Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Midnight Mass - St. Catherine of Siena (Rialto, CA)

Dear All,

For the third year in a row, Father Stephen Porter, STL, will be celebrating the Extraordinary Form for the Mass of the Nativity of Our Lord, Midnight Mass. Flyer will be posted soon. For now, here is the address

339 N Sycamore Ave
Rialto, CA 92376
Phone: (909) 875-1360 Fax: (909) 875-2822
A Parish of The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino CA

Videos from 2009 and 2010

Picture from the 2009 Christmas Masses

Father's First Latin Mass - Fr. Paul Schmidt, SVD

Lady Discovers the Latin Mass - Inglewood, CA

Corpus Christi Watershed - Free Hymns Website and New Vatican II Hymnal with Sacred Music for Both OF and EF

Dear Faithful Servants of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ,

This morning, we completed work on a brand new website that has more than
200 free Catholic Hymns (SATB choir scores) in addition to more than 200
free organ accompaniments for these hymns.

To freely access these scores, please visit:

If you don't want to download all those scores, you can also purchase a
beautiful bound book for just $11.00:

I realize we've had a lot of book releases lately. In the past month,
we've released four (4) collections with more than 200 pages each. Rather
than send you a whole bunch of URL links, the easiest way to view these
books might be to visit:

We are a very small non-profit company and would appreciate your help in
forwarding this information to anyone who might be interested. Thank you
so much for your generous support and prayers.

May Jesus Christ be praised by all forever.

Gratefully in Christ,
Jeffrey M. Ostrowski, President
Corpus Christi Watershed

The Vatican II Hymnal Website

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dec 30, 2011 - Poinsettia Ball @ Poinsettia Pavilion (Ventura, CA)

St. Augustine Academy
cordially invites High School aged and older Students, Friends & Parents to the

Poinsettia Ball
On the Sixth Day of Christmas
Friday, December 30th, 2011
7:30 to 11:00 p.m.

Poinsettia Pavilion
3451 Foothill Road
Ventura, California

Dance to the Sounds of Raab’s Rhythm Repertoire

$10.00 per Person ~ $5 each additional family member
Formal dress ~ no jeans, T-shirts or tennis shoes
Please adhere to the norms of Christian modesty

Friday, December 9, 2011

San Conrado Mission - Feast of the Immaculate Conception

A beautifully celebrated liturgy in the extraordinary form. We had about 70 souls that assisted at the Mass on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

Thank you Father Bishop!


December 8, 2011
San Conrado Mission
Los Angeles, CA

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

St. Vincent School for Boys - San Rafael, CA

Holy Rosary Chapel
1 Saint Vincents Dr, San Rafael, CA 94903
Father William Young
Sundays: 12:15 PM
Confessions: 11:30 AM
Benedictions: Third Sunday after Mass
Catechism: Fourth Sunday after Mass

St. Francis of Assisi - East Palo Alto, CA

St. Francis of Assisi Church

St Francis of Assisi
1425 Bay Rd – East Palo Alto, CA 94303
Fridays 6 pm (First Friday, High Mass) - confirmed by phone with Doug 12/07/11
Phone: Fr. Lawrence Goode (650) 322-2152; Doug Zeitz (510) 760-3033

Father Isaac Mary Relyae - San Secondo D'Asti Parish Mission

Dear All,

A reminder that Fr. Isaac Mary Relyae, a Franciscan Priest, is preaching a mission at San Secondo D'Asti. He is a rather dynamic preacher. He will be there through Dec 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation (unless it was transferred to Sunday in your diocese). Please join us at 7 PM.

Here are his 2007 Lenten mission talks available free for download on the Last Four Things.

I also got word that he will be doing a 9AM-5PM conference on spiritual warfare with confessions this Saturday, Dec 10. He will also be giving a mission in Covina, starting Monday, Dec 7. Contact the Catholic Resource Center for more information (


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fr. Marx at San Secondo D'Asti Extended One More Year

This just in: His Excellency, Bishop Gerald Barnes, extends Fr. Marx's pastoral assignment at San Secondo D'Asti one more year to June 20, 2013. It was broadcast on the clergy email. Please spread the word!

Deo gratias!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

UVSB Update


Happy Advent!

Some personal news : I took my vows in Italy on the vigil of Christ the King, I am know called dom. Noah. My wife gave birth to our son Jason on November 21 the feast of the presentation which also happens to be my birthday.

On Dec 5-8 Father Issac Relyea will be visting San Secondo d'Asti Catholic church and giving an advent mission. At 7pm every night their will be a tridentine mass followed by the mission and confession time. Father Isaac is a wonderful hellfire and brimstone preacher and I am looking forward to attending. If you would like to hear one of his missions on the internet follow this link

Also, At 5:30pm on the Feast of the Immaculate conception we are having high Mass at the Pope John Paul II center. There is also a Tridentine mass at Guasti at 7pm.

Do not forget that we have Mass in the High Desert at Christ the Good Shepherd this month on December 11. Please come with your singing voice for some Advent hymns!

In the new year we will be working on some projects that will require volunteers. If anyone is interested in helping sing or setup for Solemn Vespers on the Feast of the St Micheal the Archangel please contact me. My plan is to prepare a practice CD in advance for those who wish to practice by themselves and cannot find the time to practice at my house.

Also we will be having another Una Voce meeting/party after the Christmas season. I was considering January the 7th, I will send out an agenda in advance. If you would like for there to be a specific item on the agenda please let me know.

May the Virgin Mary with her Loving Child Bless You!

Laus Tibi Christe,
dom. Noah Moerbeek, CPMO

Crucem sanctam subiit,
qui infernum confregit,
accinctus est potentia,
surrexit die tertia. Alleluia

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

December 8, 2011 - Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Feast of The Immaculate Conception Of The Blessed Virgin Mary
Traditional Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form)
Thursday, Dec 8th
7:30 p.m. Low Mass
Father Michael Carcerano

Mission San Buenaventura
211 East Main Street
Ventura, CA 93001

Monday, November 21, 2011

December 8, 2011 - Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Traditional Latin Mass Thursday,
Dec 8th Holy Mass 7:30 P.M.
Feast Of The Immaculate Conception Of The Blessed Virgin Mary
San Conrado Mission 1820 Bouett St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Father Robert Bishop, CMF

For more information:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

AUDIO: Interviews on the Latin Mass

Rev. William Young

Fr. Lawrence Goode, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi in East Palo Alto, CA & Fr. William Young, chaplain for the Latin Mass faithful in the San Francisco archdiocese, as well as other local Catholics were interviewed about the Latin Mass on Saturday Oct 29th & Sat. Nov 5th on 1260 AM Immaculate Heart Radio.

The shows are archived here

Thursday, November 10, 2011

January 8, 2012 - Una Voce LA General Meeting and Elections

UVLA GENERAL MEETING AND ELECTIONS Sunday January 8th following the 1 P.M. Mass at St. Therese Church in Alhambra. The meeting will be held in the basement choir room.

