Skip to comments.Benedict and the Technicolor Mass-Coat
Posted on 09/08/2007 3:54:12 PM PDT by NYer
Wearing one of the more... er... unique vestment sets in the recent history of apostolic voyages, the Pope celebrated Mass earlier today at Austria's patronal shrine of Our Lady of Mariazell, celebrating both its 850th anniversary and today's feast of the Birth of Mary.
(The judgement against blue as liturgical color? Abrogated.)
As a driving rain descended throughout, estimates placed the crowd at 30,000.
Homily full; snips:
With our great pilgrimage to Mariazell, we are celebrating the patronal feast of this Shrine, the feast of Our Ladys Birthday. For 850 years pilgrims have been travelling here from different peoples and nations; they come to pray for the intentions of their hearts and their homelands, bringing their deepest hopes and concerns. In this way Mariazell has become a place of peace and reconciled unity, not only for Austria, but far beyond her borders. Here people experience the consoling kindness of the Madonna. Here they meet Jesus Christ, in whom God is with us, as todays Gospel reminds us Jesus, of whom the reading from the prophet Micah says: He himself will be peace (5:4). Today we join in this great centuries-old pilgrimage. We rest awhile with the Mother of the Lord, and we pray to her: Show us Jesus. Show to us pilgrims the one who is both the way and the destination: the truth and the life.
The Gospel passage we have just heard broadens our view. It presents the history of Israel from Abraham onwards as a pilgrimage, which, with its ups and downs, its paths and detours, leads us finally to Christ. The genealogy with its light and dark figures, its successes and failures, shows us that God writes straight even on the crooked lines of our human history. God allows us our freedom, and yet in our failures he can always find new paths for his love. God does not fail. Hence this genealogy is a guarantee of Gods faithfulness; a guarantee that God does not allow us to fall, and an invitation to direct our lives ever anew towards him, to walk ever anew towards Jesus Christ.
Making a pilgrimage means setting out in a particular direction, travelling towards a destination. This gives a beauty of its own even to the journey and to the effort involved. Among the pilgrims of Jesuss genealogy there were many who forgot the goal and wanted to make themselves the goal. Again and again, though, the Lord called forth people whose longing for the goal drove them forward, people who directed their whole lives towards it. The awakening of the Christian faith, the dawning of the Church of Jesus Christ was made possible, because there were people in Israel whose hearts were searching people who did not rest content with custom, but who looked further ahead, in search of something greater: Zechariah, Elizabeth, Simeon, Anna, Mary and Joseph, the Twelve and many others. Because their hearts were expectant, they were able to recognize in Jesus the one whom God had sent, and thus they could become the beginning of his worldwide family. The Church of the Gentiles was made possible, because both in the Mediterranean area and in those parts of Asia to which the messengers of Jesus Christ travelled, there were expectant people who were not satisfied by what everyone around them was doing and thinking, but who were seeking the star which could show them the way towards Truth itself, towards the living God.
We too need an open and restless heart like theirs. This is what pilgrimage is all about. Today as in the past, it is not enough to be more or less like everyone else and to think like everyone else. Our lives have a deeper purpose. We need God, the God who has shown us his face and opened his heart to us: Jesus Christ. Saint John rightly says of him that only he is God and rests close to the Fathers heart (cf. Jn 1:18); thus only he, from deep within God himself, could reveal God to us reveal to us who we are, from where we come and where we are going. Certainly, there are many great figures in history who have had beautiful and moving experiences of God. Yet these are still human experiences, and therefore finite. Only he is God and therefore only he is the bridge that brings God and man together. So if we call him the one universal Mediator of salvation, valid for everyone and, ultimately, needed by everyone, this does not mean that we despise other religions, nor are we arrogantly absolutizing our own ideas; on the contrary, it means that we are gripped by him who has touched our hearts and lavished gifts upon us, so that we, in turn, can offer gifts to others. In fact, our faith is decisively opposed to the attitude of resignation that considers man incapable of truth as if this were more than he could cope with. This attitude of resignation with regard to truth lies at the heart of the crisis of the West, the crisis of Europe. If truth does not exist for man, then neither can he ultimately distinguish between good and evil. And then the great and wonderful discoveries of science become double-edged: they can open up significant possibilities for good, for the benefit of mankind, but also, as we see only too clearly, they can pose a terrible threat, involving the destruction of man and the world. We need truth. Yet admittedly, in the light of our history we are fearful that faith in the truth might entail intolerance. If we are gripped by this fear, which is historically well grounded, then it is time to look towards Jesus as we see him in the shrine at Mariazell. We see him here in two images: as the child in his Mothers arms, and above the high altar of the Basilica as the Crucified. These two images in the Basilica tell us this: truth prevails not through external force, but it is humble and it yields itself to man only via the inner force of its veracity. Truth proves itself in love. It is never our property, never our product, just as love can never be produced, but only received and handed on as a gift. We need this inner force of truth. As Christians we trust this force of truth. We are its witnesses. We must hand it on as a gift in the same way we have received it.
