Francis Rejects Traditional Catholic Worship

Francis Rejects Traditional Catholic Worship

Francis Rejects Traditional Catholic Worship

Richard Hollerman

Many of us are aware that the worship of the Catholic Church of today has changed somewhat from the Catholic Church of fifty years ago. I say “changed somewhat,” since in other respects the Catholic Church is the same Church that has always existed for the past thousand years.

“Pope” Francis has become known as a reformer, as one who is willing to look at things differently from his predecessors. This is a reason why liberal members of the church are begging him to ordain women, to look at morality differently, and to make changes that progressives have wanted for years.

In a recent news article entitled, “Pope rails against attempts to restore old-style worship,” we find liberals and conservatives pitted against each other. When the Vatican Council of 1962-1965 produced their statements of reform, radical changes have occurred, from the dress of the nuns to women not wearing a covering over their heads in public worship. One of the chief outward changes has been the change in language. Prior to the Council, Latin was the prescribed language used for the Mass but since that time the language of the people has been the rule.

Not all Catholics have appreciated such changes. Traditionalists, for instance, have been seeking the “Pope’s” blessing on their desire to reinstate traditional worship, including the use of Latin (that few people understand today). Francis, however, is refusing to go along with this small traditional faction. He says that “the Roman Catholic’s liturgical reforms of the 1960s are ‘irreversible,’ a move designed to stop groups of traditionalists trying to roll back those changes” (“Pope rails against attempts to restore old-style worship,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August 26, 2017).

Francis wrote a 2,500-word address that was meant to rebuff the traditionalists. He has “growing frustration with a traditionalist faction that opposes his over-all reformist agenda” (Ibid.). However, this discontent with the status quo does not reflect what most Catholics want. They don’t want to return to the pre-Vatican Council days! Only a “vocal minority” of Roman Catholics pine for the “good old says.”

It must be admitted that “Cardinal” Robert Sarah, the leader of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship, sides with the traditionalists. He says that the reformers have brought about “devastation and schism” in the Catholic Church. He goes on to say that the priests should turn their backs on the congregation when they offer Mass—just like in the past. Alas, the traditionalists would like to return to the Latin chanting rather than the modern guitars!

It is interesting that the great majority of the bishops are pleased with the vernacular languages. They say that this better reflects the early church that broke bread in homes of the members. They also sung with the common language of the people.

It must be conceded that Benedict XVI encouraged the traditionalists, being more positive with the old style of worship. But Francis surely doesn’t fit the mold of the older worship style. He is very much for reform, renewal and change. He has even spoken of the problem of divorced and remarried members as well as homosexuality.

Evaluation

As we look at this “problem” from the outside, we must shake our heads in wonder! We are grateful for some of the positive changes that Francis has made. Indeed, worship should be in languages that people can understand!  However, we are dismayed that the Catholic Church remains the Catholic Church—with the dozens and perhaps hundreds of unscriptural elements that we find there. There remain massive numbers of false teachings and false practices that have not changed, even under Francis’ leadership or “reign.”

What do we mean? The Roman Catholic Church remains intransigent in regard to many false ways, such as the existence of a “Pope,” the Mass, prayer for the dead, prayer to Mary and Catholic saints, the existence of Cardinals and Bishops and priests, purgatory, baby baptism or pouring, forgiveness by priests, clerical celibacy, the Eucharist, monks and nuns, church tradition, and so much more!

Francis, we challenge you to throw out all unbiblical elements and go back to the Bible, and the Bible alone, as the sole rule of faith and practice! This may anger hundreds of millions of Catholics but it would honor and please God! And that is what matters, isn’t it?

 

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