Pope Issues Clarification of Cardinal Sarah’s Statement on Magnum Principium
ATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News)—In a letter responding to questions raised by Cardinal Robert Sarah on the new process of translating liturgical texts from Latin into vernacular languages, Pope Francis offered several points of clarification. He clarified that while in the past, it was the task of the Vatican’s liturgical office to judge whether or not a translation is faithful to the original Latin, episcopal conferences themselves have now been given the faculty of “judging the goodness and consistency of one and the other term in the translations from the original, in dialogue with the Holy See.” Dated October 15, the Pope’s letter was in response to one he had received from Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, at the end of September thanking the Pope for his recent motu proprio Magnum Principium (MP) on the translation of liturgical texts, and offering a commentary on how to interpret the motu proprio. The commentary had argued that the new process for translating liturgical texts still follows the rules put into place with the 2001 instruction Liturgiam Authenticam (LA), which said the vernacular versions must faithfully reflect the language and structure of the Latin texts. The commentary also looked at the role of the Holy See and bishops’ conferences in both “recognizing” (recognitio) and “confirming” (confirmatio)
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Vol. XXIII, No. 3
Mediator Dei—70 Years Later, Its Groundbreaking Legacy Lives on By Father Robert Johansen, M.A., S.T.L.
n November 20, 1947, Pope Pius XII promulgated the encyclical Mediator Dei. This letter marked a watershed moment in the modern history of the Church. The first papal encyclical devoted specifically and entirely to the liturgy, its significance can be seen not only in itself, but in what it began; for Mediator Dei constitutes the foundation and starting point of the movement towards liturgical reform that culminated in the Second Vatican Council. Pope Pius did far more than simply legislate for or regulate the liturgy: he provided a thorough and systematic theological treatment of the Church’s worship, one which bore abundant fruit in the ensuing decades; the document’s ramifications have yet to be fully realized. Mediator Dei (MD), as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said in 2008, “gave an impetus to the liturgical movement,”1 and distilled “the best insights”2 of it for the universal Church. At the time of its publication, the foremost American liturgical journal, Orate Fratres, said that by it the Holy Father had “granted official Catholic status” to the liturgical movement.3 Furthermore, no less a personage than Dom Lambert Beauduin (1873-1960), among the earliest pioneers of the Liturgical Movement, wrote that by this letter Pope Pius had elucidated “the basic prerogatives which entitle the liturgy to a post of the first order in the spiritual life.”4 Because of it, J.E. Kelly wrote in the proceedings of the 1948 liturgical week, “The Liturgical endeavor” became “an apostolate incumbent upon all.”5 Pope Pius XII provides a definition of liturgy and a description of liturgical development, which have led some liturgical scholars to describe the encyclical as the Magna Carta of the Liturgical Movement.6 Sign of Maturity Mediator Dei is a sign that the Liturgical Movement had, in a sense, reached maturity. Pope Pius XII recognized this development, praised the advancements in scholarship and understanding that the movement had contributed, and sought to consolidate those gains. He intended to encourage further effort, as well as to “take proper
Adoremus Bulletin NOvember 2017
News & Views
For the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy
Pope Pius XII (1939-1958) gave the Church her first encyclical entirely devoted to the sacred liturgy in 1947—Mediator Dei.
steps to preserve it…from excess or outright perversion” (MD, 7). He observed that, unfortunately, there were still “places where the spirit, understanding or practice of the sacred liturgy is defective” (MD, 8). Thus, Pope Pius XII set out to “restrain the overbold,” as well as to “correct the faults of those who are negligent and sluggish” (MD, 9). The Liturgical Movement had experienced a noticeable intensification of activity in the years following World War I. In part this was due to the freeing of academic and cultural energies that had been stifled by the war. But there was also a growing awareness that
the crisis of civilization represented by the war called for a revival of faith, and therefore a revivification of the Church’s worship. There was a sense that the West was adrift and in danger of becoming wholly lost. The ravages of the Second World War and the ensuing descent of much of the world beneath the shadow of communism showed that, if anything, the situation had become even more dire. And so, Pope Pius XII wrote, “after a long and cruel war which has rent whole peoples asunder with its rivalry and slaughter,” “the needs of our day and age demand” an effort to “restore peace” and Please see Mediator on page 4
Liturgy and Legacy Mediator Dei, the Church’s first encyclical devoted entirely to the liturgy, turns 70 years old. Father Rob Johansen reminds us why it was important then—and now..................................................1
What’s up with the Cosmic Liturgy? Eclipsing moons and dancing suns are not an everyday occurrence. Priest and astronomer James Kurzynski shows us how to see (and not see) these great signs in the sky................................................ 8
A Quest for Balance The push and pull of Roman centralization versus local adaptation is a consequence of the One Christ come to redeem every person. Pope Francis weighs in on the matter with his recent letter on liturgical translations........................................3 The Incarnation Continues The Son of God became the son of Mary 2,000 years ago. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, explains Augustine Institute’s Lucas Pollice, creates divine life in humans still today......................6
Praise to Hymn There’s more to Christianity’s treasury of hymns than meets the eye—or ear. Jennifer Donelson reviews Father George Rutler’s new book on 100 great hymns. ............................................................. 9 News & Views................................................. 2 The Rite Questions....................................... 10 Donors & Memorials................................... 11
2 Continued from MAGNUM, page 1 modifications to liturgical texts, arguing that the term recognitio used in the new canons involves adaptions of texts, while confirmatio involves translations. Because of this, the terms are different, even if they are “interchangeable with respect to the responsibility of the Holy See.” The commentary also argued that the recognitio of liturgical texts implies a preliminary consultation with the Holy See before translation processes begin, with the confirmatio of the Holy See being the final step. In his letter to Cardinal Sarah, the Pope thanked him for his commitment and for sending the commentary, but offered some simple “observations” on the commentary “which I consider to be important, especially for the proper application and understanding of the motu proprio and to avoid any misunderstanding.” The first point Francis made was that his motu proprio Magnum Principium “abolished” the process for translating used by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments after LA was published in 2001. Magnum Principium, he said, “sought to change” this process. The Pope said of the terms recognitio and confirmatio, that it cannot be said that they are “strictly synonymous or interchangeable or that they are interchangeable at the level of responsibility of the Holy See.” The distinction between recognitio and confirmatio, he said, emphasizes “the different responsibility” that the Apostolic See and episcopal conferences have in liturgical translations. “Magnum Principium no longer claims that translations must conform on all points to the norms of LA, as was done in the past,” the Pope said, explaining that because of this, individual numbers in LA have to be “carefully re-understood.” He said this new interpretation includes LA 79-84, which deal specifically with the requirement for a vernacular translation to have the recognitio of Rome. These numbers, Francis said, “have been abrogated” and “reformulated” with the publication of MP. The confirmatio of the Vatican, then, “no longer supposes a detailed word-by-word examination,” he said, except in obvious cases which can be brought to the bishops for further reflection. This new policy the Pope said, applies to texts such as the Eucharistic Prayers or sacramental formulas. Pope Francis said the new norms imply “a triple fidelity,” first of all to the original Latin text, to the particular languages the text is translated into, and to the comprehension of the text by its recipients. In this sense, the recognitio of the texts only implies “the verification and preservation of conformity” to the Code of Canon Law and the communion of the Church, he said. Francis also emphasized that in the process of translating liturgical texts, there should be no “spirit of imposition” on bishops’ conferences of a translation done by the Vatican’s liturgical department. The Pope said “it is wrong to attribute to the confirmatio the purpose of the recognitio,” which is to “verify and safeguard” in accordance with the law. He also stressed that the confirmatio is not “merely a formal act, but necessary for the edition of the translated liturgical book,” and is granted after the version has been submitted to the Apostolic See for a confirmation of the bishops’ approved text. Pope Francis closed his letter noting that Cardinal Sarah’s commentary had been published on several websites—and also that it had been wrongly attributed to him—and asked that the cardinal transmit his response to the same outlets, as well as to members and consultors of the Congregation for Divine Worship.
Epiphany, Ascension moved back to original dates in England, Wales LONDON, ENGLAND (CNA/EWTN News)—The Vatican has approved a decision from the Catholic bishops in England and Wales to move two Holy Days of Obligation back to their original dates. Effective December 3, the first Sunday of Advent of this year, the Catholic dioceses in England and Wales will celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord on January 6, and the Ascension of the Lord on the Thursday after the 6th Sunday of Easter. Since 1984, these feasts had been transferred to the nearest Sunday. The only exception to the new move is for Epiphany: if January 6 falls on a Saturday or Monday, Epiphany will be observed on the Sunday closest.
Adoremus Bulletin, Novemeber 2017
NEWS & VIEWS
Pope issues new directives on revision, translation of liturgical texts By Elise Harris VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News)—The Holy See has released a new motu proprio from Pope Francis outlining a shift in the responsibility of local bishops and the Apostolic See for the revision and approval of liturgical texts. Dated September 3 and published September 9, and already in effect since October 1, the document is titled Magnum Principium (“The great principle”) and deals explicitly with two specific changes to canon 838 of the Code of Canon Law, which addresses the authority of the Apostolic See and national episcopal conferences in preparing liturgical texts in vernacular languages. Specifically, changes were introduced to paragraphs 2 and 3 of canon 838. Canon 838, 2 has until now stated: “It is for the Apostolic See to order the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, publish liturgical books and review their translations in vernacular languages, and exercise vigilance that liturgical regulations are observed faithfully everywhere.” However, with Francis’ motu proprio, the text has been changed to read (emendations in italics): “It is for the Apostolic See to order the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, publish liturgical books, recognize [recognitio] adaptations approved by the Episcopal Conference according to the norm of law, and exercise vigilance that liturgical regulations are observed faithfully everywhere.” Similarly, canon 838, 3 previously read: “It pertains to the conferences of bishops to prepare and publish, after the prior review of the Holy See, translations of liturgical books in vernacular languages, adapted appropriately within the limits defined in the liturgical books themselves.” The text will now read: “It pertains to the episcopal conferences to faithfully [fideliter] prepare versions of the liturgical books in vernacular languages, suitably accommodated within defined limits, and to approve and publish the liturgical books for the regions for which they are responsible after the confirmation [confirmatio] of the Apostolic See.” The changes apportion a greater responsibility for the preparation and approval of liturgical translations to episcopal conferences, rather than placing responsibilities more with the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. Additionally, Pope Francis noted that after the Second Vatican Council, the Church was acutely aware of “the attendant sacrifice involved in the partial loss of liturgical Latin, which had been in use throughout the world over the course of centuries.” However, “it willingly opened the door” so that vernacular liturgical translations, “as part of the rites themselves, might become the voice of the Church celebrating the divine mysteries along with the Latin language.” In light of the various views expressed by Council Fathers at the time, the Church, he said, was also aware of the challenges the task would present. “On the one hand it was necessary to unite the good of the faithful of a given time and culture and their right to a conscious and active participation in liturgical celebrations with the substantial unity of the Roman Rite,” he said. Yet on the other hand, “the vernacular languages themselves, often only in a progressive manner, would be able to become liturgical languages, stand-
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ing out in a not dissimilar way to liturgical Latin for their elegance of style and the profundity of their concepts with the aim of nourishing the faith.” Pope Francis expressed that “general guidelines” regarding the use of the vernacular “must be followed by Liturgical Commissions as the most suitable instruments so that, across the great variety of languages, the liturgical community can arrive at an expressive style suitable and appropriate to the individual parts, maintaining integrity and accurate faithfulness especially in translating some texts of major importance in each liturgical book.” The primary goal of translating liturgical texts and biblical texts for the liturgy, he said, is to “announce the word of salvation to the faithful in obedience to the faith and to express the prayer of the Church to the Lord.” Because of this, “it is necessary to communicate to a given people using its own language all that the Church intended to communicate to other people through the Latin language.” Francis stressed that while fidelity “cannot always be judged by individual words but must be sought in the context of the whole communicative act and according to its literary genre,” there are particular terms which “must also be considered in the context of the entire Catholic faith because each translation of texts must be congruent with sound doctrine.” Given the weight of the task, the Pope said it’s no surprise that certain problems have arisen between episcopal conferences and the Apostolic See along the way. In order for decisions about the use of the vernacular language to be of use and value in the future, then, “a vigilant and creative collaboration full of reciprocal trust” between the Apostolic See and bishops’ conferences is “absolutely necessary.” Because of this, “in order that the renewal of the whole liturgical life might continue,” Francis said “it seemed opportune that some principles handed on since the time of the Council should be more clearly reaffirmed and put into practice.” Apt attention ought to be paid to the “benefit and good of the faithful,” while at the same time ensuring that the “right and duty” of episcopal conferences is not forgotten, since it is their task to “ensure and establish that, while the character of each language is safeguarded, the sense of the original text is fully and faithfully rendered and that even after adaptations the translated liturgical books always illuminate the unity of the Roman Rite.” In order to make collaboration between the Apostolic See and bishops’ conferences “easier and more fruitful,” and after having listened to advice from a commission of bishops and experts he established to study the issue, the Pope said he wished to make the “canonical discipline” already in force in canon 838 more clear. Namely, Francis said he wanted the changes to harmonize with paragraphs 36, 40 and 63 of the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium) and the provisions of Paul VI’s 1964 motu proprio Sacram Liturgiam. In this way, Pope Francis said, “the competency of the Apostolic See surrounding the translation of liturgical books and the more radical adaptations established and approved by Episcopal Conferences be made clearer, among which can also be numbered eventual new texts to be inserted into these books.”
