The intrepid Andrea Tornielli has an interview in Il Giornale with the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, His Eminence Antonio Card. Cañizares Llovera. The article is entitled: “Basta con la messa creativa, in chiesa silenzio e preghiera… Enough with the creative Masses, silence and prayer in Church”. (That phrase was not in the interview.)
The Prefect spoke of the need for a “new liturgical movement” though he downplayed the phrase “reform of the reform”. It is hard to figure out how a “new liturgical movement” doesn’t result in a “reform of the reform”, unless he means that there is nothing wrong with existing rites as they are in the books, but rather the books aren’t being followed, the ars celebrandi is bad, and there is discontinuity with the past. Sounds like a need for both a “movement” and a “reform” to me. And he doesn’t in any way speak about the desire expressed by the Vicar of Christ that use of the older, pre-Conciliar rites would have a influence on the post-Conciliar rites, one side of that “mutual enrichment” (what I call a “gravitational pull”). But I digress…
Here is one of the questions and one of the answers:
Tornielli: How do you judge the state of Catholic liturgy in the world?
Card. Cañizares: “In view of a risk of the routine, in view of some confusion, impoverishment, and banality in singing and in sacred music, one can say that there is a certain crisis. For this reason a new liturgical movement is urgent. Benedict XVI, pointing to the example of St. Francis of Assisi, very devoted to the Most Holy Sacrament, explained that the true reformed is someone who obey the Faith: he doesn’t act in an arbitrary way and doesn’t claim for himself discretion over the rite. He is not the master but the custodian of the treasure instituted by the Lord and entrusted to us. The Pope asks, therefore, from our Congregation to promote a renewal in conformity with Vatican II in harmony with the liturgical tradition of the Church, without forgetting the Conciliare norm that orders not to introduce innovations when the true and verified need of the Church requires them, with the caution that new forms, in every case, must flow organically from those already in existence.”
Beyond this, the Cardinal doesn’t say much other than we need to celebrate the post-Conciliar rites better, in accordance with the books and in harmony with our tradition, and that we need to underscore the importance of beauty.
We will have a new translation in the English speaking world come next year. Other language groups will receive new translations. Getting that underway is “already something”, as we say in Italian. More is needed.
May I suggest to His Eminence and the Congregation that, perhaps, the legislation issued by the aforementioned esteemed Congregation should be given some teeth?
Perhaps, after the incessant begging that bishops might ensure that the rites are following, pleading that priests obey the rubrics, there should be some consequences if they don’t?
How long can you beg before those not inclined to take Pope Benedict seriously just hear a sort of vague buzzing?
The “biological solution” is taking care of some of what the Cardinal is talking about.
Priests and bishops of a certain age and formation, and the lay people who think they’re so groovy and with it, are declining in numbers even as they advance in age. A new generation is taking over more and more of the devastated vineyard. They are surveying the possibilities, making plans and rolling up their sleeves.
But if they really wanted something swifter than the “biological solution”, they had better provide for it by getting dirt under their fingernails with them and not just wringing their hands a lot and repeating… “reverence… obedience… beauty… pretty please…”.
Sure, the Holy Father is trying to lead by example. No, we don’t want to create havoc by a too brutal imposition of X, Y or Z, as in the 60’s and 70’s. But, after all these years of seeing that somethings aren’t working so well, perhaps it is time to change them? If you have a tumor, you want it out. Sure, sometimes you have to shrink it with chemo and radiation, but at a certain point you want it out. As St. Augustine mentioned in one of his descriptions of Christ as Medicus, the doctor doesn’t stop cutting just because the patient is screaming for him to stop.
If after all these years, priests, bishops, liturgists aren’t applying Redemptionis Sacramentum, which isn’t really too ambiguous, if there is still too much illicit creativity going on, then… do something about it.