Sunday, April 2, 2017

Liturgy wars? Cardinal Sarah takes on modern liturgies

Cardinal Sarah criticises “devastation and schism” of modern liturgies

Prefect of divine worship congregation also praises Mass translation guidelines that Pope Francis reportedly wants to review
Cardinal Sarah

The Cardinal running the Holy See’s liturgy department has criticised changes in the liturgy taking place following the Second Vatican Council which he says have caused “disaster, devastation and schism” by reducing the Mass to a “convivial meal.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, who runs the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, also praised controversial Vatican guidelines on Mass translations despite reports Pope Francis has set up a commission to review them.

The 1962-65 Vatican II gathering brought together bishops from across the world seeking to renew Catholicism according to the principles of ressourcement - a return to the ancient sources of Christian faith - and aggiornamento, a “bringing up to date” of the Church. The council participants voted by an almost unanimous majority to make changes to the liturgy so as to ensure the “full and active participation” of the laity.

But in a message sent this week to a liturgical conference taking place in Germany, Cardinal Sarah said “the post-conciliar Catholic Church” had “abandoned her Christian roots” while Vatican II did not intend to “reform” the liturgy but wanted to restore its “mystical essence.”

“Many believe and declare loud and long that Vatican Council II brought about a true springtime in the Church. Nevertheless, a growing number of Church leaders see this ‘springtime’ as a rejection, a renunciation of her centuries-old heritage, or even as a radical questioning of her past and tradition,” the cardinal argued .

“The Second Vatican Council wished to promote greater active participation by the people of God and to bring about progress day by day in the Christian life of the faithful. Certainly, some fine initiatives were taken along these lines,” he explained.

“However we cannot close our eyes to the disaster, the devastation and the schism that the modern promoters of a living liturgy caused by remodelling the Church’s liturgy according to their ideas. They forgot that the liturgical act is not just a prayer, but also and above all a mystery in which something is accomplished for us that we cannot fully understand but that we must accept and receive in faith, love, obedience and adoring silence.”

The cardinal’s latest intervention was sent to a gathering taking place near Aachen marking ten years since Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum order lifted restrictions on the Tridentine liturgy, which the Vatican II had sought to reform. Cardinal Sarah stressed there are now two rites in the Church, with the older “extraordinary” form enriching the contemporary “ordinary” form of the Mass.

“I humbly ask you to apply Summorum Pontificum very carefully; not as a negative, backward measure that looks toward the past, or as something that builds walls and creates a ghetto, but as an important and real contribution to the present and future liturgical life of the Church, and also to the liturgical movement of our era,” he said.

The cardinal then accused some bishops of refusing to “translate faithfully” the original Latin text of the Roman Missal into their languages: with some, he argued, wanting to translate the missal “according to the fantasies, ideologies and cultural expressions.”

He also praised Liturgiam Authenticam, the 2001 text released by the Vatican setting out principles for how to translate Latin into vernacular languages, despite informed sources in Rome saying the Pope wants this text to be reviewed.

Critics of this document argue it produces overly latinate translations which hinder full participation in the liturgy. Francis is believed to have set up a commission to examine Liturgiam Authenticam and has put Archbishop Arthur Roche, the secretary of the liturgy department and Cardinal Sarah’s number two, in charge of it. The existence of the commission has yet to be confirmed by the congregation.

Despite the Pope’s move, the cardinal praised the “tremendous, marvellous work” of those bishops conferences - including English-language, Spanish and Korean ones - that have translated the missal in “perfect conformity” with the 2001 text.
This is not the first time that Cardinal Sarah has been at odds with the Pope on liturgy: last year Francis rebuked him for suggesting priests should turn east and celebrate Mass ad orientem or with their backs to the people.

And in his intervention last week the cardinal argued that most of Catholics - including bishops and priests - do not know the liturgical teaching of Vatican II, which was aimed at ensuring the liturgy glorified God and “men are sanctified.”
Too often, he said, the liturgy had been trivialised and ended up showing a “merely social and horizontal view of the Church’s mission.” 

No comments:

Post a Comment