Tuesday 18th January 2022

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

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Pro-Life Group Calls for Removing Fauci After He's Caught Funding Aborted Baby Parts - https://t.co/kqxQXGgoG8

LifeNews.com - The Pro-Life News Source

.

LifeNews.com

Load More...

Vatican and USCCB leave transgender policy texts unpublished

While U.S. bishops have made headlines for releasing policies addressing gender identity and pastoral ministry, guidelines on the subject have been drafted but not published by both the U.S. bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s doctrinal office, leaving diocesan bishops to…Continue Reading

Biden says Pope Francis told him to continue receiving communion, amid scrutiny over pro-abortion policies

President Biden said that Pope Francis, during their meeting Friday in Vatican City, told him that he should continue to receive communion, amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic president’s pro-abortion policies.  The president, following the approximately 90-minute-long meeting, a key…Continue Reading

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…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

Catechism

Today . . .

Alice von Hildebrand . . . Catholic Icon . . . Dead at 98

The readers of The Wanderer have been blessed to read the wisdom and the vast understanding of the Catholic faith that Alice Von Hildebrand shared in her columns with the readers of The Wanderer for over four decades. Her contribution to the Church and to the defense of Catholicism is immeasurable. The countless people she touched in her witness to the Catholic faith will not be fully known until the end of time. Her words are even more valuable today as our…Continue Reading

Brazil to have a statue of Jesus larger than Christ the Redeemer

A statue of Christ is being built in Brazil that will be larger than the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue of Rio de Janeiro. The image, which has been under construction since 2019, will be called Cristo Protector and is being erected on the Cerro de las Antenas, a hill near Encantado in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The project was planned to be completed by the end of 20

Vatican orders forced concelebrations, new restrictions on traditional Mass and sacraments

The document released restricts the traditional celebration of the sacraments, hints at a future withdrawal of permission to celebrate the traditional Mass at all , and issues penalties for priests who will not concelebrate.

Top European court rules all EU countries must recognize same-sex parents

(LifeSiteNews) – The top court of the European Union ruled Tuesday that all EU countries must recognize homosexuals and their legal children as family members regardless of national laws on same-sex parenting or homosexual “marriage.” In a ruling that applies to the entire 27-nation bloc, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) in Luxembourg declared that member countries must allow a same-sex couple to move and reside freely with a child legally recognized as their son or daughter…Continue Reading

Court won’t stop Texas abortion ban, but lets clinics sue

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Friday left in place Texas’ ban on most abortions, though it ruled that clinics in the state can sue over the most restrictive abortion law in the nation. The decision, little more than a week after the court signaled it would roll back abortion rights and possibly overturn its landmark Roe v. Wade decision, was greeted with dismay by abortion rights supporters. They said the outcome, by limiting…Continue Reading

COVID Gloom Shadows World

By JOHN J. METZLER As the New Year brings hope and possibility for a global reset and renewal, the tragic reality remains that COVID-19, with all its deadly variants, continues to plague the planet now fully two years after the malady emerged from Wuhan, China. Thus, despite much justified optimism over wider vaccinations, the pandemic…Continue Reading

Voter ID Requirements Make Sense

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY A young man who looks like a teenager walks into a liquor store and pulls a bottle of cheap whiskey off a shelf.He puts it down at the checkout counter and pulls out his wallet.The clerk at the counter looks at him skeptically. “Can I see your ID?” he asks.“Yes,” says…Continue Reading

The Road To Emmaus

By DONALD DeMARCO The road that stretched from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus, as Luke informs us (Luke 24:13-35), was about seven miles (60 estadia). What transpired in the story of the “Road to Emmaus,” however, has a far richer meaning than the route on which two people, and then a third, traveled. It…Continue Reading

Where Does NATO Enlargement End?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Warsaw Pact dissolved, the breakup of the USSR began. But the dissolution did not stop with the 14 Soviet “republics” declaring their independence of Moscow.Decomposition had only just begun.Transnistria broke away from Moldova. South Ossetia and Abkhazia seceded from Georgia. Chechnya broke…Continue Reading

Our Entire System Of “Sexual Liberation” Depends On The Abortion Industry

By JONATHON VAN MAREN (Editor’s Note: Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as in print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator, and others.) + + (LifeSiteNews) — If…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Spirit Of The Lord Is Upon You

FR. ROBERT ALTIER Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Neh. 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-101 Cor. 12:12-30Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21 In the second reading today, St. Paul states: “You are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.” This truth is of great importance to all of us, but we need to look at the Gospel reading to see what God teaches…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Are archaeologists still looking for the original pieces of Christ’s Cross? – J.B., Pennsylvania.A. No, the true Cross was found by St. Helena in Jerusalem in the fourth century, and pieces of this holy relic can now be found in many churches and shrines throughout the world. Helena was sent to Jerusalem by her son, the Roman Emperor Constantine,…Continue Reading

Practicing Catholics: The Moral Connection

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK A Catholic acquaintance recounts having been asked, while being interviewed in preparation for hiring by a particular agency concerned with national security, “Have you slept with your friend’s girlfriend or wife?” His impulse was to answer, “No, I’m Catholic,” but only yes or no answers were allowed.That reminded me of an occasion in the Army…Continue Reading

From The Christmas Cycle… An Overlooked But Powerful Reading

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Pope posted this commentary on January 4, 2022 and it is reprinted here with permission. His website is msgrpope.com.) + + There is a Scripture reading proclaimed at the Christmas Liturgy that usually gets overlooked. And yet it should elicit considerable reflection since it is proclaimed at the Christmas Midnight Mass, one of…Continue Reading

Our Lord Gave Himself Entirely

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Isaiah 62:1-51 Cor. 12:4-11John 2:1-11 In calling Israel into a covenant relationship with Himself, God took His Chosen People into a relationship that is akin to a marriage. This marital relationship is mentioned many times in the Old Testament. Often it is because Israel was like an unfaithful…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Vincent Mary Pallotti (1795-1850)

By DEB PIROCH He lived during a different era . . . the same as the Curé of Ars. He attended a special Jesuit high school, the Collegio Romano where St. Aloysius Gonzaga had been schooled. And like his fellow alumnus, he came from a large family and was called early to religious life.One of ten, as a child Vincent…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… The Blessed Carmelites Of Compiègne

By DEB PIROCH There are those who make the capital error of equating France’s French Revolution with the American one. Bastille Day may have liberated the people from autocracy, but beyond that, the Revolution was vile. While phrases like “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity” were bantered about, it was actually only one motto used and it really had nothing whatsoever to…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)