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"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

BENEDICTUS MOMENTS

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Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Pope Benedict and the Liturgy By Sandro Magister 4/16/2010 Chies/ also an article by Dom Alcuin Reid on the same subject.

A book published by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in 2001, 'Introduction to the Spirit of the Liturgy' tells us the Holy Father's Liturgical Vision.
Pope Benedict XVI has written extensively on the celebration of the Liturgy and the importance of proper worship.
Pope Benedict XVI has written extensively on the celebration of the Liturgy and the importance of proper worship.
ROMA (CHIESA) - It is beyond doubt that the positions expressed by the current master of pontifical liturgical celebrations faithfully reflect the thought of Benedict XVI. 

To understand this, it is enough to reopen, for example, a book published by Joseph Ratzinger in 2001: "Introduction to the Spirit of the Liturgy." 

In that book, Ratzinger wrote that the solution to the many current liturgical "absurdities" is the not that of changing everything again, because "nothing is more harmful for the liturgy than for everything to be turned constantly upside-down." 

But about the orientation of the liturgy and of the placement of the cross, he showed that he has extremely clear ideas: 

"In ancient times, facing east was closely related to the "sign of the Son of man," to the cross, which announces the return of the Lord. The east was therefore quickly associated with the sign of the cross. Where it is not possible for everyone to face the east together in an evident manner, the cross can serve as the inner east of faith. 

It should be placed at the center of the altar, and should be the spot where the attention of both the priest and the praying community is turned. In this way, we follow the ancient exhortation pronounced at the beginning of the Eucharist: "Conversi ad Dominum," turn to the Lord. 

Let us look together to Him whose death ripped the veil of the temple, to Him who stands before the Father on our behalf and holds us in his arms, to Him who makes of us a new living temple. Among the truly absurd phenomena of our time, I would add the fact that the cross is placed on one side of the altar in order to give the faithful an unobstructed view of the priest. 

But does the cross represent an annoyance during the Eucharist? Is the priest more important than the Lord? This error should be corrected as soon as possible, and this can be done without any new architectural modifications. 

The Lord is the point of reference. He is the rising sun of history. This cross can either be that of the passion, which represents the suffering Jesus who allows his side to be pierced for us, releasing blood and water - the Eucharist and Baptism - or a triumphal cross, which expresses the idea of Jesus' return, and draws attention to this. Because in any case it is He, the one Lord: Christ yesterday, today, and forever." 

Since then, Ratzinger has not changed these judgments by one iota. Nor does he silence them. 

Last March 22, in fact, at the Easter Vigil Mass at the basilica of Saint Peter, Benedict XVI concluded his homily by returning to the exhortation "Conversi ad Dominum": 

"In the early Church there was a custom whereby the bishop or the priest, after the homily, would cry out to the faithful: "Conversi ad Dominum" - turn now towards the Lord. This meant in the first place that they would turn towards the East, towards the rising sun, the sign of Christ returning, whom we go to meet when we celebrate the Eucharist. 

Where this was not possible, for some reason, they would at least turn towards the image of Christ in the apse, or towards the Cross, so as to orient themselves inwardly towards the Lord. Fundamentally, this involved an interior event; conversion, the turning of our soul towards Jesus Christ and thus towards the living God, towards the true light. 

Linked with this, then, was the other exclamation that still today, before the Eucharistic Prayer, is addressed to the community of the faithful: "Sursum corda" - lift up your hearts, high above the tangled web of our concerns, desires, anxieties and thoughtlessness - "Lift up your hearts, your inner selves!" 

In both exclamations we are summoned, as it were, to a renewal of our Baptism: "Conversi ad Dominum" - we must distance ourselves ever anew from taking false paths, onto which we stray so often in our thoughts and actions. We must turn ever anew towards him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We must be converted ever anew, turning with our whole life towards the Lord. 

