Saturday, April 26, 2008

The man who will not go away


The debate on the liturgical reform effected by the Council seems today to have become again of current interest. How do you judge the path accomplished in over forty years?

I followed, from the end of the Vatican II period, the implementation of the liturgical reform for around 22 years, first in the Consilium ad exsequendam constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia, and then in the Congregation for Divine Worship. Afterwards, for over twenty years, I was able to celebrate the liturgy willed by the Council [Comment: This is a big lie. The Novus Ordo that we know today is nothing similar to the vision willed by the Council] in over one hundred nations, on the voyages of Pope Wojtyla. I have thus organized with local experts countless celebrations of the Eucharist, of the Liturgy of the Hours, of the Word of God, of sacraments, Ecumenical celebrations in so many languages and cultures. The liturgy willed by the Council [Comment: There goes the big lie again. Like the Communists, if a lie is repeated often, sooner or later the majority will accept the lie as the truth] was celebrated everywhere with lively participation and enthusiasm. Everyone understood the liturgy as specific to their local Church [Comment: What does this mean? In India, should it be Hinduized, while in Thailand should it be like a Buddhist service?] and, at the same time, as expression of the universal Church. The celebratory praxis has confirmed that the liturgical reform was necessary because it was based upon sound theological principles of perennial value. It is, therefore, an irreversible path.

The Conciliar Fathers and the Roman Pontiff, making the words of Pius XII their own, defined the renewal of the liturgy, in Sacrosanctum Concilium, as a movement of the Holy Spirit in the Church. The meaning of this affirmation is thus part of the tissue of contemporary ecclesial faith. [Comment: Typical modernist-speak. So the Faith must change to adapt to the contemporary world?]

The celebration of the liturgy cannot, therefore, be separated from the life of the Church. And the Church that lives - I quote Paul VI - is the Church of today, not the Church of yesterday or the Church of tomorrow. [Comment: The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, Who is the same, yesterday, today, and forever]

This is the reason for which the Council concerned itself, first of all, with the liturgy. For the Council, the renewal of the Church, Ecumenism, and missionary action depend on the way in which the liturgy is lived. Yet, celebrating the liturgy of the Council [Comment: The Liturgy of the Council is according to the 1962/1965 Missal], as Pope Montini affirmed, is not an easy matter, as it is not easy living the life of the Church. Rather, celebrating the liturgy of the Council [Comment: Again, the Liturgy of the Council is according to the 1962/1965 Missal] is a difficult and delicate matter. It demands direct and methodical interest, it requires patience, perseverance, personal and loving effort, and so much pastoral charity. All this is necessary, however, if we wish that the life of the Church to be renewed, and that all may feel called to salvation. Liturgical pastoral [care] is an always permanent effort. [Comment: You mean permanent change at each priest's whim and fancy?]

Let us, therefore, be guided by the Holy Spirit who inspired the liturgical movement, Paul VI, and the Conciliar Fathers, and let us continue to bring forward, with renewed effort and enthusiasm, the liturgical ministry in our ecclesial communities.

Many have interpreted "Summorum Pontificum" as a full stop in this path of action [of Conciliar Reform]. What is your though regarding this event?

The text of the motu proprio is to be read in the context in which the Pope placed it. "Today - the Pope says in the accompanying letter addressed to the Bishops - an obligation is imposed upon us: to make every effort to unable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew." For us, Catholics, the Pope is the visible sign of unity in the Church, he is the Bishop of the Church of Rome called to preside over all the other Churches in charity. The Pope was called by the Lord to exercise the Petrine ministry , to make every effort so that the Church shall remain whole. He has therefore the right and the duty to provide unity to the Church. Who can deny him this duty or this obligation? The Liturgy itself, for those who live it with authenticity, is a school which shapes the very meaning of the Church in the respect of the different competences and ministries and in obedience to the one who presides it.

Finally, it should be remembered that the motu proprio does not intend to introduce modification in the current Roman Missal nor to express a negative judgment on the liturgical reform willed by the Council: the Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the "law of prayer"' the Missal promulgated by Saint Pius V must be considered as the extraordinary expression of the same "law of prayer" . With this new disposition, Benedict XVI does not wish that "the authority of the Council be attacked" or that "the liturgical reform be put in doubt". On the contrary, the Pope's decision has not entailed, up to now, any change in the celebratory praxis of our ecclesial communities [Comment: So what happened to Sacramentum Caritatis (Benedict XVI), Redemptionis Sacramentum (John Paul II), and Memoriale Domini (Paul VI)? Conveniently forgotten, I suppose]. His gesture has been solely in the service of unity. Let us look forward, then, and let us continue with enthusiasm on the path carried out by the Council. [Comment: That would mean we should revert to the the 1962/1965 Missal, right?]

