Pope John Paul II on Terrorist Attacks
On September 12, 2001, Pope John Paul II addressed the following remarks to a Wednesday audience in Saint Peter's Square.
I cannot begin this audience without expressing my profound sorrow at the terrorist attacks which yesterday brought death and destruction to America, causing thousands of victims and injuring countless people. To the President of the United States and to all American citizens I express my heartfelt sorrow. In the face of such unspeakable horror we cannot but be deeply disturbed. I add my voice to all the voices raised in these hours to express indignant condemnation, and I strongly reiterate that the ways of violence will never lead to genuine solutions to humanity's problems.
Yesterday was a dark day in the history of humanity, a terrible affront to human dignity. After receiving the news, I followed with intense concern the developing situation, with heartfelt prayers to the Lord. How is it possible to commit acts of such savage cruelty? The human heart has depths from which schemes of unheard-of ferocity sometimes emerge, capable of destroying in a moment the normal daily life of a people. But faith comes to our aid at these times when words seem to fail. Christ's word is the only one that can give a response to the questions which trouble our spirit. Even if the forces of darkness appear to prevail, those who believe in God know that evil and death do not have the final say. Christian hope is based on this truth; at this time our prayerful trust draws strength from it.
With deeply felt sympathy I address myself to the beloved people of the United States in this moment of distress and consternation, when the courage of so many men and women of good will is being sorely tested. In a special way I reach out to the families of the dead and the injured, and assure them of my spiritual closeness. I entrust to the mercy of the Most High the helpless victims of this tragedy, for whom I offered Mass this morning, invoking upon them eternal rest. May God give courage to the survivors; may he sustain the rescue-workers and the many volunteers who are presently making an enormous effort to cope with such an immense emergency. I ask you, dear brothers.
.and sisters, to join me in prayer for them. Let us beg the Lord that the spiral of hatred and violence will not prevail. May the Blessed Virgin, Mother of Mercy, fill the hearts of all with wise thoughts and peaceful intentions.
Today, my heartfelt sympathy is with the American people, subjected yesterday to inhuman terrorist attacks which have taken the lives of thousands of innocent human beings and caused unspeakable sorrow in the hearts of all men and women of good will. Yesterday was indeed a dark day in our history, an appalling offence against peace, a terrible assault against human dignity.
I invite you all to join me in commending the victims of this shocking tragedy to Almighty God's eternal love. Let us implore his comfort upon the injured, the families involved, all who are doing their utmost to rescue survivors and help those affected. I ask God to grant the American people the strength and courage they need at this time of sorrow and trial.
Pope John Paul II to the Plenaria of the
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
On September 21, 2001, Pope John Paul II addressed the Plenaria of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Cardinals Francis George, OMI, and Bernard Law, along with Archbishop Justin Rigali, as consultors or members of the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy, were present in their capacity as members of the Congregation.
Dear Cardinals, Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood, Dear Brothers and Sisters!
- It is with pleasure that I convey to you my cordial greetings on the occasion of the Plenaria of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. I greet Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estιvez, who guides this dicastery with generous dedication ,and with him I greet the Cardinals, the venerable Prelates and all who, in various roles, work in this Congregation for the service of the Church and of evangelization.
Your Plenaria have been preceded by numerous meetings with the Bishop Members of Bishops' Conferences with the superiors of your Dicastery, meetings marked by an atmosphere of brotherly collaboration and aimed at deepening the liturgical life of the People of God and fostering the faithful application of the orientations given by the Second Vatican Council.
- The Sacred Liturgy, which the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium describes as the highpoint of life in the Church, can never be reduced to a merely aesthetical reality. Nor can it be considered merely as a tool for pedagogical or ecumenical ends. The celebration of the holy mysteries is first of all an act of praise to the sovereign majesty of God, One and Three, and an expression willed by God himself. With it, man, in a personal and in a communitarian way, comes before God to give him thanks, aware that his own being cannot find its fullness without praising him and without fulfilling his will, in a constant quest for the Kingdom that is already present, but that will come in a definitive manner on the day of the Parousia of the Lord Jesus. The Liturgy and life are inseparable realities. Liturgy that was not reflected in life would become empty and certainly would not be pleasing to God.
