters each having yet another course to fatten up Monty Python’s “Mr. Creosote.” The fashionista aspect of “foodies” compares quite easily to American Catholic compositional output; the wienies on campfire sticks of Repp were replaced by interesting casseroles of the SLJ/Dameans, then came the Marie Callendars fare of the 80’s with H/H/H and Joncas, and by the 90’s we had an international food court mentality. No one, not the least of which was NPM had the good manners to say “Enough!” There wasn’t an echo chamber or mic/PA system large enough to stop the next wave at the next convention. Find me a cadre of more than ten American bishops who could agree on “your ideal core repertoire.” (In my best Francaise: Impossible!”) White list? Spite list.
        Oh, I have to quibble over your contention that replacing options 2-4 at the processions would amount to 52+x3 “new songs” per year. Whether on sings propers from the GR, the SEP, the Rice or Fords’ collections, or even the Macek/Tate or Pluth/Tietze metric approaches, all of these types of settings must be regarded as adhering to some pretty fixed, articulated standards. It has been my experience that it is just as convenient to teach the Rice or Bartlett propers in their respective idioms than to introduce the syncopations of Maher one week and Cortez the next, if you take my point. The form is better suited to the text than some of the excesses of styles in modern idioms. Who’s going to be the ultimate chef who’ll craft the final menu of coherent, beautiful, accessible, and nutritionally beneficial repertoires that doesn’t relegate bunches of music to ghetto-ization?

      2. @Charles Culbreth – comment #20:

        At the risk of sidetracking this thread, it seems to me that you, Charles, have confused idiom with quality. There is good, bad and mediocre in all idioms, whether we are talking about mediaeval chant or the “consumerist” music of the 90s; The trick is how to discern music which not only fits the ritual like a glove but which expresses who these people are and enables them to worship God in a fashion which is authentic.

        You may find it convenient to teach people to sing Bartlett propers, but it is possible that for an assembly made up of 40% Anglo, 30% Hispanic, 20% Filipino and 10% Vietnamese that particular idiom may not cut it. Even a 100% Anglo community could find that idiom alien to its authentic expression of faith. The way in which we think about the most suitable music to articulate the faith of the people we work with surely has to go a lot deeper than merely setting up one particular shibboleth as an ideal. And I apply that both to chant enthusiasts and to Maher enthusiasts.

      3. @Paul Inwood – comment #38:
        I’m really just curious about this prefix ‘Anglo-‘ that you and others keep bandying about as though it were a legitimate noun (it Isn’t).
        “Anglo-‘ is a combining form indicating that some group or something has an English or Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-something pedigree or cultural affinity. However, it seems from the contexts in which you and others so carelessly use it that this is not what is meant. One must immediately ask ‘Anglo-what?’ By itself it means nothing more than ‘English-something’, or ‘Anglo-something’: it obviously does not apply to someone whose name is Steinhausen or Rabelais any more than it does to Mr Hamamoto. I find the manner in which this combining form-would-be-noun is bandied about to be not at all complimentary, and I wonder if it isn’t pejorative. And while you are waxing strong about ‘authentic’ worship for Hispanics (who are, mind you, Caucasians just like the rest of us), for Orientals, blacks, Filipinos, etc., you seem to have very little (nihil) concern for that worship which is authentic for those few of us caucasians who are actally Anglo-American. There are also Anglo-French, Anglo-Germans, and even Anglo-Argentinians…. but just WHAT is an ‘Anglo’??? Anglo-anything is a relatively small portion even of our Caucasian population. Those fortunate enough to be of some other heritage than Anglic have their own combinig forms, such as Italo-American (NOT Italos), or German-Americans, or Czecho-Americans, NOT ‘Czechos’, or Franco-Americans, but not ‘Francos’. It seems to me that the safest and most accurate term to indicate what you probably mean is Caucasian (perhaps European). That’s what we all are (including the Hispanics) unless our ancestors are Amerinds, or came from Africa, the Orient, or the Pacific.

      4. @M. Jackson Osborn – comment #41:

        “Anglo” is a standard shorthand way of designating an English-speaking person in the US, just as “Latino” is a standard way of designating a Spanish-speaking person. I’m surprised you haven’t encountered this usage, or perhaps you have and you just don’t like it; but the fact is that both those nouns are in common parlance.

        The point I was trying to make to Charles was that in a linguistically and racially diverse assembly it is less than hospitable to impose one particular idiom or even language on everyone. More thought is required.

      5. @M. Jackson Osborn – comment #42:
        ” Hispanics (who are, mind you, Caucasians just like the rest of us),”
        The implication is that all of ‘us’ who read this blog are Caucasians. That is quite an assumption bearing in mind the catholicity of the church, not to mention those readers who are outside it.


      6. @Gerard Flynn – comment #47:
        The Hispanic/Latino parishioners I worked with most recently, as well as 100% of my Mexican friends, do not consider themselves to be Caucasian. While tangential to this thread, it’s nonetheless important given the demographics of the Roman church in the US.

