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Wanted: a new liturgical movement Print E-mail
By Joseph Ratzinger   
Wednesday, 07 July 2010
A young priest recently told me: “Today we need a new liturgical movement.” He was expressing a desire, these days, only deliberately superficial souls would ignore. What matters to that priest is not the conquest of new, bolder liberties. For, where is the liberty that we have yet to arrogate ourselves? That priest understood that we need a new beginning born from deep within the liturgy, as liturgical movement intended . . . In its practical materialization, liturgical reform has moved further away from this origin. The result was not re-animation but devastation.

On the one hand, we have a liturgy which has degenerated so that it has become a show which, with momentary success for the group of liturgical fabricators, strives to render religion interesting in the wake of the frivolities of fashion and seductive moral maxims. Consequently, the trend is the increasingly marked retreat of those who do not look to the liturgy for a spiritual show-master but for the encounter with the living God in whose presence all the “doing” becomes insignificant since only this encounter is able to guarantee us access to the true richness of being.

On the other hand, there is the conservation of ritual forms whose greatness is always moving but which, when pushed to extremes, manifests an obstinate isolationism and leaves, ultimately, a mark of sadness.

There is no doubt that between these two poles there are priests and parishioners who celebrate the new liturgy with respect and solemnity. But they, too, are made to feel doubtful by the contradiction of the two extremes and, in the final analysis, the lack of unity within the Church makes their faith seem – and wrongly so in most cases – just their own personal version of neo-conservatism.

Therefore, a new spiritual impulse is necessary so that the liturgy becomes a community activity of the Church for us once again and to remove it from the will of parish priests and their liturgical teams.

There can be no “fabricating” a liturgical movement of this kind, just as there can be no “fabricating” something which is alive. But a contribution can be made to its development by seeking to re-assimilate the spirit of the liturgy and by defending publicity that which was received.
 
 

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