Skip to comments.Church Awaits Word on Liturgical Reform
Posted on 09/14/2009 1:36:31 PM PDT by NYer
The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has declined to comment on reports that the Vatican is considering a reform of the reform of the liturgy, but a formal statement on the matter is expected soon.
An official in that department told the Register Sept. 8 that everything is under study and is progressing but added that he could say no more until Cardinal Antonio Llovera Cañizares, prefect of the congregation, or the Holy See Press Office, issued an official statement.
On Aug. 22, the reliable Vatican watcher Andrea Tornielli reported that cardinals and bishops of the congregation voted almost unanimously at their plenary meeting in March in favor of 30 proposals aimed at increasing reverence in the liturgy. He said these included a greater sacrality of the rite, the recovery of the sense of Eucharistic worship, the recovery of the Latin language in the celebration, and the remaking of the introductory parts of the Missal in order to put a stop to abuses, wild experimentations and inappropriate creativity.
Tornielli also wrote that the bishops had reaffirmed the importance of receiving Communion on the tongue rather than the hand, and that Cardinal Cañizares was studying the possibility of recovering the practice of celebrating Mass with the priest facing ad orientem (literally to the east; i.e. in the same direction as the people).
However, there are conflicting reports over whether these last two proposals were included in the propositions that Tornielli reported were delivered to Pope Benedict XVI on April 4.
The deputy director of the Holy See Press Office, Passionist Father Ciro Benedettini, played down the report, saying at the end of August there were no institutional proposals in existence regarding a modification of the liturgical books currently in use.
However, in an Aug. 29 blog post, Tornielli stood by his story, saying that a period of study had begun on what will probably amount to long-term reform after plenty of consultation. He said he did not mention institutional proposals regarding a modification of the liturgical books currently in use but rather referred to more precise and rigorous indications regarding the manner of celebration with the existing books and in some cases those just published.
Clarity on this issue has been difficult to obtain on this story, partly because of the absence of senior officials most notably Cardinal Cañizares who have been on vacation. The Spanish cardinal was expected to return to Rome in late September. Also, the congregations secretary, American Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, has only recently been appointed and was not yet willing to comment on the cardinals behalf.
Were waiting for the cardinal to return at the end of the month, the Vatican departments official said. Then there will be a statement from the press office or the cardinal himself.
Its not clear when the Vatican will issue that statement, and it may be a long while coming; there had been no communiqué when the Register went to press.
Cardinal Cañizares, who is affectionately nicknamed the little Ratzinger because his views closely coincide with those of the Holy Father, is known to want to move forward decisively on retrieving a truer interpretation of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the liturgical constitution of the Second Vatican Council.
In a recent interview with the Italian monthly journal 30 Days, the cardinal said: At times, change was for the mere sake of changing from a past perceived as negative and outdated. Sometimes the reform was regarded as a break and not as an organic development of Tradition.
The Pope has long held this view, which he made known when he was cardinal. On the subject of the priest celebrating Mass facing the people, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote in his book The Spirit of the Liturgy, published in 2000, that the council said nothing about turning to the people.
Todays celebration versus populum (facing the people), he wrote, is based on a misunderstanding of the significance of St. Peters basilica (which changed the orientation of the altar because it faced west instead of east) and an inaccurate interpretation of the Last Supper.
Reservations about Communion in the hand and celebration versus populum were also voiced by Cardinal Cañizares predecessor, Cardinal Francis Arinze, most notably in an interview with the Register in March 2007. However, he thought it unwise at the time for his department to enforce changes.
The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, sought to dampen speculation of possible reform of the reform in an interview with the Vatican newspaper LOsservatore Romano Aug. 27.
He said the Pope does not intend to roll back the conciliar reforms, and he encouraged observers to instead focus on the actual actions the Pope has undertaken since his election.
Cardinal Bertone said the Pope does have a plan for reform of the Church, but its one that focuses on personal holiness and fundamental questions of faith.
