Wednesday, October 3, 2012
DID POPE BENEDICT JUST LIGHT A FUSE TO A BOMBSHELL ON THE LITURGY?
Today at Wednesday's General Audience, the Holy Father continued his catechesis on the Liturgy and lit a fuse to what could be a bomb shell on the Liturgy, but of course I'm not clairvoyant about these things or am I?
These are some excerpts from the Holy Father's talk today:
...Thus, participating in the liturgy, we make ours the language of Mother Church, we learn to speak it and for it. Of course, as I have already said, this takes place in a gradual manner, little by little. I have to progressively immerse myself in the words of the Church, with my prayer, my life, my suffering, my joy, my thoughts. It is a journey that transforms us.
...The liturgy is not a kind of "self-manifestation" of a community, but it is emerging from the simple "being-oneself", being closed in on ourselves, and accessing the great banquet, entering the great living community in which God nourishes us. The liturgy implies universality and our awareness of this universal character must always be renewed. The Christian liturgy is the worship of the universal temple which is the Risen Christ, whose arms are stretched out on the cross to draw us all into the embrace that is the eternal love of God. It is the cult of the open skies. It is never only the event of a single community, in a given time and space. It is important that every Christian feels and really is part of this universal "we", which provides the foundation and refuge to the "I" in the Body of Christ which is the Church.
MY COMMENT: AND HERE IS THE FUSE BEING LIT TO THE FUTURE BOMBSHELL:
It is not the individual - priest or layman - or the group that celebrates the liturgy, but it is primarily God's action through the Church, which has its own history, its rich tradition and creativity. This universality and fundamental openness, which is characteristic of the entire liturgy is one of the reasons why it cannot be created or amended by the individual community or by experts, but must be faithful to the forms of the universal Church.
The entire Church is always present, even in the liturgy of the smallest community. For this reason there are no "foreigners" in the liturgical community. The entire Church participates in every liturgical celebration, heaven and earth, God and man. The Christian liturgy, even if it is celebrated in a concrete place and space, and expresses the "yes" of a particular community, it is inherently Catholic, it comes from everything and leads to everything, in union with the Pope, the Bishops , with believers of all times and all places. The more a celebration is animated by this consciousness, the more fruitful the true sense of the liturgy is realized in it.
In his book, "The Feast of Faith" the future Pope Benedict writes:
"“The Council did not create new articles of faith, nor did it replace existing ones with new ones. Its only concern was to make it possible to hold the same faith under different circumstances, to revitalize it. As for the work that preceded the Council, it seems to have been more intensive in Germany than elsewhere, for Germany was the heartland of the liturgical movement, the primary source in which the documents of the Council had their origin. But many of these documents were issued too abruptly. To many of the faithful, most of them seemed to be a challenge to the creativity of the individual congregation, in which separate groups constructed their own “liturgies” from week to week with a zeal that was as commendable as it was misplaced. To me, the most serious element in all this was the breach of fundamental, liturgical consciousness. The difference between liturgy and festivity, between liturgy and social event, disappeared gradually and imperceptibly, as witness the fact that many priests, imitating the etiquette of polite society, feel that they ought not to receive Holy Communion until the congregation has received; that they should no longer venture to say “I bless you” [German euch: familiar form of plural “you”]—thus dissolving the fundamental liturgical relationship between them and their congregation. In this context belong also the often obnoxious and banal greeting which, it must be admitted, many congregations tolerate with a kind of patient forbearance. In the period before the new missal made its appearance, but after the old one had already been characterized as “old-fashioned”, people forgot that there is a “rite”, that is, a prescribed liturgical form, and that liturgy is genuinely liturgy only if it is not subject to the will of those who celebrate it.” See: The Feast of Faith, pp. 83–85.
Describing J A Jungmann as “one of the truly great liturgists of our century”, our future Pope agreed with his definition of liturgy as “the fruit of development”. But Cardinal Ratzinger continued: “What happened after the Council was something else entirely: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries and replaced it – as in a manufacturing process – with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product.
My final comment:
The Holy Father says today: "This universality and fundamental openness, which is characteristic of the entire liturgy is one of the reasons why it cannot be created or amended by the individual community or by experts, but must be faithful to the forms of the universal Church."
As Cardinal Ratzinger he said about the post Vatican II Mass: “What happened after the Council was something else entirely: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries and replaced it – as in a manufacturing process – with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product."
The question remains, is the Holy Father going to detonate the bomb, the fuse of which he himself has lit, and return us to the Tridentine Order of the Mass and its rubrics and then scrupulously follow what Sacrosantum Concilium desired for the Tridentine Mass, which was not a new Order, but some vernacular, more Scripture and "noble simplicity." As for noble simplicity, will the current Holy Father make clear what that means and also the elimnation of "useless repition."