- Liturgical celebration is an action of the virtue of religion that, in keeping with its nature, has to be marked by a deep sense of the sacred. In it, man and the community should be aware of their being in a special way in the presence of Him who is thrice holy and transcendent. Accordingly, the appropriate attitude can only be one permeated by reverence and by a sense of awe that comes from an awareness of being in the presence of the majesty of God. Is not this what God meant when he commanded Moses to take off his sandals before the burning bush? And was it not from this awareness that there arose the attitude of Moses and Elijah, who dared not look upon God face to face? The People of God needs to see in priests and deacons a mode of behavior that is full of reverence and dignity, a mode of behavior that is able to help God's People to enter invisible realities, without many words and explanations. In the Roman Missal known as the Missal of St. Pius V, as in various Eastern Liturgies, there are beautiful prayers through which the priest expresses the deepest sense of humility and reverence before the holy mysteries: these reveal the very substance of all Liturgy. Liturgical celebration presided over by the priest is a congregation at prayer, gathered together in faith and attentive to the Word of God. Such celebration has as its primary purpose an offering to the divine Majesty of the living, pure and holy Sacrifice offered on Calvary once and for all by the Lord Jesus, who makes himself present each time the Church celebrates Holy Mass as an expression of due worship of God in spirit and in truth. I am aware of the great commitment of this Congregation in promoting, together with the Bishops, a deepening of the liturgical life of the Church. In expressing my appreciation for this, it is my hope that this precious work may contribute to making celebrations ever more worthy and fruitful.
- Your Plenaria, among other things, has chosen as its central theme the question of popular religiosity, with a view to the preparation of a Directory on the matter. Popular religiosity constitutes an expression of the faith which utilizes cultural elements from a given setting, in such a way as to interpret and enter into dialogue with the sensitivities of the participants in a lively and effective manner. Popular religiosity is manifested in a great variety of widespread forms. When it is genuine, it has its wellspring in the faith, and has, therefore, to be appreciated and fostered. In its most authentic manifestations, it does not stand in opposition to the centrality of the Sacred Liturgy, but, in fostering the faith of the people which considers it a natural mode of religious expression, it predisposes people for the celebration of the sacred mysteries.
- A proper relationship between these two expressions of the faith needs to keep in mind a number of fixed points, among them above all an awareness that the Liturgy is the center of the life of the Church and that no other religious expression can replace it or be considered as being on the same level. Moreover, it is important to recall that popular religiosity finds its natural crowning in liturgical celebration, toward which it has to be ideally oriented, even if habitually it does not flow into it. This must be explained by means of appropriate catechesis. The expressions of popular religiosity sometimes appear to be contaminated by elements that are not compatible with Catholic doctrine. In such cases these expressions are to be purified with prudence and patience, by means of contacts with those in charge and by careful and respectful catechesis, unless more radical incompatibilities necessitate clear and immediate measures. Such evaluations are in the first place the province of the diocesan Bishop or the Bishops of the territory concerned with such forms of religiosity. In this case, it is opportune that the Pastors discuss their experiences together so as to offer common pastoral orientations, avoiding any points of contradiction such as would be damaging for the Christian people. Nevertheless, unless there are clear reasons to the contrary, the Bishops should have a positive and encouraging attitude towards popular religiosity.
- I desire, lastly, to express my appreciation for the work done by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments since the last Plenaria in 1996. In this period there have been published the third typical edition of the Roman Missal, the first edition of the Book of Exorcisms and that of the Roman Martyrology. Furthermore, there has been issued the Instruction on liturgical translations and that on the administrative procedures for examination of requests for the declaration of nullity of ordination to Sacred Orders. In this regard, I exhort the Bishops and the Congregation to exercise great care in ensuring that liturgical translations are faithful to the original text of the respective Latin typical editions. A translation is not, indeed, an exercise in creativity, but a careful attempt to keep the meaning of the original without changes, omissions or additions. A failure to observe such criteria sometimes makes it necessary and urgent that the work of revision of some texts be undertaken. In addition to the work already recalled, the Congregation is also busy with priestly dispensations and of dispensations of marriages of the type ratum et non consummatum, with the approval of liturgical texts for new Saints and Blesseds and of local calendars, as well with the recognitio for a very great number of translations of liturgical texts in vernacular languages. This amounts to a considerable activity carried out with competence and care, for which I wish to express my sincere thanks to the Cardinal Prefect, to the Archbishop Secretary, Archbishop Francesco Pio Tamburrino, to the Under-secretaries, and to the Consultors and Commissioners of the Congregation. I entrust this precious work and future projects of the entire Congregation to the heavenly protection of the Mother of God and with affection I impart a special Apostolic Blessing. From Castel Gandolfo, September 21, 2001.
