Sacred Liturgy

For The Glory Of God And The Defense Of Life

Sacred Liturgy

Introduction

     We do not fight over for what is evident and shared by all. Regrettably, things that were evident for previous generations are no longer evident today. Sixry years ago, the natural human desire to spread life and to have children did not need to be defended, but today it seems to have dried up in most of the industrialized countries. We can see how the fertiliry rates are dropping at concerning levels in many countries in the south of the world. Sixry years ago, it was a localized problem and few would have thought that it would become a worldwide phenomenon.

Fifty years ago it would not have made sense to raise concerns about the natural sense of adoration that Catholics have towards the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, but today it is a sad realiry that many of us can lament based on our personal experiences. AB Raymond Cardinal Burke has noted, this critical problem is caused by, among other things, an exaggerated attention to the human aspects of the liturgy, putting aside the essence of the liturgy as an encounter with God by means of the sacramental signs. This in turn results in confusion about the nature of the liturgy as the direct action of the Glorious Christ in the Church to give us the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith points out that by making the Mass banal we have lost sight of the eminent digniry of the Sacrament of the Eucharist.2 As a consequence the faithful have to strive to render back to the liturgy the sense of the sacred that is so important.

There is no doubt that one of the causes of the contemporary crisis of the Church is the collapse of the liturgy.3 Recently Bishop Athanasius Schneider reminded us that the worst sin that humaniry can commit is to refuse to adore God, to refuse to give Him the first place, the place of honor.4 A man who does not adore God in the liturgy is less likely to value the main gifi: of God, which is life. A secularized man that considers himself autonomous from God will be uncomfortable with the tabernacle being at the center of the Church, or the cross at the center of the altar.

Secularization rejects the right relation of man with God. Secularization denies our dependence from God, denying Him as giver oflife and denying the nature of man as a being he who adores, giving due worship to God. We are all sensitive to the justice that is due to our neighbor, but the precedence should be given to the justice that is due to God. Catholicism has to be understood as a society of men who first worship God, and who therefore provide service to their fellow men. Service should not have priority, it should rather be seen as the consequence of worship. In some ways we can say that service is a continuation of our worship.

It behooves all men of good will to act in accordance with nature and to desire and be proud to have children. For us Catholics, in addition to our natural inclinations, possessing the fullness of truth about the source and the destiny of human life, this desire should be stronger. But this desire seems to be on the verge of fading away, both in society at large and within the Catholic Church. The main cause is an anti-life attitude, or frame of mind, that has become a sinful social structure-consequently we have a "culture of death'', not one of life.

This deeply anti-natural and pathological mindset has many causes: themilitant atheism that underpins both totalitarian and liberal ideologies, the propaganda of a secular humanist society that leads to selfishness and fear of raising children, radical environmentalism, the fear of living that we always find in decadent societies and the resulting reluctance to have children, and of course original sin and habitual sin.

  St. John Paul II denounced how this "culture of death'' had entered within the Church, stating that:

Too often it happens that believers, even those who take active part in the life of the Church, end up by separating their Christian faith from its ethical requirements concerning life, and thus full into moral subjectivism and certain objectionable ways of acting. (Evangelium Vitae, 95)

Reason and revelation come together to tell us that God is the source of all life. Revelation also tells us that the source of all life is present for us and for our salvation in all the tabernacles of the world, waiting to make us sharers of the most perfect form of life, which is the Divine Life. The problem that concerns us today is how we Catholics are going to be empowered to spread the Gospel of Life if we do not duly adore the source of all life, Who is present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. Union with Christ in adoration necessarily leads us to evangelization, because we will give to the ones whom God places close to us what we have contemplated in adoration.'