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

On clapping during the Holy Mysteries

“It is not fitting to applaud the servant in the house of his Master.” --Pope St. Pius X

“Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment.” --Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Some observations of the Papal Masses in the USA

I was tempted to watch the Papal Masses available via EWTN after reading many comments on the various blogs that keeps track on this apostolic journey of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States. I will concur with the general observations that Washington D.C. had the better vestments and altar arrangement, while New York had better music, the Solemn Vespers at Washington notwithstanding. That's the good part.

Now to the bad part. I'm sure most would have heard by now how ridiculous the music was at the Nationals Stadium, Washington D.C. Nothing further needs to be said about that. I'll stick to the other two Masses in New York (St Patrick's Cathedral and Yankee Stadium). Forgive me for the rant and often uncharitable comments....but here goes:
  1. What's with the ugly chasubles and mitres in New York? Didn't we hear about Msgr. Marini bringing along worthy vestments from the Vatican?
  2. Is this a pop concert? What's with the clapping and wolf-whistling inside the House of God? Probably many don't believe that anymore, rather they think a church is nothing more than a community hall where everyone gathers together to celebrate, eat, drink, and be merry. Dear Holy Father, please don't encourage the people to clap further. Just get on with the Mass. We are to orientate towards Our Lord Jesus Christ, not to ourselves, right?
  3. Cantors, cantors....stop drawing attention to yourselves by singing at a faster pace compared to the congregation. And what's with the outstretched arms? It's the organist's job to prompt the congregation to sing, not the cantor! Come to think of it, the organist(s) did a great job, but the cantors were out of sync.
  4. Please spare us this Novus Ordo monstrosity called the Responsorial Psalm. Use the Graduale instead!
  5. Dear deacons, the gospel sung would be nicer if you had sung it properly according to the right tone. A sung gospel is supposed to be smooth-flowing, not broken into bits and pieces.
  6. Horror of horrors, the sacrilege of communion in the hand continues. But I suppose this is already a 'norm' in the Novus Ordo, just like having women as lectors. So I guess you would have been 'numbed' to this outrage if you frequent the Novus Ordo. This reminds me of the frog in the pot of water being heated slowly. Hmmm....
  7. And of course, last but not least, with sadness we hear about "pro-choice" politicians (read that as PUBLIC sinners) openly defying the Pope and the Church regarding the reception of Holy Communion. Refusing to be confrontational, the bishops, priests and deacons who distributed communion to them are equally responsible for this blasphemy and horrible sacrilege against the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. And all this happening at Papal Masses. Kyrie eleison!
It was a great opportunity lost for Pope Benedict to show by example his vision for reforming the Novus Ordo, be it through the celebration of a Latin Novus Ordo, or (wishful thinking) even a Traditional Latin Mass. Most American neo-conservatives might be gushing over the inclusion of some chant and sacred polyphony. To me however, nothing major really changed from the days of Pope John Paul II's mega Masses in stadiums. How sad.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ad multos annos

Happy third anniversary on Your Holiness' accession to the Sacred Throne of St. Peter. May Your Holiness' reign be glorious!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fifth Sunday after Easter

For April 27, 2008 which is the Fifth Sunday after Easter, we are going to sing:
  1. Procession: Rejoice, O Mary
  2. Vidi aquam
  3. Introit: Vocem iucunditatis
  4. Kyrie I
  5. Gloria I
  6. Alleluia: Surrexit Christus et illuxit
  7. Alleluia: Exivi a Patre
  8. Credo III
  9. Offertory: Benedicite, gentes
  10. Offertory hymn: Regina Caeli, Jubila
  11. Sanctus I
  12. Agnus Dei I
  13. Communion hymn: O Bone Jesu (M.A. Ingegneri, attr. to G.P. da Palestrina)
  14. Communion: Cantate Domino
  15. Recession: At The Lamb's High Feast (AH#411)
Click on the links to hear samples where available.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

On Reverent Celebration

Many people, too, concerned about these issues, will ask: Isn't it still possible to celebrate the new liturgy of Pope Paul VI worthily and reverently?. Naturally it is possible, but the very fact that "it is possible" is the weightiest argument against the new liturgy. It has been said that a monarchy's death knell sounds once it becomes necessary for a monarch to be competent: this is because the monarch, in the old sense, is legitimated by his birth, not his talent. This observation is even truer in the liturgy: liturgy's death knell is sounded once it requires a holy and good priest to perform it. The faithful must never regard the liturgy as something that the priest does by his own efforts. It is not something that happens by good fortune or as the result of a personal charism or merit. While the liturgy is going on, time is suspended: liturgical time is different from the time that elapses outside the church's walls. It is Golgotha time, the time of the hapax, the unique and sole Sacrifice; it is a time that contains all times and none. How can a man be made to see that he is leaving the present time behind if the space he enters is totally dominated by the presence of one particular individual? How wise the old liturgy was when it prescribed that the congregation should not see the priest's face - his distractedness or coldness or (even more importantly) his devotion and emotion.

- Martin Mosebach, The Heresy of Formlessness, Ignatius Press 2003

h/t to Daniel Mitsui