Our friends at Rorate have given us part of the Holy Father’s ad limina address to bishops of Brazil. Let’s have a look with my E & C.
Wonderful words on the true meaning of active participation
Today’s speech of the Holy Father to the Bishops of Brazil (North II Region) in their ad limina visit was a true course on sacred liturgy, active participation, inculturation, and the Holy Mass. We particularly refer to the 4th, 5th, and 6th paragraphs of his address (in Portuguese).
VIS excerpts; complete translation coming up:
Speaking of the Eucharist, the Pope recalled that it constitutes "the centre and permanent source of the Petrine ministry, the heart of the Christian life, source and summit of the Church’s mission of evangelization. You can thus understand the concern of the Successor of Peter for all that can obfuscate this most essential point of the Catholic faith: that today, Jesus Christ continues alive and truly present in the consecrated host and the chalice." [NB: "most essential". When we speak of "the Eucharist" we need to keep in mind both the Sacrament and its celebration.]
"Paying less attention at times to the rite of the Most Holy Sacrament [i.e., Holy Mass] constitutes," he said, "a sign and a cause of the darkening of the Christian sense of mystery, [EHEM… sound familiar?!? Not only is this redolent of the whole "Save The Liturgy – Save The Word" thing I have been pushing forever, it also directly bears on what I have pounded for several years, ever since the unveiling the the text of Summorum Pontificum: if our worship does not bring us to an encounter with mystery, then it has failed.] such as when Jesus is not the centre of the Mass, [stressed by ad orientem or ad Deum worship] but rather a community preoccupied with other things instead of being taken up and drawn to the only one necessary: their Lord." [Fantastic.]
Benedict XVI emphasized that "if the figure of Christ does not emerge from the liturgy … it is not a Christian liturgy". [OORAH!] This is why, he added, "we find those who, in the name of enculturation, fall into syncretism, introducing rites taken from other religions or cultural particularities into the celebration of the Mass." [It loses its proper identity. And we, therefore, lose our identity. This is rich fare.]
As Venerable John Paul II wrote, "the mystery of the Eucharist is ‘too great a gift’ to admit of ambiguities or reductions, above all when, ‘stripped of its sacrificial meaning, it is celebrated as if it were simply a fraternal banquet’."
The Pope highlighted that "behind many alleged motives, there exists a mentality that is incapable of accepting the real possibility of divine intervention in this world to assist human beings. [That is modernism.] … Admitting God’s redeeming intervention to change our situation of alienation and sin [The Holy Father is speaking of sin more often. And I predict he is also going to be speaking more about worship.] is seen as fundamentalism by those who share a deist vision and the same can be said about the sacramental sign that makes the salvific sacrifice present. For such persons, the celebration of a sign that corresponds to a vague sentiment of community would be more acceptable." [A "vague sentiment of community"… embodied by versus populum worship and the clericalization of the laity, non-sacral language, music reduce to the lowest denominator.]
"Worship, however," he continued, "cannot come from our imagination: that would be a cry in the darkness or mere self-affirmation. [Here it comes:] True liturgy supposes that God responds and shows us how we can adore Him. ["how we can adore Him"… i.e., proper worship] … The Church lives in His presence and its reason for being and existing is to expand His presence in the world."
There are times when I feel like I am shouting down a well.
Then someone like this comes along.
The Holy Father introduced this section by mentioning his own office, the Petrine office of the Successor of Peter. Then he goes on to talk about proper worship in the rites of Holy Mass. Then he speaks of evacuation of the meaning of the rites and the effect on people when the rites lose their proper orientation.
This seems very much in keeping with what I have been saying about his "Marshall Plan" for Holy Church during his pontificate.