The Recovery of the Sacred

Einen sehr interessanten Artikel zum Thema Liturgie gibt es derzeit auf zu lesen: „The Recovery of the Sacred„. Aus meiner Sicht sehr zu empfehlen, da der Artikel sehr sinnvolle Gedankenanstöße für die weitere Entwicklung der Liturgie gibt, die mir größtenteils im Geiste der „Reform der Reform“ unseres Heiligen Vaters zu sein scheinen. Der Artikel ist ziemlich lang, daher folgen einige wenige Auszüge, doch lohnt sich die Lektüre zur Gänze.

There is need for general liturgical uniformity and officially prescribed rites, although a degree of variety has always existed and can exist provided it is not extreme. The notion of a continually changing liturgy subject to local experimental variations is subversive of public liturgy and hence subversive of the public existence of the Church. Liturgical experimentation cannot in the nature of things be successfully inhibited, but it is important that the Church distinguish clearly and forcefully between what is official liturgy and what is not.


The traditions of the Church must be conceded genuine authority in liturgy as in other matters. Hence departures from these traditions should be sparing and carefully considered. The sense of the sacred depends heavily on the sense of tradition lying behind it.

Genuine Catholic liturgy is not possible without an acceptance of the legitimacy and authority of the Church. The tendency simply to use Catholic ritual for private purposes is corrupting of that liturgy.

The validity and effectiveness of the ritual depends heavily on its being seen as public and official. Hence the importance of compulsory Sunday Mass attendance or, when it was in effect, the compulsory Friday abstinence. Insofar, as rites are seen as primarily a matter of personal preference, they lose much of their significance.


Systematic instruction is necessary in the full meaning of the Mass, particularly its sacrificial nature and its character as a timeless mystical action. By default much of this meaning has been lost since the Second Vatican Council, and in some cases has been deliberately undermined. Without some understanding of this theology, the deepest significance of the rite is missed and its importance greatly reduced, since the idea of the Mass as community meal is neither rich enough nor profound enough to sustain the weight of this most sacred of Catholic acts.


A Dominican theologian has speculated, for example, that the changes in the Roman Missal were intended to “correct” traditional Catholic belief about the Real Presence,10 and numerous Catholics have reached a similar conclusion, although this was certainly not the intention of the Second Vatican Council. The practice of taking Communion in the hands cannot help but reinforce this same impression among Roman Catholics, where the contrary practice has been deeply ingrained, even though it probably causes no difficulty among Anglo-Catholics because it has been so long established among them. A ritual which is theoretically unobjectionable may take on an unwanted significance when it involves the dramatic alteration of existing customs. For example, the removal of the tabernacle from the high altar in many churches, although usually done with good intentions, cannot help but appear symbolically as the „dethroning“ of the sacrament. It has helped diminish eucharistic piety.


An alternative might be for every reasonably large parish to provide one Latin Mass each Sunday at a convenient time. It would be particularly effective if this were a High Mass sung by congregation and choir together. Parishioners might then be encouraged to familiarize thcmselves with both Latin and vernacular worship on a regular basis and not identify themselves exclusively with either.


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