December 3-4, 2011 - Latin Mass Conference (Monterey, CA)

The End or the Beginning?

Danger and Deliverance at the Dawn of the Third Millennium

Pope Benedict has recently likened the situation of the Western world to the Roman Empire in the midst of its fall, warning that “moral consensus is collapsing, consensus without which juridical and political structures cannot function... The very future of the world is at stake.” Is it all over? more information

Featuring Fr. Kenneth Baker, SJ, Father James Buckley, FSSP, Christopher Ferrara and Ronald G. Connolly, MD.

Register for the Conference Early and receive a FREE GIFT

A limited number of rooms have been reserved at special overnight rates at The Beach Resort. Reserve your rooms early. Call the hotel (800) 242-8627 or (831) 394-3321 and mention “Keep The Faith 2011” to receive a 30% discount.

Gardenside: $99.99 per night, single or double occupancy; Oceanside: $139.00 per night, single or double occupancy. Please NOTE that these reservation rates will be honored until Tuesday, November 1, 2011; after that date, regular rates will apply.
Click here to read more

November 27, 2011 - High Mass in Thousand Oaks

High Mass in the Extra-Ordinary Form will be celebrated at St. Paschal Baylon Church at 155 East Janss Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360 on: Sunday, November 27th, 2011 at 3pm (1st Sunday of Advent) Music offered by the St. Paschal Baylon Adult Choir and The Seraphim Ensemble. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Nature of Liturgy By the Very Rev. Dom Daniel Augustine Oppenheimer, CRNJ

By the Very Rev. Dom Daniel
Augustine Oppenheimer, CRNJ,

Liturgy presupposes man within the Christian understanding of creation. He has a purpose and he has a context. In this regard man, created by God, is intrinsically ordered towards Him. Because he is rational unlike the other animals in creation, he alone can bless God for all that he has received from Him. Man in the very ground of his being has been created to adore God. It is an act that is due in him since in nature omnis agens agit propter finem – all things tend toward that end to which the creative act of God has ordered them. According to Fr. Alexander Schmemann man alone,

…is to respond to God’s blessing with his blessing. …in the Bible to bless God is not a “religious” or “cultic” act, but the very way of life. …All rational, spiritual and other qualities of man, distinguishing him from other creatures, have their focus and ultimate fulfillment in this capacity to bless God, to know, so to speak, the meaning of the thirst and hunger that constitutes his life. “Homo sapiens”, “homo faber”…yes, but first of all, “homo adorans”. The first and basic definition of man is that he is the priest. He stands at the center of the world and unifies it in his act of blessing God, of both receiving the world from God and offering it to God…”[1] [emphasis in original]

As such man has a specific role in the cosmos and in the earthly city of his human existence. He is to adore God in his very being (homo adorans) and in his actions (homo faber); when he does so he is reflecting wisdom or imitating the divine (homo sapiens). His adoration is one that refracts the light which is Christ throughout the whole universe. This is brought about formally and publicly by means of the Church’s central act of life: public liturgical service to God.

This understanding of man and his relation to the cosmos is something that has become alien to Christians in the modern era with its post-Enlightenment emphasis on rationality. The roots of Christian worship are found in the ancient world where sensitivity towards the spiritual was far more operative than it is today. For this reason the underpinnings of the cultic act were more fundamentally integrated into the fabric of daily human experience. People were more aware of the spiritual in regard to the material and the relationship of mystery to the whole.

The Benedictine liturgical scholar Dom Odo Casel observes in his classic work, The Mystery of Christian Worship,

Ancient thought, considered as a whole, had a great reverence for all being: the individual felt himself to be a member of the great cosmos, and willingly submitted to its order. The self-seeker [what modern man so often views himself as being] was taken for a rebel: his deed…brought down the anger of the gods. Behind the visible world the deep insight of ancient man saw a higher kingdom of spirit and godhead, of which the things we see are symbol, reflected reality, and at the same time mediators and bearers of spiritual things. Ancient thinking was at once concrete, because concerned with objects, and spiritual, because these [men] did not remain confined to material objects. To men like these it did not seem difficult to believe that God could communicate his life through symbols, or that their own religious acts could leap up into the circle of God’s life; it was no different whether they conceived these things as more cosmic or more spiritual; in either case it was a symbolic action which rose to the height of the god’s mode of living. The symbolic, strength-giving rites of the mysteries were real for the ancients; when the Church of Christ entered the world she did not end but rather fulfilled their way of thinking.[2] [emphasis added]

The erosion of this manner of perceiving matter and spirit is in great part the result of the triumph of empirical “science” that determines as “real” only what is directly measurable. The sacramental dimension of Christianity has become incomprehensible to modern rationalists. Given the universal context of rationalism, the notion of symbolic worship as a real integration of matter and spirit has become equally incomprehensible. Christians have certainly fallen under a rationalist influence and so some fundamental underpinnings operative in worship have been obscured, if not lost altogether. Yet the integration of matter and spirit is precisely what sacramental – liturgical – worship is all about.

In a recent article in Diakonia, Professor David Fagerberg speaks about the nature of liturgy:

Ancient Christians borrowed a word from their secular world to describe the work they did when they gathered in Christ…Leitourgia meant a kind of public service, in such a way that paying taxes was one’s leitourgia to the city. It meant the work of a few on behalf of the many. …The work (ergia) of the people of God (laos) is Christ’s own work perpetuated in history…[3]

This work of worship as a kind of “tax” due to God derives from the deeper force of the recreation effected by Christ and its impact on human life, society and the entire cosmic order. If man is constituted homo adorans, it is by virtue of Baptism that each Christian becomes a liturgist or willing “tax payer” to the true God in Christ. Professor Fagerberg continues in his article:

Liturgy…is the synergistic work of a deified people, a race grafted by the filial paschal mystery into eighth day existence. The primary agenda of liturgy is the creation of a new heaven and a new earth, not a rite or a new altar cloth. Like a needle pulling thread through fabric to stitch up a rent cloth, the liturgist moves in and out, in and out between earth and heaven, time and eternity, the profane and the sacred, plunging into one and then the other and drawing them together by the thread of his…life.[4]

The question concerning outward forms which so preoccupies the liturgical climate in the Church today subsists by necessity in a reality far deeper than that touched upon by the more superficial matters of space, language, and d├ęcor as the professor goes on to say:

You can’t taste your tongue. Why not? Because it is the organ by which you taste other things. You can’t celebrate liturgy. Why not? Because it is the organ by which we celebrate the Kingdom of God. Liturgical time, then, is only partially understood by an anthropological study of human festival, because festival is how the eighth day is celebrated. Liturgical space, then, is not first a history of architecture, it is the nine square yards before the burning bush… [5]

Liturgy is the organ by which the Christian, within the context of the life of the Church itself, celebrates and encounters the Thrice Holy God of all creation, the God he has been created to adore. Liturgy is to touch the Eighth Day, the restoration of the cosmological order in Christ. It is the foretaste of the eschaton wherein the City of God absorbs without annihilating the City of Man in the perfection of God’s glory in the here and now. Liturgy is to stand in the forecourt of heaven touched by the radiant glory of the angels. Liturgy is the shattering cosmological encounter between the Triune God and man: the former descends to man in the power of the burning bush, the latter is brought into the presence of the Divine by the power that burns the bush while preventing its very annihilation. Liturgy is the arena in which the present world, rent by sin, is resewn into the fabric of glory. Liturgy is an earthly imitation of the service of praise given by the angels. It is in short our means to a “participatio Dei”[6], the source of true human life and freedom.

