Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Youthful Ratzinger on Liturgical Reform

Speaking as a priest (!!!)--not Bishop, not Cardinal, and not Pope, in 1966:

Among theologians, there is a certain archaism with the wish to restore the classical form of the Roman liturgy as it was before the additions of the Carolingian age and of the Middle Ages. One does not ask oneself, "What should the liturgy be like?"; but, rather, "What was it like once?"

While the past gives us an indispensable aid to solve the problems of our age, it is not the criterion on which one should found the reform purely and simply.

Knowing how Gregory the Great proceeded [to do] is good, but it does not force one to do the same. With such archaisms, the road towards legitimacy [in liturgical reform] has often been destroyed....Must every Mass be truly celebrated turned towards the people? Is it that important to be able to see the face of the priest? Isn't it often good to think of him as a Christian with the others and that, consequently, he has all reasons to turn with them towards God and by this act say Our Father with them?

The tabernacle is detached from the High Altar, and there may be good reasons for that. But one should feel uncomfortable by seeing its place taken by the chair of the celebrant, expressing thus in the liturgy a clericalism which is much worse than that of before.

It is fair to say that Pope Benedict's interest in the Liturgy continued through the present date, and he has continued to be skeptical of "progress."

HT: Rorate Coeli

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