Pope Benedict on liturgy, catechesis, mystery, participation

Pope Benedict recently addressed priests of Rome brought together in the Basilica of St. John Lateran for an ecclesial convention on 15 June.

The Holy Father develops some themes that I have been working with and bashing you with over your heads for years.

The Holy Mass, celebrated in the respect of the liturgical norms and with a fitting appreciation of the richness of the signs and gestures, fosters and promotes the growth of Eucharistic faith. In the Eucharistic celebration we do not invent something, but we enter into a reality that precedes us, more than that, which embraces heaven and earth and, hence, also the past, the future and the present.

This universal openness, this encounter with all the sons and daughters of God is the grandeur of the Eucharist: we go to meet the reality of God present in the body and blood of the Risen One among us. Hence, the liturgical prescriptions dictated by the Church are not external things, but express concretely this reality of the revelation of the body and blood of Christ and thus the prayer reveals the faith according to the ancient principle "lex orandi – lex credendi."

And because of this we can say "the best catechesis on the Eucharist is the Eucharist itself well celebrated" (Benedict XVI, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Sacramentum Caritatis," No. 64).

It is necessary that in the liturgy the transcendent dimension emerge with clarity, that of the mystery, of the encounter with the Divine, which also illumines and elevates the "horizontal," that is the bond of communion and of solidarity that exists between all those who belong to the Church.

In fact, when the latter prevails, the beauty, profundity and importance of the mystery celebrated is fully understood. Dear brothers in the priesthood, to you the bishop has entrusted, on the day of your priestly Ordination, the task to preside over the Eucharist. Always have at heart the exercise of this mission: celebrate the divine mysteries with intense interior participation, so that the men and women of our City can be sanctified, put into contact with God, absolute truth and eternal love.

Full text in English.

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  1. Authentic “participation” (interior first, exterior second) and the priestly “ars celebrandi” (the authentic art of celebrating that reveals the interior by means of the exterior rites) are going to renew the Church, in either form of the Roman Rite.
    God bless, protect and give every help to our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, in his mission in our time, in the Holy Roman Church!

  2. Mitchell NY says:

    God Bless The Holy Father and his Pontificate. His examples show us much and put some things back in their correct perspective. We do need somewhere down the line some legislation to back up the examples with concrete declarations. That will go a long way in ensuring his examples don’t fade in future Pontificates. We we have another Pope in the future who will be as interested in Liturgy as this Holy Pope? Now is a unique time in history and we need to refer back to things such as what was legislated wo back up what we may review on video. Stability in liturgical practice and Church rules and law will do alot to strengthen the Church, and even the Papacy. I pray for this Pope’s strength in the face of many wolves who have left the anonymity of the forest and are showing themselves.

  3. Maltese says:

    Great and true words of a great Pope; unfortunately, the Novus Ordo has done much to diminish Christ’s True Presence:

    “And if someone passed through that door to introduce into the Church a Liturgy subversive to the very nature and primary end of the Sacred Liturgy…the responsibility for this, in the final analysis, is none other than the conciliar text itself.” [171-172] Msgr. Gherardini


  4. becket1 says:

    Quote from Michell NY:
    “God Bless The Holy Father and his Pontificate. His examples show us much and put some things back in their correct perspective.”

    But he hasn’t given his clergy and faithful the ultimate “example”. A public offering of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

  5. Peggy R says:

    Our bishop, just returned from Rome for Year for Priests events, issued a letter on directives regarding the new translations. He outlaws ad libbing upon new text becoming effective. He discusses the various issues of mystery, sacredness of the mass. How the mass does not belong to any priest or parish to change for itself. No bishop can change either he notes. He’s in line with the Holy Father.

    In any case, from Bp. Braxton of Belleville IL diocese:

    [This was a letter to all priests and lay administrators of parishes. He published it online to be sure the faithful see it. Smart man. Recall, he had to deal with the lack of kneeling at the Eucharistic prayer in some parishes last fall.]


  6. TJerome says:

    Peggy thanks for sharing. You are fortunate to have a bishop like Bishop Braxton. The irony of all ironies is that the “spirit of Vatican II” crowd (generally the ad libbers) disregard the express command of Sacrosanctum Concilium that no bishop or priest is allowed to change the words of the approved texts. I guess they cherry pick what they like from Vatican II documents and ignore what they don’t like.

  7. Dr. Eric says:

    Our good Bishop Braxton has his work cut out for him, I am referencing the havoc that the Mundelein trained priests have unleashed upon our diocese. Our Bishop has had a very hard time ever since he took the reins of the diocese.

    Even the Laity are against him. One of my former patients told me how she hated him and that she thought he was arrogant in making people meet him at the Cathedra during Mass. She went to the recent ordination Mass and I told her to kiss his ring. She didn’t and said she’d never do it.

    I don’t know what this means, but a week later she not only had a myocardial infarction but also a myocardial rupture which lead to multiple organ failure and death. May God have mercy on her.

  8. Dr. Eric says:

    I’m very glad to see that Bishop Braxton has made it clear that after the new translation takes effect that the clergy and laity are not allowed to change the rubrics or words of the Mass.

  9. Peggy R says:

    Dr. Eric,

    Yes, even my relatives believe the claims of arrogance and can’t stand the bishop. I won’t argue too much with my 95 year old grandma. I just say that people got it wrong. My mother, while a personally wholesome conservative lady, is anti-authority and doesn’t seem to think the bishop or priest can tell her anything. She’s a pre-boomer. I think she’s of the generation who are angry and confused since the sudden changes of the late 60s. Interesting cautionary tale about your patient. Yes, the bishop’s work is cut out for him. I am glad to see him make this move, as hard as obtaining some level of compliance will be.

  10. TJerome says:

    It sounds like some of the clergy and faithful in the Braxton Diocese are overgrown juvenile delinquents. Even though I am conservative I would never mistreat the bishop on a personal level no matter how much I disagreed with his views. I also hear Mundelein is much better than it was years ago and the newer seminarians are quite orthodox.

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