WHAT IS AT STAKE IN THE WAR OVER THE LITURGY IS THE PRIMACY OF GOD IN THE LITURGY OVER THE PRIEST AND THE PEOPLE.

LaNef

Settimo Cielo di Sandro Magister

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Liturgy. The Counterstatement of Cardinal Sarah

[ Emphasis and {commentary} in red type by Abyssum ]

 

Clearly it is not flour from his own mill, the speech that Pope Francis delivered on August 25 to participants in the annual week of the Italian Center of Liturgical Action. A speech rich in historical references, in scholarly citations with their respective footnotes, on a subject that he has never mastered.

In it, however, it is easy to grasp the silences and words that faithfully reflect his thought.

What made the most news was this solemn declaration of his in regard to the liturgical reform begun by Vatican Council II:

“We can affirm with certainty and with magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.”

Most interpreted the declaration as a halt ordered by Pope Francis to the presumed reverse course signaled by Benedict XVI with the 2007 motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum,” which restored full citizenship to the preconciliar form of the Mass in the Roman rite, allowing it to be celebrated freely as an “extraordinary” second form of the same rite.

And in effect, in the long speech delivered by Pope Francis there are abundant citations of Pius X, Pius XII, and Paul VI. But for Benedict XVI, a tremendous scholar of the liturgy, there is not so much as a nod. Much less for his motu proprio, in spite of the fact that this summer marks its tenth anniversary.

Also very marginal is the reference to the massive degenerations into which the postconciliar liturgical reform has unfortunately fallen, fleetingly denounced as “partial receptions and practices that disfigure it.”  {e.g. the tango Mass he celebrated in Buenos Aires with a couple dancing the tango in the sanctuary during the Mass,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIaI666yUYg }

Total silence also on Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the congregation for divine worship, and above all on his sabotaged battles for a “reform of the reform” that would restore to the Latin liturgy its authentic nature.

What follows is precisely the counterstatement on the state of the liturgy in the Church that Cardinal Sarah published this summer, shortly before the speech from Pope Francis. A counterstatement centered on none other than Benedict XVI and the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum.”

The complete text of it can be read, in French, in the July-August issue of the Catholic monthly “La Nef”:

> Pour une réconciliation liturgique

An extract from it is reproduced below.

In it, the cardinal enunciates a highly noteworthy future objective: a unified Roman rite that would incorporate the best of the two rites, preconciliar and postconciliar.

There is no lack, naturally, of references to issues to which Sarah is particularly attentive: silence and prayer addressed “ad orientem.”

But there is also a setting aside of the formula “reform of the reform,” rejected by Pope Francis himself and turned useless. In its place, Cardinal Sarah prefers to speak of “liturgical reconciliation,” in the sense of a liturgy “reconciled with itself, with its profound being.”

A liturgy able, indeed, to embrace the “two forms of the same rite” authorized by Pope Benedict, in “mutual enrichment.”

*

FOR A LITURGICAL RECONCILIATION

by Robert Sarah

“The liturgy of the Church has been for me the central activity of my life, it has become the center of my theological work,” affirms Benedict XVI. His homilies will remain incomparable documents for generations. But it is also necessary to emphasize the great importance of the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum.” Far from concerning only the juridical question of the status of the old Roman missal, the motu proprio raises the question of the very essence of the liturgy and of its place in the Church.

What is at stake is the place of God, the primacy of God. As the “pope of the liturgy” emphasizes: “The true renewal of the liturgy is the fundamental condition for the renewal of the Church”: The motu proprio is a capital magisterial document on the profound meaning of the liturgy, and consequently of the whole life of the Church. Ten years after its publication, it is necessary to take stock: have we put these teachings into practice? Have we understood it in depth?

I am deeply convinced that we have not yet finished discovering all the practical implications of this teaching. I would like to draw forth some of its consequences here.

TOWARD A NEW COMMON RITE

Since there is profound continuity and unity between the two forms of the Roman rite, the two forms must necessarily illuminate and enrich each other. It is urgent that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we examine in prayer and in study how to return to a reformed common rite, always for the sake of reconciliation within the Church.

