Rorate Caeli

Pope Francis on Feb. 14: "Old Mass? Just a kind of fashion!"

Yesterday (Friday, Feb. 14), Pope Francis held an audience with the Bishops of the Czech Republic who came to Rome for their ad limina visit.

In the visit, as it usually happens in such cases, other than the formal address, the Pope heard the questions and comments of the bishops. Archbishop Jan Graubner, of Olomouc, told the Czech section of Vatican Radio what the Pope told him:

[Abp. Jan Graubner speaks:] When we were discussing those who are fond of the ancient liturgy and wish to return to it, it was evident that the Pope speaks with great affection, attention, and sensitivity for all in order not to hurt anyone. However, he made a quite strong statement when he said that he understands when the old generation returns to what it experienced, but that he cannot understand the younger generation wishing to return to it. "When I search more thoroughly - the Pope said - I find that it is rather a kind of fashion [in Czech: 'móda']. And if it is a fashion, therefore it is a matter that does not need that much attention. It is just necessary to show some patience and kindness to people who are addicted to a certain fashion. But I consider greatly important to go deep into things, because if we do not go deep, no liturgical form, this or that one, can save us."

[Tip and translation: Czech reader MC, directly into English from Czech original.]

Roman weather: always hard to predict

Traditionalists are extremely stable and strongly fashion-averse. But as for the winds in Rome!... Roma è mobile, qual piuma al vento! Under seven years ago, the opinion of the then-reigning and still living Holy Father (one who was much more acquainted with the issue at hand) was quite different:

Immediately after the Second Vatican Council it was presumed that requests for the use of the 1962 Missal would be limited to the older generation which had grown up with it, but in the meantime it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist ... . ... What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.
(Benedict XVI, July 7, 2007 Letter to Bishops)