Saturday, March 17, 2007

English reaction to Sacramentum Caritatis

In The Catholic Herald, they write a story, "Pope proclaims the glory of the Eucharist" wherein the summarize the recent document. In addition to their summary, they report the reaction of the Latin Mass Society in that country as well as a comment by Dr. Alcuin Reid:

In Britain, traditionalists are delighted at the Pope’s attempts to revive the beauty of the Mass.

On Tuesday John Medlin, general manager of the Latin Mass Society, said his group welcomed the document. “We hope that it will play an important part in stabilising and improving the standard of worship in the New Rite,” he said.

He added, however, that the exhortation should be supplemented with the much-anticipated motu proprio to enable wider provision of the Tridentine Rite. He said: “Traditional worship, with its explicit emphasis on the supernatural and on the Mass, as a sacrifice and on the dignity of the Mass can operate as the gold standard against which celebrations of the New Rite can be held and improved.”

In Sacramentum Caritatis Benedict XVI tempers his efforts to sweep away flaws in celebrations of the New Rite with praise for the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

“The difficulties and even the occasional abuses cannot overshadow the benefits and the validity of the liturgical renewal, whose riches are yet to be fully explored,” he writes in the introduction.

“Concretely, the changes which the Council called for need to be understood within the overall unity of the historical development of the Rite itself, without the introduction of artificial discontinuities.”

In another part of the document Benedict XVI emphasises the need for Eucharistic adoration. “Great benefit would ensue from a suitable catechesis explaining the importance of this act of worship,” he says. “Wherever possible, it would be appropriate, especially in densely populated areas, to set aside specific churches or oratories for perpetual adoration.”

He encourages priests to make the tabernacle as visible as possible to those entering the church, urging them not to put the celebrant’s chair in front of it.
The Pontiff rules out any change in the Church’s position on priestly celibacy. “I reaffirm the beauty and the importance of a priestly life lived in celibacy as a sign expressing total and exclusive devotion to Christ, to the Church and to the Kingdom of God,” he says. “I therefore confirm that it remains obligatory in the Latin tradition.

“Priestly celibacy lived with maturity, joy and dedication is an immense blessing for the Church and for society itself.”

Benedict XVI also rejects the possibility, widely discussed during the Synod last year, of allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion. “This represents a complex and troubling pastoral problem,” the Pontiff acknowledges, before adding: “The Synod of Bishops confirmed the Church’s practice, based on Sacred Scripture, of not admitting the divorced and remarried to the sacraments, since their state and their condition of life objectively contradict the loving union of Christ and the Church.”

Dr Alcuin Reid, a liturgical scholar, this week described Sacramentum Caritatis as “a sound tutorial for clergy and laity alike in Eucharistic theology and liturgical practice”.

He said: “Pope Benedict is moving us away from a dated concept of liturgy whereby the community itself has sometimes been seen as both the author and the object of worship, to a renewed appreciation of Catholic worship as primarily the Church’s worship of Almighty God in which we are called actively to participate.”

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