A corporal work of mercy.

A corporal work of mercy.
Click on photo for this corporal work of mercy!

Friday 29 January 2010

Candlemas-Solemn High Mass in Toronto

For those of you in the Toronto area, please note that on Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 7:00 P.M. the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be celebrated, Missa Solemnis, by the Toronto Apostolate of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter at St. Brigid's Catholic Church on Wolverleigh Boulevard. The Toronto Apostolate of the FSSP is awaiting a permanent home and Mass is celebrated (Missa Cantata) every Sunday at 1:00 P.M. at St. Theresa Shrine Catholic Church on Kingston Road at Midland Avenue.

The Mass will be preceded by the Blessing of Candles and Procession with the full Gregorian Antiphons and Responsory sung. The music for the Holy Sacrifice will of course include the full Gregorian Propers and the Ordinary will be from Gregorian Mass IX for Feasts of the Blessed Virgin, Missa Cum Jubilo or Mass with Shouts of Joy. The Offertory Anthem will be Ave Maris Stella to an Italian melody and after the Communion Antiphon with it's psalm, Nunc Dimittis, will be sung Palestrina's Jesu Rex Admirablis.

The Deacon and Subdeacon for the Solemn High Mass will be two transitional Deacons from the Archdiocese of Toronto, both to be ordained to the Priesthood this spring by Archbishop Thomas Collins. The Master of Ceremonies, Acoytes, Crucifer, Thurifer, and Torch Bearers will be Seminarians from St. Augustine's Seminary in Toronto.

Candlemas or the Purification of Mary, more commonly known in the Ordinary Form as the Presentation of the LORD, recalls both events in the life of Our Lord and His Mother. Following the ritual commands forty days after giving birth, Our Lady presents herself in the temple for her Purification and as the first-born son, Jesus is presented to God in the Temple.

Truly, a day in Toronto for shouts of joy!

Saturday 23 January 2010

Knowing how to exercise authority

I've just heard a story about the late Cardinal Krol of Philadelphia:

About 40 years ago, a catholic parent complained to the Cardinal that he and his wife worked hard to put their children in catholic school and were upset that a priest/teacher told the class that attending Sunday Mass was not a "moral obligation" for a Catholic.

The Cardinal called the school principal and asked for an investigation. The principal responded that it was true and that he was indeed teaching that Sunday Mass attendance was not a "moral obligation." Cardinal Krol told the principal to dismiss the teacher with the reason made public. The principal responded to His Eminence that he had "no authority over staffing."

Then, in his wisdom, the Cardinal contacted the Provincial Superior of the Order and gave the same instruction. The Provincial responded as the Principal did, that he had "no authority" over staffing."

The Cardinal then advised the Provincial, that while it may be true that his authority did not extend over staffing, he expressed to the Provincial, the areas over which he had authority:

The very presence in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia of that particular Order, its hospitals and schools.

The next day, the priest was fired.

Is there a lesson here?

Monday 18 January 2010

The Canizares Interview

From the blog The New Theological Movement:

The Cañizares' Interview Below is my translation of the recent interview given by Cardinal Antonio Cañizares to Paolo Rodari of Palazzo Apostolico (Il Foglio).This interview is certainly of great importance and interest liturgically. It is also very important doctrinally because of the Cardinal's insistence on Summorum Pontificum's importance for reading and interpreting the Second Vatican Council with a 'hermeneutic of continuity.'
Here is the True Reform of Pope Ratzinger:
Cardinal Cañizares explains how to restore to Divine Worship the significance and vigor lost in the post Conciliar banalization.

January 9, 2010, Il Foglio

The ex-archbishop of Toledo and primate of Spain, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera has led the Vatican "ministry" which occupies itself with the liturgy for a little more than a year. A delicate task in a pontificate, such as that of Benedict XVI, in which the liturgy and its "restructuring" has a central role after the post conciliar drifts. Besides, the liturgy is the center of the life of the faithful. The Pope said it again at the Christmas Vigil: as for the monks, so it is for every man, "the liturgy is the first priority. Everything else comes after." It is necessary, "to put in second place all other occupations, as important as they may be, to set out toward God, to allow Him to enter into our life and our time.

