Card. Burke: “Liturgy is absolutely the first act of the New Evangelization.”

card burke massAt The Wanderer there is part 1 of a new interview with His Eminence Raymond Card. Burke.

See if this isn’t exactly what I have been talking about for… how long now?

The Sacred Liturgy is absolutely the first act of the New Evangelization. Unless we worship God in spirit and in truth, unless we celebrate the Sacred Liturgy with the greatest possible faith in God and faith in the divine action which takes place in Holy Mass, we are not going to have the inspiration and the grace to carry out the New Evangelization. […]

If the Sacred Liturgy is celebrated in an anthropocentric way, in a horizontal way in which it is no longer evident that it is a divine action, it simply becomes a social activity that can be relativized along with everything else — it doesn’t have any lasting impact on one’s life.

I think the celebration of the Extraordinary Form can have a very significant part to play in the New Evangelization because of its emphasis on the transcendence of the Sacred Liturgy. In other words, it emphasizes the reality of the union of Heaven and earth through the Sacred Liturgy. “

I have been saying for years now that no initiative we undertake in the Church, in any of the Church’s spheres of activity, will bear good and lasting fruit unless we revitalize our sacred liturgical worship of God. Everything starts there. Everything returns there. Revitalization of our liturgical worship is the first act of New Evangelization. It is the best means of communication and evangelization both ad intra and ad extra.

This is why we need the Extraordinary Form far and wide, often and everywhere.

Summorum Pontificum is a mighty tool for the New Evangelization.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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


  1. Joseph-Mary says:

    Is the Church of Rome still interested in the ‘new evangelization’? And a question I had just a little bit ago was this: Is ‘the Church’ still interested in the saving of souls? Or is it the saving of the planet or maybe the whales next? Not sure I recognize ‘the Church’ by what is coming out of Rome these days.

    But of course, the holy Cardinal is right.

  2. Hank Igitur says:

    In echoing the words of Pope Benedict XVI he is completely correct. Let us pray for Cardinal Burke in all his endeavours and trust that God will sustain him.

  3. Eugene says:

    @ Joseph-Mary “And a question I had just a little bit ago was this: Is ‘the Church’ still interested in the saving of souls?”..a very important question..i cannot remember the last time DOCTRINE was preached from the pulpit..its always the same old same old social justice stuff..the faithful are never challenged..i guess this the result of the communal emphasis of the new liturgy, we have lost focus and are adrift, God have mercy and please elevate His holy Eminence Cardinal Burke to the Chair of Peter in the next conclave

  4. Kerry says:

    The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter has a video, in three parts, to teach Priests the extraordinary form of the Mass. However, anyone will benefit from watching; I have, and enthusiastically recommend it to all readers here.
    There are closeups of the correct gestures, placement of fingers, highlights from the Prayer cards showing which prayer is being read, and explanations of the why. If one wants to see the Sacred, there it is!

  5. frjim4321 says:

    Clearly transcendence is a necessary component of liturgy, however I see a denial of the immanent dimension of worship which may, taken to the extreme, lead to an anti-incarnational distortion of the Christian Faith. I am sure that the prelate is well-intentioned, but to me his view of liturgy seems at best incomplete. [Here’s what you did. You suggest that Card. Burke denies the immanent dimension. He didn’t. Then, with that as a premise people are supposed to accept, you then move to talk about “the extreme”, which Card. Burke didn’t do. So, you have a classic strawman which you can then knock down with “anti-incarnational distortion” which, though fancy, has nothing to do with Card. Burke. Then you add a condescending “well-intentioned” while painting yourself as enlightened in that “seems at best incomplete”. Really. Is this all you’ve got?]

  6. dhgyapong says:

    The Anglican Ordinariates’ Divine Worship is another tool for the New Evangelization. It is in many ways the Tridentine Mass translated into beautiful sacral English, so it provides an interpretive key for those who would find Latin too formal at first, and it also helps people realize with the sacrifice of the Mass is, no matter where they worship in the Catholic Church. What’s interesting to me is how attractive our liturgy is to young men from evangelical backgrounds. They come, they see beauty, even in our humble surroundings, they see reverence towards God and the Blessed Sacrament and want to be part of it.

    Thanks to Pope Benedict XVI the heirlooms of the English-speaking world’s liturgy and the poetic language of the Book of Common Prayer have been baptized into the Catholic Church and through the Ordinariates be preserved and passed on to succeeding generations. Cranmer may have been a heretic, but he was also a great Latin translator who knew how to make the English have a meter that could be chanted and was pleasing to the ear.

