Friday, April 3, 2015

A Little Priest's Day Reflection

In the quiet of Holy Thursday, I took the time to read this relatively long article about the process and results of  liturgical reform of Holy Week. Rorate Caeli is presenting in English translation a work by Stefano Carusi, from Disputationes Theologicae: THE REFORM OF HOLY WEEK IN THE YEARS 1951-1956 FROM LITURGY TO THEOLOGY BY WAY OF THE STATEMENTS OF CERTAIN LEADING THINKERS (ANNIBALE BUGNINI, CARLO BRAGA, FERDINANDO ANTONELLI).

There is no denying that if you are not a specialist, then you have to be immersed in the topic and its issues as they face the Church today, this is if you want to make sense of the reading or time devoted to reading. For me, the article opened a new vista while confirming a fundamental principle which under-girds my own approach to the liturgical question and its importance for the life of the Roman Catholic Church: Liturgical law and discipline cannot be arbitrary. Much of the scandal of today in matters liturgical has to do not so much with egregious abuse as it does with the arbitrary character of the reform and the consequent attitude which tends to poison our approach to Divine Worship. While there is merit in a recovery of sobriety and decorum, in strict adherence to the rubrics for the celebration of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, it is not the heart of the problem. Restoration is required; returning to that reset point in the past which will enable us to heal the rupture with the tradition and then seek cautiously to respond to the question of the organic development of the Roman Rite in the light of the Constitution on the Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council.

This article was a wake-up call for me in the sense that I had presumed, on the basis of my impressions of Pope Pius XII, that the Holy Week Reform, begun just before my birth and implemented when I just had kindergarten behind me, was something of that seriousness or profound respect for the edifice of cult, which I was trying to imagine for the future. Anyway, to my friends who follow my liturgical ramblings, I wish to give notice quite simply that the hoped for reset, the restoration required to heal the scandal of arbitrariness in matters liturgical must precede this reform as well.

It looks as though caprice had the upper hand in 1956 as well. We are scandalized by the rumblings coming out of certain sectors in the Church today, related to marriage and family, well, it would seem that the immediate post-war period saw some rather vociferous clamoring concerning matters liturgical.

Nonetheless, I still hope and pray that decorum will find its way into every celebration of the Ordinary Form and that worship ad Orientem will help, along with a generous offering of the option of the Extraordinary Form, to center and deepen our faith in the Lord Jesus.

For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!

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