Saturday, March 16, 2013

Cardinal Mahony's Tweets

NB: I reacted rather strongly-and incredibly uncharitably- to this. My mom can attest to this. Let me preface this with a warning...yes, please be upset and rightfully so, but don't yell, curse, or anything like this. Please, can we move on from the mess of the last few days?

Cardinal Mahony got back on Twitter after conclave, and has had some interesting odd and troubling things to say. One of Father Z's readers sees him trying to save his own skin, knowing that both Benedict and now Pope Francis are less than happy, not to mention the faithful. But, he's plain wrong! Also, it's pretty awful that he insulted Benedict with this, now that Benedict has no authority.

Mass with Pope Francis: moving from HIGH Church to LOW and humble Church!What a blessing that we are encountering Jesus without trappings!

We are not Anglicans here, Cardinal Mahony. The cardinals do not switch, as the Crown Nominations Commission does with the 'Archbishop' of Canterbury, from a high church cleric to a low church cleric with each new Bishop of Rome. Far from it. There is continuity from each papacy to the next, going back all the way to the first one, that of St. Peter. Also, Jesus is Christ the King, Lord of the Universe. Fr. Z has an article on what St. Francis really said. These two selections are the most pertinent. I encourage you to read the rest.

...For we have nothing and we see nothing of the Most High Himself in this world except [His] Body and Blood, names and words by which we have been created and redeemed from death to life.
 But let all those who administer such most holy mysteries, especially those who do so indifferently, consider among themselves how poor the chalices, corporals, and linens may be where the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is sacrificed. And by many It is left in wretched places and carried by the way disrespectfully, received unworthily and administered to others indiscriminately. Again His Names and written words are sometimes trampled under foot, for the sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of God.  Shall we not by all these things be moved with a sense of duty when the good Lord Himself places Himself in our hands and we handle Him and receive Him daily? Are we unmindful that we must needs fall into His hands?
If this is truly our only encounter with Christ the King here on Earth, why should we not give God made Flesh glory through proper, beautiful, and fitting vestments and symbols? Also, they are of great catechetical value. The pontificals, those items worn by bishops alone, and especially those of the Pope, symbolize the power to bind and loose given to them. A chasuble is a valuable teaching tool, since the back can be adorned with sacred images. The same is said of those so-called 'pastoral stoles' worn over a cassock and surplice for baptisms and rituals occurring outside of the Mass.

Might I suggest that bishops return to wearing episcopal sandals during the Holy Mass? Truly, those are the shoes of the fisherman, and they are fishers of men.

Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate
Pat Archbold at the National Catholic Register had an excellent Twitter rebuttal to each of the cardinal's tweets. I would add this to the one on the items that he is wearing, from his days as a priest and archbishop. He is now the Pope, no longer a simple Jesuit priest or archbishop of a poor land. Sometimes, you must give up things that you are comfortable with for the greater glory of God and the good of the Church. Does it hurt anyone to wear red shoes? They do not have to be Prada, and more than likely those shoes were donated or paid for at a reduced rate (after all, it is the Church, an institution we should be most generous towards). Does it hurt to wear the red mozzetta? It is a practical item more than anything, so that the Pope can keep warm without being overly bundled up; he needs his arms free for blessings. Benedict wore the camauro to keep his head warm; although it pleased him to see a positive reaction towards it, it amused him that we took it as such a strong sign of papal authority. Does it hurt anyone to wear a more ornate-but not overly elaborate- pectoral cross? But, it DOES hurt people as evidenced lately when the Pope does not wear items that are rightfully his and his alone. Humans take visual cues. For someone tasked with cleaning house in the Roman Curia, his outward symbols of authority are diminished, and thus he can be laughed aside by people.

Also, what works in any one particular church won't work in Rome, for the most part. That is particularly true for the Latin American church.

I have another thought. I think serving the poor means helping them and working among them, but not at the expense of your own identity in the Church when you are a cleric. For example, St. John Vianney still wore a cassock-albeit a ragged one- in his ministry, and for eight-and-a-half centuries Franciscan and Dominican friars wore their habits to minister to the poor. John Vianney's cassock was a mess because he wished to "spare no expense for the Sacred Liturgy." I would love to see priests in cassocks going among the slums and ghettos, or in a decent clerical suit when a cassock would trip them up. People need to know who the priests among them are!

This is another good thought.

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