    Our little parish also has people like myself who have been touched by charismatic renewal, but then desired to go deeper into the faith and discovered how important holy worship and traditional liturgy is.

  7. Someone please be the Garrigue says:

    Card. Burke: “I am hopeful that there will be opportunities for the lay faithful to take part in days of study with regard to the Church’s teaching on marriage and its beauty. I also hope that there might be demonstrations and other public manifestations in support of the truth about marriage.”

    The sight of St. Peter’s Square, filled with menacing faithful Catholics, with rosaries and pictures of St. John Paul and the Holy Family, whispering “Uphold the faith of the Apostles…..” ought to make the “General” Synod sweat a bit, if they know their history.

  8. Joseph-Mary says:

    I agree about the Anglican Use and when visiting my parents when they lived there, I would drive across San Antonio to go to Our Lady of the Atonement. Even my ‘liberal’ relatives liked it! It is how the Novus Ordo was meant to be. And to Fr. Jim….yes, the liturgical component is one component along with sound teaching of doctrine: without these two things, there is no new evangelization. Evangelization to what? Comfort in one’s sins? Of course we must also incorporate the corporal works of mercy but cannot forget the spiritual as they go hand in hand.

  9. Mike says:

    Excessively “communitarian” interpretation of the Missal obscures the incarnation of Our Lord upon the altar of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Such anti-incarnational distortion frequently exemplifies the celebration of the Novus Ordo in all but a handful of U.S. dioceses.

  10. Ted says:

    I have noticed that his new position at Malta is allowing him more time and space to do these wonderful interviews. I hope the Catholic faithful we will continue to hear more and more from a great prelate on these immediate and very relevant issues.

  11. frjim4321 says:

    [Really. Is this all you’ve got?] – Our Esteemed Host

    I’m not here to win a contest.

    I’m just calling it as I see it.

    [And you were called on it! o{]:¬) ]

  12. The Cobbler says:

    Fr. Jim, perhaps you’d care to elaborate on how to achieve the aspects of worship the importance of which Cardinal Burke explains without falling into the sort of extremes you caution against?

    I just ask because it’d be equally easy for me to say that I’ve been to many a Mass in the Novus Ordo that substituted bad imitation pop music for the very immanent dimension you’re concerned with, and heard from many a non-traditional priest who actually did deny the Incarnation, but I’d rather have an honest discussion of what you think is the right thing to do and why.

  13. Someone please be the Garrigue says:

    Card. Burke: “The Sacred Liturgy shows us the form of the New Evangelization because it is a direct encounter with the mystery of faith: Christ’s redemptive Incarnation for the sake of conquering sin in our lives and winning for us the grace of the divine life, a share in the life of the Holy Trinity through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit into our hearts.”

    To Fr Jim: When the Bridegroom comes, would you lock the door, put out the lights, and spend the night in blissful solitude? Is it not better to go out to meet Him, let Him in, spend some time with Him, and then go out with Him?

  14. jbpolhamus says:

    I couldn’t agree with him more. Everything flows outward from the tabernacle, through the priest and the liturgical priorities of the Altar. Get a better Liturgy, get less-confused Priests; get less-confused Priests, get a better Congregation; get a better Congregation, get a better Church; get a better Church, get a better World, which more and more manifests Christ’s Kingdom on Earth. Water and Blood both flow downhill. It’s not rocket-science.

  15. Dave N. says:

    Good interview. I’m hoping this marks a shift away from less than credible journalistic outlets (blogs, BuzzFeed, etc.).

  16. Ann Malley says:

    @ frjim4321 says:

    [Really. Is this all you’ve got?] – Our Esteemed Host
    I’m not here to win a contest.
    I’m just calling it as I see it.

    ….. With all due respect, Father, you may not be aware of how your posts sound when read. For you may believe yourself to have one intention, but your style and, most pointedly, your word choices say otherwise. And rather clearly at that. I won’t go so far as to say that you know exactly what your posts sound like, but with banter like, Our Esteemed Host, you make it difficult.

    Have mercy, okay?

  17. mburn16 says:

    One day soon we can pray that God will allow the good Cardinal onto the Throne of St. Peter. Personally, it might be a good idea that supporters of Burke start assembling themselves into some kind of organized structure to speak and write in his favor when the day comes.

    As for the liturgy…I’ve long said ideal worship probably falls between the NO and EF. We should not underestimate the benefits of a more accessible liturgy, but nor should that require us to abandon the proper form and splendor due to the mass. Expansion of the TLM certainly is to the benfit of the church, but we should be careful of thinking the most desirable outcome is simply a reversion to 1962.