He also stressed the Popes main priority in his messages is to restore a sense of awareness of God in the world and in society.
If this is true, we can expect to see a resurgence in older Catholics returning home.
I don’t know abot that. VII is over 40 years old. Most of the older Catholics who objected to the reforms of the Council are dead now. The grey hairs in my church are mostly the trouble makers who want liturgical dance, women priests and deacons and married priests and deacons.
See what happens to dim people when they multi task? I meant married priests. Of course we already enjoy the services of a marriage eligible permanent diaconate.
I do hope they will mandate ad orientem, at least for the Eucharistic prayer. It takes the focus off the priest’s personality and makes him less of a showman. And what a great image of the shepherd leading his flock toward God. Our priest did ad orientem last Holy Thursday and it was great. With the microphone, you could hear the words fine, so there is no problem about that. The problem will of course be the kicking and gnashing of teeth of Spirit of Vatican II types if anything is mandated.
Too bad for them.
Did you mean to say a permanent diaconate open to married men? An unmarried deacon is not free to marry, is he?
ping the Papist
and bite my tongue
Unmarried Deacons may not marry.
Married men may be ordained Deacons.
Is there any point in receiving on the tongue from a lay extraordinary eucharistic minister?
Thank you for the clarification.
“a period of study had begun on what will probably amount to long-term reform after plenty of consultation.”
IOW, not in our lifetimes.
Yes indeed (and kneeling if possible). It would be better to receive from an ordained minister, but small progress is better than no progress at all. I realize no person of genuine piety wishes to make a scene when he receives, but every decision to receive kneeling and on the tongue is a small act of witness of reverence to the Blessed Sacrament, and a reminder to the faithful of the Church's universal norms.
I'll disclose that just this past weekend while serving Mass for our new Archbishop, I knelt in the sanctuary to receive from his hands. Some in the congregation may have thought that silly man was just showing off and pretending to be more holy than everyone else. OTOH, others may have thought "I didn't know you could still do that. Maybe I should too."
Isn't receiving on the tongue related to the consecration (or should that be anointing?) of the priest's hands?
So I guess it would fall in the "one wrong is better than two wrongs" category?
One other comment to you, my newbie friend: despite very common use of the term, there’s no such thing as a lay eucharistic minister. Lay people who assist in distribution of Holy Communion are called “extraordinary [or lay] ministers of Holy Communion.” The critical difference is that a true minister of the Eucharist exercises his ministry in all aspects of the Eucharist — iow, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass — not just in the distribution of Holy Communion. Priests offer the Sacrifice, sometimes assisted by deacons. So they are the ordinary ministers of the Eucharist. In the absence of a priest or deacon, no lay person can/may perform these offices — ergo, no such thing as an “extraordinary” minister of the Eucharist.
Thanks for hearing out this somewhat tedious explanation. Welcome aboard Peter’s boat.
Sort of. The priest exercises his ministry not in his own name but in the name of Jesus, who's the true High Priest. In this capacity we say he's "alter Christus" (another Christ). I'm sure you understand this has nothing to do with the man's personal merits or faults; he is the consecrated instrument of the Lord who works through him. The annointing of his hands is one of the external signs of this consecration: when we receive from his hands we're making more visible the sign that we're really receiving from Jesus Himself.
So I guess it would fall in the "one wrong is better than two wrongs" category?
Thank you for offering it. I was aware that there was a "proper" term but didn't take the time to track it down as, regardless of what they should be called, I avoid them and so don't give the whole thing much thought. There was a discussion on this subject a while back and I had meant to ask the question then, but didn't do so.
Our priest claims not to like them but uses them only to avoid the public outcry that would ensue were an additional 20 minutes to be added on to the mass to accommodate their elimination. I think it's 5 minutes tops and he just wants to avoid the controversy that would ensue, even though our parish is a pretty by-the-book one, liturgically speaking.
I've discovered my heart was always there - my head just didn't know it.