At today’s General Audience, Francis continued his “catechesis” on the Mass and it’s a doozy.
As of this writing, the complete text is available only in Italian, but an English translation should be posted on the Holy See website at some point tomorrow.
Those looking for a mortification opportunity may wish to read it; offering up the suffering for the freedom and exaltation of Holy Mother, the Church; that she may soon be freed of the Bergoglian scourge.
Perhaps the best way to give readers a sense for today’s discourse is to being by offering certain quotes wherein “Mass, Eucharist, Eucharistic celebration, etc.” are replaced by the words “Protestant Service.”
If Francis were actually teaching the Catholic faith, what we end up with should make little to no sense, but alas, that’s not the case!
Francis introduces the theme at the outset: the liturgy as “prayer” and “encounter”:
To understand the beauty of the Protestant Service, I want to begin with a very simple aspect: The Protestant Service is prayer, indeed, it is the praying par excellence, the highest, the most sublime, and at the same time the most “concrete” prayer. For it is the encounter of love with God through His Word and the Body and Blood of Jesus. It is an encounter with the Lord.
Don’t let the reference to “the Body and Blood of Jesus” fool you.
As you will see, the focus is very much on us – Mass is where we go to have an experience of meeting the Lord.
Is the Mass prayer par excellence?
Indeed it is, and the reason is because it is first and foremost an action of Jesus Christ; something missing entirely from today’s audience. We’ll return to the Mass as prayer momentarily, but for now let’s continue with our exercise.
Christ, when he calls his disciples, calls them to be with Him. This is therefore the greatest grace: to be able to experience that the Protestant Service is the privileged moment to be with Jesus and through Him with God and his brothers.
Here the anthropocentric view of the liturgy is more explicit; it’s about the “experience” of the encounter; that which makes it a “privileged moment.”
In essence, this view of the Mass is little more than an example of the Lord’s promise, Where two or three are gathered in my name…
Based on what Francis has said thus far, one might well ask:
What is the liturgy if the people aren’t there to ‘experience’ the ‘privileged moment’?
As we know, the Protestant Service without any people is worthless. The Mass, by contrast, remains a storehouse of infinite graces and the very work of redemption whether the people are present or not.
Francis went on to develop further the notion of Mass as prayer, saying:
Praying, like any real dialogue, it is also possible to remain silent – in the dialogues there are moments of silence – in silence together with Jesus. And when we go to Protestant Service, maybe we come five minutes before and we start to chat with those next to us. But it is not time to talk, it is the moment of silence to prepare for dialogue.
Ah, yes, dialogue – the post-conciliar substitute for authentic evangelization.
Is the Mass as prayer also in some way dialogue?
Yes, it is, and we’ll come back to this in a moment.
Francis goes on to say:
What is prayer really? It is first and foremost dialogue, personal relationship with God.
Ah, yes, personal relationship with God – the quintessential Protestant slogan.
Did Francis invoke it by coincidence, or is he deliberately – in typical Novus Ordo fashion – attempting to convince the heretics that this is their liturgy too? This is something to keep an eye on as the series unfolds in weeks to come.
Francis went on to say that the first disposition necessary for the “encounter” is childlike humility. Fair enough.
He then suggested that those who “dialogue” with God at Mass should be prepared for… wait for it… a surprise!
The second predisposition, which is also childlike, is to be surprised … Are we surprised by God who is always the God of surprises?
So, I suppose that a Lutheran who comes to Holy Mass in order to dialogue with God (and why wouldn’t she feel welcome) shouldn’t be surprised if He tells her to take Holy Communion! (Recall His Humbleness saying as much during a public Q&A with Lutherans in Rome.)
Later, Francis took aim, albeit in the sneaky, thinly veiled, underhanded fashion one has come to expect, at the Traditional Roman Rite and its adherents.
Because meeting with the Lord is always a live encounter, it is not a museum meeting. It is a living meeting and we go to the Protestant Service not to a museum. Let’s go to a living encounter with the Lord.
So-called traditionalists (aka Catholics) expect the Mass to be formal, structured, consistent, and timeless. The heretic expects his Protestant Service to be rather different.
Now you tell me, to whom is Francis speaking?
If it’s not obvious just yet, he goes on to say:
In the Gospel we talk of a certain Nicodemus (Jn 3: 1-2), a senior man, an authority in Israel, who goes to Jesus to know him; and the Lord speaks to him of the need to “reborn from above” (cf. v. 3). But what does it mean? Can one be “reborn”?
The Catholic answer to this question is: Yes, absolutely – in the waters of Baptism!
Francis, after going to great lengths to paint the Mass as a meeting place, has another idea in mind; implying that this is where one is reborn.
Each of us wants to be born again always to meet the Lord?
He then asks yet one more rhetorical question, this one designed to provide his listeners with a definition of what it means to be “reborn”:
Going back to having the flavor, the joy, and the wonder of life; is it possible even in the face of so many tragedies?
What Francis has laid out is an apt description of what motivates the Protestant to go to a Sunday service – he goes in order, not to partake of the fruits of redemption as poured by the Lord through His Church, but to “meet the Lord” and to be “born again” and to regain a little enthusiasm for life!
With all of this Protestantism as the foundation for his “catechesis,” Francis, toward the end of his audience, offers another Catholic-sounding proposition:
“Jesus Christ […] is the victim of atonement for our sins; not only for ours but also for those around the world “(1 Jn 2: 2). This gift, a source of true consolation – but the Lord always pardons us – this consolation is a true consolation, it is a gift given to us through the Eucharist, the bridal banquet where the Bridegroom meets our fragility.
Again, don’t be fooled by the familiar Catholic words as it is more fitting to say that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered in atonement; i.e., it is a true propitiatory sacrifice.
In closing, I can do no better than to offer some excerpts from a very fine article that comes to us from the Society of St. Pius X that treats of the Mass as prayer:
All prayer has a double aspect—a primary, ascending aspect by which the adoration, thanksgiving, petition, and expiation of man is offered to God and a secondary, descending aspect by which the gifts and blessings of God are poured out upon man. Having acknowledged God for Who He is and giving Him the recognition which is unique to Him, Man humbly but confidently expects to receive from God those things which He alone can give.
This is the true nature of prayer, and Holy Mass, as a sort of dialogue.
The article defines the primary aspect of prayer as: Adoration, Praise, Thanksgiving, Petition, and Contrition (seeking God’s pardon).
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is prayer par excellence in its primary aspect because only Jesus Christ can adore, praise, thank, and petition God as He should be in that only Christ knows the Father as He is.
Being the One True Sacrifice of the Cross, the Mass is the work of Christ that alone merits pardon and thus is efficacious in facilitating the secondary aspect of prayer by which the gifts and blessings of God are poured out upon man.
At Mass, we don’t just meet the Lord, we join our own prayers and sacrifices to His; that they may become an acceptable offering to the Almighty.
Not surprisingly, just as with the understanding of the Mass as the work of Christ (along with the role of the Church and the priest), the word “sacrifice” appears nowhere in the Bergoglian lesson of today.
Thus far, Francis’ “catechesis” is just as expected – it is essentially Protestant; with a few Catholic tidbits thrown in for good measure (or better stated, good deception).
We’ll see what next week brings.