Saturday, September 15, 2018

A Word About Bishops Doing Public Penance

This from the Diocese of Richmond Facebook page...

I include my own snarky comments in red in the spirit of a lot of other bloggers.  

"After removing his episcopal ring [do not remove this as an act of penance, it is a blessed object and a symbol of your jurisdiction], Bishop Knestout removed other symbols of his office [wait, the mitre was placed on the ground...what, who is the MC!?] - his miter and crozier - as an act of humility [really?], following the introduction of the Penitential Rite [why did he wear a red vestment then?] at the Mass of Atonement [isn't every Mass a "Mass of Atonement"?]. Bishop then prostrates himself before the cross and altar [this is what you get with liturgy by's made up]. This prostration, similar to the prostration at the Good Friday liturgy, signifies contrition, humility, reverence, deep anguish for the suffering Christ, and grief and sorrow of the Church" [remember, the Church is the sinless Bride of Christ...this is a dogma of the Faith].

It must be said diocesan liturgical offices need to be looking at the tradition of the Church.  The answer is penitential processions.  This has always been the custom of the Latin and Greek world.  Stop reinventing the wheel; there are only so many ways you can design a shoe box.

Penitential processions are done in the dark with the bishop in cappa magna with the hood up, carrying a cross for the Via Crucis under the stars, with all his chacnery staff, priests, seminarians and lay faithful in procession with him.  Chanting the Litany of the Saints.  Maybe even when appropriate the bishop may remove his shoes.  Didn't Charles Borromeo once process with a cross and a rope around his neck?   

I suggest the Pope himself take a cue from Pio IX and make a journey up the Scala Sancta in Rome (actually the Vatican - it's extraterritorial property) on his knees, just as Blessed Pius IX did on September 19, 1870 - a public act of penance for reparation on the eve of an imminent disaster.  


  1. Good suggestions, as always, John, but Papa Bergoglio will not be going up the steps on his knees; one cannot get him to kneel in front of the Blessed Sacrament!