|Berlin's Olympic Stadium during last night's Mass|
Another thing I noticed whilst watching last night's broadcast from Berlin was the awful music provided for the Mass. Although there were some nice German melodies from time to time, most of the music seemed to have been of the extremely dated 1970's electro-acoustic variety. This is a real shame, considering that Pope Benedict XVI is known for his love of music, especially the music of Bach and Mozart. We can only hope, then, that those who have planned the liturgies for the rest of his time in Germany will have set the other Papal Masses to the work of one of these two great composers. In his writings as Cardinal Ratzinger, the current Pope has made it abundantly clear that there should be no room for pop-type music or synthesizer-led clap-trap within the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It's about time, then, that those in authority in the Church began to embrace the mind and will of the Holy Father when it comes to such important matters.
|Put away your rebellion!|
Sadly, there were girl (or were they women - I couldn't see very well) altar servers at the Pope's Mass in Berlin last night. Bizarrely, they seemed to be wearing grey sacks, as if they were some kind of medieval hermits. Of course, their presence was a signal to the Holy Father that the German Bishops do things differently to the Bishop of Rome. This liturgical slap to Pope Benedict XVI's face seemed to imitate some of the more rebellious shenanigans of last year - when altar girls were all over the Holy Father during his open-air liturgies in the UK. Although it is true that bishops have been given the authority, since 1994, to allow girls to serve at the altar, it is well-known that the Bishop of Rome only allows boys and men to assume this ministry. It would therefore only be courteous to do as the Pope does during a Papal liturgy!
One of the saddest elements of last night's Mass from Berlin's Olympic Stadium was the way people received Holy Communion. I only saw two people receive the Host on the tongue, whilst the vast majority seemed to snatch Communion directly from the hands of the priest giving it to them. Of course, those receiving Communion from the Pope are required to kneel and receive on the tongue - though I spotted one rude and rebellious older man sticking his hands out as he semi-knelt before the Holy Father. Needless to say, the gentle Pope Benedict XVI placed the Host in the man's hands. It's probably true to say, though, that most pontiffs throughout the Church's history would have had the man removed!
Watching what I could of last night's Mass made me grateful for the fact that when it comes to matters liturgical the Catholic Church in England and Wales isn't as bad as the Church in other parts of Europe. Maybe we traditional Catholics here in the UK have been a bit too harsh on the Bishops of England and Wales - for it seems that things could be far, far worse! I am also aware of the fact that if it were not for the powerful traditional lobby here in the UK, many of last year's Papal liturgies could have ended up being just as bland, rebellious and depressing as what was on offer during parts of last night's Mass in Berlin. I know one thing for sure, if it weren't for the presence of the Pope at the Olympic Stadium yesterday, I doubt very much that many objective observers would have known that the Mass being offered was actually a Catholic one!