Monday, July 5, 2010

The "New Liturgical Movement"

I came across an article today that is on the National Catholic Reporter website. It was written by John Allen Jr., and deals with Pope Benedict XVI call for a “new liturgical movement,” within the Church. Basically, the Pope appears to trace many problems within the Church to the changes in the liturgy that took place shortly after the Second Vatican Council. He, among others, believes that the Council’s teachings on the liturgy were misinterpreted and changes were taken that has robbed the liturgy of its sense of mystery, transcendence, and a loss of respect for the Eucharist.

It is known that he does not approve of receiving communion in the hand; it would be interesting to know his opinion of receiving communion under both species. And if one views his celebration of the Eucharist at St. Peter’s Basilica, one sees a large cross on the altar, with huge candlesticks, which obscures the congregation’s view of the consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. It almost seems as if the Vatican liturgists believe that only the Pope, bishops, and priests may view this wondrous miracle.

Yet, when the Pope celebrates the Eucharist away from the Vatican, one sees different liturgical set up on the altar, one which everyone I think will recognize from their own parishes. I saw this morning the Pope celebrate Mass in Sulmona, Italy, with the altar unobscured. And even though those receiving communion from the Pope, received on the tongue, there were others who received in the hand from other priests.

As with many things that are happening in the Church, the Pope and the bishops need to listen to us, the laity, on how we are experiencing the Eucharist, and what brings meaning to us.


  1. Brother J - I agree with you that the Pope and the Bishops need to listen to the laity, but not on the subject matter you propose. 'The wonderful miracle of the Eucharist', and it most certaintly is. But the miracle is not brought on by anything we do at Mass. It is entirely changed from bread, wafer, etc. to the body of Christ by the prayers and actions of the priest. The same with changing the mere water and wine to His Most Precious Blood. Nothing we do will help the process. Perhaps in Pope Benidict's older years he is remembering the older ways, the ways of tradition, that were tossed aside after Vatican II. Maybe he's remembering that only a priests' consecrated hands may touch the Host, the Body of Our Lord. Maybe he's has seen how much reverence for the Mass has been either forgotten, never learned or, with some priests, laziness has taken over and the Mass, especially the Body and Blood, has become nothing more than a protestant spectacle. I could go on and on, but I'm sure you've seen the effects that "the smoke of satan," modernism, has brought about. Perhaps we shouldn't worry about our involvement in the Mass, but worry if the priest has his heart and soul into it. Let us, the laity, especially any of us who are Secular Franciscans or members of other orders, take some of the burden off our parish priests shoulders by looking into and taking over some of the daily functions of operating a parish. Free the priests to administer the Sacraments, to find time for prayer, etc. I know priests that leave the bringing of the Eucharist to nursing homes and hospitals to just the ministers. That is just not right.
    Brother, I'm sorry for taking up so much of your time. Read and delete this if you wish, I was only speaking to you anyways. I've let you-know-who put a thorn in my side again, and I hope you take no offense. I'll continue to read your insightful thoughts, and keep you in my prayers. Peace! k

  2. As a church musician, I also wonder where we will go in terms of what music is deemed acceptable.