Adoremus Bulletin For the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy
News & Views Pope Francis Issues Exhortation on Life of Holiness
Vol. XXIII, No. 6
Heaven in a Grain of Incense: The Elements of Style in the Sacred Liturgy
A Centenary of Guardini’s The Spirit of the Liturgy—Part III
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VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News)—Pope Francis released an apostolic exhortation in which he aims to “repropose” the universal call to holiness—which he says is the mission of life for every person. Published April 9, Gaudete et exsultate, “Rejoice and be glad,” is Francis’s third apostolic exhortation. It is subtitled “On the call to holiness in the contemporary world.” The 44-page exhortation explains that holiness is the mission of every Christian, and gives practical advice for living out the call to holiness in ordinary, daily life, encouraging the practice of the Beatitudes and performing works of mercy. The Pope highlighted several qualities he finds especially important for living holiness in today’s culture, including: perseverance, patience, humility, joy, a sense of humor, boldness, and passion. Some may be asked, through God’s grace, for grand gestures of holiness—as can be seen in the lives of many of the saints, Francis said— but many people are called to live the mission of holiness in a more ordinary way, and in the context of their vocation. The Pope offered several practical recommendations for living out these “small gestures.” In addition to the frequent reception of the sacraments and attendance at Mass, he said that in the Beatitudes Jesus explains “with great simplicity what it means to be holy.” Please see HOLINESS on next page
AB/Wikimedia, Dante and His Poem, by Domenico di Michelino (1417–1491)
By Hannah Brockhaus
Dante’s Divine Comedy, along with St. Francis’s mendicants and St. Benedict’s Rule, have style—but not the type of style that the liturgy has and must have, according to Guardini.
By Michon M. Matthiesen Editor’s note: This examination of Chapter Three of Romano Guardini’s The Spirit of the Liturgy is the third in a series of seven essays marking the centenary of Guardini’s book.
heologian David Tracy once told a lecture hall filled with Masters students a ‘parable’ about the difference between the workings of a German mind and those of an American one. He said that when his German theologian friends arrive at an airport in the United States, they place their luggage and briefcases neatly and orderly in the trunk of the automobile—be it a taxi cab or rental
Adoremus Bulletin MAY 2018
car. Whereas, he noted, when travelling with his American colleagues, they simply toss their valises into the trunk without a thought to symmetry, balance, or the careful fit of the space available before them. This image returned to my mind while preparing to write on the third chapter (“The Style of the Liturgy”) of Guardini’s The Spirit of the Liturgy. Guardini’s liturgico-spiritual classic is so neatly organized and arranged that a single piece of it depends for full comprehension on contiguous parts, as well as on the whole frame. Moreover, this particular chapter on ‘style’ exemplifies the predilection of his German-trained, if Italian-born, soul for distinctive order and fruitful
tension (suitcases carefully arranged in a trunk to remain fixed by their very tensive contiguity). In chapter one, Guardini orders the proper balance in liturgical prayer between thought and emotion, and between nature and civilization. Chapter two reveals the delicate polarity between the individual and the community in the liturgy. In chapter three, while explicating the style of the liturgy, Guardini draws attention to the inherent tension in the liturgy between individual expression and the universal, between historical time and the eternal, and between the warm ebullience of private devotions and the reserved style of the Church’s public prayer. Please see GUARDINI on page 4
Liturgy with Style and Grace
From Devotion to Liturgy and Back
Romano Guardini’s The Spirit of the Liturgy has a narrow view of style, but one that makes it universally excellent and accessible, says Dr. Michon Matthiesen..........................1
Liturgy, not Magic
Father Jerry Pokorsky says that souls can reasonably expect to see the most remarkable supernatural realities.......................................3
Sacraments of Mercy
Theologian Owen Vyner shares the Father’s merciful vision of sacraments with us prodigals...........................................................6
Don’t Doubt, but Believe
God doubles down on the miraculous nature of the Eucharist just in time to celebrate Corpus Christi. ...............................................8
Some six-hundred years before the Second Vatican Council taught that devotions should be derived from and lead to the liturgy, the faithful of York, England lived the prayerful spirit of the liturgy in their playful York, says Dr. Marcel Brown ...................................9
Newlyweds have set their lives on a new course—heaven. Joanna Bogle sees the marriage rite as key to keeping couples planning to enter into the Catholic sacrament of marriage on course to the eternal Wedding Feast of the Lamb. ........................12
News & Views................................................... 2 The Rite Questions......................................... 10 Donors & Memorials..................................... 11
2 Continued from HOLINESS, page 1 He also said that a way to practice holiness is through the works of mercy, though he warned that to think good works can be separated from a personal relationship with God and openness to grace is to make Christianity into “a sort of NGO.” The saints, on the other hand, show us that “mental prayer, the love of God and the reading of the Gospel” in no way detract from “passionate and effective commitment to their neighbors.” “Those who choose to remain neutral, who are satisfied with little, who renounce the ideal of giving themselves generously to the Lord, will never hold out” against temptation, he stated. “For this spiritual combat, we can count on the powerful weapons that the Lord has given us: faithfilled prayer, meditation on the word of God, the celebration of Mass, Eucharistic adoration, sacramental Reconciliation, works of charity, community life, missionary outreach,” he listed. About the importance of prayer on the path to holiness, the Pope said that though “the Lord speaks to us in a variety of ways, at work, through others and at every moment…, we simply cannot do without the silence of prolonged prayer.” “Naturally, this attitude of listening entails obedience to the Gospel as the ultimate standard, but also to the Magisterium that guards it,” he stated, “as we seek to find in the treasury of the Church whatever is most fruitful for the ‘today’ of salvation.” Boldness and passion in living holiness in today’s culture, he said, are important in order to avoid despondency or mediocrity, which he said can weaken us in the ongoing spiritual battle against evil. In the journey toward holiness, “the cultivation of all that is good, progress in the spiritual life and growth in love are the best counterbalance to evil,” he said, emphasizing that the existence of the devil is not a myth or an abstract idea, but a “personal being that assails us.” Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the United States bishops’ conference, praised the exhortation in a statement released Monday, saying: “In this exhortation, Pope Francis is very clear—he is doing his duty as the Vicar of Christ, by strongly urging each and every Christian to freely, and without any qualifications, acknowledge and be open to what God wants them to be—that is ‘to be holy, as He is holy’ (1 Pet 1:15). The mission entrusted to each of us in the waters of baptism was simple—by God’s grace and power, we are called to become saints.”
Mary, Mother of the Church to be Celebrated Universally The Blessed Virgin Mary is the spiritual mother of all Catholics, and to help the faithful around the world recall this fact in their prayer life, Pope Francis has named a new universal liturgical feast day in our Mother in Heaven’s honor—Mary, Mother of the Church, to be celebrated for the first time this year. According to Devin Watkins in a March 3 report for Vatican News, Pope Francis announced that this newest Marian celebration is being added to the Church’s liturgical year. “Pope Francis has decreed that the ancient devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of Mother of the Church, be inserted into the Roman Calendar,” Watkins writes. “The liturgical celebration, B. Mariæ Virginis, Ecclesiæ Matris, will be celebrated annually as a Memorial on the day after Pentecost.” In the decree, released on March 3, Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal Robert Sarah said “the Pope’s decision took account of the tradition surrounding the devotion to Mary as Mother of the Church,” Watkins writes. “The Holy Father wishes to promote this devotion in order to ‘encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the Church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety.’” In his report, Watkins notes that the decree emphasizes Mary’s “importance in the mystery of Christ,” especially as part of the Church’s liturgical tradition and the writings of the Church fathers,” such as St. Augustine and Pope St. Leo the Great. “Mary is the mother of the members of Christ,” the decree noted, citing St. Augustine, “because with charity she cooperated in the rebirth of the faithful into the Church, while [St. Leo the Great] says that the birth of the Head is also the birth of the body, thus indicating that Mary is at once Mother of Christ, the Son of God, and mother of the members of his Mystical Body, which is the Church.”
Adoremus Bulletin, May 2018
NEWS & VIEWS
The scriptural basis for the title, Watkins writes, is found on Calvary. “Scripture, the decree says, depicts Mary at the foot of the Cross (cf. Jn 19:25).” “There she became the Mother of the Church when she ‘accepted her Son’s testament of love and welcomed all people in the person of the beloved disciple as sons and daughters to be reborn unto life eternal.’” In 1964, Pope Paul VI named Mary as the Mother of the Church, Watkins notes, and in 1975, the Holy Year of Reconciliation, “the Church inserted into the Roman Missal a votive Mass in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. With the present decree, Pope Francis inserts that celebration into the universal Church’s liturgy as a Memorial on a fixed date.” The Congregation for Divine Worship has published the official texts of the liturgy in Latin, Watkins reports, and translations, according to the decree, “are to be prepared and approved by local Bishops’ Conferences before being confirmed by the Congregation.”
Poland Passes Law Allowing Observance of Lord’s Day Early in March, Poland joined a small but growing number of European countries that are curtailing shopping and other commercial activity on the Lord’s Day. On March 11, the Associated Press reported on the new no-shopping law: “A new Polish law banning almost all trade on Sundays has taken effect, with large supermarkets and most other retailers closed for the first time since liberal shopping laws were introduced in the 1990s after communism’s collapse.” According to AP, the law will be introduced in stages. “The new law at first bans trade two Sundays per month, but steps it up to three Sundays in 2019 and finally all Sundays in 2020, except for seven exceptions before the Easter and Christmas holidays.” While a similar law passed in Hungary in 2015 and was quickly repealed, AP reports, “elsewhere in Europe, including Germany and Austria, people have long been accustomed to the day of commercial rest and appreciate the push it gives them to escape the compulsion to shop for quality time with family and friends.” The law was the inspiration of Solidarity, according to the AP report, Poland’s leading trade union. Solidary was formed and led by Catholic labor organizer Lech Walesa, who won the Nobel Prize in 1983 and eventually became Poland’s first president after the fall of the country’s Communist regime. The union played a major role in resisting and eventually breaking Communist control of Poland. “Solidarity…has argued that employees should have the chance to rest and spend time with their families,” AP reports. “It found the support of the conservative and pro-Catholic ruling party, Law and Justice, whose lawmakers passed the legislation. The influential Catholic Church, to which more than 90 percent of Poles belong, has also welcomed the change.”
Summer Retreat at EWTN’s Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament The Avila Institute is hosting a retreat at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, AL, spiritual heart for Catholic television’s most successful broadcasting company, Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). The three day retreat, to be held July 13-15, will feature Cardinal Francis Arinze, Emeritus Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disci-
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Adoremus Bulletin (ISSN 1088-8233) is published six times a year by Adoremus— Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy, in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Adoremus is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation of the State of California. Nonprofit periodicals postage paid at various US mailing offices. Change service requested. Adoremus—Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy was established in June 1995 to promote authentic reform of the Liturgy of the Roman Rite in accordance with the Second Vatican Council’s decree on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium. Adoremus Bulletin is sent on request to members of Adoremus. Suggested donation: $40 per year, US; $45 foreign.
pline of the Sacraments; Father Cassian Folsom, OSB, an Adoremus Bulletin contributor and founder of the Monastery of St. Benedict, Norcia, Italy; Dan Burke, co-founder of the Avila Institute and executive director of National Catholic Register; Anthony Lilles, cofounder of the Avila Institute and academic dean of St. John’s Seminary, Camarillo, CA; Pia de Solenni, noted theologian and chancellor of the Diocese of Orange, CA; John Johnson, associate director of the Avila Institute; and Christopher Carstens, noted author, liturgist, and editor of Adoremus Bulletin. According to organizers, the retreat will focus in particular on “the saving power of liturgy” and its vital role in the life of faith for all Catholics, “and the interior life in our mission to restore, transform, and animate the culture.” An online independent school for Catholic spiritual growth, the Avila Institute offers classes in spiritual education and formation. It is headquartered in Helena, AL, and was founded in 2009. Cost for the event is $500 for the public ($300 for Avila Institute students and student’s immediate family), which covers conference registration and “great food and wine for the whole weekend.” Scholarships are available for clergy and religious. Space is limited to 250 participants. Lodging is provided by private guesthouse accommodation or hotel ($175 for a single room, $100 for a double room). To register or for more information, call 833-7728452 ext. 3, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Spanish Translation of Roman Missal Ready for Use by Pentecost A Spanish translation of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal (Missale Romanum)—Misal Romano, Tercera Edicion — was confirmed for use in the United States by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on July 1, 2016. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Divine Worship has announced that this edition of Misal Romano can be used beginning at Pentecost Sunday, May 20, 2018, and will be the required Spanish edition in this country as of the First Sunday of Advent, December 2, 2018. Look for more information on the Misal Romano in the July issue of Adoremus Bulletin.
