Saturday, October 27, 2018


This is Praytell’s English translation of the Italian.

Is this good or, well, bad or more of the same?

The desire for a living liturgy
51. In diverse contexts young Catholics seek proposals for prayer and sacramental experiences capable of breaking open [intercettare] their daily life, in a fresh, authentic and joyful liturgy. In many parts of the world, liturgical experience is the main resource for Christian identity and witnesses broad and confident participation. The young recognize a privileged moment of experience of God and of the community of the church, and a starting point for mission. Elsewhere, there is a certain falling away from the sacraments and Sunday Eucharist, perceived more as a moral precept than a happy encounter with the Risen Lord and the community. In general it is noted that even where catechesis on the sacraments is offered, educational accompaniment is weak for living the celebration in depth, to enter into the mysterious wealth [ricchezza misterica] of its symbols and rites.
The centrality of the liturgy
134. The Eucharistic celebration is generative of the life of the community and of the synodality of the Church. It is a place for the transmission of faith and formation for mission, in which it is evident that the community lives by grace and not by the work of its own hands. In the words of the Eastern tradition we can affirm that the liturgy is meeting with the Divine Servant who binds our wounds and prepares for us the Easter banquet, sending us to do the same for our brothers and sisters. It must therefore be clearly reaffirmed that the commitment to celebrate with noble simplicity and with the involvement of the various lay ministries constitutes an essential moment in the missionary conversion of the Church. Young people have shown that they are able to appreciate and live intensely authentic celebrations in which the beauty of the signs, the preaching and community involvement really speak of God. Therefore we must encourage their active participation, but keeping alive wonder for the Mystery; to reach out to their musical and artistic sensibility, but to help them understand that the liturgy is not purely an expression of oneself, but an action of Christ and the Church. Equally important is to accompany young people to discover the value of Eucharistic adoration as an extension of the celebration, in which to live out contemplation and silent prayer.
135. The practice of the sacrament of Reconciliation is very important in the journey of faith. Young people need to feel loved, forgiven, and reconciled, and they have a secret longing for the Father’s merciful embrace. This is why it is essential that priests generously make available the celebration of this sacrament. Communal penance services help young people to approach individual confession and make the ecclesial dimension of the sacrament more explicit.
136. In many contexts, popular piety plays an important role in young people’s access to the life of faith in a practical, sensitive and immediate way. Valuing the language of the body and affective participation, popular piety brings with it the desire to come into contact with the God who saves, often through the mediation of the Mother of God and the saints. For the young, pilgrimage is an experience of journey that becomes a metaphor for life and the Church: contemplating the beauty of creation and art, living the fraternity and joining the Lord in prayer thus bring about the best conditions for discernment.


rcg said...

I think there is a danger for some popular devotions to become a substitute for Liturgy and even Mass attendance. It is similar to the desire to replace traditional music with modern trendy music rather than extend participation in parish life to music in the hall after Mass.

MikeL said...

Communal penance services help young people to approach individual confession and make the ecclesial dimension of the sacrament more explicit.

My concern is that this will devolve into the communal penance and absolution practices that were common until quite recently. On the other hand, as a prelude to individual confession, perhaps with guidance on examination of conscience, this might help revive frequent recourse to this essential sacrament.

Anonymous said...

One of the oldest 12 Step Fellowship slogans/cliches applies here; ie with 1970s Catholic liturgical changes. Namely, doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.


Православный физик said...

As an Eastern Christian, I'm going to approach this a different way...The Liturgy of the East is so busy with movements, motions, there's no time to really pray private devotional.

I would argue the thing the Liturgy needs to is something that Vatican II actually called for, that's actual participation. The Liturgy is much like a tapestry, each has their part. Devotions are important, but those things can be prayed before the Liturgy, and perhaps in preparation for Communion. During the Liturgy, the focus should of course be on God, and the mysteries being made manifest before our very eyes.

At my parish, we have confessions during Liturgy, usually during the parts the people are signing, or the choir. (Mine is of course an Eastern parish in the Russian tradition, where this is of course normal....It seems to me with the truncated new Liturgy, and how "little" the priest has to do in the modern Roman Rite this could well be done....One wouldn't be able to use a confessional, one would have to whisper confessions, and have them heard publicly. (Which with the present scandals could work for the benefit of everyone involved).....

