Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pope Speaks to Diocese of Rome Congress on Vatican II, Beauty in the Liturgy


On May 26th, the Holy Father delivered an address in the Lateran archbasilica on the occasion of the opening of the Diocese of Rome's Pastoral Congress.

In the specific context of that address, Pope Benedict raised a number of matters pertaining to post-conciliar life. As part of that consideration, he again raised the matter of the correct (and incorrect) hermeneutical interpretation of the Second Vatican Council.

As I had the occasion to clarify in the address to the Roman Curia of December 22, 2005, an interpretive current, appealing to a supposed "spirit of the Council", intended to establish a discontinuity and even a contraposition between the Church before and the Church after the Council, at times confusing the very objectively existing boundaries between the hierarchical ministry and the responsibility of the lay faithful in the Church.

The notion of the "People of God, in particular, was interpreted by some according to a purely sociological vision, with an almost exclusively horizontal severance, which excluded the vertical reference to God. This position was in open contrast from the word and the spirit of the Council, which did not will a rupture, another Church, but a true and deep renewal, in continuity with the only subject, the Church, which grows in time and develops herself, yet remaining always the same...

(Translated by Rorate Caeli)

Also noteworthy was the Pope's teaching upon the centrality of the Mass and Eucharist in parish life and the evangelical importance of beauty within the liturgy:
The centre of the life of the parish is, as I said, the Eucharist, and especially the Sunday celebration. If the unity of the Church is born from the encounter with the Lord, it is not secondary then that the adoration and the celebration of the Eucharist be very elegant, giving way to who participates in it to experience the beauty of the mystery of Christ. Since the beauty of the liturgy "is not mere aestheticism, but the concrete way in which the truth of God's love in Christ encounters us, attracts us and delights us" (Sacramentum Caritatis n. 35), it is important that the Eucharistic celebration manifests, communicates through the sacramental signs, the divine life and reveals to men and women of this city the true face of the Church.

(Translated by NLM)

The original Italian language address, in its entirety, may be found here. Thanks to Rorate Caeli for bringing it to light.