When understood in this manner, it becomes considerably clearer that liturgy is an organ or instrument by which something other than itself takes place. As empirical evidence clearly demonstrates, the destruction of an organ’s integrity – the disjoining of its component parts – leads to the failure of its function. If liturgy is the organ by which the Kingdom comes upon us in specific ways, what must necessarily happen should the organ be dismantled and then reconstructed with some of its parts left out, some duplicated, some entirely recast, the whole become a process unto itself, the objectum quod instead of the objectum quo?

This is at the root of the crisis touched upon throughout this study. A shift in thinking concerning the Christian cosmology and anthropology has sunk tendrils deep into the very sources of the Christian religion itself. Christian faith, it must be insisted, is not the object of an intellectual articulation or an a priori theology, but Jesus Christ lived. The dynamic of that living event operative in one’s life is awakened by grace and humility, self-control and prayer – all the result of charity lived because Christ is known. According to Cardinal Ratzinger, “the essence of religion is the relation of man beyond himself to the unknown reality that faith calls God. …This relationship…is, properly speaking, the content of religion.”[7]

The liturgy’s principle effectiveness in the life of its participant derives from his openness to the power of the mystery it weaves into the present: the living dynamic of the Christ-event. This mystery can only be communicated to the individual by his willing openness towards a relationship with Christ which is true, real, humble and receptive. This relationship is the fundamental source in the Christian experience.

A palpable effort has been undertaken in recent years to alter many of the different sources of Christianity. This has been done in order to accommodate religion to a certain (already aging) vision of modernity, making it, thereby, more appealing to “modern man”. In this metamorphosis of the sources of Christian religion, long coming but accelerated after the Council, the shifting paradigms have arisen from neither humility and true encounter with Christ nor the secondary sources which are constituent elements in the depths of the Christian thing.

Some of the need for change has derived from an incipient boredom with the static quality of the thing received but no longer fully understood combined with an insatiable human fascination for novelty when faced with boredom. This syndrome is certainly operative in Christianity today. It is why Cardinal Ratzinger remarked in Salt of the Earth about “this staleness, this feeling that we are already long familiar with all this.”[8] He was commenting on the ennui present in so many who are weary of Christianity, thinking it a “matter of burdensome systems” instead of the “living treasure that is worth knowing.”[9]

The solution to this boredom is not the fascination of superficial change. It rests, rather, in a fundamental return to matryrdom’s devotion, a radical embrace of the living Christ-event and a humble rediscovery of the underlying meanings of the many sources operative in Christian religion.

The “living treasure that is worth knowing” is Christ as personally experienced and not a seminar on a falsified understanding of man and his exercise of liberty deriving from rationalist incredulity. That this has become a major problem for true religion may be seen in the very notions of sin, the soul, judgment, eternity and similar things (often called “outdated” or “negative theology”) being whitewashed or eliminated altogether in liturgy, theology and the public consciousness of Christian discourse. This latter represents an effort to make Christianity more palatable to “modern man” for whom sacramental symbol and act has become incomprehensible and therefore meaningless. The liturgical changes in the Roman Rite have certainly been affected by a number of these elements. Cardinal Ratzinger comments on this in A New Song for the Lord:

That a human deed could offend God has become a completely unthinkable thought for many. So there is really no further need for redemption in the classical sense of Christian faith since it hardly occurs to anyone to see sin as the cause of the misery of the world and in one’s own life. Consequently there can naturally be no Son of God either Who comes into the world to redeem us from sin and Who for us dies on the cross. From here we can once again explain the fundamental change in the understanding of ritual and liturgy that has recently come about after a long time in the making: the primary object of liturgy is neither God nor Christ, but the “we” of the ones celebrating. And liturgy can not of course have adoration as its primary content since, according to the deistic understanding of God, there is no reason for it. There is just as little reason for it to be concerned with atonement, sacrifice, or the forgiveness of sin. Instead the point for those celebrating is to secure community with each other and thereby escape the isolation into which modern existence forces them…[10]

Liturgy is neither about man celebrating himself nor a communal tool used as a power base for freedom movements not of God. Worship, rather, presupposes man according to the Christian cosmology and anthropology. As such God, creation, man (body, soul and spirit), sin, human weakness, death, judgment, heaven and hell are not outdated modalities to be considered as doctrinal or liturgical accretions along the long path of a distorted development in an institutional Church now in need of systematic, modern revamping.

These doctrinal truths are irreformable substantive constituents of the Catholic faith which have always appeared in bright relief across the whole of liturgy, Scripture, Magisterium and history and must continue to do so until the Second Coming of Christ. They are fundamental elements in the story of true human, personal deliverance and the power that derives from poverty of spirit, meekness, long-suffering, gentleness and love born of living Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

Since liturgy is both man’s service in his blessing of God and God’s descent to man wherein the two meet in a living encounter of truth, it is impossible that God would enter into a white-washed, one dimensional monologue at man in the otherwise dynamic process of His visitations. Liturgy is the burning bush, and it is burning so that man might be saved from himself and his tendency towards self-destruction. Far from being “negative theology”, sin, death and the actual threat of eternal damnation are simply one side of the Christian coin. The other is hope, glory, the beatific vision of God: the magnificent and real salvation of a humanity – and a universe – that is really lost and really in need of a deep rooted, genuine, permanent freedom.

In view of this truth about the state of man, Professor Fagerberg rightly describes liturgy as “a needle pulling thread” in and out between heaven and earth. That is because, to use a modern turn of phrase, God, heaven and glory are the “up-side” of religion while man, constituted as he is according to the Christian revelation, suffers from the constant syndrome of his own “down-side”. Matter and spirit are interrelated in the drama of man’s attaining true freedom. Any attempt to eliminate the immortality of the soul, sin, evil, judgment, heaven and hell from the Christian understanding of deliverance is to vitiate the religion itself. It consists of man’s whole relationship with God – and with all its parts intact. Attempts to whitewash these elements from the liturgy is to falsify Catholic worship thus causing the needle to cease passing anywhere, altogether. This latter Cardinal Ratzinger repeats again and again when commenting on the need for a genuine liturgical reform: liturgy must be essentially true to its own raison d’etre.