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Adoremus Bulletin, November 2017
he Council’s desired reform of the Missal is irreversible. That, at least, is what the Pope said. “Let all everywhere adopt and observe what has been handed down by the Holy Roman Church, the Mother and Teacher of the other churches, and let Masses not be sung or read according to any other formula than that of this Missal published by Us. This ordinance applies henceforth, now, and forever, throughout all the provinces of the Christian world…: This Missal is to be used by all churches.” Such is what Pope St. Pius V wrote in his Apostolic Constitution, Quo Primum, by which he promulgated the Missal of Trent in 1570. Still, when Dom Prosper Guaranger, considered by most to be the founding father of the Liturgical Movement, reopened the Benedictine Priory of Solesmes in 1832, there were nearly as many Missals in use in France as there were dioceses—more than 250 years after Pius V had promulgated Trent’s singular book. One bishop observed that he had five different missals in his own diocese alone. (To our bishops who may be reading: can you imagine the same phenomena today on your confirmation rounds?) Upon Gueranger’s death in 1875, efforts to bring a unified Roman Missal over the mountains into many dioceses of France were well underway. The tension between Roman centralization and local adaptation is still an issue today, and Pope Francis’s recent motu proprio, Magnum Principium, has struck a major chord between the one and the many—and made it a live-wire of controversy sparking speculation throughout the Church—some perhaps justified, some perhaps not. There are, of course, many aspects of Church life affected by the motu proprio. First, the liturgical language may take on a new tone. Second, legally speaking, the Code of Canon Law and other procedural legislation (such as that found in
In This Place for All Times: What the One Has to Do with the Many and Why Both Are Essential to Catholic Liturgy
Liturgiam Authenticam) are now changed. Third, there are political ramifications (probably better called “ecclesial ramifications”) as Roman involvement in authorizing texts will be decentralized and given over to local bishops’ conferences. But the one dynamic at the core of the motu proprio most in play and most affected is the relationship between the universal and the particular, the one and the many, unity and diversity. To what degree ought the Church and her liturgy be unified in a common celebration or adapted to particular circumstances? Both poles ought to be in operation, and emphasizing one to the detriment of the other will weaken the liturgical prayer of one and all. Finding the balance between unity and diversity is no easy task. While it’s possible that one can find a wrong answer to their correct connection—too much unity or too much diversity—there is no one correct answer. Nor like so many ecclesial (or secular) conundrums does the matter break along so-called traditional and progressive lines. For example, a traditionally-minded Catholic can appreciate the liturgical authority of Rome and the unitive principle it represents when it comes to, say, the value in the Latin Church’s single, longstanding Roman Canon or the unitive power of the Latin language. Yet at the same time he is grateful for the legitimate options of Mass offered either versus populum or ad orientem, or the latitude to receive communion standing or kneeling (see GIRM, 160). Similarly, the progressive parishioner appreciates the inclusive paraphrase, “for all,” in place of pro multis in the Eucharistic Prayer, versus the varied “for many.” But even while he emphasizes that Jesus died “for all,” he rightly supports the principle of subsidiarity or the legitimate variations found in local rituals, such as the lazo or
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By Christopher Carstens, Editor
The Church’s many Bishops assemble in a single body of the Second Vatican Council. Among their stated goals were the Great Principles of suitable adaptation and the promotion of ecclesial unity.
coins in the new Marriage Rite. In short, each Catholic—whether drawn in a traditional or progressive direction— desires unity in some aspects of the liturgy and diversity in others; rarely is one wholly supportive of exclusive unity or diversity. Nor is the Church at large disposed to favor one aspect to the detriment of the other, but, rather, to keep both in harmony. What Pope Francis names as the “Great Principle”—Magnum principium—is that “liturgical prayer be accommodated to the comprehension of the people so that it might be understood.” This “accommodation” entails the translation from a universal Latin text into a multitude of vernacular languages in the world’s local churches. But this Great Principle is, in fact, subordinate to—or, rather, is in instance of—the interplay between even Greater Principles.
Before the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council had even finished offering their first sentence to the faithful at large, they indicated their principal aims, which include: “to adapt more suitably to the needs of our own times those institu-
A Key to Reading the Motu Proprio Magnum Principium By ArchbishopArthur Roche, Secretary for the Congregation for Divine Worship & the Discipline of the Sacraments
he new Motu Proprio Magnum principium has altered the formulation of some norms of the Codex iuris canonici regarding the translation of liturgical books into modern languages. Pope Francis has introduced some modifications to the text of canon 838 in this Motu Proprio, dated 3 September 2017 and entering into force from 1st October 2017. The reason for these changes is explained in the papal text itself, which recalls and explicates the principles which underlie translations of the Latin typical editions as well as the delicacy required by those who undertake such work. Because the Liturgy is the prayer of the Church it is regulated by ecclesial authority. Given the importance of this work, the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council had already considered the question of the roles of both the Apostolic See and the Episcopal Conferences in this regard (cf. Sacrosanctum concilium, nn.36, 40 & 36). In effect the great task of providing for liturgical translations was guided by norms and by specific Instructions from the competent Dicastery, in particular Comme le prévoit (25 January 1969) and then, after the Codex iuris canonici of 1983, by Liturgiam authenticam (28 March 2001), both published at different stages with the goal of responding to concrete problems which had become evident over the course of time and which
had arisen as a result of the complex work that is involved in the translation of liturgical texts. The material relating to the whole field of inculturation was, on the other hand, regulated by the Instruction Varietates legitimate (25 January 1994). Taking into account the experience of these years, the Pope writes that now “it seemed opportune that some principles handed on since the time of the Council should be more clearly reaffirmed and put into practice.” Thus, taking account of the experience during the course of these years and with an eye to the future based on the liturgical constitution of Vatican II, Sacrosanctum concilium, the Pope intends to clarify the current discipline by introducing some changes to canon 838 of the Codex iuris canonici. The object of the changes is to define better the roles of the Apostolic See and the Conferences of Bishops in respect to their proper competencies which are different yet remain complementary. They are called to work in a spirit of dialogue regarding the translation of the typical Latin books as well as for any eventual adaptations that could touch on rites and texts. All of this is at the service of the Liturgical Prayer of the People of God. In particular, in the new formulation of the said canon, there is a more adequate distinction, as far as the role of the Apostolic See is concerned, between the scope of the recognition and that of the confirmation in respect of what belongs to the Episcopal Conferences, taking account of their pastoral and doctrinal responsibility as well as the limits to their actions.
The recognitio, mentioned in canon 838 §2, implies the process of recognizing on the part of the Apostolic See legitimate liturgical adaptations, including those that are “more radical” (Sacrosanctum concilium 40), which the Episcopal Conferences can establish and approve for their territories within defined limits. In the encounter between liturgy and culture the Apostolic See is called to recognoscere, that is, to review and evaluate such adaptations in order to safeguard the substantial unity of the Roman Rite: the references for this material are Sacrosanctum concilium nn. 39-40; and its application, when indicated in the liturgical books and elsewhere, is regulated by the Instruction Varietates legitimae. [Editor’s note: the recent additions of the arras (coins) or lazo (veil) into the second edition of the Order of Celebrating Matrimony are examples of adaptations that required recognito by the Holy See.] The confirmation–terminology already adopted in the motu proprio Sacram Liturgiam n. IX ([Pope Paul VI,] 25 January 1964)—pertains instead to the translations of liturgical texts which, on the basis of Sacrosanctum concilium (n.36, §4), are within the competency of the Episcopal Conferences to prepare and approve; canon 838 §3 clarifies that the translations must be completed fideliter [“faithfully”] according to the original texts, thus acknowledging the principal preoccupation of the Instruction Liturgiam authenticam. Indeed, recalling the right, and the grave responsibility of translation entrusted to the Episcopal Conferences, the motu proprio also points out that the Conferences
tions which are subject to change,” and “to foster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 1). Thus, the Church is to strive for and meet the challenge of being able “to adapt” and “to foster union” within the liturgy. Should the Church pray in one tongue, or many? Ought there be one legislator, or many? In truth, these questions don’t permit simple either/or answers. Magnum Principium continues a shift in emphasis away from Roman unity to local variety. If we can infer from the mind of Mother Church that the “virtue lies in the middle,” finding the Golden Mean is an ongoing task, today as in the time of Pope St. Pius V and Dom Prosper Gueranger. Adaptation, inculturation, or variation, all while maintaining the “substantial unity of the Roman Rite” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 38) is the question of today and tomorrow. Let us pray that the one Mystical Body, along with its many cells, can meet this goal as the Council’s irreversible reform desired. “must ensure and establish that, while the character of each language is safeguarded, the sense of the original text should be rendered fully and faithfully.” The confirmation of the Apostolic See is therefore not to be considered as an alternative intervention in the process of translation, but rather as an authoritative act by which the competent Dicastery ratifies the approval of the bishops. Obviously, this presupposes a positive evaluation of the fidelity and congruence of the texts produced in respect to the typical editions on which the unity of the Rite is founded, and, above all, taking account of the texts of greatest importance, in particular the Sacramental formulae, the Eucharistic Prayers, the prayers of Ordination, the Order of Mass and so on. Naturally, this modification to the Codex iuris canonici entails an adjustment to the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus [by Pope John Paul II] n.64 §3, as well as to the norms surrounding translations. This means, for example, that it will be necessary to readjust some numbers of the Institutio generalis missalis Romani and of the Praenotanda of the liturgical books. The Instruction Liturgiam authenticam itself, which is to be appreciated for the attention it brings to bear on this complicated work and its implications, must be interpreted in the light of the new formulation of canon 838 when it speaks about seeking the recognitio. Finally, the motu proprio provides that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments will also “modify its own Regolamento on the basis of the new discipline and help the Episcopal Conferences to fulfil their task.”
Priestly Order in Action The encyclical may be divided into four parts, along with an introduction and a conclusion. The first part is a treatment of the nature and development of the liturgy. This section and the one succeeding it are the most systematically theological. In the first section Pius XII describes the liturgy as the public worship of the Church and describes the liturgy as the consequence of the incarnation of the Lord, and the means by which the Lord continues and extends his presence to the Church in the world. The Pope sets forth the origins of the liturgy in the Old Testament and its recapitulation as the means of conferring and strengthening the life of the new covenant. Furthermore, Pius XII reiterates and expands previous magisterial teaching on the primacy of the interior element of divine worship. After a discussion of “piety,” “devotion,” and the capacity or sufficiency of the sacraments in themselves to convey and dispense divine grace, he underscores the unity and complementarity of the liturgical act, the sanctification of its participants, and the consequent action of the members of the body in the world. This appraisal leads to a discussion of the ecclesial nature of the liturgy and the role of the hierarchy and teaching office of the
Church in the celebration and regulation of liturgical life. Pope Pius, in concluding this section, provides an important discussion of the nature of liturgical development and the means of discerning and regulating that process. Rather than something fixed or static, the Holy Father saw the liturgy as “capable of evolution.”7 The liturgy grows and changes in its human components, “as the needs of the age, circumstance and the good of souls may require,” under the care and guidance of the hierarchy (MD, 50). Nature of Worship The second section of the encyclical is a treatment of the nature of the Eucharist and our worship in the Mass. It begins with a summary of the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist: the renewal of Christ’s bloody sacrifice perpetuated in an unbloody way, the unicity of the sacrifice of Calvary, that of the Last Supper, and its re-presentation in the Eucharistic liturgy. Pope Pius also provides a précis of the four ends of the Mass (MD, 71-74):
“While cautioning that the faithful do not offer the sacrifice in the same way as the ordained priest, who is configured to Christ the head, nonetheless, the faithful do ‘offer’ the sacrifice in cooperation with the priest.” 1. The glorification of God: Christ’s self-immolation in obedience to the Father is the supreme act of glorifying God. 2. Our thanksgiving to God: Christ
“Mediator between God and men,” begins Pope Pius’s liturgical encyclical, “and High Priest who has gone before us into heaven, Jesus the Son of God quite clearly had one aim in view when He undertook the mission of mercy which was to endow mankind with the rich blessings of supernatural grace. Sin had disturbed the right relationship between man and his Creator; the Son of God would restore it.” The reredos of Christ the King Chapel in La Crosse, WI, was created shortly after Pius XII’s encyclical and conveys architecturally the liturgical theology of Mediator Dei.