It would be nice if those who use the ancient missal would observe the essential criteria of the Council’s constitution on the sacred liturgy. It is indispensable that these celebrations integrate a correct conception of the “participatio actuosa” of the faithful present (SC 30). The proclamation of the readings must be understandable for the people (SC 36). So also, the faithful must be able to respond to the celebrant and not content themselves with being extraneous and mute spectators (SC 48). Finally, the Council appeals for a noble simplicity in the ceremonial, without useless repetitions (SC 50).

It will be up to the pontifical commission “Ecclesia Dei” to proceed in this manner with prudence and in an organic form. It may be hoped, where it is possible and if the communities ask for it, that the liturgical calendars may be harmonized. The ways toward a convergence of the lectionaries will have to be studied.

THE PRIMACY OF GOD

The two liturgical forms are part of the same “lex orandi.” What is this fundamental law of the liturgy? Permit me to cite Pope Benedict again: “The misinterpretation of the liturgical reform that was long propagated in the heart of the Catholic Church has led ever more to putting in first place the aspect of instruction, and that of our activity and creativity. The ‘doing’ of man has almost provoked the forgetting of the presence of God. The Church’s existence takes life from the correct celebration of the liturgy. The Church is in danger when the primacy of God no longer appears in the liturgy, and as a result in life. The deepest cause of the crisis that has shaken the Church is found in the obscuring of the priority of God in the liturgy.”

{ What is the Liturgy?  The Liturgy is the complexes of sacred signs instituted by God or by His Church which both signify and convey sacramental grace. }

Here then is what the ordinary form must rediscover first of all: the primacy of God.

Allow me humbly to express my fear: the liturgy of the ordinary form could make us run the risk of distancing ourselves from God on account of the massive and central presence of the priest. He is constantly in front of his microphone and without interruption has his gaze and attention turned toward the people. He is like an opaque screen between God and man. So when we celebrate the Mass, we always place a big cross on the altar, a cross in plain sight, as a point of reference for all, for the priest as for the faithful. Thus we have our Orient, because ultimately the Christian Orient is the Crucifix, as Benedict XVI says.

“AD ORIENTEM”

I am convinced that the liturgy can be enriched with the sacred attitudes that characterize the extraordinary form, all those actions that manifest our adoration of the Holy Eucharist: keeping the hands together after the consecration, genuflecting before the elevation or after the “Per ipsum,” receiving communion while kneeling, receiving communion on the tongue and allowing oneself to be fed like a child, as God himself says to us: “I am the Lord your God. Open your mouth and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:11).

“When the gaze upon God is not decisive, everything else loses its orientation,” Benedict XVI tells us. The opposite is also true: when one loses the orientation of the heart and body toward God, one ceases to determine oneself in relation with him, one literally loses the sense of the liturgy. Orienting oneself toward God is first of all an interior reality, a conversion of our soul toward the one God. The liturgy must effect within us this conversion toward the Lord who is the Way, the Truth, the Life. For this it uses signs, simple means. Celebration “ad orientem” is one of these. It is a treasure of the Christian people that permits us to keep the spirit of the liturgy alive. The oriented celebration must not become the expression of a partisan and polemical attitude. It must on the contrary remain the expression of the most intimate and most essential movement of every liturgy: turning ourselves toward the Lord who comes.

LITURGICAL SILENCE

I have had the occasion to emphasize the importance of liturgical silence. In his book “The spirit of the liturgy,” Cardinal Ratzinger wrote: “Anyone who experiences a community united in the silent prayer of the Canon knows that this represents an authentic silence. Here the silence is at the same time a powerful, penetrating cry lifted up to God, and a communion of prayer filled by the Spirit.” In his time, he had forcefully affirmed that the recitation of the whole Eucharistic prayer out loud was not the only means to obtain the participation of all. { The worst example of lack of silence occurs when a priest sings the whole Canon,  It then becomes a musical performance by the priest } We must work for a balanced solution and open spaces of silence in this field.

THE TRUE “REFORM OF THE REFORM”

I appeal with my whole heart for the enactment of the liturgical reconciliation taught by Pope Benedict, in the pastoral spirit of Pope Francis! The liturgy must never become the standard of a party. For some, the expression “reform of the reform” has become a synonym for the dominion of one party over another, so this expression risks becoming inopportune. I therefore prefer to speak of liturgical reconciliation. In the Church, the Christian has no enemies!

