Friday, June 30, 2006

Interview of Bishop Ranjith by La Croix

[I received this in email. I can't confirm the translation, etc.]

- Do you have the sense that the conciliar reform went too far?

- It is not a question to be anti-conciliar or post-conciliar, nor preserving or progressist! I believe that the liturgical reform of Vatican II never got off the ground. Moreover, this reform does not go back to Vatican II: it actually preceded the Council, it was born with the liturgical movement that beginning from the 20th century. If one sticks to the decree Sacrosanctum Concilium of Vatican II, it was a question of making the liturgy the path to the faith, and the changes on this matter were to emerge in an organic way, by taking account of tradition, and not in a hasty way. There were many drifts, which lost sight of the fact of the true direction of the liturgy. One can say that the orientation of liturgical prayer in the postconciliar reform was not always the reflection of the texts of the Vatican II, and in this direction, we can speak about a necessary correction, a reform of the reform. The liturgy should be regained, in the spirit of the Council.

- Concretely, how will this happen?

- Today, the problems of the liturgy revolve around the language (vernacular or Latin), and of the position of the priest, turned towards the attendees or turned towards God. I will surprise you: nowhere, in the conciliar decree, is it indicated that it is necessary that the priest from now on turns to the attendees, nor that the use of Latin is forbidden! If the use of the current language is authorized, in particular for the liturgy of the Word, the decree specifies that the use of the Latin language will be preserved in the Latin rite. On these subjects, we wait until the Pope gives us his indications.

- Is it necessary to say to all those who followed the post-conciliar reforms with a great sense of obedience, that they were mistaken?

- No, we should not make an ideological problem out of it. I notice how much the younger priests, here [in France], like to celebrate Mass in the Tridentine Rite. It should be clearly specified that this rite, that of the Missal of Saint Pius V, is not "outlawed". Should it be encouraged more greatly? It is the Pope who will decide. But it is certain that a new generation is requesting as a main trend towards mystery. It is not a question of form, but of substance. To speak about liturgy, we do not need only a scientific, or historico-theological spirit, but especially an attitude of meditation, prayer and of silence. Once again, it is not a question of being progressivist or conservative, but simply to make it possible for everyone to pray, to listen to the voice of the Lord. What occurs in the celebration of the glory of the Lord is not only a human reality. If this mystical aspect is forgotten, everything becomes jumbled, and becomes confused. If the liturgy loses its mystical and heavenly dimension, what, then, will help mankind to be released from selfishness and his own slavery? The liturgy must above all be a way of release, by opening man to the dimension of the infinite.

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