 

God as the Source of Life

Life in its fullness resides only in God. In Him we encounter the infinite plenitude of life. Both reason and revelation tell us that our lives on earth are totally incomplete without the presence of God. Man can neither find his meaning nor understand the reality that surrounds him except in relation to God.6 A man separated from God will find his life empty and meaningless. He will know the world as a place where he experiences more pain than happiness; a place that it is dominated by dark and oppressive forces. This is why in the end a man divorced from God will lack the motivation to generate life. If there is no supernatural hope, how can a person that sees the world as a place of hopeless suffering desire to bring new fellow sufferers to this world?

The Christian will also see and experience the dark and oppressive side of this world, but he is inspired by a sense of hope because he knows that he can change the world in which he lives. What is more important, he also knows that this world is only a brief, temporary passage that will allow him to enter afterwards into the Kingdom of Heaven if he lives his life with fidelity. He knows that his children can inherit a better world, or that they themselves can build a society and, what is more important, that it is possible for them to be with Him forever and ever in the Kingdom of Heaven.

With the gift of life, man also receives the call to establish the right relation with God that comes through proper worship, which leads to sanctification. In the book of Exodus, we see how the people of Israel discovered the type of worship that is willed by the Lord. Cult and liturgy are part of this worship. Life only becomes real when it receives its meaning from looking towards God, because the cult exists in order to communicate this vision. To receive this vision we have to be directed towards God in adoration. This is why the liturgical orientation during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is of particular relevance: if the priest and the congregation are facing each other we run the risk of being enclosed in a self-referential circle that can lose a sense of direction towards God. The liturgy can never be about self-affirmation, or self-seeking.

The fullness of life is primarily communicated to us in the Eucharist, where we have the Real Presence of Christ, whilst in the other sacraments we have the grace of Christ. So if faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist starts to dwindle, we run the risk of reducing what is left of the beliefs of Catholicism to a philanthropic ideology condemned to failure, like all the other ideologies that mankind has minted.

The Contraceptive Risk

In the 1960s, two things happened that show the profound relationship between the affirmation of human life and the celebration of the liturgy where the sense of the sacred is carefully preserved. The discussion within the Church about whether a new drug that prevented conception was in accordance with the constant teachings of the Magisterium happened at the same time that the largest liturgical reform in the history of the Church was being discussed. Many of the faithful dearly saw that the acceptance of oral contraception was a departure from the constant teaching of the Church. Nevertheless, they thought that if the Church was introducing profound changes in the liturgy, a rite that they had always been taught was unchangeable, it was reasonable to assume that the teachings of the Church on birth control could also change.

More than one prelate in that period took the position that Church teachings on chemical birth control were in the process of changing. Consider the foreword that Richard Cardinal Cushing wrote for a 1964 book by Dorothy Dunbar Bromley. He states that he was preparing the people to accept a change 'in the traditional presentation of the Church's position on birth control'? This position was strengthened in 1966 by the report of the Papal Commission on Birth Control recommending the acceptance of artificial birth control.8 Finally the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, after a long and painful process,' decided to maintain her traditional teachings through the Encyclical Letter of Blessed Paul VI, Humanae vitae in July 1968.

Regrettably, the winds of doubt were not calmed by the manner in which Msgr. Ferdinando Lambruschini, a professor of Moral Theology at the Lateran University, presented the encyclical to the press on the morning of July 29, 1968, and the way in which many authorities within the Church reacted to this document. Even though Msgr. Lambruschini clearly stated that Humanae vitae was an authentic pronouncement of the Church and that Catholics must give it their "full and loyal assent," and that "it does not leave the question of regulation of birth in a state of vague uncertainty," 10 he also pointed out that Humanae Vitae was "not irreformable" and that it did not close theological discussion on the subject of birth control.

The concern that these comments caused the Holy See, as well as other difficult remarks coming from the secular media and from ecclesiastical environments, prompted the stern remarks that were published in L'Osservatore Romano a few days afterwards.11 Cardinal Lopez Trujillo pointed out how this encyclical suffered the attack of the dissenters, even those who, as teachers in Catholic institutions, had the mission of defending the Magisterium.

