"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Cardinal Sarah on the 'reform of the reform' - "It will happen" ...

Thus saith the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

He also said something about ending the hateful divisions over liturgy.  Traditionalists would have to describe Cardinal Sarah as a Vatican II, Ordinary Form/Novus Ordo prelate.  Which is wonderful in my book, especially since so many are bent upon condemning Vatican II and the post-Conciliar Cardinals and Bishops - kinda-sorta - unless they stress the use of the Extraordinary Form and all that entails.

Fr. Z is excited by what Sarah has to say in his new book, La Force Du Silence.  Cardinal Sarah writes beautifully of the need for reform.  Not so much about a preference for the  EF or OF, but rather the need for reform as regards the novelties which have crept in since Vatican II.  Reading just the few excerpts Fr. Z posted are deeply edifying - despite his red editorial commentary, congratulating himself on his correspondence with Cardinal Sarah's text.  Nothing wrong with that, but Cardinal Sarah's text really needs no commentary.

I especially like the following description of the Entrance Procession:
At the beginning of our Eucharistic celebrations, how is it possible to eliminate Christ carrying his cross and walking painfully beneath the weight of our sins toward the place of sacrifice? There are many priests who enter triumphantly and go up to the altar, waving left and right in order to appear friendly. Observe the sad spectacle of certain Eucharistic celebrations. . . Why so much frivolity and worldliness at the moment of the Holy Sacrifice? Why so much profanation and superficiality before the extraordinary priestly grace that makes us capable of bringing forth the body and blood of Christ in substance by the invocation of the Spirit? Why do some believe themselves obliged to improvise or invent Eucharistic prayers that disperse the divine phrases in a bath of petty human fervor? Are the words of Christ so insufficient that a profusion of purely human words is needed? In a sacrifice so unique and essential, is there a need for this subjective imagination and creativity? “And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words,” Jesus has cautioned us (Mt 6:7).

I refuse to waste time in opposing one liturgy to another, or the rite of Saint Pius V to that of Blessed Paul VI. What is needed is to enter into the great silence of the liturgy; one must allow oneself to be enriched by all the Latin or Eastern liturgical forms that favor silence. Without this contemplative silence, the liturgy will remain an occasion of hateful divisions and ideological confrontations instead of being the place of our unity and our communion in the Lord. It is high time to enter into this liturgical silence, facing the Lord, that the Council wanted to restore. - Source

Interior orientation.

I like to write about these things as a layman - because that is what I am.  I used to be annoyed and become distracted by 'liturgical abuses' until I learned to spend a great deal of time in prayer - before and after Mass.  After Mass, after communion, is the best time to practice the prayer of recollection - to deeply recollect oneself in the presence of Christ.  Eventually one acquires an interior peace which no one can distract you from - not even the great din of people greeting one another before or after Mass.  I took for my example St. Sharbel, who prepared himself for Mass by the contemplative recitation of the Rosary - he made his thanksgiving after Mass in the same way.  So what I'm saying is, I decided not to complain and become disquieted and 'wish' there was an ideal Mass - but rather to keep myself in peace and turn interiorly toward the Lord.

I do not write these things to 'congratulate' myself, or to tell people what to do, or pretend I know anything about liturgy, I just want to demonstrate how I think the 'reform of the reform' might well begin within our own hearts.  It's important to avoid contention and divisions, preferring one priest, one Mass to another, always looking to discredit the licitness and validity of this or that, and so on.  When we do this, we are no longer 'turning towards the Lord' - we are outside our interior temple or interior orientation - directing traffic, complaining, whistle blowing, and making more noise.

In many western countries, we see the poor leaving the Catholic Church because it is under siege by ill-intentioned persons who style themselves intellectuals and despise the lowly and the poor. This is what the Holy Father must denounce loud and clear. Because a Church without the poor is no longer the Church, but a mere “club.” Today, in the West, how many temples are empty, closed, destroyed, or turned into profane structures in disdain of their sacredness and their original purpose. So I know how many priests and faithful there are who live their faith with extraordinary zeal and fight every day to preserve and enrich the dwellings of God. - Cardinal Sarah


  1. Hey Terry,

    I am a little more pessimistic on this, between the radical Traditonalists running most of the online/grassroots leadership and shunning and harassing the few good leaders remaining. Also pope Francis demoted him by stripping Sarah of a teaching position at an academic institution recently. Burke was at least an antagonist to the Pope and there is credible reason for his dismissal from the Vatican dicastery he was in. However, this is the second occasion, a repeat occurrence does not bode well for my confidence in the RotR, and makes the argument of anyone angering Pope Francis getting dismissed more credible

    1. Really? I hope that's not the effect here. I don't think Card. Sarah is like Card. Burke - but I haven't followed him too closely. He seems very respectful of the Holy Father and pointed in assuring his readers of that fact, as well as dismissing any war-games over the EF and OF as a waste of time. I wonder if Sarah's words are being played against Francis? I don't know much about these things, but I do know one can pray in any situation and face the Lord at every Mass.

      I haven't read anything except headlines that Sarah has been replaced in his position at JPII - it would be of greater significance if he was retired from his position of Prefect for the Congregation of Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.

      Even then if he were to be removed, the Holy Father has the right to do so and it doesn't concern me.

      I think a so-called reform of the reform will happen 'organically' as they say - especially if Catholics deepen their prayer and devotion and good works and wield rigid adherence over charity instead of rubrics.

      Yesterday I went on 'pilgrimage' for the Holy Year - I finally made it to the Cathedral that is - LOL. While praying, a poor old black lady came in with a cardboard sign asking for money, several people shooed her away, one lady gave her some money out of her purse, when suddenly one of the devout of the Cathedral shouted to her she couldn't do that and she was calling security on her to have her removed. (It was unusual I suppose, but the other person who shouted also appeared to maybe have some emotional problems.) I laughed when the poor black lady called back to her, 'go tell yo mama!'. As she was escorted out, a Filipino woman gave the woman a coat to wear, because it was very cold outside.

      The poor black lady broke all the rules, the devout lady did too, because she was hostile towards the beggar and shouted in church. The lady who had compassion got up to give her her coat and hugged her. See, sometimes it is noisy in church, sometimes people act out of turn, but the important part is charity, hospitality, kindness, patience, and so on. If we adhere to the rules rigidly, looking long faced and growl all the time, we also drive away the poor.

      Sometimes people talk in church because it's the only time they encounter people they know, or something might be wrong with them - especially in cities. We need to be considerate and kind, and quietly reform our prayer life - and to use the words of St. Seraphim, 'and thousands around us will be saved.'

      It's very simple thing. :-)

    2. Amen!

      "The poor black lady broke all the rules, the devout lady did too, because she was hostile towards the beggar and shouted in church. The lady who had compassion got up to give her her coat and hugged her. As she was escorted out, a Filipino woman gave the woman a coat to wear, because it was very cold outside."

      If I have no love in me, I am nothing but a noisy empty clanging cymbal. Same goes for those of us who are rigid in our devotion. I am confident our Lord Jesus, his mother Mary or the noble St. Joseph would have done the same.

      I like Cardinal Sarah. I believe he was put in a very good position by Papa Francis for the good of the Church and for the greater glory of God. May we all learn from him.

  2. I'm too holy for my cape, too holy for my cape...what?

  3. hee hee: "...war games over the EF and the OF".
    I went to the 5 pm First Friday mass - a five minute walk. No music: no acapella: Priest. 10 people. reverent. & oh Thank God everyone too spaced-out (in terms of physical space)to do any touching. loved it.


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