There have been a number of conflicting reports about impending changes to the liturgy in recent weeks. The National Catholic Register, on the one hand, reports that:
On Aug. 22, the reliable Vatican watcher Andrea Tornielli reported that cardinals and bishops of the congregation voted almost unanimously at their plenary meeting in March “in favor” of 30 proposals aimed at increasing reverence in the liturgy. He said these included “a greater sacrality of the rite, the recovery of the sense of Eucharistic worship, the recovery of the Latin language in the celebration, and the remaking of the introductory parts of the Missal in order to put a stop to abuses, wild experimentations and inappropriate creativity.”
Tornielli also wrote that the bishops had reaffirmed the importance of receiving Communion on the tongue rather than the hand, and that Cardinal Cañizares was studying the possibility of “recovering” the practice of celebrating Mass with the priest facing ad orientem (literally “to the east”; i.e. in the same direction as the people).
As we might expect, however, the National Catholic Reporter remains skeptical about any proposed changes:
On Aug. 24, a Vatican spokesperson effectively denied the Il Giornale report, saying, “At the moment there are no institutional proposals regarding changes to the liturgical books currently in use.” Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s No. 2 official after the pope, dismissed the reports as “fantasies” in an interview with the Vatican newspaper.
So it would appear that, as of right now, all we can say is that there are discussions about the liturgy taking place.
Bishop Edward Slattery of the Diocese of Tulsa is a champion of Ad Orientem. Here you can read his thoughts on the subject. The National Catholic Reporter wrote a piece on the subject which Father Z has put through his patented fisk machine and which may be read here. I of course am all in favor of Ad Orientem. Priests should render the sacrifice of the Mass at altars when possible and not at the Protestant-lite communion tables that have come into vogue since Vatican II, in a well-intentioned but completely wrong-headed attempt for greater involvement by the laity in the Mass. Quotes from Pope Benedict regarding Ad Orientem are here at the wonderful blog New Liturgical Movement, which I had not read until researching this post. What do you think?
Since I began blogging here at The American Catholic, I’ve yet to see a debate open up between liturgical traditionalists and modernists. Most other Catholic sites I have visited on the Web usually end up in them at least once, if not multiple times. This leads me to wonder: is there an unspoken consensus at TAC about the liturgy, or is it simply a topic no one has yet broached?
Speaking for myself, I am partial to the Latin Mass, the Tridentine rite as it is sometimes called. When I live in the Phoenix area, I am fortunate enough to be able to attend a daily Latin Mass offered by a priest affiliated with the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP), though they are also offered by the Norbertines here in Orange County (needless to say, I do not attend Masses offered by “schismatic” sects). I am equally drawn to the peace and quiet of the daily Low Mass and the beautiful chant of the Sunday High Mass. And I also find it quite tragic that had I not been looking for it, I would have never found it – though I know the local community there is now making attempts to publicize itself.
Salvete AC readers!
OK, I junked the whole Latin title since I figured it wasn’t coming across that well as to what I wanted to do with this bit. So now I’m calling this particular column ‘News & Notes’ (for now). Here is today’s Top Seven picks in the Catholic world:
1. A great new blog by Pat McNamara about Catholic history titled appropriately enough, McNamara’s Blog. I’ve been thinking of starting something like this for the past three years, but never got around to it. I’m happy to say that McNamara’s Blog has great short stories on famous and little known figures in Catholicism as well as stories on non-Catholics and how they interacted and viewed our beautiful Catholic faith. Here is the link to McNamara’s Blog: http://irishcatholichumanist.blogspot.com/
Hattips to Rich Leonardi at Ten Reasons and Father Z at What Does The Prayer Really Say. They brought to my attention the comments of Monsignor Joseph Schaedel, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to his parishioners at Holy Rosary Church after the Monsignor dropped the Sign of Peace at the Mass. I find the Monsignor’s comments heartening, as I suspect will other Catholics in this country who have wondered “What next!” as they have sat through the numerous changes foisted upon the Mass over the past four decades. Here are the comments with Father Z’s “color commentary” in red.
This past Summer a conference took place on the shores of Lake Michigan on reinvigorating the use of Gregorian Chant in our liturgies. The Reform of the Reform continues.
(Biretta Tip: New Liturgical Movement)