The Download—Sacra Liturgia and the Restoration of the Liturgy

News: World News
by Church Militant  •  •  July 8, 2016   

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The Sacra Liturgia 2016 conference has wrapped up in London, with leading cardinals offering their final reflections. The event, begun in 2013 by Bp. Dominique Rey of Fréjus-Toulon — one of France's most successful dioceses with regard to vocations — has as its aim the restoration of the liturgical life of the Church.

As already widely reported, Cdl. Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, is asking dioceses worldwide to start offering Mass ad orientem beginning on the First Sunday of Advent.

"I want to make an appeal to all priests," he said. "I believe that it is very important that we return as soon as possible to a common orientation, of priests and the faithful turned together in the same direction — eastwards or at least towards the apse — to the Lord who comes, in those parts of the liturgical rites when we are addressing God."

He continued:

And so, dear Fathers, I ask you to implement this practice wherever possible, with prudence and with the necessary catechesis, certainly, but also with a pastor's confidence that this is something good for the Church, something good for our people. Your own pastoral judgment will determine how and when this is possible, but perhaps beginning this on the first Sunday of Advent this year, when we attend "the Lord who will come" and "who will not delay" ... may be a very good time to do this. Dear Fathers, we should listen again to the lament of God proclaimed by the prophet Jeremiah: "they have turned their back to me" (2:27). Let us turn again towards the Lord!

In the same opening speech, His Eminence went on to clarify that active participation in the liturgy by the lay faithful is primarily an interior action involving prayer.

The Council sees participation [of the laity] as primarily internal, coming about "through a good understanding of the rites and prayers." The Fathers called for the faithful to sing, to respond to the priest, to assume liturgical ministries that are rightfully theirs, certainly, but it insists that all should be "conscious of what they are doing, with devotion and full collaboration." If we understand the priority of internalising our liturgical participation we will avoid the noisy and dangerous liturgical activism that has been too prominent in recent decades.

And significantly, the cardinal addresses abuses at Mass in which dancing, the use of modern instruments and other secular practices are justified by claiming they are cultural.

I am an African. Let me say clearly: The liturgy is not the place to promote my culture. Rather, it is the place where my culture is baptized, where my culture is taken up into the divine. Through the Church's liturgy (which missionaries have carried throughout the world) God speaks to us, He changes us and enables us to partake in His divine life. When someone becomes a Christian, when someone enters into full communion with the Catholic Church, they receive something more, something which changes them. Certainly, cultures and other Christians bring gifts with them into the Church — the liturgy of the Ordinariates of Anglicans now in full communion with the Church is a beautiful example of this. But they bring these gifts with humility, and the Church in her maternal wisdom makes use of them as She judges appropriate.

Watch the panel discuss ways to renew the liturgical life of the Church in "The Download—Restoring the Liturgy."


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