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Cardinal Arinze on the Liturgy

  /   Saturday October 25, 2003  

This could just as well be titled “Why Cardinal Arinze is My Hero.” I am absolutely not looking forward to the demise of John Paul II, but I wouldn’t mind if Arinze succeeded him. EWTN has posted this address that he delivered on the highlights of the renewal initiated by Vatican II.

Some excerpts . . . .

If many lay people had only one request to make, they would ask that the priest celebrate Mass, or other rites, simply according to the approved books. Many lay faithful complain that rarely do they find two priests celebrating the Eucharistic sacrifice in the same way. The Roman liturgy is not a free-for-all experimentation field where each celebrant has the option to tag on his cherished accretions.

This is right on. I would really just like to see the “if it isn’t in the book, we can’t do it” mentality prevail. Some of us are highly distractable and don’t care to hear the Fr. So-and-So show, or the cantor show, or the inclusive language show.

It is therefore clear that inculturation does not encourage banalization or trivialization of the sacred liturgy. Spontaneity run wild can manifest itself in many ways. At the beginning of Mass the priest can trivialize by amusing the people on the weather, by saying “Good morning everybody” instead of “The Lord be with you” or “The grace of Our Lord… “, which are the proper liturgical opening greetings. He can banalize by an exaggerated autobiographical introduction and trite jokes in his misguided effort to warm the people up for worship! He may not realize that he is now drawing attention to himself instead of to God and the liturgical celebration of the day.

Having a priest say “Good morning!” before Mass is high on the list of my pet peeves. It really breaks the train of thought.

Church architecture also influences active participation. If a church is built and the seats are arranged as in an amphitheatre or as in a banquet, the undeclared emphasis may be horizontal attention to one another, rather than vertical attention to God.

Need I say more?

And the altar of the Blessed Sacrament should be outstanding for its beauty and honored prominence, otherwise in some so-called restored churches one could rightly lament: “They have taken my Lord away, and I don’t know where they have put him ” (Jn 20:13).

I am fortunate to go to a parish where the Blessed Sacrament is front and center. Others in Memphis are not so lucky. We still have one parish where Jesus is literally across the narthex from the main church. I don’t know why the pastor hasn’t fixed it. He was too good of a confessor last time I went to him to be heterodox.

What it comes down to is that all involved in liturgy should just stick to the book. There is no need to change the words, nor is there any need to add rituals like “meet and greet” or the “Welcome to St. So and So’s Church” beforehand.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized



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