Whenever Father Z writes about Pope Benedict XVI’s contribution to saving the liturgy (save the liturgy; save the world, he says) through Summorum Pontificum, I want to ask, “What about Anglicanorum coetibus? and our Ordinariates’ Divine Worship: the Missal?”
For years I have contended that if we do not revitalize our sacred liturgical worship, every initiative we undertake as a Church will wither and face. Everything we do must start in worship and must be brought back to liturgical worship. We must reorder our efforts, prioritize if we truly want renewal.
This is one of the reasons that I pound my head on my desk when I read about conferences about “New Evangelization” that lack a strong liturgical component (other than the de rigueur vanilla Novus Ordo Mass with concelebration with some bishop or other for the attendees).
Booked to attend the third New Evangelization Summit here in Ottawa in May, I find I do not entirely agree with Father Z that “every initiative we undertake as a Church will wither and fade. ” I think renewal needs every possible effort to appeal to as many different Catholics as possible, some who are not ready to be reached through traditional liturgy. Whether it’s through evangelistic appeals through preaching the Gospel and inviting people to ask Jesus into their hearts (don’t knock it—because it can be the beginning of a fruitful journey for people); or through revival of Marian devotions such as the Rosary, consecration to Jesus through Mary and so on, we need every possible arrow in the quiver. But back to the post on liturgy.
Father Z then goes on to quote from his translation of the preface Pope Benedict’s words. Here’s part of it:
In the years following the Second Vatican Council, I became aware once again of the priority of God and of the divine liturgy. The misinterpretation of the liturgical reform that was widely diffused in the Catholic Church led to putting in the first place more and more the aspect of instruction and of one’s own activity and creativity. Man’s “doing” almost led to forgetting God’s presence. In this kind of situation, it becomes ever clearer that the Church’s existence lives from the proper celebration of the liturgy and that the church is in danger when the primacy of God no longer appears in the liturgy and, therefore, in life. The most profound cause of the crisis , which has disturbed (sconvolto – “upset, shocked, ‘freaked out’”) the Church, rests in the obscuring of the priority of God in the liturgy. All of this brought me to dedicate myself more extensively than in the past to the theme of the liturgy because I knew that the true renewal of the liturgy is the fundamental condition for the renewal of the Church. The writings that are collected in the present volume XI of the Opera Omnia were born on the basis of this conviction. But, in the final analysis, even with all the differences, the essence of the liturgy in the East and in the West is one and the same. And so I hope that this book can help also the Christians of Russia to grasp in a new and better way the great gift that is given to us in the Sacred Liturgy.