Thursday, January 11, 2018

Address by Dom Karl Wallner: “The Profanation of the Sacred and the Sacralisation of the Profane”

Extracts from a major (and fascinating) address given by Dom Karl Wallner, O. Cist., Rector of the Pontifical University of Heiligenkreuz and national director of Missio for Austria, have been translated and are posted at the new liturgical site Canticum Salomonis, the unveiling of which NLM announced to readers last week. A taste:
Along with desacralisation inside the Church there was another phenomenon, which I was able to experience personally in my encounters with the profane world of show business: a form of sacralisation of the profane, a ritualisation of the banal, the promotion of non-religious objects to the level of cult objects. From the backstage of the show to which I had been invited, I could observe how the show was designed down the last detail as a sort of dramaturgy, so that the viewer in front of the television participated in a kind of “Pontifical Mass of Entertainment.”
          Several years ago, after celebrating a vigil service with a youth group, I had an experience that struck me profoundly and became the key to understanding.
          For the past 20 years at Heiligenkreuz, we have organised prayer retreats for young people between the ages of 15 and 28. Since the majority of young people that age suffer a severe lack of enculturation in everything related to Catholicism, and must still learn how to pray and adore, these vigils represent a real challenge. That is why we could not even imagine celebrating a Mass with them: we must first render these young capable of receiving the Eucharistic mystery. First and foremost they need to have a personal relation to Jesus Christ. In that regard, the Catholic liturgy offers a range of possibilities, a whole sacred repertoire that is able to create an ambiance that permits the young people to open their hearts so that they may be touched by the presence of God.
A side-note: when Canticum Salomonis was launched last week and many visited it, the social media links and RSS feed had not yet been set up. They are now in place, so please do pay them a visit, and read Pater Wallner's remarkable talk.

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