AB/Lawrence OP on Flickr
Continued from MEDIATOR, page 1 to become “one brotherhood.” The Holy Father believed that “no plan or initiative can offer a better prospect of success than that fervent religious spirit and zeal by which Christians must be formed and guided” (MD, 12). Far from being an otherworldly concern, the Holy Father and others saw the cultivation of what Pius X (1903-1914) had called “the liturgical spirit” as the primary antidote to the afflictions of the present age. Following his predecessor, Pius XII saw that by “active participation” in the liturgy, the divine life “flowing from the head is imparted to the members” for the work of the sanctification of the world (MD, 78).
Adoremus Bulletin, November 2017
“All the faithful should be aware that to participate in the eucharistic sacrifice is their chief duty and supreme dignity,” Mediator Dei directs. “[T]hey not only offer the sacrifice by the hands of the priest, but also, to a certain extent, in union with him. It is by reason of this participation that the offering made by the people is also included in liturgical worship.” (80, 92)
alone was capable of making a worthy return to God, and this thanksgiving is perpetuated in the sacrifice of the altar. 3. Expiation, propitiation, and reconciliation: Christ was uniquely fitted to make satisfaction to God for the sins of mankind. That propitiation is renewed daily at the altar. 4. Impetration: the word “impetration” comes from the Latin verb impetrare, meaning to seek or obtain by request or entreaty. It is ensured petition, so that “we may be filled with every blessing and grace.” After this description of the ends of the Mass, the encyclical continues with a discussion of the necessity and the means by which we are individually brought into “vital contact with the sacrifice of the cross, so that its merits... should be imparted to [us]” (MD, 77). Christ wished that “all should approach and be drawn to his cross…to obtain the salutary fruits produced by him upon it.” But it was not enough that we should receive those fruits in a purely passive way. Continuing the teaching of Pope Pius X in Tra le sollecitudini (1903), Pius XII explains that we receive the sanctification made present through the liturgy by means of our “active and individual participation” (MD, 78). That participation, the encyclical continues, is the “chief duty and supreme dignity” of the faithful (MD, 80). While cautioning that the faithful do not offer the sacrifice in the same way as the ordained priest, who is configured to Christ the head, nonetheless, the faithful do “offer” the sacrifice in cooperation with the priest. The Holy Father adduces the “Orate, fratres” as evidence of this: “Pray brethren that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the Father Almighty” (MD, 87; Roman Missal). Furthermore, he explains, the people are united with both the ordained priest and our one High Priest “in praise, impetration, expiation and thanksgiving” (MD, 93), as a consequence of our baptismal incorporation into the body of Christ, and thereby, our participation in his priesthood (MD, 88). This discussion concludes with an explanation of the importance of Holy Communion and the fittingness and merits of Eucharistic adoration. In his letter, Pope Pius XII reiterates the teaching of Trent that the communion of the faithful is not necessary for the validity of Mass, but he also exhorts Catholics to receive Holy Communion frequently and devoutly, so that we may be united to the Lord “in the spirit of the most ardent charity” (MD, 115-117). United to the Lord by the reception of Holy Communion, in adoration the faithful “bear witness to solemnly avow the faith of the Church that the Word of God is identi-
cal with the Son of the Virgin Mary, who suffered on the cross, who is present in a hidden manner in the Eucharist and who reigns upon his heavenly throne” (MD, 134). Hours and Years The third section of the encyclical is devoted to the Divine Office and the Liturgical Year. By means of the Divine Office, or the Liturgy of the Hours, the Church’s worship of God, which has its source and origin in the Eucharist, is “directed and arranged in such a way that it embraces…the hours of the day” (MD, 138). With the Divine Office the Church fulfills the Lord’s command “to pray always,” with the result that mind and heart ascend to God in union with Christ (MD, 145). The Holy Father recognizes that, in our own time, the practice of the regular singing or recitation of the Divine Office is largely maintained in monasteries or religious communities. But he exhorts bishops and pastors to continue or to revive the practice of reciting or singing Vespers in parish churches. By this means, he asserts, Sundays will be kept holy and the people will be more closely united to the prayer of the whole Church (MD, 150). After a brief outline of the liturgical year, Pope Pius explains that the cycle of divine mysteries observed in time is a consequence of the Incarnation. He writes, “In the sacred liturgy, the whole Christ is proposed to us in all the circumstances of His life, as the Word of the eternal Father, as born of the Virgin Mother of God, as He who teaches us truth, heals the sick, consoles the afflicted, who endures suffering and who dies; finally, as He who rose triumphantly from the dead and who, reigning in the glory of heaven, sends us the Holy Paraclete and who abides in His Church forever; ‘Jesus Christ, yesterday and today, and the same forever’” (MD, 163). This phrase, “the whole Christ,” is reminiscent of the language Dom Odo Casel (1886-1948) uses in his seminal work The Mystery of Christian Worship. In Casel’s thought, which Pope Emeritus Benedict described as “the most fruitful theological idea of the 20th century,”8 through the liturgy we encounter and participate in the “whole Christ,” and in the liturgical year we, who are limited by quotidian time, are nonetheless made present to the entirety of Christ’s life and saving work.9 Thus, Pope Pius explains, the liturgical year “is not a cold and lifeless representation of the events of the past, or a simple and bare record of a former age. It is Christ himself who is ever living in his Church.... [T]hese mysteries are ever present and active…,
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Adoremus Bulletin, November 2017
“The sacred liturgy,” Pius XII famously says in Mediator Dei, is “the public worship which our Redeemer as Head of the Church renders to the Father, as well as the worship which the community of the faithful renders to its Founder, and through Him to the heavenly Father. It is, in short, the worship rendered by the Mystical Body of Christ in the entirety of its Head and members” (n.20). St. Andrew Dung-Lac and his fellow martyrs, for example, are joined with Christ in his sacrifice to the Father, both in their heroic deaths and in the Eucharistic offering.
not in a vague and uncertain way..., [but] they still influence us because each mystery brings its own special grace for our salvation” (MD, 165). Finally, this section concludes with a brief discussion of the sanctoral cycle, and the means by which the feasts of the saints provide constant guidance, examples, and, most importantly, occasions for the saints’ fellowship and intercession. Pastoral Application The final section of the encyclical deals with practical pastoral instructions. In it Pope Pius encourages the multiplicity of legitimate devotions and reiterates his teaching that there can be no “real opposition between the sacred liturgy and other religious practices, provided they be kept within legitimate bounds and performed for a legitimate purpose” (MD, 173). Legitimate devotions, he says, “develop a deeper spiritual life of the faithful” and “prepare them to take part in sacred public functions with greater fruit.” Thus devotions, in their proper place, are complementary or preparatory for full participation in the liturgy. He sets forth, however, the norm that the liturgy should exercise “a salutary influence” on devotions so that “nothing improper be introduced.” In other words, the liturgy is both prior to and of a higher order than devotions. The devotional life of the faithful should flow from the liturgy, not vice versa (MD, 184). Pope Pius XII, like his predecessors, encourages the use of Gregorian chant, and confirms its status as the normative music of the Roman Rite liturgy. He continues Pius X’s and Pius XI’s call for the restoration of Gregorian chant to the people and exhorts pastors to promote congregational singing as a testimony to the unity of the hearts and minds of the faithful (MD, 191-194). After remarks concerning the education of seminarians and the selection and training of altar servers, the Holy Father commands pastors to be vigilant against errors and zealous for the liturgical formation of their people. The encyclical concludes with a prayer that God would “graciously grant to us all that during our earthly exile we may with one mind and one heart participate in the sacred liturgy which is…a preparation and token of that heavenly liturgy in which we hope one day to sing together with the most
glorious Mother of God…. To him that sitteth on the throne and to the Lamb, benediction and honor, and glory and power forever and ever” (MD 209). Papal Purposes Pius XII sought, as he wrote, to restrain the excesses of some liturgists, and to spur the half-hearted and lukewarm to greater effort. The excesses he sought to restrain were, firstly, what Father Aidan Nichols described as “hyper-liturgism:” an extreme prioritizing of the liturgy in its “objectivity” over devotions, which were disparaged as merely “subjective.”10 Pope Pius corrects this error by insisting that subjective devotion is to have its full effect on worshipers’ lives.11 As Nichols explains, this aspect of Mediator Dei was intended to preclude the possibility of any rift developing between the liturgical life of the faithful and the “mystical tradition of personal prayer in the Church.”12 One cannot promote the authentic litur-
“The antiquarian liturgist, in a reductive and simplistic way, equates the older with the better, and the newer with the worse.” gical life of the Church by disparaging the legitimate devotions of the faithful. Another object of the encyclical is to assert and clarify the authority of the Holy See in liturgical matters. As Alcuin Reid explains, “This is a strong refrain running throughout the encyclical” and is a result of the Holy Father’s concern to restrain liturgical excesses.13 In paragraph 9, Pope Pius asserts his “prerogative to command and approve whatever is done properly, and to check or censure any aberration” (MD, 9), and paragraphs 60-65 contain repeated references to the Holy See regulating the use of the vernacular, liturgical music, and the possession of the overall responsibility to govern the Christian people. It is not that the Holy Father wishes to suppress popular piety or impose a rigid uniformity across the Church. Rather, it seems that his concern is to make sure that, for all facets and expressions of the faith and devotion of the people, the liturgy (what has been called theologia prima) would in fact be their
origin and source. Pope Pius also wished to reprove an increasing tendency towards antiquarianism amongst some liturgists. The Holy Father commended efforts to recover and interpret ancient liturgies and their artifacts. But he deplored efforts “to reduce everything to antiquity by every possible device” (MD, 62). The antiquarian liturgist, in a reductive and simplistic way, equates the older with the better, and the newer with the worse. But this attitude ignores the capacity for and the actuality of development in doctrine and in liturgical practice. As Pius XII wrote, “the more recent liturgical rites likewise deserve reverence and respect. They are equally the resources used by the majestic spouse of Jesus Christ to promote and procure the sanctity of man” (MD, 61). From Letter to Council Mediator Dei anticipated and formed part of the foundation of Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC), the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. Though it is not immediately apparent from the notes of the Constitution, a close reading of the two texts reveals the debt that the latter owes the former. The Constitution is indebted to Mediator Dei not only for its ideas, but also at times for its very words.14 Among the ideas that Sacrosanctum Concilium derives from MD are: • The liturgy as exercise of Christ’s high priesthood • The presence of Christ in the liturgy in both her ordained minister and the gathered faithful • The presence of and encounter with the whole Christ in the liturgy (as mentioned above) But the value of Mediator Dei lies not only in its status as a source for the teaching of Vatican II. As Father Aidan Nichols shows, Mediator Dei and Sacrosanctum Concilium have different emphases, and each develops different ideas more fully than the other. For example, Sacrosanctum Concilium has a distinctly more eschatological focus than the encyclical; the theme of the Lord’s coming at the Parousia is almost entirely absent from Mediator Dei.15 On the other hand, as Nichols describes, Mediator Dei has a deeper and richer “theology of devotion.”16 While the post-conciliar jettisoning of devotional life may not have been specifically demanded by Sacrosanctum
Concilium, nonetheless, the Consilium which formed the Mass of Pope Paul VI and others entrusted with the implementation of liturgical reform would have done well to re-read and pay heed to the warnings of Mediator Dei. Furthermore, had Mediator Dei’s strictures against antiquarianism been borne in mind, it might have preserved the Church from some of the excesses and “deformations” (to use Pope Benedict XVI’s word) of the post-conciliar period. The near-iconoclastic zeal for returning to an imagined pristine and primitive liturgy resulted in actions neither called for nor perhaps even anticipated by the Council Fathers, such as the all-but universal adaptation of versus populum celebration, and the abandonment and destruction of altar rails. The strippingdown of the liturgy and its attendant phenomena, as Nichols points out, was precisely what Pius XII had tried to forestall.17 Meditating on Mediator Dei Given the central role the liturgy plays in the life of the Church, Pius XII’s great liturgical encyclical is a profitable subject for renewed study. Father Nichols recalls, in his introductory essay to a recent edition of Mediator Dei, that the 50th anniversary of the letter came and went with little fanfare.18 We do not need a “significant” numbered anniversary to justify a return to such an important source of liturgical doctrine. In this year of its 70th anniversary, it is not intuitively obvious that the Church has settled into a post-conciliar regime which is free from misunderstanding, misdirected efforts, or missed opportunities. It may be that the importance and sweeping breadth of the Council’s teaching has tended to overshadow what has gone before. But perhaps by the 100th anniversary of the encyclical, we may be able to hear, heed, and apply the whole of its teaching.