Despite the enthusiasm over modern man having “come of age”, it is especially obvious in the present century that he has become, if anything, more vicious and on a wider scale than ever before. In view of this man’s need for true worship is equally more urgent than ever before. Through it he is fed body, soul and spirit with what touches his need most radically. True worship embodies and conveys a reality significantly deeper than what reason alone grasps, although reason certainly responds to the doctrinal content of the texts that worship employs.[11]

In his book Salt of the Earth, Cardinal Ratzinger speaks about a transformation that has taken place in Catholic worship:

In our form of the liturgy there is a tendency that, in my opinion, is false, namely the complete “inculturation” of the liturgy into the contemporary world. The liturgy is thus supposed to be shortened; and everything that is supposedly unintelligible should be removed from it; it should, basically, be transposed down to an even “flatter” language. But this is a thoroughgoing misunderstanding of the essence of the liturgy and of liturgical celebration. For in the liturgy one doesn’t grasp what’s going on in a simply rational way, as I understand a lecture, for example, but in a manifold way, with all the senses, and by being drawn into a celebration that isn’t invented by some commission but that, as it were, comes to me from the depths of the millenia, and ultimately, of eternity.[12]

In Feast of Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger quotes the German scholar H. Gese on current problems in liturgy. Gese is opposed to the new tendencies because they violate what man needs and is given by the liturgical dimension of his life:

Let no one imagine that we can help man by cutting down on the sacramental dimension. The reverse is the case. People have been cutting down for a long time now, and this is what has caused so many misunderstandings. The only way really to help is to expound this central service of worship fully and in a positive spirit. And as for experimentation, it is least appropriate where the liturgy of the Lord’s Supper is concerned…[13] [emphasis in original]

In the context from which this citation has been taken, the Cardinal has been explaining insights Gese has put forward penetrating the notion of eucharistic sacrifice and its continuity with the Jewish concept of toda or thanksgiving sacrifice, contemporary to Christ and His apostles. The Cardinal is at pains to show the striking importance this has today since the idea of sacrifice, so fundamental to the root of human deliverance, is at stake in the liturgical crisis:

What is toda? Gese describes it like this: “The thanksgiving sacrifice presupposes a particular situation. If a man is saved from death, from fatal illness or from those who seek his life, he celebrates this divine deliverance in a service of thanksgiving which marks an existential new beginning in his life. In it he confesses God to be his deliverer by celebrating a thanksgiving (toda). He invites his friends and associates, provides the sacrificial animal…and celebrates…together with his invited guests, the inauguration of his new existence…In order to recall God’s deliverance and giving thanks for it, it is necessary to reflect on one’s pilgrimage through suffering, to bring to mind the process of redemption…It is not a mere sacrifice rite; it is a sacrifice in which one professes one’s involvement…Here we have a unity which embraces a service of word and a ritual meal, praise and sacrifice. The sacrifice cannot be misunderstood as a ‘gift’ to God; rather it is a way of ‘honoring’ the Deliverer. And the fact that the rescued man is able to celebrate ‘life restored’ in the sacred meal is itself the gift of God. …The Lord’s Supper is the toda of the Risen One.”[14]

The true situation of modern man is that his eternal destiny is at stake, just as it has been from the time of Adam and will be until the consummation of the ages. He is saved from bondage only by the victory of Christ. The Lord’s triumph over death in the consummate sacrifice He made of Himself on the Cross is man’s passage through the Red Sea of human life; the ascetic offering of the Son of God is man’s conquest of the powers of hell: the individual, personal union of body and soul, life and spirit to the suffering of Christ is the only way to lasting freedom. That comes definitively at life’s end, in friendship with God, in the glory of heaven. Life in the present world will never enjoy perfect freedom; claims to the contrary are illusions.

The Eucharistic liturgy is the Church’s toda to God for every man’s deliverance from sin and death. Therefore it would be contrary to the nature of liturgical action to misrepresent its true function. It is an instrument by which something else takes place. To shave off any part of the story of deliverance or to trivialize its cosmic importance by cheapening the whole is to run counter to the purpose and function of Christian worship. This is precisely what is risked in artificial remakes of the liturgical organ and why Cardinal Ratzinger speaks so consistently against the decomposition of a truly Catholic notion of worship. Every person’s involvement in the story of his deliverance involves nothing but the risk he runs – soul and body – with sin, death, loss of heaven and going to hell. His deliverance rides on the salvation made possible through the death of the Son of God. For this he offers thanks in the gift of Christ Who redeems and gives grace to do well, the angels to help, the saints whose lives, prayers, and miracles aid in the fraternity of Christian charity.

For reason of this authentic freedom received through Christ, all the elements in the cosmic drama of man’s salvation must be clearly evident in the liturgical fabric. They need to be found throughout the texts of the liturgy and manifest in the many non-rational elements in its sacramental employ. Because fallen man has a tendency to forget, repetition is an essential element in human discourse. Just as worship itself is repeated constantly, so too, all the truths it speaks of must be repeated constantly within the fabric of its own expression.

It is because of the story of man’s deliverance that the liturgy “passes a needle” between heaven and earth, between the sacred and the profane and without equating the two. It raises man to the threshold of the divine while he still stands in the present. Liturgy repairs a breach in the cosmological fabric of creation, and in so doing strives to imitate the true and eternal worship of heaven – the permanent reality, the land of true freedom – to which every man is destined and given grace to strive.

That the worshipper is caught into this process is probably nowhere more explicit in liturgical texts than in the Cherubic Hymn of the Byzantine Liturgy. As the eucharistic gifts are being prepared for solemn procession towards their oblation, the faithful sing of the work they are doing. What lips confess in the Byzantine rite, every authentic liturgy accomplishes in the whole of its ritual action. This particular hymn expresses wonderfully the true nature of liturgical service:

Let us, who mystically represent the Cherubim, and sing the thrice-holy hymn to the life-creating Trinity, now set aside all earthly cares. That we may welcome the King of all, invisibly escorted by angelic hosts. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia![15]

It is this fundamental truth, moreover, that gives liturgy its festal character. Because man is confronted with death – his weakened nature, his limitations, his mortality, the genuine threat of damnation for the sin towards which he moves himself – he has cause to celebrate his salvation. In worship Christ truly comes to him from His throne of majesty, descending in the splendor of the angels. Because man is held in bondage in so many ways, the hope and promise of the Kyrios alone brings true joy. Because of His present advent through grace and Sacrament, the Christian believer has every cause to put aside earthly cares: he is being visited by the very God Who has scattered the stars and galaxies into the vast reaches of creation. This same God deigns to come into the very heart of daily human drudgery so that He might confer on man pardon and peace. Cardinal Ratzinger addresses this point in Feast of Faith when he says that “the new and unique Christian reality answers the questions of all men.”[16]

Worship celebrates the freedom offered to one and all. In so doing it works to hold the glory of the Lord in a temporal moment of mystic contemplation, the Kingdom already come. God is found in the fleeting passage of divine worship, veiled though He remains. Still and all He is truly perceived there – through signs and symbols, colors and perfumes – and communicates His very Self in the Sacrament of divine Sacrifice.