Because of the dissent within the Church on this Magesterial teaching, the climate of uncertainty on the teachings of the Church continued to exist at a pastoral level. This situation was reinforced by ongoing liturgical reforms, culminating in 1969 with the introduction of the new order of the Mass and all the experimentation that went with its dissemination. Many of the unauthorized liturgical experiments that were conducted at that time, and that regrettably are still being conducted today, have resulted in the lessening of belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. 13 It is evident that widescale changes, or removal, of the ceremonies and prayers of the Mass, might weaken the presentation of the Faith. 14 At the same time, we have to presume that the drafters of those changes were acting with the best possible intentions.

Speaking of that historical period more than forty years ago, Frederick Wilhelmsen stated that "the empty womb stripped of its child by an abortionist is analogous to the empty altar stripped of its God by the theological abortionist-the man who either denies, or, more frequently, ignores or plays down the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacrifice of the Mass and in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar."

Anchored in Reality

The worst fate that can befall man is to have no anchor in reality. That is the fate of the condemned souls in Hell, who have lost the possibility of being united with God, who is the grounding and support of all reality. It is part and parcel of man's material condition that he needs to be grounded in the objective reality of matter. Man is marked by space and time. He can only relate with things when they are placed in a given place at a given time. A man who believes in the existence of God knows that He is outside of space and time in a pure spiritual realm. But if that were to be his only reference to God, it would be terribly vague and distant. That is one of the reasons for the Incarnation, and is why God decided to remain with us in the liturgy and, vety concretely, in the Eucharist.

In the liturgy, we go from visible things to invisible realities, as we sing in the Christmas Preface (Missale Romanum 1962), "by the mystery of the Word made Flesh, we are drawn to the love of things unseen through Him whom we acknowledge as God now seen by men." As the Church teaches, on the night when He was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of His Body and Blood. He did this to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross through the centuries and to entrust the Church with His living presence in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar. When we receive the real presence of Christ, our soul is filled with grace and a pledge of future glory, anchoring us in God.

In the midst of the problems of our times, only a man who is firmly embedded in the reality of God, as the source and provident protector of life, will be able to be truly open to life. His faith in the Real Presence will give him strength to live up to all the difficulties and challenges that raising a family in our adverse times will present him. 1his faith will convince him that he will receive overabundant graces in the same way that the Lord provided an overabundance of splendid wine to the poor couple of Cana who ran out of wine.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as a Life-Giving Sacrifice

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is life-giving because through it we are given a new life. A failure to accept the sacrificial nature of the Mass and its connection with the supreme sacrifice of the cross distorts the essence of the Mass, making our worship "null and void." Through our participation in Holy Mass we receive a new life that recreates the old man wounded by original sin. If through the initial creating action of God we were given the gift of life, through the sacrifice of the cross we can receive a totally new life that has the potential of recreating us. I say "the potential" because it is up to us to accept or reject it. As St. Augustine said: "God created us without our consent but He will not save us without our consent." This offer from God is actualized in every celebration of the Mass not because the unique sacrifice of Calvary was insufficient, but because the Lord wanted to offer it to us constantly. In the Eucharist we find the same Christ who died for us on the Cross, who encountered rejection and persecution in the land that God the Father had chosen for His Incarnation. In the same way, Christianity today finds opposition and persecution in our times.

This leads us to see another fundamental link between the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the defense of life. The life-giving presence of Christ in the Eucharist is the consequence of both the unique sacrifice that happened on Calvary and the un-bloody sacrifice of every Mass. As a consequence of both sacrifices, Christ is present in the tabernacle. In the same way, life will be present again in the midst of our decaying societies because of our sacrifices to rebuild a culture of life. But if we celebrate liturgies that tend to obscure the sacrificial nature of the Mass, the drive to make sacrifices to defend the Faith might dwindle, and the motivation to make the necessary efforts and sacrifices for raising and educating children might dry up.