      7. @M. Jackson Osborn – comment #41:

        From Merriam Webster website, lest anyone think Anglo is not a “legitimate noun”:

        2: a white inhabitant of the United States of non-Hispanic descent

        Examples of ANGLO

        a committee with a mixture of blacks, Anglos, and Hispanics
        Origin of ANGLO

        in sense 2, from American Spanish, short for Spanish angloamericano Anglo-American
        First Known Use: 1800

      8. @Jim McKay – comment #61:
        JMcK –

        I suppose that I should be indebted to you for ‘throwing light’ on this matter. And, I’m more than surprised that this epithet extends back at least to 1800. I would continue, however, to contest its applicablility to persons other than those who have some manifestation of Angle-ness in their heritage. Our population is replete with ‘white’ people whose surnames would not make them likely ‘Anglo’ candidates. If my name were Caramelli, for instance, I don’t think that I would consider myself ‘Anglo’. Clearly, to me, something more comprehensive and accurate is needed to represent all ‘white’ people of all national origins. (Actual Anglo-Americans are, after all, a rather small minority.) Caucasian seems the best I know of. Have you a better one to suggest?

        Too, Mr Inwood informs me (see no. 44 above) that ‘Anglo’ is an accepted noun refering to English speakers as opposed, I imagine, to Spanish speakers. This requires quite some indulgence, allowing as how I doubt that the third generation Japanese-American (who speaks only English) whose friendship I recently made would consider himself an ‘Anglo’. Ditto English-only speakers (including large numbers of Hispanics) from a wide variety of racial and national origins who proudly make up the American landscape.

        I will part with the observation that by far most of the time I have heard the would-be noun ‘Anglo’ tossed about it seemed anything but complimentary. It strikes me rather as in a category with certain wartime slurs for the Japanese or the Italians which I was taught never to use. It isn’t a word I expect to hear in polite company.

        Merriam-Webster aside, I shall continue to maintain that ‘Anglo’ is a Latin-derived combining form, as in Anglophone (an English speaker), Anglophile, Anglophobe, Anglo-Indian, etc. It is, unlike the Spanish ‘Latino – Latina’, not a noun.

      9. @M. Jackson Osborn – comment #62:
        MJO, the use of “Anglo” as both a noun and an adjective – and not as a combining form – is quite widespread in Catholic parishes in the USA, particularly those with a large percentage of Latinos. It is not a perjorative term, as “gringo” originally was but is less so these days.

        Where I think Merriam Webster needs to be updated is in its reference to “a white inhabitant of the United States of non-Hispanic descent.” The matter of descent is not the important issue; rather, “Anglos” is a self-identifying term for those who speak English.

        I’m an Anglo, although I have no ancestry from England. My grandparents were from Croatia and Alsace. Third generation Asian-Americans who speak not a word of their grandparents’ languages may prefer not to be grouped in with “Anglos,” and if that is so, we should respect that.

        Latinos may also prefer the use of their country of origin or ethnicity as a descriptor to the general term “Latinos.” But in parish communities with Spanish-speaking members from more than one country of origin or ancestry, “Latinos” works best.

        Most people probably understand the word “epithet” in its disparaging connotation. I trust that was not your meaning.

      10. @Fr. Ron Krisman – comment #63:
        Indeed, Anglo very often has a neutral connotation. The problem arises from the interaction of Spanish and English usage – because “American” in Spanish usage often covers the Americas (from long before the USA existed), and so Spanish speakers came up with usages to distinguish “Americans” in regions not formerly colonized from the Iberian peninsula. (“Norteamericano” means something different than “North American” sometimes means, though virtually nobody considers Greenland….then there are such wonders as “estadounidense”, IIRC, even though Mexico is also the United Mexican States…)

      11. @M. Jackson Osborn – comment #62:

        Merriam-Webster aside, I shall continue to maintain that ‘Anglo’ is a Latin-derived combining form, as in Anglophone (an English speaker), Anglophile, Anglophobe, Anglo-Indian, etc. It is, unlike the Spanish ‘Latino – Latina’, not a noun.

        Good luck, then!

      12. @Paul Inwood – comment #65:
        Good luck, indeed! It does look like I’ll need it when even learned folks eschew a perfectly good word such as ‘anglophone’ in favour of making the combining form ‘Anglo-‘ into a sort of dumpster word noun for anybody who is an American who speaks only English. (AND! Even a dictionary jumps on the bandwagon!) Somehow, I don’t think that Blacks, Japanese, Philipinos, English-only hispanics, etc., etc, (Americans all!), let alone Franco-Americans and Russo-americans, et al., think of themselves as ‘Anglo’. And I find it amusing that Mrs Jaworski, Mr Stienfeld, Alexis Lvov, Pierre du Parc, etc., etc., English only speaking American all, should be called ‘Anglo’… I think that they, too, would wonder why they were being called ‘Anglo’. This is really quite funny (assuming it isn’t meant to be insulting). All English speaking Americans are not ‘Anglo’. Calling an Italo-American an Anglo because he speaks English is as silly as calling me an Italo-American. Again! There is a very good word for what you want: it is ‘Anglophone’.