Anthropologically all are of the same nature and it is the universal experience of human slavery that is addressed by the Christian kerygma. This is why the message of a freedom which is Christian, the fundamental truth celebrated in the cosmic worship of the liturgy, must be presented in a genuine catholicity that touches the very nature of man and his every dimension.

In view of the universal hope that is at its center, the liturgical feast is characterized by joy. Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us, His triumph over death is the reason we can celebrate our own trampling down of death. This joy is manifest in a variety of ways in the actions of public prayer and sacrament, none of them to be confused with the cheap fun so relentlessly pursued by the world at large. Cardinal Ratzinger says the novel Christian reality is that Christ’s Resurrection enables man to truly rejoice, and this is why the liturgy is the Christian feast:

All history until Christ has been a fruitless search for this joy. That is why the Christian liturgy – Eucharist – is, of its essence, the Feast of the Resurrection, Mysterium Paschae. As such it bears within it the mystery of the Cross, which is the inner supposition of the Resurrection. To speak of the Eucharist as the community meal is to cheapen it, for its price was the death of Christ.… As for the joy it heralds, it presupposes that we have entered into this mystery of death. Eucharist is ordered to eschatology, and hence it is at the heart of the theology of the Cross. This is why the Church holds to the sacrificial character. …The freedom with which we are concerned in the Christian feast – the feast of the Eucharist – is not freedom to devise new texts but the liberation of the world and ourselves from death.[17]

This is why the liturgy, even when celebrated in relationship to events of true human suffering, still retains its elements of a sober Christian feasting. No where is this more evident than in the deep shifting threads between sorrow and joy, fear and hope, death and life evident throughout the fabric of the classic Roman Requiem Mass. In a liturgical ensemble of unparalleled richness, the City of God and the City of Man are woven into a dramatic tissue exuding hope for the dead, admonition for the living, the promise of Christ’s triumph celebrated in a liturgical feast fully redolent of human mortality and Christian victory. In it the eschatological dimension of faith has immediate impact and presence; time is woven into eternity, and the full blush of the human creature – his passion and art, his weakness and strength – is drawn deeply into the consummation of Christ’s paschal triumph of divine love. This is accomplished by a liturgical organ of striking capability, playing without pretense on every aspect of human nature, drawing its celebrants into the truths it makes present.

Furthermore the classic Requiem liturgy weaves its song with a specifically Christian sense of joy. Far from a contrived and therefore superficial sense of levity, this feast is fully conscious of human tears and sorrow. It does its work with color and sound fitted to mortal grief while the fabric of the whole bears constantly present the ontological joy of triumph and resurrection, that the crucified One comes in Paschal triumph in the Mysterium Fidei. In every eucharistic liturgy Jesus descends into time and space in the sacramental species: it is the eschaton in the here and now, the heart of Christian joy and feasting made present even in the midst of sorrow and death. This is the deeper celebration of the truth of human life redeemed, for it takes the human condition, as it is, and folds it into the hands of God.

The thread which passes between heaven and earth is what David Fagerberg calls the “thick end” of liturgy or those aspects about worship that the Church can not change. The “thin end”, he says, are the different parts of the ensemble, essential to the whole, but not unalterable:

Liturgy consists of the various meanings whereby the Church makes it possible for the faithful to experience through their senses the mysteries of religion, that is the sweetness of the Kingdom of God. These various means are material: the building, vessels, hymnody, psalmody, iconography, vestments, etc. Therefore the study of the deep grammar [the thick end of liturgy] cannot proceed without a study of these matters…

However, he continues with an analysis of the fuller spectrum:

When wading around in matters liturgical, one has in fact stepped into the headwaters of a river (lex orandi) which can be followed downstream into any number of channels (lex credendi). Liturgical theology involves ecclesiology, because the Church is the people which this ritual creates; and ecclesiology involves Christology since this is whose body the Church is; and this requires triadologly for an ontological Christology and soteriology for a functional Christology; and redemption outlines a doctrine of sin, which assumes knowledge of what it means to stand aright, which is the doctrine of creation…The Church modifies the liturgy in its thin sense; in its thick sense it is the liturgy which creates the Church.[18]

Fagerberg brings us to the famous axiom of Prosper of Aquitaine: Legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi. Rightly understood it reveals the fundamental relationship of worship to theology. Orthodoxy is not ortho-pistis (right believing) nor ortho-didascalia (right teaching): it is right worshipping (ortho-doxologia). The Church gathered in “sacramental discourse” is the very foundation or primary source of Christian faith. Worship is theologia prima: it is theology in action. Speaking of the historical meaning of orthodoxy Fr. Aidan Kavanagh says,

…[the] root sense of the word [orthodoxy] firmly contextualizes it in the early Church’s stress on faith not so much as an intellectual assent to doctrinal positions, but as a way of living the graced commonality of an actual assembly at worship before the living God. …Christians do not worship because they believe. They believe because the One in whose gift faith lies is regularly met in the act of communal worship – not because the assembly conjures up God, but because the initiative lies with the God Who has promised to be there always. The lex credendi is thus subordinated to the lex supplicandi because both standards exist and function only within the worshipping assembly’s own subordination of itself to its ever present Judge, Savior, and unifying Spirit.[19]

It is almost impossible for modern Christians to envision worship as more than a derivative of secondary theological erudition and directives from Church authority. This misconception is central to the current problem in liturgical reforms and operative in the underlying causes of the 1988 schism. Fr. Kavanagh continues in his text:

To reverse the maxim, subordinating the standard of worship to the standard of belief, makes a shamble of the dialectic of revelation. It was a Presence, not faith, which drew Moses to the burning bush, and what happened there was a revelation not a seminar. It was a presence, not faith, which drew the disciples to Jesus, and what happened there was not an educational program but His revelation to them as the long-promised Anointed One, the redeeming because reconciling Messiah-Christos…[20]

Clearly doctrine influences worship. But important to a right understanding of liturgy is the correct order of precedence represented by the famous axiom and its roots in the right relationship of revelation to man, the relation of sources to those who receive them. Kavanagh continues:

The law of belief does not constitute the law of worship. Thus the creeds and the reasoning which produced them are not the forces which produced baptism. Baptism gave rise to the Trinitarian creeds. So too the Eucharist produced, but was not produced by, a scriptural text, the eucharistic prayer, or all the various scholarly theories concerning the eucharistic real presence. Influenced by, yes. Constituted or produced by, no. Creeds, theories, texts, and prayers all emerged from that dialectical process of change and adjustment to change triggered by the assembly’s regular baptismal and eucharistic encounters with the living God in its own faithful life, a life embracing saints and sinners alike.[21]

Liturgy is the primary font, not so much as theological locus (which it can be), but of the Christian life and faith itself. As such it is certainly subject to the modification of the Church. In the development of doctrine, arising as it does from the theologia prima of the Church at her worship, theological insights can not help but become embedded in the liturgical expression after the passage of time. But such a process yields an integral doctrinal development from its antecedent liturgical seedbed. From that source the doctrinal reflection later appears more explicitly. This is what David Fagerberg refers to as modification in the “thin end” of liturgy. Similarly the outward forms and ceremonies, colored as they are by cultural and temporal factors, evolve in a natural and harmonious manner within the liturgical experience, reflecting the faith they make more manifest. Historically the process has never occurred in the reverse sequence except in cases of those seeking to alter the faith of the subjects of the liturgical rites so changed.