Last night, Benedict XVI offered a more policy-oriented set of remarks to Austria's political and diplomatic communities:
To gaze upon Christ is the motto of this day. For one who is searching, this summons repeatedly turns into a spontaneous plea, a plea addressed especially to Mary, who has given us Christ as her Son: Show us Jesus! Let us make this prayer today with our whole heart; let us make this prayer above and beyond the present moment, as we inwardly seek the Face of the Redeemer. Show us Jesus! Mary responds, showing him to us in the first instance as a child. God has made himself small for us. God comes not with external force, but he comes in the powerlessness of his love, which is where his true strength lies. He places himself in our hands. He asks for our love. He invites us to become small ourselves, to come down from our high thrones and to learn to be childlike before God. He speaks to us informally. He asks us to trust him and thus to learn how to live in truth and love. The child Jesus naturally reminds us also of all the children in the world, in whom he wishes to come to us. Children who live in poverty; who are exploited as soldiers; who have never been able to experience the love of parents; sick and suffering children, but also those who are joyful and healthy. Europe has become child-poor: we want everything for ourselves, and place little trust in the future. Yet the earth will be deprived of a future only when the forces of the human heart and of reason illuminated by the heart are extinguished when the face of God no longer shines upon the earth. Where God is, there is the future.
Nowadays we hear much of the European model of life. The term refers to a social order marked by a sound economy combined with social justice, by political pluralism combined with tolerance, generosity and openness, and at the same time the preservation of the values which have made this continent what it is. This model, under the pressure of modern economic forces, faces a great challenge. The oft-cited process of globalization cannot be halted, yet it is an urgent task and a great responsibility of politics to regulate and limit globalization, so that it will not occur at the expense of the poorer nations and of the poor in wealthier nations, and prove detrimental to future generations.
Certainly Europe has also experienced and suffered from terribly misguided courses of action. These have included: ideological restrictions imposed on philosophy, science and also faith, the abuse of religion and reason for imperialistic purposes, the degradation of man resulting from theoretical and practical materialism, and finally the degeneration of tolerance into an indifference with no reference to permanent values. But Europe has also been marked by a capacity for self-criticism which gives it a distinctive place within the vast panorama of the worlds cultures.
It was in Europe that the notion of human rights was first formulated. The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself. This is true of life from the moment of conception until its natural end. Abortion, consequently, cannot be a human right it is the very opposite. It is a deep wound in society, as the late Cardinal Franz König never tired of repeating.
In stating this, we are not expressing a specifically ecclesial concern. Rather, we are acting as advocates for a profoundly human need, speaking out on behalf of those unborn children who have no voice. I do not close my eyes to the difficulties and the conflicts which many women are experiencing, and I realize that the credibility of what we say also depends on what the Church herself is doing to help women in trouble.
I appeal, then, to political leaders not to allow children to be considered as a form of illness, nor to abolish in practice your legal systems acknowledgment that abortion is wrong. I say this out of a concern for humanity. But that is only one side of this disturbing problem. The other is the need to do everything possible to make European countries once again open to welcoming children. Encourage young married couple to establish new families and to become mothers and fathers! You will not only assist them, but you will benefit society as a whole. We also decisively support you in your political efforts to favour conditions enabling young couples to raise children. Yet all this will be pointless, unless we can succeed in creating once again in our countries a climate of joy and confidence in life, a climate in which children are not seen as a burden, but rather as a gift for all.
Another great concern of mine is the debate on what has been termed actively assisted death. It is to be feared that at some point the gravely ill or elderly will be subjected to tacit or even explicit pressure to request death or to administer it to themselves. The proper response to end-of-life suffering is loving care and accompaniment on the journey towards death especially with the help of palliative care and not actively assisted death. But if humane accompaniment on the journey towards death is to prevail, urgent structural reforms are needed in every area of the social and healthcare system, as well as organized structures of palliative care. Concrete steps would also have to be taken: in the psychological and pastoral accompaniment of the seriously ill and dying, their family members, and physicians and healthcare personnel. In this field the hospice movement has done wonders. The totality of these tasks, however, cannot be delegated to it alone. Many other people need to be prepared or encouraged in their willingness to spare neither time nor expense in loving care for the gravely ill and dying.
