Friday, March 15, 2013

Wide Phylacteries

Some people are apparently not happy with the simplicity of dress Pope Francis has chosen in the first days of his pontificate.  They are pining for the days of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI,  disappointed that the new Holy Father has not worn the heavy stole, etc etc.  A few are ready to dismiss his papacy because he has not appropriated the regalia and adornment to which he is entitled as Supreme Pontiff.

Truth be told, I love the Traditional Latin Mass.  But my world is not going to come crashing down without the magna cappa or the fanon.  My  faith in the God Who humbled Himself to share our humanity tells me that in the end,  these things will have had no bearing on my salvation or anyone else's for that matter.

Watching Pope Francis and listening to him speak, one thing is clear:  We may never see the papal tiara upon his head, but we have already seen the mantle of humility on his shoulders.  His humble and unassuming way and his embrace of the outcasts of society are not well-staged  photo ops.  They are visible indications to us that he has heeded Christ's call to feed the hungry, visit the sick, and so on.   His choice of papal title alone speaks volumes about how he will comport himself throughout his pontificate.

When I heard what name he chose, I thought back to my childhood, and being asked what name I wanted for Confirmation.  I tried to imagine the reaction of the cardinals when he announced his choice to them, and wondered if they were as touched as I was.

 I think Pope Francis talks the talk and walks the walk.  Get in line behind him or get out of the way.


  1. I agree, Joyce. Whatever he wears, he wears.
    Someone I was reading suggested he may be waiting for the installation mass. But as you said so well, if he's walking the walk, who cares?

  2. Apparently, some people care so much they are wigged out completely, which is an indication they are missing the point. What good is it to have an attachment to sacred and solemn liturgy if your heart is hardened and closed off to any will but your own? I've stopped visiting certain sites because I'm sickened by what I read and the failure of the blog administrators to rein the dissenters in. I'm very heartened so far by Father Z's reaction and his promise that if people get out of hand, they will be banished from his combox. Meanwhile, over at Rorate Caeli....Lord, don't even let me get started.

  3. A friend of mine, who is not religious, asked me why Catholics are complaining about the Pope's simplicity, asking, "Wasn't Christ like that?" Then he asked, "What would they do if Christ came to them now - if he didn't wear all the papal regalia and stuff?"

    I answered, "I suppose they wouldn't recognize him."

    Then he said, "Isn't that what happened the first time too?" And I said, "You are right - he was rejected by the devout, those who kept the Law."

    My non-religious friend doesn't even go to church.

  4. Terry I just cannot get over the vitriol that I've seen. At least one blogger was supposedly told by a priest or bishop to remove the offensive title of his post reacting to Pope Francis' election. Ironic, too, that this lack of recognition is happening during Lent as we lead up to Holy Week, where the consequence of Christ not being recognized by His own people culminated in the brutality He suffered on Calvary. Your exchange with your friend gave me goosebumps. God bless and thank you for commenting. Joyce

  5. Joyce, your picture says it all. And, I personally will be horrified if the papal tiara is ever brought out again. It served its purpose during the era it was used. I did love Pope Benedict's use of some of the more formal papal somehow suited him :) But our new pope is a simple and humble man who has lived among the poor, and identifies with them. I can't imagine him in the ermine cape.

    It is so sad that those who consider themselves "more Catholic than the pope" have so many uncharitable things to say..before he has even been installed.

    He prays two hours/day. I'm much more interested in that, than in what he wears. God bless him!

  6. Patricia, I think I have an inkling of why those external symbols mean so much to some people. They were put aside at the same time the Mass (and some could argue the faith) were being deconstructed. I owe a great debt of gratitude who those who kept the fire, and the faith, burning and were committed to seeing the sacred and traditional liturgy fully restored. With that said, I hope some of these folks went to confession and have resolved not to slander our new Holy Father again. I'm pretty sure the Lord said something to us about not leaving our gift at the altar for Him until we have made good with our brother. And I think St James had something to say about faith without works. My prayer is that everyone will calm down, give Pope Francis a chance to become accustomed to the responsibility laid on his shoulders and commit to working with him to strengthen the Bride of Christ. Holy Mother Church has enough to contend with from Her external enemies. She does not need Her children wrangling over the family jewels while souls are falling into Hell.
    So good to hear from you. I did not know Pope Francis prays two hours a day - sounds very much like Bl JP II.
    God bless us all!

  7. Joyce, I haven't been home long enough to remember anyone but John Paul II and Pope Benedict, but with each all I can think of is it seems to me the Lord gives the church exactly who we need.
    I'm with you, we have enough to contend with outside the church; how will the world ever see Christ if those who are within are so divisive and uncharitable to the new Holy Father?
    My support and prayers are with him.
    Blessings +

    1. Hi Caroline, interesting that you mentioned JP II. I was away from the Church when he passed, but making my way back, and I really felt that watching him in his final days and then all the attention given him after his death had much to do with my decision to return. And I felt saddened and like I had "squandered" his papacy by being wayward for a good part of it. I hope I'm making up for it now tho!
      Glad to know you are with us in prayer for Pope Francis.
      Love and prayers,

  8. I am so thrilled about this pope and his humility, his wooden cross, and his penchant for public transportation. A friend and former co-worker called on Friday to tell me she is considering becoming a Catholic, inspired by 3 days of his papacy. I am sorry it is causing division in the church, but I am thrilled.

    Love your reference to the phylacteries.

  9. Hi Mary Christine
    I love Pope Emeritus Benedict and wish his papacy could have continued, but it couldn't and so I am thrilled with the new Holy Father as well. Thanks for stopping by and know that you are in my prayers.


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