At CWR there is an interview with Archbp. Alex Sample of Portland. Among the things he addressed are sacred liturgy and sacred music.
[…] Some have said that the sacred liturgy is my personal hang up, that I have an obsession with it. I reject that view, because it’s not merely my opinion that the liturgy be given the highest priority, but that of the Church.
The Church teaches us that the liturgy is the “source and summit” of the Church’s life [in Sacrosanctum Concilium]. There is nothing more important that the Church does. All our apostolic works flow from it. It is the heart of who we are as the body of Christ.
I had the pleasure of attending a general audience with Pope Benedict. As a bishop, I had the opportunity to greet him personally afterward. In the few moments I had with him, I told him I had a great admiration for what he’d done to renew the sacred liturgy and thanked him for his leadership. He responded, “If we don’t have the liturgy, what do we have?” I took that message to heart.
I want to do what the Church wants us to do in regards to liturgy. It is not my take, or my style, but what the Church is asking of us. I want to be faithful to what the Vatican II Council intended.
The liturgy is not the personal possession of any priest or liturgical commission, but belongs to Holy Mother Church. We must celebrate it according to the mind and heart of the Church.
Sacred music forms an important part of that liturgy. I hope, in time and with patience, to address this topic with our clergy and lay leaders.
CWR: You recently celebrated Mass in the Extraordinary Form during a conference at the Brigittine Monastery in your archdiocese. What brought you to this conference and what interest do you have in the Old Mass?
Archbishop Sample: We have wonderful group of lay people in our archdiocese with an interest in Gregorian chant who put this conference together. They wanted to introduce Gregorian chant to the people in accordance with the mind of the Church. Vatican II, in fact, indicated that chant should enjoy “pride of place” in the liturgy [in Sacrosanctum Concilium].
The conference organizers wanted to experience Gregorian chant within the liturgy and asked me to celebrate the Mass there according to the Extraordinary Form. I had no hesitation to do so when I was asked.
I’m grateful to Pope Benedict for allowing the Extraordinary Form to flourish again in the Church. I have a great love and appreciation for the ancient liturgy. I wish every priest and seminarian would familiarize himself with the Extraordinary Form, which can help us to better understand the Ordinary Form. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]
If we do not revitalize our liturgical worship of God, nothing we do in the Church will bear lasting fruit.