If the Congregation for Divine Worship simply emphasizes the sobriety of the Latin Rite Mass and its reverence and piety, then the Congregation for Divine Worship will have provided an "immensity of majesty" ethos for the Liturgy and its proper celebration throughout the world, which this photo below does not convey in the least. May this come to an end!
The unknowns concern the vernacular revisions of the Roman Missal. The one in English is completed. I don't see any major change by going backwards in any dramatic way with future revisions of the English Roman Missal. I do think there will be some tweaking, but that will be minor and most laity won't even notice it.
For example, some of the phrasing and/or wording of the Prefaces of the revised English need some tweaking. The Preface for Christ the King has this oddity: "the immensity of your majesty." Certainly there is a better way to translate this?
But we still await the Italian revision and the Portuguese revision (being one of the worst of all translations) as well as other translations. Will the translating method be changed? Will it be shifted to Bishops' Conferences. If these things happen, then yes, we will be going backwards, not walking forwards.
What has happened with the Congregation for Divine Worship since Pope Francis became pope that might give us some indication of where this congregation will go?
First of all many things that Pope Francis approved where in the works under Pope Benedict. Pope Francis confirmed these right away:
1. The name of Saint Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was added to all Eucharistic Prayers. It was first added to the Roman Canon under the pontificate of St. Pope John XXIII. Pope Francis approved this immediately, within weeks of becoming Pope.
2. The revised Anglican Ordinariate Roman Missal was approved by Pope Francis. It allows Elizabethan English for the Mass, a revised Roman Calendar that is more like the EF's Calendar while still faithful to the Ordinary Form's Lectionary. It allows in the appendix, EF elements to be used as an option for the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, Ad Orientem, Holy Communion kneeling, the EF's Offertory Prayers and the Last Gospel, all as options.
In my mind, the Anglican Ordinariate's Revised Roman Missal is the big news of this Pontificate. Pope Francis approved it, although it was certainly prepared under Pope Benedict. Pope Francis could have certainly revised it or ordered its approval delayed after evaluation of it. He did not.
I'm not sure why other bloggers do not understand the significance of this revised Missal which was a collaboration of both the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
In fact, when I was in Rome last year at a visit to the Congregation for Divine Worship, I asked an official there if we could expect the options allowed to the Anglican Ordinariate Missal to be applied to the Ordinary Latin Rite Missal. He said, if there are advocates for it, certainly.
I would think there are advocates. I believe Cardinal Burke still sits on the Congregation for Divine Worship as a member of one of its committees. Does anyone know if this is still true? He would be a wonderful advocate.
3. Finally, this congregation issued a decree that the Kiss of Peace would not be moved to a different location in the Ordinary Form of the Mass but it mandated that it be sober and that it is merely an option, not required.
So Cardinal Sarah, given the immensity of the majesty of his orthodoxy, will continue a trajectory for the Congregation that is already established but he will do so as Rocco Palma indicates:
...The office's new mission is likely to hew closer to Francis' own liturgical approach – as one op summarized it, "Go by the book. Don't make a fuss about it. And remember that liturgy's always a means to an end, not an end in itself."
Not only can I live with Rocco's summary, I wholeheartedly endorse it for everyone in the Church! I also endorse Cardinal Sarah as the next successor of Saint Peter!
As I have said time and again, I love both forms of the Mass and want both forms celebrated as prescribed. The Ordinary Form has many options. These are legitimate but regardless of the options, this Mass needs to recover reverence, piety and awe and it can easily be accomplished on the local level when there is attention to detail and small reforms are initiated.
But our worship of God at Mass is meant to make us disciples of Jesus in order to bring our faith and good works to the world. Our lives as Catholics should be so attractive that it will draw others to consider what makes a Catholic different and Catholic lives so beautiful.
Is there a beauty in post-Vatican II Catholics' everyday lives? I honestly ask that question especially of the laity. Are Catholics living beautiful lives that attract others to our faith or are they not?