Skip to comments.Pope Francis is attached to traditional devotions and is not afraid to show it
Posted on 05/07/2013 2:07:32 AM PDT by markomalley
It is an aspect of Francis papacy that is little talked about - possibly because it does not fit the progressivist stereotype - and yet it is deeply ingrained within the fabric of popular piety which the Latin American Church sees as key to spreading the faith. In less than two months Bergoglio has visited the Basilica of St. Mary Major, the oldest church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, twice. Once straight after his election, to ask the Virgin Mary to protect the diocese of Rome and again on 4 May, the first Saturday of the month dedicated to Mary, to recite the Rosary.
The Salus Populi Romani is the mother that looks after our growth, she helps us face and overcome problems, she gives us freedom, the Pope said. So Francis is a pope who is deeply devoted to the Virgin Mary and is not afraid to show his attachment to forms of devotion which post-Conciliar theology saw as dated. One image of the Virgin Mary which Bergoglio helped to spread devotion for in Argentina, was that of Our Lady, Untier of Knots. This tradition originates from a Bavarian devotional image (Maria Knotenlöserin) created by German painter, Johann Melchior Schmidtner, in 1700. The icon is now preserved as an altar piece in a chapel inside the Romanesque church of St. Peter am Perlach, in the Bavarian city of Augsburg.
In an article for Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire, Stefania Falasca wrote that Bergoglio discovered the icon during one of his study trips to Ingolstadt and started spreading the word about it when he returned to Argentina. As auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires, he dedicated a shrine to the icon and as archbishop he inaugurated a number chapels named after the Virgin Mary depicted in the icon. He even printed the image on his personal business card which he always included in correspondence. The image is of Mary looking determined to untie a number of big and small knots in a ribbon that is being handed to her by some angels. All of us have knots in our hearts, failings and all of us go through difficult times. Our good Lord, who bestows grace on all His children, wants us to have faith in Her; he wants us to entrust the knots of our woes to her, the knots of our miseries that prevent us from reaching God, so that She can untie them and bring us closer to His son Jesus. This is the meaning of the icon.
On the back of the image of the Virgin Mary which Bergoglio used to send out with his correspondence, there is a prayer that reads: May evil never ensnare you in its chaotic web May you act as an example of how to unravel the knots in our lives and help us through difficult time with simplicity and patience, through the intercession of Your Son.
Francis has also shown deep devotion to St. Joseph, the protector of Jesus childhood. He began his pontificate invoking the saints protection, in the inaugural mass on 19 March, the feast day of Marys husband. Another saint the Pope has a special relationship with, is Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, patron saint of missions. Bergoglio was particularly keen to spread devotion for this saint in Argentinas slums, the villas miserias.
Traditional popular piety has kept so many people flocking to shrines even through the current crisis and the secularisation of our times. It is therefore an important part of the new evangelisation; it is the expression of the peoples faith. It is the faith of the simple that the Magisterium must protect fulfilling its democratic duty to give a voice to those who do not have one.
Thank God! (Literally!) Interestingly, it was the clergy in many areas after Vatican II who actually tried to stamp out popular devotions, and the people who refused to let them go and have kept them alive, even in weakened form, to this time.
It’s certainly one of the few things that kept the Church in Latin America from completely disappearing after it became so politicized in the 1970s. Popular devotions still hang on in the US, too, although the dominant Catholic tradition, the Irish tradition, never had them to the extent that Southern European Catholics had them.
Go Pope Francis! Revive those devotions and you will revive the Faith for many, many people!
With each new pope the modernist “Catholics” leap for joy that a new regime has arrived with a new Liberal pope who will install women priests and protestantize the Church. And some of these guys seemed to be pretty liberal as bishops in their separate sees and then they are elevated to the Holy See. Looking out from the papal balcony things look different from the view in Rio or in Warsaw. The liberals always crash from that emotional high when God doesn’t follow their directions.
**Traditional popular piety has kept so many people flocking to shrines even through the current crisis and the secularisation of our times. It is therefore an important part of the new evangelisation; it is the expression of the peoples faith. It is the faith of the simple that the Magisterium must protect fulfilling its democratic duty to give a voice to those who do not have one.**