Cardinal Cañizares says as much to Il Foglio and more in an assessment after having passed one year in the Roman Curia:

"I have received - he explains - the mission to complete, with the indispensable and most valuable help of my collaborators, those tasks which have been assigned to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus of John Paul II with respect to the order and promotion of the sacred liturgy, in the first place of the sacraments. For the religious and cultural situation in which we live and for the same priority which corresponds to the liturgy in the life of the Church, I believe that the principal mission which I have received is to promote with complete dedication and engagement, to re-vivify and develop the spirit and the true sense of the liturgy in the conscience and life of the faithful; so that the liturgy may be the center and the heart of the community; so that all, priests and faithful, consider it as the substantial and inescapable thing of our life; so that we live the liturgy in full truth; so that we live from it; so that it may be in all its fullness, as the Second Vatican Council says, "the source and summit" of the Christian life. After a year at the helm of this Congregation, I experience and sense with greater force every day the necessity of promoting in the Church, in every continent, a strong and rigorous liturgical impulse. An impulse which revivifies that most rich heritage of the Council and of the great liturgical movement of the 19th and first half of the 20th century - with men like Guardini, Jungmann and so many others – which the Church rendered fruitful at the Second Vatican Council. There, without any doubt, stands our future and the future of the world. I say this because the future of the Church and of the entirety of humanity is found in God, in the life of God and of that which comes from Him; and this happens in the liturgy and by means of it. Only a Church which lives the truth of the liturgy will be in a position to give the one thing which can renew, transform and recreate the world: God and only God and His grace. The liturgy, in its most pure character, is the presence of God, the salvific and regenerating work of God, the communication and participation of His merciful love, the adoration and acknowledgement of God. It is the only thing that can save us."

Guardini and Jungmann were two pillars of the liturgical renewal of the past decades. Figures which also inspired Joseph Ratzinger in his The Spirit of the Liturgy. Figures which, probably, have also inspired the promulgation of the Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum. It is said that the Motu Proprio has represented also (there are some who say before all else) an extended hand of the Pope to the Society of Saint Pius X. Is this so?

"In fact, it is. However, I believe that the Motu Proprio has a most important value for its own sake, for the Church and for the liturgy. Although this displeases some - judging by the reactions which have arrived and which continue to arrive - it is only just and necessary to say that the Motu Proprio is not a step back or a return to the past. It is to acknowledge and receive, with simplicity, in all its fullness, the treasures and inheritance of the great Tradition, which has in the liturgy its most genuine and profound expression. The Church cannot permit herself to prescind, to forget or to renounce the treasures and the rich inheritance of this tradition, contained in the Roman Rite. It would be a betrayal and a negation of her very self. She cannot abandon the historical inheritance of the ecclesiastical liturgy, or desire to establish everything from anew - as some have pretended - without cutting off fundamental parts of the Church herself. Some understood the conciliar liturgical reform as a rupture, and not as an organic development of the tradition. In these years after the Council, "change" was almost a magic word; it became necessary to modify that which had been, to the point of forgetting it; everything new; it was necessary to introduce novelty, in the end, a human work and creation. We cannot forget that the liturgical reform and the years after the Council coincided with a cultural climate marked or intensely dominated by a conception of man as 'creator' that only with difficulty co-exists with a liturgy which, above all, is the action of God and His priority, "the right" of God, the adoration of God and also tradition of that which we receive and has been given to us once and for all. We are not to make the liturgy ourselves, it is not our work, but the work of God. This conception of man as 'creator' which leads to a secularized vision of everything, where God, often, has no place, this passion for change and the loss of tradition has not yet been overcome. And for this reason, in my opinion, among the other things, stands the cause by which many see with such distrust the Motu Proprio or that it greatly displeases some to receive and accept it, to re-encounter the great riches of the Roman liturgical tradition which we cannot squander or to search for and accept the mutual enrichment of the one Roman rite between the "ordinary" form and the "extraordinary.” The Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, has a most important value which everyone ought to appreciate, whose value has not only to do with the liturgy, but the entire Church, of that which the tradition is and signifies, without which the Church turns into a human institution always in change. Obviously, the Motu Proprio has to be seen with the reading and interpretation one makes or would make of the Second Vatican Council. When one reads the Council and interprets it with the interpretive key of rupture and discontinuity, he understands nothing of the Council and he completely distorts it. For this reason, as the Pope indicates, only a hermeneutic of continuity brings us to a just and correct reading of the Council, and to understand the truth of that which it says and teaches in its entirety and in particular in the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium on the divine liturgy, which is inseparable, for the most part, with this same entirety. Consequently, the Motu Proprio also has a most high value for the communion of the Church."

