I'm starting to reach a breaking point. Not literally...but still...perhaps it is a sadness in realizing that, until the Parousia, we as Catholics will have to tolerate this stuff from both fellow Catholics and everyone else.
Pope Francis is, as you may or may not have heard, going to be celebrating Holy Thursday Mass in an Italian prison as opposed to the traditional St. Peter's Basilica setting of recent memory.
Out come the pretty little neat comfortable boxes - "this Pope cares about people" and "this Pope is a social justice Pope" from the Left and "this Pope hates tradition" and "this Pope is destroying the Mass" from the Catholic right.
Excuse me while I go vomit.
I am stoked beyond belief that the new Pope is celebrating Mass in a prison...I just don't know how much more I'll be able to take of people thinking this Pope is somehow a BREAK or a NEW DIRECTION
The narrative is this: as a Catholic you have to think one of the following
1) Big Papal Masses in St. Peter's Basilica are exactly what the world needs, while Papal Masses in prison are exactly what the world doesn't need...
2) Papal Masses in prison are exactly what the world needs, while big Papal Masses in St. Peter's Basilica are exactly what the world doesn't need.
How about this..."What the world needs is BOTH big solemn Papal Masses in St. Peter's Basilica AND Papal Masses in prisons!"
As a product of the Catholic 90's with burlap vestments, glass chalices, guitar groups, drums in the sanctuary, "our closing song today will be "Lean on Me"" etc. Pope Benedict's return to chant, beauty, reverence, solemnity etc. WERE EXACTLY WHAT THE WORLD NEEDED.
But here's the thing: I celebrated Latin Mass once a week at the high school (more kids came to it than Mass in English), did the chanting thing (the kids loved it), but I also had Mass in nursing homes and prisons.
What was important at both places was the fact that everyone pitched in to make it as beautiful as possible, and it didn't matter that we were surrounded by vending machines, intrusive PA systems, etc. It didn't matter that at neither place were we allowed to have real candles - everyone on the team pitched in and made those Masses as beautiful as possible.
My point is this: "THE WORLD NEEDS BOTH - AND NEITHER IS ANTITHETICAL TO THE OTHER!"
That goes for so many other things about the papacies as well.
But people will have their comfortable boxes and the people who think we've just elected a "social justice Pope" will ignore the fact that Pope Francis is a doctrinal black belt who routinely issues roundhouse kicks to the face of all the hot button issues of our time. And people will go on pretending that because Pope Benedict was known for issuing statements of the very same type that Pope Francis has been ignored for saying, that Pope Benedict is a cold-hearted monster.
And the militant right, refusing anything in the vernacular, will continue to see Pope Benedict as the messiah and Pope Francis as an angel of death sent to destroy all that Benedict "built up"
Let's remember what Jesus said to His Church - "Behold I am with you always, even until the end of the age."
Our Popes have always been what we've needed. The people who always miss the party are the people who, like the crowds on Palm Sunday, had already decided ahead of time what kind of Messiah they wanted.
Have you decided, ahead of time, what type of Pope we need, or do you listen to the Pope's teaching, read his writings, and pray for him?