Monday, June 18, 2012


The Holy Father in His video message to the people of Ireland and the entire world at the Eucharistic Congress calls for true Liturgical Renewal, the reform of the reform, that leads to authentic reform of every individual believer! Ad Orientem, facing God and adoring God through interior reverence and adoration, especially kneeling for Holy Communion are in the works!


My Comments at the end of these few excerpts on Pope Benedict's closing video message to not only the Irish Eucharistic Congress but to the entire Catholic World and folks, (Yes I am clairvoyant) it's about the reform of the reform, liturgical reform and personal reform of the each Catholic and thus the whole Church! Please note the bold comments in the pope's comments.

The Congress also occurs at a time when the Church throughout the world is preparing to celebrate the Year of Faith to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council, an event which launched the most extensive renewal of the Roman Rite ever known. Based upon a deepening appreciation of the sources of the liturgy, the Council promoted the full and active participation of the faithful in the Eucharistic sacrifice. At our distance today from the Council Fathers’ expressed desires regarding liturgical renewal, and in the light of the universal Church’s experience in the intervening period, it is clear that a great deal has been achieved; but it is equally clear that there have been many misunderstandings and irregularities. The renewal of external forms, desired by the Council Fathers, was intended to make it easier to enter into the inner depth of the mystery. Its true purpose was to lead people to a personal encounter with the Lord, present in the Eucharist, and thus with the living God, so that through this contact with Christ’s love, the love of his brothers and sisters for one another might also grow. Yet not infrequently, the revision of liturgical forms has remained at an external level, and "active participation" has been confused with external activity. Hence much still remains to be done on the path of real liturgical renewal. In a changed world, increasingly fixated on material things, we must learn to recognize anew the mysterious presence of the Risen Lord, which alone can give breadth and depth to our life.

The Eucharist is the worship of the whole Church, but it also requires the full engagement of each individual Christian in the Church’s mission; it contains a call to be the holy people of God, but also one to individual holiness; it is to be celebrated with great joy and simplicity, but also as worthily and reverently as possible; it invites us to repent of our sins, but also to forgive our brothers and sisters; it binds us together in the Spirit, but it also commands us in the same Spirit to bring the good news of salvation to others.

Our Catholic faith, imbued with a radical sense of God’s presence, caught up in the beauty of his creation all around us, and purified through personal penance and awareness of God’s forgiveness, is a legacy that is surely perfected and nourished when regularly placed on the Lord’s altar at the sacrifice of the Mass.

Thankfulness and joy at such a great history of faith and love have recently been shaken in an appalling way by the revelation of sins committed by priests and consecrated persons against people entrusted to their care.

Instead of showing them the path towards Christ, towards God, instead of bearing witness to his goodness, they abused people and undermined the credibility of the Church’s message. How are we to explain the fact that people who regularly received the Lord’s body and confessed their sins in the sacrament of Penance have offended in this way? It remains a mystery. Yet evidently, their Christianity was no longer nourished by joyful encounter with Jesus Christ: it had become merely a matter of habit.

The work of the Council was really meant to overcome this form of Christianity and to rediscover the faith as a deep personal friendship with the goodness of Jesus Christ.

The Eucharistic Congress has a similar aim. Here we wish to encounter the Risen Lord. We ask him to touch us deeply. May he who breathed on the Apostles at Easter, communicating his Spirit to them, likewise bestow upon us his breath, the power of the Holy Spirit, and so help us to become true witnesses to his love, witnesses to the truth. His truth is love. Christ’s love is truth.

MY COMMENTS: Benedict argued that the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) were intended to overcome habitual Christianity.

“The work of the Council was really meant to overcome this form of Christianity and to rediscover the faith as a deep personal friendship with the goodness of Jesus Christ,”

But in terms of the reform of the reform that goes beyond the yackity yack forms of busy external participation and external renewal that doesn't lead to internal renewal of the individual and thus the Church!

"The Eucharist is the worship of the whole Church, but it also requires the full engagement of each individual Christian in the Church’s mission; it contains a call to be the holy people of God, but also one to individual holiness; it is to be celebrated with great joy and simplicity, but also as worthily and reverently as possible; it invites us to repent of our sins, but also to forgive our brothers and sisters; it binds us together in the Spirit, but it also commands us in the same Spirit to bring the good news of salvation to others."

