Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cardinal Cañizares: Summorum Pontificum a High Value For the Church

It is no surprise that the liturgical experiment that began after Vatican II is now being recognized as a failure. The Pope, as well as the Vatican team that he has tasked with liturgical investigation and renewal, all agree unanimously that the Novus Ordo cannot remain as it is today. Hence we see new translations of the liturgy coming forth, and eventually we will see larger changes occurring. It was with Summorum Pontificum that this realization has been brought into the the mind of the ordinary Church, so to speak. Pope Benedict XVI apparently thought that best way to bring about change to the Novus Ordo was to make sure that the Classical Latin Mass was alive and available to as many people as possible. There is a great interview on Rorate Caeli that you need to read. It is an interview with Cardinal Antonio Cañizares (The Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship), who has led the work concerning the liturgy for the Vatican. I wanted to post a couple of things from the Cardinal's statement that caught my eye. After you read through it, you have the feeling we are going to see more changes coming soon. 

 Above image from New Liturgical Movement.

The sad fact is, there are many Catholics today who are still very opposed to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in Latin, and think that the Church wants to continue with liturgy in the same fashion as it has over the past forty years. The mind of the Church however is not with them. Big changes need to come, and indeed they are on the way! The Church is now beginning to define exactly how Vatican II is to be interpreted regarding liturgical renewal. The first go around with the Novus Ordo was not successful, and the Church recognizes that fact. It is now moving to reform and reinstate what was lost from the tradition of the Latin Rite. 

Hopefully this will return the priest to Ad Orientum, as has been the tradition of the Church in all of her documented liturgies throughout the past 1700 or so years. This fact is clearly demonstrated in all the Rites of the Catholic Church. Turning the priest around was definately not an "organic" development. Further, we will see more Latin in the Novus Ordo. In fact it is already happening. Finally, I hope that we will see further changes to the liturgical structure itself. All of these changes seem plausible given the climate of the Church at this time. Pope Benedict XVI seems to be the catalyst for this liturgical renewal. There is one observation that I must make. If we turn the priest back around, use Latin, and change the liturgical structure back to a similar structure before Vatican II, what liturgy do you have? I have to ask myself, why go through all of the trouble of trying to reconstruct the Novus Ordo? Why not just use the Extraordinary Form? Its already in place, and it is already being celebrated in many places now. I am just thinking out loud, enjoy!

Here are some portions of the Cardinal's interveiw that caught my eye. This kind of summarizes the article for you. If you have time you can read the entire article here. 

"In fact, it is. However, I believe that the Motu Proprio has a most important value for its own sake, for the Church and for the liturgy. Although this displeases some - judging by the reactions which have arrived and which continue to arrive - it is only just and necessary to say that the Motu Proprio is not a step back or a return to the past. It is to acknowledge and receive, with simplicity, in all its fullness, the treasures and inheritance of the great Tradition, which has in the liturgy its most genuine and profound expression."

"She cannot abandon the historical inheritance of the ecclesiastical liturgy, or desire to establish everything from anew - as some have pretended - without cutting off fundamental parts of the Church herself. Some understood the Conciliar liturgical reform as a rupture, and not as an organic development of the tradition. In these years after the Council, "change" was almost a magic word; it became necessary to modify that which had been, to the point of forgetting it; everything new; it was necessary to introduce novelty..."

"We cannot forget that the liturgical reform and the years after the Council coincided with a cultural climate intensely marked and dominated by a conception of man as 'creator' that only with difficulty co-exists with a liturgy, which, above all, is the action of God and His priority, "the right" of God, adoration of God and also the tradition of that which we receive and has been given to us one time and for all times. We are not able to create the liturgy ourselves, it is not our work, but the work of God." 

"This conception of man as 'creator' which leads to a secularized vision of everything, where God, often, has no place, this passion for change and the loss of tradition has not yet been overcome." 

"The Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, has a most important value, which everyone ought to appreciate, whose value has not only to do with the liturgy, but the entire Church, of that which it is and the tradition it signifies, without which the Church turns into a human institution always in change. "

"Obviously, the Motu Proprio has to be seen with the reading and interpretation one makes or would make of the Second Vatican Council. When one reads the Council and interprets it with the key of rupture and discontinuity, he understands nothing of the Council and he completely distorts it. "

"The great contribution of the Pope, in my opinion, is that he is bringing us closer to the truth of the liturgy, with a wise pedagogy, introducing us to the genuine 'spirit' of the liturgy (the title of one of his works before becoming Pope). He, before all else, is following a simple educative process which seeks to move toward this 'spirit' or genuine sense of the liturgy, to overcome a reductive vision which is still very entrenched. As Pope, he is the first to put into practice his teachings, so rich and abundant in this area. As his evocative gestures which accompany the celebrations at which he presides, move in this direction. To accept these gestures and these teachings is a duty which we have if we are disposed to live the liturgy in a way corresponding to its very naturalness and if we do not want to lose the treasures and liturgical inheritance of the tradition."

"Of itself, there need not be this opposition, or even less to be seen as suspect or labeled as "pre-conciliar" or, even worse, as "anti-conciliar." The reasons for this are many and diverse. However, at bottom, they are the same which they carry to the reform of the liturgy understood as rupture and not in the horizon of the tradition and the 'hermeneutic of continuity' which reclaims the renewal and true liturgical reform in the key of Vatican II. We cannot forget, further, that in the liturgy one touches that which is most essential to the faith and the Church and, for this reason, every time in history when one has touched something of liturgical tensions, divisions have not been rare." 

1 comment:

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