Monday, May 08, 2006

Be reverent at Mass, says bishop

LONDON The head of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments urged Catholics to be reverent during Mass and to venerate the Eucharist properly.

During a talk in Westminster Cathedral April 1, Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze called on priests to restore tabernacles to central positions in churches and for Catholics to rediscover the tradition of reverent genuflection in the presence of the Eucharist.

He also called for an end to adding details to and subtracting them from the approved rites of the Mass and for an end to soft background music during Mass and other times when people were trying to pray in church.

"This is doubtless well intentioned, but it is a mistake," said the cardinal. "People enter churches to pray, not to be entertained."

The cardinal told about 400 audience members that Mass was the "supreme act of adoration, praise and thanksgiving which humanity can offer God."

"Man is not the center of reality. God is. By adoring God through the holy Eucharist, we pay this due tribute to God's transcendence," he said. "Those who refuse to adore God must not decorate themselves with the apparently nice title of liberal intellectuals."

The cardinal said that a person who refused to give God the adoration he truly deserved was like a child who refused to respect his parents, and as a result harmed his or her own best interests.

"Would it be wrong to call him stupid?" asked the cardinal.

He said Christians must not allow themselves to be "misled by the errors" of a secular mentality "which lives as if God did not exist."

He said attention had to be paid to the roles of every Mass participant, especially the priest, who must act "in such a way that his faith and devotion shine out."

Cardinal Arinze said the October Synod of Bishops stressed that the tabernacle should be the "center of our attention and prayer."

But, he said, some "misguided" people still relegated tabernacles to obscure corners of their churches, where it sometimes was difficult for visitors to locate.

"A do-it-yourself mentality, an attitude of 'nobody will tell me what to do,' or a defiant sting of 'if you do not like my Mass you can go to another parish' is not only against sound theology and ecclesiology, but also offends against common sense," he said. "Unfortunately, sometimes common sense is not very common, when we see a priest ignoring liturgical rules and installing creativity -- in his case idiosyncrasy -- as the guide to the celebration of the Mass."

The talk, titled "The Eucharistic Mystery Calls for Our Response," was the key event of an afternoon dedicated to "thinking about and celebrating" the church's liturgy. Three English prelates -- Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor of Westminster, Archbishop Kevin McDonald of Southwark and Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood and Auxiliary Bishop Mark Coleridge of Melbourne, Australia, were among those who attended.

from Catholic News Service, via mom. (-: Thanks, mom!

1 comment:

  1. Cool!! As usual Cardinal Arinze hit the proverbial nail on its proverbial head. :):)