The most important line of the Holy Father's video is this:

"Yet not infrequently, the revision of liturgical forms has remained at an external level, and "active participation" has been confused with external activity. Hence much still remains to be done on the path of real liturgical renewal."

My most important final comment: The "Marshall Plan" of Pope Benedict's vision of the Liturgy that forms individual Roman Catholics in a profound awareness of the "majesty" of God and His Love for us in Jesus Christ and His Sacrifice of the Cross, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, is to allow God's divine presence in the Liturgy to show forth and the reverence due to God be encouraged changing the hearts of all and leading to true charity (love) for one's brothers and sisters in the Church and in the World, but only after a profound awareness of sin and our need for repentance, penance, forgiveness and reconciliation.

So what has been the signs of this true renewal that Vatican II intended for the Liturgy and thus individuals and the Church collectively?

1. Great reverence with the reformed rites! Pray the black and observe the red!

2. The Liturgy of the Word proclaimed profoundly and preach eloquently (to the congregation!) Of all the reforms of the Mass, apart from more vernacular, my humble opinion is that the Liturgy of the Word's reform is the most profound!

3. Contemplation through profound silent meditation (after the homily and after Holy Communion have been the two places where Pope Benedict has modeled prolonged periods of silence, disconcerting to our busy liturgical style imposed on the Church by liturgists.

4. The Sacrificial nature of the Sacrifice of the Mass must be emphasized anew.

5. The Eucharistic Banquet (Meal) aspect of the Eucharist must not be modeled in the ordinary meals of the home or worse yet of the fast food experience, but the extraordinary meal of the heavenly banquet, meaning that we receive our Lord, pure and sinless, in a state of grace. We receive our Lord's Body and Blood in ADORATION, kneeling to do so and receiving on the tongue as a sign of the Lord giving and we receiving, not taking! The Food and Drink we receive is not ordinary food, but Jesus Christ's Body and Blood, which by the grace of God is made palatable through the "accidents" of the visual and sensual aspects of the Bread and Wine remaining. In addition to that, we should always be reminded that Jesus as food for the soul does not become a part of the soul and the person who eats and drinks the Body and Blood of our Lord, but rather Jesus makes the soul and the person a part of Him and His Body the Church--that's a big difference folks!

So the path to true liturgical renewal is not primarily about external liturgical reform but liturgical reform that leads to the internal reform of the sinner and avoids a rote, habitual participation that does not touch the soul of the human being.

Folks this can happen in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, if understood properly and in the reform of this Mass, if the focus isn't on the reform but on Jesus.

In other words, in either form of the Mass, the object of our worship isn't the ritual or forms of worship and the externals, but the internal reality of the real presence of Christ and our internal acknowledgement of His presence and our adoration of Him and humble reception of Him so that when the priest or deacon dismisses us with the words, "Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life" we'll do precisely that and not abuse each other or act as though Christ has not entered our souls. This should be a reminder to all of us who in the passion of our beliefs can denigrate one another in the most uncharitable ways. Let's avoid that folks!


John Nolan said...

From what I have seen of the 'liturgies' pertaining to the Eucharistic Congress (my late father was at the last one in 1932 as an eleven-year-old boy scout)they are firmly anchored in the 1970s. Is this because Piero Marini still organizes things? The dancing around with incense bowls is whacky LA stuff.

Anything less like the Roman Rite would be hard to imagine, and because they sang Credo III in Latin (big deal) we are led to understand that these shenanegans are somehow 'traditional'.

Regarding ROTR the vernacular is here to stay, and in my opinion the vernacular Mass (in English at least) has finally come of age. It does not imply the abandonment of Latin. Where there were Latin/English Masses it was usually because there was a decent choir but the clergy were reluctant to do anything except a low Mass in English with a bit of incense thrown in. The kindergarten English of the old ICEL was always an annoyance.

But things have changed! If the new English missal chants are sung (as they are intended to be) you can segue from English into Latin with ease. But there are limits to what we laity, however musical, can do. Priests must be able to sing the Mass. Unless you are actually tone-deaf (an extremely rare condition) it's easy. Unfortunately too many priests and congregations are so used to the conversational over-the-counter style of liturgy that it would take a major cultural shift to get them to celebrate properly.