The Pope stands behind the slow but necessary process of the Church's rapprochement to an authentic liturgical spirit. Also, divisions and contra-positions are not lacking. Cardinal Cañizares speaks about it:

"The great contribution of the Pope, in my opinion, is that he is bringing us closer to the truth of the liturgy, with a wise pedagogy, introducing us to the genuine 'spirit' of the liturgy (the title of one of his works before becoming Pope). He, before all else, is following a simple educative process which seeks to move toward this 'spirit' or genuine sense of the liturgy, to overcome a reductive vision which is still very entrenched in the liturgy. As Pope, he is the first to put into practice his teachings, so rich and abundant in this area. As his evocative gestures which accompany the celebrations at which he presides, move in this direction. To receive these gestures and these teachings is a duty which we have if we are disposed to live the liturgy in a way corresponding to its very nature and if we do not want to lose the treasures and liturgical inheritance of the tradition. Further, they constitute a great gift for the formation, as urgent as it is necessary, of the Christian people. In this prospective, one needs to see the same Motu Proprio which has confirmed the possibility to celebrate with the Roman Missal approved by John XXIII and which goes back, with the successive modifications, to the time of Saint Gregory the Great and even earlier. It is certain that there are many difficulties which those are having who, in utilizing that which is their right, are celebrating or participating in the Holy Mass according to "the ancient rite" or "extraordinary" form. Of itself, there need not be this opposition, or even less to be seen as suspect or labeled as "pre-conciliar" or, even worse, as "anti-conciliar." The reasons for this are many and diverse. However, deep down, they are the same which they will carry to a reform of the liturgy understood as rupture and not in the horizon of the tradition and the 'hermeneutic of continuity' which reclaims the renewal and true liturgical reform in the interpretive key of Vatican II. We cannot forget, in the end, that in the liturgy one touches that which is most essential to the faith and the Church and, for this reason, every time in history when one has touched something of the liturgy, tensions and even divisions have not been rare."

It is from the discourse of Benedict XVI to the Roman Curia on December 22, 2005 that the necessity to read the Second Vatican Council not under the lens of discontinuity with the past but in continuity has become central to this pontificate. What significance does this have from the liturgical point of view?

“It signifies, among other things, that we cannot bring the liturgical renewal to completion and put the liturgy at the center and source of Christian life if we approach it with the interpretive key of rupture with the tradition which precedes and which carries this rich source of life and of the gift of God which has nourished and given life to the Christian people. The teachings, the indications and the gestures of Benedict XVI are foundational in this sense. For this reason, one needs to promote the serene and profound knowledge of what he is saying to us, including that which he has said before becoming Pope, and which he so clearly reflects upon in Sacramentum Caritatis.”

The Congregation which Cañizares leads gathered last March in a plenary session and presented some propositions to the Holy Father.

"The plenary session of the Congregation was occupied, above all else, with Eucharistic adoration, the Eucharist as adoration and adoration outside of the Holy Mass. Some conclusions which were approved, were then presented to the Holy Father. These conclusions foresee a level of work for the Congregation in the coming years, which the Pope has both ratified and encouraged. The conclusions concern themselves with revivifying and promoting a new liturgical movement which, faithful to all the teachings of the Council and the teachings of Benedict XVI, place the liturgy in the central place which corresponds to it in the life of the Church. The conclusions of the propositions regard the impulse and promotion of the adoration of the Lord, based on the worship one must give to God, in the Christian liturgy; inseparable from the real and substantial presence of Christ in the Eucharistic sacrament; absolutely necessary for a living Church. To put an end to the abuses - which disgracefully are many – and to correct them is not something which derives from the plenary session of the Congregation, but it [the end of abuses] is something which the same liturgy and life of the Church and future of the Church and the communion it has protest. On this point, on the numerous liturgical abuses and on their correction, the Congregation published a most important Instruction some years ago called Redemptionis Sacramentum and we all must return to it. It is a most urgent duty to correct the existing abuses if we as Catholics want to bring something to the world, to renew it. The propositions do not have the purpose of putting an end to the creativity, but rather to encourage, favor, revivify the truth of the liturgy, its most authentic sense and its most genuine spirit. None of us can forget or ignore that liturgical creativity as it is often understood and as one often understands it, is an end to the liturgy and the cause of its secularization, because it is in contradiction to the nature of the liturgy itself.”