      13. @Paul Inwood – comment #38:
        Hi Paul, we’re both long in tooth and lifers in this rehearsal room, and I believe you know I’ve been “all about” the discernment of quality of repertoire AND execution/performance over idiom the whole career.
        I agree we shouldn’t perpetuate these concerns in this thread, so howsabout you compose a topic focus into an article on PTB and we’ll wax and sally forth? Besides, wouldn’t that be a welcomed relief from all the Francis/MR3 glut and retire back to the peaceful foxhole of the MusicWars?
        I can’t wait to spar over what you think is “a fashion which is authentic” and “who these people are.” Cheers.

  8. Mass in the vernacular became the virtually universal practice in the church within a few short years after the council. That resulted from the work of reform and renewal conducted under the collegial authority of the worlds bishops in union with the Bishop of Rome. The entire rite of the NO was published within the RM and was always an option but one rarely exercised. Also optional was the use of a Latin ordinary at the discretion of the celebrant. Priests and people quickly grew accustomed to worshipping in a language they understood so that the Latin options were infrequently exercised. With the exception of an occasionally requested indult to celebrate the TLM with people whose attachment to it was overwhelming, it took decades before a ROTR movement even got off the ground. It’s initial enthusiasts were some of the so-called JPII generation of priests who rather though that incensation, bell ringing, and some Latin chants added greater reverence to the Mass. They were encouraged by their reading of people like Cardinal Ratzinger. They began to speak of some kind of lturgical golden age sometime prior to the invention of “the spirit of Vatican II”. They seldom noticed that since they weren’t alive at the time, they might be mistaken. Then came the cassocks, the amices, the lace, and the insistence on wearing chasubles with under stoles. Tens of thousands of dollars worth of Dutch and Belgian vestments were shoved into a back closet as altar societies were held up for more beautiful vestments more in line with the times. They more than hinted that this was a requirement of somebody in authority. Then came the debacle of the rejection of the 1998 translation and LA. All under the leadership of people whose notions of liturgy were confused with rubrics as a result of reported aberrations. I do believe in the further development of the reforms inspired by the council, but one in continuity with the Novus Ordo. I don’t see the need for more smells and bells.

    1. @Jack Feehily – comment #15:
      I too have noticed a certain ‘golden age’ mentality among younger Catholics (I myself am 28, so I guess my near-peers). However, I don’t see ‘golden age’ language used by Pope Benedict, even before he became pope.
      That’s not to say he wasn’t a critic of post-Vatican II liturgical practices or a proponent of some pre-Vatican II practices that seemed to go by the way side in many places. The distinction might not seem important, but it is (and, though I’m not an expert, the difference between Traditionalists and RoRers).
      A second observation would be that if it is indeed the case that at certain times the liturgy suffers from historical accretions that distort its form and spirit, then the fact that after the council the vernacular became widely used, does not of itself validate its use nor does it invalidate latin. Being widespread (like reciting the rosary during the liturgy pre-Vatican II) doesn’t justify a practice. That being said, I think vernacular is better than latin alone in most instances.
      Moreover, your last point suggests that ‘smells and bells’ are not in continuity with the missal produced after Vatican II but surely you don’t mean that. Surely you mean that you don’t like smells and bells and disagree with those who argue that they have a(n integral) place in the liturgy. Many would of course disagree, and not just self-identified RoRers. Of course, I may have misunderstood you.
      This again points to the real debate of what is liturgy and how do we celebrate it ‘well’.

    2. @Jack Feehily – comment #15:
      You simplify the push for the vernacular after the council. The implementation of the renewal in the US, for instance, took many twists and turns relating to the subject of the vernacular. Even recently we have the US bishops in “Sing to the Lord (2007) directing, in accordance with V2’s SC & Pope Francis’ practice reported above:
      “Each worshiping community in the United States, including all age groups and all ethnic groups, should, at a minimum, learn Kyrie XVI, Sanctus XVIII, and Agnus Dei XVIII, all of which are typically included in congregational worship aids. More difficult chants, such as Gloria VIII and settings of the Credo and Pater Noster, might be learned after the easier chants
      have been mastered” (75).
      Fr. Jack, most everything that you mention as being lauded by the younger JP II priests as opposed to (some) older clergy are included in the liturgical books including the so called “under stole” (see the GIRM). Bell ringing and incense are also in the girm. Father, its not V2 the younger priests question but your seeming preferences. These are not the same things.

  9. The whole hermeneutic of continuity idea I believe was needed to equate the EF and OF as one liturgical rite. It was also needed to advance what Massimo Faggioli calls the “disposibility of the reform”. The allowance of the EF, even against the wishes of many bishops, was itself a rupture. One could even argue that its allownace was against one of the principles of Vat II- that of collegiality. The lack of collegiality also seems to rear its head in the final version of the 3RM. One caould argue that there has been a rupture of continuity with Vat II itself.

