Beauty Matters

by Fr Richard Heilman | June 2, 2015 9:11 AM

“The beauty of the Sacred Liturgy is given concrete expression by means of the objects and the gestures of which the person – a unity of soul and body – has need in order to be raised to the realities of faith which transcend the visible world. This means that sacred architecture and sacred art, including the sacred appointments, the vestments, the vessels and linens, must be of such a quality that they can express and communicate the beauty and the majesty of the liturgy as the action of Christ among us, uniting heaven and earth.” This was one of the many gems put forth by Cardinal Burke in a speech at this week’s Sacra Liturgia  gathering in New York City.

CardinalBurkeSacraLiturgia[1]Cardinal Burke went on to say: “According to the rationalistic thought which has strongly influenced contemporary western culture, beauty has been stripped of its metaphysical meaning. It has been ‘liberated’ from the order of being and has been reduced to an aesthetic experience or even to something sentimental. The disastrous consequences of this revolution are not limited to the world of art. Precisely because we have lost beauty, we have also lost goodness and truth.”

There is so much hope for the future of reform (restoration) of the Sacred Liturgy! Look at these quotes from a message sent to the conference by His Eminence Robert Card. Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments:

“When the Holy Father, Pope Francis, asked me to accept the ministry of Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, I asked: ‘Your Holiness, how do you want me to exercise this ministry? What do you want me to do as Prefect of this Congregation?’ The Holy Father’s reply was clear. ‘I want you to continue to implement the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council,’ he said, ‘and I want you to continue the good work in the liturgy begun by Pope Benedict XVI.’” (my emphasis, because … WOW!!!) …

He then goes on to emphasize two areas which he sees as of special importance for the work of the conference.

“The first is by being utterly clear what Catholic liturgy is: it is the worship of Almighty God, the place where mankind encounters God alive and at work in His Church today. … The liturgy is not some social occasion where we come first, where what is important is that we express our identity. … The Church’s liturgy is given to us in tradition – it is not for us to make up the rites we celebrate, or to change them to suit ourselves or our own ideas beyond the legitimate options permitted by the liturgical books. … ”

 

The second area … is in the promotion of sound liturgical formation. The Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy went so far as went so far as to say that ‘it would be futile to entertain any hopes of realizing’ the liturgical renewal it desired ‘unless the pastors themselves … become thoroughly imbued with the spirit and power of the liturgy, and undertake to give instruction about it.’

Fr. Thomas Kocik added …

“The phrase ‘reform of the reform’ gained currency in the 1990s as a result of Cardinal Ratzinger’s critique of what went wrong (and what went right) with the liturgical reform pursuant to Vatican II … Justice to Sacrosanctum Concilium and to the Church’s liturgical heritage demands such criticism, at the very least. That is the basis on which to consider the merits of a liturgical ‘reform of the reform’ …

 

I am optimistic, overall, because the mood in the year 2015 about liturgical renewal and its post-Vatican II success differs from that of the 1970s and ’80s. Thanks in no small part to the longstanding and well known views of Joseph Ratzinger on liturgy, postconciliar liturgical reform has been reconfigured by a new theological and ecclesial climate. This signals some hope that the official “reform of the reform” may, in God’s good time, come to pass (even if it goes by another name or no name at all), thus ending a long period of tragic liturgical polarization.”

Please PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!!!

Endnotes:
  1. [Image]: http://www.romancatholicman.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/CardinalBurkeSacraLiturgia.jpg

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