Thursday, February 15, 2007

Cdl. Ratzinger on the New Mass

Before becoming Pope Benedict, Cdl. Ratzinger wrote extensively on the Liturgy. Here's a succinct excerpt which 'splains (to those who have ears) what he has been thinking.

Referring to Trent:

...In this confusing situation, which had become possible by the failure to produce unified liturgical legislation and by the existing liturgical pluralism inherited from the Middle Ages, the pope decided that now the Missale Romanum - the missal of the city of Rome - was to be introduced as reliably Catholic in every place that could not demonstrate its liturgy to be at least two hundred years old. Wherever the existing liturgy was that old, it could be preserved because its Catholic character would then be assured. In this case we cannot speak of the prohibition of a previous missal that had formerly been approved as valid.

Contrast the Revolution of 1969:

...the old building was demolished, and another was built, to be sure largely using materials from the previous one and even using the old building plans. There is no doubt that this new missal in many respects brought with it a real improvement and enrichment; but setting it as a new construction over against what had grown historically, forbidding the results of this historical growth, thereby makes the liturgy appear to be no longer a living development but the product of erudite work and juridical authority; this has caused us enormous harm. For then the impression had to emerge that liturgy is something "made", not something given in advance but something lying within our own power of decision. From this it also follows that we are not to recognize the scholars and the central authority alone as decision makers, but that in the end each and every "community" must provide itself with its own liturgy. When liturgy is self-made, however, then it can no longer give us what its proper gift should be: the encounter with the mystery that is not our own product but rather our origin and the source of our life. A renewal of liturgical awareness, a liturgical reconciliation that again recognizes the unity of the history of the liturgy and that understands Vatican II, not as a breach, but as a stage of development: these things are urgently needed for the life of the Church.


HT: Blosser

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