  10. I’m throwing my initial response in with Deacon Bauerschmidt and Julia, that the characterization of Benedict’s “hermeneutic of continuity” here is restrictive. But that’s OK, it gives the chance to refine.
    As I understand, though I could be wrong (and this whole post might be the wildest of fantasies, no doubt others will correct me), the ‘continuity’ is not only with the past teachings and practices of the Church, but also the calls of the Liturgical Movement prior to the Council – especially as represented by the thought of Romano Guardini, who initially saw the problems of the liturgy being a lack of awareness of the spirit of the liturgy affecting its celebration – not necessarily a problem with the missal.
    My suggestion is that Benedict sees this ‘spirit of the liturgy’ as the proper ‘subject of continuity’ throughout the Church’s historical pilgrimage, and in multiple rites (that’s obvious not only from SP, but also if we mean anything if we say that the liturgy of East and West is not in contradiction). And, due to historical vicissitudes or personal indifference, may or may not be realized in any given liturgy. Obviously we disagree as to what constitutes that spirit, but that could/should be the point of debate, yes? Not whether someone ‘invented a hermeneutic’ or isn’t applying it correctly (what would be a non-invented hermeneutic, and on what hermeneutical basis would you determine if a hermeneutic was being used correctly?) or whether someone is too old-fashioned/fussy/precious or impious/undignified/banal.

    1. @Brendan McInerny – comment #17:
      Not sure I follow all of your points. On the surface, you appear to make good sense but when you drill down, well??

      Hermeneutic – yes, a simple definition would be any interpretation. But, in fact, would we really apply that term to the rants of Fr. Z, EWTN, etc. A valid hermeneutic is researched, documented, peer reviewed, and studied e.g. school of Bologna hermeneutic.

      There are multiple issues with the ROTR hermeneutic:
      – Benedict issued Summorum Pontificum and later that year made his *infamous* Advent speech in which he used the term *continuity of reform* which includes both rupture and continuing the same. As some have clarified (see J. Komonchak, Deacon & awr), he was referring to much more than just liturgy. And yet, this became the *ROTR* movement raison d’etre – and folks such as Fr. Z, EWTN, etc. probably read more into this that what Benedict intended.
      – thus, we had a papal pronouncement (enlarging JPII’s concession over the recommendations of episcopal conferences, etc.) which was followed by a hermeneutic (thus, the reason for saying *invented*). SP was not based upon the careful, theologically vetted studies on VII or even specifically SC. It rather supported the tendency for popes to act as if they are the church with little to no consultation, collegiality, and re-interpreting the legacy of Paul VI.
      – it also raised issues about a pope who was a peritus at VII interjecting or inserting his beliefs on Vatican II (and interestingly, we know that these were 180 degree change from when he was at the council)

      Find it interesting that you cite Guardini – spirit of liturgy. And yet, much of the ROTR and even Benedict questioned or rejected those experts who described the *spirit of VII* – which, would agree, is the proper subject of continuity.

      Sorry, given all that PTB has posted on VII/SC, too often it seems the ROTR has borrowed exactly what they object to about VII and used it to support the ROTR. Yes, a hermeneutic can be more than subjective – if not, there is no *history*; there is no *agreed upon developmental facts* – there is only subjectivism and individualism.

      1. @Bill deHaas – comment #29:
        Well, I’m glad that I appeared to have good sense on the surface at least. Hopefully, I can clarify and extend that to the depth.
        First, despite Gadamer’s Truth and Method, which as I read precludes applying an adjective to hermeneutic, I generally take hermeneutic to refer to a principle/rule of interpretation – not just any interpretation. It provides the how of interpreting a document, not the interpretation itself. For example, an interpretative principle (a hermeneutical lens/hermeneutic) stressing authorial intention considers that interpretation of the text which most probably represents the intention of the author (to be determined through a variety of means) the ‘best’ interpretation. People who use this saem hermeneutic can nevertheless come to differing interpretations. However, as many hermeneuts (?) have been arguing for some time, authorial intention might not be the best and certainly it is not the only possible manner to interpret a given text. As such, I would still claim that ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ is no more or less valid as a means of interpreting (but that might be a whole other argument) – which are equally ‘invented’. But that is not to claim total subjectivism or relativism.
        Second, I’m not a defender of RotR or Benedict – I’m only really interested in the question of the ‘spirit of the liturgy’ and how Catholics and Christians argue in favor of a given liturgical expression over another in a way that doesn’t dissolve to communities of taste and polemics. Obviously, we think we’re doing something in liturgy, and that some ways of doing it are superior/proper and some are not – I’d like to see more explanations of these views that aren’t debates over SC.
        Third, yes, RotR folk and Benedict have questioned the ‘spirit of V II’ as described by some experts. But clearly the ‘spirit of the liturgy’ (which would be that which imbues all ‘proper’ liturgy throughout the Church’s history) and the ‘spirit of…

  11. It does, indeed, seem that the Holy Father is moving away from Latin and Benedict XVI’s liturgical style, much to my chagrin, but it also seems, at least for the moment, that they do have one thing in common, just in different areas.

    Whereas Benedict could be “in your face” (if you’ll permit the expression) about liturgical vesture, with a distinct rupture from JPII and Marini I, Francis seems to be that abrupt and to the point in his preaching.

    Here is a photo of Benedict in what some might call over the top old-timey vestments, (I loved it.) Now that makes a strong statement. No one would accuse him of being anything but Catholic, not Orthodox, not Protestant.

    But, according to Fr. Z., Francis was just as dramatic this morning (Saturday in the Easter Octave) in his sermon.