Do the propositions speak of the use of the Latin language?

“There is nothing said with respect to giving more space to the Latin language, including in the ordinary rite, nor to publish bilingual missals, which, in truth, has already been done in some places after the conclusion of the Council. Moreover, one must not forget that the Council does not dispense from Latin in the Constitution, Sacrosanctum Concilium, that venerable language to which the Roman Rite is connected.”

There are, moreover, so many other important questions, the orientation...

“We did not raise the question of “versus Orientem,” nor communion on the tongue or other aspects which sometimes bring out accusations such as “taking steps backward,” of conservatism or of elitism. I believe, besides, that questions such as these, the orientation, the crucifix visible on the center of the altar, communion received on the knees and on the tongue, the use of Gregorian chant, are important questions that we cannot make light of in a frivolous or superfluous manner and of which, in every instance, one must speak with knowledge of the cause and with foundation, as, for example, the Holy Father does. These things also correspond with and favor more the truth of the celebration. This can also be said of active participation, in the sense in which the Council speaks of it, and not in other senses. That which is important, is that the liturgy is celebrated in its truth, with truth, and that it favors and intensely promotes the sense and spirit of the liturgy in all the People of God in such a way that one lives from the liturgy. It is truly very important that the celebrations have and advance the sense of the sacred, of the Mystery, that they revive the faith in the Real Presence of the Lord and of the gift of God which acts in it, as in adoration, respect, veneration, contemplation, prayer, praise, thanksgiving and many other things which run the risk of being lost. When I participate in or see the liturgy of the Pope which has already incorporated many of these elements, I am always more convinced that they are not unimportant aspects but which rather have an expressive and educative force of themselves and in the truth of the celebration, the absence of which one notices.”

Cañizares has been for years a high-profile figure in the Spanish Church. He still is, although now he resides in Rome. In Spain, there has been a declaration by the secretary of the Episcopal Conference of the country, Monsignor Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, which said that those politicians who publicly express support for abortion, cannot receive Communion. Do you share this position of Camino? Because Spain has become the outpost of so called “secular” (laiciste) politics? How must bishops and the bishop’s conference carry themselves in the face of positions which negate life?