Father Robert Johansen is a priest of the diocese of Kalamazoo, MI, where he serves as Chaplain to Bronson Battle Creek Hospital and Diocesan Theological Consultant. Father Johansen holds a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Liturgical Institute of the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, IL, where he is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Sacred Theology. Additionally, he holds a Master’s Degree in Greek and Latin from the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. He is the author of numerous articles on theological and liturgical subjects, and is also a frequent speaker and presenter at conferences and workshops on Liturgy, Chant, and the Sacraments. 1. Pope Benedict XVI, “Homily to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Death of the Servant of God Pope Pius XII.” Thursday, 9 October 2008. Accessed October 10, 2017. https://w2.vatican.va/content/ benedict-xvi/en/homilies/2008/documents/hf_benxvi_hom_20081009_50-pio-xii.html 2. Pamela Jackson, An Abundance of Graces: Reflections on Sacrosanctum Concilium. Chicago, 2004. p. 3. 3. “Liturgical Briefs,” Orate Fratres, 22, no. 3: 129. As cited in Alcuin Reid, The Organic Development of the Liturgy. Farnborough, UK, 2004. p. 126. 4. Lambert Beauduin, OSB, “L’encyclique Mediator Dei,” Le Maison Dieu no. 13, p. 7. As cited in Reid, 126. 5. J.F. Kelly, “The Encyclical Mediator Dei,” in The New Man in Christ: National Liturgical Week. Chicago, 1948. p. 11. 6. Reid, 127. 7. Reid, 128. 8. Joseph Ratzinger, Die sakramentale Begründung der christlichen Existenz (Freising, 1970), 5. 9. See Casel, The Mystery of Christian Worship, and Other Writings, ed. Burkhard Neunheuser, OSB (Westminster, MD, 1962), esp. chs. 2-3. 10. Father Aidan Nichols, A Pope and A Council on the Sacred Liturgy. Farnborough, UK, 2002. p.15. 11. Nichols, 16; cf. MD, 31-32. 12. Nichols, 17. 13. Reid, 128. 14. Jackson, 4. 15. Nichols, 10. 16. Nichols, 15-16. 17. Nichols, 21. 18. Nichols, 9.
Adoremus Bulletin, November 2017
It’s Not Business as Usual for RCIA: A New Evangelization Model for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
ext year, we will be commemorating the 30th anniversary of the introduction of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) in the United States. Without a doubt, the re-introduction of the baptismal catechumenate into the life of the Church after Vatican II has been an occasion for renewal and revitalization of the mission of evangelization and catechesis. RCIA has become a normal reality in many parishes across the country. The process has become, as the catechetical documents teach, the model form of evangelization and catechesis in the parish. However, a lot has changed since the rite was first introduced in 1988, both in our culture and in the Church. Culturally, many are now convinced that we live in a post-Christian era, an attitude which largely affects those who are coming to us seeking to enter the Catholic Church. This decline in Christian influence on culture means that many of those who enter the RCIA process are going to need a more extended period of formation to bring about an adult conversion than was needed perhaps ten or fifteen years ago. Much has happened in the Church as well, such as the introduction of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the publication of the General Directory of Catechesis (which also informs the RCIA process), and a greater awareness and understanding of the mission of the New Evangelization enlightened by the pontificates of St. John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and now Pope Francis. All of this makes the 30th anniversary of the introduction of the Rite an excellent occasion for an assessment—or an “examination of conscience”—on how the RCIA has been and is being implemented in our parishes. I often say that in this time of the New Evangelization, it is not business as usual. This time of the New Evangelization requires us to assess and re-examine how we are implementing the RCIA to be sure that it is being done as the Lord wishes in his Church, and that it is also adequately meeting the needs of those who come to us in light of our current cultural situation. Heart, Mind, and Soul Any assessment of the implementation of RCIA in the parish must always start with
“Without a doubt,” writes RCIA formator Lucas Pollice, “the re-introduction of the baptismal catechumenate into the life of the Church after Vatican II has been an occasion for renewal and revitalization of the mission of evangelization and catechesis.”
the three aspects of formation that are intrinsic to the RCIA process: the pastoral aspect, the catechetical aspect and the liturgical aspect. Here it is important to recall the words of Jesus: “You shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). These three aspects of the RCIA process allow the catechumens to do exactly what the Lord commands through their journey of conversion. • The pastoral aspect of formation pertains to the heart by turning their hearts towards the Lord and away from sin— forming them into life-long, witnessing disciples of Jesus. • The catechetical aspect of formation pertains to the mind, and through evangelization and catechesis, helps the catechumen to know the sweetness of the Word of God and become “not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy with Jesus Christ” (Catechesi Tradendae [CT], 5). • The liturgical aspect pertains to the soul, which is infused with grace through the many liturgical rites and allows them as a priestly people to proclaim, “I lift up my soul to you, my God” (Psalm 25:1). Like the unity of the heart, soul, and mind seen in the greatest commandment given to us by Jesus, there is a unity and interrelationship between the three aspects of formation in the RCIA process. Just as it would be incomplete for a disciple to love the Lord only with his heart or his mind, the RCIA is rendered incomplete and ineffective if any one of the three aspects of formation is omitted or poorly implemented. Therefore, the RCIA process is continually informed through all four periods by these three aspects of formation
“Those who direct and are involved in the RCIA, especially in the current cultural context of the New Evangelization, need to be keenly aware of and fully implement the pastoral, catechetical, and liturgical aspects of the RCIA process. “
Editor’s note: The Church calls the baptismal catechumenate, as described and outlined in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, the “model for all catechesis” (General Directory for Catechesis, 59). For those who are unfamiliar with the RCIA’s plan for Christian initiation, the process consists of a series of stages punctuated by major liturgical rites. The first stage is called the “Precatechumenate” and at its end is celebrated the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens. The second period, the “Catechumenate,” concludes with the Rite of Election, when those seeking full communion in the Church enter their third period, called “Purification and Enlightenment.” The celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil is the last of the major rites, following which the “neophytes” enter the process’s final period, known as “Mystagogy.” This normative process described below will focus almost exclusively on non-baptized persons, even though the RCIA process adapts its plan to accommodate baptized non-Catholics. At present, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is retranslating the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults into a second version according to the translation principles outlined in Liturgiam Authenticam.
By Lucas Pollice, M.T.S
and each has its critical role to play in the overall formation and conversion of the catechumens. In addition, the three aspects of formation are interrelated to one another. The pastoral aspect is always oriented to the overall discipleship formation of the catechumens and is concerned with the signs and stages of conversion that are present in each period and major liturgical step throughout the process. The pastoral aspect also informs what occurs in both the liturgical and catechetical aspects, and these two aspects in turn support and complete the pastoral formation the Church desires through the grace given by Mother Church (liturgical) and the gradual knowledge and understanding of the Word of God (catechetical). We can then come to understand these three aspects of formation in the RCIA process as being like a three-legged stool. If one or more of the legs are weak or missing, the entire stool collapses. Likewise, when one or more aspects of formation in the RCIA is weak or missing, the conversion process breaks down and becomes ineffective. Therefore, those who direct and are involved in the RCIA, especially in the current cultural context of the New Evangelization, need to be keenly aware of and fully implement the pastoral, catechetical, and liturgical aspects of the RCIA process and also understand how these aspects of formation change and evolve in each of the four different periods of the process. Such an undertaking requires time and skill, a thorough and prayerful knowledge of the RCIA ritual itself, as well as a knowledge and understanding of other key documents and resources that inform these aspects of formation such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the General Directory for Catechesis, and our own National Statutes for the Catechumenate. The remainder of this essay will be exploring each of these three aspects of formation and will be discussing some key areas in each that are of particular importance in this time of the Church’s life and mission. I. Heart: Pastoral Formation The pastoral aspect of formation in the RCIA process can be described as one’s conversion from an earthly, self-centered orientation (sin) to intentional discipleship (seeking holiness) and contains within itself the ultimate goal and purpose of the RCIA process—the formation of life-long,
intentional disciples of Jesus Christ. However, as we know, forming disciples is not an easy and simple process. It certainly involves what Pope Francis calls “smelling like the sheep” and requires all of those involved in the RCIA process—the pastor, RCIA director, team, sponsors, and the entire Christian community—to know and fully support the catechumens throughout the process. Not One Size Fits All It is also important to remember that this pastoral formation and conversion process takes time and is not a “one size fits all” process. One of the great challenges of doing RCIA, especially in our current cultural climate, is moving away from a “conveyor belt” approach to RCIA and embracing instead an approach that respects the conversion process of each person. As the ritual states, “The rite of initiation is suited to a spiritual journey of adults that varies according to the many forms of God’s grace, the free cooperation of the individuals, the action of the Church, and the circumstances of time and place” (RCIA, 5). Not every person who comes to the precatechumenate will necessarily enter the Church the following Easter—some may need additional time and formation to complete the process of conversion. However, if we adopt the “conveyor belt” approach, the expectation is that everyone will come into the Church at Easter with very little concern or discernment for the spiritual readiness and conversion of the individual catechumens. The correct approach to the RCIA journey is certainly a more thorough and demanding one, and it will indeed require more from all involved. Because of this more involved approach, the pastoral aspect is the easiest to neglect or gloss over. However, if we are faithful to the true purpose of pastoral formation, the fruit of the process will be much greater, and we will be forming and discipling people not to just become part of the Easter Vigil, but gaining for Mother Church disciples for all eternity!
Long and Short of It… One of the keys to offering authentic pastoral formation in the RCIA process is determining the length of the process not primarily by the calendar year, or the number of catechetical sessions required to cover all the doctrines of the faith, but
Adoremus Bulletin, November 2017
Necessary Mystagogy Another key area is the crucial importance of the period of postbaptismal catechesis or mystagogy. In my experience doing RCIA training in numerous dioceses across the country, approximately 25 percent of parishes do any form of postbaptismal catechesis after Easter. This low percentage is quite problematic, considering that the very name we call our newly baptized, neophytes, means “newly planted.” How absurd would it be for us to do all the work in our gardens of planting seeds, tilling the soil, pulling weeds, etc. until the very first sprouts appeared—and then completely abandoning those seedlings without any care whatsoever? But we do something similar to those in our
RCIA process when we provide little or no meaningful postbaptismal catechesis. The rite speaks of the importance of this period when it states, “To strengthen the neophytes as they begin to walk in newness of life, the community of the faithful, their godparents, and their parish priests (pastors) should give them thoughtful and friendly help” (244). Far from winding up the formation process, mystagogy should
“Given our current postChristian cultural setting, it is important to take an honest look at whether our current process for RCIA really meets the needs of those who come to us seeking to enter the Church. Put simply: is an eight to nine-month process really sufficient?” consist of a doubling down on formation and pastoral care to foster and cultivate the new faith of the neophytes and help them to transition out of the security of the RCIA process into their proper apostolate in the life of the Church and the world. Consider the Parable of the Sower as our marching orders to continue to till the soil of our neophytes’ hearts after their initiation and also be wary of the consequences if we do not—the devil and the world certainly don’t stop working after the Easter Vigil!
Best Supporting Roles One final area to address in pastoral formation is the crucial and indispensable role of sponsors and godparents. If pastoral formation is about “smelling like the sheep” and accompanying those who journey in the RCIA process, there is no person more important that the sponsor or godparent. They are the most proximate companions and witnesses to those going through the RCIA process, and it is of extreme importance that we have well-formed sponsors and godparents to journey with them, answer questions, and provide an authentic witness to the Christian life. Given the great responsibility of this role, it would be highly desirable for parishes to make a concerted effort to hand-pick parishioners who would make excellent companions for the journey as sponsors and godparents. The RCIA makes it explicit in the Introduction that the Christian community is to provide sponsors approved by the The Parable of the Sower embodies our marching orders: continue pastor (see 9 and to till the soil of our neophytes’ hearts after their initiation, and also 10). Even if inquirbe wary of the consequences if we do not—the devil and the world ers invite someone certainly don’t stop working after the Easter Vigil. to be a “sponsor”
to ensure that the conversion of those in RCIA has been sufficiently achieved. Certainly, the reality of the calendar, parish life, and catechetical and liturgical formation each needs to play a part, but given our current post-Christian cultural setting, it is important to take an honest look at whether our current process for RCIA really meets the needs of those who come to us seeking to enter the Church. Put simply: is an eight to nine-month process really sufficient? It seems that our own bishops here in the United States direct us to the need for a longer process. In the National Statutes for the Catechumenate, the U.S. bishops state, “The period of the catechumenate, beginning at acceptance into the order of catechumens and including both the catechumenate proper and the period of purification and enlightenment after election or enrollment of names, should extend for at least one year of formation, instruction, and probation” (6). Of course, all of this “ideal” needs to correspond to the “real” that is the life and circumstances of each of our parishes, but it does call us to an examination of conscience about whether the RCIA process is driven by our efforts for conversion and not just the parish calendar or number of catechetical classes. With all this said, it might be a prudent practice to initiate a three- to five-year plan to grow and enrich our RCIA process to meet the conversion needs of those who come to us.