St. Cecilia Academy to Offer a Pair of Summer Courses in Sacred Music Sacred Music and Chant will be the principle concerns of a pair of summer courses offered by the St. Cecilia Academy for Pastoral Musicians at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie-Yonkers, NY. Assistant professor and director of sacred music at St. Cecilia’s, Jennifer Donelson will be offering “Principles of Sacred Music” and “Principles of Chant” this year. As a new approach to teaching principles of Church music, each course is a hybrid of online and oncampus instruction. The on-campus component for both classes can be completed in six days. “Principles of Sacred Music” will take place for seven weeks online (June 4-July 22) and two days on campus (July 23-24), while “Principles of Chant” will take place entirely on campus July 25-28. Tuition for the courses is $1500 for three credits or $500 to audit. First-time students and parish musicians are offered a 50-percent discount on either credits or audit rate. Room ($25 a night) and board (meals a la carte) are also available. To register or for more information, contact Donna Eschenauer at Donna. Eschenauer@archny.org.
EDITOR - PUBLISHER: Christopher Carstens MANAGING EDITOR: Joseph O’Brien GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Danelle Bjornson OFFICE MANAGER: Elizabeth Gallagher PHONE: 608.521.0385 WEBSITE: www.adoremus.org MEMBERSHIP REQUESTS & CHANGE OF ADDRESS: email@example.com LETTERS TO THE EDITOR EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE P.O. Box 385 The Rev. Jerry Pokorsky ✝ La Crosse, WI 54602-0385 Helen Hull Hitchcock The Rev. Joseph Fessio, SJ firstname.lastname@example.org Contents copyright © 2018 by ADOREMUS. All rights reserved.
Adoremus Bulletin, May 2018
By Christopher Carstens, Editor
ope Francis’s recent exhortation, Guadete et Exsultate, “Rejoice and be Glad,” reproposes “the call to holiness in a practical way for our own time, with all its risks, challenges and opportunities. For the Lord has chosen each one of us ‘to be holy and blameless before him in love’ (Ephesians 1:4)” (2). As the Holy Father says himself, the letter is not meant to be a treatise or discussion on the methods of acquiring holiness (ibid.), a review of “the means of sanctification already known to us,” such as the sacraments (110). Still, reproposing holiness without reproposing the liturgy and sacraments is no easy task. I am especially mindful of this relationship between liturgy and holiness today as two of my own children, Helen and Ingrid, will soon be Confirmed and receive first Holy Communion, respectively. And to what end? Holiness. Sanctification. Divinization. Pope St. Pius X saw the active participation in the sacred liturgy as a source of “true Christian spirit” which should “flourish in every respect and be preserved by all the faithful” (Tra le Sollecitudini). The Second Vatican Council, sixty years after Pope St. Pius X penned these moving words, would incorporate and elaborate upon the liturgy as the source of holiness: “The liturgy in its turn moves the faithful, filled with ‘the paschal sacraments,’ to be ‘one in holiness…’. From
the liturgy, therefore, and especially from the Eucharist, as from a font, grace is poured forth upon us; and the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God, to which all other activities of the Church are directed as toward their end, is achieved in the most efficacious possible way” (SC, 10). Pope St. Pius X made the recovery of the “liturgical spirit” the guiding principal of his papacy. Desiring “to restore all things in Christ” (Instaurare Omnia in Christo), his papal motto, this Pope of the Eucharist encouraged and legislated two pastoral changes. First, in 1905, Pope Pius X desired that the faithful “be invited to the sacred banquet as often as possible, even daily, and should benefit by its most abundant fruits” (Sacra Tridentina). His promotion of frequent communion
“From the liturgy, grace is poured forth upon us, and the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God is achieved in the most efficacious possible way.” responded to the errors of the age committed by those latter-day Jansenists who “contended that the Most Holy Eucharist is a reward rather than a rem-
Rejoice and be Glad, for the Liturgy is Our Fount of Holiness
“[W]hen all is said and done,” Pope Francis says, quoting the French writer Léon Bloy (d.1917), “the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint.” Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati knew great joy in life: “To live without faith,” he said, “without a heritage to defend, without battling constantly for truth, is not to live but to ‘get along’; we must never just ‘get along.’”
edy for human frailty” (see 1910 decree, Quam Singulari). It is true that each of us is “not worthy” that Jesus should “come under my roof ”—as we profess before each Eucharistic reception; but it is precisely because we are sinful that we seek the source of sanctity—and the true Christian spirit. As Pius X’s decree
recounts, “The holy Fathers and writers of the Church testify that this practice [of frequent, worthy communion] was continued into later ages and not without great increase of holiness and perfection” (1905 decree Sacra Tridentina). In Pius X’s second pastoral action regarding the Eucharist, only five years later, he changed the age of a child’s first Holy Communion from age 12 or 14 to “the age of discretion,” that is, about age seven. His purpose for the move was the same as his promotion of regular communion for adults: holiness. As his decree says, “in order to… bring about that children even from their tender years may be united to Jesus Christ, may live His life, and obtain protection from all danger of corruption,” from the age of discretion “begins the obligation of fulfilling the precept of both Confession and Communion” (1910 decree, Quam Singulari). The fount of holiness is the open side—the open heart—of Jesus, and it is in the liturgy and sacraments, especially the Eucharist, where we drink from this wellspring. Pope Francis recalls that the Mass and Eucharistic adoration, among other traditional practices, are “powerful weapons” on “our path towards holiness” (Gaudium et Exsultate, 162). May his letter’s recent insights, together with the liturgy and sacraments, lead to a “renewal of all things in Christ” and through Christ to the sanctification of us all.
False Magic and the True Magisterium: The Authority of Sacred Liturgy
It Never Gets Old: Fruitful Repetition versus Redundant Reductionism
By Father Jerry J. Pokorsky
By Jeremy Priest
any people equate faith with superstition. For many, accepting Church teaching is like believing in magic, flying saucers, or voodoo. But in so doing, they neglect the crucial role that reason plays in our faith. So they invent an alternative narrative using their own dogmas on the meaning of life. For example, life happens. Then we die. And in between the best we can hope for is pleasure and material success. But is it reasonable to rule out the existence of God, his self-revelation, and an afterlife? Is life random and unreasonable, promising a future of nothingness and despair? To be fair, we must admit Catholics at times, through a kind of liturgical sloth, treat the faith like a superstition, devoid of reason. Unthinkingly we can easily project a belief that our transformation in Christ results, for instance, from a kind of mechanical Mass attendance. As long as we arrive by the time of the Gospel and leave after the reception of Communion, we’ve punched the ticket and earned God’s favor—like magic! Of course, ritual sustains us when our faith is weak and there is value in forcing ourselves to go through the motions when we’re sluggish. But ritual without the exertion of reason cannot sustain a lifetime of faith. Without repeated attempts to overcome a dullness that can come with inattention to the content of ritual prayers, our spiritual lives can easily wither and cease bearing fruit. It might be surprising to realize that hyperactivity is another symptom of liturgical sloth. To ease our boredom with ritual, liturgical creativity takes over. So we look for new and exciting ways to
be entertained. Like channel surfing to rouse our boredom, we’re emboldened to demand secular “updates” to the liturgy. Unfortunately, priests can all too easily accede to such demands. So we invent “Folk Masses” to entertain the young people (who now take high blood pressure medicine and Geritol) and “Polka” Masses to entertain the older generations; and “Mariachi” Masses to entertain immigrants. But the true Mass comes without such modifiers. Entering into the mystery of the Mass every week is like being faithful to a spouse over many years. Virtue supplants boredom. The most solemn Mass of the liturgical year is the Easter Vigil—a celebration that requires a good deal of sacred choreography. As the years unfold—as a priest repeatedly celebrates the Vigil Mass—orchestrating those details becomes more habitual and less distracting. And when things are working well we often find ourselves truly feeling we are part of something far bigger than the individual priest, the choir, the smells and bells. With God’s grace, we may even sense the profound reality that we are on the very precipice of eternity. And indeed we are. But habits that prepare us for eternity are not formed without prayerful intellectual effort. This is why we as Catholics must resolve to be attentive to the details of the sacred liturgy—to ask questions about the symbolical meaning of candles and bells and gestures. We ourselves may deduce many of the answers on our own (without a Google search!) as we piece together the words and actions of the Mass over the years of our attendance. The solemnity of the prayers, our acclamations, and pauses, our kneeling— our gestures of respect for the Blessed Please see MAGIC on page 11
he March 27th Chrism Mass homily by Bishop Michael Olson was an impassioned plea to the priests of the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, to maintain and strengthen a heartfelt faithfulness to the received liturgy of the Church. Bishop Olson said, the “importance of Christ-centered and shared repetition in our collaborative mission as the Church requires that we avoid the addition of words or gestures that are alien to the rites and liturgical texts provided us by the Church.” In this request, Bishop Olson echoes Pope St. John Paul II, who in his 2003 encyclical “On the Eucharist and its Relationship to the Church,” Ecclesia de Eucharistia, wrote of the liturgical abuses that have resulted from “a misguided sense of creativity and adaptation…which have been a source of suffering for many” (52). As Pope Benedict XVI wrote, such experimentation “frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear.”1 In his encouragement to priests, Bishop Olson distinguished between mere redundancy, which “has to do with vicious circularity (doing the same thing again and again without making progress or accomplishing anything except narcissistic absorption),” and repetition, which “has to do with the spiral: there is always forward growth and momentum in a spiral even as it circles again and again over similar words, patterns, ideas, and themes.” Seeing repeated actions as redundant, English theologian David Torevell has said, reflects “the ceaseless modern search for an authentic self, devoid of all restraint or discipline from tradition and history. Consequently, subjectivism assumes a far greater prominence
in worship. As [Benedictine Aidan] Kavanagh puts it, ‘Creativity of the Spontaneous Me variety condemns rite and symbol to lingering deaths by trivialization, bemusing those who would communicate by rite and symbol to a point where they finally wander away in search of something which appears to be more stable and power-laden.’”2 While a “narrow rubricism” may have affected preconciliar Catholicism, Kavanagh bemoans that this reduction of repetition to redundancy “produces little prayers, rambling homilies on current events, sappy hymns, and eucharists hardly distinguishable from the coffee and doughnut social that follows in the church hall.”3 Contrary to such reductionism, Bishop Olson draws out the value of repetition in the spiritual lives of both clergy and the faithful, reminding us all that unless it is properly understood, spiritual repetition can be reduced to redundancy. St. Ignatius Loyola knew well that such repetition in prayer was vital to discovering the depths of God’s designs in our lives and to hearing his words in our hearts. Rather than “empty phrases” (Mt 6:7) or “useless repetitions” (SC 34), Bishop Olson rightly sees the power of the liturgy to form us according to the pattern of the Paschal Mystery. Similarly, philosopher James K.A. Smith writes, such liturgical repetition is “the lived performance of the…faith that draws us into the story of God in Christ reconciling the world to himself.” Indeed, this spiraling liturgical repetition “is an enactment of solidarity with the body of Christ across time and around the globe, a performative way to anchor our faith outside the vagaries of the contemporary.” Thus, such repetition in Please see FRUITFUL on page 10
Adoremus Bulletin, May 2018
AB/WIKIMEDIA AND AB/PIXABAY
We can see in the Paestum Temple (above, left) and the Giotto painting (below, left) that what is individual and of time subjects itself to what is essential and transcendent. This narrower understanding of style thus gives precedence to the universal over the historical and concrete. It manifests a simplification of the multiplicity of life, with all its particular “entanglements,” by underscoring instead inner coherence, order, and “lawfulness.” Just so is the majestic style of the Church’s liturgy.