Yet another part of the European heritage is a tradition of thought which considers as essential a substantial correspondence between faith, truth and reason. Here the issue is whether or not reason stands at the beginning and foundation of all things. The issue is whether reality originates by chance and necessity, and thus whether reason is merely a chance by-product of the irrational and, in an ocean of irrationality, it too, in the end, is meaningless, or whether instead the underlying conviction of Christian faith remains true: In principio erat Verbum in the beginning was the Word; at the origin of everything is the creative reason of God who decided to make himself known to us human beings.
In this context, permit me to quote Jürgen Habermas, a philosopher not of the Christian faith: For the normative self-understanding of the modern period Christianity has been more than a mere catalyst. The egalitarian universalism which gave rise to the ideas of freedom and social coexistence, is a direct inheritance from the Jewish notion of justice and the Christian ethics of love. Substantially unchanged, this heritage has always been critically reappropriated and newly interpreted. To this day an alternative to it does not exist.
Marini’s last revenge??? Were they thinking of how that thing looked!!???
As noted by Rocco, there are fixed liturgical colors for vestments. Blue is not one of them. Then again, neither is tie dye. God bless this Holy Father for his humility in wearing these vestments.
“Were they thinking of how that thing looked!!???”
I like it. It reminds me of wheat waving against a blue sky. Fruitful. Maybe it based on John?
1 Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life 2 loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.
We learned in high school that Spain (I think) had special permission to use blue as a liturgical color for Marian feasts.
No! As you may recall, there have been multiple threads posted to this forum over the past few years, focusing on the Catholic Church in Austria, which is suffering from serious problems. JPII had to shut down one of their seminaries because of the heretical nonsense being taught to the seminarians. Several months ago, I posted a thread with photos of the interiors of various Austrian Catholic Churches. The one that still stands out, had plexiglass folding chairs, some blue spangled nonsenseical background in the Sanctuary and a Tabernacle that resembled a wren's house, only in metal. The Sanctuary lamp was .... a traffic light!
Prior to the pope's arrival, the local news media polled the country's Catholics for their opinion on the pope. They were more impressed with Arnold Schwarzenegger than the Holy Father.
The bishops KNOW that this pope is a strong traditionalist and used this opportunity to 'make a statement' on their liberal views by vesting him in this outfit. Hence, my comment on the pope's humility for acceding to their 'gift' and in so doing, sapping any argument they might have with him. From what I have read this afternoon, the Austrian Catholics have taken a more positive view of Pope Benedict XVI. From him, we may all learn humility.
Somewhere in the myriad number of bookmarks I have created, there is one that spells out the liturgical colors. Only recently was blue added and only on Marian feasts. However, it takes a great stretch of the imagination to look at the vestment supplied by the Austrian Church and call it "blue". This is a veritable slap in the face of Pope Benedict XVI who shuns novelty.
According to the news stories leading up to his arrival, security was very tight in Austria. Quite simply, this pope is not well liked.
Here is the response from Fr. William Saunders
The Church's liturgical norms do prescribe specific vestment colors for various celebrations. The purpose of utilizing different colors for vestments is twofold: first, the colors highlight the particular liturgical season and the faithful's journey through these seasons. Second, the colors punctuate the liturgical season by highlighting a particular event or particular mystery of faith. The following explanation is based on the norms of <The General Instruction on the Roman Missal>.
White or gold, a color symbolizing rejoicing and purity of soul, is worn during the liturgical seasons of Christmas and Easter. White vestments are also used for feasts of our Lord (except those pertaining to His passion), the Blessed Virgin Mary, the angels, and the saints who were not martyrs. White vestments are also worn on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, and the Feasts of All Saints, St. John the Baptist, St. John the Evangelist, the Chair of St. Peter, and the Conversion of St. Paul. White may also be used for Masses of Christian Burial and Masses for the Dead to signify the resurrection of our Lord, when He triumphed over sin and death, sorrow and darkness.
Red has a dual imagery: On one hand, red symbolizes the shedding of blood and is therefore used on Palm Sunday (when Christ entered Jerusalem to prepare for His death), Good Friday, any other commemoration of the Lord's passion, the votive Mass of the Precious Blood, the days marking the martyrdom of the apostles (except St. John), and the feasts of other martyrs who offered their lives for the faith.
On the other hand, red also signifies the burning fire of God's love. For this reason, red vestments are won on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and tongues of fire rested on their heads; for the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation; and for the votive Masses of the Holy Spirit.