Even in authentic liturgical development, the end of liturgy remains the same, necessitating that the substance of liturgical form remain constant as well. The complex unity of interior substance and outward forms is an ontological reality, and because it is not purely spiritual, it is a composite being. The possibility of changing the whole by changing either its interior form or exterior matter is seriously risked when either element is artificially altered without due reverence for the sanctity of the rites per se, or without sufficient knowledge of liturgical history and the psychological/sociological impact public worship has on people and their behavior. This has clearly come into play in the liturgical changes in the Roman Church indicated not only by schism but in a more generally growing dissatisfaction with the actual state of the reform.

Since the end of human actions is “first in intention and last in execution”, the end of liturgy must be rightly understood in order to comprehend its purpose and effectiveness. Liturgy has everything to do with a cosmological adoration effected by man and angels in the power of Christ Who recreates the world through His Paschal Mystery. Man is dramatically caught in the center of this mystery and, so too, his deliverance is central to the mysteries of worship. Macarius of Egypt said this about the condition of man:

Before the Fall, the soul was to have progressed and so to have attained full manhood. But through the fall it was plunged into a sea of forgetfulness, into an abyss of delusion, and dwelt within the gates of hell. As if separated from God by a great distance, it could not draw near its Creator and recognize Him properly. But first through the prophets God called it back, and drew it to knowledge of Himself. Finally, through His own advent on earth, He dispelled the forgetfulness, the delusion; then breaking through the gates of hell, He entered into the deluded soul, giving Himself to it as a model. By means of this model the soul can grow to maturity and attain the perfection of the Spirit.[22]

Since man has been created by God to adore Him and his ability is weakened by the effects of original sin, liturgy is instrumental in the recreation of his authentic life and the destiny towards which all his actions must tend. Although the recreation is effected by Christ it requires human cooperation. Hence, in order to worship God rightly a prerequisite must be operative: the discipline which capacitates a man to worship in the first place. This is the sacrament of Baptism, the ascetic foundation of the Christian life. While Baptism is the foundation, it presupposes an antecedent moral virtue of humble self-denial, demonstrating that askesis is indivisible from the perfection of supernatural charity.

There is an asceticism which leads to Baptism: it is stimulated by agape and is called mortification, justification, conversion. We may think of it as catechumenal asceticism. There is, however, also an asceticism which leads from baptism, from this conversion, and it is stimulated by charity (i.e. by the theological virtues received in the sacrament), and we shall call it liturgical asceticism because it is practiced by the baptized… Askesis increases the measure by which we can participate in the liturgical life to which baptism initiated us. Liturgy is where the Kingdom is symbolized in its fullest capacity, and askesis enlarges the eyes of the perceiver; it cleanses the surface of the liturgist to reflect glory… If liturgy means sharing the life of Christ (being washed in His resurrection, eating His body), and if askesis means discipline (in the sense of forming), then liturgical asceticism is the discipline required to become an icon of Christ and to make His image visible in our faces… [23]

Liturgy, therefore, is the instrument by which the Kingdom is experienced here and now: God is adored, freedom is gratefully celebrated, Christ confers Himself, man is remade into the image of the Redeemer and this occurs in the new world of the recreated. The tear between the earthly and heavenly spheres of the cosmos is reknit. All this is what the Church’s liturgy is and what it should express.

All of these elements and their inter-operative action in liturgical worship were once universally understood throughout the Church. It is to the whole of this liturgical effect that Saint Gregory the Great referred when he said,

…at the hour of Sacrifice, in response to the priest’s acclamation, the heavens open up; the choirs of angels are witnessing the mystery; what is above and what is below unite; heaven and earth are united, matters invisible and invisible become united.[24]

It is in the union of heaven and earth that the effect of man’s deliverance is made present and real. For this reason the liturgy is a foretaste of heaven: it is the song of the redeemed, a hymn of triumph in the midst of a cosmic conflict. The Catechism of the Catholic Church concurs on this point:

In the earthly liturgy we share in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the Holy City of Jerusalem towards which we journey as pilgrims…With all the warriors of the heavenly army we sing a hymn of glory to the Lord.[25]

Despite the magisterial worth of this teaching, this is simply not the way many Catholics view or experience liturgy, particularly in the West. Msgr. Klaus Gamber, who Cardinal Ratzinger says should, in “this hour of distress [concerning the liturgy] become the “father” to a new departure”[26] in a liturgical reawakening, offers the following analysis:

The concept of this cosmic liturgy, which continues to exist in the Eastern Churches, is founded on a precisely ordered, solemn conduct of liturgical worship. The concept ruled out any of the forms of minimalism which, beginning in the Middle Ages, evolved in the West – forms of worship designed to celebrate the Holy Mysteries only to the degree absolutely necessary for validity… With the break between the Eastern and Western Churches, this important “drama” component of liturgical worship has been largely lost… Today, not much remains of these ideas, certainly not in liturgical worship; the cold breath of realism now pervades our worship.[27]

If worship is an imitation of the heavenly liturgy, if it is ordered to man’s final end, if it is the Christian feast of a soldiering people on pilgrimage towards safety, if it is a foretaste of the heavenly Banquet of the Lamb, then this must be palpably evident in the manner in which the liturgy is carried out. Worship involves the whole of the human person and this necessarily includes his senses and artistic capabilities. It is not merely the exercise of his rational intellect or sense of imagination.

For this reason an element of the greatest importance must be found in an authentic liturgical fabric: the outward forms of ceremony and music must reflect, in an integrated manner, the discipline and character of all of worship’s other elements. This is why the Council and the Catechism state that the liturgy is a “hymn of glory to the Lord”.

The liturgy, as the act par excellence of man, is a festal song of love. As such it has been the repository of human artistic genius under the impulse of grace from its earliest beginnings. The Christian liturgy must, in this respect, manifest that unbroken continuum of worship whose festal and musical character originates in the beginnings of Jewish worship and passes into the immense wealth of Catholic Christianity. No where is this more richly developed than in the Western Catholic liturgical culture, now radically abandoned in the actual liturgical reforms.

The liturgy’s principal end is the adoration of God. Since it is primarily the worship of the Father by the Son carried out through the action of His hierarchical ministers and the faithful, it is by virtue of human voice and faculty that the earthly liturgy gives rise to its hymnal quality of glory.

Man has been created by God and endowed with all his faculties to the end that he might freely give praise to his Creator and Redeemer. Man is constituted by God as homo adorans and to serve that end he has also been made homo faber. He is the recipient of gifts ordered towards doing, towards ars. This latter is a magnificent implication of his having been made in the image of the Creator.