Person, Place & Poem The saint is a “genius” personality who has exhibited something “immeasurably original,” a highly individual style that is not without universal relevancy. Few, for instance, would dispute the originality of St. Francis: his naked dependence upon God; his compassion for the sick and the
poor; his response to rebuild the Church; his love of nature and animals; and his commitment to the way of peace and reconciliation. For almost a thousand years, this particular “Franciscan” style has had a broad appeal, and it has been generative and formative of Christians and non-Christians alike. Similarly, a form of community can claim a style that is efficacious across time and culture. St. Benedict’s Rule, written in sixth-century Italy, established a form of monastic social life dedicated to seeking God (quaerere Deum). As Benedict XVI is fond of noting, the Rule became a “spiritual leaven” that “changed the face of Europe.”2 The Rule would become a template for religious life across the European continent, and today it still stands as a model for religious communities, as well as for family and institutional life. The particular Benedictine vision of a school of love, its patterned rhythm of ora et labora, and its insistence upon mutual humility and obedience manifests a style which is universally significant and accessible. Dante’s literary masterpiece La Commedia also exemplifies Guardini’s first notion of style. There is no gainsaying that Dante’s poem emerges from the very particular historical setting of late medieval Florence. The lengthy and often taxing notes provided by most editors at the end of each canto, detailing historical figures and local Florentine events, remind the reader just how temporally situated is the poem. Even so, the genius of Dante’s Commedia reaches through the particular to the universal. The poet’s narrative of a pilgrim’s journey through (and to) the afterlife
achieves that uniqueness and perfection of expression which makes it also an artwork of universal style. Perhaps unwittingly, the reader finds himself walking in the shoes of Dante’s pilgrim. Each of these instances of style manifests an arc of descending into the finite and particular in order to speak universally. This is the way of our incarnational God, who entered time and history in order to save and raise up fallen creatures. Perhaps all ‘style,’ in this first sense, is at best an imitation of this divine arc. Law & Order Still, Guardini wishes to refine further his denotation of style—style in a narrower sense. It is this second, “specialized meaning” of style which illuminates the nature of the Church’s liturgy. Guardini invites his reader to experience this narrow meaning of style through visual imagination. Place before your eyes an ancient Greek temple and a gothic cathedral (see above images). Both are beautiful; both invoke awe; both are perfect expressions of a particular type which bestows profound insight about an historical period and culture. Guardini leads us to see, however, that the Greek temple has more style than the gothic cathedral. Alternatively, stand before two equally powerful paintings, one by Giotto (below, left), and one by Grünewald (below, right). Even a person without the advantage of having taken an Art 101
course will see that the Giotto has more style—or so Guardini confidently affirms. This “more” is precisely what Guardini is after in considering style in sensu strictu: this style indicates that the essential and
AB/WIKIMEDIA, CRUCIFIXION, BY GRÜNEWALD
Unpacking “Style” To comprehend Guardini’s vision of the style of the liturgy, we first need to grapple with the word itself. Like Augustine’s famous quip about ‘time’ in Book XI of the Confessions—we all know what it is until we need to say what it is—‘style,’ too, is a slippery term to pin down. We do know that there are styles of painting (Dutch realism, impressionism) and styles of writing (the expansive and moral prose of Victorians like Charles Dickens and George Eliot, and the modern minimalistic writing of Ernest Hemingway and Cormac McCarthy). We are familiar with styles of preaching—the scholarly exposition, the narrative homily, the evangelical double-edged sword to the heart. We are even able to note political styles of leading a country: the dictator; the prudent conciliator; the populist
‘tweeter’. But what is style? What counts for style? Fortunately, Guardini provides us with a definition—actually, two definitions. Guardini speaks of style in a broad sense, and then he chisels the definition to a narrower meaning. Style in the first sense obtains when any “vital principle” has found its authentic, true expression.1 This living principle can be a biological organism, a personality, an artistic production, or even the form of a community or society. Yet, to merit the designation of ‘style’, this particular expression must prove to be of wide importance. That is to say, a truly convincing style will establish something with which others may also identify and engage: it will manifest that which is almost already familiar to others, familiar in the sense that its peculiarity is magnanimously accessible. This definition might sound terribly paradoxical, but it is at the heart of what Guardini wants to communicate about style. The more original and impressive the expression, the more capable it is of revealing its “universal essence,” of inviting the soul into its reality. Three examples—a personality, a social body, a work of art—might help to illuminate what Guardini indicates by style in this first sense.
AB/WIKIMEDIA, LAMENTATION, BY GIOTTO
Continued from GUARDINI, page 1 Though writing in 1918, as the final battles of the Great War subsided, Guardini’s articulation of what constitutes the style of the liturgy remains essential and as desperately necessary for the restoration of the twenty-first century soul—distracted, enslaved to time, and appallingly “selfy”-obsessed—as it was for the shattered, disillusioned souls of the 1920s. Does the liturgy have a particular kind of style? Has the public worship of the Church, over the course of the centuries, developed a style, a modus operandi which best suits—is most conveniens to— the praise of God and the sanctification of his people? Guardini undoubtedly believes this to be the case, and he is persuasive about the necessity and fruits of such a style.
universal assumes ascendency over a distinctive particularity of expression. We can see in the Paestum Temple and the Giotto painting that what is individual and of time subjects itself to what is essential and transcendent. This narrower understanding of style thus gives precedence to the universal over the historical and concrete. It manifests a simplification of the multiplicity of life, with all its particular “entanglements,” by underscoring instead inner coherence, order, and “lawfulness.”3 Just so is the majestic style of the Church’s liturgy. This specialized liturgical style developed organically over time. Guardini argues that the “Greco-Latin spirit”(which tends per se to this narrower sense of style), the ‘polishing’ and chiseling of liturgical symbols and gestures over the centuries, and the concentration of liturgical perspective toward the eternal, converged in such a way that a “mighty” liturgical style emerged and is now fixed.4 Indeed, the Council fathers at Vatican II seem to confirm Guardini’s observation when they insist that liturgical rites ought to radiate a noble simplicity (SC, 34: “Ritus nobili simplicitate fulgeant’). The Novus ordo does not eradicate this style. Far from it: the sharpening of the rites and the elimination of certain repetitions configure the liturgy more and more to the stateliness of the Greek temple and the elegant quiet of a Giotto painting. Details, Details, Details… This grand style is manifest in the words, gestures, colors, and music of the liturgy. Guardini has already demonstrated in chapter one of The Spirit of the Liturgy that the language of liturgical prayer leads by thought, and not by emotion. Here he points out that the stylized form of the Roman collect is emphatically more distilled and universal than the language used in private prayer to God. Liturgical language will be more remote from a pedestrian, personal, or particularly local use of language. Whatever one may think of the revised translations in the Third Editio Typica of the Roman Missal, the language resonates with what Guardini articulates about the liturgy’s style. Liturgical dress, liturgical vessels, and even liturgical colors have also gone through a process whereby the particular and historical have been transfigured— “intensified” and “tranquilized”—in order to reach this note of universal currency.5 Let us consider, for instance, the Eucharistic host. It no longer directly resembles a morsel torn from a loaf of bread; rather, the bread-morsel has been simplified, intensified, flattened-out like the surface of a Giotto painting. The liturgical host is bread divested of any local peculiarity of mixing, forming, and firing ground wheat and water. And yet the host is bread, liturgically-stylized for the holy sacrifice of the Mass, a ritual which itself ruptures the division between time and eternity, between earth and heaven. The host is that meeting place between the raw wheat of the high plains and the heavenly food of angels. In terms of liturgical music, it is not the popular hymn but rather Gregorian chant which Guardini identifies as representative of this narrow sense of style. Fifteen years before The Spirit of Liturgy, Pius X’s motu proprio Tra le sollecitudini had reasserted the use of Gregorian chant in the liturgy, claiming that it is fittingly holy (not profane), representative of true art, and universal in nature (nn.2-3).6 Guardini assists us further in envisioning how and why this music is most suited to the liturgy’s style. Gregorian chant simplifies the singularity and complexity of other musical modalities; it distills sound and expression, refusing to call attention to itself. Its spare atmosphere and purified sound welcomes universal participation.
Modern Baggage If the Catholic liturgy is to be the supreme and objective rule of the spiritual life kata ton holon (for all times and cultures)—as Guardini boldly announces at the opening of his liturgical classic—a liturgy falling short of the style he depicts would fail in some measure to achieve this universality and objectivity. This is a potent mandate for attending with care to the appearance of every official public worship of the Church. Do the People of God desire this universal style sufficiently enough? Guardini anticipated objections to this liturgical style, objections that will no doubt sound familiar to our ears a hundred years later. ‘Modern’ individuals, he writes, would prefer a style that more directly addresses their own inner life. Would not that large group of American Catholics who today forgo the liturgy because they “get nothing out of it,” because they can find nothing in the liturgy’s cold and restrictive style that “speaks” to them, confess openly this ‘modern’ predilection? The careful arrangement of the parts of the liturgy, its generalized thought, and its formality of gesture have no immediate appeal and can often chafe against the individual’s interior disposition and emotional impulses.7 To be sure, some congregations would prefer to fill the empty foreground of the liturgy with cultural and self-referential additions, with words and prayers and music that make the spirit (and the ego) more vibrantly throb. How does Guardini respond to this ‘modern’ protest? On more than one occasion in the book, this perceived difficulty with the liturgy’s style is resolved by an instruction about the value and place of private prayer and devotions. The arena for interpersonal warmth and emotive religious expression is located in the wide purview of pious devotions which legitimately and necessarily supplement the Church’s official public prayer. In fact, Guardini acknowledges that the grand style of the liturgy could not be fully effective without the exercise and outlet of personal prayer and devotions. With charm, he has called these extra-liturgical devotions “receptacles” into which believers can “pour out their hearts.”8 So, gatherings of college youth, for example, during which “Praise and Worship” music pointedly enflames the emotions of believers, have their proper place and can be fruitful for a fuller participation in the solemn rites of the Mass or in the praying of the Liturgy of the Hours. Creative Tension Private prayer and devotion, measured by and oriented toward the Church’s liturgy, ought also to excite desire for the rites of the Church. For Guardini, the evident polarity between the grand climate of the liturgy and the aegis of personal prayer ought not to be construed as “mutually contradictory,” but rather as mutually cooperative.9 The tension is a creative and spiritually healthy one. Guardini teaches us that a heuristic guidance should be offered to those who expect that the liturgy should carry the same personal and emotional valence as private devotions. Is the worshipper therefore mistaken who arrives at Sunday Mass expecting a warm and personal encounter with the Jesus who walked the streets of Nazareth, hugged his mother Mary, and laughed and cried with his disciples? In a word, yes. Guardini acknowledges (and this in 1918—before the phenomena of megachurches!) that Protestantism has “sometimes” faulted Catholic liturgy for providing only a “cold” and intellectualist concept of Jesus (Giotto’s Jesus, for instance) in its liturgy, rather than conveying the living man (the Grünewald Jesus). To be sure, the modern believer might yearn to encounter a warm intimacy with the man Jesus; yet, the Jesus who appears in the Catholic liturgy is the High-Priest who sits
Adoremus Bulletin, May 2018
The Eucharistic host has style in the narrower, more excellent sense. It no longer directly resembles a morsel torn from a loaf of bread; rather, the bread-morsel has been simplified, intensified, flattened-out like the surface of a Giotto painting. The liturgical host is bread divested of any local peculiarity of mixing, forming, and firing ground wheat and water. And yet the host is bread, liturgically-stylized for the holy sacrifice of the Mass, a ritual which itself ruptures the division between time and eternity, between earth and heaven. The host is that meeting place between the raw wheat of the high plains and the heavenly food of angels.
