Sunday, 3 December 2017

OPINION: The Pope and His Audiences on the Mass Re: Pictures At Mass.

Hello Everyone.

Forgive the tardiness, but married life with full time work including 1/5 hrs travel to and fro on the weekdays each way, plus domestic duties and whatnot, gives me such limited time for blogging these days. Still, I wanted to release this regardless as a not-as-once-youngish, but still "Church young" at 34 years old, Latin Mass server and male in the Church.

Back some weeks ago, as part of his new series of Wednesday General Audiences on the Eucharist, Pope Francis has done it again, striking hard at something (finally!) that affects everything at all spheres of the Church, with tie-ins to secular culture: Photos at Mass/social media.

His first general audience in November as part of the series, dealt with the Holy Mass, connected to catechesis on the Eucharist. The link from the Vatican's website is here for the first audience:

The Pope's Message

In the audience, the Holy Father states: ".... He does not say: “Lift up your cell phones to take a photo!” No, that’s bad! I tell you, it makes me sad when I am celebrating here in Saint Peter’s Square or in the Basilica to see many cell phones lifted up, not only by the faithful but also by some priests and even bishops! But please! Mass is not a spectacle: it is going to encounter the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord. This is why the priest says: “Lift up our hearts”. What does this mean? Remember: no cell phones."

In terms, of the Pope's take on this, I truly think that he is applying this to the WHOLE CHURCH.  I must start by saying this audience is NOT HYPOCRISY NOR HATE OF THE TLM. Yes, he has given numerous statements in the past in audiences/fervorinos that do not favour those in the Latin Mass/Traditional Catholicism (e.g. the "breeding like rabits" statement, the "rigid" youth in the TLM comment in an interview that was without clarification or a general broad statement that most aren't crazy,) but I do not think that in this instance, our holy father is specifically targeting blogs, such as New Liturgical Movement, or even the Radical Misrepresenting Traditionalist (RMT) blog, Rorate Caeli, with regard to these pictures at Mass.

Because of society being "wired" and the majority of youth and young adults in the world, including older tech-savvy adults , this is a common problem for people in all forms of liturgy in the world, to be attached to their cell phones w/cameras. Furthermore, most developed nations, sadly, share a sense of the notion of "celebrity," which is not limited to music pop-idols and movie actors. Dare I say it, even in Catholic media circles, even some priests and laymen indulge in this notion with the invention of the Internet, on both sides of the spectrum, (Radical) Trad and Liberal. It has even spreads to the Holy Father indirectly and directly, such as the Holy Father doing selfies. Sorry Papa, but selfie taking isn't exactly strengthening the power of your message to the audience of the hostile, anti-Catholic world ... but at least you do not command it AT MASS.

What is clear as day in this Papal audience, is he is trying to convey that main message: The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not an entertainment spectacle or a concert, it IS the highest form of prayer in the world, the re-presentation of Christ's passion, death, and resurrection, with which He freed us from the binding of Adam's Original sin that prevented us the opportunity (not de-facto admittance) to be in paradise with God in Heaven. (You have my full permission to copy/paste this quote, just acknowledge my blog.)  Sadly, phone photos take away from this reverence and make the events more like a concert. The Pope is saying, the Mass is not such a venue.

My Opinion (My Two Canadian Dollars)

Now, while I agree with the Pope's main message in full, I am disagreeing with his outright ban of cell phones/pictures in the Mass for a specific purpose: The promotion of the Sacred Liturgy, especially the Latin Mass in the current theological-political climate of the Church, is VITAL, particularly online and in social media platforms (e.g. Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat) where the young adult generations and younger are gravitating to as part of their lives.

