Friday, May 6, 2011

Holy Father: No Opposition Between Tradition and Progress in the Liturgy

Editor: Pope Benedict is addressing one of the chief sources of Liturgical abuses in the Church today, the Benedictines of Sant'Anselmo. He seems to make a backhand swipe at Dom Beauduin, perhaps. New Liturgical Movement got an Italian translation which describes Benedict's critique in terms of going "beyond" the Council. [About which Rorate Caeli was more circumspect, and Vatican Radio didn't touch on any of this at all.]Basically, this is more reform of the reform talk to Old Liberals who will do their best to ignore the Holy Father's admonitions and prescriptions. That doesn't appear in the following essay by theologian Armin Schibach, but there it is:

'sana traditio' and 'legitima progressio': The program of reform of the Council Fathers. Back in the future on the way to "Sacrosanctum Concilium'. The river of Tradition. by Armin Schibbach

Rome ( In the area of Liturgy, Tradition and progress are not put together in "an "awkward manner" one against the other. Actually, both enrich each other: Tradition contains in itself the principle of development and is always a living reality: "The river of Tradition always flows from its source as it strives toward its mouth". With these words Pope Benedict addressed today's Friday lecture, taking part in the event, organized for the the Papal Liturgical Institute 'Sant'Anselmo', on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of its founding.

Benedict XVI next addressed the reason for the memorial, which lead to the founding of the Liturgical Institute. In this, it was the wish of Pope John XXIII to take up the Liturgical Movement [Editor: Its Revolutionary character, founded primarily in illicit and therefore sinful liturgical abuses don't get mentioned in talks like this.], whose aim was to give a new impetus to the prayer of the Church, shortly before the Vatican Council, by forming the Liturgical Institute at the Benedictine University at the Aventine. The Pope was to have a firm basis for the Liturgical Reform of the Council in this way.

On the eve of the Council, continued Benedict XVI, the need for the reform of the Liturgy made itself ever more certain. The pastoral necessity, which the Liturgical Movement ensouled, made it requisite that the active participation of the faithful in the Liturgical Celebration would be encouraged by the use of the vernacular and that the adaptation of the rites deepening the various cultures.

Similarly, there has been a necessity present from the beginning, to study the depths of the Liturgical foundation, "in order to avoid falling into Ritualism or to validate the subjectivism and protagonism of the celebrant." The reform should find itself centered in the area of the offering of the divine Sacrifice and its justification in the Tradition of the Church.

Proceeding with the theme of the Congress (The Papal Liturgical Institute between Commemoration and Prophesy") the Pope stressed that the reason for the institute is "Commemoration". The Institute has accomplished its task toward the reception of the IInd Vatican Council. For that reason it has become possible to help the holy people of God, "to live the liturgy as an expression of a praying people, as Christ's presence in the midst of the people and as constitute an actuality of salvation history".

The Constitution of the Holy Liturgy "Sacrosanctum Concilium" poses the twofold theological and ecclesiological character of the Liturgy: "The celebration simultaneously makes real an Epiphany of the Lord and an Epiphany of the Church, two dimensions, which is bound to the reality the Liturgical assembly". In the Liturgy of the Church "gives the active presence of Christ: What he brought into fruition during His stay among the people, whose focus formed in the Eucharist is made real."

The Liturgy of the Church "goes out from the 'Conciliar Reform'", says Benedict XVI. Its goal is not, above all, to change the rites and texts, but it is much more to renew the mentality and put the Christian life and the pastoral care of the celebration of the Pascal Mystery of Christ at its center.

"Unfortunately the Liturgy would-- even among us shepherds and experts -- be seen as an object, that it was necessary to reform, and not as a Subject, that is capable of renewing the Christian life, where there was a very narrow band between the renewal of the Liturgy and the renewal of the whole life of the Church: the Church draws its power to live from the Liturgy." In that point, he recalled Pope John Paul in his Apostolic writing "Vinesimus quintus annus" (4. Dezember 1988)on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Constitution of "Sancrosanctum Concilium".

The Liturgy is "the highpoint, to which the action of the Church reaches and is the source from which all of her virtues proceed", said Benedict XVI. So She becomes the great tutor of the primacy of the Faith and of Grace. The Liturgy is the "privileged witness of the living Tradition of the Church", in truth Her fundamental mission, in the "Today" of human affairs the "opus Redemptionis" between the apparent and the existent. For that reason the Liturgy lives "of a correct and standing relation between 'sana traditio' and 'legitima progressio'" (compare. Sancrosanctum Concilium, Nr. 23).

With these two concepts the Council Fathers desired to lay out their "program of reform", "to put the same weight on the great liturgical Tradition of the past with that of the future".

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