In honor of the tenth anniversary of the “Liberation” of the Latin Mass by Pope Benedict XVI, a pilgrimage and conference were held in Rome. Pope Francis was notably silent throughout.
AbcNews.com/VATICAN CITY — Sep 14, 2017, 12:27 PM ET: Fans of the old Latin Mass descended on Rome on Thursday for their annual pilgrimage, facing indifference to their cause, if not outright resistance, from none other than Pope Francis.
Ten years after Pope Benedict XVI passed a law allowing greater use of the Latin Mass, Francis seems to be doing everything possible to roll it back or simply pretend it never happened.
In recent weeks, he has affirmed with "magisterial authority" that the reforms of the 1960s allowing for Mass to be celebrated in the vernacular rather than Latin were "irreversible." Last week he gave local bishops conferences authority to oversee those translations, rather than the Vatican.
The moves underscored that the age-old liturgy wars in the Catholic Church are very much alive and provide a microcosm view of the battle lines that have been drawn between conservative, traditionalist Catholics and Francis ever since he declined to wear the traditional, ermine-trimmed red mozzetta cape for his first public appearance as pontiff in 2013.
The indifference seems reciprocal.
At a conference Thursday marking the 10th anniversary of Benedict's decree liberalizing use of the Latin Mass, the meeting organizer, the Rev. Vincenzo Nuara, didn't even mention Francis in his opening remarks. The current pope was mentioned in passing by the second speaker, and ignored entirely by the third.
The front-row participants honoring retired pope Benedict and his 2007 decree were also telling: Cardinal Raymond Burke, a leading critic of the current pope whom Francis removed as the Vatican's supreme court judge in 2014; Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, recently axed by Francis as the Vatican's doctrine chief, and Cardinal Robert Sarah, appointed by Francis as head of the Vatican's liturgy office but effectively sidelined by his deputy.
…Francis' new law is a "pretty clear course correction from Pope Benedict's line," said the Rev. Anthony Ruff, associate professor of theology at St. John's University in Minnesota and moderator of the progressive liturgical blog, Pray Tell.
Despite the sense of belonging to a previous era, the conference was nevertheless upbeat about the future of the Latin Mass even under a pope who has openly questioned why any young person would seek out the old rite and disparaged traditionalists as rigid and insecure navel-gazers. READ MORE pilgrimage and conference
REMNANT COMMENT: No surprise here, of course. Although, in fairness, I remember attending these SP pilgrimages when Pope Benedict was still at the helm, and he too was always conspicuous by his absence, though in those days there was at least a greeting. This year, only deafening papal silence to mark ten years of the history-changing moto proprio.
Francis, it must be said, has bigger and better things to do. Right now he's trying to reduce the number of priests working at the Vatican, for example, in order to load up on laypeople, especially women.
He's also keen on reducing the number of Italians at the Vatican, God knows why (Rome's in Italy, Holiness, remember?)
Pope Francis has got a lot of big plans to permanently decentralize the Church, get rid of whatever Latin is still being used, and bring diversity to the Vatican, according to Rome Reports:
Note the Pope's hand gestures (minute 0:59) as he enters the room filled with prelates at the end of the video. Very telling. Someone needs to inform His Holiness: “They're not standing up for you, Holiness; they're standing out of respect for your august office.” Does this man know the difference?
On the other hand, I'm left with the distinct impression that if his subordinates had not risen at his entrance, Francis would have been the first to read them the riot act. It's the "Oh, no, no. Please. I'm humble" moment that this pope seems to really enjoy.
By the way, we take some heat for calling Pope Francis the "Holy Father" here on this web site. As Francis demonstrably gesticulates to have everyone sit down in his humble presence, I hope visitors will understand why we insist on that. It is the Holy See, it is the Holy Father, it is the Holy Church. And we will NEVER join Francis in denigrating and downgrading the office of the Papacy. He is the Holy Father, whether he likes it or not.