at the right hand of the Father, the great Mediator between man and God, the one who shall return as Judge at the end of time, and the one who is Head of his Body the Church.10 Indeed, though the glorified God-Man descends to feed us with himself at the Eucharistic altar, he does so to make us ever more like himself, and to prepare us for eternal life around the heavenly altar. Style Points To my mind, Guardini’s underscoring that “something of us belongs to eternity,” and that the style of the liturgy recalls us to this truth, is perhaps the most requisite point of this chapter. Guardini wishes us to see that only a truly authentic “Catholic style” of liturgy—“actual and universally comprehensible”—is capable of orienting and summoning the human soul to that full and desired knowledge of, and union with, the Creator. The simplifying, universalizing, and “tranquilizing” (what a marvelous word!) style of the liturgy allows the soul to move about in a more “spacious” spiritual world, moving it to a recollection, as Augustine would have it, of supreme happiness, consummate joy. The grand and noble style of the liturgy temporarily removes the shackles of time. It works a release from the prison of the self, and permits an experience of the eternal, of stillness, and of silence. The grand style of the liturgy, like the Giotto painting, promotes contemplation. We need frankly to ask, however, whether this majestic style of liturgy proves to be what the ordinary Catholic in North America experiences? This is not widely the case, I suspect. Far too frequently, this noble style had been corrupted by a foreground of busyness; its distinct order has been muddied by the filling up of its clean spaces—with yet another song, yet another announcement, yet another prayer for vocations, etc. The silent interstices of the liturgy have all but vanished, replaced by hurried movement and tangible distaste for decorum and ‘empty’ quietness. When the liturgy becomes more a celebration of the local community—its expressive needs— then particularity and the present crowd the liturgy’s still frame and its universal style recedes. Liturgical Trunk Show? Have our liturgies come to resemble that car trunk with suitcases and bags thrown in whichever way? Have we—not with malice, of course—profaned the style of the Church’s public prayer by attempting to make it more into the image of our finite, anxiety-laden, control-seeking existence? Guardini’s deeply pastoral sensibility envisioned that the spacious and distilled
atmosphere of the Church’s liturgy could restore the souls of his fellow Europeans. The style of the liturgy was, he thought, a vigorous counterpoint to the aggressive nationalistic fervor in fashion at the time of his writing. As chaplain to the youth movement Quickborn in the years after the War, Guardini placed the Catholic liturgy at the heart of this movement. In 1922, he received permission to employ the missa recitata (the ‘dialogue mass’), which allowed the people to more fully enter the grand style of the liturgy by reciting the responses of the altar servers and the ordinary of the Mass. This visionary priest profoundly understood that the mighty style of the liturgy could reveal truth as a living reality, a reality to be contemplated by worshippers. In this second decade of the twenty-first century, Guardini challenges Catholics, clergy and laity alike, to let the grand and noble style of the liturgy have its way. Such a style ennobles the soul, inviting and permitting it to pass over into a realm of sacred openness. There, unencumbered by the self, the soul may see once more the stars, the heavens, the angels, and recall her eternal patria.
Dr. Michon Matthiesen is Assistant Professor at the University of Mary, Bismarck, ND. Before arriving at The University of Mary, Dr. Matthiesen taught at Providence College (RI), Loyola Marymount University (CA), and St. Patrick’s Seminary and University (CA). Though rooted in the thought of Thomas Aquinas, she enjoys reading theologians of the early twentieth-century who were keen to retrieve the rich and majestic thought of the early Church Fathers. Her oldest and enduring love of literature led her to studies in liturgical and sacramental theology. Her book, Sacrifice as Gift, urges a recovery of an understanding of Eucharistic sacrifice that is completed by a theology of grace and contemplative prayer. She has also written on The French School of Spirituality, Flannery O’Connor, Thomas Aquinas and Romano Guardini. 1. Romano Guardini, The Spirit of the Liturgy, Translation by Ada Lane, Introduction Joanne Pierce, Spirit (New York: Herder and Herder, 1998) 45. 2. See for example Benedict XVI’s General Audience address (9 April 2008) http://w2.vatican.va/content/ benedict-xvi/en/audiences/2008/documents/hf_benxvi_aud_20080409.html 3. Spirit of the Liturgy, 45. 4. Spirit of the Liturgy, 46-47. 5. Spirit of the Liturgy, 46. 6. Pius XII’s 1947 Encyclical Mediator Dei (n. 192) and the Second Vatican Councils’ Sacrosanctum concilium (n.116) would also reiterate a preference for Gregorian chant in the liturgy. 7. Spirit of the Liturgy, 47. 8. Spirit of the Liturgy, 30. 9. Spirit of the Liturgy, 50-51. 10. Spirit of the Liturgy, 48.
Adoremus Bulletin, May 2018
Getting Personal with Modernity: The Sacraments as Cultural Embodiments of Mercy1 By Owen Vyner
“Secular Sacraments”? There was an effort in the 1960s and following to make the liturgy more relevant. Obviously, there was a fear that the liturgy, and in fact Christian life in general, had become irrelevant. The concern was that somehow the liturgy no longer spoke to contemporary people and what was therefore needed was a re-conceptualization of sacramental grace and the liturgy. This effort continues today in Leuven’s “Post-Modern Sacramento-theology” project that argues for a recontextualization of the Christian and sacramental narrative.2 While this Leuven project consciously distances itself from its so-called “modern” antecedents, nevertheless, the same desire for relevance and plausibility is decidedly modern. Some prominent thinkers in the post-conciliar period proposed the path that this re-imagining of the sacraments should take. First, was the Baptist theologian Harvey Cox (b. 1929) who wrote the enormously influential book, The Secular City. Cox posited that the person of the future—“technopolitan man”—will be fundamentally pragmatic. He or she will not be concerned with the supernatural or the metaphysical. The concern of the modern person will not be incense and ceremony, but what he can do now and practically to improve the world.3 The second major figure was the theologian Karl Rahner (1904-1984) who, in order to make the sacraments more meaningful to the modern person, proposed a Copernican revolution in the theology of the sacraments. Rahner argued that whereas the old model of the sacraments thematized them as divine incursions into a world devoid of grace, the new understanding presents the sacraments as effectively signifying the grace that is already present in the world.4 The goal here is not to vilify Rahner who, incidentally, is respected by the author as a modern “Father” of the ecclesial
his article presents a theology of the sacraments. However, it will not do so from the perspective of a general theory of the sacraments as is often found in theology textbooks. Rather it will propose an understanding of the sacraments as efficacious and essentially “personalizing” signs. Implicit in this proposal is an understanding that within Western culture, and in certain attempts to renew the liturgy, a depersonalization has taken place. Additionally, it must be stated that the purpose of such a proposed theology is to bring into dialogue the current rediscovery of mercy (especially in light of the pontificate of Francis and the recent Jubilee Year of Mercy) with sacramental theology. In establishing a dialogue, this article will first discuss the secularization of the sacraments that occurred after the Second Vatican Council. Secondly, in light of the aforementioned increased focus on mercy in the Church’s pastoral ministry, it will then present a theology, or more precisely a theological anthropology, of mercy as “personalizing.” In essence, this means that mercy is a person, Jesus Christ, and it is directed towards each human person as an elevating grace. Finally, it will present the manner in which the sacraments personalize our experience of time, matter, and interpersonal relationships. Thus, the present article will ultimately argue that what is required in the Church’s preaching of mercy is a properly sacramental understanding of the person and culture.
The person of the future—“technopolitan man”—will be fundamentally pragmatic. He will not be concerned with the supernatural or the metaphysical, but what he can do now and practically to improve the world.
nature of the sacrament of Penance. The main argument however is that at this critical moment in history, by the Church attempting to present her sacraments as relevant to modernity, she unwittingly withdrew mercy from the world. This is no doubt a controversial claim, although it is based upon the nature of modernity, which has led to the depersonalizing of human existence, as we will see shortly. It also has to do, more fundamentally, with the “personalizing” essence of mercy as it will be discussed next. Mercy Gets Personal At this point it is important to define mercy. The classical definition is that mercy involves pity for those who are suffering. In his encyclical on God the Father, Rich in Mercy, Pope St. John Paul II taught that what was new in the JudeoChristian revelation of mercy is its nature as pity for those who are suffering by their own fault. In antiquity, it was unheard of to have pity on one whose suffering was self-inflicted. Second, the Christian concept of mercy as pity toward those who have made themselves suffer is predicated of God. God himself shows mercy to sinners. John Paul also spoke of mercy as a form of fidelity and tenderness. It is often this “tenderness” that most associate with when we hear of mercy. But it is important to note that mercy involves a faithful tenderness and a tender fidelity. These two integral dimensions of mercy must not be placed in opposition to each other. Furthermore, for John Paul mercy is concentrated on each person’s dignity. Mercy sees those who are suffering as persons, created in God’s image and likeness. It looks at each person as she should be and was created to be. Essentially, mercy is personal. First, mercy is a person: Jesus Christ. He is truly the mercy of the Father and reveals the Father of mercy. He is the tenderness and the fidelity of the Father who comes down to us when we sin in order to raise us up. The Blessed Virgin Mary is literally the Mother of mercy. Second, as a personal reality mercy focuses on our dignity as persons created in the image and likeness of God. Mercy restores us as adopted children of God,
“It is important to note that mercy involves a faithful tenderness and a tender fidelity. These two integral dimensions of mercy must not be placed in opposition to each other.” just as it did in the parable of the prodigal son. In this story, the father does not see the returned prodigal as a sinner or a slave but as his contrite son. Seeing his son, restored and alive, the father puts a ring on the son’s finger, and dresses him in his robe and shoes—these are all symbols of royalty. The father sees who the son is and could be, and in his mercy, raises him up. It would seem that Pope Francis’s doctrine of mercy presupposes much of John Paul II’s theology. Pope Francis writes: “Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy.”5 In discerning a distinctive theme of Francis it appears that his specific emphasis is on the mercy that takes the form of concrete action.6 In its most basic essence, mercy is not only personal but is personalizing, that is, it elevates us to our true dignity as sons and daughters of the Father in and through the Son and by the gift of the Holy Spirit. To this end, the sacraments are “personalizing” signs. They are so through their effective and efficacious elevation of the Christian, making him a sharer in the life of the Son, who each Christian (in the Church) encounters in the sacraments. Here’s the essential point: if mercy is personal—and the sacraments are personalizing—then the sacraments are essentially signs of God’s mercy. The sacraments effect, enact, and make present, the mercy of the Father. For the remainder of this article I will discuss the manner in which the sacraments uniquely and efficaciously personalize us, transforming the way we interpret and participate in time, the material world, and personal relationships.