“In order that the sacrificial offering of his or her faith should be perfect,” writes Pope John Paul, “the person who becomes a disciple of Christ has the right to receive ‘the word of faith’ not in mutilated, falsified or diminished form but whole and entire, in all its rigor and vigor. Unfaithfulness on some point to the integrity of the message means a dangerous weakening of catechesis and putting at risk the results that Christ and the ecclesial community have a right to expect from it.”
for the celebration of the initiation sacraments, the parish can still provide a welltrained sponsor to accompany them from the beginning of the process to the Rite of Election. The catechumen can then choose someone else, if desired, as a godparent on the journey from election through mystagogy, but the provided sponsor would serve as an initial, qualified, and trained companion through a majority of the RCIA journey. II. Mind: Catechetical Formation The catechetical aspect of formation can be described as one’s conversion from one who is seeking faith to one who professes the faith of the Church and who has come into intimacy with Jesus. The catechetical aspect of the RCIA process reveals to the catechumen the Father’s loving plan of salvation accomplished in Christ and inspires each catechumen to respond with the gift of faith. An RCIA process without wellorganized catechesis is a heart and soul deprived of the knowledge of Christ who is their source and inspiration. A Perfect Offering The catechetical aspect of formation has an important role to play throughout the RCIA process, and it changes in all four periods of the RCIA. It is the period of the catechumenate, however, where catechesis plays a particularly important role in the conversion and faith formation of the catechumens. In article 75 of the RCIA, it states that in the catechumenate “a suitable catechesis is provided by priests or deacons, or by catechists and others of the faithful that is gradual and complete in its coverage, accommodated to the liturgical year and… leads the catechumens not only to an appropriate acquaintance with dogmas and precepts, but also to a profound sense of the mystery of salvation in which they desire to participate.” For many years following the re-introduction of the RCIA, the popular practice was that the Lection-
ary provided the structure and content for catechesis in the catechumenate period. However, the rite does not mention the Lectionary as the source for catechesis for the catechumenate as it does for both the period of purification and enlightenment (Lenten Year A readings) and mystagogy (Easter readings). Here the vision of the RCIA process is to provide the catechumens with a systematic and organic presentation of all that the Church teaches and believes in a manner that allows and inspires them to authentically live out the Christian life. St. John Paul II particularly speaks of the necessity of this complete catechetical formation. “In order that the sacrificial offering of his or her faith should be perfect,” writes Pope John Paul, “the person who becomes a disciple of Christ has the right to receive ‘the word of faith’ not in mutilated, falsified or diminished form but whole and entire, in all its rigor and vigor. Unfaithfulness on some point to the integrity of the message means a dangerous weakening of catechesis and putting at risk the results that Christ and the ecclesial community have a right to expect from it…. Thus, no true catechist can lawfully, on his own initiative, make a selection of what he considers important in the deposit of faith as opposed to what he considers unimportant, so as to teach the one and reject the other” (CT, 30). Therefore, it is of crucial importance that the catechumens receive a complete and systematic presentation of the faith as outlined and exemplified in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which not only teaches all that the Church professes and believes, but inspires conversion of heart and authentic Christian living. This catechesis ought to be driven by scripture and the story of salvation, connected to the liturgy, and presented in a way that is related to life experiences so that catechumens can fully assimilate the teachings of Christ into Please see RCIA on page 10
Adoremus Bulletin, November 2017
“All Creation Rightly Gives You Praise”—A Lens-Glimpse at the Cosmic Liturgy By Father James Kurzynski
Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord. Praise and exalt him above all forever. Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord. You Heavens, bless the Lord. All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord. All you hosts of the Lord, bless the Lord. Sun and moon, bless the Lord. Stars of heaven, bless the Lord. (Daniel 3: 57-63) The rhythmic strophes of the song of the three young men in Daniel are reminiscent of the rhythmic dance of the Earth around the Sun, and the Moon around both the Earth and Sun. Such movements and motions are so predictable that the “natural liturgy” of August 21st was anticipated for years. In this natural exchange between Sun, Moon, and Earth, we see three individual acts of praise becoming one, allowing their unified voices to sing a song of wonderment in the souls of those who stopped to add their own voice of praise as they witnessed this event. Emotional Eclipse As with all acts of praise, the interior experience can be textured and multilayered. For those whose hearts were full of grief, the eclipse may have evoked the image from Revelation of the Sun covered in sackcloth—the clothing worn by those who mourn. As the darkness increased toward totality (the two minute time period in which the moon completely covers the sun), the image of a creation that mourns would have been quite powerful. For others, the darkening of the Sun may have evoked the simple metaphor from Sirach, affirming that if the Sun, the brightest object in our sky, can be eclipsed, so can the sins of flesh and blood darken God’s grace in our lives. Therefore, the unusual period of darkness that occurred during this natural liturgy of the eclipse may have called some to detach from sinfulness and embrace God’s love more deeply. Still others witnessing the eclipse may have seen in this liturgy a reference to the darkening of the skies at the crucifixion, the apex of both scandal and hope. Though the crucifixion encompasses the moment we put God to death, it was through that death that God won our salvation. Therefore, some may have experienced this natural liturgy as a reentering into Calvary, being in solidarity with those who mourned the death of our Savior. At the same time, this liturgy should not be reduced to solely the more mournful aspects of life. The beginning and end of totality allows for a phenomenon called the “diamond ring,” in which a diamond-like burst of light pours through the moon’s valleys at the penultimate moment before the day skies that turned night return to day. In this way, for some, this liturgy was an experience of the resurrection, allowing the glory of the risen Christ to overcome the “eclipse” whereby the stone that lay in front of Jesus’ tomb is removed. Just as the soldiers would have been taken by awe and wonder, so, too, were those who beheld the eclipse, this liturgy, reduced to awe and wonder, allowing their praise of God to enter this profane liturgy. These moments remind us that the natural world is not always that natural. Sometimes, the rhythmic passing of chronos (the moment to moment passing of time) can numb the soul to the timeless moments of supernatural kyros. Though totality during this eclipse lasted for only a few passing moments, the experience of those moments, for many, remain to this day as timeless reminders of our own ultimate destiny in the afterlife. Dancing Sun, Parading Planets Though this natural liturgy of sun, moon, and earth
n August 21st, the people of the United States participated in an important liturgy. The liturgy I speak of is not the daily Eucharist, a funeral, or a wedding (though I am sure many of these liturgies were celebrated). Rather, the liturgy I speak of took place on a more profane level of existence; in this liturgy, people gathered together to see an occurrence in the natural world which was at once simple, predicable, and an inspiration to many who witnessed its beauty and wonder. The liturgy I speak of was the total solar eclipse of 2017. Now, some may protest that referring to an eclipse as liturgy is walking dangerously close to some type of New Age pantheism. Perhaps some readers are wondering if I am becoming oddly attached to the trees in my backyard. No, I have not pined for a barky embrace as of late, but simply wish to affirm that August 21st allowed those who cared about such natural events an opportunity to experience how Scripture presents all of creation: as a perpetual act of praise to God.
For some who viewed the August 21 eclipse, the diamondlike burst of light was an experience of the resurrection, allowing the glory of the risen Christ to overcome the “eclipse” whereby the stone that lay in front of Jesus’ tomb is removed. Natural phenomena like an eclipse can therefore be an occasion to raise our eyes to the heaven of heavens.
was striking—even in its predictability—there are other events in the world that are not so natural and also involve the sun. This year is the 100th the anniversary of what is called “The Miracle of Sun.” On October 13, 1917 in Fatima, Portugal, it was said that the sun was visible to the naked eye and acted in an irregular manner, not reflecting the “ordo” of natural behavior. Some wonder if science can explain this type of event. The answer is simply no—a miraculous event implies something that goes beyond the natural. I have never experienced such an event. While looking directly at the sun as it danced across the sky, the crowd that gathered at Fatima was not harmed; however, under normal circumstances, I would not encourage anyone to look directly at the sun since it would do irreversible damage to the eyes. Nevertheless, experiences that are miraculous remind us that we do not live in a world of only mechanistic gears and levers. We live in a world that commingles earth and heaven, the material and immaterial, in such an intimate way that it is inseparable, while still being identifiable in a way that points to two realities. Yes, the full unfolding of the Kingdom of God will not be completed until the final judgment; however, we also must avoid the trap of thinking that this capstone moment of human history is the only time in which God’s Kingdom will be established. We truly live as strangers in a strange land with one foot firmly planted in soil and the other upon the divine revelations that transcend our material world. Creation’s Cosmic Liturgy The Church has given beautiful voice to God’s dynamic creation under the title of “Cosmic Liturgy.” While the name is modern, what it speaks to has ancient roots which connect the natural world intimately with the liturgy. Seventh century theologian Maximus the Confessor is one of the most prominent figures of this liturgical framework, presenting in his work, Mystagogy, a rich commentary on how every aspect of the Eucharistic Liturgy reveals an intimate connection between the natural world, the earthly liturgy, and the heavenly liturgy. This connection between the natural and supernatural in the Cosmic Liturgy can be seen in classical church architecture. For example, it was customary to present the stars of the night sky in the ceiling of the church. This representation of the heavens communicates the meeting point of the earthly and heavenly liturgies. This liturgical vision was also adapted to the creation of the liturgical calendar to see in the natural rhythms of spring, summer, fall, and winter a connection between ordinary time, Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter. Cosmic Liturgy, when internalized properly, can be a powerful witness to Christ’s call for us to pray always. This vision of divinity reflected through creation peers into the natural ordo of the world and finds symbols of the deep mysteries of faith. Whether it be the slow shortening of our days after the feast of the birth of John the Baptist (June 24) that signifies the increased effects of sin the world or the slow lengthening of days after Christmas, revealing that Jesus has come to chase away the darkness of sin and death, we can find in the patterns of creation natural reminders of supernatural truths and events. (These specific patterns only work for the Northern Hemisphere.)
Fatima and Physics There have been some who are giving voice to a type of Cosmic Liturgy in relation to the 100th Anniversary of Fatima. Some have commented on a star formation in which Jupiter passes through the “womb” of the constellation Virgo (the virgin) during a nine-month period. Some argue that this leads to a daytime coming together of a woman (Virgo) with child (Jupiter) bathed in the Sun with a crown of twelve “stars” that include the constellation of Leo the Lion and the planet alignment of Mercury, Mars, and Venus. Unfortunately, we can’t directly observe these events since they occur during daylight, but our understanding of the natural movements of stars and planets give us the ability to track such movements. Some have even speculated about a more profound connection between heaven and earth here. Could there be some hidden prophecy God is giving on the anniversary of Fatima? Unfortunately, the beauty of Fatima has been marred by many errors (spurned as often perhaps by wild imagination as by ill-will) and what we might call in this age of the internet, “click-bait” sensationalism. These attempts to conjure what is not there have contorted this coming together of the Fatima anniversary and coincidental configurations of celestial bodies. Some argue that this formation of stars and planets has never happened before, but this is not true. The formation is not unique, but common enough it happens about every twelve years. Also, the alignment of planets with the constellation Leo does not lead to unique configuration of twelve heavenly bodies—it’s simply not true. Lastly, for those who want to turn this astronomical event into some type of apocalyptic foreshadowing, let us remember that the Church condemns astrology—or any attempt to deduce the future from the natural movement of the physical world. A healthier approach to interpreting these type of events is to see them as the aforementioned Cosmic Liturgy sees similar events: natural signs of supernatural realities. For example, since Christmas is a yearly remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ, is there harm in being reminded of Mary and Jesus every twelve years as Jupiter passes through Virgo? No, there isn’t. Similar to the recent total solar eclipse which made headlines around the world, can we see in this formation of heavenly bodies around the time of Fatima’s centennial a heightened awareness of Our Lady of Fatima? Yes, we can. The difficulty, however, of welcoming the Jupiter-Virgo alignment into the established vision of Cosmic Liturgy as a specific part of the 100th anniversary of Fatima is that the alignment of this constellation would only occur once. The power of Cosmic Liturgy is that there is a yearly, observable pattern to remind us of our faith. Further, since this event happens during the daytime, the self-evident nature of Cosmic Liturgy symbols becomes obscured. While the knowledge of the event can be meaningful to some, it lacks the observable power of events like days and nights lengthening and shortening. Nevertheless, it can be a powerful reminder of Mary and Jesus, just not in the ways that many who are commenting online are presenting these events. In regard to apocalyptic symbols, I am more apt to encourage the reader to look not to stars and planets, but to the symbols of our broken world present in countries that boast in cavalier tones about using weapons of mass destruction upon the innocent. These symbols are real, giving us serious moments of pause and reminding us of the simple, powerful plea that our Blessed Mother has made at every apparition which the Church has approved as legitimate: Pray for peace. Pray for nothing but peace.
An Astronomer’s Prayer As we recall the 100th Anniversary of Fatima, may we keep our heads from wondering aloof in the clouds, and remain focused more intently upon the gravity of the circumstances of the world in which we live. May we make a perpetual act of worship to God in which all of creation can participate, begging the Creator for peace within his creation. And may we look for signs of hope in our broken world, so we may not succumb to the despairing nihilism of doom, but embrace the true freedom and joy of a life rooted in Jesus Christ and his Church, allowing a different type of Kingdom to rule our hearts, establishing a world of peace.
