The new secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, Archbishop Malcom Ranjith, had some thoughts on the liturgy and the “reform of the reform.” He spoke of “negative results” after Vatican II and said some changes were “made rapidly, without reflection, in a burst of enthusiasm, in a rejection of some exaggerations of the past.” What were the problematic changes?
... “the abandonment of the sacred and the mystical,” the confusion between the common priesthood of all the faithful and the ordained ministry, and the concept of the Eucharist as a common banquet rather than a representation of Christ’s Sacrifice.
He recognizes that these problems in the liturgy go beyond Sunday Mass and affect the Church’s ability to inculcate in society a sense of the sacred. For example, I’ve mentioned before that whenever Hollywood portrays a Catholic church or the sacraments, they always go to the old forms: incense, bells, elaborate vestments, banks of votive candles, Latin, chant, confessionals. This is not the Catholic liturgical life exemplified by places like St. Joan of Arc parish in Minneapolis. So what’s the solution? While celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of St. Pius V (the Tridentine Mass) is becoming more common and has never been abolished or banned, the division caused by Lefebrvists has given the Tridentine Mass “a certain identity that is not right.”
As for whether Pope Benedict will give a universal indult for the Tridentine Mass or undertake a reform of the reform is anyone’s guess. He also says that we cannot have undue haste, perhaps as a hint to those who have been passing on rumors of an imminent universal indult or other announcement of reform that they shouldn’t hold their breaths waiting for an announcement.
The secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship cautioned that it is imprudent to press for quick decisions, running the risk of falling into new errors because of haste. “We have to reflect a great deal,” he said; “and above all, we have to pray for the Holy Father and the Church, and listen to what the Lord wants of us.”
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