Friday, August 11, 2006

Arinze Speaks at Christendom College on Benedict and the Liturgy

Christendom College's 17th annual Summer Institute was held this past Friday and Saturday at its Front Royal, Virginia, campus. The conference, entitled 'Pope Benedict XVI: A New Pontificate,' featured guest speakers Francis Cardinal Arinze, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, and others. Over four hundred people came to hear inspiring talks on various themes relating to the thoughts and writings of the newly elected pontiff.

Cardinal Arinze delivered the keynote address on the topic of 'Benedict XVI and the Spirit of the Liturgy,' which focused on the works of Joseph Ratzinger prior to his election to the papacy.

'It is well known that the sacred liturgy figures much in the theological writings and addresses of Pope Benedict XVI as a theologian, Bishop, and Cardinal. He sees the liturgy as at the heart of the life of the Church. He even says that the Church subsists as liturgy and in the liturgy,' began His Eminence, who is a personal friend of Pope Benedict XVI and the Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
He then delved into the thought of the Pope by explicating what His Holiness has taught about the essence of Christian Worship, the Holy Eucharist, the various liturgical rites and their modification, the function of music in the liturgy, and the relationship between dogmatic and liturgical theology.

"Christian liturgy is a liturgy of promise fulfilled, of a quest, the religious quest of human history, reaching its goal. And the high point is the Holy Eucharist," he explained. "And the Pope places a great value on traditional Eucharistic piety by extolling the tabernacle, adoration shown in genuflection and kneeling, proper vestments, and the like."

Cardinal Arinze explained that the Pope has much to say about the question of the formation of liturgical rites and of their change or reform.

"Real liturgy implies that God responds and reveals to us how we are to worship him. Liturgy cannot spring from our imagination, from our own creativity, for then it would remain just a cry in the dark or mere self-affirmation," he said. "The pope's authority regarding the liturgy is bound to the Tradition of Faith."

Regarding music in the liturgy, Cardinal Arinze said that Pope Benedict believes that the Church "must maintain high standards in liturgical music: universality, catholicity, beauty, attention to the Logos, music as prayer and as a gesture that glorifies God."

He concluded by explaining the relationship between sacramental and liturgical theology, and that these two theologies cannot be separated.

"Liturgy is not a science of norms and rubrics. It is not a type of juridical positivism. Liturgy is the adequate expression of the Sacraments in liturgical celebration, where development can take place according to the nature of the Sacraments, but not according to arbitrary rubrics," he concluded.


(Helen Hull Hitchcock of Adoremus also gave an address, which is summarized as follows.)

Helen Hull Hitchcock delivered an address entitled "Pope Benedict XVI and the Reform of the Reform" in which she stated that Pope Benedict is emphatic that the Council did not represent a rupture, but expressed continuity with the Church's history. There is no pre- or post- Conciliar Church, he writes, there is but one, unique Church that walks the path toward the Lord.

She continued by explaining that the Pope points out that "liturgy can only be liturgy to the extent that it is beyond the manipulation of those who celebrate it," and that the new books "occasionally show far too many signs of being drawn up by academics and reinforce the notion that a liturgical book can be made like any other book."

Although the Holy Father admits that creativity with the new Ordo Missae has often gone too far, there is often a greater difference between liturgies celebrated in different places according to the new books than there is between an old liturgy and a new liturgy when both are celebrated as they ought to be, in accordance with the prescribed liturgical texts, she explained.

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