The Mass will be perceived as a living and life-giving sacrifice if it is seen in the context of a real and organic development in continuity with tradition.16 On earth, the liturgy gives us an anticipation of the eternal liturgy, in which we hope to participate. Any liturgical development must lean toward the substantial, avoiding both the consequences of our modern technical and rushed culture and of sweeping simplifications and abbreviations. 17 But it also must avoid an archeological fixation on the early Church, or a fixation on a given historical period like the Baroque. If on the one hand the liturgy has to be incarnated, on the other it has to be otherworldly-as it eventually will become in Paradise. When speaking of the incarnation of the liturgy we have to be particularly careful when we live in deeply secularized cultures, or in cultures that retain many pagan elements.

 

Persecution and the Influence of Secular Societies on the Church

Christianity is constantly being persecuted and attacked by the world. It was persecuted by the pagan world in the first centuries and it has to struggle against the post-Christian world of our times. In this opposition it has to suffer martyrdom; thus a high percentage of those who were beatified and canonized by Pope John Paul II were martyrs. 18 Many of those martyrs suffered under different communist dictatorships-as did the thousands of martyrs of Spain. The millions of victims of communism should not obscure the fact of the growing totalitarian tendencies of the liberal secular societies where we live.

Secular humanism, which at first might look tolerant, is a monster with many faces and is in constant evolution. The current abuses we find in contemporary secular-liberal societies have always existed potentially in an ideology that enshrines relativism. Remember all the crimes that were committed during the French Revolution, and all the crimes that are being perpetrated today in the name of the liberty to choose death. Many liberals are ready in the name of false human rights to destroy the true freedom of us all, as we see in recent decisions to deny freedom of conscience to those who oppose abortion.

It is of the essence of liberalism to be relativistic. As Paul VI said in his 1964 Encyclical Ecclesiam Suam, "Relativism, which justifies everything and treats all things as of equal value, assails the absolute character of Christian principles" (n.49). The true liberty of mankind is rooted in the sovereign liberty of God: when man breaks his relationship with God, his liberty is at risk, as we see increasingly in contemporaty secular societies. A society that breaks its moorings with God, the Lord and giver of life, will logically turn itself into an anti-life institution. So we have to be careful that our liturgies are not influenced by the secular-humanist environment of the societies in which we happen to live.

We have to be aware of the entrance of the spirit of relativism into the Church, as Cardinal Ratzinger warned us in his homily at the Mass "Pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice" on April 18, 2005. 19 In his Audience with the Diplomatic Corps Accredited to the Holy See of March 22, 2013, Pope Francis closely followed this important line of Benedict XVI. Afi:er denouncing the sufferings of the materially poor, he added:

But there is another form of poverty! It is the spiritual poverty of our time, which affiicts the so-called richer countries particularly seriously. It is what my much-loved predecessor, Benedict XVI, called the "tyranny of relativism," which makes everyone his own criterion and endangers the coexistence of peoples.

The Holy Father then added with strong emphasis, "But there is no true peace without truth!"

We see how this relativistic spirit has entered into the catechesis in many countries where the truths of the Faith are not taught with clarity. To condemn this evil spirit that dominates the contemporary world requires a substantial amount of courage because it is the cornerstone of the secular society in which we live.

The Church, being a society which lives and acts in this world, without being of the world, runs the risk nevertheless that some of its members, even clerics, might be influenced by the world, as the history of the Church constantly shows.

Jean Guitton warned us of this risk when, in 1963 during the Second Session of the Council, he published an article in L'Osservatore Romano on the difficult question of the updating of the Church. He underlined that some who are driven by the concern of pleasing the modern world could fall into the snare of changing the Catholic Faith and be conquered by the world.20 ln his first encyclical, Paul VI saw this risk and stated in strong words:

Men committed to the Church are greatly influenced by the climate of the world; so much that a danger bordering almost on vertiginous confusion and bewilderment can shake the Church's very foundations and lead men to embrace most bizarre ways of thinking, as though the Church should disavow herself and take up the very latest and untried ways oflife. (Ecclesiam Suam, 26)

Regrettably we can cite numerous instances of how many have not paid heed to this prophetic warning and have been conquered by the world, making a sad caricature of the Faith that they should have proclaimed. It happened with liberation theology, which has served as a means of introducing Marxism in some sectors of the Catholic Church, particularly in Latin America, and has led many to see Christianity as an instrument for refashioning the world politically. It happens also, as Michel Schooyans points out, when certain sectors of the Church are in danger of theologically supporting the totalitarian trends of liberalism.

