Reflections on the Scriptures of the sacred Liturgy and the Catechism of the Catholic Church

The MCITL Liturgical Library

Items on the Sacred Liturgy in the news, recent books and periodicals.


VATICAN CITY, NOV 27, 1997 (VIS) "We must continue to fight tirelessly against injustices of every form and try in every way to respond to the cry of the poor. But we must simultaneously encourage the poor and all others to come to know and love and feed on and be fed by the Eucharist. It would be hoped that this Synod would call for a Eucharistic crusade, to win people particularly to Sunday Mass. ... We must bring people back to Mass in order to communicate with them. The Eucharist, the Mass, is the greatest of gifts we can give our people." --CARDINAL JOHN JOSEPH O'CONNOR, ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK


VATICAN (CWN) -- On Sunday, November 23, Pope John Paul II observed the 50th anniversary of the publication of the encyclical Mediator Dei, by Pope Pius XII. That encyclical, dealing with the Eucharistic liturgy, was actually published on November 20, 1947. But the anniversary observance was appropriate because Sunday marked the feast of Christ the King, and the end of the Church's liturgical year-- as did the day of the encyclical's promulgation. The encyclical of Pope Pius XII, the Holy Father said, paved the way for liturgical reform, and especially for greater participation on the part of the laity. "As one liturgical year ends and another begins, we are invited to a more active understanding of the role played by the liturgy in the life of the Church," the Pope said. He said that the liturgy "constantly nourishes hope and love," and thus provides the wherewithal for "the work of the new evangelization." The Pope praised Pope Pius XII for the "equilibrium" of his encyclical, which combined "a prophetic pastoral sense" with a prudent effort to avoid all excesses. He insisted that the encyclical had provided the basis for the liturgical changes brought forward by Vatican II. And he added that as the 1999 liturgical year begins-- the year which he has consecrated particularly to the Holy Spirit-- the Church should renew her efforts to enhance the quality and appreciation of liturgical celebrations.


"There must be a strong emphasis on the necessity of personal conversion including repentance and confession of sins in the Sacrament of Penance. Without this there can be no true reform of social structures. We must face realistically the reality of sin, the force of evil, the presence of the Evil One in all human affairs. ... Our task is to reawaken the sense of sin among Catholics and to give renewed emphasis to the Sacrament of Penance. Along with this we must teach again with clarity the truth about Eternal Life and the Last Things: death, judgement, heaven, hell." --CARDINAL WILLIAM WAKEFIELD BAUM, MAJOR PENITENTIARY, VATICAN CITY.


VATICAN CITY, NOV 17, 1997 (VIS) - Following is an excerpt from an intervention made this evening by ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN FRANCIS RIGALI OF SAINT LOUIS during the Second General Congregation:

"The Synod is a call to action - action that permits an exchange of gifts and promotes the dignity of everyone in America. ... The Synod for America ... is above all a call to prayer. We are invited to observe the priorities in the Acts of the Apostles, including prayer and its highest form, which is Eucharistic worship. The Synod must proclaim the primacy of prayer in the Church."


Read the just-published Vatican document titled Instruction on Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priests

"The Latin language is assuredly worthy of being defended with great care instead of being scorned; for the Latin Church it is the most abundant source of Christian civilization and the richest treasury of piety... we must not hold in low esteem these traditions of your fathers which were your glory for centuries." (Pope Paul VI to superiors of religious orders, Sacrificium Laudis,1966).

Obedience to the norms of the Liturgy is for the sake of universal communion:

VATICAN, SEP 4, (CWN) -- Greeting a group of Swiss bishops who were making their ad limina visit, Pope John Paul II today made a strong call for the faithful to be obedient to the teachings of the Church. "To be Christian involves a permanent interior conversion," the Pope said. "Obedience to the Church is indispensable for the reception of Revelation, of which the Church is the repository, and for communion in the truth which makes us free and in the Spirit which fills our hearts with love of God." Such obedience, he continued, "also means filial acceptance of the discipline established by the norms in force" in Church life. He pointed especially to the liturgy, remarking that "such fidelity is now more necessary than ever" to safeguard the universal communion.

Liturgy is adoration:
From Cardinal Ratzinger's book, A New Song for the Lord available from Ignatius Press: "...we can...explain the fundamental change that has come about in the understanding of ritual and liturgy...: the primary subject of liturgy is neither God nor Christ, but the 'we' of the ones celebrating. And liturgy cannot of course have adoration as its primary content since, according to the deistic understanding of God, there is no reason for it. To an increasing degree people are seeing through the banality and the childish rationalism of the pathetic homemade liturgies with their artificial theatrics; it is becoming obvious how trivial they are. The authority of mystery has disappeared..." To order call 1-800-651-1531 or visit Ignatius Press online

From A NEW SONG FOR THE LORD by Cardinal Ratzinger

"I do not hesitate to claim that the lack of truth is the major disease of our age. Success and results have outstripped the truth everywhere. Renouncing the truth and escaping into group conformity are only apparently a way to peace. Such types of communion are built on sand. The pain of truth is the condition for real communion. It has to be accepted day in and day out. Only in truth's humble patience do we mature from the inside and become free from ourselves and for God." (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997.) Available through Ignatius Books. Call 1-800-651-1531 or visit

Ignatius Press online

Cardinal Ratzinger's new book My Life to be available soon from Ignatius Press

"...The drastic manner in which Pope Paul VI reformed the Mass in 1966 provoked extremely serious damage to the Church...Some changes were needed, but the suppression of the old Mass marked a break in the history of the liturgy, the consequences of which could only be tragic...I am convinced that the ecclesial crisis in which we find ourselves today depends in great part on the collapse of the liturgy." (From La Vita Mia, ("My Life"), by Cardinal Ratzinger.)

On Gregorian Chant

"In the three centuries following the death of Saint Benedict, there emerged in the Western Church a marvellously unified tradition of liturgical music known as Gregorian Chant, taking its name from the sixth century Pope Saint Gregory the Great, who did much to promote the use of the chant. Characterised chiefly by its purely melodic form, without even the simplest harmonies, Gregorian Chant is sometimes known as "plainsong"; the word "plain" being used to distinguish it from the later harmonic music rather than to denote any lack of charm or interest. Noteworthy also is the unmeasured or "free" rhythm: the melodies do not have the regular "beat" which is characteristic of nearly all the music of the last millennium. This tends to give the music a very spiritual quality, since it has no echoes of dance or martial display and certainly not of contemporary popular music." For more on sacred music visit The Monastery of Christ in the Desert.

Click here to read the latest issue of Credo newsletter on the June Bishops' conference and the votes on the new Sacramentary and Lectionary texts.

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