Omelia dal card. Sarah a Chartres (21 maggio 2018)

Cari pellegrini, senza silenzio non c’è luce. Le tenebre si nutrono del rumore incessante di questo mondo, che ci impedisce di rivolgerci a Dio. Prendiamo come esempio la liturgia della Messa di oggi. Essa ci porta all’adorazione, al timore filiale e amorevole davanti alla grandezza di Dio. Essa culmina nella consacrazione, ove tutti insieme rivolti all’altare, gli sguardi diretti all’ostia, verso la croce, ci comunichiamo in silenzio, nel raccoglimento e nell’adorazione.
Fratelli, amiamo quelle liturgie che ci fanno gustare la presenza silenziosa e trascendente di Dio, e ci rivolgono al Signore.


Dobbiamo saperci volgere verso Dio, in una celebrazione liturgica raccolta, piena di rispetto, di silenzio e impressa di sacralità. Non inventiamo nulla nella liturgia, riceviamo tutto da Dio e dalla Chiesa. Non cerchiamo lo spettacolo o il successo.


Nella forma ordinaria del rito romano come nella forma extraordinaria, l’essenziale è di volgerci verso la croce, verso Cristo, nostro Oriente, nostro tutto, nostro unico orizzonte. Sia nella forma ordinaria sia in quella extraordinaria, sappiamo sempre celebrare, come oggi, secondo quello che insegna il Concilio Vaticano II, con una nobile semplicità, senza sovraccarico inutile, senza estetica fittizia e teatrale, ma con il senso del sacro, la preoccupazione principale della gloria di Dio e con un vero spirito di figli della Chiesa di oggi e di sempre!

(Omelia completa sul sito Romualdica – traduzione a cura di sr. Bertilla Obl.S.B)

Homily in English here.

Homélie en Français ici.

Cardinal Sarah: “Peuple de France, retourne à tes racines!”

Chers pèlerins, sans silence il n’y a pas de lumière. Les ténèbres se nourrissent du bruit incessant de ce monde qui nous empêche de nous tourner vers Dieu. Prenons exemple sur la liturgie de la messe de ce jour. Elle nous porte à l’adoration, à la crainte filiale et amoureuse devant la grandeur de Dieu. Elle culmine à la consécration ou tous ensemble tournés vers l’autel, le regard dirigé vers l’hostie, vers la Croix, nous communions en silence, dans le recueillement et l’adoration.
Frères, aimons ces liturgies qui nous font goûter la présence silencieuse et transcendante de Dieu, et nous tournent vers le Seigneur.


Sachons nous tourner vers Dieu, dans une célébration liturgique recueillie, pleine de respect, de silence et empreinte de sacralité. N’inventons rien dans la liturgie, recevons tout de Dieu et de l’Eglise. Ne cherchons pas le spectacle ou la réussite.


Dans la forme ordinaire du rit romain comme dans la forme extraordinaire, l’essentiel est de nous tourner vers la Croix, vers le Christ, notre Orient, notre tout, notre unique horizon.
Que ce soit dans la forme ordinaire ou dans la forme extraordinaire, sachons toujours célébrer, comme en ce jour, selon ce qu’enseigne le Concile Vatican II, avec une noble simplicité, sans surcharge inutile, sans esthétique factice et théâtrale mais avec le sens du sacré, le souci premier de la gloire de Dieu et avec un véritable esprit de fils de l’Eglise d’aujourd’hui et de toujours.

Homélie complète ici.

Omelia completa in italiano qui.

Commento in italiano qui.

Cardinal Sarah’s Homily to the Chartres Pilgrims

Dear pilgrims, without silence, there is no light. Darkness feeds on the incessant noise of this world, which prevents us from turning to God.
Take the example of the liturgy of the Mass today. It brings us to adoration, filial fear and love in the presence of God’s greatness. It culminates in the Consecration where together, facing the altar, our gaze directed to the host, to the cross, we commune in silence in recollection and in adoration.
Dear friends, let us love these liturgies that enable us to taste the silent and transcendent presence of God, and turn us towards the Lord.


Let us know how to turn to God in a liturgical celebration, full of respect, silence and sacredness. Do not invent anything in the liturgy. Let us receive everything from God and from the Church. Do not look for show or success.


In the ordinary form, just as in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, the essential thing is to turn to the Cross, to Christ, our East, our Everything and our only Horizon! Whether in the ordinary form or the extraordinary form, let us always celebrate, as on this day, according to what the Second Vatican Council teaches: with a noble simplicity, without useless additions, without factitious and theatrical aesthetic, but with the sense of the sacred, with the primary concern for the Glory of God, and with a true spirit of a son of the Church of today and of always!

Full English translation of the homily here.

Omelia completa in italiano qui.

The Chants of the Proprium Missæ versus “Alius Cantus Aptus”

