Friday 21st September 2018

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Getting Our Priorities Right In The Sacred Liturgy

October 19, 2017 Frontpage No Comments

By JAMES MONTI

(Editor’s Note: For four of James Monti’s sources, books from the late sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, the passages quoted are from pages lacking page numbers or folio numbers, so he had to give the “signatures” of the pages instead. This involved some odd-looking designations utilizing colons and parentheses — they may look like typographical errors, but actually they’re not.)

+ + +

As someone who has tended to focus upon the “nuts and bolts” of the development of the Church’s liturgical ceremonies over the centuries, I found I had much to learn from the presentations during the recent three-day annual conference of the Society for Catholic Liturgy in Philadelphia (September 28-30). For in the talks I attended, the focus was largely upon the overriding principles of fitting celebration, genuine renewal, and authentic participation in the sacred liturgy.
Among the presenters was Fr. Cassian Folsom, OSB, founder of the Monastero di San Benedetto in Norcia, Italy. In his plenary address, Fr. Cassian observed that the postconciliar concept of retooling the liturgy to conform it to the alleged “needs of modern man” ought to be reassessed. For is “modern man” so different from his forefathers, he asked, that he really needs a radically new way to worship God?
Indeed, an age that brags of its “modernity” has fallen into the temptation that we all face when we are young, the trap of thinking of death and our eternal destiny as so far off in the distant future that we needn’t concern ourselves much with such things, that what really matters is neither the past nor the future, but rather the here and now.
The quest to seek the things that are above gets replaced with fallacies such as those of liberation theology, which offers a merely secular salvation of earth-bound priorities.
Ironically, for well over a century now, this historical age within which we find ourselves has been called “modern.” But “modernity” is growing so old, so decrepit, that it has become necessary to speak of a new age of “post-modernity,” which was in fact the theme of the presentations at the Philadelphia conference.
Another important observation offered by Fr. Cassian in his address at the conference concerned the problems created by overemphasizing the verbal texts of the liturgy to the derogation of its ceremonial dimension, a stress on what is said during the liturgy to the point of minimizing the importance of its richly symbolic ritual actions.
Closely associated with this issue is that of fidelity to the rubrics, the instructions of the Church that govern the ritual actions of the liturgy. For several decades now, rubrics have been looked upon by some as little more than pharisaic rules that hinder liturgical “creativity” (i.e., reinventing the liturgy every Sunday in order to gratify the celebrant’s ego and entertain the “faith community”).
In this regard the greatest liturgical commentators of our time, most notably Pope Benedict XVI and Robert Cardinal Sarah, have masterfully refuted this anti-rubrical mentality, offered compelling insights as to why the faithful, reverent celebration of the liturgy in conformity to the rubrics matters so much.
There are, in fact, voices from another “Postconciliar Era” that further make the case for faithfully “doing the red” as it is sometimes called, the celebration of the sacred liturgy in loving and unfailing fidelity to the rubrics.
During the years following the Council of Trent, dioceses and religious congregations across Europe and beyond published “local editions” of some of the liturgical books promulgated by the Holy See, editions that carefully followed the Roman prototype but which also included local liturgical rites and customs permitted by the Holy See.
Often in the opening pages of these books can be found a preamble composed by the bishop of the diocese or the compilers of the book expressing the underlying reasons for providing these volumes to the clergy. These introductory remarks go a long way toward explaining the importance of the uniform celebration of the sacred liturgy.
Thus in a 1775 expanded edition of Pope Benedict XIII’s 1725 Memoriale Rituum (a manual of ceremonies for parish churches) issued for the Capuchin Order, we read:
“Now nothing recalls the majesty of God more clearly to the minds of the faithful, and nothing more expressly shows forth the glory paid to God, the honor and worship to be offered to Him, and augmented, and also in like manner the duty of the law fulfilled, and its necessity, than the legitimate and exact practice of the sacred rites in ecclesiastical functions, of those ceremonies which, as we may say with the supreme Pontiff Sixtus V [1585-1590], the Church, instructed by the Holy Spirit, from apostolic tradition, and discipline, actually employs in the administration of the sacraments, the divine offices, and everything of God, and of the veneration of the saints” (Memoriale Rituum sive Caeremoniale pro aliquibus praestantioribus sacris functionibus persolvendis in minoribus Ecclesiis parochialibus, Rome, 1775, preface, p. iii).
The concept expressed in the above text, that the well-ordered celebration of the liturgy through the “exact practice” of its rites gives glory to God, is similarly voiced by Bishop Joseph Benedikt von Rost (+1754), who in the preface to the 1732 edition of the Rituale Romano-Curiense for his own Diocese of Chur, Switzerland, explains:
“…Nothing would advance in like manner the glory of God and the dignity of the Catholic Church in the eyes of men, as the complete observance, the exact conformity, of those things that pertain to the worship owed to God, and a full concord in the rite of worshipping God, in those things especially, which are done in public.”
It is to achieve this end that he is issuing the ritual to his clergy, for he sees as the very “reason” for his episcopal vocation “the glory of the Divine name and the salutary direction of the people” entrusted to him (Rituale Romano-Curiense, Chur, 1732, preface, sig. )(o)2r ).
The underlying reason why order in the liturgy gives glory to God is that order is an aspect of beauty. This understanding of rubrics as imparting beauty to the sacred liturgy is explicitly stated in the introduction to the 1662 Rituale Ratisbonense for the German Diocese of Regensburg. Speaking of the need for “conformity of sacred ceremonies and rites” in divine worship and the administration of the sacraments, the ritual explains:
“By a singular prerogative the Church is compared to the Bride, who enters in clothed as in a gown interwoven with gold; thus she strives to preserve for gracefulness all bodily splendor, that she should indeed wish no blemish to remain in her; whereupon when the Bridegroom Christ Our Savior would have cast His eyes upon her more intensely, greatly gladdened by the beauty of His Bride, He says, ‘Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee’ (Song of Sol. 4:7). Therefore unto this care the supreme pontiffs have diligently applied themselves, lest such splendid ornaments of the Bride, just as almost all things fade with time, are ever able to be obscured” (Agenda seu Rituale Ratisbonense, ad usum Romanum accomodatum, Regensburg, 1662, preface, sig. ):(2r-):(3r ).

