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I’m at Hyde Park, trying to be tolerant. Thank God for the beautiful Mass this morning

I’d better pull myself together and get with the programme

By on Saturday, 18 September 2010

I’m at Hyde Park, trying to be tolerant. Thank God for the beautiful Mass this morning

The noise! The people! I like rock as much as the next reprobate, but not when I am on pilgrimage. Still, my companions are loving the whole Hyde Park experience and feeling great solidarity with their fellow Catholics… Perhaps I should be more tolerant.

But thank God for that beautiful Mass this morning. What a homily from the Holy Father! I am not talking about the apology but about the Eucharistic theology – and the invocation of both the Council of Trent and the Second Vatican Council. The apology is the “story”, but it will not satisfy the haters. Nothing ever will.

Three things stood out for me in the Mass:

1. The use of the Credo from the Missa de Angelis. My eyes pricked. I would have been a howling cot-case if the congregation had genuflected at the words “et incarnatus est”, but alas they did not. In time perhaps.

2. The use of the Roman Canon, which is what many of us regard as the “real” canon.

3. The Pope giving Communion on the tongue to men and women who knelt before him. What a pity that priests and people do not follow this example.

Now I’d better pull myself together and get with the programme. There is little point in sitting here looking sullen for the next five hours.

  • LiberalTraditionalist

    Please Stuart, grin and bear it and bite your bottom lip on our behalf. As a crusading journalist, you sometimes have to act as a sitting-target of unfriendly fire on behalf of the profession.

    Bear in mind that the Acoustic Guitar is the instrument of Satan and please bring us back your observations of this evening's events – as long as you can survive the ordeal in one piece.

    It looks and sounds awful when viewed through the medium of Telly Vision.

  • Huxtaby

    It's been an endurance test watching on the internet too!

  • logos27

    The apology was a BIG mistake in my opinion. He's apologised once, and there was no need for an apology in the UK – which hasn't even had a major abuse scandal. He should have spoken with the victims and that's that. All this has done is made sure that nothing else he says for the rest of the day will get reported. After a week of nothing but abuse in the media, we had finally got to a stage where people were listening to what the Pope had to say on the mainstream themes of Christianity's place in society. Now he's given the media an excuse to drown that all out in more forty year old abuse stories.

  • pattif

    We banner carriers were warned to eat before we got to Hyde Park, because there wouldn't be anywhere to leave picnic kit while we marched in the procession. Over coffee and a sandwich, my friend and I commiserated with each other about the misery we were about to endure whilst waiting for the Holy Father. As it happened, we found the dreary hymns were somewhat drowned out by the excitement of meeting friends, some quite unexpected, and looking forward to the arrival of the Holy Father. In a particularly graced moment, we happened on a (perhaps the only?) priest who had come equipped with a stole to hear confessions. On the whole, I thought the atmosphere of joy ( a notable quality of the Holy Father) supplied what was lacking in the contributon of the 'liturgy preparation team'. One other thing, if the dancing (I remember Irish, Polish and African) part of the pre-match entertainment had not been billed as 'liturgical dance', it would have been absolutely delightful.

    The privilege of praying before the Blessed Sacrament with the successor of St Peter completely outweighed the less inspiring aspects of the vigil, such as the slightly embarrassing passing of the microphone from man to woman to child to woman to man to child (you get the picture ) during the Litany of the Sacred Heart (pity one of them dropped the baton and missed out a section).

    My prayer is that our bishops, who heard the whole congregation in absolute silence during the period of Adoration and Benediction, will realise that the devotion of their flock is real, and only needs opportunities to manifest itself. I also pray that many of the young people who heard the Holy Father's call to join him at World Youth Day in Madrid next year will answer it positively.

  • witness2hope

    If you haven't noticed, the Pope did talk to some of the abuse victims privately while he is there in the U.K.

    The media will always talk about the clerical abuse no matter how many times Papa Benedict apologizes.

    Then again — the Catholic Church was always hated since Jesus preached amongst the people.

  • Laurenkmmills

    I was in Hyde Park yesterday and really enjoyed the day. I was ashamed at how few people knelt for Adoration though and I won't even talk about the Liturgy. I love the Pope and everything he represents but I do wish he could just be a bit more blunt. People should be given more direction instead of being able to make their own rules up. My Priest had his stole and was available for Confession – there should/could have been an area for that.

  • lokionline

    The pope spoke to 4 people. Outside there were thousands… My letters and appeals for justice have never been answered.

    This has nothing to do with the Catholic Church being hated, get over yourself… people on the whole could care less about the Catholic Church until it commits crimes.

    In this case a crime has been committed and the Catholic church has an obligation to society to cooperate in dealing with it. The track record so far is not good.

    Apologies can only go so far… I think we are all sick of hearing the pope apologize… I know I am.

    What I and the other victims of abuse would like is transparency and some honesty.

  • El_Fraile

    A small correction or two: It was Credo III, not the 'Credo from the Missa de Angelis'. The two are often sung together, being well known but, strictly speaking, the Plainsong Masses (I. II. III, IV etc.) o not have their 'own' settings of the Credo.

    It would have been odd, attention seeking behaviour for anyone to have genuflected at the 'et incarnatus est'. In the Ordinary Form, kneeling is prescribed at Masses of Christmas and the Annunciation. For the rest of the year, one bows. It would be a shame if liturgical liberals strted making up their own rubrics 'because it would be nice' — just look at where that got us in the 1970s!