“Bishops, as pastors who guide and protect the people who have been entrusted to us, have the inescapable duty of charity to teach and transmit to the faithful, faithfully, with wisdom, doctrine and prudence, that which the faith of the Church believes and teaches, even if this costs us, even if this goes against the current or offends public opinion. That which is in play concerning the topic of abortion and that which one will legislate in Spain on this subject, when they will have approved all regulative procedures, it is something very grave and decisive, and we cannot remain quiet or hide the truth. It is the truth which, fulfilling the command of the Lord, the Church speaks of and requires of her faithful; it is the truth which she demands and expects of them. We must serve and direct the faithful with the light of the truth we have received, and of which we cannot set aside in moral questions and sometimes delicate ones at that. We must also help Catholics in public life to make their decisions with responsibility before God and men in conformity with reason as it corresponds to their condition as sons of the Church and believers in Jesus Christ. We cannot and must not, lest we be evil pastors, act in these questions with relativism, with political calculations or with skillful or subtle ‘diplomacy.’ The faithful exercise of our Episcopal ministry, besides, is not to be in absolute conflict, rather, with prudence, measure, mercy, gentleness and an extended hand which certainly must accompany us in everything. It is a difficult moment in which we are living right now in Spain. It is not easy for the bishops either. I do not believe, on the other hand, that Spain is the flag bearer or vanguard of political secularism. Secularism, evident and hidden, and political secularism have spread almost everywhere, in some countries more than others and in some with great power and force. There is a force, apparently unstoppable, engaged to introduce secularism all over the world or, which is the same thing, to erase the revealed God with the human face of Jesus Chris, His only begotten Son, from the conscience of man. It is true that this secularism has some special connotations, perhaps on account of her history and her very identity. Spain is undergoing a very radical transformation of mentality, in its thought, in its criteria of judgement, in its customs and ways of acting, in its culture, in summary, in its nature and identity. Further, this manifests itself in a great and profound crisis of values or moral rupture, behind which hides a religious crisis, both social and the fragmentation of man. However, at the same time, the roots and foundations which sustain Spain and its most genuine aspect derive from the Christian faith. These roots find there sustenance in it and in which it believes. And these roots have not been lost, nor will they be lost. A collection of laws, as that of abortion, which has already been approved in Parliament, beyond the other factors, are the sign of transformation already in motion. I have always believed that we bishops, being obedient to God before to men, must always announce the Gospel and Jesus Christ, not putting anything before Him and His works, to announce without rest and courageously the living God, the glory of Him being man fully alive, which constitutes the ‘yes’ most fully and totally which one can give to man, to his inviable dignity, to life, to his fundamental rights, to all that which is truly human. To announce and bear witness to Him who is love, by acting in all things with charity and carrying and bearing witness before all to the love of God, the passion God has for man, in a particular way for the weak, the indefensible and those who are treated unjustly. Everything aimed toward conversion, so that a new humanity rises up, made of new men, with the newness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their mode of being, of thinking and of acting which in Him, the truth of God and of men, we encounter and find its origin. One speaks simply to give impulse and bring to fruition a new and decisive evangelization. This is the condition in which the Church and bishops of Spain have found themselves in for a long time. It is a slow and arduous work, but which is bearing its fruits. Further, I believe, that the bishops in Spain, in virtue of the affirmation of God and the faith in Jesus Christ, have been in a great battle for man, of the right to life, of liberty, of that which is un-relinquishable for man as a family, the truth and the beauty of the family based on matrimony between one man and one woman, open to life, in love. They are in favor of the education of the person and of the freedom of teaching, and of religious liberty. The Church in Spain, looks every day and with more force and intensity on man and his fundamental rights, feeling the call to strengthen the experience of God so that the faithful may be ‘witnesses of the living God,’ as one of their most important documents from a few years ago says. Its task is not political nor to do politics, but only simply to be the Church, the presence of Christ among men, even if this penalizes the Church. The situation is hard but we look to the future with a great hope and a great call to allow ourselves to be strengthened by God and to keep Him at the center of everything and to proceed on our journey without tiring or without looking back, with our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ. I have absolute certainty that Spain will change and turn to the vigor of a living faith and a renewed society. We cannot let down the guard or let down our arms which must be held out to God in faithful and permanent supplication. It is essential that, before all else, it recuperates its vitality and its theological vigor and religiousness, that the God given in Jesus Christ, may truly be its center and its most solid foundation, to be capable and to make a new society arise. This is possible and, furthermore, nothing is impossible with God.”

Saturday 9 January 2010

Reform of the Reform

From the Blog "Paix Liturgique"

The Reform of the Reform

The increasing availability of Msgr Nicola Bux’s book The Reform of Benedict XVI [1] is an opportunity for us to depart somewhat from our usual focus on the application of the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” and to take stock of the “reform of the reform” that the Holy Pontiff has initiated in liturgy. It is also the occasion to consider what sort of relationship will slowly emerge between the two forms of the Roman liturgy.

The first aim of the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” is clear: to make it possible for the traditional Mass to be celebrated in every parish where it is requested. The MP will only truly be applied when we shall see the ten o’clock Sunday Mass celebrated in the ordinary form and the eleven o’clock Mass in the extraordinary form, or the reverse, in the cathedrals of Dublin or Detroit, as well as in the cathedrals of Boise or Aberdeen. In a word: as far as the MP’s application is concerned, we are still on the starting line.

A – The “Reform of the Reform” Project
The second aim of the MP, though implicit, is nonetheless obvious because of all that Cardinal Ratzinger has said on the subject in the past and because of the wish expressed in the 2007 text: a “mutual enrichment” of the two forms, which from that point coexist officially. Enrichment: everybody knows that the more obviously “rich” form is that which benefits from an uninterrupted, ten-centuries long tradition (or even seventeen-centuries long for its essential part, the canon), and whose doctrinal and ritual value is at least similar to that of the other great Catholic liturgies. In his book, Nicola Bux writes: “Comparative studies demonstrate that the Roman liturgy in its preconciliar form was far closer to the Oriental liturgy than is the current liturgy.” This is so much the case that no one can seriously contemplate denying that the form that needs to be enriched/transformed first and foremost is the liturgy that was hastily contrived forty years ago. Indeed, as Nicola Bux points out, “[one] has to admit that the Mass of Paul VI is far from containing all that is found in the missal of Saint Pius V.”

