Cardinal Francis Arinze at USCCB Forum on the Liturgical Renewal
On May 16, 2003, the USCCB Committee on the Liturgy hosted a Forum in Commemoration of the Fortieth Anniversary of The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium at Conference Headquarters in Washington D.C. The Forum was entitled, The Liturgical Renewal in the United States of America and consisted of addresses by Monsignor James P. Moroney, Executive Director of the USCCB Secretariat for the Liturgy (Forty Years of the BCL); Sister Doris Turek, SSND, Staff Advisor (Inculturation and the Liturgy); Mr. Dennis McManus, Associate Director (Translation and the Liturgy); Monsignor Anthony Sherman, Associate Director (The Academy and the Liturgy); and Sister Janet Baxendale, SC, Advisor (Art, Architecture and the Liturgy).Participants included Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; Bishop Arthur Roche, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy; representatives of national liturgy secretariats from England, Scotland, Ireland and Australia; the directors of several national liturgical organizations, and USCCB directors and staff. The brief presentations were followed by two periods of open discussion; the Forum concluded with an address by Cardinal Arinze entitled, Serving Christ and His Church Through Liturgical Promotion. The full text is included here for the information of our readers. Please accept my gratitude for your offering me today the opportunity to listen to staff members of the USCCB speak on the implementation of the liturgical reform in the dioceses of the United States of America these forty years. Sacrosanctum Concilium, being the first of the sixteen major documents promulgated by the Second Vatican Council, shows that the Council gave priority to the sacred liturgy. The document is in a way sign of the hopes and prayers of the Council. I also appreciate the opportunity of participating in the open discussion by some of the members and advisors of the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy and of the invited directors and faculty members of various liturgical organizations located in the Washington, D.C. area. I thank all of you also in the name of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments for all the effort you put into the promotion of the sacred liturgy. Aware that I shall, God willing, be at the National Meeting of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions to be held in San Antonio, Texas, next October, may I limit myself today to the following remarks. I begin by recalling two Gospel encounters. The first is in the moment where, as Luke's Gospel tells us, Jesus, on the day of his Resurrection, accompanies the disciples along the road to Emmaus, where their hearts are fired by his conversation along the way and they recognize him at last in the breaking of the bread. The other is that equally luminous moment where, as this time John's Gospel discloses, Jesus prepares a breakfast for the disciples on the shore of Lake Galilee, telling them to cast their net. The catch is extraordinarily great and prompts John to recognize Jesus: It is the Lord, he says to Peter. The first experience is one that the Holy Father evoked in his Holy Thursday encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia (no. 6), where he writes:
Whenever the Church celebrates the Eucharist, theThe recent teaching of the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, on the second text is well known. At the same time, it could drift from awareness that the Holy Father refers briefly to the same text in the Apostolic Letter, Vicesimus quintus annus, issued to commemorate the twenty‑fifth anniversary of the promulgation of the Council's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium. In section III of the Letter he says:
faithful can in some way relive the experience of
the two disciples on the road to Emmaus: their
eyes were opened and they recognized him.
Since the Liturgy is the exercise of the priesthood of Christ, it is necessary to keep ever alive the affirmation of the disciple faced with the mysterious presence of the Lord: It is the Lord. Nothing of what we do in the Liturgy can appear more important than what in an unseen but real manner Christ accomplishes by the power of his Spirit.In the context, then, of the appearances of Jesus after the Resurrection, we see the wonder, the amazement of the disciples in the celebration of the Liturgy and in an activity that is a metaphor for pastoral activity and in particular evangelization. For liturgical celebration, and in particular the Eucharist, is not the whole of the Church's life (Sacrosanctum Concilium, nos. 9, 12) but it is the culminating point towards which the Church's activity tends and at the same time the fountainhead from which its strength flows (Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 10). Consequently, I should like here briefly, in Eastertime and in this year leading up to the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Liturgy Constitution on December 4, to link these two documents and their concerns for a full, rich and faithful ("Catholic") celebration of the liturgy and pastoral promotion of the Sacraments. In doing so I should like in particular not only to recommend the active assimilation of the recent teaching of the Holy Father in Ecclesia de Eucharistia, but to commend to all an attentive re‑reading of the Letter Vicesimus quintus annus. I concentrate here on a few points with which the Letter deals at some length.
- A renewal accomplished in
accord with tradition:
- Continuity with our forebearers, our fathers in the faith, whose ancient prayers, forged in great part
- from the Scriptures, form the substance of our liturgical books today as they did yesterday;
- Call for our faithful adherence, not stale nostalgia.
- The guiding principles of
the Liturgy Constitution:
- The reenactment of the Paschal Mystery;
- The reading of the Word
- The self‑manifestation of the Church.
- The practical applications
of the Reform:
- With forty years experience, in a position to begin to understand better and to assess the human experience of these years: difficulties, positive results, erroneous applications;
- Translations less than adequate, poor music, loss of the sense of sacred, free inventions.
- The future of the renewal:
- Everywhere formation, familiarization, and prayer, liturgical and personal;
- No future in abuses, since there is no future in selfishness, in arbitrariness.
- the Bishop of the diocese;
- the Bishop still retaining administration of one diocese after being
transferred to another see;
- an apostolic administrator whether the see is vacant or not with
either a temporary or permanent appointment, who is a Bishop and actually is
fully exercising his office, especially in spiritual matters;
- a vicar and prefect apostolic;
- a prelate and an abbot nullius having jurisdiction over a territory not attached to any diocese.