  • Robert T

    Right. OK. Whar about an apology from social workers for the systematic abuse and cover up in state run children's home in Britian in the recent past. Get real. This was not a particularly Catholic problem and the issue has been orchestrated by the media as an attempt to blunt the Pope's message on the sanctity of life.

  • Robert T.

    I'm as trad as anyone -member of the Elgar Society and creator of the socs page on Facebook ans member of Assn for Latin Liturgy- but I thought the Hype Park liturgy was superb and had something for everyone. there was classical music. plainsong during Benedistion and good modern and trad hymns which all made for the wonderful atmoshere. It is clear that in the church now, one camn receive the host in the hand or on the tongus as you please. there is no reason why one groups prefernces should try to outlaw the practice of others. the importnat thing was having the Pope among us and his deep teaching.

  • Paul Ryan

    I was there and was surprised at how many knelt for the Adoration; in addition, the silence was stunning.

  • pattif

    While it is possible to receive Holy Communion in the hand or on the tongue, whilst standing or kneeling, I remain amazed at how few people have reflected on the example the Holy

    Father sets, and, indeed his reasons for doing so. Personally, if the Holy Father told me that it was more efficacioius to receive Holy Communion whilst standing on my head, I would not understand it, but I would give it very serious consideration. Apparently it is believed that the Holy Father was strongly influenced by the little book, Dominus Iesus, by Fr Atnanasius Schneider.

  • Dorothysfo

    I was there too and found the prayerfulness and silence both powerful and moving . There was a real reverence . Thank you for pointing it out

  • lokionline

    Other than as a purely academic interest, I could really care less about what this pope has to say on the sanctity of life or any other subject for that matter.

    I agree that social workers should be held accountable for any crimes they have committed.

    Does that mean that I and the many thousands like me who were abused by catholic clergy, should not hold those who committed those crimes and those who covered it up accountable?

    I don't follow that logic if that is what you are saying Robert.

  • Giles H

    I was about halfway back in the crowd and I would say that a good three quarters of the people I could see within my field of vision were on their knees for adoration. The silence was also amazing.

  • Gustav

    “Personally, if the Holy Father told me that it was more efficacioius to receive Holy Communion whilst standing on my head, I would not understand it, but I would give it very serious consideration.”

    I beg to differ. It should be given no serious consideration at all, because it would be a dramatic breach with tradition and would make a laughing stock of the Mass. As Catholics we are not subjects of an oriental despot whose every whim we obey slavishly. We have the gift of faith and have the right and duty to use our discernment. Pope John Paul II made a horrible error in allowing altar girls, and it is not Protestantism to say so. Conservative Catholics do their cause no good by insisting on the infallibility of every pronouncement, view, inclination, or policy of whatever Pope happens to be gloriously reigning.

  • Frank

    I am deeply saddened by Stuart Reid's comments. I was moved almost beyond words at the celebration and the bitterness of his words has deflated me. Could he not find it in his heart to reach outside his closed mind and soul to embrace those who worship and praise differently from him? Bigotry is alive and well in England sadly, within the Catholic Church, rather than with out. Stuart has achieved what the protesters failed to do, he has tainted my memory of the Papal Visit.

  • pattif

    OK Gustav – you have a point. It would be absurd and disrespectful, not to mention a breach of tradition, to receive Holy Communion standing on my head, and I probably shouldn't have used that as an example, but it never occurred to me that anyone would take it literally. Nor did it occur to me that the idea of a Pope suggesting such a thing would be remotely possible.

    I did not mean, either, to give the impression that I felt obliged to give slavish obedience to the whims of an oriental despot. What I meant was, one of the responsibilities of the Pope, as of any bishop, is to teach. Since the teacher is generally held to know more than the pupil, it is advisable for the pupil to listen carefully to the teacher. This does not necessarily mean that the pupil is obliged to suspend the faculty of thinking for him/herself, but it does mean thinking carefully before disagreeing. I have found Pope Benedict to be a reliable teacher, and I am confident that, in following his instructions, I am unlikely to be led astray.

    As it happens, I agree with you about altar girls (and women); this was a breach of tradition, as was the permission for Communion in the hand. It is instructive that both permissions were granted retrospectively, to avoid a situation of scandal caused by the disobedience of certain bishops' conferences. We might disagree about whether the concessions were the right way to deal with the prevailing situations, but I think the motivation of preserving unity was not a bad one.

    That said, I stand by my original point that, if the Holy Father expresses a strong preference for one way of doing things over another, I would need a very good reason for deviating from it. Likewise, his preference for seven candles and a crucifix on the altar is well known; I find it inexplicable that this arrangement was not to be found at any of the public Masses he celebrated on this visit.

  • Noel Abbott

    Oh yes it was!
    I was surprised not to see it at Cofton Park during the preparation for Mass,
    but it was there for Mass – possibly supplied by Mgr Guido Marini as part of the travelling liiturgical accoutrements, like the Papal staff. (although the 'six' were not actually on the altar – despite its width!!)

  • Jhammer

    I was there and was surprised by the number of peole standing at various points during the adoration. I was taught to kneel until the reposition – but maybe habits will change as exposition and benediction become more common.

  • pattif

    That was my point, Noel. There might have been a (not very visible) crucifix on the altar, but the Big Six were on the floor. The Holy Father has pointed out the nonsense of objections that the “Benedictine arrangement” obscures the congregation's view of the celebrant; the attention of the congregation should be focused on the Lord, not the priest.