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The Spirit of the Liturgy
Una Voce ^ | November 17, 2002 | Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Posted on 11/24/2002 4:55:40 PM PST by ultima ratio

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Contact Excerpt from Cardinal Ratzinger's The Sprit of the Liturgy Rites are not rigidly fenced off from each other. There is exchange and cross-fertilization between them. The clearest example is in the case of the two great focal points of ritual development: Byzantium and Rome. In their present form, most of the Eastern rites are very strongly marked by Byzantine influences. For its part, Rome has increasingly united the different rites of the West in the universal Roman rite. While Byzantium gave a large part of the Slavic world its special form of divine worship, Rome left its liturgical imprint on the Germanic and Latin peoples and on a part of the Slavs.

In the first millennium there was still liturgical exchange between East and West. Then, of course, the rites hardened into their definitive forms, which allowed hardly any cross-fertilization. What is important is that the great forms of rite embrace many cultures. They not only incorporate the diachronic aspect, but also create communion among different cultures and languages. They elude control by any individual, local community, or regional Church. Unspontaneity is of their essence. In these rites I discover that something is approaching me here that I did not produce myself, that I am entering into something greater than myself, which ultimately derives from divine revelation. That is why the Christian East calls the liturgy the "Divine Liturgy", expressing thereby the liturgy's independence from human control.

The West, by contrast, has felt ever more strongly the historical element, which is why Jungmann tried to sum up the Western view in the phrase "the liturgy that has come to be". He wanted to show that this coming-to-be still goes on — as an organic growth, not as a specially contrived production. The liturgy can be compared, therefore, not to a piece of technical equipment, something manufactured, but to a plant, something organic that grows and whose laws of growth determine the possibilities of further development.

In the West there was, of course, another factor. With his Petrine authority, the pope more and more clearly took over responsibility for liturgical legislation, thus providing a juridical authority for the continuing formation of the liturgy. The more vigorously the primacy was displayed, the more the question came up about the extent and limits of this authority, which, of course, as such had never been considered. After the Second Vatican Council, the impression arose that the pope really could do anything in liturgical matters, especially if he were acting on the mandate of an ecumenical council. Eventually, the idea of the givenness of the liturgy, the fact that one cannot do with it what one will, faded from the public consciousness of the West.

In fact, the First Vatican Council had in no way defined the pope as an absolute monarch. On the contrary, it presented him as the guarantor of obedience to the revealed Word. The pope's authority is bound to the Tradition of faith, and that also applies to the liturgy. It is not "manufactured" by the authorities. Even the pope can only be a humble servant of its lawful development and abiding integrity and identity. Here again, as with the questions of icons and sacred music, we come up against the special path trod by the West as opposed to the East. And here again is it true that this special path, which finds space for freedom and historical development, must not be condemned wholesale. However, it would lead to the breaking up of the foundations of Christian identity if the fundamental intuitions of the East, which are the fundamental intuitions of the early Church, were abandoned. The authority of the pope is not unlimited; it is at the service of Sacred Tradition. Still less is any kind of general "freedom" of manufacture, degenerating into spontaneous improvisation, compatible with the essence of faith and liturgy. The greatness of the liturgy depends — we shall have to repeat this frequently — on its unspontaneity (Unbeliebigkeit).

Let us ask the question again: "What does 'rite' mean in the context of Christian liturgy?" The answer is: "It is the expression, that has become form, of ecclesiality and of the Church's identity as a historically transcendent communion of liturgical prayer and action." Rite makes concrete the liturgy's bond with that living subject which is the Church, who for her part is characterized by adherence to the form of faith that has developed in the apostolic Tradition. This bond with the subject that is the Church allows for different patterns of liturgy and includes living development, but it equally excludes spontaneous improvisation. This applies to the individual and the community, to the hierarchy and the laity. Because of the historical character of God's action, the "Divine Liturgy" (as they call it in the East) has been fashioned, in a way similar to Scripture, by human beings and their capacities. But it contains an essential exposition of the biblical legacy that goes beyond the limits of the individual rites, and thus it shares in the authority of the Church's faith in its fundamental form. The authority of the liturgy can certainly be compared to that of the great confessions of faith of the early Church. Like these, it developed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 16:13).


Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy (Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2000), pp. 164-167).

Posted 17 November 2002/sl

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Catholic; Worship
KEYWORDS: easternrites; liturgy; romanrite
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To: ultima ratio

Remember the words of St. Jerome? -- "Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ." That is all #103 of the catechism is saying.
41 posted on 11/25/2002 8:12:32 PM PST by american colleen
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To: ultima ratio
If you reject the authority of Rome you are in schism. How does your stance differ from that of the Greeks?
42 posted on 11/25/2002 8:34:05 PM PST by RobbyS
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To: RobbyS
If by Rome you mean the Pope, I do not reject him--any more than Cardinal Ratzinger does when he points out a pope is not an absolute monarch. I reject only what he has no right to ask of Catholics--that we turn our backs on Tradition and embrace innovations that are wrecking Christ's Church.
43 posted on 11/25/2002 8:47:27 PM PST by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio; drstevej
Please get the edition of the Catechism that was corrected to accurately reflect Catholicism.

My paragraph 105 reads:"God is the author of Sacred Scripture.The divinely revealed realities,which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scripture,have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

'For Holy Mother Church,relying on the faith of the apostolic age,accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and New Testament,whole and entire,with all their parts,on the grounds that,written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,they have God as their author and have been handed on as such,to the Church herself."

I am upset that you,UR, continually use documents that were corrected by the Vatican because the conniving English translators twisted and spun the original version to say what they wanted.Then you contort things to put the very worst light on the Church for which you purport to care.You need to check your motives,if you desire to make others believe you care.

44 posted on 11/25/2002 8:54:17 PM PST by saradippity
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To: ultima ratio
But of course you reject the pope. You treat him like some mere President of the United States.
45 posted on 11/25/2002 8:57:20 PM PST by RobbyS
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To: american colleen
That is not what it says. Read it again. It states unequivocally that the Church has ALWAYS venerated Scripture the way she venerates the Body of Christ. This is false. The Church has always taught that the Body of Christ was an object of our adoration, our worship. This was why in the past the Church had encouraged Holy Hours and Benediction ceremonies and visits to the Blessed Sacrament. Nothing comparable has been the case with Scripture, which, truth to tell, had even been somewhat neglected by Catholics. But there is a huge difference between Christ's being really present on the altar and His being virtually present in Scripture. Modernists blur this distinction. In the Novus Ordo much is made of the "Liturgy of the Word" in which Christ is virtually present, as well as his virtual presence in the assembly. But there is no mention at all of the Real Presence--and everything is done to suppress this belief. Which is why communion is given in the hands and genuflections and kneeling have been reduced or eliminated.
46 posted on 11/25/2002 9:05:23 PM PST by ultima ratio
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To: saradippity
Has Rome also corrected Dei Verbum, chapter VI, paragraph 21? The same passage appears virtually verbatum in the Vatican Council documents. My issue of the Catechism was published by Doubleday and widely disseminated in the book shops in 1995.

Your comment is par for the course these days. Rome spends half its time dreaming up novelties, the other half back-pedaling. It doesn't surprise me my edition has been superceded. There was a lot wrong with the Catechism the first few times around. This is what happens when you depart too far from Tradition.
47 posted on 11/25/2002 9:16:49 PM PST by ultima ratio
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To: RobbyS
You are wrong. I simply don't worship him the way you and others do.
48 posted on 11/25/2002 9:22:46 PM PST by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio
It is true that some try to equate the liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist. But the first is simply preamble to the latter. This is why the earlier use of "This is the World of the Lord" by lectors has been replaced by "The Word of the Lord."and the elevation of the book by the lector prohibited. But why deprecate the Scriptures? When most Christians were Jews, all went to Synagogue to hear the law and the prophets read; then they came to Christian services to hear the Gospels and other Christian messages and to celebrate the Eucharist. All this is still done.
49 posted on 11/25/2002 9:32:14 PM PST by RobbyS
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To: ultima ratio
Actually, no I don't know. Having grown up in the post- Vatican II era, and the NO was implemented before I can remember.

