Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Pope Francis to Card. Sarah : “Continue the Good Work in the Liturgy Begun by Pope Benedict XVI”

The facebook page of the Sacra Liturgia Conference, now underway in New York City, is live-blogging the conference, and has posted a message sent to it by His Eminence Robert Card. Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. You can read it in full by clicking to enlarge the three photographs below; but we must call particular attention to what the Cardinal says about his own mission as head of the CDW, as expressed in the words of the Holy Father.

“When the Holy Father, Pope Francis, asked me to accept the ministry of Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, I asked: ‘Your Holiness, how do you want me to exercise this ministry? What do you want me to do as Prefect of this Congregation?’ The Holy Father's reply was clear. ‘I want you to continue to implement the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council,’ he said, ‘and I want you to continue the good work in the liturgy begun by Pope Benedict XVI.’ (our emphasis)”

He then goes on to emphasize two areas which he sees as of special importance for the work of the conference.

“The first is by being utterly clear what Catholic liturgy is: it is the worship of Almighty God, the place where mankind encounters God alive and at work in His Church today. ... The liturgy is not some social occasion where we come first, where what is important is that we express our identity. ... The Church’s liturgy is given to us in tradition - it is not for us to make up the rites we celebrate, or to change them to suit ourselves or our own ideas beyond the legitimate options permitted by the liturgical books. ... ”

The second area ... is in the promotion of sound liturgical formation. The Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy went so far as went so far as to say that ‘it would be futile to entertain any hopes of realizing’ the liturgical renewal it desired ‘unless the pastors themselves ... become thoroughly imbued with the spirit and power of the liturgy, and undertake to give instruction about it.’

For our own part, we can only thank Card. Sarah these words of wisdom, and hope that he indeed able to attend in person next year’s Sacra Liturgia in London, as he states at the end of the message.

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