Friday, July 18, 2008

Like the '50's? Love the Third Millenium!

From Father Z's blog

Pope resurrects old rituals for mass

Sian Powell | July 19, 2008

IN a return to tradition, the Pope will tomorrow offer communion to kneeling Catholics, and preferably on the tongue rather than in the hand.

The final World Youth Day mass at Sydney’s Randwick racecourse will attract up to half a million worshippers and will be beamed to as many as a billion viewers around the world.

A firm believer in the importance and beauty of liturgical traditions, the Pope will seek to set an example to a massive audience with his return to pre-1960s ritual. [Notice a couple things. First, memory is short… or the writer is too young to have known anything other than Communion in the hand, standing. This practice was introduced against the Church’s law well after the Council. Also, it remains the exception (in law) to the rule (in law) that Communion should be (even now) received on the tongue. Furthermore, the law protects Catholics who want to receive in the proper way.]

"The Holy Father has requested that those whom he gives communion to will kneel, and his preference is that they receive communion on the tongue," said Father Mark Podesta, an official World Youth Day spokesman.

However, these preferences will not apply to the crowds at the racecourse, who could be pressed for kneeling space.

"His request is not a mandate for the church, it’s merely an indicator," Father Podesta said. [Give it time, Father.]

"He is concerned with the question of reverence. [If it is a matter of reverence, then perhaps it goes beyond an "indicator".]

"(Standing and receiving the host in the hand) could be open to irreverence. It’s a reminder for those who watch it that this is very special."

The mass will also include a recital in Latin of the Our Father prayer, and a few other words in Latin, [Oooo… a few words…] Father Podesta added. World Youth Day was an international event, he said, and the language of the church was [is] Latin.

"World Youth Day is about communicating with youth," he said. "The Pope’s message will be made in a way that youth can most easily identify with." [Yes… but some things are communicated in better in a language that is different from what we speak daily.]

Latin was largely lost to Catholic churches after the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican that began in 1962 – which the Pope attended as a young theological adviser.

It permitted [yes] masses to be celebrated in the vernacular, much to the horror of traditional Catholics such as the writer Evelyn Waugh, [and others] who said the changes made going to church "a bitter trial".

According to a report in the Inside the Vatican magazine, Australia will be one of the first places in the world outside Italy where these changed customs will be used in a papal liturgy. [Good point.]

"Australia is a country well known for lax liturgical practices following in the wake of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, and this was particularly evident during liturgies celebrated by John Paul II on visits there in 1986 and 1995," the report said.

"After criticism of liturgical music at a recent mass celebrated by Pope Benedict in Washington DC, there was much debate over whether, despite an evident return to older customs in the Holy See, liturgical committees would follow a similar pattern in a country like Australia."

In July last year, the Pope issued an apostolic letter announcing greater use of the Tridentine or Latin mass. [We are talking about Summorum Pontificum of course.]

World Youth Day director of evangelisation Stephen Lawrence said Vatican II had never demanded the removal of all Latin – it only said that priests could use the vernacular.

"We don’t want Latin completely removed," he said. "I think he’s keen to make sure the Vatican II implementation actually happens. The common practice up until now is there hasn’t been much use of Latin." [I think it is great that the a WDY official said this. Excellent. Could we have imagined that a few years ago?]

Comments in brackets by Father Z.

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