Graz Bishop: 'Newly intensive efforts for the spirit and the form of Liturgy' necessary - Liturgy is not to be given over to the creative desire of individuals.
Brixen (kath.net/KAP) Does the Mass have a future? "Naturally", explained the Graz Diocesan Bishop Egon Kapellari on his Sunday Sermon in the Cathedral of Brixen on the close of the "International Brixen Symposium 2010", "because the Church has a future and because the Church and the Mass belong inseparably together.
In any case there will be starting today "newly intensive efforts about the spirit and the form of the Liturgy." Thusly, the religion may not be given over to the creative desire of individuals as a matter of fact: "Liturgy is not modeling wax at the disposal of individuals", said Kapellari.
Actually, however, the joys and sorrows of as many Catholics as possible should be explained and considered, said the Bishop, in view of the lowering numbers of the participants in Sunday Services.
He firmly believes in the promise of Jesus, that the powers of evil in the Church "while, powerful and damaging can never destroy it completely", said the Bishop. This of course does not say if the Church tomorrow will exist as a great majority or a small minority.
For centuries cut off from the outside world, the persecuted Christians of Japan, who had absolutely no priests any more to celebrate the Eucharist, had "lived on as a holy remnant".
"In general, however, it is valid that overall, wherever Catholics were a lasting presence, the Eucharist is always celebrated and will be celebrated in the future, even if in the course of history there are ever new challenges", said Kapellari.
Religious Services in the Courtyard of the Mass
In view of the sinking numbers of Sunday participants and that the young people stay away from the liturgy, warned the Bishop: this is the burning question, "if the threshold of the liturgy is not too high, its language too incomprehensible and if its music has too little heart". [Young people want a challenge....]
Above all Kapellari warned against a rash accommodation of the expectations and criticisms, which lead quickly to discouragement and a "Liturgy" which might be "presumed too rigid, flat Liturgy, even banal". [Graz, are you ready to Rock?]
For young people, who know little of the nature of Liturgy, the threshold of the Mass must not be too flat: "But it can and should become for them and for other people, for whom Mass has become strange, church services that is to say are in the courtyard of the Mass", said Kapellari. There is place for a freer form of Liturgy, "which are not even Eucharists"
A New 'ars celebrandi"
In "waiting", til the Liturgy is discovered again by many, the Church must be present in the secular community through social engagement and "intelligent" discourse in "concert of public opinion"; equipped for the "long haul", "through the prayer of those, who participate for all in the heart of the Church in celebrating the Eucharist.
Using this means there must be a new Catechesis of Liturgy, which builds Christians "slowly but sustainably". From these means "a new ars celebrandi must be developed --even in conversation with culture and even with art of all kinds, after which so many year for," said the Bishop. The Brixner Symposium made an exemplary contribution to just such a conversation.
"Smaller, but purer and nobler"
At the closing Kappelari continued in his preaching "on the life of the Church as a whole": "Our Catholic Church is at the present moment, must go through fire and water, which at this time in Europe is in the grip of some crises, so to say - so may we hope - will proceed even if indeed smaller, but purer and nobler," said the Bishop.
"Christ will not leave his Church." This promise is never the less "no charter for sadness and a lack of imagination" or for "superficially permanent state of activity", rather a "seeking for a weatherproof, joyful and missionary Faith, which even under the current conditions is possible and in many cases a reality."
The "International Brixner Symposium 2010" has taken place from the 8th to 10th of October under the title "The Mass - Source of Life, Highpoint of Faith?" The lecture at the Cusanus Academy combines Science, Culture and Spirituality.
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