_______________________________________ Father James Kurzynski is the Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Menomonie, and St. Luke Parish in Boyceville, both in Wisconsin. He is also Chaplain of StoutCatholic at the campus of the University of Wisconsin–Stout; and he writes for The Catholic Astronomer: The Official Blog of the Vatican Observatory Foundation. (www.vofoundation.org/blog)
Adoremus Bulletin, November 2017
Faith of Our Fathers and Music of Our Mother
Father Rutler’s Book on Traditional Hymns Reexamines Place of Hymnody in Liturgy The Stories of Hymns: The History Behind 100 of Christianity’s Greatest Hymns by Fr. George William Rutler. Irondale, Ala.: EWTN Publishing, 2016. 322 pp. ISBN: 978-1-68278-024-4. $18.95 paperback, $9.99 eBook. By Jennifer Donelson
here are few people better poised to share “the stories of hymns” with us than Father George Rutler, a man who not only loves the great tradition of English-language hymnody dearly, but also has prayed with and savored these great masterpieces of wedded poetry and music since his youth. Father Rutler’s matchless style of storytelling weaves together in a charming and engaging manner the lives, ideas, movements, and artistic craftsmanship which produced these gems. The present volume offers itself as an invitation to repair to the study for an after-dinner digestif, and to hear tales of a world in which textual and musical beauty bring one face-to-face with the human condition, the desires of the heart, and the praiseworthy, redeeming love of our Savior. After one has drunk his fill and heard the yarns spun, one is left with an especially strong sense of “ecumenism of an honest and fruitful kind.”1 Father Rutler’s stories cultivate in the reader a deep appreciation of the spiritual treasures and devoted service of our Protestant brethren. Certainly, these pearls are the result of zeal for the salvation and conversion of souls through the message of the gospel, the seeking of the face of God in the sacred scriptures, and the work of continuing the patristic and medieval traditions of expressing the Christian faith through beautiful poetry and winsome tunes.
Life of Song The story of Father Rutler’s own life comes to the fore in showing Catholics how Protestant fervor, piety, study, and hymnody fruitfully till the soil of the heart so that grace may grow unto the reception of the fullness of the Catholic faith. Father Rutler’s priestly service as a Catholic is one shaped by the sense of mission given to him by Evangelicals, as well as by a sense of dutiful, joyful, and fitting worship of God endowed to him by the singing of these great hymns, which shaped not only his theology, but also his sense of what befits the house of the Lord. As a convert from Anglicanism, Father Rutler is able to convey both an appreciation of the laudable merits of Anglican and Protestant liturgies, as well as a deep understanding of how the fullness of the Catholic faith perfects and corrects the best sentiments and elements of Protestant piety in her own beautiful liturgical traditions. In Father Rutler’s description of the tune SALAMIS, set with the text “I think when I read that sweet story of old,” he says: “It was a favorite in the Sunday School of my youth and was frequently illustrated in the children’s songbooks with pictures of Christ surrounded by all races and clans, usually with a representative of my own denomination on His knee. The hymn, like all solid hymns for children, is really for adults serious about the interior life. The Catholic child will want to be taught that the prayer of access to our Lord’s presence,2 referred to in the third stanza, is most perfectly realized in the Holy Eucharist.”3 The great figures of hymnody, Catholic and nonCatholic—St. Ambrose, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the Wesleys, John Mason Neale, George Frideric Handel, Reginald Heber, John Keble, Ronald Knox, Father Frederick Faber, Isaac Watts, Catherine Winkworth, and Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman—are presented as figures fallible and faithful, people worth knowing not only because of the works they left behind for us to sing, but also because their lives show the grace of God at work in spite of error, misfortune, and sin. In the hands of Rutler’s storytelling, the figures come alive. He weaves together disparate historical coincidences; features of an author’s or composer’s character; ideas which held particular sway at some point in time; and spiritual, theological, and liturgical reflections to paint a scene for the appearance of a particular tune or text. He likewise points us to obscure connections between people, places, and ideas that give meaning and context to a certain turn of phrase or collection of hymns. That the hymnographers are personally loved by Rutler is evidenced by the frequent incorporation of bits of his own biography in the explanation of why a particular figure or fact is interesting.
Joyful Laughter Ever present is Rutler’s humor, which presents many occasions to laugh aloud whilst reading the volume. Sometimes it is in sharing a humorous anecdote, such as Spooner’s own Spoonerism in announcing his own hymn “Conquering kings their titles take” (set to the tune of ORIENTIS PARTIBUS) as “Kinquering congs their titles take.” At other times, the droll comedy is of a pointedly self-effacing Anglican character, as at the end of the entry on one of my favorite hymns, “Lo! he comes, with clouds descending” set to HELMSLEY: “Dean Simpson was a magnificent man, of whom many stories have been told [….] As I write, there is on my desk a copy of his portrait, by Graham Sutherland, in the Hall of Christ Church. He wears a mortar board and holds a cigarette as he awaits Christ with clouds descending.”4 Sometimes, too, the humor cultivates appreciation for those tunes and texts which can be held dear, even if not attaining to the heights of artistic excellence. His entry on “Protect us while telling,” set to LOURDES (the tune to which Catholics usually sing the text “Immaculate Mary, thy praises we sing”) is one such instance: “Many versions have been written to this tune traced to Grenoble in 1882. Some are so cloying in diction and distressing in rhyme that only a Mother could love them, but that is precisely the point.”5 For Love of Hymn The selection of hymns, Rutler freely admits, is subject to his own taste rather than some systematic method. Indeed, this is one of the charms of the book—it is a tutelage in loving hymns from someone who has held certain of them particularly dear. There are some hymns included that are familiar to many Catholics (“Alleluia! sing to Jesus”; “The Church’s one foundation”; “For all the saints”; “Faith of our fathers”), and there are others which, equally well-known, have beautiful verses or turns of phrase which may have been lost to Catholics through unfortunate editorial decisions. One example in this regard is that of the third and fourth strophes given for “Sing of Mary, pure and lowly,” to the familiar PLEADING SAVIOR tune: 3. Sing of Mary, Sing of Jesus, Holy Mother’s holier son. From his throne in heaven he sees us, Thither calls us every one, Where he welcomes home his Mother To a place at his right hand, There his faithful servants gather, There the crownèd victors stand. 4. Joyful Mother, full of gladness In thine arms thy Lord was borne Mournful Mother, full of sadness, All thy heart with pain was torn. Glorious Mother, now rewarded With a crown at Jesus’ hand, Age to age thy name recorded Shall be blest in every land. Many of the hymns in the volume recommend themselves to the lips and hearts of Catholic congregations because of particularly boisterous or striking melodies which would seem wildly adventurous when contrasted with the fare in the average Catholic hymnal, or with what comes to mind when Catholics think of an older style of hymnody. There are the octave leaps of ALL HALLOWS, the arresting pauses of ST. ANDREW OF CRETE, the lilting quarter note triplets of ALTA TRINITA BEATA, the earnest steps outlining the minor and major modes in LEONI, and the grand swoop of the whole notes in MOUNT SION. Certainly every choir would do well to have in its repertoire the breastplate of St. Patrick (“I bind unto myself today”) set to the combined tunes of ST. PATRICK and DEIRDRE that Father
Rutler recommends. The volume does contain a number of small typos that could have been corrected in the editing process, especially since this volume is reissued from Ignatius Press’s 1998 publication of the same book under the title Brightest and Best: Stories of Hymns. One notes, too, that Father Rutler’s desire to succinctly explain the rather complicated history and theory of modes to the non-musician falls prey to fanciful scholarship. The entry on “All praise to thee, my God” set to TALLIS’ CANON tune mistakenly ascribes four modes to St. Ambrose, and the addition of four more to St. Gregory.6 Tua Culpa, Tua Culpa… Rutler sometimes pointedly chides Catholics by showing that Protestants have conserved beautiful texts and artistic traditions which Catholics have unnecessarily let fall out of use in the recent decades of liturgical reform. Consider this excerpt from his story of the text “Round the Lord in glory seated” to the tune of MOULTRIE in which he considers the chants assigned in the Graduale Romanum to accompany the adoration of the holy cross: “All Byzantine rites include the ‘Trisagion’ chant: ‘Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and immortal, have mercy on us.’ It passed through the Gallican Rite of the 10th century to the Roman rite by the 12th century and is retained in the Solemn Reproaches of Good Friday. “Omission of the venerable Reproaches constitutes one of the most depraved vandalizations of the Church’s Liturgy. Serving as an office of preservation not unlike John Mason Neale, Richard Mant went to the sources of chants like this and thus revived in his own denomination many liturgical treasures that have become lost by profligacy within the Catholic Church itself.”7 Rutler’s insights are particularly important ones for Catholics, who must bring to bear an understanding of the role of hymnody in the Roman rite, both historically and in light of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, in reading his book. In his forward, Father Rutler outlines the liturgical relationship between hymnody and the Mass in the following way: “The hymns that follow complement the Liturgy but are not part of it. The whole Mass itself is its own gigantic hymn, and it is only by indult that it is said at all instead of being sung. “It is liturgically eccentric to ‘say’ a Mass and intersperse it with extraliturgical hymns. Hymns may precede or follow the Mass, but they should never replace the model of the sung Eucharist itself with its hymnodic propers. In the Latin Rite, that model gives primacy of place to the Latin language and Gregorian chant, according to numerous decrees, most historically those of Pope Pius X in Tra le Sollecitudnini and Vatican II’s Sacrosanctum Concilium. “The Church has normally reserved other hymns for other forms of public prayer, especially the Daily Office. And, of course, all hymns can be part of private prayer, following the Augustinian principle that he who sings prays twice.”8 Critical Mass Father Rutler has a strong sense of the textual integrity of the Propers of the Mass (Introit, Gradual, Alleluia/ Tract, [Sequence], Offertory, and Communion), which are integral to the sung Mass, not only in text, but also in music which serves liturgical and ministerial functions in the celebration of the rite. Because hymns at Mass are chosen by the music director rather than appointed by the Church’s liturgical books, they are usually replacing the proper liturgical texts assigned by the Graduale Romanum to the Entrance, Offertory, and Communion processions. Of course, this prerogative highlights the importance of the high quality of text and music which is needed to serve this purpose, and Father Rutler’s book points us toward hymns with robust theological import and marvelous musical excellence which may fulfill that role. While the paragraphs quoted above summarizes well the applicable legislation on hymnody for the sung version of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, Father Rutler may be overstating the restrictions placed on the substitution of hymnody for the Proper of the Mass in the Ordinary Form of the Roman rite. Section 16a of Musicam Sacram foresees the singing of hymns by the congregation, and General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) articles 48, 74, and 87 make explicit Please see MOTHER on page 11
Adoremus Bulletin, November 2017
THE RITE QUESTIONS
: Why is Monday, December 25, 2017 a Holy
Day of Obligation, while a week later, Monday, January 1, 2018 is not a Holy Day of Obligation?