    “the Faith isn’t negotiable.” “There has been, throughout history of the people, this temptation: to chop a piece off the Faith”, the temptation to be a bit “like everyone else does”, the temptation “not to be so very rigid”. “But when we start to cut down the Faith, to negotiate Faith, a little like selling it to the highest bidder”, he stressed, “we take the path of apostasy, of disloyalty to the Lord.”

    As far as sermons go, I have a feeling that that God’s Rottweiller will seem like a puppy compared to the Humble Bishop of Rome. A distinct rupture from the immediate past.

    1. @Christopher Douglas – comment #22:
      And which pope has ever said anything different? Did you expect Pope Francis to say otherwise?

      And what this has to do with Pope Benedict’s vestments at the re-opening Mass in the Capella Paolina, I just don’t follow.

      1. @john Robert Francis – comment #25:
        My point is that some people found some (many) of Benedict’s liturgical choices to suddenly arrest attention, in comparison to JPII.

        I’m finding some of Francis’s statements equally arresting. The temptation NOT to be rigid? I would think people who believe that rigidity is the antithesis of ‘pastoral’ might be shaken by those words. Chopping off a piece of the Faith leads to apostasy? Ditto. Those are very strong words.

        I’ll be interested to see how his theological pronouncements and his liturgical practice intersect and in what ways. He is obviously a well-educated and well-read man. By his own words he believes in wisdom and that it is often possessed by the elderly. I am very curious where he’ll be leading the Church and in what ways.

      2. @Christopher Douglas – comment #26:
        Like John Robert Francis, I don’t really follow what your point is.

        Fr. Z. is tendentious, belligerent, and irresponsible. I’d prefer you not drag him over here – I don’t see how it contributes to a good discussion.

        This post is a case in point – Fr. Z claims seems to think that Francis will prove to be a meanie on doctrine, and that this will confound and frustrate liberals who have created a false (favorable) image of the pope. But I don’t know of anyone, liberal or otherwise, who has claimed that Pope Francis will innovate on doctrine or core teachings or difficult teachings. What on earth is Fr. Z talking about?

        Maybe, as you want to hope, Francis will make Benedict look like a puppy because of his sharp preaching. I would caution you about future hopes and projections. As much as I’ve celebrated the many changes Francis has made in ritual and symbol and liturgy, I’ve tried to limit myself to commentating on what he’s done and not making and predictions about what he might do.

        So far, the pope has said in his preaching we shouldn’t compromise on the teachings of the faith. That could mean not compromising on doctrine, or not compromising in our service to the poor, or it could mean a lot of things. Taken at face value, I guess I don’t see the story in it.


      3. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #27:
        “irresponsible”. That’s a good word. And not just to apply to a specific person, but the phenomenon of clerics who have become virtual pastors to virtual flocks in the blogosphere without the taking on the much harder responsibilities of really pastoring them (that even goes for the ones who have real flocks, too). Virtual pastors (like naive real pastors) get to cultivate expectations on the more credulous members of their flock and don’t have to pay much of a price (unlike naive real pastors who learn the hard way, though the fact that pastors can get more easily transferred since 1983 often softens the lesson) when the flock discovers their expectations have become resentments, as expectations (unlike hopes) so often do. I cannot begin to count the number of times I’ve witnessed priests on blogs behaving in ways that a spiritual director of old would likely have castigated them for, and get positive reinforcement.

      4. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #27:
        Fr. Anthony,

        1. While I don’t agree with your assessment of Fr. Z, I certainly will respect your wishes. In hindsight, I wish I would have cited a different source, e.g., La Stampa, because I was only quoting the sermon, not someone else’s analysis.

        2. On prognosticating. Your point is well-taken.

        3. I’m sorry that you don’t get my point. Either my writing skills fail me or my point is actually weaker than I think it is.

        4. All controversy aside, I am generally interested in where the Holy Father is going theologically and liturgically, not to mention in matters of discipline, and if we’ll see an obvious unity of thought and action. Which leads me to a related question. Throughout the history of the papacy how much has ‘personal style’ played a role in the universal Church? Is this mostly a post-Vatican Ii phenomenon or no?

      5. @Christopher Douglas – comment #33:
        Dear Christopher,

        On your last point, I think it’s very recent that the personal style of the Pope played a role at all. JP2 was elected in 1978, the same year CNN was founded. I take that as a marker – he’s the first pope that we all saw regularly on the screen. I don’t recall it ever being that way for Paul VI, although I was in high school at the time and not necessarily noticing such things.

        It’s interesting how recent some developments are – the idea of “pope as teacher,” according to Fr. John O’Malley SJ, mostly dates to the 19th century and all the centralism the Catholic Church newly introduced as a response to the threats of modernity. “Encyclicals” as teaching documents didn’t exist as a genre until the end of the 18th century.

        So, for better or for worse, when Pope Francis doesn’t wear red shoes or mozzetta, moves the altar candles aside, and wears simple vestments from Argentina, the whole world sees it in real time… and gets commentary on it from me and other blogs within minutes.


