“To me, the most serious element in all this was the breach of fundamental, liturgical consciousness.”

Please use the sharing buttons!  Thanks!

In Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year, from the works Joseph Ratzinger (you know who) for 25 April we read a blurb from his perennially useful Feast of Faith (US link HERE, US Kindle HERE, UK HERE, UK Kindle HERE):

“The Council did not create new articles of faith, nor did it replace existing ones with new ones. Its only concern was to make it possible to hold the same faith under different circumstances, to revitalize it. As for the work that preceded the Council, it seems to have been more intensive in Germany than elsewhere, for Germany was the heartland of the liturgical movement, the primary source in which the documents of the Council had their origin. But many of these documents were issued too abruptly. To many of the faithful, most of them seemed to be a challenge to the creativity of the individual congregation, in which separate groups constructed their own “liturgies” from week to week with a zeal that was as commendable as it was misplaced. To me, the most serious element in all this was the breach of fundamental, liturgical consciousness. The difference between liturgy and festivity, between liturgy and social event, disappeared gradually and imperceptibly, as witness the fact that many priests, imitating the etiquette of polite society, feel that they ought not to receive Holy Communion until the congregation has received; that they should no longer venture to say “I bless you” [German euch: familiar form of plural “you”]—thus dissolving the fundamental liturgical relationship between them and their congregation. In this context belong also the often obnoxious and banal greeting which, it must be admitted, many congregations tolerate with a kind of patient forbearance. In the period before the new missal made its appearance, but after the old one had already been characterized as “old-fashioned”, people forgot that there is a “rite”, that is, a prescribed liturgical form, and that liturgy is genuinely liturgy only if it is not subject to the will of those who celebrate it.”  See: The Feast of Faith, pp. 83–85.

Any effort of renewal of any sphere of our Church and lives must be preceded by and accompanied with a revitalization of our liturgical worship.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Jason Keener says:

    I never had much use either for banal greetings used at Mass like “Good morning” at the start and “Have a nice day” at the end. I still come across this being done by well-intentioned priests; however, the practice really works to sap the beautiful sacred tension that is to be found in the Sacred Liturgy. The liturgy, of course, has its own greetings, and nothing should be added to the Liturgy.

  2. Gulielmus says:

    This is a very helpful text, I think, as the Church moves toward a “reform of the reform.” It’s vital that if we are to be led by Pope Benedict we must understand what he has actually said, despite the many misquotes and partial quotes we encounter online. Here as elsewhere he’s been clear that the way in which the Novus Ordo was introduced (particularly its abruptness), and the showman-like improvisations of priests and liturgists, are what he finds problematic. The familiar quote from the Gamber preface was not a criticism of the NO itself but of these aspects of its implementation. If we focus on what he has identified as problems, and not on what some wish he had said, we are more apt to accomplish the revitalization Fr Z mentions in his last statement.

  3. Cathy says:

    I hope the text includes the prescription used in our parish that everyone stands and greets one another prior to the beginning of the entrance hymn. I don’t mean to sound scrupulous, I love social events, but, if in any sense of the Liturgy, the Mass is “social”, one has to be mindful of who is the Host. In consideration of the Host, should not the time prior to Mass, be spent in prayerful reflection and gratitude that He has invited us?

  4. St. Rafael says:

    I’m still waiting to to see any serious attempt towards the revitalization of our liturgical worship.

    As far as I’m concerned, the only thing the new translation accomplished, was that it finally put to an end the question of validity when it came to the new Mass. After decades of arguments over pro multis and the fighting over the rite being invalid, the question has been put to rest once and for all. The Mass is valid and the right translation put in place. We are back to 1970. We are back to the original texts of the Novus Ordo. That is pretty sad in itself.

    I want a new missal, but I know that is hard to do and unrealistic right now. Still where is the revitalization of our liturgical worship? Where are some simple basic reforms? After 7 years of Pope Benedict where is the mandated Ad Oreintem worship? Why do we still have altar girls? Why can’t we forbid the laity from distributing the Sacred Host? To touch the Sacred Host is the privilege of the ordained. Why do we have Communion under both species virtually 24/7, 365 days out of the year? We must restore Communion under one species. Tabernacles should be in the center of the altars and churches. We need to restore the Roman Cannon and limit the number of Eucharistic prayers, not expand them. I could go on and on, but these are all simple reforms that are desperately needed right now, not three or five years from now. The faith is at stake and I see no urgency from the hierarchy.

  5. Cathy says:

    St. Rafael, even with the obsolete Missal, the Mass was valid as licit as long as you had the right form and matter and the priest would say the black and do the red. “We” are not the papa whose privilege and duty is not simply to react, but to respond.

  6. digdigby says:

    St. Rafael-
    The church is not like sailing a dinghy. It is like a super tanker that needs 25 miles to turn around. Sometimes there are shoal places we don’t see that the Holy father does. We wonder “why doesn’t he just go straight to the destination and set a bee-line” maybe he knows something you and I don’t. I assume so.

