Benedict XVI to French bishops about liturgy. (Reason #5457 for Summorum Pontificum)

On Saturday 17 November Pope Benedict granted an audience to French bishops during their ad limina visit.  The Holy Father addressed them about, inter alia, liturgy.

[…] As the Council recalls, the Church’s liturgical action is also a part of her contribution to the work of civilizing (cf. Gaudium et spes 58, 4). [Save The Liturgy, Save The World… right?  What we do in our churches has a far wider, much deeper effect on the world around us than is immediately apparent.] The liturgy is indeed the celebration of the central event of human history, [Since that is so, if we screw up our liturgical worship of God, what we owe to God by the virtue of Religion, then the hierarchy of our loves and relationships will be screwed up to.] the Christ’s redemptive Sacrifice. By it, it (the event) witnesses to the love by which God loves humanity, it gives witness that the life of man has a meaning and that he is called by his vocation to participate in the glorious life of the Trinity. Humanity needs this witness. It needs to perceive, through liturgical celebrations, the consciousness the Church has of God’s lordship and man’s dignity. [This is why we must Say The Black and Do The Red.   If we continually bring the profane into what ought to be a “sacred action”, the watching world will see that we are not serious, that we have caved into the “prince of this world”.] It has the right to be able to discern, beyond the limits which will always characterize her rites and ceremonies, that Christ “is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, and in the person of the minister” (cf Sacrosanctum Concilium 7). Aware of the concern which you have surrounding your liturgical celebrations, I encourage you to cultivate the art of celebration, [ars celebrandi … for more on this see his post-synodal Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis.] to help your priests in this sense, and to work without ceasing in the liturgical formation of seminarians and faithful. [Is this where I insert SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM?!?]Respect for the established norms expresses love and fidelity to the Church’s faith, [We say the black and do the red from LOVE.] to the treasure of grace that she guards and passes on; the beauty of the celebrations, much more than innovations and subjective adaptations, [abuses] is what makes the work of evangelization lasting and efficacious. [This isn’t rocket science.  A renewal of our liturgical worship is central to a New Evangelization.]

Your big concern today is for the transmission of the faith to younger generations. …


Pope Benedict has what I call a “Marshall Plan” for the Church.

The West is losing its soul because Christianity – Catholicism in particular – is not being lived by the mature or passed on to the young in a clear form. After WWII the US helped to rebuild Europe through the Marshall Plan to create good trading partners and to serve as a bulwark against Communism. In Pope Benedict’s “Marshall Plan” he hopes that we can build up Catholic identity after the ecclesial devastation resulting for various reasons since the Second Vatican Council. We need a stronger Catholic identity for the sake of souls and to help create a bulwark against secularism and the soul annihilating dictatorship of relativism.

Summorum Pontificum is key to the New Evangelization.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Supertradmum says:

    The mention of the virtue of religion is important here. This is rarely taught, as catechesis has lost the sense of the sacred, which even the pagan ancients had. All has been made chummy, fuzzy, human and the Divine is lost. Those of us who love the Faith must love the Church in all of Her glory and history, and want proper worship. I have endured months of worship which is clearly utilitarian, and not from the heart and mind. How did this happen to our priests and the priests of the Western World? Do they not believe in what they proclaim at the altar? When a priest does not understand his own relationship to Christ, how can he communicate that to others?

  2. Gratias says:

    Bravo Benedict XVI, bravo Father Z. Keeping the traditional Faith is key.

  3. SonofMonica says:

    When will the Marshall plan be brought to a parish near me? I have has about all the guitars and tambourines I can stomach.

  4. Cathy says:

    What’s with The Lord of the Dance as a hymnal? It’s one of the songs I can’t bring myself to sing, and, as far as I can make out was written about a Hindu god.

  5. Well, although my parish of Confirmation hasn’t gotten the music down…the Pouring of the Precious Blood after the Consecration from the pitcher has stopped…Brick by Brick…I was looking for the pastor to complement him, but I couldn’t find him.

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  7. fvhale says:

    Wow. I have never heard exactly these kinds of ideas in regard to liturgy. Sure, I have heard the “we all come as a family to table” language, and the “we worship and sacrifice to the great God” kind of language. But where have these ideas been hiding?

    – The liturgy is the Church’s contribution to the work of civilization (in the same sense, I think, of great art, great architecture, great music, great literature, etc.)
    – The liturgy is the celebration of the central event of human history, Christ’s redemptive sacrifice. The central event of human history. To appreciate that one would need, of course, some deep awareness of human history, and a deep understanding of the human condition. But the liturgy should be holding it forth, like light on a lampstand, to enlighten those in darkness.
    – By the liturgy, the Church should give witness, testimony, to the love of God, to the meaning of human life (and that there IS a meaning), and to God’s call to mankind.

    This makes me think of the glory of God filling the tabernacle and temple, of Pentecost, of the visions in the Apocalypse of John.

  8. Luke Whittaker says:

    . . . The dictatorship of relativism. . . what a sad impossibility. I mourn that Aristotle’s definition of wisdom has been lost on the majority of people in our culture. The gift of reason is such a priceless one! A plan to promote a stronger Catholic identity seems to speak to the Holy Father’s expressed desire that we will be a sign of real hope for the masses when they grow weary of not seeing the big picture and of not being able to connect one idea to another because their minds have been dulled by the antiphilosphical philosophy of relativism. [Relativism speaking:] “The only absolute is that there are no absolutes.” PLEASE. The only thing that it seems to me would attract a man to adhere to such nonsense is the mistaken notion that my ideas and opinions are king and I therefore suddenly find myself the wisest man within my circle of infuence. But wait! How can that be when I have not made an equiry beyond the scope of my own uninformed opinions? Why is the foolishness of this line of thinking so clear to one man while it totally escapes the next? I agree with Socrates: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” “I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance” (attributed, Diogenes Laertius). Truth is something outside of myself that I must open my heart to grasp in succesive stages as I allow it to shape my life because “the end aimed at is not knowledge [itself] but [right] action” (Aristotle, Ethics). I pray that we all become good students of what matters most in life. Heaven help us.

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