The primary argument for celebration in Latin in the classical Roman Rite is liturgical law itself. The law today stipulates the use of Latin for the celebration of the Roman Mass and for the recitation of the Divine Office according to the 1962 books.
The second argument is consideration for the express will of the Council. In spite of the few concessions given to the vernacular, it declares that the language of the Roman Rite remains Latin.
The third argument is that of preservation of uniformity in the Church. Fifty years ago a Catholic entering a Catholic church in any part of the word could feel at home because the Latin liturgy he found there was identical to that experienced in his own country. Latin manifests that the liturgy is the worship of the whole Church and not merely of particular or local communities. Though a great part of the congregation does not necessarily understand it, the validity and efficacy of the liturgy does not depend on this understanding; and the faithful are able to reap the fruits of what is offered by the priest.
The fourth argument is that the Latin creates, as it were, a protective veil by linguistic means around these most holy mysteries. This supposedly ‘dead’ language, unknown to most people and far from everyday parlance, has the capacity to inspire a deeper respect for the mystical reality of the liturgy than their everyday language.
I think that the most convincing argument is actually a fifth one: the treasures of the Roman liturgy came into being in this language. Latin is the home of the classical Roman rite. This is the only language, precisely because it is a ‘dead’ language, that preserves perfectly and enduringly the content of the liturgy in its unchanged and unchangeable meaning. In fact, no equivalent translation can really be made of those texts which are most typically Roman. Nevertheless, the liturgy speaks not only to those present; it pervades the whole life of the Church through multiple channels, through theology, catechesis, the spiritual life and so on. It is of crucial importance that the texts, with their exact meaning and strict formulation, should be found not only in the liturgical books but also in the living reality of ecclesiastical life, and in its actual voice.
(László Dobszay, The Restoration and Organic Development of the Roman Rite, p. 79)
The other neuralgic point of the entire liturgical reform is the direction (orientation) of the celebration of Mass, and so of the altar itself. Again, this is not something directly connected with the reform that was specifi ed. Neither the Council, nor any individual instruction of the Church, ever decreed that altars be turned ‘versus populum’ (for celebration with the priest facing to the congregation).
It is obligatory neither in the classical Roman Rite nor in the New Rite. Since a detailed discussion of the topic is available in Fr Uwe Michael Lang’s book (Turning Towards the Lord), which may be complemented with several writings of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, there is no need here to repeat the arguments. A short summary of the facts:
- Liturgical law does not make obligatory celebration versus populum (in fact it does not specify the direction of celebration at all).
- In historical retrospection both orientations were possible in the Church from the very beginning; the prevailing (in fact almost universal) situation was that both the priest and the congregation prayed regularly turning towards the east.
- Turning towards the east was justified in the tradition by biblical and theological motives, as well as by the eschatological orientation of the
- It manifests more clearly the sacrificial character of the Mass.
- In a pastoral perspective, this tradition expresses that priest and the congregation face the same direction while praying, turning towards the symbolic direction of the Lord’s presence and future coming.
(László Dobszay, The Restoration and Organic Development of the Roman Rite, p. 90)
De privé-kapel van het bisschoppelijk paleis van het aartsbisdom Utrecht heeft een verandering ondergaan. Kardinaal Eijk heeft er schijnbaar voor gekozen om de mis in zijn privé-kapel niet meer richting het volk te vieren, maar met de rug naar het volk. Precies zoals dat in de jaren voorafgaand aan het Tweede Vaticaans Concilie norm en gebruik was.
Volledig artikel hier.
L’arcivescovo di Utrecht, cardinale Willem Eijk, torna a celebrare ad orientem nella sua cappella privata.
© 2009 COLLEGIO ROMANO DELLA SANTA CROCE
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