The Unity Of The Church

Another major reason given in the post-Trent liturgical books for uniformity in the celebration of the sacred liturgy is that it echoes the unity of the Blessed Trinity, the unity of the Church, and the uniformity of Catholic doctrine. In the preface to the 1625 Pastorale for his Diocese of Freising, Germany, Bishop Veit Adam Gepeckh von Arnsbach (+1651) observes that the Church Triumphant in Heaven exults in “the unity of love-filled joy” and “the unity of the divine essence,” and that the choirs of angels “with one mouth, or better, with one mind, and also one praise all cry out, ‘Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God Sabaoth’ (cf. Isaiah 6:3).” This unity in Heaven, the bishop continues, has its counterpart on Earth:
“Thus the Church Militant on earth rejoices in unity of faith, it is enlarged in a unity of souls, it is preserved in unity of doctrine, made firm in the unity of her head, enriched in a participatory unity of merits, it triumphs in the unity of peoples, it is blessed in the unity of God…this unity can be discerned in two things most clearly, namely in the harmonious preaching of salutary doctrine, and in the similar observation [conformity] of ecclesiastical rites” (Pastorale ad usum Romanum accommodatum canones et ritus ecclesiasticos…in Diocesi Frisingensi, Ingolstadt, 1625, preface, sig. (a)1r-(a)2r ).
When in 1591 the primate of Poland, Archbishop Stanislaw Karnkowski of Gniezno (+1603), promulgated a uniform ritual of rites and ceremonies for his nation, he stressed this same concept of liturgical uniformity as an outward expression of the Church’s unity:
“It is indeed fitting, that those who are bound together in confession of faith unto God, on the solid rock of the one Catholic Church, in only one union of body, these same with that head should concur in the external worship of the true God, and in the souls of these men, in likeness to the holy city of the blessed, in the fixed practice of holy things and in the order of ascribing them, and anointed with the plenitude of heavenly grace, even to the likeness of dew, flowing from it to all sides, they should be daily sustained, and be armed against all the powers of darkness.
“This indeed is the extraordinary ornament and honor of the Catholic Church, this sign of unity and sanctity, this most certain proof: to be sustained and governed by the dominion of the Holy Spirit and the living God, who is the author of unity and concord” (Agenda seu ritus caeremoniarum ecclesiasticarum ad uniformem Ecclesiarum par universas Provincias Regni Poloniae usum, officio Romano conformati, Krakow, 1591, preface, sig. *2v ).
With the five hundredth anniversary of what ultimately proved to be Martin Luther’s declaration of war upon the Church less than two weeks away, we could all use these reminders of why unity in faith and worship is integral to our faith, no matter how much our pluralistic age may revel in its “diversity.”

+ + +

Postscript: Presentations from the September 2017 Society for Sacred Liturgy conference are to be published in forthcoming issues of the liturgical journal Antiphon.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Load More...