Green is used during the liturgical season called Ordinary Time. This season focuses on the three-year period of our Lord's public ministry, and the Gospel passages, particularly on Sundays, recount His teachings, miracles, exorcisms, and other deeds during this time. All of these teachings and events engender great hope in the mystery of salvation. We focus on the life He shared with mankind during His time on this earth, the life we share now with Him in the community of the Church and through His sacraments, and we look forward to sharing everlasting life with Him perfectly in Heaven. Green symbolizes this hope and life, just as the hint of green on trees in early Spring arouses the hope of new life.
Violet or purple is used during Advent and Lent as a sign of penance, sacrifice and preparation. At the midpoint of both of these seasonsGaudete Sunday (the third Sunday of Advent) and Laetare Sunday (the fourth Sunday of Lentrose vestments are traditionally worn as a sign of joy: we rejoice at the midpoint because we are half-way through the preparation and anticipate the coming joy of Christmas or Easter. Some liturgists, particularly in the Episcopalian Church, have introduced the use of blue vestments during Advent as a way of distinguishing this season from Lent; however, no approval for blue vestments has been given for the Catholic Church. Purple vestments may also be used for Masses of Christian Burial or Masses for the Dead.
Although not seen very frequently in the United States today, black vestments may be worn for Masses of Christian Burial as a sign of death and mourning. Black may also be used on the Feast of All Souls or for any Mass of the Dead, such as on the anniversary of the death of a loved one.
In all, the colors of the vestments awaken us to the sense of sacred time. They are another visible way to make present the sacred mysteries we celebrate.
Fr. Saunders is president of Notre Dame Institute and associate pastor of Queen of Apostles Parish, both in Alexandria.
This is simply another case of renegade liturgists doing what they choose rather than following what the Church has established.
Well, I was in high school "only recently" -- hardly more than 40 years ago! ;-) don't recall the impression that the blue as a liturgical color for Spain was recent then, though.)
I always wondered why blue wasn’t a liturgical color.
Now I know.
Actually, I don’t think it is all that bad. I’m not thrilled by the mitre though.
Spain has had specific permission for the wearing of blue on Marian feasts at least since the 19th century, because of Spain’s historic devotion to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. However, the tradition seems to go back further than that. There is some suggestion that blue was a liturgical color in the Visigothic or Mozarabic rite, the rite used in Spain prior to the general imposition of the Frankish-Roman rite starting in the 9th century, and that the Spanish simply continued to use it after the Frankish-Roman rite was installed in most of Spain.
In any case, now it seems to be permitted elsewhere for Marian feasts, too. The liturgical use of tie-dye, on the other hand...
In the Roman Rite, since Pius V, colours are five in number, viz.: white, red, green, violet, and black. Rose colour is employed only on Lætare and Gaudete Sundays. Blue is prescribed in some dioceses of Spain for the Mass of the Immaculate Conception.
Between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries blue and yellow were common but they may not be used without very special authorization (Cong. of Rites, Sept., 1837).
I think, too, that blue has to do with Mary.
With all due respect, read over carefully what you've written here . . . .
as if an entire conference of bishops launches a conspiracy to prove a theological point by choosing which chasuble the pope is going to wear.
We're getting awfully close here to the black helicopters coming over them 'thar hills . . .
Maybe NYer’s point was that these unusual vestments were a gift from the bishops, and even though they are not precisely “liturgically correct” surely the Pope can dispense himself from the prohibition against blue and go ahead and wear them to show appreciation for the gift, which considering how bizarre (and not typical of Benedict) it looks, truly does show humility.
It also saw the formation of the BLUE Army.
In terms of Heaven, we associate White with Virginity and Doctors of the Church. Red is associated with martyrdom -- blood shed for the faith.
In the case of St. Maximillian Kolby, as a boy, he had a vision of Mary where she asked if he would want either a White crown or a Red. The response is that he asked for both. Though St. Maximillian Kolby had the red crown martyrdom, he is also considered to have a white crown as well.
Pope Benedict is a Marian Pope as was Pope John Paul. Cannot he not honor Mary on an important Marian feast by wearing blue?
Maybe Traditionalists may be balking at this thought, but think of the Pomp and Splendor of Palm Sunday as Jesus rode into Jerusalem. Certainly, if one were present, they would have seen that a glorious day -- with various colors present.
Then why not the Pope use Blue for Mary to celebrate Mary?
Not to the extent of JPII. I just posted the following CNS article as a thread to the forum.
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