Oddly enough, I went to Mass yesterday at the Cathedral and too much was left out to be comfortable, really. Even the Penitenial Rite was skipped. I thought that was required. There's other things, but it's been a long day.

50 posted on 11/25/2002 9:37:02 PM PST by Desdemona
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To: RobbyS
Look, when did I deprecate Scripture? Is it deprecation to suggest that veneration is not the same thing as worship, or that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity is more deserving of our esteem than even Scripture--that the two are not the same? You seem to do this a lot. Criticism of the papacy becomes rejection of the papacy. Making a distinction between Christ's virtual presence in Scripture and his real presence in the Sacred Host becomes deprecating Scripture. Do you think I'm ignorant of the fact that reading the Gospels derives from the reading of Scripture in the synagogue? What has this got to do with the subject at hand--a passage in the Catechism? Why even bring it up?
51 posted on 11/25/2002 9:42:48 PM PST by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio
There was the first editiion of the Catechism,which you have and the second one,which is the corrected version.There have been no more.

The Church is besieged by enemies on all sides,within and without,and a person with energy,a good knowledge of what the Church is and the ability to express it fairly well,like you,wastes your gifts (ammunition) by shooting at decoys and allies. I can't believe that you don't know what you are doing.

52 posted on 11/25/2002 9:57:21 PM PST by saradippity
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To: ultima ratio
"Criticism" is not what you are doing; you are in effect accusing the pope of heresy; There are substantial difference between the new mass and a Lutheran service, even though a particular priest might enter into it in the same spirit as a Lutheran minister. But Luther himself presented himself to the world for many years as a "critic."and defender of tradition. Unlike later Protestants he really thought he was returning the Church to its Patristic roots.
53 posted on 11/25/2002 10:20:24 PM PST by RobbyS
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To: RobbyS; ultima ratio
***Unlike later Protestants he really thought he was returning the Church to its Patristic roots.***

Luther vs. Eck at Leipzig... Luther insists that he be corrected by Scripture not Patristics.

54 posted on 11/25/2002 10:31:07 PM PST by drstevej
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To: Catholicguy
They have made of a Rite a superstition

And so we are often called as well.

55 posted on 11/25/2002 10:40:17 PM PST by MarMema
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To: RobbyS
You know I've gone over this ground a million times. There is such a thing as material, rather than formal, heresy. I don't presume to judge this Pope's motives or interior state. I'm sure he means well. This much I am certain of: he is no friend of Tradition. My heavens, look at the record.
56 posted on 11/25/2002 10:42:26 PM PST by ultima ratio
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To: RobbyS
What Luther was doing was attacking Tradition. He had much in common with today's modernists. He wanted revolution and he got it.
57 posted on 11/25/2002 10:44:40 PM PST by ultima ratio
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To: RobbyS; ultima ratio
How does your stance differ from that of the Greeks?

Ultima does indeed have all the hallmarks of a good Orthodox Christian, those being love of tradition, resistance to change, deep devotion to the liturgy in and of itself, a sprinkling of contentiousness, a strong desire to defend one's faith at all costs, and a lack of clericalism.

58 posted on 11/25/2002 10:47:35 PM PST by MarMema
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To: saradippity
Of course I know what I'm doing. I'm fighting for the Catholic faith which is being wrecked by powerful forces while Rome stands by and watches.
59 posted on 11/25/2002 10:48:31 PM PST by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio
I submit that Luther thought he was protecting tradition. The line was that the doctrine of indulgences as well as many features of popular Catholicism were medieval corruptions. The Greek line is that anything that is not Greek is a corruption.
60 posted on 11/25/2002 11:21:25 PM PST by RobbyS
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