The entrance of the spirit of the world has occurred also with many who have turned the liturgy into a social gathering that seems to celebrate man more than God. This can be seen in many contemporary celebrations of the Eucharist where the priest is facing the congregation. The danger is, as then-Cardinal Ratzinger noted, "that it can make the congregation into a closed circle which is no longer aware of the explosive Trinitarian dynamism which gives the Eucharist its greatness." He adds: "The community does not carry on a dialogue with itself. It is engaged on a common journey towards the returning Lord."22 If both the community and the priest are facing in the same direction this sense of the common journey and common destiny is more clearly expressed. If both the priest and the people face together towards God, we see how "the Church turns to her source oflife, the risen and ascended Christ, whose return she desires and expects."

Liturgy as a Foretaste of Heaven

In the Eucharist we already have a foretaste of the life that will be given to us in its fullness in the Eternal Kingdom. As the Church teaches, "In the earthly liturgy we take part in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem, toward which we journey as pilgrims" (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 8).

If we are going to desire something, we need, in some way, a foretaste of that thing. This foretaste should be received in accordance with man's nature. It is impossible for human minds to rise to the contemplation of heavenly things without the use of material means capable of guiding us, in a way proportionate to our nature.24 We need material things to lead us to spiritual realities. So the liturgy has to be accompanied by proper "accidents," that is, by appropriate external actions that will bring us to know its essence-visible and audible elements that would create a pervading sense of the sacred and of extraordinary beaury that leads to a desire of supernatural beaury. We cannot experience substances. We can only know them by their accidents-externals, perceivable by our senses, that indicate the presence of a substance.

When we receive the Eucharist, we perceive with our senses the accident of bread. The externals of the liturgy might reinforce or weaken our awareness of, and thus our belief in, the Real Presence in the Eucharist. If we are attending a Mass that is celebrated with respect and due reverence we will be surrounded by an atmosphere that will help us to elevate our minds and hearts to God. If we attend a Mass that seems to be man centered, however, our heart will remain on the things of this earth.

Man has a natural desire for stabiliry, permanence, and a sense of belonging to a given place, foreshadowing the stabiliry he desires to achieve in Heaven. Liturgy is given to us through the actions of the Holy Spirit in the Church and the faithful response of the Church. That is why the liturgy should only change as part of its organic development-development in continuity with the past actions of the Holy Spirit.

For that reason the Church teaches that, "Even the supreme authority in the Church may not change the liturgy arbitrarily, but only in the obedience of faith and with religious respect for the mystery of the liturgy" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1125). We have to reject the cult of change for the sake of change that has very much entered into our society since the time of the Enlightenment.

In the same way that man is the steward of the gift of life and has to take care of this gift in accordance with the plans of God, the Church is the administrator of the liturgy and should take care of divine worship in accordance with Tradition, avoiding arbitrary changes.

Perhaps the main purpose of having children is to populate Heaven with souls that will enjoy the contemplation of God forever. But how are we going to be moved to participate in this great purpose if we are not ourselves driven by a powerful desire to reach Heaven, and how can we desire to go to Heaven if we have not previously received some sort of foretaste of Heaven? If we do not receive this foretaste in the liturgy where else can we find it in a world that is constandy being deprived of the signs of God's presence?

Traditional Worship and the Defense of Life

There is a dear relationship between traditional worship and a strong commitment to the defense and propagation oflife. First and foremost, life, like tradition, is something not of our own making, but a thing which we receive, that is given to us. It is not a new object of our own creation but a reality that pre-exists us. The truths of the Faith are basically a tradition, something that is given to us to be transmitted.

