PrayTell posts video of the Holy Father moving off the altar platform and giving peace to sisters in wheelchairs. Lots of hand-wringing in the commentariat there, and I’d expect a more vigorous and catty dissent on other websites.
- I wonder why people stopped exchanging peace. They were clerics. Some hearts may not be in the gesture. Or perhaps if they were, their sense of decorum overrode turning around and clasping hands.
- They stopped exchanging peace to watch Pope Francis, which I don’t think is part of the rite. The presider continues offering and receiving peace, and my instinct would be to continue it myself.
- Photographer, hmmm …
- I think it would be difficult for Pope Francis to pick out one or two sisters on the edge and scoot back to the altar. A real sign demands attention, prudence, and if it supposed to signify care, then it should demonstrate that.
- Nobody followed Pope Francis off the altar platform.
What this kind of thing does is simply to make a mockery of any instruction (or perhaps any document) that comes from the Vatican, whether from the Pope or a dicastery. For example, when the Extraordinary Synod entertained questions that were expressly closed off by John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio, it was making a mockery of his teaching. It would be better to have no documents at all than to publish them and proceed to ignore or contradict them.
A few things on this comment:
- I wonder how much blowback the professor may be getting from his students on Pope Francis things.
- If mockery is how this gesture is interpreted, perhaps some liturgical instructions deserve such mockery. I think a good number should be retired.
- The Gospel is Matthew 28:19, John 13:1ff. Not Familiaris Consortio. That document is a means to an end. It is not the idol because we are fanboys and girls of JP2.
- What does it mean to exercise judgment in the act of contradicting documents? I would think it means people are more important than paper. Souls are more important than structures. The virtues, especially love, are vital.
Good for Pope Francis that his example will give liturgical people pause, and cause for deeper reflection.