PODCAzT 41: Ratzinger on liturgical silence; silent Eucharist Prayer

Today’s PODCAzT brings us back to my little project of drilling down into certain questions the older form of Mass might excite in the minds of those unfamiliar with it.

Before, we used Joseph Ratzinger’s book, The Spirit of the Liturgy(Ignatius Press, 2000) and today is no exception.  Today we dig into silence, liturgical silence, which is so much more than just a pause or lack of words.

Ratzinger, now our gloriously reigning Pope Benedict XVI, touches on many questions, including the silent prayers for the priest alone, everyone making the responses and not just servers, and the foundation of inculturation.

He also explains something he said in 1978 that annoyed many liturgists, namely, that the Canon (Eucharistic Prayer) should be SILENT!

It is interesting to read the provisions of Summorum Pontificum in light of this book.  We get a glimpse of what His Holiness is trying to accomplish.
040  Eusebius of Vercelli in exile; my column in The Wanderer on detractors of Summorum Pontificum

039  St. Augustine on Christ the Mediator; “for all” or “for many”?
038  Ratzinger on “active participation”; The Sabine Farm; Merry del Val’s music
037  The position of the altar and the priest’s “back to the people”
036  St. Augustine on John the Baptist; Ut queant laxis

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Ah, silence. That yearned-for yet elusive creature at most Masses these days.
    Nobody ever stops to think about how necessary SILENCE is to “active
    participation” in the Mass. I know a healthy dose of silence after Communion
    would make it possible for me to pray, and to pay attention to my divine Guest,
    instead of frantically searching my purse for earplugs, or dreaming up ways to
    sabotage the sound system.

  2. Joey says:

    “Ave Verum Corpus” by Byrd! Heavenly!

    Silence is indeed essential for fruitful liturgy. The mysteries of faith transcend human senses, and that worship is first and foremost in the heart. We recall the words of Aquinas: “Praestet fides supplementum/Sensuum defectui”. We must also remember to heed the command of the Lord through the Psalmist: “Be still and know that I am God”.

  3. cor ad cor loquitur says:

    Fr Z, I had read The Spirit of the Liturgy, but hearing it read aloud brought to life parts that I had missed. Thank you for your hard work in doing this for us!

    And I love the energy and enthusiasm with which you open every podcast. It reminds me of a comment I overheard about our parish priest. “He sings the Mass so beautifully,” said one parishoner. “Yes,” said another, “that’s because he really believes what he’s singing.”

    May it be so for each one of us!

  4. mike says:

    Father Z,

    Another well crafted, interesting and entertaining programme. And its free!

    Thanks. m

  5. Other Paul says:

    Mmmmmm…..another podcazt. Life is good.

  6. Jonathan Bennett says:

    I read a small book recently, ‘Let God’s Light Shine Forth: The Spiritual Teachings of Benedict XVI’, that touched on the Holy Father’s opinions on the Liturgy. While the author made a point to mention that His Holiness desires a more solemn and reverant Liturgy, it did mention that he believed the use of an audible Canon was a good reform.

  7. Jonathan: Interesting. It would be nice to have a quote on that, if you can dig it up and post it.

  8. CBM says:

    Ratzinger/Benedict speaks of the silent canon and mentions that the beginning of the prayers should be said out loud as a cue for the congregation (pg 215). What exactly wouldthat “look like” or better sound like? I’m asking a practical pragmatic question. How do you do it?

  9. Augustine says:

    Brilliant podcast as always.

    One thing in this reading stood out for me.

    I think Ratzinger’s suggestion for the priest to say the first words of each prayer of the Canon aloud is very interesting. This would likely help people follow along better, while not losing the silence of the Canon. It would also help to fulfill Vatican II’s ideal of more active participation in the Liturgy.

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