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Q: Turning to liturgy and reform. There have been many debates recently about liturgy, particularly the Eucharist. Why, in your view, does something that should unite us continue to be so contentious?
There have been opinions expressed about particular concerns. For example, very shortly after the chalice was withdrawn from Holy Communion for everybody who attended Mass, there was a controversy over that, but there's never been a controversy about the liturgy in the way that we're experiencing it today, partly because there has never before been two versions of the Roman Missal –the Roman Missal from 1962, and then the Roman Missal from 1970, which was produced with the full force of the Second Vatican Council behind it and promulgated by Pope Saint Paul VI.
It's a tragedy that there is this controversy today, the so-called ‘battles’ over liturgy, because the Eucharist is, by its nature, the sacrament that unites the entire church.
And as the Holy Father has pointed out in his Traditionis custodes, there is one liturgical law which assists us in our belief in transmitting the Church's doctrine. So, the reform of the liturgy is really a very important matter today and also not something to be taken as an option.
The But one of the problems, challenges, of our age is the growth in individualism and in relativism, that ‘I prefer this.’ Well, the celebration of the Mass is not something to be a matter of personal choice. We celebrate as a community, as the entire Church and the Church throughout the centuries, as always regulated the form of liturgy that it has come to believe is more pertinent for a particular age.
Father [Jozef Andreas] Jungmann, an Austrian Jesuit who only died at the beginning of this century, was someone who, in his studies, showed how over the centuries the Mass has been changed in this way in order to fit the needs of the day. And the resistance to this is quite a serious matter, which the Pope has pointed out in his document on the liturgy, Traditionis custodes.