      6. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #36:
        Father, you raise a fascinating point with the JP2 / CNN synchronicity. We have all read about the impact that the advent of the printing press had on the Reformation & Counter-Reformation 500 years ago. It is also true that the rise of modernity itself provided the first rapid mass communication across at least part of the globe. Telegraphs linked all of Europe with North America and parts of Asia by the mid-19th Century. Perhaps this communication allowed the mind to imagine a degree of centralization and control that was not possible earlier? It certainly allowed the idea of Papal input to daily newspapers.

      7. @Jim Waldo – comment #56:

        Mass media is certainly responsible for today’s “popular” papacy. Go back before the advent of newspapers and universal literacy (not terribly long ago in the grand scheme of things) and you arrive at a situation that prevailed throughout most of the history of Christianity, that is to say a Church wherein the faithful were by and large oblivious to the papacy. I think it was FDR who once observed that all politics is local. The same was once true of religion.

        Only recently do faithful Catholics follow the pope’s every move, read his every word, and feel the need to know his opinion on just about every matter. Throughout most of history, however, the average Catholic would have been unable to name the reigning Pope of Rome, much less would he have known what he looked like, or cared what he wore. Apart from the privileged few who were educated, literate, and travelled, only Catholics in Rome (or Avignon) would have been able to so much as identify the Pope. Very few individuals could have made any observations concerning the Pontiff’s “ars celebrandi” (which in the case of so many of the popes from the most egregious chapters in Church history, considering the way they simply used the papacy as a vehicle for the acquisition of wealth, power, and prestige for their aristocratic families, must have been absolutely dismal). Fewer still (his courtiers) would have noticed his wardrobe.

        But centralizing tendencies don’t begin with the advent of mass communications, of course. It was Rome’s ever-increasing affinity for unilateral decision-making that irked the other patriarchs of the Pentarchy and finally led to the Great Schism in 1054. Increased literacy and media presence in the 19th century helped, however, to produce the popular papacy that created the environment which made the Declaration of Papal Infallibility possible.

    2. @Christopher Douglas – comment #22:
      Francis seems to be that abrupt and to the point in his preaching.

      I can’t wait for his first encyclical. I expect it will be under 2000 words, and he’ll avoid repeating himself excessively (my main peeve with many of JP II’s documents).

  12. This particular blog reminded me of Cardinal Ratzinger’s autobiography in which he mentioned the liturgical reforms of Pope Pius XII, and I couldn’t help but think of the interesting relation between the “traditionalist/liturgical purist” perception of Pope St. Pius X’s crusade “against modernism” and the convenient lost memory of Pope Pius XII’s liturgical reforms. In a sense, is history repeating itself in a similar way between Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis?

  13. Hello Anthony,

    I know it is a small point in a larger picture but you mentioned near the end, “there was talk of re-writing all the introductions to the reformed liturgical rites.” Could you elaborate further on this?

    Annibale Bugnini commented on the need for this in 1974 when after the majority of the reforms were complete in order to harmonize the style and rubrics of everything. He noted this was especially true of ordination and marriage. This was accomplished in 1990 when the second typical editions were published (something that began 15 years earlier). It was envisioned that all the rites would be compiled into a single volume (something we have yet to see happen).

    Was there a different sense to the revision that you mentioned?

    1. @Jeffery BeBeau – comment #30:
      Hi Jeffery,

      I’m referring to a report a year or so ago that the present introductions would be re-written. I don’t believe it was an official announcement, but some report from Italian Vatican watchers (don’t remember which one). It’s up there with the report – which surfaced more than once – that the CDW was about to open a new section to supervise music and the arts.


  14. From the mid-1970s, from before the papacy of John Paul II, the Catholic community at Stanford University had a Sunday celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass sung in Latin, with heavenly music led by Prof William Mahrt. But – apart from Latin, music and the use of incense – it was no different to the community’s other Sunday Masses. The celebrant faced the people, the vestments were relatively simple, and communion was received in both kinds. There was no hint that this was the older rite. Latin was there primarily as a connection to the music, and as a cultural tie.

    From about the same time, a number of churches in London started a similar weekly celebration, and these continue today. For the most part, none are attempts to “Tridentinise” the Mass, nor are they done with any suggestion that the Latin Mass in the normative rite is superior to the vernacular, or even a “sacral” language. Latin is appropriate to the communities in these parishes, which are often extremely international. It fits with the music used. It would not be appropriate everywhere, not at all.

    All these celebrations, I think, are entirely in continuity with the Council, and the liturgical reforms that preceded the Council, and even the direction initiated by Pius XII. And of course they are in continuity with vernacular Masses, and Pope Francis’s celebrations.

    There are a few London churches that celebrate a Latin Novus Ordo in what strikes me as a pompous style, with copes and birettas and maniples, with cappa magna when certain cardinals visit, with the priest facing the apse and (in one parish in particular) the readings pronounced in a voice sounding like a caricature of TS Eliot. I think what we have learned from Pope Francis is that these liturgical moves were, in some sense, a “rupture”. It may have lasted 8 years, but it was a rupture nonetheless. And perhaps it is drawing to a close.

  15. Cardinal Manning, the 19th century Englishman, said once he would be happy receiving a papal bull every morning with breakfast, something now realized via the Internet.