Only the man who has roots has a future. A major source of the problems of modern man is that he has cut his roots with his own past, so he can no longer project himself to the future. Man, without an inherited and objective frame of reference, cannot make sense of the present in which he lives. To attempt to achieve freedom by escaping from the burdens of tradition tends to result in a new enslavement to a chaotic present.25 The person who alienates himself from his origins will live in a self-centered existence that in the end will be totally alienating and most likely will provide him a foretaste of hell, where every person will be curved into themselves in a total and definitive self-isolation.

The desire for a new beginning is very much part of the nature of man, because man has always had a sense of his wounded condition.

But if we look in depth at this desire, it is not really a wish for the new, but a desire to return to the condition that human nature had before original sin. But if this natural desire is secularized through pride and the erroneous view that the achievements of the past are irrelevant, man has nothing in his hands but a shallow present.

The healthy Traditio, grounded on serious theological and historical research, opens the road for developments of a dialogue that cannot be interrupted under the risk of leading to the isolation of man and the reduction of the divine to insignificance.26 God manifested Himself in many ways in the history of mankind. From the day of Pentecost onwards, the Holy Spirit has guided the Church in different historical circumstances. So closing our eyes to the past is closing our vision to the actions of the Holy Spirit. If reason can lead us to believe in a Provident God who takes care of His creatures, our faith and our own historical experience can strengthen this confidence a thousand fold. If God has taken care of His Church in the past, this fact must strengthen our confidence that He shall do the same in the future.

So a traditional approach to human existence is by definition pro-life because in the measure that we venerate the Faith, the wisdom and the forms oflife that we have received from our ancestors, we will be eager to pass this Faith on to our children. We will see ourselves as part of a chain that passes and increases a treasure that we have inherited. Further, if we look back and we see how God has protected the generations in the past, we will be confident that He will protect our descendants in the future.

Breaking with the past also creates a situation of spiritual homelessness. The religious person finds a home and shelter in the celebration of liturgical worship with his communiry. The rites and feasts known to the Christian and his family since childhood are intimately connected to his faith. For him, an unchanging cult is part of his home. If the worship is constantly changed, even if the substance of the Faith is not changed, he will find himself in some way homeless, which will clearly not encourage him to have children.

It is obvious that the substance does not change, but if the accidents change too often there is the temptation to believe that the substance has indeed changed.

We are all committed to defend life, family and the Faith, but this commitment will only bring the expected fruits if we give the reverence that is due to the source of life that is with us on earth. So we have to do everything in our power to be sure that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered with due reverence.

Implementation of the Social Doctrine of the Church and the Liturgy

There is a clear relationship between the care that we provide for the liturgy and our commitment to the implementation of the social doctrine of the Church. Man by nature is a social being, so it is logical that he should give social and public worship to God. This type of worship should also lead him to seek the common good of society inspired by what he experiences in the liturgy.

Father Paul Marx O.S.B ., the founder of Human Life International, wrote his doctoral dissertation on the life and work of Virgil Michel O.S.B. (1888-1938), who was one of the leaders of the liturgical movement in the United States. Michel is famous in some circles for a syllogism that summarizes the focus of the papacies of the early twentieth century: "Pius X tells us that the liturgy is the indispensable source of the true Christian spirit; Pius XI says that the true Christian spirit is indispensable for social regeneration. Hence the conclusion: The liturgy is the indispensable basis of social regeneration”

So it should be evident, as Pope Benedict XVI wrote in Sacramentum Caritatis, that "the relationship between the Eucharistic mystety and social commitment must be made explicit" (n.89). Benedict also reminds us that the saints, in particular Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, "constantly renewed their capacity of love of neighbor from their encounter with the Eucharistic Lord, and conversely this encounter acquired its realism and depth in their service to others" (Deus Caritas Est, 18). Our Eucharistic adoration should lead us to serve the poorest of the poor, who, as Mother Teresa insisted, were the children in the womb of their mothers who were being menaced by an abortion.