And ever anew we must allow our hearts to be withdrawn from the force of gravity, which pulls them down, and inwardly we must raise them high: in truth and love. At this hour, let us thank the Lord, because through the power of his word and of the holy Sacraments, he points us in the right direction and draws our heart upwards."

- - -

Chiesa is a wonderful source on all things Catholic in Europe. It is skillfully edited by Sandro Magister. SANDRO MAGISTER was born on the feast of the Guardian Angels in 1943, in the town of Busto Arsizio in the archdiocese of Milan. The following day he was baptized into the Catholic Church. His wife’s name is Anna, and he has two daughters, Sara and Marta. He lives in Rome.

Pope Benedict XVI, as is well known, is a distinguished theologian. What may not be widely appreciated, however, is the centrality of the Liturgy to his life and work. Nor may it be understood why this area, in all likelihood, will be an area of particular concern to him.
The young Joseph Ratzinger grew up in a Germany enjoying the first fruits of the 20th century Liturgical Movement - an attempt to rediscover the spiritual value of the rich liturgical tradition of the Church.
His memoir, Milestones, records the gift of a bi-lingual missal that enabled him to discover this treasure. As for so many, the Liturgical Movement introduced him to the prayer- book of the Church, the missal, and taught him the theological importance of the Liturgy: the manner in which the Church prays determines what she believes.
Thus, as a young priest and theologian, Ratzinger saw in the Liturgy not "an abstract sacramental theology" but "a living network of tradition which had taken concrete form, which cannot be torn apart into little pieces, but has to be seen and experienced as a living whole."
A prominent advisor at Vatican II, Father Ratzinger enthused at the prospect of liturgical reform. This enthusiasm - and that of many others - was grounded in a desire that the whole Church might, through some moderate reforms, come to draw from the riches of liturgical tradition he had known and loved from his youth.
However, recently, he lamented: "Anyone like myself, who was moved by this perception in the time of the Liturgical Movement on the eve of the Second Vatican Council, can only stand, deeply sorrowing, before the ruins of the very things they were concerned for."
Is Benedict XVI a staunch traditionalist who rejects the Council and all its works? Should we expect him to reverse the liturgical reforms of Paul VI?
As I suspect we are about to learn, our new Pope defies such labels. He has, certainly, complained that "after the Council É in the place of the Liturgy as the fruit of organic development came fabricated liturgy" a "banal on-the-spot product." And he has stated categorically in God in the World and elsewhere that proscriptions against the traditional Mass should be lifted. So there is little doubt that we shall see freedom granted to the traditional Latin Mass. But we shall not see its forcible re- imposition, nor the reversal of the reforms of Paul VI.
What we may well experience, however, are the first steps along the path of the "reform of the liturgical reform" about which Cardinal Ratzinger has spoken for many years. Traditionalists need not fear, as the Cardinal made perfectly clear in 2001 that he means by this not the modernising of the traditional Missal (though he is in favour of its enrichment), but getting back to "a faithful ecclesial celebration of the Liturgy" everywhere. What will that mean in practice?