    The only time Benedict used the phrase “hermeneutic of continuity”, in a footnote in Sacramentum Caritatis, it was in the context of very positive remarks about the liturgical reforms that followed Vatican II. I will grant that the phrase has been used to express a less positive evaluation of the past 50 years, but Benedict himself uses it to affirm the renewal as in continuity with the Church’s history.

    Sacramentum Caritatis 3:
    The Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, held from 2-23 October 2005 in the Vatican, gratefully acknowledged the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this rich history. In a particular way, the Synod Fathers acknowledged and reaffirmed the beneficial influence on the Church’s life of the liturgical renewal which began with the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. The Synod of Bishops was able to evaluate the reception of the renewal in the years following the Council. There were many expressions of appreciation. The difficulties and even the occasional abuses which were noted, it was affirmed, cannot overshadow the benefits and the validity of the liturgical renewal, whose riches are yet to be fully explored. Concretely, the changes which the Council called for need to be understood within the overall unity of the historical development of the rite itself, without the introduction of artificial discontinuities.(6)
    (6) I am referring here to the need for a hermeneutic of continuity also with regard to the correct interpretation of the liturgical development which followed the Second Vatican Council.

    1. @Jim McKay – comment #37:
      Though Manning was an extreme Ultramontanist, he was more circumspect than his contemporary William George Ward, editor of The Dublin Review. It was Ward who said, “I should like a new papal Bull every morning with my TIMES for breakfast.” (See Wilfrid Ward [son of W.G.], “William George Ward and The Catholic Revival,” 1893, p. 14.)

      W.G. Ward was often at odds with J. H. Newman. His son Wilfrid wrote an admiring two-volume biography (1912) of Newman that is still considered a classic.

  16. Interesting comments, and what seems to be two threads:1) the comparison/divisive thread and 2) the music thread.

    1) I have said that I like Pope Francis’ style – I seem to recall a criticism of tassels and phylacteries from Jesus in scripture and I like to think that our Pope has read that passage and takes it to heart. Doctrinally, I don’t think we will see much different. We’ll see.

    2) I am very interested in music. I like to sing and have been told I have a good voice. But beyond that, I like when music is a part of the liturgy that the average congregant can participate in. I have read every word of Sing to the Lord several times and on balance it is clear that the bishops want the congregation to be able to participate. In my experience, the congregation is mostly willing to sing if they can. So, when a music director treats the music as a personal performance piece for the soprano cantor that no one else in the church can sing it is missing the point. The music may be the finest music anywhere, and the performance may be perfect, but but isn’t proper for community worship.

    And I don’t think it matters what ‘food court’ you choose your music from. This shouldn’t be a music theory class decision. The standard is does it add to the liturgy and if so, can the congregation participate? Simple chants are great because the range is usually reasonable and the PIPs can pick it up if they don’t already know it. Conversely, convoluted chants where a single syllable can be stretched out for several notes are usually train wrecks. You personally may not like the GIA folks or the SLJ folks, but if they are popular and aren’t heretical I can’t see the problem. The standard shouldn’t be your personal taste; it should be what the congregation can embrace that also enhances the liturgy.

  17. Just wondering:
    The booklet gives the words of Institution in Italian, and over the chalice we have “versato per voi e per tutti” – “poured out for you and for all”.
    Does this mean that the current official Italian language translation does not have “for many”, but as above?
    If so, how did they get away with it?!!
    Or have they changed back?

    1. @Padraig McCarthy – comment #42:
      I don’t think the revised Italian has been instituted yet. When it is,that should be interesting if the “per tutti” is kept.
      But getting back to this booklet, apart from the fact that the preface and Roman Canon are in Italian, there is still a great deal of Latin for this Roman congregation to sing or chant. I was most puzzled by the fact that the Pater Noster is chanted in Latin. I think at Pope Benedict’s Masses that were hybrids of Italian and Latin, the Pater Noster was always in Italian.

      In the most recent modern Roman Missal in English, there is no Latin to be found except for the saying or chanting of the options of the Greek Kyrie, the Latin Sanctus, the Pater Noster and the Agnus Dei. And these chants are in the main part of the missal not in the appendix. Is that the nod to SC’s directive to the reformers of the Mass to maintain the Latin while allowing for the vernacular?

      1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #43:
        The Italian Bishops and Liturgy Commission are fighting hard to keep “tutti” — tearing their hair out was how my informant described it, because CDWDS does not want to let them. It will be interesting to see where this tussle ends under a new regime at the Congregation.

      2. @Paul Inwood – comment #45:
        More dramatic is if Pope Francis changes it in Latin, where after all it counts in terms of proper translation to the vernacular. If people want change, the change should first be in the template, not the vernaculars.

      3. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #43:
        Last autumn, at Vespers with Pope Benedict (I think it was 1st Vespers of Advent I) the Holy Father began the ‘Pater noster’ in Italian and quickly corrected himself and started again in Latin (the liturgy was 95% in Latin). It was a humorous moment for those who follow these things.