Personal Time How do contemporary westerners view time today? To help understand the modern understanding of time it is essential to consider the notion of “boredom.” Interestingly, the English word boredom did not exist before the mid-eighteenth century.7 There were other words that approximated it, such as acedia, melancholy, ennui, yet none of these are the equivalent of what is meant by the experience of being “bored.” Boredom is a modern phenomenon. In particular, it enters human experience with the Industrial Revolution that effectively mechanized the appropriation of time. From this perspective, time then becomes empty, that is, something to be filled. Related to this is the sense of an existential restlessness and the corresponding need to escape from the drudgery of time. On the other hand, people also experience time’s unrelenting progress and the feeling of fragmentation and busyness through which time seems to exert a tyrannical hold over us. In St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, however, we see that time is not empty. Time is full. St Paul writes that in the fullness of time God sent his only Son (see 4:4). God has entered time to save us. The Christian participates in this time of salvation through the liturgy and the sacraments. When we enter into sacramental and liturgical time, past, present, and future do not become mutually exclusive. That is, they are not discrete, sequential, and disconnected moments.8 Instead, this time begins with the Cross and the sacramental invocation of the Blessed Trinity. This time can certainly be measured—there is a beginning and an end to the liturgy. Liturgical celebrations are bound to historical events and concrete times. For example, regarding the liturgy of the Passion of the Lord, the Missal states that the celebration should take place at three o’clock, the time that the synoptic Gospels record that Christ died (Matt 27:45-50, Mark 15:34-37, and Luke 23:44-46). However, sacramental time is not bound by the clock. One day can become three days (as in the Triduum) or eight days (an Octave). Far from existing as a mechanical or empty reality, sacramental time—the encounter of human time and divine “time,” or eschatological time—becomes a mediator of salvation. What’s the Matter? The second issue is the modern view of matter. I would describe modernity as essentially anti-sacramental or nonsacramental, especially in its approach to matter and bodiliness. This is actually a view expressed by Joseph Ratzinger in 1965: “The contemporary understanding of the world is functionalist: it sees things merely as things, as a function of human labor and accomplishment....”9 For the modern person, matter has a functional value. It is dependent upon one’s will and free choice in order to manipulate it and modify it according to a particular end. So too, for the modern person, the body has no meaning or signification beyond what I want it to mean or to be. Proposing that modernity is anti-sacramental does not simply mean that the world is opposed to the seven sacraments or does not believe in the sacraments, although that might be true. After all, the modern person wonders how pouring water over a baby’s head can become salvifically decisive for the child. Rather, in describing the modern secular mind
AB/WIKIMEDIA, MATER MISERICORDIA, BY GIOVANNI DA GAETA, 15TH CENTURY
AB/WIKIMEDIA, THE RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON, BY POMPEO GIROLAMO BATONI (D.1787)
Adoremus Bulletin, May 2018
The father does not see the returned prodigal as a sinner or a slave but as his contrite son. Seeing his son, restored and alive, the father puts a ring on the son’s finger, and dresses him in his robe and shoes—he sees who the son is and could be, and in his mercy, raises him up.
as anti- or non-sacramental, I am arguing that from this viewpoint matter is merely physical “stuff.” It has no meaning and there is no sense in which one can look at matter and see a world of meaning beyond it. On the other hand, consider a Catholic and sacramental understanding of matter. Water is not merely one oxygen atom bonded to two different hydrogen atoms. Water can symbolize death (the flood, the crossing of the Red Sea, Christ’s descent into the waters of baptism), yet it can also symbolize washing and cleansing such as in the story of Naaman the leper (cf. 2 Kings 5). Similarly, bread has a multiplicity of significations. It can certainly be a sign of sustenance (the manna in the desert), although it can also signify escape from death (cf. Exod 12:8). Finally, bread can operate as an image of unity through which those who participate in the one bread, who are many, become one (cf. 1 Cor 10:17).10 The Christian believes that God created the world—the divine architect has left his imprint, his signature, on this world. Furthermore, this creation originated from a superabundance of divine love. When one loves, nothing is plain, mono-significant, or meaningless. Everything has meaning, is rich, luminous, polyvalent and transparent to the beloved. The sacraments reconfigure the way that we perceive time and matter because they change time and matter. This reconfiguration does not just change them; it does something to us. We become changed. St. Augustine said, in his Confessions, and here he is speaking the words of Christ: “You will not change me into you, as food for your flesh; but you will be changed into me.”11 Thus, in a sense, through the sacraments we become transubstantiated. In addition to the substantial transformation of bread and wine, our being changes as well. We become assimilated into Christ, becoming his body in the communion of the Church. Privacy, Please The last point to be addressed is the modern understanding of personal relationships. These relationships are marked by their individuality and privacy. That is what personal means for the modern. In terms of marital and familial relationships, I would argue that this individualism and privatization of the most intimate relationships is ultimately expressive of what the encyclical Humanae vitae (1968) described as the separation of the “procreative” from the “unitive” in the
marital act. This results in the alienation of spouses from one another and children from their parents. It is evidenced by the new phenomenon of the dual-master bedroom. It has been predicted that in the U.S., 60 percent of custom homes will have separate master bedrooms (“snore rooms”).12 What is the sacramental understanding of relationships? It is communion. We are made to live in a communion of persons, not as private individuals but as one who is always related to another, through love. One of the great recoveries in sacramental theology is the understanding that the Eucharist makes the Church, not just that the Church makes the Eucharist.13
“Through the sacraments we become transubstantiated. In addition to the substantial transformation of bread and wine, our being changes as well. We become assimilated into Christ, becoming his body in the communion of the Church.” With this recovery of the Church as originating from the Eucharist, we see that the fundamental form of the Church is communion. The Church is a communion of persons and through her union with Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit, she shares in the Communion of the most Holy Trinity. Sacramental relationships then have been formed according to the logic of communion—this is not communalism, for it is a communion of distinct persons—who find themselves, not in escaping from the demands of love through isolating themselves from each other, but always in a sincere gift of self to another. Mercy in Person At the beginning of this article the claim was made that in the effort to make the Church more like the world, to become “relevant,” the divine became merely natural and the faith and the sacraments became secularized. I also posited that modernity understands time as something
“Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy,” as Pope Francis writes in Misericordiae Vultus. Mary, his mother, is Mater Misericordiae, the “Mother of Mercy.”
to be filled with busyness, that matter is malleable and meaningless, and that relationships are reduced to an individualism. This modern and secular approach similarly affected the way we understood the sacraments and the liturgy. It resulted in liturgical celebrations often marked by a freneticism, a focus on the “active” part of participation, and experimentations with sacramental matter. Finally, the Church became a mere sociological gathering in which the sacraments were often reduced to celebrations of this local individual community. It is for these reasons that I make the claim that efforts to present the sacraments as relevant to modernity resulted in the Church withdrawing mercy (and its personalising effects) from the world. In other words, in the way that we viewed time, matter, and relationships, Christians had become secularized and depersonalized. What we need now more than ever is a sacramentalization of our time, the material world, and relationships. We need to continually encounter the person of Christ, mercy in the flesh, in and through the sacraments. I have termed this encounter a “sacramental personalization” in which we become determined by Christ, the mercy of the Father. He actively shapes and transforms who we are, how we live, how we spend our time, and how we relate to others. Through a personal and sacramental encounter with him we become more fully what we have been made by baptism, confirmation, and the Eucharist—persons redeemed by Christ, adopted by his Father, and sealed with the Holy Spirit within the communion of the Church.
Dr. Owen Vyner is currently a lecturer at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Melbourne, Australia. In August this year he will take up a position in the Theology department at Christendom College, Front Royal. 1. An earlier version of this article was presented at the Evangelium Summer School in Melbourne (Australia) in 2016. 2. See Lieven Boeve, “Thinking Sacramental Presence in a Postmodern Context: A Playground for Theological Renewal,” in Lieven Boeve and Lambert Leijssen (eds) Sacramental Presence in a Postmodern Context: Fundamental Theological Perspectives (Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium, 160) (Leuven: Peeters, 2001), 3-29. 3. Harvey Cox, The Secular City: Secularization and Urbanization in Theological Perspective (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013), 76. Originally published in 1965. 4. Karl Rahner, “Considerations of the Active Role of the Person in the Sacramental Event,” in Theological Investigations: Volume XIV, trans David Bourke (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1976), 166. 5. Francis, Misericordiae Vultus: Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, no. 1. 6. Francis, Misericordiae Vultus, nos. 1, 3 and 6. 7. Barbara Dalle Pezze and Carlo Salzani, “The Delicate Monster: Modernity and Boredom,” in Barbara Dalle Pezze and Carlo Salzani (eds) Essays in Boredom and Modernity (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009), 11-13. 8. Hans Boersma, Heavenly Participation: The Weaving of a Sacramental Tapestry (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2011), 124. 9. Joseph Ratzinger, “The Sacramental Foundation of Christian Existence,” in Collected Works: Theology of the Liturgy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2014), 154. 10. Ibid, 89. 11. St. Augustine’s Confessions, VII, 10: “Nec tu me in te mutabis, sicut cibum carnis tuae; sed tu mutaberis in me” (You will not change me into you, as food for your flesh; but you will be changed into me). [italics added]. 12. Gail Rosenblum, “Suite idea: Dual master bedrooms,” Star Tribune, April 13, 2005 (http:// www.startribune.com/suite-idea-dual-master-bedrooms/299360941/) (accessed April 4, 2017). 13. Henri de Lubac, Corpus Mysticum: L’Eucharistie et l’Église au moyen âge (Paris: Aubier, 1944), trans. Gemma Simmonds as Corpus Mysticum: The Eucharist and the Church in the Middle Ages (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2006), 88.
Adoremus Bulletin, May 2018
The Mass of St. Gregory: Snapshot of a Mystery By Denis McNamara
Eucharist became flesh in the hands of a saintly pope. Common to nearly all depictions of The Mass of Saint Gregory is the appearance of instruments of the Passion, reinforcing the connection between Christ’s salvific mission and the eucharistic sacrifice. Known as the arma Christi, literally the “weapons of Christ” used to defeat Satan, they often appear rather unceremoniously as disjointed figures upon a rear wall, though in this example the artist worked them into a believable architectural setting. Behind the papal tiara, the implements of the Passion appear on a hanging fabric called a riddel curtain, a common feature of medieval altars. Clearly visible are Veronica’s veil, the spear which pierced Christ’s side on the cross, the hammer used to nail Christ’s hands and feet, a pitcher and cloth used by Pilate to wash his hands of Christ’s death, the Holy Sponge set on a reed used to offer Christ vinegar and gall, and the dice used by the Roman soldiers to cast lots for Christ’s garments. Behind the standing figure of Jesus appear the cross, the nails of the crucifixion, and the pincers used to remove the nails when Christ’s body was taken down from the Cross. Though they recall the events of sacred history, they also highlight the stubborn reality of Christ’s real, temporal humanity and how divine action in history continues in the sacramental life of the Church. As a devotional image, The Mass of Saint Gregory serves today much as it always has. It gives the viewer a delightful encounter with Christ’s own pedagogy of salvation. His earthly Passion, which is a real historical event, did not simply end in the year 33
AD. Through the institution of the Church and its hierarchical structure, Christ’s mission continues. In most worshippers’ experience, Christ’s Presence remains veiled under the appearance of bread and wine. Though they sometimes happen, Eucharistic miracles are rare because they arise in times of special need and under special circumstances. The Mass of Saint Gregory reminds the Christian that God still acts in history, both in the hands of the saintliest pope or the most humble parish priest, making his flesh into bread for the life of the world.