  18. TheAltarBoy says:

    God Bless Cardinal Burke.

  19. What I am starting to see here is that the way to increase a cardinal’s influence in the Church is to give him a largely ceremonial job that doesn’t entail much hard work and then just watch the sparks fly. Maybe Pope Francis does know what he’s doing. A cardinal who is busy shuffling Curial papers or running a diocese isn’t going to have time for the sorts of activities we have been seeing from Cardinal Burke.

  20. Gerard Plourde says:

    I think that Cardinal Burke would agree that the danger of anthropocentrism and a celebration that lacks reognition of the Divine Presence is also possible in the Extraordinary Form. The danger lies in the attitude and understanding of the celebrant as well as the corresponding attitude and understanding of the congregation. It is why we must always strive to remember that, while we are always in the Holy Presence of God, in a Catholic Church we are in that Holy Presence in a unique way and that through the reception of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Savior made present through the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass we can be united to Him in a unique way.

  21. Traductora says:

    Interesting interview w Cdl Burke on FranceTV2. It’s scheduled for tomorrow (the program is 13:15 le dimanche, or “Sunday at 1:15 pm”) but the transcript is up. I couldn’t get the video to load beyond the first couple of words, so I assume we won’t be able to see this all until tomorrow, Sunday. This is the link:

    In any case, Cdl Burke said that if the Pope continues on his current course with respect to homosexuality and Communion for divorced and “remarried” Catholics, he (Burke) will have no choice but to resist. He said it will be painful, but he could not do otherwise. He was asked if he felt that this would destroy the Church as an institution, but he said that Our Lord had promised that nothing would destroy the Church.

  22. Gerard Plourde says:

    Dear Traductora,

    I’ve looked at the link and notice that it’s not a transcript of the full interview but is a report that only has some direct but disjointed quotes from the Cardinal. I also think that it’s too early to say what Pope Francis’s position on these issues is. The work of the Synod is not complete and, like Cardinal Burke, I believe that the indwelling Holy Spirit will guide the Barque of Peter as has been the case since Pentecost.

  23. Maltese says:

    Tuesday, March 06, 2007
    Comment: Waugh to Buckley [From ‘Musings of a Pertinacious Papist’]
    At the beginning of the Second Vatican Council, so sure was Evelyn Waugh that the Council wouldn’t dare to abrogate the Latin Mass, that he wrote, in part, to William Buckley:
    The nature of the Mass is so profoundly mysterious that the most acute and holy men are continually discovering further nuances of significance. It is not a peculiarity of the Roman Church that much which happens at the altar is in varying degrees obscure to most of the worshipers. It is in fact the mark of all the historic, apostolic Churches. I think it highly doubtful whether the average churchgoer either needs or desires to have complete intellectual, verbal comprehension of all that is said. He has come to worship.
    [Quoted by Chris Conlee in “The Fever of Vatican II,” New Oxford Review (January 2007), p. 34.]

    Indeed, if what we see, hear, feel and believe is taking place at the altar [transubstantiation], all of the apostolic rites, from the time of the apostles, both east and west, these rites act in from what is truly taking place. In France, for instance, there used to be roods screens–these are even more pronounced in eastern churches–which, though they were destroyed during the Revolution–used to remind believers that what took place behind them was truly holy, and transcended the mere walls of the church; and that mystery is the unbloody Sacrifice. Why, except for Arvo Part, is there no longer great liturgical music ala Mozart and Palestrina? It is because we have demystified the mass.

  24. frjim4321 says:

    Ann, you are reading a tone into my comments that is not accurate. There is no sarcasm in my reference to our host, who I happen to like.

  25. AnAmericanMother says:

    Then you need to be more perceptive and discerning in your tone – not to mention your rhetorical and debating techniques, which seem to be both deceptive and divisive.
    This is not a “one-off” but a constant practice of yours — and a very odd way to demonstrate that you “happen to like” our host.
    I’m in the business of reading and writing advocacy, and it seems quite clear to me what you are doing. Whether it is deliberate or unconscious is not knowable by anyone but you.

  26. Bruce says:

    “There is no sarcasm in my reference to our host”


  27. frjim4321 says:

    Mother and Bruce you don’t get me at all.

    People can read whatever tone they please into any text. By so doing they reveal more about themselves than about the author.

    There is no animosity between the host and I.

  28. Bruce says:

    Quod erat demonstrandum.


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