Not only has he been endowed with reason and free will, it is in virtue of both that he has been given his body and all its faculties. This integrated being, man, is constituted in such a way that he can imitate God analogously in His role as the Creator. It is in view of this constitutive element that one must understand the Biblical injunction regarding the worship of Israel and its passage into the cultic practices of the full Christian Revelation.

According to Cardinal Ratzinger a new zeal and curiosity about the faith should be manifest to the world in virtue of the Church’s authentic purpose and being. He says that the freedom and breadth of Catholic theological thinking spring from two sources:

…the living experience of liturgy and the theology of the psalms. With the transition from the synagogue to the church, singing in worship had increased; at a very early date “hymns” had already been added to the psalms. In contrast to theology [developed by early Church Fathers], the psalms manifested an unpuritanical delight in music…which was bound to have an influence. The fact that these songs of Israel continued to be prayed and sung as hymns of the Church meant that the whole wealth of feeling of Israel’s prayer was present in the Church… “…His praise shall continually be in my mouth…Let the afflicted hear and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me…”(Ps. 33,2-4) Delight in the Lord is to be meaningful and beautiful in itself; joy in the shared praises of Him, the awareness, through celebratory music-making, that God is worthy of worship – this is self-evident, it needs no theories…expressed joy manifests itself as the presence of the glory which is God; in responding to this glory, it actually shares in it.[28] [emphasis in original]

This statement should be juxtaposed to the present state of the liturgy. Comparing the sense of Sacrosanctum Concilium with the prevailing norms of today the Cardinal remarks,

…we find contrast which is characteristic of the difference, in general, between what the Council said and how it has been taken up by the postconciliar Church. [The Council Fathers addressed]…the tension between art and the simplicity of the liturgy; but when pastors and experts meet together, the pastoral issues predominate, with the result that the view of the whole starts to get out of focus…the Council document…is read one-sidedly in the interests of a particular concern, and the original balance [now only] becomes a useful rule of thumb: the liturgy needs utility music, and “actual church music” must be cultivated elsewhere – it is no longer suitable for the liturgy. People are prepared to overlook the fact that, in this view, “actual church music” is no longer actually music for the Church, that the Church no longer has “actual church music”. The years which followed witnessed the increasingly grim impoverishment which follows when beauty for its own sake is banished from the Church and all is subordinated to the principle of “utility”. One shudders at the lackluster face of the postconciliar liturgy as it has become, or one is bored with its banality and its lack of artistic standards.[29]

When the Cardinal says there is no need of theory to underpin “joy in the Lord” and that the reason for celebratory music praising God is “self-evident”, it is because an anthropological analysis recognizes art as a natural exteriorization of what men gifted with the grace of talent perceive within. Those without such gift still see within but share in the expressed art of the gifted. Homo adorans is also homo faber, and as such his gifts are ordered to the praise of the Creator.

In Aidan Kavanagh’s book On Liturgical Theology, he addresses an important point in this regard. In analyzing the liturgy he makes an analogous reference to the art of poetry. This is what, in part, Professor Fagerberg referred when he too spoke of a “thickened sense” of liturgy:

In the case of City and the Church, the need to image in order to know gives rise to special sorts of discourse which are more necessary than optional. The discourse thickens meaning found in reality and then increments that meaning with style. People do this sort of thing when statements of mere fact fail due to the complexity of what the statement needs to express. It is not poetry to report the fact that I love someone. It is poetry to say “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…” Meaning is being thickened and is about to be incremented with style…

He illustrations his point by citing works of Walt Whitman and Robert Frost, and then continues:

Each has in his own way thickened the meaning he found in…reality, and then thickened that meaning with such exquisite style that everyone else is stunned by the reality being revealed with sharp precision, seduced into transacting more deeply with the real. Thickening meaning and then incrementing that meaning with style is no easy task, and it does not happen by accident. It is a knowledgeable accomplishment of the highest order, more so even than what goes on in laboratories, banks, and institutions of what is called higher learning. Writing a sonnet is at least as hard as figuring compound interest or teaching a course, which is why so few even attempt it. …Sacramental discourse is the same sort of enterprise. It is not mere garnish to a dull dish of Gospel. Sacrament is to Gospel what style is to meaning. …The Good News…can never be left as a merely prosaic statement of fact… Sacramental discourse will bespeak Gospel in ways that embrace and articulate not just words but the whole worldly context in which such a pouring out occurs…[30]

For this reason liturgy is the locus sine qua non for artistic expression. It is not a vehicle for parading the talent of the artist, but a place for art to reflect God’s glory. An opposition to art as such is suggested by the idea that “simplicity” and “actual participation” necessarily exclude the “elitist” employment of art and music in liturgical service. This is a false dialectic:

Liturgy is for all…Thus it must be “simple”. But that is not the same as cheap. There is a banal simplism, and there is the simplicity which is expression of maturity. It is this second, true simplicity which applies in the Church. The greatest efforts of the spirit, the greatest purification, the greatest maturity – all these are needed to produce simplicity. The requirement for simplicity, properly speaking, is identical with the requirement of purity and maturity…[31]

It is in this vein, then, that genuine art, far from an exclusive “elitism” that holds people at bay in worship, reflects the humility and purity of the artist whose gift is put at the public service of the Church, while drawing others into an active-while-silent participation:

…the participatio actuosa…of the whole “People of God”…this idea has been fatally narrowed down, giving the impression that active participation is only present where there is evidence of external activity – speaking, singing, preaching, liturgical action…Article 30 [in Sacrosanctum Concilium] also speaks of silence as a mode of participation…listening, the receptive employment of the senses and the mind, spiritual participation, are surely just as much “activity” as speaking is.…What we have here [by way of contrast], surely, is a diminished view of man which reduces him to what is verbally intelligible…there are a good number of people who can sing better “with the heart” than “with the mouth”; but their hearts are really stimulated to sing through the singing of those who have the gift of singing “with their mouths”. It is as if they themselves actually sing in the others; their thankful listening is united with the voices of the singers in the one worship of God. Are we to compel people to sing when they can not, and, by so doing, silence not only their hearts but the hearts of others too?[32]

This point is extremely important. In the present state of affairs, utilitarianism – in the form of a pragmatic popularism – has largely eroded an anthropologically sound understanding of the elements of worship. Taken as a whole, liturgy is a vehicle in which individual artistic expression is put at the service of all in the adoration of God. By way of direct contrast, in popular utilitarianism the gifts that God gives to some are denied to all because they have not been given to all. This is an example of a destructive egalitarianism having found its way into Catholic worship. It squeezes human excellence from a sphere of the greatest importance and influence, and replaces it with flattened, banal commonality. This latter not only silences the art song of noble liturgy, it also silences the larger influence liturgy has in the construction of a redeemed, humanized society.