he Church’s addition of the Feast of Corpus Christi to its universal calendar is generally thought to have begun with the mystical vision of Saint Juliana, an Augustinian nun of Liege, Belgium, in the year 1209. Through the providential hand of history, the archdeacon of Liege became Pope Urban IV, and he instituted the feast for the entire Church. But devotion to the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament did not begin in the thirteenth century, nor did controversy about this central and Dr. Denis McNamara is Associate Professor of difficult theological reality. Another event, a Eucharistic Sacramental Aesthetics and Academic Director at the miracle involving Pope St. Gregory the Great, who Liturgical Institute of the University of Saint Mary of reigned from 590 to 604, addressed questions of the the Lake, a graduate program in liturgical studies. He Real Presence centuries earlier, eventually becoming a holds a BA in the History of Art from Yale University much-represented image in Christian art known as The and a PhD in Architectural History from the University Mass of Saint Gregory. of Virginia, where he concentrated his research on the Known for lending his name to Gregorian chant, study of ecclesiastical architecture of the nineteenth Pope Gregory made notable changes and additions to and twentieth centuries. He has served on the Art and the Roman liturgy, from moving the Our Father to its Architecture Commission of the Archdiocese of Chicago present place in the Mass to forbidding subdeacons and works frequently with architects and pastors all from wearing chasubles. In art, however, he is perhaps over the United States in church renovations and best known for being portrayed in a scene where Christ new design. Dr. McNamara is the author of Catholic miraculously appears upon an altar at which Gregory is Church Architecture and the Spirit of the Liturgy saying Mass. (Chicago: Hillenbrand Books, 2009), Heavenly City: The pious legend of the event was chronicled by The Architectural Tradition of Catholic Chicago Paul the Deacon, an eighth-century Benedictine (Liturgy Training Publications, 2005), and How to monk from the Abbey of Monte Cassino near Rome. Read Churches: A Crash Course in Ecclesiastical In his biography of Pope Gregory, later retold in the Architecture (Rizzoli, 2011). He is also a voice on The thirteenth-century Golden Legend, Paul relates the story Liturgy Guys podcast, which won best Catholic podcast of a “doubting matron” who comes to church bringing in 2017. bread that she had baked herself to be used for Mass. When she came up to receive Communion, Gregory noticed her smiling incredulously, and upon inquiry, the woman told him that she could not believe that bread she had baked herself could become the Body and Blood of Christ simply through the words of consecration. Hearing this, he prayed urgently that her unbelief might be healed, and suddenly a host changed to the appearance of actual flesh and blood approximating a human finger. Seeing this, the woman’s faith in the Real Presence was restored, and she knelt down, weeping in repentance. Through the centuries, as the story was told and retold, certain details changed in the visual representation. The small piece of flesh was gradually replaced by the entire body of Christ appearing on the altar, and the doubting matron was replaced by a deacon. Version after version appeared in art through the centuries in paintings, manuscript illuminations, prints and even sculptures, often commissioned by private individuals as devotional images for prayer and contemplation. In the version shown here, from the collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gregory is shown celebrating the Mass in a highly detailed liturgical setting. Cruets stand on a small shelf near the altar, the paten with a host sits on a corporal, and an elaborate frontal covers the altar. Resting on a pillow, the missal is open to an image of the crucifixion, indicating that the Eucharistic Prayer is being said, with a large illuminated letter clearly visible. The triple-tiered tiara, indicating Gregory’s identity and rank, rests upon the altar. Shown wearing a chasuble over a dalmatic, a long-standing custom by this time for bishops celebrating solemn pontifical Masses, Gregory is assisted by a candle-holding deacon and subdeacon who raise his chasuble during the elevation of the chalice. Miraculously, the pope receives the Precious Blood into the chalice from the side of Christ himself standing upon the altar. Although the original story mentions only a small appearance of flesh in the Eucharistic miracle, a scene like this is not intended as much to be historically accurate as a gloss on a larger theological reality: Christ’s real flesh and blood present in the Eucharist is the fruit of his Passion, an offering he chose to memorialize in the form of the sacrificial meal of the Mass. In the background, a prominent stained-glass window of the Virgin and Child reinforces the fleshly reality of Christ, the Word who took flesh in the womb of Mary, just as the human-baked bread of the The Mass of Saint Gregory; Unknown master; Spain, c. 1490; 28 3/8 by 21 7/8 inches; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Adoremus Bulletin, May 2018
Liturgy Works—York Plays: Recovering the Lost Tradition of Sacred Drama By Marcel Brown
The Play’s the Thing Joseph’s Trouble About Mary, sponsored by a guild which manufactured liturgical items such as thuribles, dramatizes Joseph’s difficulty in comprehending the Virgin-with-Child, the great mystery or sacramentum of Christ’s Body.3 The wonder of Joseph becomes specifically Eucharistic in The Nativity when Mary welcomes the Christ-child with a litany used by the late-medieval lay faithful during the Elevation of the Host at Mass.4 At the end of the play, Mary and Joseph lay the Christ-child in the manger while repeating together a vernacular version of the prayer prescribed for the priest’s quiet
Mary Magdalene begs Jesus (appearing as a gardener) to lead her to her Lord. God in a garden with a woman whose faith is being tested: the scene itself highlights the typological structure of the York Cycle. “I see him not,” Mary laments. Jesus responds by showing her his wounds, a test of faith after which Mary declares her belief in a “miraculous food” which is “sweeter than wine”—the Body and Blood of Christ.
recitation in Latin (tacita voce) at the end of each Mass in accord with the rubrics of the York Missal.5 The Nativity subtly shows that the Body of Christ, the Christ-child born in the stables at Bethlehem, is thus made present at every Mass, a miracle celebrated in sacred drama in York on Corpus Christi Day. Christ’s Entry Into Jerusalem, a play co-sponsored by the vestment-makers, is strongly indebted to late-medieval Palm Sunday processions, which featured the Eucharist as the ritual’s source and summit.6 It would not be a stretch to suppose that the kind of hymn sung during this pageant at the direction tunc cantant (‘then they sing’) may have echoed the Mass in general—Hosanna!—or the Triduum in particular, a liturgy which still today prescribes that the people chant Venite adoremus! The city officials, i.e., the burgesses, welcome Christ in the form of an elevation-prayer similar to the one used by Mary in The Nativity. Just as Mary welcomes the Christ-child at Bethlehem, so the city welcomes the great mystery of Christ’s Body, Corpus Christi, into York’s civic life and labor. The post-Resurrection plays continue The York Cycle’s settled pattern of interlacing biblical narrative with liturgical allusion. Mary Magdalene, in a richly ironic dialogue with the Risen Lord, begs Jesus (appearing as a gardener) to lead her to her Lord. God in a garden with a woman whose faith is being tested: the scene itself highlights the typological structure of the cycle. “I see him not,” Mary laments. Jesus responds by showing her his wounds, a test of faith after which Mary declares her belief in a “miraculous food” which is “sweeter than wine”—the Body and Blood of Christ. The play, naturally, was sponsored by the wine-drawers.7 In a magnificent imitation of liturgy through dramaturgy, The Supper at Emmaus depicts Jesus literally disappearing at the moment of the consecration. Christ’s apparent ‘disappearing act’ is not for mere show, either; in place of spectacle it offers a theatrical representation of the Church’s perennial teaching on transubstantiation. It’s not that Jesus disappears; rather, the bread at Emmaus becomes the Body and Blood of Christ. One might wonder, though, Why depict transubstantiation at Emmaus rather than at The Last Supper? The bakers’ Last Supper, featuring the
AB/Lawrence OP on Flickr
Role of a Lifetime The sponsorship of each pageant in the cycle was assigned to one or more of the city’s craft guilds. Such assignments derived in some way from the mystery being depicted. To the shipwrights, for example, was given The Building of the Ark; to the fishers and mariners, The Flood; to the masons, Herod;2 to the goldsmiths, The Magi; and to the nail-makers, The Crucifixion. Reflected in each play’s sponsorship was the individual and collective sanctification of human labor, a profound meditation on each one’s role in the drama of salvation. The event of the Birth of Christ, for example, highlights the work of the tilethatchers, the sponsors of The Nativity, by showing that without their work the stables of the inn would have offered no shelter to the Holy Family. The tile-thatchers, by analogy, thus become the ‘angels’ commonly depicted in medieval stained glass repairing the roof which shelters the Christ-child’s manger. By meditating on associations such as these, audiences were invited to contemplate their own work’s role in the drama of salvation. Owing their essence and action to Christian liturgy, The York Plays refer the macrocosm of salvation history to the microcosm of its re-presentation in the Paschal Mystery. The cycle requires part-in-whole thinking: What part do the tile-thatchers play, for example, in Christ’s redemptive work? At pivotal moments throughout the cycle, this part-in-whole dynamic shows the ways in which human labor is ordered to lasting leisure, whose foretaste is liturgy. Relating the mysteries of salvation to the Eucharist, one narrative at a time, the full scope of the redemption is shown to be fulfilled at long last in sacred liturgy’s mystagogical re-presentation of God’s work of Redemption.
or those who wait in joyful hope for the coming of the Feast of Corpus Christi each year, a storehouse of culture rooted in liturgy awaits rediscovery in the lost tradition of The York Plays. As late-medieval England’s most impressive example of cycle-drama, The York Cycle consisted of a series of more than forty-five sacred pageants (sacrae paginae) which began with The Fall of the Angels, continued through the major events of salvation history, and culminated with Doomsday. Each play survives in a single manuscript, a copy of the civic authority’s official record known as the Register, against which actors once checked their own scripts for accuracy.1 Although the Register’s compilation commenced between 1463 and 1477 and continued well into the 1500s, the history of the York Cycle’s performance ran for a century on either side of the initial compilation window. Beginning in 1376 and ending in 1579, for two full centuries the lay faithful in York worked closely with the civic and ecclesiastical authorities to perform The York Plays in honor of the Feast of Corpus Christi.
The York Cycle’s The Nativity play subtly shows that the Body of Christ, the Christ-child born in the stables at Bethlehem, is also made present at every Mass, a miracle celebrated in sacred drama on Corpus Christi Day.
apocryphal character Marcellus leading the disciples to the Lamb’s Supper, contains a curious lacuna: at the moment of the institution of the Eucharist, the manuscript is corrupt. Richard Beadle, the world’s leading textual-bibliographical scholar of The York Plays, suspects “deliberate removal” of this section of the play.8 Such censure should not come as a surprise given the contentious circumstances in which The York Plays were suppressed. Curtain Call At the time of the Northern Uprising of 1569, an unsuccessful attempt by Catholic nobles in northern England to depose the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I, which was itself spurred by royal intolerance of Catholic devotion in the north, the Register containing The York Plays was summoned for review by the Queen’s Commission for Ecclesiastical Causes. Although given back at that time, the Register was summoned once again ten years later in 1579, this time never to be returned to the city’s civic authorities. So ended this great popular devotion of the Christian people, which harmonized with the liturgical seasons, accorded with sacred liturgy, was derived from it, and led the people back to it (adapted from Sacrosanctum Concilium, 13). May all our celebrations of the Feast of Corpus Christi, this year and in years to come, accord with
the wisdom of the Second Vatican Council, as did the rich and perennial tradition of The York Plays. Editor’s note: To read additional entries by Marcel Brown on the York Plays, see our website, Adoremus.org. Marcel Antonio Brown is a Faculty Member and Co-founder of Tulsa’s Theological Institute. He holds his B.A. in English from the University of Dallas and his M.A. and Ph.D. in English from The Catholic University of America. A scholar of the York Cycle who specializes in Catholic themes in literature, Dr. Brown resides in Oklahoma with his wife and their eight children. 1. In 1527 the keeper of the Register, Thomas Clerk, was fittingly compensated with a gift of bread and wine. See Alexandra Johnston, Records of Early English Drama: York (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979), p. 244. 2. Herod had ‘a heart of stone.’ 3. For an extended treatment of Joseph’s Trouble, see Adoremus Bulletin (online edition), Mar. 19th, 2018. 4. See R. H. Robbins, “Levation Prayers in Middle English Verse” (Modern Philology 40.2, 1942), p. 136, where the early fifteenth-century MS Royal 17.C.xvii provides an analogy for lines 57-63 of the York Nativity. 5. See William George Henderson, Missale ad usum insignis ecclesie Eboracensis (Durham: Andrews & Co., 1874), p. 204. 6. See Richard Beadle, ed., The York Plays: A Critical Edition of the York Corpus Christi Play as recorded in British Library Additional MS 35290, Vol. II (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), p. 202. 7. For an extended treatment of Christ’s Appearance to Mary Magdalene, see Adoremus Bulletin (online edition), Apr. 11, 2018. 8. Beadle, York Plays, Vol. II, p. 223.