Rome can do little; any directives would simply be ignored (look what happened to Redemptionis Sacramentum, issued eight years ago). What Fr Z calls the 'biological solution' will eventually prevail. I was 14 when the Second Vatican Council closed and have spent my entire adult life chasing acceptable liturgy, fortunately with success, although it has involved a lot of expenditure on petrol.

There is one upside; had I been born a hundred years earlier I might have taken the liturgy for granted.

Henry Edwards said...

I'm not sure that any of the "reforms" has been as unsuccessful as the Liturgy of the Word. Once upon a time, many if not most Catholics--even though no better known then than now as Bible readers--grew to recognize each Sunday's epistle or OT lesson and gospel as they were heard anew on the same Sunday every year. Whereas, now, you would be fortunate to find anyone in the parking lot after an OF Mass who remembers any of its readings of that very day.

I believe the absolutely least successful has been the homily tied to the day's readings, resulting in the most typical parish practice in vacuous, perfunctory comments with little or no doctrinal or spiritual content. Whereas "once upon a time" the year's cycle of sermons was often tied to the catechism, rotating through it each year, and most Catholics then--mostly with 8th grade educations or less--had a vastly better knowledge of the faith than today's generally better educated Catholics.

Templar said...

Hear hear Henry!!

John: Why would Piero Marini be involved in any Liturgical planning? Guido Marini is now the Papal master of Ceremonies, has been since October 07 when he replaced Pero Marini.

Henry Edwards said...

But I understand that these big Masses in other countries are planned by the host country, and that even for "foreign" papal Masses, the papal master of ceremonies may have little control in advance. For instance, I've seen accounts of the pope being sandbagged by prominent altar girl roles that he and his MC had not anticipated.

Anonymous said...

Dear Father, Do you think Pope Benedict would approve of the Karaoke Mass my diocese has implemented lately? What else will they come up with to distract parishioners from the liturgy of the Holy Mass? Check it out:

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

I'm trying to think of some charitable ways to denigrate one another...LOL:

"Gee, it is so neat how up front you are with your ignorance."

"Now, see, you aren't quite as dumb as I thought."

"Wow, you really did a great job of disguising your low IQ in that post!"

"Well, Hell can't be that bad if a swell guy like you is going there."

"I know you did not mean to ask that stupid question. Why don't we go back and start over."

"Don't even worry about being a moron. It isn't your's genetic."

"I am going to stop this conversation right now and pray to St. Jude for you."

John Nolan said...

Simply because when Guido replaced Piero as Papal MC the latter was shunted off to be responsible for Eucharistic Congresses. For my part, I would not cross the road to attend these so-called 'liturgies' although I understand why some people might get something out of them.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yuck to permanent screens as temporary hymnals; just when you think it can't get any worse it does!

ytc said...

"Say the black, do the red."

Well, the black's butchered and the red's almost nonexistent...

Bill Meyer said...

If it really needs to be said, the church is not a performance venue!

I find it offensive when a message from the archbishop is presented on screens in place of the homily. Offensive both for the projectors, and for the displacement of the homily.

ytc said...

BTW, I think it's super funny that the Pope connects liturgical ugliness to rapist priests. It all goes back to a lack of discipline.

rcg said...

Hey, Bill, we get recorded messages from Charlie Sheen and Youtube! Big Screens are old hat up here.

It is a shame people will think of the EF as a punishment. One of the few times the strongest medicine tastes sweet.

John Nolan said...

@ Henry Edwards

You are quite right. The Lectionary is the worst thing about the NO. My Saint Andrew Daily Missal, even in the Sundays after Pentecost, links the Propers with the Office and anyone who uses the Liber Usualis knows that the Mass cannot be separated from the Office. The idea hat the NO is more 'scriptural' is a complete nonsense.

Anonymous 2 said...

A brief comment on Number 3: Yes, more silence and more opportunity for quiet reflection and contemplation would be good. A slowing of pace at appropriate points, such as Communion, would also be good.

Instead of providing a sense of eternity, outside of time, we have conformed to the world’s pace and time, so a counter-cultural temporal shift at Mass, reinforcing other measures conducive to increased spirituality of the Mass, can surely only be healthy.