God centred

Concretely, we shall have to wait and see. No doubt much will be discussed in October at the Synod of Bishops on the Holy Eucharist. But there is one thing for certain, the fundamental principle for any liturgical improvements in the pontificate of Benedict XVI will that they emphasise that the Liturgy is indeed sacred, God- centred.
As he so eloquently explained as Cardinal: "If the Liturgy appears first of all as the workshop for our activity, then what is essential is being forgotten: God. For the Liturgy is not about us, but about God. Forgetting about God is the most imminent danger of our age. As against this, the Liturgy should be setting up a sign of God's presence.
"Yet what is happening, if the habit of forgetting about God makes itself at home in the Liturgy itself, and if in the Liturgy we are only thinking of ourselves? In any and every liturgical reform, and every liturgical celebration, the primacy of God should be kept in view first and foremost."
Immediately, of course, we might do well to remember that as Cardinal, Benedict was one of the prime movers behind the April 2004 Instruction which sought to bring about an end to "abuses, even quite grave ones, against the nature of the liturgy and the sacraments as well as the tradition and authority of the Church [that] not infrequently plague liturgical celebrations."
Those who have spoken with the Cardinal about Redemptionis Sacramentum have no doubt that, as Pope, he would require not only its observance by all who prepare and celebrate the Liturgy, but also its enforcement by bishops, for he knows and appreciates the deep suffering caused by those who depart from the norms of the liturgical books.
Beyond insisting on the correct observance of current norms, however, Pope Benedict will encourage us to revisit the value of celebrating Mass with all - celebrant and people - facing East for the Liturgy of the Eucharist, particularly given his endorsement of Fr Michael Lang's recent book Turning Towards the Lord. And he will probably seek a re-evaluation of recent trends in ecclesiastical music and architecture and the other sacred arts, as he has discussed at some length in his books The Feast of Faith and The Spirit of the Liturgy. Without doubt he will insist on accurate vernacular translations.
Commentators have remarked on Benedict XVI's courtesy and humility. These, and his profound love of the Church, mean that he will take seriously the words he wrote not twelve months ago: "The Pope is not an absolute monarch whose will is law, but is the guardian of the authentic Tradition, and thereby the premier guarantor of obedience. He cannot do as he likes, and is thereby able to oppose those people who for their part want to do what has come into their head. His rule is not that of arbitrary power, but that of obedience in faith."
Pope Benedict XVI will not act beyond his competence in respect of the Sacred Liturgy, but he will act, for he is convinced that, as he wrote in 1997, "the true celebration of the Sacred Liturgy is the centre of any renewal of the Church whatever." q
Dom Alcuin Reid is a monk of Farnborough in the UK and author of 'The Organic Development of the Liturgy.'
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 18 No 5 (June 2005), p. 9
There now follow some words of Pope Benedict XVI which show that he believes there need be changes in the extraordinary rite too.  He hopes that the ordinary and extraordinary versions of the Latin Rite will have a mutual influence on each other and, in the process the Truth will out.   A mutual influence on them is one dimension of what he calls the hermeneutic of continuity.   Hence Dom Alcuin Reid was not completely  correct in his estimation about the Pope's views.  (fr) David

As regards the participation of the laity, the Council first of all insists on a general point, that the liturgy is essentially the concern of the whole Body of Christ, Head and members, and for this reason it pertains to the whole Body of the Church "and that consequently it [the liturgy] is destined to be celebrated in community with the active participation of the faithful". And the text specifies, "In liturgical celebrations each person, minister or lay faithful, when fulfilling his role, should carry out only and wholly that which pertains to him by virtue of the nature of the rite and the liturgical norms" (SL 28). "To promote active participation, acclamations by the people are favoured, responses, the chanting of the psalms, antiphons, canticles, also actions or gestures and bodily postures. One should also observe a period of sacred silence at an appropriate time" (SL 30)

These are the directives of the Council; they can provide everybody with material for reflection.
On the other hand, in those places where the Liturgical Movement had created a certain love for the liturgy, where the Movement had anticipated the essential ideas of the Council, such as for example, the prayerful participation of all in the liturgical action, it was those places where there was all the more distress when confronted with a liturgical reform undertaken too hastily and often limited to externals.
This is why it is very important to observe the essential criteria of the Constitution on the Liturgy, which I quoted above, including when one celebrates according to the old Missal. The moment when this liturgy truly touches the faithful with its beauty and its richness, then it will be loved, then it will no longer be irreconcilably opposed to the new Liturgy, providing that these criteria are indeed applied as the Council wished.
If the unity of faith and the oneness of the mystery appear clearly within the two forms of celebration, that can only be a reason for everybody to rejoice and to thank the good Lord. Inasmuch as we all believe, live and act with these intentions, we shall also be able to persuade the bishops that the presence of the old liturgy does not disturb or break the unity of their diocese, but is rather a gift destined to build-up the Body of Christ, of which we are all the servants.


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