Yet another US bishop calls for Youth Synod to be canceled so Church can ‘deal with abuse crisis’

TYLER, Texas, September 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Texas bishop has called for the Youth Synod to be canceled in light of the ongoing scandal regarding the cover-up of episcopal sexual abuse of minors and seminarians. On September 8, Bishop…Continue Reading

ATLANTA ARCHBISHOP WILTON GREGORY INVITES HOMOSEXUALIST FR. JAMES MARTIN TO SPEAK

ATLANTA (ChurchMilitant.com) – Celebrity Jesuit Fr. James Martin is heading to Georgia, courtesy of pro-gay Abp. Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, Georgia. On Friday, Martin announced on Twitter that Abp. Gregory has invited him to speak in October at two Atlanta-area locations.…Continue Reading

Leaked sex abuse report rocks German church, 3,677 victims

September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Two German major media outlets – Der Spiegel and Die Zeit – leaked today the findings of a sexual abuse commission funded by the German Bishops’ Conference and which Cardinal Reinhard Marx had planned to present to the public…Continue Reading

US bishops’ president accused of allowing reported sex abuser access to kids

September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, has been accused of allowing a priest who confessed to sex abuse of a minor to function as a pastor of a parish,…Continue Reading

Cdl. Cupich on abuse crisis: We shouldn’t be ‘distracted’ by this, Church has ‘bigger agenda’

CHICAGO, September 10, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – When challenged about the clergy sexual abuse scandal now facing the Church, Cardinal Blase Cupich told a large gathering of seminarians that the Church’s agenda is “bigger” than the sexual corruption now facing the…Continue Reading

Catholic prelates must speak out, now, as the faithful are attacked by their own shepherds

September 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The following reflection is the result of a couple of days of my reading and thinking about the last five years, but then also about the last fifty years. Trying to get an interview with…Continue Reading

Oklahoma archbishop: I’ve ‘deepest respect’ for Viganó. His claims demand ‘deeper examination’

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley has issued a statement saying he has the “deepest respect” for Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó and his “integrity.” Some on the left have attempted to cast doubt…Continue Reading

One Mad Mom . . . Martin’s Cozy with Proximate Occasions of Sin

Let me say this, I am a mom of a multitude of kids and have spent their lives trying to ensure their safety and well-being.  I have THE biggest stake with what’s been going on in the Church for decades. …Continue Reading

Thousands of Catholic women ask Pope: Did you cover-up for McCarrick, as Viganò claims?

August 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A group of prominent Catholic women have written an open letter to Pope Francis imploring him to provide clarity on the “escalating” sex abuse crisis currently “engulfing” the Church. Expressing anger, betrayal, and heartbreak, the women bluntly…Continue Reading

Ave Maria University president slams Viganò, Cardinal Burke

AVE MARIA, Florida, August 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Citing the “God of Surprises,” the president of a Roman Catholic University once known for its orthodoxy has slammed two faithful prelates for their challenges to the Pope, particularly in regard to…Continue Reading

Pope handpicks US cardinal enmeshed in McCarrick scandal as youth synod delegate

August 28, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis has named Cardinal Joseph Tobin, a prelate who former papal nuncio Archbishop Carlo Viganò has testified owes his rise to power to disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, as a delegate to the October synod on…Continue Reading

U.S. bishop disappointed with Pope’s ‘no comment’ answer on sex-abuse cover-up

MADISON, Wisconsin, August 28, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Robert Morlino vouched for the integrity of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, joining a growing chorus of faithful prelates who have expressed support for the former papal nuncio’s astounding testimony pointing to Pope Francis and other high-ranking…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

US bishops’ silence on meeting with Pope could put their credibility on sex abuse at risk

ROME, September 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Have the jocular images and low-key statements of US Bishops following their meeting with Pope Francis last week set back their attempts to address the grave situation in the Church, especially the handling of sexual abuse cases by bishops? The details that have been revealed of the bishops’ meeting with Francis last Thursday give no indication that they addressed the extent of the McCarrick coverup or the need for…Continue Reading

Cardinal Maradiaga rebukes papal critics: McCarrick abuse scandal ‘of a private order’

September 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The scandal of ex-Cardinal McCarrick’s homosexual abuse of young priests and seminarians and Pope Francis’ alleged cover-up are “of a private order,” and a merely “administrative affair,” according to one of the Pope’s top advisers, Cardinal Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga. He made these remarks in a recent interview in one of the most revealing statements to date on the Viganò testimony. In an interview published on Wednesday evening by Religion Digital, the religious portal…Continue Reading

Dutch Catholic church accused of widespread sexual abuse cover-up

More than half of the Netherlands’ senior clerics were involved in covering up sexual assault of children between 1945 and 2010, a press report claimed on Saturday, further engulfing the Catholic church in a global abuse scandal. Over the course of 65 years, 20 of 39 Dutch cardinals, bishops and their auxiliaries “covered up sexual abuse, allowing the perpetrators to cause many more victims”, the daily NRC reported. “Four abused children and 16 oth