: First of all, it is helpful to understand which days are considered days of “obligation,” when the faithful attend Mass (either on the Feast Day or the evening preceding) and are to “abstain from those works and business which hinder the worship to be rendered to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s day, or the suitable relaxation of mind and body” (Canon 1247). According to Canon 1246 §1, the universal Church recognizes, apart from Sunday, which she calls “the primordial holy day of obligation,” ten days as holy days: • The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, December 25 • The Epiphany, January 6 • The Ascension, Thursday of the 6th week of Easter • The Body and Blood of Christ, Thursday after Trinity Sunday • Holy Mary the Mother of God, January 1 • The Immaculate Conception, December 8 • The Assumption of Mary, August 15 • The Feast of St. Joseph, March 19 • Sts. Peter and Paul the Apostles, June 29 • All Saints, November 1 The universal Church law allows for local conferences of bishops, with the Vatican’s approval, to suppress some of these days or to transfer them to a Sunday (Canon 1246 §2). Some countries even add to this list of holy days of obligation the celebration of certain feasts or saints of local importance, such at St. Patrick in Ireland. In the United States the obligatory character of St. Joseph (March 19) and Sts. Peter and Paul (June 29) has been suppressed. The Solemnities of the Epiphany (January 6), the Ascension (Thursday of the Sixth Week of Continued from page 7 their lives and “learn more and more within the Church to think like Him, to judge like Him, to act in conformity with His commandments, and to hope as He invites us to” (CT, 20). The National Directory for Catechesis further informs us of the nature of catechesis in the catechumenate when it states that catechesis in this period “presents a comprehensive and systematic formation in the faith so that the catechumen or candidate can enter deeply into the mystery of Christ” (36, A). Failure to provide such a comprehensive and systematic catechesis is a failure to insert the catechumen or candidate into the mystery of Christ and to fully prepare each to “believe and profess all that the Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims is revealed by God” (RCIA, 491) which is proper to a catechumen’s or candidate’s Christian initiation. III. Soul: Liturgical Formation Last but certainly not least, we turn our attention to the liturgical aspect of formation in the RCIA process. The liturgical aspect of formation can be described as one’s conversion from a recipient of the liturgical action of the Church (receiving the sign of the Cross) to an active, conscious participant in the liturgy (full Eucharistic communion). There are two important areas that need to be considered in this aspect of formation. Forming a Priestly People First, liturgical formation in the RCIA
Easter), and the Body and Blood of Christ (Thursday after Trinity Sunday) have been transferred to Sunday. (Some dioceses in the United States, it should be noted, still observe as a day of obligation Ascension on the Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter). In these cases, the Solemnities are no longer strictly speaking holy days “of obligation,” yet the obligations attached to them remain insofar as they now fall on a Sunday. For dioceses in the U.S., there are five days remaining that can be called “holy days of obligation”: Mary the Mother of God (January 1), the Assumption of Mary (August 15), All Saints Day (November 1), the Immaculate Conception (December 8), and Christmas (December 25). But of these five days, three of them have an “exceptional” quality. Whenever one of the first three solemnities—Mary the Mother of God, the Assumption, and All Saints Day—falls on a Saturday or a Monday, the obligation to attend Mass and refrain from unnecessary work is lifted. In other words, these days are still observed (Monday, January 1, 2017 will still be the Solemnity Mary, the Mother of God), but the obligations attached to them are removed. The last two of these five Solemnities—the Immaculate Conception and Christmas—always retain the obligation, regardless of whether they fall on a Saturday or Monday. The reason is that both of the December holy days have such high importance: Christmas because it marks, after the Passion, the most important moment in the life of Christ, and the Immaculate Conception because Mary, under this title, is the Patroness of the United States. —Answered by Christopher Carstens, Editor, Adoremus Bulletin from the beginning needs to have as its focus the formation of the catechumens and candidates to fully embrace their sharing in the mission of Christ’s priesthood that is given to the faithful through baptism for their proper understanding of the liturgy and their true participation in it. The RCIA process should train them to understand worship in the liturgy as sacrificial worship—and one that is transformative. Without this true understanding of the liturgy, their participation in it can become hollow ritualism and fail to bear fruit in their lives. In fact, it is this sacrificial understanding of the liturgy and sacraments that is at the heart of their mission as laypeople when “together with the offering of the Lord’s body, they are most fittingly offered in the celebration of the Eucharist. Thus, as those everywhere who adore in holy activity, the laity consecrate the world itself to God” (Lumen Gentium, 34). Minor Rites—Major Grace Secondly, since RCIA is a liturgical rite of the Church, a catechumen’s liturgical formation in the process is driven by the liturgy itself through all of the liturgical rites provided by Mother Church. These rites lavish grace upon the catechumens as they journey into full communion with the Church. Perhaps RCIA leaders are tempted to forgo or neglect many or most of the minor rites provided in both the periods of the catechumenate and purification and enlightenment. Although these are properly called “minor rites” to distinguish them from the
: Is it liturgically appropriate to formally allow catechumens to choose a Baptismal name and candidates to select a Confirmation name?
: Yes, this can be done at the Rite of Acceptance (see RCIA 33.4, 73) or more commonly at the Preparation Rites of Holy Saturday. The Rite of Choosing a Baptismal Name, if it is done on Holy Saturday, follows the Recitation of the Creed, if it had not been previously celebrated at the Rite of Acceptance, according to the discretion of the diocesan bishop. The United States bishops have established “the norm that there is no giving of a new name... but approves leaving to the discretion of the diocesan bishop the giving of a new name to persons from those cultures in which it is the practice of non-Christian religious to give a new name” (RCIA 33.4; see also RCIA 73, 200-202). For other nations, the RCIA leader should check what is the norm regarding choosing a new Baptismal name. Candidates, who are already baptized, do not participate in this Rite. However, the Preparation Rites offer an appropriate time for both elect and candidates to announce the choice of their patron saints, and to explain briefly why the particular saint has been chosen. Although not provided for in the Rite of Confirmation or in the RCIA
ritual book, it has long been a custom in the United States, and perhaps other countries, to choose a patron saint for Confirmation, and to be confirmed under the name of this saint. Even though the ritual book does not mention adding patron saints for Confirmation to the Litany of Saints prayed at the Easter Vigil, provision for adding Baptismal names (see RCIA 221) suggests that this is not liturgically inappropriate. In the course of the initiation Mass itself, for those newly baptized and newly received, each godparent or sponsor places a right hand on the new Catholic’s shoulder and states the name of the candidate as the celebrant approaches to confer the sacrament (see RCIA 235, 494, 591). It is especially appropriate to use the names of patron saints chosen by the newly-baptized and newly-received Catholics, a practice not specifically provided for in the ritual book but that may be provided for by the bishop in diocesan guidelines for celebration of Confirmation. — Answered by William Keimig, MPM, MA, Assistant Director of the Catechetical Institute at Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH
rites which provided the major liturgical steps in the process, these minor rites are packed with major grace to sustain the catechumens throughout their long and often difficult journey through the RCIA. As an example of such grace-filled opportunities in the RCIA, consider the language describing Minor Exorcisms: “They draw the attention of the catechumens to the real nature of Christian life, the struggle between flesh and spirit, the importance of self-denial for reaching the blessedness of God’s kingdom, and the unending need for God’s help” (RCIA, 90). What an exquisitely beautiful and powerful rite! It not only gives the catechumens the grace of the Church, but powerfully informs the catechumens of the nature of the Christian life and struggle for holiness. The examples available from the other minor rites are numerous in the same fashion, but the lesson here is to deploy lavishly all the liturgical rites of the RCIA process to sustain and nourish the catechumens in their journey.
as more of a process and not so much as a program—a process that fully incorporates all three aspects of formation—pastoral, catechetical, and liturgical. We must also insure that our RCIA leaders implement all four periods of the process—Precatechumenate, Catechumenate, Purification and enlightenment, and Mystagogy—and invest in the selection and formation of the key players in the process such as sponsors, godparents, catechists and team members. These preliminary steps will require real and patient effort and will demand more of us as leaders, more of our sponsors and godparents, and more of our Christian communities. It may be quite advantageous to implement a three- to five-year plan for making any changes and adjustments to the RCIA process, as positive change is not going to happen overnight and may take time, discernment, and prayer to build a stronger and even more fruitful process. But if we patiently put in the effort and trust in the Lord, then, as St. John Paul II reminds us, “you can be sure that if catechesis is done well in your local Churches, everything else will be easier to do…and it will much more often win for you the joy and consolation of seeing your Churches flourishing because catechesis is given in them as the Lord wishes” (CT, 63).
Onward to Joy and Consolation! So, as we move forward in the implementation of the RCIA during this time of the New Evangelization, what are our marching orders? First and foremost, all of us who engage in the RCIA need to be willing to reflect upon how we are implementing the RCIA process in our parishes, and to make an honest examination of conscience to determine if the process is being done as the Church desires and is meeting the pastoral needs of those who seek entrance into the Church. The RCIA process is never static—it is always evolving and adapting to the needs of the times. At the same time, as mentioned earlier, there is always a balance between the “ideal” and the “real” and the process needs to be incarnated into the reality of our parishes, communities, and resources at hand. The more we “smell like the sheep,” the more we can discern the signs of the times, and open ourselves to the movement of the Holy Spirit, the more effective the RCIA process will become in creating life-long disciples of Jesus Christ. Secondly, we need to see the RCIA
Lucas Pollice is an Associate Professor of Theology and Catechetics for the Augustine Institute in Denver, CO. He had previously served as the director of Catechesis for the Diocese of Fort Worth, TX. Lucas has been involved in full-time parish and diocesan catechetical ministry since 1999. In addition to teaching, he directs and presents at catechetical training conferences across the country for parish RCIA and adult faith formation leaders. He is the author of Open Wide the Doors to Christ: Discovering Catholicism, a complete curriculum for RCIA (Emmaus Road Publishing) and he has worked in the development and production of Symbolon: The Catholic Faith Explained, Beloved: Finding Happiness in Marriage, and other catechetical series produced by the Augustine Institute. Lucas and his wife, Mary, have six children and live in Highlands Ranch, CO.
Adoremus Bulletin, November 2017 Continued from MOTHER, page 9
and universal the permission to substitute a hymn for the proper liturgical text. The case has been made many times, however— including in the pages of Adoremus Bulletin—that this option of substituting a hymn for the text of the proper antiphon (given as the fourth of four options in the U.S. adaptation of the GIRM) doesn’t encapsulate the fullness of what the Church envisions for the solemn celebration of her rites according to the reformed liturgical books. Father Rutler’s vision, like that of the postconciliar legislation of sacred music, is of a peaceful coexistence between proper antiphons and excellent hymnody, made possible by purposeful, slow-moving processions. “Bear in mind,” Father Rutler writes, “that a processional hymn needs a procession: not a quick traipse up the aisle but a little pilgrimage of its own, around the church, even perhaps going outside.”9 It is possible that a hymn, with all its verses, can fittingly accompany the opening procession of the Mass if executed in this manner, and the Introit can be used for the incensing of the altar. Father Rutler also proposes a hymn as fitting music to accompany the procession outside the church after Mass, which, of course, has no proper liturgical text. (One notes that Father Rutler might prefer a phrase like “retiring procession” for the procession following Mass given his wry quip in the book: “for the Devil does not like any kind of processions—he is all for recessions.”) Certainly there is varied success with
a hymn at the end of Mass, since people usually rush out the door right after the Ite, Missa est (if not immediately after communion) or as soon as the priest is no longer visible; few stay to sing until the organ has stopped, and rare are the times when a Catholic organist will play all the verses of a final hymn. Few Catholic congregations have a robust hymnsinging tradition. Sing Through It The proposition that a recited Mass is only possible through an indult likewise overstates the current restrictions of liturgical law, even for the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The Low Mass has been part of the Roman liturgical tradition since at least the 12th century. With regard to celebrating a Low Mass with hymns, Pius XII’s legislation applies to the celebration of the liturgy according to the Missale Romanum of 1962. De musica sacra et sacra liturgia (1958) article 14b states: “At low Mass the faithful who participate directly in the liturgical ceremonies with the celebrant by reciting aloud the parts of the Mass which belong to them must, along with the priest and his server, use Latin exclusively. “But if, in addition to this direct participation in the liturgy, the faithful wish to add some prayers or popular hymns, according to local custom, these may be recited or sung in the vernacular.” For the high or solemn Mass, the restrictions are a little tighter. Latin hymnody or motets were allowed following the singing of the Offertory or Communion, but the use of vernacular-language music was regulated by indult. This regu-
lation was reiterated in De Musica Sacra 14a, which itself cites article 47 of Pius XII’s 1955 Musicæ Sacræ Disciplina, and canon 5 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law: “In sung Masses only Latin is to be used. This applies not only to the celebrant, and his ministers, but also to the choir or congregation. “However, popular vernacular hymns may be sung at the solemn Eucharistic Sacrifice (sung Masses), after the liturgical texts have been sung in Latin, in those places where such a centenary or immemorial custom has obtained. Local ordinaries may permit the continuation of this custom ‘if they judge that it cannot prudently be discontinued because of the circumstances of the locality or the people’ (cf. canon 5).” If one interprets Rutler’s statement generously in light of Sacrosanctum Concilium and Musicam Sacram, however, it can be taken to point to the solemn celebration of the Mass as the liturgical ideal and the reference point which gives room for the celebration of Masses with less or no singing. Sacrosanctum Concilium 113 says: “Liturgical worship is given a more noble form when the divine offices are celebrated solemnly in song, with the assistance of sacred ministers and the active participation of the people.” Musicam Sacram follows up by spelling out in article 27 when a special point should be made to celebrate the Mass in song: “For the celebration of the Eucharist with the people, especially on Sundays and feast days, a form of sung Mass (Missa in cantu) is to be preferred as much as possible, even several times on the same day.”
As a former Anglican, Father Rutler has a keen sense of the spiritual benefit of singing in liturgical worship, and his note about the “eccentricity” of celebrating a spoken Mass with hymns can be charitably interpreted as an encouragement for Catholics to take up the directives of Musicam Sacram to fulfill their proper liturgical role by singing the integral texts of the Mass which belong to them (along with a hymn at the beginning and end) with gusto, and to listen with open hearts to the beautiful chant and polyphony sung by the choir.10
Jennifer Donelson is an associate professor and the director of sacred music at St. Joseph’s Seminary (Dunwoodie) in New York, where she also teaches sacred music courses in the St. Cecilia Academy for Pastoral Musicians. 1. Rutler, The Stories of Hymns, p. 18. 2. The prayer of humble access, which has had various placements in the Anglican liturgy, is similar in sentiment to the Domine, non sum dignus text of the Roman Rite, having a similar inspiration in the centurion’s words in the Gospel of St. Matthew 8:8. It serves as a preparation for the Eucharist, and is much beloved by those accustomed to worshipping with the Book of Common Prayer. It has been retained in the Ordinariate’s Divine Worship: The Missal immediately preceding communion. 3. Rutler, The Stories of Hymns, p. 251. 4. Rutler, The Stories of Hymns, p. 146. 5. Rutler, The Stories of Hymns, p. 80. 6. Rutler, The Stories of Hymns, p. 139. 7. Rutler, The Stories of Hymns, p. 238. 8. Rutler, The Stories of Hymns, p. 7. NB: the full saying, dubiously attributed to St. Augustine, is “he who sings WELL prays twice.” 9. Rutler, The Stories of Hymns, p. 25. 10. Cf. Musicam Sacram, ¶¶ 16, 17, 19, 20.