It has thus become customary to call “reform of the reform” this project of enrichment/transformation of Paul VI’s reform with a view to making it more traditional in content and form. Although it would be an exaggeration to say that the reform of the reform is only on the order of a pious wish, one must nevertheless fully understand that it is only—somewhat like the extraordinary form—at its beginnings.

Two preliminary observations about this future process come to mind:

1. The reform of the reform, as the expression indicates, concerns only the reform of Paul VI. It in no way involves an alleged “parallel” transformation of the traditional form of the rite. There is no comparison between the two forms in their relation to tradition or in their ritual structure. Fiddling with the traditional rite would truly sink it and everyone would come away a loser: the reform of the reform would see its backbone collapse. In any event, Cardinal Ratzinger has already clearly and prudently rejected the idea. [2]

2. Add to this that the reform of the reform does not seek to implement a series of reforms through laws and decrees with a view to establishing a third missal halfway between the Tridentine missal and the new one (not to mention that the latter is much more of an indefinite, diverse and open-ended collection than a “missal” in the traditional sense). Cardinal Ratzinger in the past, Pope Benedict XVI today, is averse to implementing a process of authoritarian and continual reforms akin—though in reverse—to what was done under the reform of Paul VI. The point is rather to undertake a gradual narrowing of the gap, the missal of Paul VI becoming progressively closer to the traditional missal. The new liturgy’s characteristic of being malleable at will allows this to occur effortlessly: its non-normative character paradoxically permits it to be infused with the traditional norm it lacks. One may legitimately wonder whether, at the end of the process, it will preserve any interest besides that of serving as a steppingstone to the traditional liturgy...

B – The book by Nicola Bux
The import of this book’s publication is due first of all to its author’s stature. Msgr Nicola Bux, professor of liturgy and sacramental theology at the Ecumenical-Patristic Institute of Theology of Bari in Italy, is a consultor for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, consultor too for the Bureau of Liturgical Celebrations for the Supreme Pontiff, advisor to the journal Communio, author of many books (notably Il Signore dei Misteri. Eucaristia e relativismo—The Lord of Mysteries: Eucharist and Relativism [Siena: Cantagalli, 2005]) and of many articles (e.g. “À soixante ans de l’encyclique Mediator Dei de Pie XII, débattre sereinement sur la liturgie”—“Sixty Years After Pius XII’s Encyclical Mediator Dei. On the Liturgy: A Debate Without Prejudice,” Osservatore Romano, 18 November 2007). And he is one of the most influential partisans of the reform of Paul VI’s reform.

Others deserve to be named in his company, such as Fr. Alcuin Reid (The Organic Development of the Liturgy [Saint Michael’s Abbey Press, 2004]), Fr. U. Michael Lang (Turning Towards the Lord. Orientation in Liturgical Prayer [Ignatius Press, 2004]), Msgr Nicola Giampietro (who published the memoirs of Cardinal Antonelli, Apoc 2004), Bishop Athanasius Schneider (Dominus est. It Is the Lord [Newman House Press, 2009]), Fr. Aidan Nichols (Looking At the Liturgy : a Critical View Of Its Contemporary Form [Ignatius Press, 1996]), and Dom Mauro Gagliardi (Liturgia, Fonte di Vita [Fede&Cultura, 2009]), not to mention the initiatives promoted by Father Manelli and the Franciscans of the Immaculate and, of course, the daily action of such important prelates as Archbishop Ranjith, Archbishop Burke, Cardinal Cañizares, et al.

Msgr Bux’s book also benefits from three forewords: one by the famous Italian journalist Vittorio Messori (author of the Ratzinger Report, an interview with then Cardinal Ratzinger) for the Italian edition; one by Marc Aillet, bishop of Bayonne, for the French edition; another by the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship himself, Cardinal Cañizares, for the Spanish edition.

