Desiderio desideravi: There Goes The Neighborhood or Here Come Everybody? ETWN NCRs Larry Chapp Claims that “One could make a strong case that the ecclesiology of Vatican II, and not the liturgy, is the real target of the most recent document from Pope Francis….However, one could make a strong case that the ecclesiology of Vatican II, and not the liturgy, is the real target here. Indeed, the Pope himself explicitly makes this claim in Desiderio when he says, concerning the current liturgical debates: It would be trivial to read the tensions, unfortunately present around the celebration, as a simple divergence between different tastes concerning a particular ritual form. The problematic is primarily ecclesiological” (31). Desiderio desideravi is Pope Francis’ 2022 document on the Sacred Liurgy. The titled is derived from the Latin version of Luke 22:15: “I have earnestly desired (desiderio desideravi) to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” Chapp goes on to say that in Desiderio, the Holy Father wallows in the never never nebulosities of open ended possibilities: “.. a big nothing burger. As beautiful as the text is in many places, there is also a sense one gets that the text is talking “around” the central issues without really resolving anything. Desiderio is proposed as a purely admonitory meditation on some broad theological themes and never seems to land anywhere concrete in a way that actually matters.” An apparently Chapp’s reasoning for looking at Desiderio as a big nothing burger is because Pope Francis does not include an “or else” clause in the algorithm and concludes that “Therefore, one is perhaps justified in concluding that the Pope is more interested in suppressing the old liturgy than he is in cleaning up abuses in the current one. “
My own interpretation after my first reading of Desiderio is not only the beautiful text but also a reminder of 1 Corinthians 1:27: God chooses the foolish things to confound the wise. I need to read Desiderio a few more times to make sure I fully understand it. Fortunately Will Wright wrote an easy to read summary titled: What You Should Know About Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter on The Liturgy – Desiderio Desideravi. Wright’s summary reads very much like my first reading of Desiderio: “Pope Francis begins this beautiful and relatively short reflection on the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Sacred Liturgy by reminding us of the Most Holy Trinity’s love for us and desire for us.” Wright summary includes this passage: “The key to understanding Pope Francis’ document is worth quoting at length:
“With this letter I simply want to invite the whole Church to rediscover, to safeguard, and to live the truth and power of the Christian celebration. I want the beauty of the Christian celebration and its necessary consequences for the life of the Church not to be spoiled by a superficial and foreshortened understanding of its value or, worse yet, by its being exploited in service of some ideological vision, no matter what the hue. The priestly prayer of Jesus at the Last Supper that all may be one (Jn 17:21) judges every one of our divisions around the Bread broken, around the sacrament of mercy, the sign of unity, the bond of charity (DD, 16).” POPE FRANCIS
and concludes “He ends with a vital exhortation that every Catholic of good will in the Roman Rite needs to hear: “Let us abandon our polemics to listen together to what the Spirit is saying to the Church. Let us safeguard our communion. Let us continue to be astonished at the beauty of the Liturgy (DD, 65).”
Comparing Chapp’s commentary to Will Wright’s summary is like comparing two views of the same coin: “There goes the neighborhood” versus “Here come everybody” The first statement comes from syndicated columnist Art Buchwald, Son of the Great Society (1967): “When the flying saucers were sighted over Ann Arbor, Mich., a few weeks ago, the first reaction from one of the residents was, “Dammit, there goes the neighborhood.” Feb 29, 2012. Whereas “Here Comes Everybody” is the nickname given to the character at the center of James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, HCE. Officially, the initials stand for Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, but he earns the nickname on account of his size, and it’s underscored in the complicated flux of attributes and the universal, anyman-quality of HCE throughout the novel. The connection reveals itself to be a clever insight by Joyce: “Catholic means ‘Here Comes Everybody.
Today’s Homily by Father McCarren based on Lk 10:38-42 emphasized the HCE argument: As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Father McCarren emphasized that the Church is big enough for Mary and Martha. For liberals, progressives and conservatives. Father’s advice” Follow the Rule of St. Benedict: Listen,
Agree/Disagree with the author(s)? Let them know in the comments below and be heard by 10’s of thousands of CDN readers each day!