Rorate Caeli

Jubilee of Mercy News:
1. Is the Jubilee of Mercy attracting far fewer pilgrims to Rome than expected?
2. Experimentation returns to the Papal Liturgy; Gospel accompanied by "dramatization" in Jubilee Mass for the Sick at St. Peter's

1. Is the Jubilee attracting fewer pilgrims than expected?

On June 10, Archbishop Rino Fisichella of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization announced that since the beginning of the current Jubilee, 9,100,935 pilgrims have visited the four Papal Basilicas - St Peter's, St John Lateran, S. Maria Maggiore and S. Paolo Fuori le Mura - and the Sanctuary of our Lady of Divine Love. The Jubilee of Mercy started on December 8, 2015 and will end on November 20, 2016, which means that we are already slightly more than halfway through the Jubilee year. While the summer season (peak season for tourists despite the heat) is still ahead, the Christmas, Lent, Holy Week and Easter seasons favored by numerous pilgrims have long been over.

Last year, the "Info Giubileo" website announced that 33 million "tourists and pilgrims" were expected in Rome for this Jubilee year -- more than double the annual number of tourists and pilgrims (12-16 million) that visit Rome on ordinary years. In comparison the Jubilee Year of 2000 was said to have attracted 24.5 million pilgrims. Even if one accounts for those going to Rome for purely touristic motives, and for those who will not be visiting any of the Papal Basilicas as pilgrims, surely there should have been far more than 9.1 million pilgrims by now to to these basilicas if the expected pilgrimage numbers are to be met?

2. "Dramatization" at Papal Mass.

Just as the Vatican had announced a few days ago ("Sick, disabled to take on main roles in jubilee Mass at Vatican"), the reading of the Gospel at the papal Mass for the Jubilee for Sick and Disabled Persons (June 12) was accompanied by a "dramatization" or skit performed by "intellectually disabled people". The reason given was "so that the text will be more easily understood by pilgrims with mental and intellectual disabilities who learn better through visual means".

In the following video of the June 12 papal Mass the skit can be seen beginning shortly after the 1:47:50 mark:

Some screenshots of the skit:

The Church, in fidelity to the teaching and example of her Divine Founder, has loved and tended to the disabled for 2,000 years, finding numerous ways of bringing them into her life without compromising the character of the liturgy. The justification used for this "play-acting" -- so that the Gospel will be "more easily understood" -- is unfortunately familiar, extremely loose and can be used to justify all sorts of weirdness in the Mass, just as the experiments of Msgr. Piero Marini for the papal Masses of John Paul II served as harmful precedents for the Catholic liturgy all over the world. It is unfortunate, truly unfortunate, that this mentality of experimentation and needless adaptation is slowly creeping back into the papal liturgy.