As Cardinal Ratzinger wrote, “we must rediscover the sense of the sacred, the courage to distinguish that which is Christian from that which is not; not in order to raise barricades, but to transform, to be truly dynamic.” Rather than a “reform of the reform,” this is a matter of a reform of hearts! This is a matter of a reconciliation of the two forms of the same rite, of a mutual enrichment. The liturgy must always be reconciled with itself, with its profound being!

Illuminated by the teaching of the motu proprio of Benedict XVI, strengthened by the audacity of Pope Francis, it is time to come to grips with this process of the reconciliation of the liturgy with itself. What a magnificent sign it would be if we could, in a forthcoming edition of the reformed Roman missal, insert in an appendix the prayers at the foot of the altar of the extraordinary form, perhaps in a simplified and adapted version, and the prayers of the offertory that contain such a beautiful epiclesis that completes the Roman Canon. It would finally be manifest that the two liturgical forms illuminate each other, in continuity and without opposition!

(English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.)

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

{ Here is a happy thought expressed by Phil Lawler: }

How an ‘irreversible’ claim might be reversed

By Phil Lawler (bioarticlesemail) | Aug 28, 2017

Father Anthony Ruff, who holds forth on liturgical matters on the PrayTell blog, doesn’t often (if ever) agree with me. So it’s not surprising that Father Ruff was pleased with the Pope’s “magisterial” announcement that “the liturgical reform is irreversible,” whereas I was merely puzzled. Still Father Ruff’s commentary is surprising for other reasons.

First, a tip of the hat to another Benedictine, Father Hugh Somerville-Knapman, for pointing out the irony in the fact that Father Ruff speaks of “mainline liturgical reform and renewal.” To most people, the term “mainline” evokes thoughts of Protestant churches with shrinking congregations. I don’t think Father Ruff would want to encourage such thoughts.

In his analysis of the Pope’s speech, and his listing of its references and footnotes, Father Ruff remarks: “It is obvious just what, and who, is omitted.” He stops there, without spelling it out, but clearly he is calling attention to the fact that Pope Francis did not mention his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who spoke and wrote quite a bit about the liturgy. The implication, apparently, is that with this major address—a rare excursion into liturgical affairs for Pope Francis, who rarely speaks on the topic—the current Pope has thrust aside the ideas of the Pope emeritus.

But that claim, too, has obvious implications, which Father Ruff does not address. If Pope Francis is free to discard the work of Pope Benedict, then the next Pope is free to discard the work of Pope Francis. If so, then the claim that the liturgical reform is irreversible could turn out to be reversible.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

 

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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3 Responses to WHAT IS AT STAKE IN THE WAR OVER THE LITURGY IS THE PRIMACY OF GOD IN THE LITURGY OVER THE PRIEST AND THE PEOPLE.

  1. The abomination of desolation is upon us. I can feel the desert of desolation which has been created for us Catholics to live in since the abominable council..

  2. The prayers of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass are so beautiful! When I was a child, I thought as a child, prayed as a child, but now I am no longer a child and I “see” the overwhelming beauty and reverence of these prayers! The awesomesness of knowing that I am creature ; He is Creator!
    I know I am made to know Him, to love Him, to serve Him…to serve Him as the Angels and Saints do, in humble adoration! The Extraordinary Form of the Mass can be Heaven, if we enter into His Divine Will, as His priest leads us in majestic prayer to the Father.
    As the psalm says; my soul thirsts for the Living God; when shall I see the face of God?
    There!!! in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass ! There we can see the Face of God!!!!

  3. Best to forget the Reform of the Reform & go straight back to Tradition which has stood the test of time & was obviously pleasing to God. Electing a Pope that is obviously against Tradition & has no interest in upholding the Doctrine of the CC has been ruinous & must cease before any restoration can be made. It would be very worthwhile if ++Sarah & ++Müller among others signed the Dubia & advanced the formal correction. Are they Servants of God or Satan? This Chastisement is a direct response from God for the entire Hierachy’s Apostasy & brings us all into their net & will not cease if those who should speak don’t. The laity don’t have the power to do anything but admonish those that do have. Please get your act together for the love of Christ & the souls whom you were consecrated to protect. Sign the Dubia, issue the formal correction to which PF is obliged to answer & consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, whom you have disgracefully disregarded for ages & angered God as a result.

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