Matters Liturgical: July 2007 Archives

The Holy Fathers Benedict

| | Comments (1)

dec8thprayingohyourbeautifulfa.jpg

Benedict XVI: Blessed by Name and by Grace

To shepherd His Church at the beginning of this new millennium, God has given us a Pope blessed by name — Benedictus — and by grace. Pope Benedict XVI has a Benedictine world view. The Holy Father reads life through the lens of the Rule of Saint Benedict. The wisdom of the Holy Rule permeates Pope Benedict XVI. One might say that the style of his pontificate is abbatial; he is Father, Doctor, and Pontiff. His priorities are very much those of his great Benedictine predecessor, Pope Saint Gregory the Great.

Benedictine Zeal for the Work of God

In his Apostolic Letter, Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict XVI reveals his benedictine soul, and alludes to the role of Saint Gregory the Great, and to the mission of Benedictine monks and nuns in the organic development and promotion of the sacred liturgy. He writes:

Up to our own times, it has been the constant concern of supreme pontiffs to ensure that the Church of Christ offers a worthy ritual to the Divine Majesty, 'to the praise and glory of His name,' and 'to the benefit of all His Holy Church.'

Note the three points of the Holy Father’s opening statement:

— the offering of a worthy ritual to the Divine Majesty
— the primacy of praise and doxology
— the affirmation that such worship redounds to the benefit of the whole Church of Christ

Usages Universally Accepted

Since time immemorial it has been necessary - as it is also for the future - to maintain the principle according to which 'each particular Church must concur with the universal Church, not only as regards the doctrine of the faith and the sacramental signs, but also as regards the usages universally accepted by uninterrupted apostolic tradition, which must be observed not only to avoid errors but also to transmit the integrity of the faith, because the Church's law of prayer corresponds to her law of faith.'

Vehicles of Truth and of Light

Pope Benedict XVI teaches that the Church’s law of faith is expressed not only in words and in the signs proper to the seven sacraments, but also in the very way of carrying out the sacred liturgy, in all of the traditional and universally accepted usages accepted by uninterrupted apostolic tradition. He is saying that the traditional ceremonial and rubrical elements of our Catholic liturgy are vehicles of truth and of light. It is, therefore, perilous to the integrity of the faith when these are arbitrarily or lightly changed. Over the past forty years many of these have been abandoned, with dire results for the life of the Church.

The Holy Father Speaks

| | Comments (0)

BENEDETTO_XVI.jpg

From Pope Benedict XVI's Presentation to the Bishops of Summorum Pontificum:

Widen Your Hearts

I now come to the positive reason which motivated my decision to issue this Motu Proprio updating that of 1988. It is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church. Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church's leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden. This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to enable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew. I think of a sentence in the Second Letter to the Corinthians, where Paul writes: "Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return ... widen your hearts also!" (2 Cor 6:11-13). Paul was certainly speaking in another context, but his exhortation can and must touch us too, precisely on this subject. Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.

What Earlier Generations Held As Sacred

There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church's faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place. Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books. The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.

Summorum Pontificum

| | Comments (3)

20060903gregory%202.jpg

I arrived from Ireland yesterday evening, and today I share in the jubilation! The following excerpt from Pope Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum especially gladdened my heart. The italicization of certain passages and headings are my own.

The Constant Concern of Supreme Pontiffs

Up to our own times, it has been the constant concern of supreme pontiffs to ensure that the Church of Christ offers a worthy ritual to the Divine Majesty, 'to the praise and glory of His name,' and 'to the benefit of all His Holy Church.'

Usages Universally Accepted by Uninterrupted Apostolic Tradition

"Since time immemorial it has been necessary - as it is also for the future - to maintain the principle according to which 'each particular Church must concur with the universal Church, not only as regards the doctrine of the faith and the sacramental signs, but also as regards the usages universally accepted by uninterrupted apostolic tradition, which must be observed not only to avoid errors but also to transmit the integrity of the faith, because the Church's law of prayer corresponds to her law of faith.'

Pope Saint Gregory the Great

Among the pontiffs who showed that requisite concern, particularly outstanding is the name of St. Gregory the Great, who made every effort to ensure that the new peoples of Europe received both the Catholic faith and the treasures of worship and culture that had been accumulated by the Romans in preceding centuries. He commanded that the form of the sacred liturgy as celebrated in Rome (concerning both the Sacrifice of Mass and the Divine Office) be conserved.

Monks and Nuns Following the Rule of Saint Benedict

He took great concern to ensure the dissemination of monks and nuns who, following the Rule of St. Benedict, together with the announcement of the Gospel illustrated with their lives the wise provision of their Rule that 'nothing should be placed before the work of God.' In this way the sacred liturgy, celebrated according to the Roman use, enriched not only the faith and piety but also the culture of many peoples.

The Spiritual Life of the Saints

It is known, in fact, that the Latin liturgy of the Church in its various forms, in each century of the Christian era, has been a spur to the spiritual life of many saints, has reinforced many peoples in the virtue of religion and fecundated their piety.

The Outstanding Work of Saint Pius V

Many other Roman pontiffs, in the course of the centuries, showed particular solicitude in ensuring that the sacred liturgy accomplished this task more effectively. Outstanding among them is St. Pius V who, sustained by great pastoral zeal and following the exhortations of the Council of Trent, renewed the entire liturgy of the Church, oversaw the publication of liturgical books amended and 'renewed in accordance with the norms of the Fathers,' and provided them for the use of the Latin Church.

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

Donations for Silverstream Priory

Categories

Archives