Monday, October 28, 2013

Bishop Egan of Portsmouth on the importance of plainchant and Latin

High Mass was celebrated yesterday in the Extraordinary Form marking the Feast of Christ the King at Portsmouth Cathedral in the presence of Rt Rev Philip Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth. The music was sung by the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge directed by Christopher Hodkinson. A video of the Mass is available here.

During the sermon Bishop Egan spoke about the Extraordinary Form and the important role of plainchant and Latin in the Novus Ordo:

As the Bishop of this diocese, I'm very happy to encourage, where there is a wish, the celebration of the Roman Rite in the Extraordinary Form, and more, to ensure that across the Diocese of Portsmouth, celebrations in Latin of the Novus Ordo, ideally with plainchant, find a rightful place in the diversity of our Diocesan Liturgy.

When Mass is celebrated in Latin, it is a splendid reminder of the Catholicity or universality of the Church across space and time, that all of us, past, present and future, belong to one great family, the people of God. Latin, with its poetry, majesty and economy, is, along with Greek and Hebrew, a sacred language that is a sacramental that places us before God's transcendence. And this is a vital corrective to the modern tendency to stress immanence with the danger of reducing God to a false god, namely a 'warm feeling' within.

Indeed I might add that although unfamiliar with it myself, the Extraordinary Form expressly reminds us that Mass in either form is not merely a communion meal but a ritual of love, a sacrifice at Calvary, by which, for you and for me, yes, here and now, Jesus Christ lays down his life.

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