For Nicola Bux, the crisis that wounded the Roman liturgy is due to its no longer being centered upon God and his adoration, but on people and the community. “At the beginning is adoration, and therefore that is where God is (...) The Church stems from adoration, from the mission of glorifying God,” Joseph Ratzinger had written on this subject. The crisis in liturgy begins the moment it ceases to be an adoration, when it is reduced to the celebration of a specific community in which priests and bishops, instead of being ministers, that is, servants, become “leaders”. This is why today “people are requesting more and more respect to ensure a private space of silence, with a view to an intimate faith participation in the sacred mysteries.”

The order of the day, then, is once again to teach a clergy wounded in its ritual praxis and consciousness that liturgy is sacred and divine, that it comes down from above as does the liturgy of the heavenly Jerusalem in the Apocalypse. “In this connection, there ought to be efforts made to find out why, despite appearances, the vernacular is at the end of the day unsuccessful in making the liturgy understandable.” The priest needs to be taught once again how to carry out the holy mysteries in persona Christi, in the Church, as its minister, and not as the coordinator of an assembly that is closed in on itself, which is what he has become.

C – The Reform Of the Reform Project:
Leading By Example Rather Than By Legislative Texts

Despite the seriousness of the conclusion reached by Msgr Bux in particular and by the “Pope’s men” in general—a conclusion that is in keeping with the Holy Father’s thinking in the matter—none of them wants laws and decrees designed to overturn everything in an authoritarian manner, as did those of the Bugnini era. Even though the Church today is quite ill, liturgically speaking, they prefer to act with the sweet medicine of example: the Supreme Pontiff’s example in the first place, then that of those bishops who will be willing to show the example as he does.

And so Benedict XVI multiplies corrective nudges that seem only to affect trifling matters, to be sure; after all, the liturgy is made up only of a collection of details: the very dignified manner of pontifical celebrations; the beauty of the liturgical vestments from St. Peter’s sacristy, which the pontifical master of ceremonies, Msgr Guido Marini, is using once more; the placement of large candlesticks on the altar, which diminish the theatrical effect of facing the people; above all, the distribution of Communion on the tongue, kneeling.

It is up to the bishops to follow suit in their liturgical celebrations. It is a matter of public knowledge that Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, Archbishop of Bologna, one of Italy’s theologically solid bishops, has recently decided in an April 27, 2009 ruling that “in view of the frequency with which irreverent attitudes are reported in the act of receiving the Eucharist,” he was deciding “that from this day forward, in the metropolitan church of San Pietro, in the basilica of San Petronio and in the shrine of the BVM of San Luca in Bologna, the faithful are to receive the Consecrated Bread only from the hands of a minister directly onto the tongue.”

For their part both Bishop Schneider and Dom Mauro Gagliardi [3] ask for a strong reminder that the “normal” way is that of Communion in the mouth, and that Communion in the hand is only a “tolerated” way, even though it has remained the most widespread way for a good long time. Such an encouragement is very important for the rebirth of faith in the real presence. Respect for the divine and for the holy is expressed through signs of reverence, again according to Msgr Bux.

Yet, other points too are constantly brought up by the partisans of the reform of the reform; to wit:
—1. Encouragement to reduce the number of concelebrants, and even of concelebrations: “When it [concelebration] becomes to frequent, the mediating function of each priest as such is obscured.”
—2. Slow reduction of the manifold optional parts of the Mass (particularly the Eucharistic prayers, some of which present doctrinal problems).
—3. Reintroduction of elements of the extraordinary form that encourage the sense of the sacred and of adoration, such as genuflections, kisses on the altar, the very ancient signs of the cross in the Canon: “The sacred is also expressed in signs of the cross and genuflections” (N. Bux).
—4. And much else besides: a reminder that the kiss of peace is a sacred action and not a manifestation of middle-class civility; the massive reintroduction of the liturgical language that is Latin, etc.

Lastly, and above all, one mustn’t overlook the encouragement given to the priest to celebrate facing the Lord, at least during the offertory and the Eucharistic prayer. “The most visible indicator of the liturgical reform,” says Msgr Bux, “was the change in the priest’s position with respect to the people.” In light of these words, one can legitimately reckon the beginning of the reform of the reform from the time when the Pope and the bishops will commonly celebrate towards the Lord.