Most, if they were part of the Church, only received a non-reverent, "watered down" Novus Ordo, with variance in quality in terms of homiletics (most being "Jesus loves everyone"/human sentimental garbage, mercy ad nauseam, extreme focus on social justice excluding the rest of the faith) as well as Praise and Worship/childish music that despite the ideas and egos of clergy and music ministers, is NOT the be-all and end all of worship. While I am not partial to a certain Mass being set aside for that and even praise and worship in Eucharistic Adoration (unlike other Radicals Misrepresenting Traditionalism, who hate on their Novus Ordo berthen and desire complete decimation of the Novus Ordo in their minds and hearts, and its "music" and even "Novus Ordo" ministries in the everyday Church,) most youth aren't thinking of heaven and angels and the afterlife when they hear that "Rainbow" song for the hundreth time on Sunday.

Further, might I also add that while it has been 10 years since Summorum Pontificum, and worldwide the number of new holding of the TLM, and priests/seminarians, and even permanent deacons are picking up this noble form, as a whole, there is still a need for HIGHER NUMBERS of Masses, and competent clergy/laymen to instruct even more clergy/lay people in how to carry out the solemn and sacred Latin Mass (though women could assist in areas of expertise such as choir, altar preparation and textiles/vestment creation, and administrative roles in the case of lay organizations e.g. F.I.U.V., local EF/TLM societies.)

How better to promote the Holy Mass, in the Extraordinary Form, than with pictures on social/media, the internet. As the expression says, "a picture is worth a 1000 words," and to the majority of people, they would not be repulsed, but actually drawn in by what is going on at the altar. When one sees images such as the solemn Latin Mass with the numerous servers on their knees at the consecration, and 3 sacred ministers at the altar, does not that invoke an image of angels all around our Lord as King? Now, tie that in with the fact that our youth are "glued" to their internet phones and social media, and you can see that pictures, taken in proper parts of the Mass and posted, IS actually a form of evangelization to youth, and even an indirect invitation to say "Come, see what our Faith is about ... come, and experience eternal salvation, and Heaven on Earth ... Come ..." Might I also add that for all of Pope Francis' talk about getting dirty with the sheep, making "Hagan Lio" and going out to the peripheries, those youth and adults struggling with their faith and lives, and/or have departed from the Church but are around social media, ARE PART OF THE PERIPHERIES! 


So, if I must counter the Holy Father, then I counter him on this point by saying in summary: I get it. Yes the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is NOT an entertainment venue and we should not be taking constant pictures and idolizing the Holy Father as a pop star. However, one cannot "throw out the baby with the bathwater" in regards to the promotion of our faith, when many of our lost youth and even adults, who are trapped in the "world of the net," are not going to daily Mass and/or have anyone, even their parents, guiding them remotely, in anyway to the life of the Church. Further, because there is still a need for an increase in the Latin Mass, with the institutional Church including Pope Francis, PURPOSELY NOT promoting the Latin Mass and/or ignoring it in the Life/Culture of the Church (alongside a pure hatred of pre-Vatican II anything by the 65'-late 80's ordained generation of clergy,) it is being left up to the lay body and future/current younger clergy to promote and expand the Latin Mass, and the taking of photography and public promotion of it on the web is a necessary tool for advancing the TLM itself, and evangelizing to those who desire that deeper faith in Christ in the liturgy of the Holy Mass.

And that is my two Canadian dollars on this issue. Unless he makes this audience a part of the Acta of the Church to bind it as Magisterial, I'm sticking to my guns here.

Pax, Julian.

P. S. Love this gem in the audience: "... “But what are you saying, that the Lord is dull?” — “No, no. Not the Mass, the priests” — “Ah, may the priests convert, but it is the Lord who is there!” Do you understand? Do not forget it. Participating in Mass is living again the redemptive passion and death of Our Lord.” Notice that for all the venom that RMTs spew at our Holy Father, he DID NOT in that sentence consider the Mass a "meal," the usual thing that is said by priests and laity thanks to shoddy post-Vatican II catechesis.

He even did it before in 2014 (see the reference earlier in the same paragraph I took this snippet from in the link above.) Please read the full address for other gems including Martyrdom for the sake of the Holy Mass, the definition of "Eucharist" etc.