2001 National Meeting of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions
This year's National Meeting of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from October 2-6, 2001. The meeting, jointly sponsored by the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC) and the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy (BCL) focused on the theme, "Sunday: Day of Days." In the course of the meeting, Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk of Cincinnati was given the Frederick R. McManus Award for his leadership in liturgical renewal in the United States. The award was presented to the archbishop at the Friday evening banquet.
During the meeting the delegates adopted the following resolutions:
Position Statement 2001 A +2.2
"It is the position of the delegates to the 2001 National Meeting of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions that the Board of Directors of the FDLC establish a dialogue with the International Catholic Stewardship Council (ICSC) to discuss the integrity of the liturgical year and the Sunday Celebration of the Eucharist; and to deepen the understanding of the innate relationship between Sunday Eucharist, discipleship, and stewardship; and to coordinate stewardship efforts with the cycles of the Sunday Lectionary throughout the liturgical year."
Position Statement 2001 B +2.2
"It is the position of the delegates to the 2001 National Meeting of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions that the Liturgical Arts Committee develop a process and materials which can assist diocesan worship offices and/or commissions in the preparation and implementation of diocesan or regional workshops for architects and other construction professionals regarding the design of new or renovation of existing worship spaces. These processes and materials should allow for the presentation of particular diocesan guidelines and should be based upon Sacrosanctum Concilium, Built of Living Stones, and IGMR, chapter five."
Address of Archbishop Oscar H. Lipscomb to the National Meeting of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions
I am grateful to Father John Burton, Chair of the FDLC Board and Directors, Father Michael Spillane, and all who contribute so much to the important work of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions.
Among the first goals of this organization, as established by your by-laws is "to serve the BCL in an advisory and supportive capacity..." On behalf of the Committee on the Liturgy and Father Moroney and his staff, I wish to thank those of you who have worked so hard to promote this relationship. The Committee remains open to benefitting from the advice of a wide variety of groups who seek to collaborate with the bishops on the promotion of the liturgical reform in our country. FDLC holds a special place among those whose advice the Committee seeks, especially since your membership is made up of diocesan liturgical officers from across the country. I commend and encourage all who seek to strengthen these bonds which have proven so effective at so many junctures in the past.
I welcome this opportunity to reflect with you on some of the accomplishments of this past year and to articulate some of the challenges which await us.
The first year of the new millenium has been characterized by an earnest attempt by bishops across our country not only to prepare for the imminent publication of the revised Roman Missal, but to deepen the appreciation of priests and people alike for the inestimable depths of God's grace in the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice.
I am grateful to the members of the BCL staff, who since last year have been invited to present workshops on the new Roman Missal in more than fifty dioceses. This unprecedented effort at catechesis on the Order of the Mass is soon to be followed by the free distribution of extensive formational materials on the Order of Mass.
Many of you have been instrumental in welcoming our staff to your dioceses and have heard the extraordinary praise they have received from Bishops, their priests and groups of the faithful who have benefitted from their explanations of these latest liturgical reforms. In particular, many have embraced our Secretariat's attempt to see the advent of the new Roman Missal as something more than an opportunity to engage in higher rubrical mathematics. The advent of a new Roman Missal provides us with the opportunity to revisit the theological foundations first articulated by the Council Fathers, to rebuild what has been shaky, strengthen what was solidly erected and to continue the good work we have so well begun in building up the Church through the reform of her prayer and worship.
Adaptations to the Roman Missal
Likewise, this year has also been characterized by a conscientious effort on the part of your bishops to adapt the Roman Missal to the cultural needs of the United States of America. Beginning with a consultation of all bishops and all liturgy offices and Commissions, the Committee on the Liturgy studied, formulated and proposed to the full body of bishops, a series of adaptations to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. A revised Appendix was developed in the light of the recent revision of the General Instruction and with the advice provided by the Bishops themselves and their liturgy offices. In this regard, I might once again thank Fathers Hislop, Burton and Spillane who attended the extraordinary meeting of the BCL which developed this revision and whose suggestions represented well the good advice of so many in this room today.