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Adoremus Bulletin, November 2017
Pope Francis Addresses Participants of the 68th National Liturgical Week in Italy Paul VI Audience Hall, Thursday, 24 August 2017
[The past 70 years have] been a period in which, in Church history and, in particular, in the history of the liturgy, substantial and non-superficial developments have occurred. Just as the Second Vatican Council cannot be forgotten, so will the liturgical reform which flowed from it be remembered. The Council and the reform are two directly linked events, which did not blossom suddenly but after long preparation. It is testified to by what was called the liturgical movement, and the responses given by the Supreme Pontiffs to the discomfiture perceived in ecclesial prayer; when a need is perceived, even if the solution is not immediate, there is a need that it be set in motion. I think of St. Pius X who issued a reordering of sacred music1 and the celebratory reinstatement of the Sabbath,2 and established a commission for the general reform of the liturgy, aware that this would “require considerable work and time,” therefore—as he said himself— “many years [would] have to pass before this type of liturgical edifice [...could] appear purified of the squalidness brought by time, newly resplendent with dignity and fitting order”.3 The reformative project was resumed by Pius XII with the Encyclical Mediator Dei4 and the institution of a study commission;5 he too took concrete decisions about the version of the Psalter,6 attenuation of the fast prior to the Eucharist, use of living language in the Ritual, the important reform of the Easter Vigil and of Holy Week.7 […] The Second Vatican Council then brought to fruition, as the good fruit from the tree of the Church, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC), ensuring that its lines of general reform responded to real needs and to the concrete hope of renewal: it desired a vital liturgy for a Church wholly enlivened by the mysteries celebrated. It was a matter of expressing in a renewed way the perennial vitality of the Church in prayer, taking care “that Christ’s faithful, when present at this mystery of faith, should not be there as strangers or silent spectators. On the contrary, through a good understanding of the rites and prayers they should take part in the sacred action conscious of what they are doing, with devotion and full collaboration” (SC, 48). Blessed Paul VI recalled this when explaining the first steps of the announced reform: “It is good that it be perceived as the very authority of the Church to wish, to promote, to ignite this new manner of prayer, thus greatly increasing her spiritual mission [...]; and we must not hesitate to first become disciples then supporters of the school of prayer, which is about to begin”.8 The direction traced by the Council was in line with the principle of respect for healthy tradition and legitimate progress (cf. SC, 23),9 in the liturgical books promulgated by Blessed Paul VI, well received by the very Bishops who were present at the Council, and now in universal use for almost 50 years in the Roman Rite. The practical application, supervised by the Episcopal Conferences of the respective Countries, is still ongoing, because reforming the liturgical books does not suffice to renew mentality. The books reformed in accordance with the decrees of Vatican II introduced a process that demands time, faithful reception, practical obedience, wise implementa-
tion in celebrations, firstly, on the part of the ordained ministers, but also of other ministers, of cantors and all those who take part in the liturgy. In truth, we know, that the liturgical education of Pastors and faithful is a challenge to be faced ever anew. Paul VI himself, a year before his death, said to the Cardinals gathered in the Consistory: “The time has now come to definitively leave aside divisive elements, which are equally pernicious in both senses, and to apply fully, in accordance with the correct criteria that inspired it, the reform approved by Us in the application of the wishes of the Council”.10 And today, there is still work to be done in this direction, in particular by rediscovering the reasons for the decisions taken with regard to the liturgical reform, by overcoming unfounded and superficial readings, a partial reception, and practices that disfigure it. It is not a matter of rethinking the reform by reviewing the choices in its regard, but of knowing better the underlying reasons, through historical documentation, as well as of internalizing its inspirational principles and of observing the discipline that governs it. After this magisterium, after this long journey, We can affirm with certainty and with magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible. The task of promoting and safeguarding the liturgy is entrusted by right to the Apostolic See and to the diocesan bishops on whose responsibility and authority I greatly rely at the present moment; national and diocesan liturgical pastoral bodies, educational Institutes and Seminaries are also involved. […] After recalling the stages of this journey, I would now like to touch upon a few aspects in light of the theme on which you have reflected in these days, namely: “A Living Liturgy for a Living Church.” Living Liturgy The liturgy is “living” by reason of the living presence of the One who “by dying he has destroyed our death, and by rising, restored our life” (Preface I of Easter). Without the Real Presence of Christ’s mystery, there is no liturgical vitality. Just as without the heartbeat there is no human life, without the beating heart of Christ there exists no liturgical action. What defines the liturgy is in fact the fulfillment, in the holy signs, of the priesthood of Jesus Christ, meaning the offering of his life to the point of spreading his arms on the Cross, a priesthood made present in a constant way through the rites and prayers, especially in his Body and Blood, but also in the person of the priest, in the proclamation of the Word of God, in the assembly gathered in prayer in his name (cf. SC, 7). Among the visible signs of the invisible Mystery there is the altar, a sign of Christ, the living stone, rejected by men but which has become the cornerstone of the spiritual building where worship is offered to the living God in spirit and truth (cf. 1 Pt 2:4; Eph 2:20). Therefore, the altar, the center toward which our churches focus attention,11 is dedicated, anointed with chrism, incensed, kissed, venerated: those praying, the priests and the faithful, direct their gaze towards the altar, called together by the holy assembly around it;12 upon the altar is placed the Church’s offering, which the Spirit consecrates to be a sacrament of Christ’s sacrifice; from the altar the bread of life and the cup of sal-
vation are bestowed upon us “for we become one body and one spirit in Christ” (Eucharistic Prayer III). Liturgy as Life The liturgy is life for the entire people of the Church.13 By its nature the liturgy is in fact “popular” and not clerical, being—as etymology teaches—an action for the people, but also of the people. As many liturgical prayers recall, it is the action that God himself fulfills in favor of his people, but also the action of the people who listen to God who speaks, and then react by praising him, invoking him, receiving the inexhaustible source of life and mercy which flows from the holy signs. The Church in prayer gathers all those whose hearts listen to the Gospel, without discarding anyone: she convokes the small and the great, the rich and the poor, children and elderly, healthy and sick, the just and the sinful. In the image of the “great multitude” that celebrates the liturgy in the heavenly shrine (cf. Rev 7:9), the liturgical assembly overcomes, in Christ, every boundary of age, race, language and nation. The “popular” outreach of the liturgy reminds us that it is inclusive and not exclusive, a proponent of communion with everyone without, however, conforming so as to call each one, with his or her vocation and originality, to contribute to building up the Body of Christ: “The Eucharist is not a sacrament ‘for me’; it is the sacrament of the many, who form one body, God’s holy and faithful people”.14 We must not forget, therefore, that the liturgy is the first to express the pietas of the entire People of God, extended then by pious exercises and devotions that we know by the name of popular piety, to be enhanced and encouraged in harmony with the liturgy.15 Liturgy: Font of Life The liturgy is life and not an idea to be understood. Indeed, it leads one to undergo an initiatory, transformative experience, that is, in the way of thinking and behaving, and not to enrich one’s own set of ideas about God. Liturgical worship “is not primarily a doctrine to be understood, or a rite to be performed; naturally it is also this, but in another way, it is essentially different: it is a font of life and of light for our pilgrimage of faith”.16 Spiritual reflections are something different from the liturgy, which is “precisely entering into the mystery of God; bringing ourselves to the mystery and being present in the mystery”.17 There is a great difference between saying that God exists and feeling that God loves us, as we are, here and now. In liturgical prayer we feel communion signified not by an abstract thought but by an action whose agents are God and us, Christ and the Church.18 The rites and prayers (cf. SC, 48), for what they are and not for the explanations we give for them, become for this reason a school of Christian life, open to those who have ears, eyes and hearts open to understand the vocation and the mission of Jesus’ disciples. This is in line with the mystagogic catechesis practiced by the Fathers, also recovered by the Catechism of the Catholic Church which draws from the liturgy, from the Eucharist and from the other Sacraments in light of the texts and rites of today’s liturgical books. Liturgy: The Church’s Life The Church is truly living if, forming a single living being with Christ, she is the bearer of life, she is maternal; she is mis-
sionary; she goes out to meet her neighbor, swift to serve without seeking worldly power that renders her barren. Therefore, celebrating the holy mysteries [she] recalls Mary, the Virgin of the Magnificat, contemplating in her “as in a faultless image, that which she herself desires and hopes wholly to be” (SC, 103). Lastly, we cannot forget that the richness of the Church in prayer, since she is “catholic,” goes beyond the Roman Rite which, while being the most extensive, is not the only one. The harmony of the ritual Traditions of the East and of the West, by the blowing of the one Spirit gives voice to the one Church praying through Christ, with Christ and in Christ, to the glory of the Father and for the salvation of the world. […] 1. Cf. Motu Proprio Tra le Sollecitudini, 22 November 1903: aas 36 (1904), 329-339. 2. Cf. Apostolic Constitution Divino Afflatu, 1 November 1911: aas 3 (1911), 633-638. 3. Motu Proprio Abhinc Duos Annos, 23 October 1913: aas 5 (1913), 449-450. 4. 20 November 1947: aas 39 (1947), 521-600. 5. Cf. Sacrae Congr. Rituum, Sectio historica, 71, “Memoria sulla riforma liturgica” (1946). 6. Pius xii, Motu Proprio In Cotidianis Precibus, 24 March 1945: aas 37 (1945) 65-67. 7. Cf. Sacrae Congr. Rituum, Decretum Dominicae Resurrectionis, 9 February 1951: aas 43 (1951), 128-129; Id., Decretum Maxima Redemptionis, 16 November 1955: aas 47 (1955), 838-841. 8. General Audience of 13 January 1965. 9. “The reform of the rites and the liturgical books was undertaken immediately after the promulgation of the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium and was brought to an effective conclusion in a few years thanks to the considerable and selfless work of a large number of experts and bishops from all parts of the world (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 25). This work was undertaken in accordance with the conciliar principles of fidelity to Tradition and openness to legitimate development (cf. ibid., 23); and so it is possible to say that the reform of the Liturgy is strictly traditional and in accordance with ‘the ancient usage of the holy Fathers’” (cf. ibid., 50; Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, Prooemium, 6; John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Vicesimus Quintus Annus, 4). 10. “The Pope’s attention is drawn today once more to a particular point of the Church’s life: the indisputably beneficial fruits of the liturgical reform. Since the promulgation of the Conciliar Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium great progress has taken place, progress that responds to the premises laid down by the liturgical movement of the last part of the nineteenth century. It has fulfilled that movement’s deep aspirations for which so many churchmen and scholars have worked and prayed. The new Rite of the Mass, promulgated by Us after long and painstaking preparation by the competent bodies, and into which other Eucharistic Praises have been introduced alongside the Roman Canon, which remains substantially unchanged, has borne blessed fruits. These include a greater participation in the liturgical action, a more lively awareness of the sacred action, a greater and wider knowledge of the inexhaustible treasures of Sacred Scripture and an increasing sense of community in the Church. The results of these recent years show that we are on the right path. But unfortunately, in spite of the vast preponderance of the healthy and positive action of the clergy and the faithful, abuses have been committed and liberties have been taken in applying the liturgical reform. The time has now come to definitively leave aside divisive elements, which are equally pernicious in both senses, and to apply fully, in accordance with the correct criteria that inspired it, the reform approved by Us in the application of the wishes of the Council” (Allocution Gratias Ex Animo, 27 June 1977: Teachings of Paul VI, xv , 655-656, in Italian 662-663). 11. Cf. General Instruction of the Roman Missal, n. 299; Rite of the Dedication of an Altar, Preface, nn. 155, 159. 12. “Around this altar, we are nourished by the body and blood of your Son to form your one and holy Church” (Rite of the Dedication of an Altar, n. 213, Preface). 13. “Liturgical services are not private functions, but are celebrations of the Church, which is the ‘sacrament of unity,’ namely, the holy people united and ordered under their bishops. Therefore liturgical services pertain to the whole body of the Church; they manifest it and have effects upon it” (SC, 26). 14. Homily on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, 18 June 2017: L’Osservatore Romano weekly edition in English, 23 June 2017, p. 6/7. 15. Cf. SC, 13; Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 24 November 2013, 122-126: 105 (2013), 1071-1073. 16. Homily on the Third Sunday of Lent, Roman Parish of “Ognissanti”, 7 March 2015. 17. Homily during Mass at Santa Marta, 10 February 2014. 18. “This is why the Eucharistic commemoration does us so much good: it is not an abstract, cold and superficial memory, but a living remembrance that comforts us with God’s love.... The Eucharist is flavored with Jesus’ words and deeds, the taste of his Passion, the fragrance of his Spirit. When we receive it, our hearts are overcome with the certainty of Jesus’ love” (Homily on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, 18 June 2017: L’Osservatore Romano weekly edition in English, 23 June 2017, p. 6/7).