Thursday, July 03, 2008

Changes in the Liturgy (OF) - All Sacramental Formulae in Latin?

Ignazio Ingrao, religion writer of the Italian weekly Panorama, has the following article in this weeks Panorama (NLM translation):


The rite of the Mass could change. According to some indiscretions, Benedict XVI has charged the Congregation for Divine Worship to study some modifications in the liturgy. In particular, the Pope is said to have the intention to restore Latin for the formula for the Eucharistic consecration within the Mass in the "vernacular language", i.e. the one celebrated in the different national languages. The same could happen to the formulae of Baptism, Confirmation, Confession and of the other sacraments. In addition, the exchange of peace among the faithful during the Mass, which today takes place prior to the distribution of the Eucharist, could be anticipated (as in the Ambrosian rite) to the offertory so as not to disturb the recollection that precedes Communion.

These would be changes which would be added to the changes in the liturgy and regarding sacred vestments which the Pope, together with his Master of Ceremonies, Monsignor Guido Marini, has made in recent months, to recover ancient traditions: the restoration of the crucifix at the center of the altar, the distribution of Communion to the faithful in the mouth while kneeling, the recovery of the pastoral staff of Pius IX (the ferula), the changing of the style of pallium (the strip of white wool with red crosses worn by the Pope), the restoration of the papal throne used in the Consistory and the celebration of Mass with the back to the assembly, as happened in January in the Sistine Chapel.

Evidently if this is accurate, this is huge and wonderful news. However, so far we do well to treat this with great caution and as what it is: a rumour. It should be noted, though, that the moving of the sign of peace to the offertory is something of which Pope Benedict had already indicated in Sacramentum Caritatis that he would let the CDW study it. But the big news would obviously be the recovery of Latin for all the sacramental formulae. This would not only be a recovery of tradition for these themselves, but it would very effectively underscore the importance of Latin for the enitre liturgy of the Roman rite at its core, and might also help to regain a sense for the importance of the sacramental formulae which has been lost or at least blurred in many places. These are some first thoughts right after reading this; perhaps we will post some further considerations later. But keep in mind that this so far is just a rumour, and even the rumour only says that this is being studied.

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