Adoremus Bulletin, May 2018
THE RITE QUESTIONS
Q Is there such a thing as a deacon’s “first blessing”? A :
LETTERS After “Before and After” Your Bulletin used to do Before and After stories of renovated churches which show that we can still build modern worship spaces using sacred architecture. Those were the stories I enjoyed the most. They gave me hope and encouragement that our Catholic heritage was being restored and renewed. May I be so bold as to request that you start including those stories in the Bulletin again? It’s what I looked forward to the most when I got each issue in the mail. I hope you consider my request and give it serious consideration. Thank you for your time. — K. Arnold, via email Adoremus replies: Thank you for your email and suggestion—and a good one, at that! Yes, we’ll do our best to include these types of stories, as others (ourselves, too) enjoy them, and for the same reasons. We always welcome story suggestions from our readers, as well as any ideas that can help Adoremus improve. Keep them coming!
Religious Appreciation Dear Editor, I want to express my appreciation for your work and for your generosity in continuing to send a subscription to the Sisters of Good Shepherd in Baltimore since 2012. We are housed in a program for Sisters needing Independent Living and Personal Care. There are four religious communities who attend daily Mass in the Chapel here. The Sisters of Sts. Cyril & Methodius sponsor a Health Care center on the property for both religious & laity. I personally have greatly benefited from your publication and wish to show my appreciation. May God grant you both the resources and grace to continue your good work. Thank you! — Sr. Mary Regina Long, RGS P.S. The last issue I received was January 2018 and I was pleased to know of the excellent insights on The Spirit of Liturgy by Bishop Serratelli.
Have Music Documents Changed Tune? Dear Adoremus, Can you please advise me as to whether the document De Musica Sacra et Sacra Liturgia, (Instruction on Sacred Music and Sacred Liturgy) issued on September 3, 1958 by the Sacred Congregation for Rites, is still applicable today, or is there another document which supersedes this one? — Aidan O’Sullivan, via email Adam Bartlett responds for Adoremus: Thank you for this excellent question, Aidan. It is one of critical importance in my estimation since many seem to believe that the post-conciliar documents abrogate the ones that
: Unlike priestly first blessings, diaconal first blessings are not a custom in the Catholic Church. A deacon, however, is never required to deny a blessing to one who freely asks. Unlike bishops and priests, deacons are ordained “not unto the priesthood, but unto the ministry of service” (Lumen Gentium, 29). The priest’s authority to bless is closely tied to his power to consecrate the Eucharist; the deacon’s authority to bless, however, depends more on the Church’s delegation of that authority. Consequently, the deacon “can impart only those blessings expressly permitted by law” (Code of Canon Law, Can. 1169 §3). The liturgical books permit the deacon to celebrate many different blessings, for example, those related to baptisms, weddings, funerals, the
Liturgy of the Hours, and most of the blessings contained in the Book of Blessings. Appendix II of the Book of Blessings provides a series of solemn blessings and prayers over the people that can be used in conjunction with another liturgical rite or “on any occasion when a priest or deacon is asked to give a blessing.” Thus, the deacon is authorized to respond to virtually any pastoral need. If the deacon anticipates being approached for blessings, he should consider carrying with him the Shorter Book of Blessings or memorizing at least one of the prayers over the people from the Book of Blessings. So, for example, if approached by someone seeking a blessing, the deacon could use the following simple formula from the Book of Blessings: “Lord, bless your people and fill them with zeal. Strengthen them by
your love to do your will. We ask this through Christ our Lord. R/. Amen. May almighty God bless you, the Father, + and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/. Amen.” Without scruple, the deacon may preface this formula with an extemporaneous prayer. Responding to a pastoral need, however, is different from initiating an occasion for blessings. The deacon should not, for example, set up a prie-dieu in the receiving line after his ordination to solicit requests for first blessings, a practice appropriately associated with priestly ordination. If someone spontaneously asks the newly ordained deacon for his blessing, though, he may oblige in accordance with the liturgical books. —Answered by Father Don Anstoetter, Directory of Liturgy, Kenrick-Glennon Seminiary, St. Louis, MO
: What are the norms directing Eucharistic Processions?
: Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass was one of the first of the Church’s ritual books published after the Second Vatican Council, promulgated by the Congregation for Divine Worship on June 21, 1973, which happened to be the Solemnity of Corpus Christi that year. The text contains a number of Eucharistic rituals, including the “Rite of Distributing Holy Communion Outside Mass with the Celebration of the Word” and “Administration of Communion and Viaticum to the Sick by an Extraordinary Minister.” The book’s third chapter, “Forms of Worship of the Holy Eucharist,” includes three sections: “Exposition of the Holy Eucharist,” “Eucharistic Congresses,” and “Eucharistic Processions.” This chapter on forms of Eucharistic worship, as with the first two and the text generally, contains not only a brief theological treatment
Continued from FRUITFUL, page 3
the Church’s liturgy “is ultimately and fundamentally a theocentric act...by the King”4 who commanded us to “do this in memory of me” (Lk 22:19). In this way, the liturgy “is nothing less than the way a redeemed world is performed came before. I do not believe that this is the case at all. The norms of De Musica Sacra (and of other similar, pre-conciliar musical documents) are only abrogated when the specific topic in question is amended or elaborated upon by later legislation, seen within the hierarchy of the Church’s documentation on liturgy and music. However, all that followed De musica sacra (e.g., Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963), Musicam Sacram (1967) and the General Instruction on the Roman Missal (2011)) seems to assume and take for granted all that had come before, without any desire to officially abrogate it, but rather to build upon it and apply it. These latter documents see themselves as being in continuity with what came before. I actually speak to this point in an article on Musicam Sacram that
of the topic (lex credendi), but also the rubrics and texts used for celebrating (lex orandi). As Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass explains, “When the Eucharist is carried through the streets in a solemn procession with singing, the Christian people give public witness of faith and devotion toward the sacrament” (101). “The annual procession on the feast of Corpus Christi, or on an appropriate day near this feast, has a special importance and meaning for the pastoral life of the parish or city. It is therefore desirable to continue this procession…when today’s circumstances permit and when it can truly be a sign of common faith and adoration” (102). “It is fitting,” the text says, “that a Eucharistic procession begin after the Mass in which the host to be carried in the procession has been consecrated” (103).
Concerning the procession’s specifics, the rite encourages “stations where the Eucharistic blessing is given…. Songs and prayers should be so directed that all proclaim their faith in Christ and direct their attention to the Lord alone” (104). The priest himself vests in a white cope, while “lights, incense, and the canopy under which the priest carrying the Blessed Sacrament walks should be used in accordance with local customs. It is fitting that the procession should go from one church to another. Nevertheless, if local circumstances require, the procession may return to the same church where it began. At the end of the procession, Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament should be given in the church where the procession ends…. Then the Blessed Sacrament is reposed” (105-8). —Answered by Christopher Carstens, Editor, Adoremus Bulletin
through actions.”5 1. Benedict XVI, “Letter on the Occasion of the Publication of the Apostolic Letter ‘Motu Proprio Data’ Summorum Pontificum on the Use of the Roman Liturgy Prior to the Reform of 1970,” in Letters of Pope Benedict XVI (English) (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013). 2. David Torevell, Losing the Sacred: Ritual, Modernity, and Liturgical Reform (London; New York:
T&T Clark, 2004), 165. 3. Aidan Kavanaugh, Elements of Rite (Collegeville: Pueblo Books, 1990), vi, 89. 4. James K. A. Smith, Awaiting the King: Reforming Public Theology, vol. 3, Cultural Liturgies (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic: A Division of Baker Publishing Group, 2017), 207. 5. David Torevell, Losing the Sacred: Ritual, Modernity, and Liturgical Reform (London; New York: T&T Clark, 2004), 165.
appeared in the November 2016 Bulletin: “Musicam Sacram states at the outset that it ‘does not… gather together all the legislation on sacred music’ (MS 3). It does not claim to be a ‘juridical code of sacred music’ as Tra le Sollecitudini of Pius X does (TLS par. 3), or to ‘put together…all the main points on sacred liturgy, sacred music and the pastoral advantages of both’ as De Musica Sacra et Sacra Liturgia does (DMSSL 3). It is clear in both the liturgy constitution and Musicam Sacram that this work has already been done, and neither document attempts to replicate or abrogate it. The Instruction on Music in the Liturgy instead only ‘establishes the principal norms which seem most necessary for our day’ (MS 3), in relation to what the Church has already taught and previously expressed. It must be read, then, in light of the Church’s
continuous teaching on the subject.” The fact that both Sacrosanctum Concilium and Musicam Sacram abundantly quote these documents, and even praise the renewal they had brought about in the decades preceding the Council (see SC 112), shows that they are to be read in continuity with the Church’s teaching since Pius X, not replace it. And so, it seems clear that De Musica Sacra et Sacra Liturgia is not superseded, and its norms remain, though they have to be read in light of what has followed it. A code of liturgical law would certainly be of help here, or at the very least a revision of De Musica Sacra et Sacra Liturgia in light of Sacrosanctum Concilium, Musicam Sacram, and the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. Perhaps we can hope for such things at some point in the future!