The revised Appendix, which awaits confirmation by the Holy See, deals primarily with those responsibilities assigned to Conferences of Bishops by the General Instruction, although one item concerning the Apostles' Creed was offered by way of an indult. More than 500 modifications and amendments to the BCL draft were offered by Bishops in the course of its consideration, sixty-four per cent of which were incorporated into the final draft.
The second adaptation of the Roman Missal undertaken by the BCL and the USCCB was in the form of norms for the celebration and reception of Holy Communion under both kinds, under the title This Holy and Living Sacrifice (THLS). As you have no doubt read in the BCL Newsletter, THLS includes a more substantial and pastorally useful theological introduction and norms for the distribution of Holy Communion under both kinds. I should also note that the document incorporates indults by which diocesan bishops would be able to allow extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion to assist with the pouring of the Precious Blood into secondary vessels for distribution; the consumption of what may remain of the Precious Blood after Holy Communion, and the purification of vessels. This document also awaits confirmation by the Holy See.
This past year saw the confirmation of the second volume of the Lectionary for Mass. The text of approximately 3,000 readings will be published in four volumes and, following an intensive process of final editing by the Secretariat for the Liturgy, will be available in early February of next year. The completion of the Lectionary project marks an important milestone and I am grateful to my predecessor, Archbishop Jerome G. Hanus, OSB and the other bishops who assisted him in the completion of this important work.
When future generations of liturgical scholars look back on the first year of the new millennium, however, their history will undoubtedly begin with the publication of the Fifth Postconiliar Instruction, under the title Liturgiam authenticam. Like the four Instructions which preceded it, Liturgiam authenticam seeks to guide the liturgical reform with focused insights which are readily applicable to the particular concerns of our day.
No one would dispute that the past ten years or more have been characterized by a renewed interest in questions of translation. The proceedings of the BCL Forum on Translation, published just a few months ago under the title, The Voice of the Church, evidence this concern, born of extended debates of the adequacy of translations of the Missale Romanum, the Ordo Lectionum Missae and De Ordinatione. These same concerns were articulated clearly by Pope John Paul II himself, who on the twenty-fifth anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concilium declared:
"The time has come, to renew that spirit which inspired the Church at the moment when the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium was prepared, discussed, voted upon and promulgated, and when the first steps were taken to apply it. The seed was sown; it has known the rigors of winter, but the seed has sprouted, and become a tree. It is a matter of the organic growth of a tree becoming ever stronger the deeper it sinks its roots into the 'soil' of tradition." (Vicesimus quintus annus, no. 23)
Thus, Liturgiam authenticam is the result of the Holy Father's express desire that we perfect the way in which liturgical texts are translated. It is a document commissioned and approved by him and which now serves as the touchstone of all future work in this regard. That is why your Bishops will engage in a study of ways in which Liturgiam authenticam can be effectively implemented when they gather next month in Washington D.C. At that time they will discuss the challenges of the new Instruction after hearing presentations from Cardinals Dulles and George and Bishops Serratelli and Brown on the theological, liturgical, scriptural and ecumenical dimensions of this document.
There are many other projects which we could discuss, but I understand that Father Moroney will address such questions as the work of the BCL Task Groups on The Lectionary For Masses with Children, and Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest, as well as the recently revived Music Subcommittee.
Allow me, instead, to conclude with a brief reflection on the principal subject of the Synod of Bishops which is taking place in Rome during these days, under the title, "The Bishop: Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World."
The Bishop as the Principal Liturgist of the Diocese
The Instrumentum laboris, which serves as the touchstone of the deliberations of the Synod, reminds us that the Bishop is "the liturgist of the particular Church." What does that mean?
The title "liturgist" is one which many have used to describe their role in the Church. Certainly those gathered in this room have appropriately worn the title with pride. You have, by your studies and your work on behalf of your Bishop, learned what it means to be a specialist in the Church's sacred rites and an agent of the promotion of the liturgical reform.
Yet when we say that the Bishop is the principal liturgist of the particular Church, we are saying something more. There are liturgists and then there is the liturgist. The Bishop is the liturgist, because he, in the Person of Christ, high and Eternal Priest, is the one who gathers the worshiping assembly for the "supreme moment of the Church's life." Here we might recall the words of the Council Fathers themselves, who reminded us that the Liturgy "centers around the Bishop"
Thus, the Instrumentum laboris points out, it is the first duty of the Bishop is to be "imbued with the Spirit and the power of the Liturgy." Then, he must share that spirit and power with his priests, for as the Council Fathers reminded us so presciently, "unless pastors of souls in the first place are imbued with the Spirit and power of the sacred liturgy, all this will be in vain."
