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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

“The traditional Latin Mass brigade is finished.” - Vatican diplomat

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Watching him preside at Mass yesterday, I was reminded of the phrase we learned in liturgy class: the “noble simplicity of the Roman Rite.” Francis’ predecessor, Pope Benedict, had a love for the baroque, in his musical tastes and his liturgical tastes. We do not yet know what music is in Francis’ iPad, but I think it is safe to say that his liturgical tastes are less elaborate than his predecessor. One almost felt sorry for Msgr. Marini, the papal master of ceremonies and architect of Benedict’s liturgical style. Almost. I was glad that Pope Francis faced the congregation, not the wall. And, with the gravity of his posture and the prayerfulness of his words, I did not sense that we had lost any awareness of the divine by facing west instead of east. A Vatican diplomat assured me yesterday, 

“The traditional Latin Mass brigade is finished.”

I do not begrudge those with an affection or even a nostalgia for the traditional Latin Mass the chance to participate in it. But, restoring the Tridentine Rite is not exactly a pastoral program for the twenty-first century either. But, over the past few years, and not only in Rome, the sense was growing that this was all about dressing up. The cappa magnas, which play no part in the liturgy itself, were purchased and worn. Cardinal deacons, in dalmatics and miters, served papal masses. If all that goes away, that is fine with me

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