Adoremus Bulletin, May 2018
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Dr. Luana Pesco-Koplowitz Plainville, New York
MEMORIAL FOR: FR. HENRY KRICEK - Richard Gallas FR. PATRICK MAHER - Dr. and Mrs. Nicholas E. Barreca SUE MORRISSEY - Tim Morrissey MARY RICHEY - Steve and Katie FR. HOWARD STUNEK, OFM - Frank and Kathy Finch IN HONOR ETIENNE GILSON - Desmond FitzGerald OTHER PERSONAL INTENTIONS - Mr. James Schneider Our special thanks to our Friends, Members, and to all our faithful monthly donors. May God bless each of you for your generosity. A Mass is said for all our donors each month. We appreciate your prayers, and we remember you in ours. Continued from MAGIC on page 3 Eucharist before Communion—are repeated at every Mass so that as our external acts of reverence become good habits, our internal appreciation for the Real Presence of Jesus becomes heartfelt. The repetition of liturgical ritual and the recurring cycle of liturgical seasons are not boring if we allow ourselves to be led deeper into the sacred mysteries with a holy inquisitiveness, never overlooking inconvenient truths. So it’s still acceptable to pray “save us from final damnation”— the Roman Canon—in polite company. The liturgy also repeatedly brings to our attention from various perspectives the mighty words and deeds of Christ. Every year, as the Easter season continues, the Church uses literary flashbacks when presenting the Gospels. The flashback Gospel passages encourage us to revisit—within the liturgical cycle—the early ministry of Christ in the light of the Resurrection. The multiplication of loaves prefigures the first Mass on Holy Thursday. When Jesus walks on water he reveals his divinity, a divinity confirmed by the Resurrection. His discourse with Nicodemus prior to the Cross and Resurrection confirms the necessity of Baptism. Jesus is true God and true Man. If we are attentive, we get it! Of course, understanding the entire narrative depends upon the fundamental dogma of our faith: the Resurrection of Jesus as central to all of history. As a historical event—like much of recorded history—the Resurrection cannot be proved by scientific inquiry. The Resurrection can only be accepted by faith based on
the testimony of witnesses, including the martyrs of the early Church. When, with good will, the Resurrection is tentatively accepted as plausible, it becomes reasonable when considering the entire narrative of God’s encounter with man, repeatedly presented to us through the sacred liturgy and the liturgical year. Within the context of Revelation and history, the Cross and Resurrection is reasonable: “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:26) The Church has a phrase that sums up the often neglected Magisterium of the liturgy: lex orandi, lex credendi (the rule of prayer is the rule of faith). The liturgy is not magic. It is the work of God’s grace on inquisitive souls reasonably engaged in the words and actions of the sacred liturgy. With eyes of faith informed by reason, we will see the Mass as it is: a piece of heaven on earth directing us to our eternal destiny. Father Jerry Pokorsky is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington who has also served as a financial administrator in the Diocese of Lincoln. Trained in business and accounting, he also holds a Master of Divinity and a Master’s in moral theology. Father Pokorsky co-founded both CREDO and Adoremus, two organizations deeply engaged in authentic liturgical renewal. He writes regularly for a number of Catholic websites and magazines. Father Pokorsky also serves as a director and treasurer of Human Life International.
Adoremus Bulletin, May 2018
By Joanna Bogle
t has been noted over recent years that weddings here in the prosperous West have become ever more elaborate and expensive—the decorations, the lavish food, the music and entertainment, and above all—The Dress! Yet, for all that, marriages have a remarkably short lifespan. Divorce is an everyday part of life, with few families unaffected. What makes a marriage last, however, is not the size of the wedding cake, the cost of the lace, or the quality of the photographs; rather, a marriage endures because the spouses are willing to embrace their new lives together in an unbreakable sacramental bond. One way to tap into this new life is to help it unfold for the couple as they approach the sanctuary for the wedding ceremony and prepare to commit themselves to a love that, by God’s grace, will last a lifetime. Working with young couples in marriage preparation, I have found that discovering the riches of the wedding liturgy—and concentrating on the rite as a focal point for opening up the whole of the Church’s teaching on matrimony and family life—is a truly effective way of communicating the truth and beauty of lifelong and fruitful marriage. The Church’s liturgy for marriage draws us into this mystery, teaches us about the nature of marriage, opens us to receive God’s grace and brings his rich blessings into the souls and lives of the bride and bridegroom, strengthening them for their new tasks as husband and wife in the establishment of a new family. Marriage is not just an arrangement for the raising of children and the establishment of a structured society: it is God’s plan from “the beginning.” It is a sacrament, an outward sign of God’s grace working in human hearts, a means of sanctity, a gift of God to the human race. The Church is anxious about the fact that many couples do not marry but simply cohabit—and also split up and find new partners during the course of a lifetime. Today she calls with a sense of urgency for good marriage preparation. Understanding the truth about marriage—the lifelong union of a man and a woman, open to new life and the foundation of a new family—can no longer be assumed to be an essential part of growing up in Western society. Such truths about marriage must be taught because they certainly will not be “caught” in the way they were by generations who went before us. Liturgy as Marriage Prep When a couple comes to a Catholic priest to talk about getting married, they may already be living together, even if one party may have a vague understanding of the Catholic faith or be practicing it in a perfunctory way. (Of course, there are a good many exceptions—young Catholics who have met through a college chaplaincy, a pro-life campaign, a World Youth Day event or similar faith-filled programs, and whose faith and commitment to the Church is impressive.) Experience of marriage preparation has shown that using the Church’s wedding liturgy to teach about matrimony is extremely fruitful in the following ways: • The liturgy relates specifically to what they have come to church to do. They have rung the doorbell of a Catholic church and have signed up for (even if compulsory) marriage preparation as part of the deal. They are thinking about the wedding, the ceremony, the event. • The liturgy is non-confrontational. It starts the whole project on the right note, allowing a couple’s potentially muddled understanding and confusion of marriage, and possibly guilt, to be addressed within the framework of what the nature of marriage is. • The liturgy goes deep into the spiritual aspects of the sacrament, getting to the essence of matrimony as a means of sanctification. • The liturgy offers essential catechesis in basic doctrine, for, as in all prayer of the Church, lex orandi, lex credendi (“As we pray, so we believe.”) is an operative principle in the marriage liturgy.
Christ on the Guest List Marriage is intimately bound up with God’s redeeming plan for the human race, and so it isn’t surprising that marriage has an intrinsic link with the Eucharist—the great Sacrament of the Mystery. Do not imagine that those contemplating matrimony will be incapable of grasping this connection. On the contrary, they can be open to making the Mass central to their wedding plans (especially if both bride and groom are Catholic). They
may even find this element in their wedding fascinating. I found that a good place to start teaching about marriage and the Eucharist is the choice of Scripture readings for the marriage rite. While the Church presents us with various options, I’ve discovered the Wedding at Cana a good place to focus. The passage opens the way for an understanding of the link between marriage and the Eucharist. For many, this will mean the first time they have really had to think about the Church’s understanding of the Eucharist in any deep and adult way. Cana was Christ’s first miracle: the start of his public ministry, as a marriage is the start of a couple’s new life. Mary’s words, “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5), are pivotal. Christ turns the water into wine. He has spoken to Mary of his “hour” (John 2:4)—the time of his Passion and death, the time on which all time hangs, the time of our redemption, the fulfilment of God’s union with the human race—and the moment his own bride is drawn from his opened side. In anticipation of that “hour” (John 13:1) we will hear the word “do” again: “Do this in memory of me” (Lk 22:19). The water Christ turns into wine at the wedding supper in Cana reminds us of the wine at the Last Supper that Christ turns into his very blood. Booking a Wedding The Church’s selections of Scripture readings for the Order of Celebrating Matrimony are of course not random: they are doctrinal, sacrament-centred, and often Eucharist-themed. There is certainly a choice of Scriptures offered, but it is unwise to place too much emphasis on the young couple for the choosing—it becomes yet another consumer option, like the color-theme or bridesmaids’ dresses. No matter which Scripture reading is chosen, the couple and their wedding guests will discover in them a vital truth: what is happening at a marriage is real and is connected to the drama of our very existence, our very destiny in God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the “nuptial covenant between God and his people Israel had prepared the way for the new and everlasting covenant in which the Son of God, by becoming incarnate and giving his life, has united to himself in a certain way all mankind saved by him, thus preparing for the ‘wedding feast of the Lamb’” (1612). In the Order of Celebrating Matrimony, this passage from the Catechism echoes through the prayers and especially the Nuptial Blessing: “O God, who by your mighty power created all things out of nothing, and, when you had set in place the beginnings of the universe, formed man and woman in your own image, making the woman an inseparable helpmate to the man, that they might no longer be two, but one flesh, and taught that what you were pleased to make one must never be divided; “O God, who consecrated the bond of Marriage by so great a mystery that in the wedding covenant you foreshadowed the Sacrament of Christ and his Church; “O God, by whom woman is joined to man and the companionship they had in the beginning is endowed with the one blessing not forfeited by original sin nor washed away by the flood. Look now with favor on these your servants, joined together in Marriage, who ask to be strengthened by your blessing. “Send down on them the grace of the Holy Spirit and pour your love into their hearts, that they may remain faithful in the Marriage covenant…” (OCM 74). In the liturgy, as the Nuptial Blessing shows, there is an emphasis on God’s plan from “the beginning” (Mt 19:4). At a wedding, there is, or should be—and the Church’s liturgy helps there to be—a strong sense that what is happening is somehow bigger than the celebration of a particular couple’s relationship. Rather, this couple is now embarking on something magnificent, something life-changing and glorious, which is also rooted in the normality of things, in doing just-whatGod-always-planned. Their love is caught up in God’s love, and they now co-operate with him in a new way, bringing new life into the world: children who will also receive new spiritual life in Baptism. Body Language Pope St. John Paul II taught the centrality of the mystery of male and female—prophetically so, since even in his time the ideologies of “gender neutrality” and “gender fluidity” were becoming fashionable. In response, John Paul II emphasised how understanding the nuptial meaning of our bodies shows us the nuptial essence of
AB/PHOTO BY JOSH APPLEGATE ON UNSPLASH
Wedding Prayers and Love: The Fruitful Work of the Liturgy in Marriage Preparation
Newlyweds embark on something magnificent, something life-changing and glorious, which is also rooted in the normality of things, in doing just-what-God-always-planned. Their love is caught up in God’s love, and they now co-operate with him in a new way, bringing new life into the world: children who will also receive new spiritual life in Baptism.
things from “the beginning” (Mt 19:4). The liturgy of every Mass echoes with matrimonial imagery Christ and his Church as Bridegroom and Bride. In pondering this mystery, we see how the marriage of Christ and his Church is indeed fruitful—you and I and all the baptized are children of this union. Thus, we speak of the Church as Mother and live within her household rules and traditions: feasting and fasting, holy days and pilgrimages, the art and music and literature and deeds of her children down through generations. In discussing this rich patrimony, we can teach about the centrality of every marriage being open to new life. Children are not an optional extra in marriage: they are its essence.
I AM: “I do!” We should encourage couples to read and understand the prayers of the marriage liturgy and emphasize that these convey what is central to all that lies ahead for them as a married couple. We should not assume that they want to create their own prayers: most do not. In fact, some couples may actually feel awkward and ignorant when they become involved in any sort of church service. Rather than forcing them into complicated choices, we should offer them what the Church offers, explain how things will unfold, and present simple options where these occur. We should not be minimalist: a Catholic marriage should be a glorious celebration of a great sacrament— an evangelistic opportunity, an announcement of God’s original plan for the human race and its fulfilment in Christ. We should encourage an understanding that marriage is “the one blessing not forfeited by Original Sin nor washed away by the flood” (OCM 74). We should proclaim that the Church triumphantly affirms new life, faithfulness, fruitfulness, and hope for the future. RSVP—ASAP! The Catechism of the Catholic Church sums it all up well: “Sacred Scripture begins with the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God and concludes with a vision of the ‘wedding feast of the Lamb.’ Scripture speaks throughout of marriage and its ‘mystery,’ its institution and the meaning God has given it, its origin and its end, its various realizations throughout the history of salvation, the difficulties arising from sin and its renewal ‘in the Lord’ in the New Covenant of Christ and the Church” (1602). God invites us to this Marriage Feast of the Lamb in every liturgical action of the Church. Sundays and weekdays, he is calling to us to join in this feast. He is also calling to couples preparing for a lifelong adventure in marriage. In responding to this call, prospective newlyweds will see in the liturgy an opportunity to deepen their love for one another and for God through the sacrament they are about to receive from one another. As an element of preparation, too, the liturgy offers an invitation to join the rest of the Church in a deeper bond of understanding and love for Jesus Christ, the perfect Bridegroom, who is proposing to us an everlasting marriage in heaven. How do we respond? Joanna Bogle has an MA in Theology and is Visiting Research Fellow at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London.