Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Opening Mass at World Youth Day: Cardinal Pell uses the "Benedictine" Arrangement

Cardinal Pell kicked off World Youth Day today with an opening Mass to more than 140,000 pilgrims.

I should be clear that based upon the reports and images I have seen, there were present some of the aspects of liturgical music and inculturation that we have often critiqued here -- though I wish to reserve comment since I have not witnessed the actual event. Beyond that, I think that is hardly a surprise if we use realism rather than idealism to guide our expectations.

My own interest is less on what remains in that regard, and more on: what aspects of the tradition are we now seeing rear its head that we hadn't at World Youth Day before?

Here is one:

(Photo courtesy of The Age)

The use of the 7 candlesticks and altar cross in the Roman/Benedictine arrangement is encouraging. Everywhere we see this helps to solidify this project of re-orientation and helps encourage pastors to begin the project of re-orienting their own liturgies as well -- all leading us gradually back to ad orientem liturgical celebration.

Is it the only thing that matters in the liturgy? Of course not, but it is a significant piece of the puzzle and whatever else might be said, it is important to recognize this development and positive step.

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