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Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Catching up on the Papal visit

Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

I haven't been able to watch much of the Holy Father's visit to the USA and have promised myself some time to catch up with the various video clips that are around. A convenient site for these is the US Bishops Conference Papal Visit Site which has a collection of videos of the various events. The Vatican website has the for the texts of the various homilies and addresses of the Holy Father during the visit.

Of the various addresses that I have read so far, I was particularly moved by his address to young people at the St Joseph Seminary in Yonkers. He gave them all an "A plus" for German pronunciation and went on to use various saints as examples for young people. He spoke of his own youth:
My own years as a teenager were marred by a sinister regime that thought it had all the answers; its influence grew – infiltrating schools and civic bodies, as well as politics and even religion – before it was fully recognized for the monster it was. It banished God and thus became impervious to anything true and good.
He spoke about the sinister darkness brought about by the manipulation of the truth and the misuse of freedom. He offered a concise description of relativism:
And in truth’s place – or better said its absence – an idea has spread which, in giving value to everything indiscriminately, claims to assure freedom and to liberate conscience. This we call relativism. But what purpose has a “freedom” which, in disregarding truth, pursues what is false or wrong?
He challenged the misrepresentation of Christianity so common in the West:
Sometimes we are looked upon as people who speak only of prohibitions. Nothing could be further from the truth! Authentic Christian discipleship is marked by a sense of wonder. We stand before the God we know and love as a friend, the vastness of his creation, and the beauty of our Christian faith.
The New Liturgical Movement has a most interesting observation: How Lovely Are Thy Offertory Prayers. During the incensation of the altar at the various Masses, the Holy Father's lips were moving. There are no prayers prescribed in the Novus Ordo for the incensation of the altar. It is most likely that the Holy Father was saying the traditional verses of Psalm 140:
Dirigatur, Domine, oratio mea sicut incensum in conspectu tuo: elevatio manuum mearum sacrificium vespertinum. Pone, Domine, custodiam ori meo, et ostium circumstantiae labiis meis : ut non declinet cor meum in verba malitiae, ad excusandas excusationes in peccatis.

Let my prayer, O Lord, come like incense before You; the lifting up of my hands, like the evening sacrifice. O Lord, set a watch before my mouth, a guard at the door of my lips. Let not my heart incline to words of malice, to make excuses for sins.
I noticed that he was also moving his lips as he was putting incense into the thurible and blessing it. Again, there is no specified prayer in the Novus Ordo but the traditional prayer is:
Per intercessionem beati Michaelis Archangeli, stantis a dextris altaris incensi, et omnium electorum suorum, incensum istud dignetur Dominus bene dicere, et in odorem suavitatis accipere. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Through the intercession of Blessed Michael the Archangel, standing at the right hand of the altar of incense, and of all His elect may the Lord deign to bless + this incense and to receive it in the odour of sweetness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
It could well be that these are examples by which the Holy Father, in a small and unobtrusive way, is putting into practice that "mutual enrichment" between the two forms of the Roman rite for which he expressed a hope in Summorum Pontificum.
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