The Teacher of the Liturgy
The Bishop oversees "the promotion and development of an intensive educational program where the faithful may come to know the rich content of the Liturgy, celebrated according to the approved texts and whose mysteries are lived, above all, in the spiritual order." That's a tall order! But note that the first task of the Bishop as the liturgist is to be educated and then to educate his priest and people. If any effort at liturgical formation is going to be successful, it must, like the whole life of the diocesan Church, be centered in and dependent upon the Bishop, and then on his pastors. Otherwise, the enterprise is doomed to fail.
The Moderator of the Liturgy
The Bishop's second duty as liturgist is to "guide and safeguard the liturgical life of the diocese." The Instrumentum notes that "he does this in union with the Bishops of the Episcopal Conference to which he belongs and in faithfulness to the one faith." In his role as moderator of the sacred liturgy, he regulates the liturgy and assures that the prayer which is prayed in his diocese is one with the authentic voice of the Church.
The Sanctifier through the Liturgy
Finally, the Instrumentum tells us, the Bishop "concerns himself with sustaining [the liturgy's] dynamic aspect so that, corresponding to the needs of the times and locality, the Liturgy might be grounded in cultures." Such dynamism is fostered not by programs or decrees, but by the very way the Bishop celebrates the liturgy. As the "the promoter, the vigilant guardian and minister of the rites of the Christian initiation of adults" the Instrumentum calls him to celebrate the full range of catechetical rites. As a man dedicated to "genuine and profound liturgical promotion" he should frequently foster and preside at the Liturgy of the Hours.
Your work in the liturgical apostolate is, therefore, dependent on the Bishop and your promotion of his indispensable ministry. To the extent you are effective, it will be because your communion with him. To the extent you are ineffective, it will be because you are set apart from him.
Listen to him, as he seeks to conform the people of God into the image of Christ's sacrifice of praise. Support him in his teaching, and help him in his role as chief teacher of the liturgy to his priests and people.
Be guided by him, as he seeks to shepherd his people in the meaning and practice of Roman Catholic liturgy as celebrated in the Church in the United States of America. Be his strong right hand when others resist his guidance and his vigilant ally when some seek not the praise of God but other self-serving ways.
Finally, be made holy by him, as he has been consecrated in the Church as High Priest of the new and eternal covenant. "Ubi episcopus," Saint Ignatius of Antioch once said, "ibi ecclesia" (Letter to Smyrniots, 8.2). Where there is the Bishop, there is the Church. And where there is the Bishop, there is the center of the Church's liturgical reform.
A little over a year ago, Pope John Paul II celebrated his 80th birthday and used it as an occasion to gather with priests and Bishops celebrating the anniversaries of their ordinations. As the chairman of the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy, I make his closing words my own. "Pray for us, your bishops, dear Christian people who have gathered round us today in faith and joy. You are a royal people, a priestly race, a holy assembly. You are the People of God who, in every part of the earth, share in Christ's priesthood. Accept the gift which we renew today in the service of this your special dignity. O priestly people, thank God with us for our ministry and sing with us to your Lord and ours!"
New from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Liturgiam Authenticam: Fifth Instruction on Vernacular Translation of the Roman Liturgy
Laid out in a side-by-side, Latin-English format, this definitive presentation of the Instruction addresses various issues including inclusive language, inculturation, and suitable languages for translation, as it sets forth the principles to be followed in the translation of all liturgical texts.
The Instruction discusses the appropriate texts for hymns or songs, the privileged role of Gregorian chant, and the role and composition of liturgical commissions that are charged with assisting the bishops in developing liturgical translations.
Includes an Introduction by Most Rev. Oscar H. Lipscomb and two appendices with a press release and overview of the Fifth Instruction and the complete text of the Fourth Instruction, Varietates Legitimae: Inculturation and the Roman Liturgy, both by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
To order Liturgiam Authenticam (No. 5-428, 244 pp., $12.95), call toll-free (800) 235-8722 or FAX (202) 722-8709. Visit the U.S. bishops' Internet site located at www.usccb.org.