Leading Vaticanist Sandro Magister wonders what was up with the pope abbreviating the Easter Vigil mass:
As for the “ars celebrandi,” in the liturgies of Holy Week at St. Peter’s there was noted a more elevated respect for the symbolism and the splendor of the rituals than that seen at work in the Mass for the beginning of the pontificate.
Here as well, however, with abbreviations that were not always understandable. In particular, it was not clear why at the Easter Vigil, after the singing of the Exultet, the biblical readings were cut to the bone and the first was literally mutilated, with the account of the six days of creation limited to the creation of man alone.
That brevity which in some contexts can find justification and is in effect provided for by the missal made no obvious sense in an Easter Vigil presided over by the pope and attended – in person or via transmission – by a highly motivated faithful people, who were deprived of the fullness of that narration of the “historia salutis” which the liturgy illuminates, on this culminating night of the year, with the lighting of the Easter candle.
In one of his memorable passages, Romano Guardini described the celebration of the Easter liturgy in the basilica of Monreale, Sicily, packed with poor and mostly illiterate farmers, who nonetheless were enchanted by the splendor of the rite: “The sacred ceremony lasted for more than four hours, and yet there was always a lively participation.”
It was precisely on Guardini that the Jesuit Bergoglio wrote the thesis for his doctorate in theology, in Frankfurt in 1986.