Monday, January 21, 2013

Vatican preparing guide for priests on how to celebrate Mass

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments is preparing a booklet to help priests celebrate the Mass properly and the faithful to participate better, according to the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

Cardinal Antonio Cañizares confirmed this Tuesday at an address at the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See on “Catholic Liturgy since Vatican II: Continuity and Evolution.”

“We are preparing it; it will help to celebrate well and to participate well. I hope it will come out this year, in the summer,” the cardinal told ZENIT.

…When speaking of the liturgy, continued the cardinal, one must not forget what the conciliar document states: “Christ is always present in his Church, especially in the liturgical action. He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, be it in the person of the minister, ‘offering himself now through the ministry of the priests as he then offered himself on the cross,’ be it especially under the Eucharistic species.” …

…He stressed that the objective of the liturgy “is the adoration of God and the salvation of men,” which is not a creation of ours, but source and summit of the Church.”

The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments criticized existing abuses such as showmanship, and praised moments of silence “that are action,” which enable the priest and the faithful to talk with Jesus Christ and which exclude the predominance of words that often becomes showmanship on the part of the priest. 

The correct attitude is the one “indicated by Saint John the Baptist, when he says he must decrease and the Messiah must increase.”

The cardinal criticized the effort to make the Mass “entertaining” with certain songs — instead of focusing on the mystery — in an attempt to overcome “boredom” by transforming the Mass into a show.

He added that the Council did not speak of the priest celebrating Mass facing the people, that it stressed the importance of Christ on the altar, reflected in Benedict XVI’s celebration of the Mass in the Sistine Chapel facing the altar. 

This does not exclude the priest facing the people, in particular during the reading of the word of God. 

He stressed the need of the notion of mystery, and particulars such as the altar facing East and the fact that the sacrificial sense of the Eucharist must not be lost.

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