Steve Bannon Drafting Curriculum for Right-Wing Catholic Institute in Italy

(Reuters) – Former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon is helping to craft the curriculum for a leadership course at a right-wing Roman Catholic institute in Italy, stepping up his efforts to influence conservative thinking in the church. Benjamin Harnwell, director of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute based in a mountaintop monastery not far from Rome, told Reuters Bannon had been helping to build up the institute for about half of its eight-year life. Cardinal Raymond…Continue Reading

China, Vatican ‘May Sign Deal’ on Chinese Catholics, Bishops: Taiwan

Beijing and the Vatican are on the verge of an agreement on the status of China’s Catholic Church and the controversial appointment of bishops by the ruling Chinese Communist Party, reports indicate. A report in the Wall Street Journal on Friday cited two people close to negotiations as saying that a deal was very close. In Taipei, Taiwan foreign affairs spokesman Li Hsien-chang said the democratic island’s officials had a similar understanding of the situation.…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Chaplain Tells Medical Workers…. Discovering God’s Will Leads To Love And Joy

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — Although those seeking a direction in life may turn to searching for God’s will, a Phoenix chaplain reminded listeners that another ruler from beyond the Earth also has a plan for their lives, Satan. Fr. Ignatius Mazanowski, FHS, chaplain of the Phoenix Guild of the Catholic Medical Association, explored a…Continue Reading

Solzhenitsyn: Truth Is Light

By DONALD DeMARCO Without the truth we are in the dark, not knowing how to think, judge, act, or live. Please tell us the truth. Please dispel the darkness. Readers of The Wanderer will understand my plea without my needing to divulge names. We do, as Marshall McLuhan explained to us, live in a global…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic . . . Skewed Ideas About Education And Minority Groups

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Is Trump Going Neocon In Syria?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Is President Donald Trump about to intervene militarily in the Syrian civil war? For that is what he and his advisers seem to be signaling. The past week, Trump said of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s campaign to recapture the last stronghold of the rebellion, Idlib province: “If it’s a slaughter, the…Continue Reading

Pro-Lifer… Arizona Governor Names Successor To Fill McCain’s Seat

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — With its own strange brand of politics, Arizona acquired a new U.S. senator who agreed to fill the upper-chamber seat for at least a few months. Huh? With the late John McCain’s health slipping away for more than a year to an aggressive brain cancer, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey had…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. It’s been several years since a Vatican commission was appointed to investigate the legitimacy of the alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Medjugorje. What is the status of that investigation? — M.K., South Carolina. A. In 2014, the commission concluded a four-year study of the Medjugorje phenomenon and sent a report to the Congregation for the Doctrine of…Continue Reading

HLI’s Mission To Mongolia… There Are Setbacks, But The Church Continues

By FR. SHENAN BOQUET (Editor’s Note: Fr. Shenan Boquet is the president of Human Life International. This commentary first appeared September 3 at HLI.org and was reprinted by LifeSiteNews.com. All rights reserved.) + + + “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in…Continue Reading

True Wisdom From Above

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Fifth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Wisdom 2:12, 17-20 James 3:16-4:3 Mark 9:30-37 In the second reading today, St. James tells us that where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. As we look around, we can certainly see an abundance of disorder and foul practices. To eliminate these…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Why Evangelists Need An Interior Life

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Spiritual Handbook for Catholic Evangelists: How to Win Souls Without Losing Your Own, by Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard (Sophia Institute Press, 192 pages, Amazon paperback and Kindle). This is a new version of an old spiritual classic, originally written about a century ago, but still valid for today’s Church, and particularly for those involved in evangelization. The…Continue Reading

The Sacrament Of Confession… Confession Among The Early Christians

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 4 Here are some more testimonies from the Early Christians about the Sacrament of Confession, how they understood the sacrament and how it was administered by the priests to the people when they sinned. Those writers are known in history as the Fathers of the Early Church, the theologians and Bible scholars of the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Servant of God Rozalia Celak

By CAROLE BRESLIN The closer one comes to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the hotter the flame, as many saints have attested. St. Catherine of Siena bore the marks in her heart where the arrow of Christ’s love pierced it. With the flame of the burning love, the Sacred Heart touches those whom He loves in a special way. To…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Our Lady Of Mount Carmel

By CAROLE BRESLIN In northern Israel between the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea, a mountain range stretches inland. This range, although named Mount Carmel, is really a series of mountains stretching inland. The main site of the Mount, the Stella Maris monastery of the Discalced Carmelites, sits on a limestone bluff overlooking the city of Haifa. The view…Continue Reading