When the faith becomes too much of an academic exercise, a loss of faith happens.

John Nolan said...

'The commitment to celebrate with noble simplicity and with the involvement of the various lay ministries ... the preaching and community involvement ...'

'To reach out to their musical and artistic sensibilities ...'

The first quotation sums up the usual parish Mass. Nothing new there, then. There's no evidence that the liturgical status quo attracts young people (or anyone else, for that matter).

The second quotation is the usual patronizing assumption that young people only relate to and understand a popular and ephemeral 'yoof' culture, in other words guitars at Mass. The same assumption was being made half a century ago - I remember serving a 'youth Mass' in 1968 when I was 17. The other server was a girl, and although she was eminently fanciable, the liturgical experience was distinctly underwhelming.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I doubt that this synod will change anything on the local parish level. It will be the status quo.

I have about another 4 years before I retire from active ministry. Music at Mass has always been a bone of contention and a divisive force in parishes ever since the first folk Mass. Some loved it; others hated it and thus different Masses for different clients happened. It was and is a business model.

Prior the Vatican II and for over a 1000 years the only choices were Low, High and Solemn High with only Gregorian Chant in its simple or more complicated forms. Motets and anthems were allowed according to the ability of the choir and choir director. And of course more complicated settings of the Mass were allowed but only performed by elite choirs capable of such.

I see no movement toward a rationale for chants to sound Catholic or have a Catholic ethos when it comes to style. Is this even possible today with trendiness and fads being the choice for so many parishes today trying to win youth to their Masses?

TJM said...

Father McDonald,

If you take a gander at The New Liturgical Movement blog, you will see that the EF masses are largely celebrated by young, newly ordained priests and attended by folks far younger than you or I. I believe this will be the remnant that survives and rebuilds the Catholic Church amid the rubble of the Vatican Disaster II. Deo Gratias

John Nolan said...

In discussion this weekend with Dr Peter Kwasniewski and Fr John Hunwicke, both learned and scholarly men, I am further confirmed in my apprehension, formed over a number of years, that many of the assumptions of the 20th century Liturgical Movement were quite simply wrong. More recent scholarship has overturned them.

Yet these false premises influenced Vatican II and the entire liturgical reform associated with it. The reaction against it is not just on the part of young priests; most liturgical scholars of repute (some of them advanced in years) are of the same opinion.

The more one reads about liturgy and its development, the less one esteems the Novus Ordo. It can't last, at least not without major revision.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

John, that's what I have been promoting. I continue to insist that the 1962 Missal will ever replace the Novus Ordo. But the Novus Ordo needs to be more in continuity with it.

This has to happen incrementally and again I say the Ordinariate's Divine Worship, The Missal is the contemporary attempt at this. I don't necessarily mean the Elizabethan English, but the options from the 1962 Missal, such as TPRATFOTA, the Propers restored to include the Offertory antiphonal, the gradual, older form of the Offertory, double genuflections, thrice "Lord, I am not worthy" ad orientem, kneeling for Holy Communion and some aspects of the older Roman Calendar.

To placate those who insist on lay ministries, I think we have to be open to female lectors and altar servers and men and women Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion when needed.

John Nolan said...

Why does one need to placate those who insist on so-called lay ministries? The fact that a lay person (of either sex) reads a lesson is hardly involving the laity - one person reads, the rest listen. As for Extraordinary Ministers, they are rarely needed and in any case lay people handling the sacred species is not the least problem with the NO as commonly performed. It is of a piece with Communion in the hand. Both need to be done away with. As for female servers, this was only agreed (reluctantly) in the 1990s and the best parishes don't employ them.

Unless you move to address genuine abuses like these, talk of reinstating prayers and ritual gestures from the older rite is empty vapouring. What makes the classic Roman Rite authentic is its complete integrity in terms of theology and practice - which includes the use of the Latin language.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

Very well said. We do not need the sanctuary littered with lay people, there are many valuable ministries they can perform which does not include service at the altar. Any practice permitted because of rank disobedience, communion in the paw and altar girls should be suppressed. The Roman Canon should be mandatory on Sundays and major feasts and the other Eucharistic Prayers, if retained at all, should be relegated to the work week. Latin, chant and sacred polphony should be utilized in keeping with Church tradition, and the broadway ditties and other maudlin tunes relegated to non-liturgical occasions.