(Rome) Pope Francis is not going to celebrate Mass on Holy Thursday,2016, the Last Supper of the Lord in the Lateran Basilica, the Church of the Bishop of Rome and the "mother of all churches", but at an as yet unknown location.
The Office for Liturgical Celebrations of the Pope yesterday released the calendar of papal celebrations till White Sunday. On Maundy Thursday, which is reserved for a 9:30 am Chrism Mass in St Peter's. Yet the Missa in Cena Domini is found neither on the official website of the Holy See nor on the site of Vatican Information Service (VIS). Neither does the first day of the Paschal Triduum appear in today's Osservatore Romano on (Issue 29 February / March 1), in which the calendar of papal celebrations has also been published. It just seems as though Holy Thursday would have disappeared with the Last Supper from the papal celebrations.
Of course this is not so. The omission rather points out that Pope Francis will celebrate Holy Thursday, as in the past three years, behind closed doors.
Sacraments fall behind footwashing
The establishment of the sacrament (priesthood) and the Sacrament (Eucharist) occur once again behind the gesture of the washing of the feet. The particular coupling of the solemn liturgy of the Episcopal Church of the Diocese will be omitted in favor of a visit in prison (2013 and 2015) or a hostel for the disabled (2014).
The pope not only receives understanding for his visit of prisons, elderly and disabled homes but praise. He thus sets into practice what he asks of all, to overcome the throwaway mentality and to avoid any exclusion of human beings. Critics reproach the pope for this, since he can visit these facilities and institutions at any time, but during Holy Thursday, the liturgy is celebrated in a single evening of the liturgical year and indeed is an expression of the celebration of the bishop with his congregation. The celebration is therefore linked to the Episcopal Church and of paramount importance to the liturgy for the Church.
Because of his "exit" (Francisco Fernandez de la Cigoña) Pope Francis has reaped some criticism in traditional circles in the past years. Conservative Catholics dare not criticize the Pope and progressive Catholics are enthusiastic about any deviation from the tradition.
A primary criticism that the pope is "cut off" without any understandable reason fromm the faithful of his diocese and the universal Church. The washing of feet is an important indication of the humility and the practice of charity. But it is not understood as the most important element of the Holy Thursday liturgy, but only in connection with the establishment of the sacraments. Although the reasoning underlying it means implicitly to serve all, but primarily for those who are brothers in faith.
Absence of the diocesan church is an "anomaly"
There was criticism in recent years also that Francis has washed the feet not only men and women, but also members of other religions. "The washing of the feet gives the impression of an action guide for community involvement. But that would be a completely wrong impression. Properly understood, Peter, the Pope, here as servus servorum , appears as servant of the servants of God, or vassal of the vassals of God, as it was earlier. But by the displacement of the more important elements of the Holy Thursday liturgy, everything gets a bitter and inadequate connotation," says the Catholic site Dotta ignoranza, about the "dubious liturgical liberties of the Pope ".
"Under Francis, the significant Holy Thursday liturgy has never been publicly celebrated by the Pope. Now he avoids this for the fourth time in a row. The Holy Thursday liturgy seems to have become invisible under him," said Messa in Latino .
To shift to some other church than the episcopal church, in some chapel, to emphasize the connection with the community or with people in a special situation is commendable and understandable, but in the course of the three holy days is "an anomaly," says Dotta ignoranza . A prison, a nursing home, a home for the disabled can also be visited between the Chrism Mass and the Pope's Missa in Cena Domini. "At this time it would not be missed. Speaking of which, perhaps the Pope could visit a life center or antenatal clinic of the pro-life movement in this year, which struggle daily for the lives of unborn children and resist the 'throwaway culture.' We would immediately wish for, however, even then, please, before the Holy Thursday liturgy."
Text. Giuseppe Nardi
Image: MiL / Osservatore Romano (Screenshot)
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