As Pope Benedict taught, ''A Eucharist which does not pass over into the concrete practice of love is intrinsically fragmented" (Deus Caritas Est, 14). Not only is it fragmented but it is incoherent. We have to build a strong Eucharistic consistency. We cannot praise the Lord in Church and forget our social commitments when we exit from the liturgy into the world:

Worship pleasing to God can never be a purely private matter, without consequences for our relationships with others: it demands a public witness to our faith. Evidently, this is true for all the baptized, yet it is especially incumbent upon those who, by virtue of their social or political position, must make decisions regarding fundamental values, such as respect for human life, its defense from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one's children and the promotion of the common good in all its forms. (Sacramentum Caritatis, 83)

The thousands of Catholics engaged in pro-life and pro-family work, are reminded through Pope Benedict's words that the Eucharist is the source of our public witness to the value of life and family. It is the witness and action that we are called to give and to perform when we are sent out at the end of the Mass. We should therefore ask ourselves: how can we adore Christ as the King of Heaven and Earth in the liturgy if we are not committed to the inauguration of His Social Kingship? We should not remain as mere witnesses. We are called to actively change the world, so that it becomes a society ruled by the teachings of the Gospel.

 

Conclusion

I would like to finish with a note of hope and, I stress, a hope that is based in reason, nature and in the supernatural hope that we have as Christians.

I believe that the negation oflife, both the desire to avoid having children and the denial of the existence of the real presence of Our Eucharistic Lord, are going to pass away. Man is created to worship God, so the refusal to adore Him goes against nature, as both our lives and the liturgy are naturally oriented towards God.

I have confidence that this change will come for three main reasons. First, as St. Thomas Aquinas stated many times, an unnatural situation cannot last forever, and there is nothing more unnatural than denying life or denying the truth. Second, the sin of man can never stop the saving action of God, and sooner rather than later, the saving action of God will rise again unimpeded by the errors and follies of mankind. Third, because we will eventually realize that our duty is, as Cardinal Burke observes, to put into practice the first beatitude and adopt the poverty of spirit that recognizes the Lord as the creator of the world and Lord of history with humility and total trust, and offer Him due worship.

In the meantime, we have to persevere and fight the good fight, opening to men access to God through a liturgy that it is pervaded by a sense of adoration. I profoundly believe that in the not too distant future, the desire for truth and for life will be enkindled again in the minds and hearts of man. I believe they will come to worship and venerate the real presence of Christ, Who comes to us through the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and that we will again have a strong desire to grow and multiply, sharing divine and human life.

Footnotes:

I. Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Ius divinum e Sacra Liturgia, in: Raymond Burke, Nicola Bux, Raffaele Coppola, La danza vuota intorno a! vitel!o d'oro (Torino: Lindau, 2012), p. 19.

2. "Entretien avec le Cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith: I.:exemple du diocese de Colombo"'· in: Claude Barthe, ed., Propositions Pastorales  (Paris: Collection Hora Decima, 2012), (pp. 68-74), p. 71.

3. "I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy;" Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977(San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1998), pp. 148-49.

4. Athanasius Schneider, "Gu6rir la sainte liturgie", in: Barthe, Propositions Pastorales, (pp. 86-100), p.86.

5. "Entretien avec Dominique Rey: Lexemple du diocese de Fr6jus-Toulon" in: Barthe, Propositions Pastorales, (pp. 75-85), p. 77.

6. Jean-Pierre Torrell, O.P., Christ and Spirituality in St. 7homas Aquinas (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2011), p. 7.

7. Richard Cardinal Cushing, "Foreword" in: Dorothy Dunbar Bromley, Catholics and Birth Control--Contemporary Views on Doctrine (New York: The Devin-Adair Company, 1965), p. x.

8. "Papal Commission on Birth Control -Pastoral Approaches, June 26, 1966" in: Odile M. Liebard, Love and Sexuality (Wilmington: McGrath, 1978), pp. 314 -20.

