Card. Arinze strikes hard in London


Card. Arinze with Card. Archbp. of WestminsterThe great Francis Card. Arinze, who is the titular Cardinal Bishop of the Suburbicarian Diocese of Velletri-Segni, recently (the diocese of the author) gave a speech recently in London, for the efforts of the ordinary their to engage in a liturgical renewal of the Diocese of Westminster. You can find a description of the event here, togeter with a link to a nicely formatted PDA document of the speech Card. Arinze delivered.

Here are a couple excerpts from his 1 April 2006 speech:

We manifest our adoration of our Eucharistic Jesus by genuflection whenever we cross the area of the tabernacle where he is reserved. It is reasonable where he is reserved. It is reasonable for us to bend the knee before him because he is our God. This is a way in which adoration is shown to the Holy Eucharist in the Latin Rite Church. The Oriental Churches and Benedictine Monasteries have the tradition of a deep bow. The meaning is the same. Moreover, our genuflection should be a reverential and deliberate act and not a careless bending of the knee to the nearest pillar characteristic of some people in whom over-familiarity with the tabernacle seems to breed hurried and nonchalant movements. As is well known, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, has written beautifully on the sense of the act of genuflection. (cf. J. Ratzinger: The Spirit of the Liturgy, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2000, p. 184-194). As for those who may ignore the significance of this gesture, it may be well to remember that we are not pure spirits like the angels. A Protestant once was visiting a Catholic church in the company of a Catholic friend. They passed across the tabernacle area. The Protestant asked the Catholic what that box was and why a little lamp was burning near it. The Catholic explained that Jesus the Lord is present there. The Protestant then put the vital question: “If you believe that your Lord and God is here present, then why don’t you genuflect, even prostrate and crawl?” The superficial Catholic got the message. He genuflected.


I thought this was good as well:

5. Observance of Liturgical Norms

In the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the observance of liturgical norms is one of the ways in which we show our Eucharistic faith. To a person who asks why there should be liturgical norms at all, we answer that the Church has the right and duty to promote and protect the Eucharistic celebration with appropriate norms. Christ gave the Church the essentials of the Eucharistic celebration. As the centuries rolled by, the Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, developed details on how the mysteries of Christ are to be  celebrated. Being an hierarchical society, the Church also manifests her nature and structure in the celebration of the Holy Mass. The Mass is the most solemn action of the sacred liturgy, which is itself the public worship of the Church. “Liturgy”, says Pope John Paul II, “is never anyone’s private property, be it of the celebrant or of the community in which the mysteries are celebrated… Priests who faithfully celebrate Mass according to the liturgical norms, and communities which conform to those norms, quietly but eloquently demonstrate their love for the Church” (Eccl. de Euch., 52). At the direction of Pope John Paul II, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, in collaboration with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued the Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum in March 2004 “precisely to bring out more clearly this deeper meaning of liturgical norms” (Eccl. de Euch., 52). It follows that individuals, whether they be priests or lay faithful, are not free to add or subtract any details in the approved rites of the celebration of the Holy Eucharist (cf Sacrosanctum Concilium, 22). A do-it-yourself mentality, an attitude of nobody-will-tell-me-what-to-do, or a defiant sting of if-you-do-not-like-my-Mass-you-can-go-to-another-parish, is not only against sound theology and ecclesiology, but also offends against common sense. Unfortunately, sometimes common sense is not very common, when we see a priest ignoring liturgical rules and installing creativity – in his case personal idiosyncracy – as the guide to the celebration of Holy Mass. Our faith guides us and our love of Jesus and of his Church safeguards us from taking such unwholesome liberties. Aware that we are only ministers, not masters of the mysteries of Christ (cf I Cor 4:1), we follow the approved liturgical books so that the people of God are respected and their faith nourished, and so that God is honoured and the Church is gradually being built up.

Oh yes, His Eminence is also the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments in addition to his prestigious title of Velletri-Segni. 


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  1. Jeff says:

    Have you been to the Cathedral of Velletri-Segni,
    Father, if that’s what it’s called?

    How often to Titular Bishops say Mass in their Churches? And how easy is it to find a Mass said by a particular curial prelate? If I wanted to find a Mass said by Archbishop Comastri, for example, or Cardinal Tauran, would there be a way of doing that?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Rocco posts on this with snarky remarks about the Cardinal’s failure to vest properly, according to the norms he is saying must be upheld. What’s your response?

  3. Jeff: Yes, I have been to the Cathedral of Velletri. Many times. I was there last Sunday, as a matter of fact, for the “installation” of the new bishop. And His Eminence also came for that event. Once again we had a nice and cordial chat.

    The cathedral or “duomo” is San Clemente. There is a co-cathedral in Segni, which was in its own right an ancient diocese.

    As the titular of Velletri-Segni, Card. Ratzinger came often to Velletri and celebrated Mass in the cathedral. He also contributed money to the restoration of some of its elements. As a matter of fact, when Card. Ratzinger took possession of the cathedral, way back when, I helped direct the music choices and the choir. This was in other hands for Card. Arinze’s day and also the new bishop.

    His Holiness Pope Benedict is going to be returning to his former titular see this summer!!


  4. Jeffrey Stuart says:

    As a Naval Officer I am routinely given accolades and thanks by people concerning my service to our country. And while I am appreciative of these sentiments, my admiration and respects go to people like His Holiness Pope Bendedict, Cardinal Arinze and the countless other Bishops and Priests within the Catholic Church who fight hard for our faith, the Church and the liturgy. These men make me proud to say that I am a Catholic. May we always be so blessed.

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