The Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome received a new Prefect last November, His Eminence Robert Card. Sarah. He should be a good, solid Prefect. At the same time, however, there was a bit of a purge of, say, the old guard in the Congregation. Now Card. Sarah must carry out his mandate with fewer helpers who appreciate what Pope Benedict was trying to accomplish. I would say that the opposite is true: there are now more who are contrary.
At the same time, we watch a restructuring of the Roman Curia. The idea behind the restructuring, as far as I can tell, is to weaken the Curia globally and leave more tasks to regional conferences of bishops. The number of cardinals and archbishops in the Curia will drop as departments are consolidated, thus concentrating influence and activity.
I therefore read with interest an article at Pinoy Catholic in the Philippines, which informs us that in the Archdiocese of Cebu the following are no longer allowed:
– The Benedictine Altar Arrangement with the crucifix facing the people, not the priest, and with 6 candles for priests, and 7 candles for bishops.
– New Churches must not have their Tabernacles anywhere near the Sanctuary, but only at the side.
– Tabernacle veil
So much for “vertical” worship with emphasis on the transcendent or on the Lord. This is a clear repudiation, in harsh terms, of what Benedict XVI’s vision in favor of the ghost of Anscar Chupungco.
Will the Congregation get involved with this decision in Cebu? I suspect not. I hope I am wrong.
We need to rethink versus populum celebration of Holy Mass and adopt instead ad orientem worship. Joseph Ratzinger got it right in his The Spirit of the Liturgy. I’ll take Benedict XVI’s vision every day and as many times as it takes on Sunday.
As Klaus Gamber stated, and Ratzinger repeated, the shift from ad orientem worship to versus populum was the single most damaging change made in the name of the Second Vatican Council. Together with that came the jettisoning of Our Lord from sanctuaries, the de facto abolition of Latin along with worthy sacred music, irreverence due to Communion in the hand and the downplaying of kneeling and genuflection, etc. etc. etc.
All reasons for the promotion of Summorum Pontificum.
Just as a return to reading the Fathers can help us, collectively, correct the way we have been reading Scripture, so much under the domination of an over-played historical-critical method, so too, the Extraordinary Form can help us learn how the worship God as a Church which is not fragmented into tiny shards, and to reorient ourselves away from ourselves.
Start your local movement for the implementation of Summorum Pontificum NOW.