Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Importance of Papal Liturgies as Examples

Every now and again when a papal Mass is covered here at the NLM, and the importance of the practical re-orientation of the pope's own liturgical celebrations and their re-rooting in sacred tradition is being stressed, - and I am sure it will happen again during the Papal visit to the USA, for which the Holy Father has just departed - someone will question whether this is really all that relevant. This questioning can come from different angles. One is: "This is all good and well, but who is following these liturgies in the real world anyway, apart from geeks on liturgical blogs." Another one is: "Please stop concentrating on all those externals, and focus on what Holy Mass is really all about." A lot could be (and has been) said in answer to these objections. But today (while looking for something else entirely) I chanced upon a quote, which tells how the Holy Father himself thinks about this, and what importance he attributes to his liturgies as examples to the world. The quote is contained in an allocution he gave to the members of the Pontifical Sistine Choir on 20 December 2005, which was mentioned on the NLM at the time, but for one reason or another did not receive much attention. This is the quote:

The Pope's liturgy, the liturgy in St Peter's, must be an example of liturgy for the world. You know that today, with television and radio, a vast number of people in every part of the world follow this liturgy. From here, they learn or do not learn what the liturgy is, how the liturgy should be celebrated.

You can find the text of the complete address here.

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