      4. @Fergus Ryan – comment #67:

        Once Pope Benedict lapsed into Italian while reciting EP III during a Mass in St. Peter’s (forget the occasion, perhaps a very long liturgy such as Midnight Mass or Easter Vigil). He also did a quick turnaround. Granted, the pontiff emeritus was 80+ at the time. Anyone who would have to stay up the entire day and night could make a mistake like that. I’m not surprised that Pope Benedict made lapses from time to time, given that he frequently said morning Mass in Italian in the Apostolic Chapel for his employees.

        Suprisingly (even to myself), I don’t see why Pope Francis should say the preface and eucharistic prayer in Latin at most public Masses in St. Peter’s. Sure, I’d like him to do that, but I respect his decision not to. It’s especially fitting for Pope Francis to say Mass entirely in Italian when visiting a Roman church as the diocesan bishop. I suspect that his postconciliar predecessors did likewise, even Pope Benedict.

        I would hope though that Pope Francis would recite the Roman Canon in Latin at the first Christmas Mass and at the Easter Vigil, as a sign of the ancient unity of the Roman rite. Something tells me that won’t happen though. I’m okay with that.

  18. Some more continuity with Pope Paul VI and John Paul I and II and a bit of Benedict XVI, the old “crucifix” staff returns to the pope, but the Benedictine altar arrangement remains on the altar of Rome’s Cathedral–same old, but nice vestments that Pope Francis has been wearing!

  19. Fr. Anthony, my comments on the article itself:

    Benedict … couldn’t bring himself to accept the “new thing” (cf. Isaiah 43:19) the Spirit was doing.

    In Benedict’s defense, he was treating separately the Council and certain things that came after the Council. Not everything done in the name of the Council — liturgically, ecumenically, etc. — was necessarily something “the Spirit was doing”.

    I’m not trying to stir up the old narrative of “the 1969 Missal was a complete surprise to the bishops, etc.”; I’m just saying that certain parts of the whole liturgical reform as it happened might not be the work of the Spirit after all, and so resistance to them isn’t stubbornness in the face of some “new thing” that God is working. I hope I’ve clarified that enough to avoid unpleasantness about this.

    Benedict’s “hermeneutic of continuity” was never about continuity with the past fifty years of Catholic liturgical renewal. … It was about establishing continuity with practices lost fifty years ago. … Benedict’s “hermeneutic of continuity” meant a rupture with present practices…

    Well, yes, that seems obvious to me, given that he saw certain elements from the post-Conciliar years as being ruptures. He did not want to have continuity with those ruptures, he wanted to undo or fix the rupture.

    When I get a cut, I’m bleeding; it’s a bit of a break with the “current” situation to cover it with a band-aid and allow a clot (and eventually scar tissue) to form. I want to be continuous with my un-cut skin, not with the wound. Maybe this is a facile analogy, but I’m just not shocked by your description of the “hermeneutic of continuity” being a rupture with the present in favor of continuity with the past.

  20. Fr. Allan J. McDonald : Some more continuity with Pope Paul VI and John Paul I and II and a bit of Benedict XVI, the old “crucifix” staff returns to the pope, but the Benedictine altar arrangement remains on the altar of Rome’s Cathedral–same old, but nice vestments that Pope Francis has been wearing!

    The return of the silver pastoral staff used by Paul VI and the John Pauls (and by Benedict, early on) sends a message, to be sure. I personally prefer it to the gold staffs adopted by Pope Benedict which, to me, looked like processional crosses. I wonder if Pope Francis won’t ultimately have a new staff commissioned for his use. I have this feeling he might opt for a staff made of wood.

    As far as Pope Francis’ vestments go, they are nice but the monotony of seeing the Pope in the same vestments over and over again seems unnecessary. Will he wear only these vestments throughout his pontificate?

    1. @James Murphy – comment #54:
      The Holy Father may have used it for it is Divine Mercy Sunday and JPII named it Divine Mercy Sunday.And a square in Rome was dedicated to JPII today which Francis attended . I think what we see is what we get in vesture and will be monotonous but it could be worse.

      1. @Father Allan J. McDonald – comment #54:

        Hadn’t thought of that, but that’s a reasonable hypothesis. Somehow, though, I think the silver staff is back for good…or at least until Francis has his own commissioned.

        As to the vestments, I think you may be right but I hope you’re wrong. During the pontificates of Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI, they spent tons upon tons of money on newly-commissioned vestments to outfit the post-Conciliar papacy. It seems an odd thing that they had to go and buy new, simpler vestments that will now be used exclusively as the mountains of vestments purchased over the last 40 years are uselessly packed away in mothballs.

    2. @James Murphy – comment #53:
      Well, maybe he won’t wear the same chasuble forever, but I for one have been tired of this practice of Benedict,m and yes John Paul II under Marini I, of never appearing in the same vestment twice( seems like) That is not seemly for the Pope in a world of hurt and poverty. It comes across as “fashion.” This is better.

  21. I appreciate the recent Papal liturgy in Italian for one principal reason: the melody of the Italian Eucharistic Prayer Doxology which is actually used (as opposed to the one in the Missal) is finally available in print and online! – in the booklet. It’s very difficult to find the version which is sung in practice.

  22. When you start using “Latinophone” for Spanish speaking people, I promise to join you in your idiomatic practices.

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