Wednesday, December 28, 2011
I'M NOT CLAIRVOYANT, BUT MAYBE I AM, BUT CARDINAL MALCOLM RANJITH MAKES YOU WONDER
This is a letter which was written by His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith -- former secretary of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW):
I wish to express first of all, my gratitude to all of you for the zeal and enthusiasm with which you promote the cause of the restoration of the true liturgical traditions of the Church.
As you know, it is worship that enhances faith and its heroic realization in life. It is the means with which human beings are lifted up to the level of the transcendent and eternal: the place of a profound encounter between God and man.
Liturgy for this reason can never be what man creates. For if we worship the way we want and fix the rules ourselves, then we run the risk of recreating Aaron's golden calf. We ought to constantly insist on worship as participation in what God Himself does, else we run the risk of engaging in idolatry. Liturgical symbolism helps us to rise above what is human to what is divine. In this, it is my firm conviction that the Vetus Ordo represents to a great extent and in the most fulfilling way that mystical and transcendent call to an encounter with God in the liturgy. Hence the time has come for us to not only renew through radical changes the content of the new Liturgy, but also to encourage more and more a return of the Vetus Ordo, as a way for a true renewal of the Church, which was what the Fathers of the Church seated in the Second Vatican Council so desired.
The careful reading of the Conciliar Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilum shows that the rash changes introduced to the Liturgy later on, were never in the minds of the Fathers of the Council.
Hence the time has come for us to be courageous in working for a true reform of the reform and also a return to the true liturgy of the Church, which had developed over its bi-millenial history in a continuous flow. I wish and pray that, that would happen.
May God bless your efforts with success.
+Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith
Archbishop of Colombo
First of all, this is an opinion piece by a cardinal that some say could be pope and thus shouldn't be dismissed as off the wall.
I can't see a radical reworking of the Novus Ordo but certainly we can critique some aberrations that were not intended. I think the most unintended is the creativity and drunken inculturation that has occurred with the official liturgy of the Church. Inculturation and creativity is rightly celebrated in street processions and other devotions that are precisely that, devotions which are not universally official.
What are the two areas of the new Order of the Mass that most traditionalists don't like? They are the truncation of the prayers at the Foot of the Altar and the truncation of the Offertory Prayers. Is there a middle ground? Can we have a return to a more traditional format for the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and revisit the Offertory Prayers? Is that a big deal?
The other area apart from the Order of the Mass is the direction of Prayer. I think we have to realize that even in the EF Mass there is no law against it being celebrated toward the people and it was celebrated this way in the 1950's in some places. There is no law that says the OF Mass can't be celebrated Ad Orientem, although for a priest to do this would risk being labeled Pre-Vatican II by progressives as the single biggest reform in their minds was the Mass facing people although never explicitly mandated by the official books.
I think the vernacular is here to stay and I am personally glad for that. I also think the revised lectionary is here to stay although the traditional Gradual may make a come back as it did at the Holy Father's Midnight Mass.
Keep in mind that we have seen a "reform of the reform" with the revision of the Latin Roman Missal in 2003 and the revision of our English Missal and a totally new translation in 2010. These are huge steps in an organic development that isn't complete.