9. "Nel promulgare il25 di luglio di trent'anni or sono l'Encidica Human<e vit<e Paolo VI era ben consapevole dell 'impatto che avrebbe avuto. Liter di formazione e quindi di redazione era stato travagliato e sofferto come nessun altro documento suo e di altri sommi Pontifici;' ' Gino Concetti, "Una Pietra miliare nella storia della Chiesa per Ia salvaguardia dell'amore coniugale" in: LOsservatore Romano, 25 July 1998, p. 4.

10. Ralph M. Mcinerny, What Went Wrong with Vtttican 11-7he Catholic Crisis Expktined (Manchester, N.H.: Sophia Institute Press, 1998), pp. 50-51.

11. Federico Alessandrini, Vice-Director of L'Osservatore Romano, "La via piU ardui' in: L'Osservatore Romano, 1 August 1968, p.1.

12. Alfonso Lopez Cardinal Trujillo, Presidente del Pontificio Consiglio per Ia Famiglia, "Un Documento profetico dove si incontrono la Verita. che viene da Dio e Ia sapienza, non alterata ne arrogante' ',in: L'Osservatore Romano, 25 July 1998, p.4.

13. Speaking of the introduction of the new missal and the norms that were adopted for its application Cardinal Ratzinger points out that, this "introduced a breach into the history of the liturgy whose consequences could only be tragic;" Milestones, p. 148.

14. C f. Anselm J. Gribbin, Pope Benedict XVI and the Liturgy -Understanding Recent Liturgical Developments (Leominster: Gracewing, 2011), p. 72.

15. Frederick D. Wilhelmsen, "Empty Womb Empty Altar" in: Latin Mass Magazine, v. 2, n. 2, March-April1993 (pp. 38 -41), p. 41.

16. "Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing;" Sacrosanctum Concilium, 23.

17. C f. Alcuin Reid, The Organic Development of the Liturgy, 2nd. ed. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005), p. 296.

18. Egidio Picucci, "Il Verbo non si e fatto 'carta' rna 'carne"' in: L'Osservatore Romano, Domenica, Supplemento a L'Osservatore Romano, 21 March 1999, p. 4.

19. Cardinal Ratzinger stated: "How many winds of doctrine have we known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking. The small boat of the thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves-flung from one extreme to another: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism and so forth. Every day new sects spring up, and what St. Paul says about human deception and the trickery that strives to entice people into error (cf. Eph 4:14), comes true. Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labelled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be 'tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine', seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one's own ego and desires."

20. Jean Guitton, ''Approfondire" in: L'Osservatore Romano, 6 October 1963. Republished in:L'Osservatore Romano, 24 March 1999, p. 5.

21. Michel Schooyans, The Totalitarian Trends of Liberalism (St. Louis: Central Bureau, CCVA, 1997), p. 219.

22. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Feast of Faith-Approaches to a Theology of the Liturgy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), p. 142.

23. U. M. Lang, Turning Towards The Lord -Orientation in Liturgical Prayer (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004), p. 126.

24. Pseudo-Dionysius, Heavenly Hierarchy, 1. 25. James Hitchcock, Recovery of the Sacred -Reforming the Reformed Liturgy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995), p. 78.

26. Biaggio Amata, 'Timportanza della continuitit della 'Traditio' nella Liturgia Romana'' in: L'Osservatore Romano, 18 February 1999, p. 10.

27. Roland Millare, The Forgotten Eucharistic Vision of Virgil Michel, http:/ I www. truthandcharityforum.org I the-forgotten-eucharistic-vision-of-virgil­ michel/

28. Arland K Nichols, "The Eucharist and Pro-Life Witness -What's the Connection?" http://www.truthandcharityforum.org I the-eucharist-and-pro-life­ witness-whats-the-connection

29. Burke, Ius divinum e Sacra Liturgia, p. 36.

Scroll Up