Monday, July 03, 2006

"Synod on the Eucharist: The Pope Has the Last Word"

Rome, July 3, 2006 (www.chiesa) - "Benedict XVI is writing the concluding document, which will be published this summer. Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith gives this preview: 'A correction is necessary. The liturgy must be won back, in the spirit of the Council.'" Thus reports Sandro Magister.

The concluding document for a synod, Magister says, usually takes the form of an apostolic exhortation, and is written by the pope. But it is the synod itself -- through the elaborative work of a council of 15 bishops and cardinals -- that writes the outline and presents this to the supreme pontiff. And the council of 15 met in Rome recently (in June) for the last time, urged by the Holy Father to move more quickly.

According to Magister, no surprises are expected from the outline presented by the council. Rather, if there are any surprises, they are more likely to come from Benedict XVI himself, whose definite ideas on the liturgy are a matter of public record. Magister suggests that some indications of the directions of the pope's thought may be found in an interview given by the secretary for the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship, archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, on June 25 to the French Catholic newspaper La Croix. In this interview, he criticizes the "many tendencies that have banished from view the authentic meaning of the liturgy"; and contrast to these tendencies "a necessary correction, a reform of the reform. We must return to the liturgy in the spirit of the Council."

The interview, conducted by Isabelle de Gaulmyn, touches on the use of Latin, direction of liturgical prayer, and the missal of Pius V. Here is but one excerpt, in English translation, touching on the question of post-conciliar liturgical reforms. Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith replies:
"I have noticed how much the young priests here love to celebrate the Tridentine rite. It must be clarified that this ritual, following the missal of Pius V, has not been 'outlawed.' Should its use be encouraged even more? That's for the pope to decide. But it is certain that a new generation is seeking a greater orientation toward mystery. This is not a question of form, but of substance. In order to speak of the liturgy, what is necessary is not a scientific or historical-theological spirit alone, but above all an attitude of meditation, prayer, and silence.

Once again, it is not a question of being progressive or conservative, but simply of permitting man to pray, to listen to the voice of the Lord. What happens in the celebration of the Lord's glory is not a merely human reality. If one forgets this mystical aspect, everything gets mixed up and confused. If the liturgy loses its mystical and heavenly dimension, then who is left to help man free himself from his egoism and self-enslavement? The liturgy must be above all a road to freedom, in opening man to the infinite."
The original title of the interview, roughly "The reform of Vatican II never got off the ground," is "La reforme Vatican Il n'a jamais decolle" (I'm sorry, but I don't know how to enter diacritical marks on my 'Blogger' program without getting gibberish for output, unless someone can instruct me how.)

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