The world’s hyper-busyness will still be there for us once we leave the church, and most of us get caught up in it very easily I suspect (I know I do). Anything that will help us to resist that can surely only be to the good.

Bill Meyer said...

rcg: I am pleased to say that at least here, the projectors are not a permanent fixture.

Henry Edwards said...

Well, ytc, it's not really "funny"--in any of the several senses--because I'm convinced there's a high correlation between priestly liturgical abuse and clerical sexual abuse, both rooted in the same kind of narcissism.

Carol H. said...

Anon 2,

Did you see the translations of the prayer on Fr Z's blog yesterday? (WDTPRS) It is a very good example of why the new translation is far superior to the old.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Henry makes a very important point. This modernist/nihilistic "all about me" mentality (the "Spirit of Vatican II)leads to every kind of abuse and degradation.

Carol H. said...

Father, have you seen the latest news at the Catholic League website? A Soros funded group is gearing up to go against the Bishops during the Fortnight of Freedom. Someone gave the Catholic League a copy of the memo.

Anonymous said...

Why does this make me cry? All I really want is more reverence - the words/actions/pauses/silence of the Mass to be followed as directed - the music to be prayerful and spiritually uplifting. I want to teach my children the Missal without having to explain why we don't do things the way it says we are to do them. I don't want to have to stifle laughter at the horrible "songs" chosen for Mass! Neither do I want to be forced to plan an entire day's travel just so we can attend a properly celebrated Mass - am I asking too much?

Anonymous 2 said...

Carol, I have now seen it. Father Z provides a very helpful explanation. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. I agree – the new translation is much better.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone here had a metanoia experience that guitars and Kumbaya facilitated?

I know someone who once had a necro-noia experience facilitated by those guitars.
That person's faith died.
(Well more precisely it went into 'hibernation' like those seeds in the African desert that can last through a 25 yr drought, then revive with a good rainshower.)'re asking for the moon. Greed is not a virtue.


P.S. Three cheers for the Holy Father.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

SL, I have had "pukanoia" experiences at the very first chords of Kumbaya...

Joseph Johnson said...

It's the best issue ever!! Read the Summer 2012 issue of "The Latin Mass" magazine from cover to cover--especially Bishop Athanasius Schneider's article entitled "The Extraordinary Form and the New Evangelization." In that article he sets out the six principles of liturgical reform set out by Sacrosanctum Concilium and he describes "the five wounds of the Liturgical Mystical Body of Christ." Please get a copy and read it!

Henry Edwards said...

Are there really still Kumbaya moments at Mass? I've attended Mass in lots and lots of Masses, declined occasionally to join hands across the aisle, but haven't heard the strains of Kumbaya stuff in 25 to 35 years.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

There are some places, some priests and some music directors who either don't know that the 1970's approach to folk Masses are passe or simply are nostalgic for it. In my diocese, where many parishes have a very, very limited budget for their music program they rely upon amateurs and those who have a particular agenda to keep alive the 1970's showmanship for strumming guitars and the like.

Henry Edwards said...

My goodness, Joseph, I haven't yet finished reading the Winter-Spring issue of The Latin Mass, and don't expect the Summer issue to arrive for another month or two. A more traditional friend suggested to me that I am at the end of their mailing list because of some of my blog comments showing too much interest in the OF and the reform of the reform.

rcg said...

Fr, you are exactly right about the volunteer nature of the music 'ministry'. Rather than default to a dignified chant, they offer it to someone emboldened by his title of 'minister' who latches on to nearest Haugen tune. I remember coming to the conclusion that nearly every tune/song that was at least irritating, if not offensive, seemed to usually come from two authors. I thought I was simply being a music snob until I Googled the topic and found out there are many, many people all over the world who feel as I do. I was actually shocked that he vapid music selection that is nearly universal in American parishes was scorned by so many people. Settling into my comfort that I Was Not Alone, I shocked again when attending a class concerning the New Translation in the home of an couple active in our parish life to discover they not only liked Haugen They Collected His Works. They had a CD shelf FULL of his settings and endless serenades. They love it dearly and are at least as offended as I am relieved with the current change in the aire, so to speak.