What arrangement of the Mass chants emerges before the eyes of an unbiased reader of the Liturgical Constitution promulgated by the Second Vatican Council? If we disregard what happened after the Synod, and concentrate our attention upon the text of Sacrosanctum Concilium, this is the picture we get:
The Mass is celebrated in most cases in Latin (Art. 36), although some parts (lections, bidding prayer: Art. 54) sometimes (when and where it seems useful) can be said in the vernacular (Art. 36/2). The faithful are able to chant the responses, the acclamations, and the Ordinary in Latin (Art. 54, cf. Kyriale Simplex). Gregorian chant has pride of place in liturgical singing (Art. 116). The chants of the Proper are sung by a choir or schola (Art. 114), in larger churches from the Graduale Romanum, and in smaller ones from the Graduale Simplex (Art. 117); but the congregation, too, may join in the Chant (Art. 114), singing psalms and antiphons (Art. 30). Chant is complemented by sacred polyphony taken from the heritage of sacred music, or from a repertory of new compositions. These take their texts chiefly from the Holy Scriptures or the liturgical books (Art. 121), correspond at all points with the spirit of the liturgy (Art. 116), and are characterized by the hallmarks of true ecclesiastical thinking (Art. 121) and true art (Art. 112). Careful instruction must prepare the laity to take their part in liturgical singing, and so each part is sung by the very person concerned (Art. 28, 114), and yet in the way required by the nature of the given part (Art. 112). Congregational religious hymns are also accepted during various devotions, as well as in liturgical celebrations “in keeping with rubrical norms and requirements.” However, in consequence of all these stipulations the meaning of ‘congregational hymnody’ has been changed: people sing not only vernacular hymns but also many parts that are integral components of the liturgy. Hence it seems right to distinguish the cantus populi (the chanting of the people) from cantus popularis (popular religious songs). The first of these is plainly the task of present and future; it is the great task of the liturgical renewal in the field of congregational chant.

(László Dobszay – The Bugnini Liturgy and the Reform of the Reform, p. 85)

The Musical Intentions of Vatican II

One of the most striking external differences between the older and new forms of the Roman Rite concerns the music. Any Catholic who had been asleep from, say, 1960 to 1980 would have woken up to a completely different world, one that seemed to welcome pop styles at Mass and banish Gregorian chant. It is even more shocking to consider that Vatican II contained the most explicit and canonically binding recognition in the history of Christianity that Gregorian chant is the music of the Roman Rite.
In trying to come to terms with what happened, there are three general theories about the true musical intentions of the Second Vatican Council, one of which gains new credibility in a new book by Anthony Ruff, Sacred Music and Liturgical Reform: Treasures and Transformations (Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 2007).
The first position we can describe as the progressive position, namely that the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy intended to unleash a furious reform of the Roman Rite in which the vernacular took over, chant was banished because it is boring and in Latin, and the people took power back from the clerical class. In this view, it’s true that this was not in the letter of the law but it was part of the “spirit” of the reform. The 1970 Missal, too, was part of the spirit but not its completion. What we needed, in this view, were creative liturgists to take ever more liberties to make the Mass community-minded and accessible, in touch with the modern world. Hence the guitars, dancers, puppet shows, and textual improvisations.
On the other side of the debate are those who we might call the traditionalists, who oddly suspect that the progressives are largely correct. The Constitution contained ticking time bombs which people at the Council put into the friendly to tradition is really only tactical. What was secretly intended was the furious reform that actually took place.
Where these two positions agree is that the manner in which the liturgy is celebrated in the ordinary form represents, in some way, a fulfillment of the Council’s intentions. Where these positions disagree is whether this is a good thing or not. The progressives love it while the traditionalists say that it is a disgrace and the only solution is full restoration of the 1962 Missal, the last Missal to appear before the 1963 Constitution unleashed this “spirit of Vatican II” that ended up unraveling the Roman Rite as it has always been known.
A third position has occupied a tiny minority of opinion over the years, and yet it is gaining prominence today in light of the call for greater continuity between old and new. For convenience we can call it the conservative view. (Please don’t get stuck on the terms here; they are only placeholders for general tendencies of thought.)
This is the position that when the Constitution spoke with praise for Gregorian chant and polyphony, it was speaking truthfully and clearly with the intention of giving them an increased presence in the liturgy. Further, though the 1970 Missal has its problems and issues, if it is said according to the liturgical books, and the dictates of Vatican II are followed, what you end up with is something that is much more organic to tradition. You have Latin chant for the ordinary and the propers. You have the Mass said with the solemnity of old, whether in Latin or in English. This was the true intention of the Council, according to this view.

(Jeffrey A. Tucker, Sing like a Catholic, pp. 16-17)

Orientation – Aidan Nichols O. P.

There is the issue of orientation. In traditional usage, the altar is where possible placed at the east, on the solar axis. Facing the altar, one faces the rising sun, which overcomes cosmic darkness as Christ’s Resurrection and Ascension overcame spiritual. Orientation is a particularly neuralgic topic in contemporary Catholicism. The now widespread desire for a general return to versus apsidem celebration for the Liturgy of the Sacrifice (as distinct from that of the Word) constitutes an inescapable ‘head-on’ challenge to ‘Modernism’ – understanding by that term a stance that is at once architectural, liturgical, ecclesial, sacramental, and – by implication at least – eschatological.
The custom of orientation is biblical and it expresses the eschaton.

Aidan Nichols O. P., Lost in Wonder. Essays on Liturgy and the Arts, pp. 60-61)

The proper chants of the Mass – László Dobszay

The chant of the Propers is an integral part of the classical Roman liturgy: in fact, it was one of the first elements to be crystallized during its early development. Its position was so stable, so ‘canonized’, that it hardly developed further after the eighth century, except in one single genre, the Alleluia chant. Theologically, the selection of the chant texts (mostly from psalms) was built on a traditional biblical interpretation that can be traced to the sayings of Christ and his Apostles. This interpretation was supplied with an expanded explanation in the enarrationes of Origen and St Augustine of Hippo. Out of this tradition of interpretation a system of associations arose between the biblical and psalmic texts together with the other parts of the liturgy. To omit the chants of the Propers from any celebration of the Roman Mass – even if they are at least recited – is an inexcusable mutilation of the Roman Rite in itself.

(László Dobszay, The Restoration and Organic Development of the Roman Rite, p. 159)

Latin – László Dobszay

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)

Ad Orientem – László Dobszay

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)

Kardinaal Eijk viert de mis weer met “rug naar het volk”

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.