The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity. St. Basil the Great, the Church’s greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy. He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort...St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day. This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.

- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Homily on the Occasion of his Formal Institution as Ordinary

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bishop Peter Elliott discusses the Liturgy with the National Catholic Register

In an interview for the National Catholic Register, Bishop Peter Elliott, a member of the Anglicanae Traditiones commission (and chapter author in our book Anglicans and the Roman Catholic Church), speaks about the implications of the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of the constitution on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium.

Q:  What reforms did we see that were never intended by the document or were taken too far?What was never intended, or imagined, by the Council Fathers was Communion in the hand and receiving Communion standing. These practices began in the Netherlands soon after the Council, and, later, they were authorized, a shameful episode when breaking law led to making law. Can anyone seriously argue that these practices have deepened reverence for the blessed Eucharist?
Then we come to what was never mentioned in Sacrosanctum Concilium, but soon spread everywhere after the Council — Mass facing the people. I eagerly supported that change, and I celebrate most Masses that way.
But now, after much reflection, I have second thoughts. Has this overemphasized the priest? Does it rest on the erroneous opinion that the Mass is a meal? Have we lost something? The mystery? So what was gained by all that expensive renovation of sanctuaries? We moved altars — but did we move hearts?
In a broader perspective, what really set in was the secularization of the liturgy. That led to the degradation of language, rituals, vessels and vestments, design, architecture and music.
The Mass became a dialogue across a table, and Communion became a queue when people go and get something. Please do not tell me that a queue is a “Communion procession.”
Now, we face the urgent need to recover the sacred because Sacrosanctum Concilium never intended to secularize Christian worship, with all that dull ugliness and cold functionalism. As Pope Benedict taught, beauty is essential in all that pertains to the worship of the God, who is Beautiful, and that rests on Chapter 7 of Sacrosanctum Concilium.
Read the rest at the web site of NCR.

Hat tip to Mary Ann Mueller.

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