Now we have a new Pope and once again the aesthetic of Papal vestments has changed. A distinction must be made, however, between changing aesthetics in the Pontificate of Benedict XVI and that of Francis. Pope Benedict accepted two different aesthetics presented to him by two different Papal Masters of Ceremonies: Piero Marini and Guido Marini. This time, the changed aesthetic is obviously the manifest wish of Pope Francis, not of his Master of Ceremonies.
Since Pope Francis has occupied the See of Peter for not even a month, we should not try to draw firm conclusions about what has been seen thus far. Nevertheless, the intervening rites of Holy Week have given sufficient information for us to make some comments.
In the previous post, we wrote about continuity between the Papal Liturgies of Benedict XVI and Francis. In this post, we wish to mention specific differences which have emerged thus far. To be specific:
- The Pope will not sing a note, so that the Invitations, Orations and the Preface of the Mass are all read instead of being sung. See here for a discussion of the Pope's tone-deafness.
- The use of albes and surplices by the Pope and his ministers which are decorated with flounces of lace has been discontinued.
- A very simple aesthetic has been adopted for the vestments used by the Pope and his ministers.
- Holy Communion is distributed to the Ministers of the Papal Mass on the tongue, whilst they are kneeling, but under both Species by the practice of Intinction.
- The use of the Pontifical dalmatic beneath the chasuble of the Pope, which was reintroduced by Pope Benedict, has been discontinued.
- The Pope only uses one Pectoral Cross, which is suspended upon a simple chain. He has not used the choir cord with this Cross.
- The Pope has not generally distributed Holy Communion during the Solemn Celebrations of the Papal Mass.
- The Pope preaches whilst standing at the Papal Throne, using a lectern.
- An announced period of silence is observed at the end of the Homily and after the Distribution of Holy Communion at the Solemn Papal Masses.
Next post: the new vestments of Pope Francis.