Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Liturgy and Sacred Music

by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, delivered at the Eighth International Church Music Congress in Rome, November 17, 1985, subsequently published in Communio: International Catholic Review (Winter 1986, pp 377-390, translated from Italian by Stephen Wentworth Arndt), Adoremus, April 2008
In what has just been described, an all too widespread opinion today holds that so-called creativity, the action of all present, and the relationship of group members who know and address one another are the genuine categories of the conciliar understanding of the liturgy. Not only chaplains, but sometimes even bishops, have the feeling that they have not remained true to the Council when they pray everything as it is written in the Missal; at least one “creative” formula must be inserted, however banal it may be.

The evil of banality!
And the civil greeting of those present, with friendly wishes at the dismissal, has already become an obligatory ingredient of the sacred action which anyone would hardly dare to omit.

I've seen priests get so caught up in the opening monologue that they forget the opening Sign of the Cross, and so caught up in closing the show they forget the final blessing.


  1. Equally pertinent from B-16's address to youth (the Seminary):

    The word liturgy means the participation of God’s people in “the work of Christ the Priest and of His Body which is the Church” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7). What is that work? First of all it refers to Christ’s Passion, his Death and Resurrection, and his Ascension – what we call the Paschal Mystery. It also refers to the celebration of the liturgy itself. The two meanings are in fact inseparably linked because this “work of Jesus” is the real content of the liturgy. Through the liturgy, the “work of Jesus” is continually brought into contact with history; with our lives in order to shape them.

    He did NOT say that the Liturgy is brought into our lives so that WE may shape IT.

  2. Can you post a link or a source for this quote?

  3. This post's title links to the article.