QUEBEC CITY, JUNE 22, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is encouraging the faithful to revisit the Second Vatican Council constitution on the liturgy, so as to go deeper in the mystery of faith that is the Eucharist.
The Pope made this appeal today when he delivered via satellite the homily for the closing Mass of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress, which ended today in Quebec. The papal legate, Cardinal Jozef Tomko, presided over the Mass.
In his address, given in French and English, the Holy Father said,
“‘The Mystery of Faith': this we proclaim at every Mass. I would like everyone to make a commitment to study this great mystery, especially by revisiting and exploring, individually and in groups, the Council’s text on the liturgy, ‘Sacrosanctum Concilium,’ so as to bear witness courageously to the mystery.”
Here it is … The Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium (Sacred Council). I urge you to take our Holy Father’s direction and spend some time with this.
Also, if you’re feeling like REALLY digging in, you might want to take the time to enrich your understanding of Sacred Music by reading the most important encyclical on this in Pius X’s, Tra le Sollecitudini. I realize this is all for the heavy hitters, but I encourage you all to “hit away.”
I revisited the Vatican II liturgy document earlier today, and I was reminded just how many “liberties” were taken from some of the language used in this document. It is quite a “stretch” made by those “spirit of Vatican II” folks who managed to “spin” this document’s intent into a liberal agenda which has left us in utter liturgical ruins.
I recall one parish who would tearfully tell the story of how, year’s ago, their once beautifully adorned church was gutted out and converted into the likes of a lecture hall, while they saw their magnificent back altars laid in a pile by the dumpster behind the church for months.
At the same time, we have witnessed the uplifting angelic sound of Gregorian Chant and sacred polyphony replaced with a range of hippy ballads, campfire songs and the modern medley of night club style “entertainment.” All of which have gone a long way to distract us and startle us out of prayer rather than draw us into any kind of encountering with the Risen Lord in a life-changing way.
Pope Benedict’s priority of restoring the sacred essence of liturgy stems from his understanding that, in order for us to restore “right relationship” with God, we must know how, first, we should approach Him. In other words, how we should offer “right worship.” Recall how God asked Moses to remove his sandals because he was on holy ground. Recall how God has spent all of salvation history instructing his faithful to build him a temple fitting his majesty.
Robert Moynihan, from Inside the Vatican, explains it this way:
… the word “orthodoxy.” Literally, “ortho” means “right” or “correct,” and “doxy,” though it does have a connotation of “belief,” literally means “praise” or “worship.” So orthodoxy, more than “right belief,” means “right praise” or “correct worship.” When we say we wish to be “orthodox,” we are really saying that we want to do what King David said all of us should do: worship God with “all that is within us” and to do this in the correct way, in a way pleasing to God and worthy of him. The central problem the Church faces today, as always, is the problem of orthodoxy. (From the opposite point of view, it is the problem of apostasy, of making the decision to no longer praise God in the right way, or to no longer praise him at all.) But orthodoxy is not simply a matter of dogmas, of doctrines, of phrases memorized, of a series of propositions. It is a matter of “right praise.”
In conclusion, sacredness of life, sacredness of marriage, sacredness of relationships, sacredness of conjugal love, etc. will all return when we return to “right relationship” with God. And this right relationship will come when we return to the “sacred way” we once knew in how to come to “right worship.”