D – The Spearhead of the Reform of the Reform Project
In his book, Nicola Bux notes that the key of the new liturgy as it left the offices of Bugnini—the author of the liturgical reform—is adaptation to the world. This is the point on which Bux’s thinking, in unison with that of the reform of the reform partisans, is at its most radical: the essence of Catholic liturgy is to be “as a permanent critique that the Church addresses to the world, while the world continually seeks to convince her to belong to it.” Therefore one must bear in mind that revolution is not reform: “the reform cannot be understood as a reconstruction attempt according to the tastes of a specific time.”

That is why Msgr Bux quotes at length, and comments on, the “Ottaviani Intervention” published soon after the Council by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci. “They deplored,” he recalls in approval of the two Italian cardinals, “the absence of the normal finality of the Mass, that is to say, propitiatory sacrifice.” Indeed it would take a blind man not to notice that the new rite of the Mass has a de facto effect of immanentizing the Christian message: the doctrine of propitiatory sacrifice, the adoration of the Real Presence of Christ, the specificity of the hierarchical priesthood and generally the sacred character of the Eucharistic celebration are expressed in a far less tangible way than in the traditional rite. That is why attempts to reintroduce the prayers that best express its sacrificial value (see, e.g., the book amounting to a manifesto along these lines by Fr. Paul Tirot, OSB: Histoire des prières d’offertoire dans la liturgie romaine du VIIe au XVIe siècle—History of the Offertory Prayers in the Roman Liturgy From the Seventh to the Sixteenth Century [Edizione Liturgiche, 1985]) into the new Missal are on the rise today.

If, therefore, there is a point on which one can expect legislation to promote the reform of the reform project, it is certainly this: the possibility of introducing the traditional Roman Offertory prayers into the ordinary celebration.

In sum, if this plan were truly to take shape, the inverse situation to what happened between 1965 and 1969 might eventually develop: to that time of brutal transformation when everything changed in a ‘progressive’ direction might correspond a period of slow evolution during which everything would change in a resacralizing direction.

Such an implementation of the reform of the reform would thus be truly reformative, in the traditional (and quite demanding!) sense of the term ‘reform’. It would proceed by ‘contamination’, to use a term familiar to historians of the liturgy when they mean to speak of one liturgy’s influence over another. In this case, it would be that of the traditional liturgy on the new.

In fact, one might even claim that the extraordinary form is perhaps the only chance to save the ordinary form in the long term, precisely by enabling it to become less and less ordinary. It might then become a step by which to reach the extraordinary liturgy. In any event, it would in no way compete with the extraordinary form, but would rather provide it with a far more favorable environment for its dissemination and its affirmation as the official form of reference.

[1] Until an English version is published, Msgr Bux’s book is available in its original version from its Italian publisher, Piemme.

[2] During the 2001 liturgical days of Fontgombault, Cardinal Ratzinger had stated that there was no question, doubtless for a long time, of touching the Tridentine missal, essentially because its presence and life today could serve as a goad to an evolution of the new missal. This “line” is today clearly that of the Congregation for Divine Worship and of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, which hold that the introduction of the new lectionary into the traditional rite is impossible, for example. The only adjustment of the traditional rite that can be envisioned, according to the Roman liturgists, might be the introduction of a few new prefaces.

[3] Interview granted to zenit.org on December 21, 2009.

Saturday 2 January 2010

Epiphany and it's Proclamation

Dear brothers and sisters, the glory of the Lord has shone upon us, and shall ever be manifest among us, until the day of his return. Through the rhythms of times and seasons let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation. Let us recall the year's culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord: his last supper, his crucifixion, his burial, and his rising celebrated between the evening of the twenty-first day of April and the evening of the twenty-third day of April, Easter Sunday being on the twenty-fourth day of April. Each Easter -- as on each Sunday--the Holy Church makes present the great and saving deed by which Christ has for ever conquered sin and death. From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on the ninth day of March. The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated on the second day of June. Pentecost, joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on the twelfth day of June. And, this year the First Sunday of Advent will be on the twenty-seventh day of November. Likewise the pilgrim Church proclaims the passover of Christians the feasts of the holy Mother of God, in the feasts of the Apostles and Saints, and in the commemoration of the faithful departed. To Jesus Christ, who was, who is, and who is to come, Lord of time and history, be endless praise, for ever and ever. Amen. (while this is from 2009 you can click here for mp3 and here how it is chanted in English with the same tone as the Easter Exultet)

"Oh, where is He born the King of Judea,
for we have seen His star and have come to adore Him!"