  7. St. Rafael says:


    I believed the Mass was valid under the old translation, but that it was clear to everyone that is was valid, was not the case. You simply did not have the proper words for the consecration. It was a bad and a wrong translation. That this invalidated the Mass was a legitimate question. Saints and theologians have been on both sides of the issue for centuries. Some saints and theologians said you needed pro multis for a valid consecration while other saints and theologians said that pro multis wasn’t needed for consecration, because consecrationof the wine took place before pro multis at the words “this is the chalice of my blood”.

    To this day, the Church has never decided officially if you need pro multis or not. Pope Benedict did not decide this question either. All he did was restore the orginal translation of pro multis that exists in the original text of the Novus Ordo. The Church did not adress the question. It just mandated a return to the words pro multis as found in the TLM and original texts of the New Mass.

  8. wmeyer says:

    St. Rafael: Amen, amen.

  9. SonofMonica says:

    @St. Rafael: Did the Romans have cannons? I was under the impression they did not have the benefit of the invention of gunpowder.

  10. St. Rafael says:


    Very funny. I misspelled canon. At least this gives me the opportunity to talk about the Roman canon. When I say I wish the canon was restored, I mean I wish the Roman Canon(Eucharistic Prayer I) was mandated. It is currently an option. I really hate that there are so many options and about 4 EPs to choose from and that doesn’t even include the ones for reconciliation and other such occasions. The Third Edition added more to this, not less.

    Most priests use Eucharistic Prayer II because it is short and they are either devils, ignorant, or lazy. It could be a combination of all three, but most are just ignorant and lazy. Now as much as I like the phrase “like the dewfall”, the Roman Canon is the Roman Canon, the oldest prayer going back to the apostles and Gregory the Great. Many have been sold the myth that EPII is actually the oldest going back to the second century or so, but it is really just a concocted prayer done by committee.

  11. Ambrose Jnr says:

    @St Raphael: I agree with you about EPII…I look forward to the day it will be ‘verboten’. EPIV is written in magnificent Latin though…would you be in favour of keeping that one besides EPI?

  12. discerningguy says:

    Personally I would like to see the Roman Canon mandated for use on Sundays and all Feasts and Solemnities, while permitting EP II only on normal Ferial days and only when serious “pastoral” need suggests it, for example when working people attend Mass before they go to their job site and Mass needs to be done quickly.. I would also like to see the elimination of the other two EPs.

    I would also like to see the proper entrance into the altar restored, that is, some sort of Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. People online are scrambling for the Propers, and rightly so, but the Introit is not a processional hymn, even though the OF Missal thinks so. The Introit is a musical “cover” for the ritual entrance into the sanctuary, which is the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. But of course, there is no ritual entrance to the sanctuary in the OF. It makes no sense for the Introit to be used as a processional hymn, because it is not a processional piece. It is an entrance-to-the-sanctuary piece.

    Just as the Offertory antiphon “covers” the ritual action of the Offertory and the Communion antiphon “covers” the ritual action of the distribution of Holy Communion, so too should the Introit properly “cover” a ritual action. Except there is no ritual action for it to “cover” because there is no Prayers at the Foot of the Altar in the OF. As I said, it seems silly to use the Introit as a processional hymn because it isn’t a processional piece. The only feasible option in the OF that makes any sense with the current books is for the Introit to start as the priest bows to the altar, with him then waiting at the foot of the altar for a few minutes until the Introit is almost over to go up and kiss the altar. But then that just looks stupid because he is just waiting there doing nothing. I think this is a major blunder on the part of Bugnini. Some sort of ritual action needs to be restored before the priest enters the sanctuary so that it actually makes SENSE to have an INTROit sung. And of course this doesn’t rule out the singing of some sort of processional piece before it since the Introit is not a processional piece, but is a piece to “cover” the as-yet-nonexistent ritual entrance into the sanctuary.

  13. Pingback: Dagens Ratzinger-sitat » EN KATOLSK WEBLOG

  14. MAJ Tony says:

    Actually, the Introit, I would think, is both a processional (in this case the entrance and procession of the priest as “Alter Christus”- as in the Palm Sun. procession – to Jerusalem, and the entrance into Jerusalem itself. Really, are they not all part of the same action? In fact, IF I understand correctly (and feel free to correct me if not), in the Missa Cantata and Missa Solemnis, on certain feasts the rubrics specifically call for the Introit to be the processional as opposed to something out of, say, the Adoremus Hymnal. Better yet, Maundy Mass – at least in the EF, and in practice in Rome in the OF (I was at the mother house of the OSB, Sant’ Anselmo’s last year for it, and they run the Liturgicum- specifically calls for “Nos autem gloriari” to be chanted during the processional.

  15. jonh303 says:

    This quote is very important. I wish somehow he could say things as Pope in the same way to get to the point because most people simply don’t have the time or desire to wade through the deep reasoning he gives, though it is important. But the problem is, it is a lose lose situation…provide it and certain people complain about getting to the point, don’t provide it and well, the pope treats us like lay people on the topic. Reblogged: http://goo.gl/MSYgM

Comments are closed.