…A Church which only makes use of utility music as fallen for what is, in fact, useless. She too becomes ineffectual. For her mission is a far higher one. As the Old Testament speaks of the Temple, the Church is to be the place of “glory”, and as such, too, the place where mankind’s cry of distress is brought to the ear of God. The Church must not settle down with what is merely comfortable and serviceable at the parish level; she must arouse the voice of the cosmos and, by glorifying the Creator, elicit the glory of the cosmos itself, making it also glorious, beautiful, habitable and beloved. Next to the saints, the art which the Church has produced is the only real “apologia” for her history. It is this glory which witnesses to the Lord, not theology’s clever explanations for all the terrible things which, lamentably, fill the pages of her history. The Church is to transform, improve, “humanize” the world – but how can she do that if at the same time she turns her back on beauty, which is so closely allied to love? For together, beauty and love form the true consolation in this world, bringing it as near as possible to the world of the resurrection. The Church must maintain high standards; she must be a place where beauty can be at home, she must lead the struggle for “spiritualization” without which the world becomes the “first circle of hell”…[33]

The liturgy is nothing less than the Church’s love poem to the Lord, her hymn of praise and glory to the God of Redemption. To this end, human artistry – the work of homo faber in the service of homo adorans – must orchestrate a praise which is not prosaic, but cosmic and glorious. Cardinal Ratzinger comments on this point when he says, “Glorification is the central reason why Christian liturgy must be cosmic liturgy, why it must, as it were, orchestrate the mystery of Christ with all the voices of creation.”[34]

Capable human art that is pure (by its being ordered towards God and not the artist) seeks to imitate the glory of heaven. In employing the work of artists in her worship, the Church shares in the glory which they imitate. In the praise of the liturgy art turns into the new song of the redeemed and celebrates true deliverance. It is this celebration of freedom-in-God that comprises the human motive underlying the greatest of all creaturely media of human expression – Catholic worship. The self-evidence for joyful, celebratory music is no less true for all the other art forms involved in the liturgical ensemble. The full panoply of Christian art and architecture, as well as all the human expressions of stylized meaning, are “thickenings” of the Gospel truth put at the service of the court of heaven. These artistic embellishments are, according to Fr. Kavanagh, “more necessary than optional”. These, too, are antecedent realities, operative elements in the wisdom of the Church’s received tradition, manifest in the complex thing which is her worship.

It is in view of this analysis of the liturgical instrument that any approach to liturgy – and especially to its authentic restoration – should be undertaken. Humility before the source, humility in relating the source to its anthropological and historical antecedents, is essential. In the absence of such an approach, the imbalance introduced by the disordering of constituent parts can only bear a fruit native to the disorder itself. It is precisely in view of such a situation that grave divisions have grown up in the Church over significant changes in its public worship.

[1] Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World (Crestwood: Saint Vladimir Seminary Press, 1988), 15.

[2] Odo Casel, The Mystery of Christian Worship, ed. Burkhard Neunheuser (London: Newman Press, 1932), 35.

[3] David Fagerberg, “A Century on Liturgical Asceticism”, Diakonia, Vol. 31., No. 1, 1998, 37.

[4] Ibidem. Professor Fagerberg’s point about liturgy passing the needle between heaven and earth is deeply indicative of the major function of language and ceremony in liturgical worship. In a recent interview in Latin Mass: Chronicle of a Catholic Reform (vol. 7, no. 4, Fall 1998, 45), Dr. Catherine Pickstock, an Anglican who recently completed her doctoral dissertation on the “liturgical consummation of philosophy,” made the following response to a question concerning language alteration and its consequence in the new Roman rite of Mass: “The contemporary language forms in the new Mass depict time as a linear succession of discrete present moments, and the self as enclosed and in command of his actions and all that he surveys (not least the task of proceeding to the altar.) In relation to the divine, the self is portrayed as purely passive. This contrasts with the complex temporal repetitions and figurae of the medieval liturgy which seem mysteriously to outwit the dichotomy of active and passive. In the old Mass, it becomes unclear what is our own “initiative” and what is the mediation of divine by human action. For this reason, the medieval liturgy conveys the crossing over of eternity and time (as Kierkegaard says, “eternity is the true repetition”). But its constant repetitions and strange digressions present this liturgical “crossing over” as a supremely difficult task for the worshipper to encompass. One might say that this task is cast in the mysterious “middle voice” between Heaven and earth. Of course the [contemporary] liturgical movement [in the Catholic Church] certainly had no intention to silence that voice but that was the unfortunate result of their attempt to inculturate the liturgy into forms of contemporary thought and language.” According to Dr. Pickstock one of the “unfortunate results” of the actual changes in the Roman Mass is that what Fagerberg’s “passage of the needle” is describing, the mystical interweaving of heaven and earth, has been largely obliterated by the transformation of liturgical texts into “forms of contemporary thought and language”. This passing of the needle, this obscure “middle voice” between Heaven and earth, is precisely what worship is supposed to effect. It is the principle function of the liturgical instrument.

[5] Ibid., 37.

[6] Joseph Ratzinger, Feast of Faith, trans. Graham Harrison (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), 70.

[7] Ratzinger, Salt of the Earth, 22.

[8] Ibid., 18.

[9] Ibidem.

[10] Ratzinger, A New Song for the Lord, 136.

[11] John Paul II, “Il Discorso di Giovanni Paolo II a Vescovi degli Stati Uniti Ricevuti in Visita Ad Limina Apostolorum”, L’Osservatore Romano, Anno CXXXVIII, No 234, 10 October 1998, 6. “Conscious participation [in liturgical worship] does not mean the suppression of all subconscious experience, which is vital in a liturgy which thrives on symbols that speak to the subconscious just as they speak to the conscious…If subconscious experience is ignored in worship, an affective and devotional vacuum is created and liturgy can become not only too verbal but too cerebral. Yet the Roman Rite is…distinctive in the balance it strikes between a spareness and a richness of emotion: it feeds the heart and mind, the body and the soul.” [emphasis in original]

[12] Ratzinger, Salt of the Earth, 176.

[13] Ratzinger, Feast of Faith, 59.

[14] Ibid., 55, 59.

[15] Divine Liturgy of Our Father Saint John Chrysostom (Pittsburgh: Byzantine Seminary Press, 1966), 28.

[16] Ratzinger, Feast of Faith, 65.

[17] Ibidem.

[18] Fagerberg, 37-39.

[19] Kavanagh, 91, 92.

[20] Ibidem.

[21] Ibidem.

[22] Macarius of Egypt, The Philokalia, Vol. 3 (London: Faber and Faber, 1986), 306.

[23] Fagerberg, 40, 41.

[24] Gregory, Saint, Dial.IV, 60, quoted in Klaus Gamber, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background, trans. Klaus D. Grimm (San Juan Capistrano: Una Voce Press, 1993), 12.

[25] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1090 (Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference, 1994).

[26] Joseph Ratzinger, Preface, in Klaus Gamber, La Reforme Liturgique en Question (Monastaire du Barroux: Editions Madeleine, 1992), 8.

[27] Klaus Gamber, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy, 12, 13.

[28] Ratzinger, Feast of Faith, 114.

[29] Ibid., 99, 100.

[30] Kavanagh, 47-50.

[31] Ratzinger, Feast of Faith, 122.

[32] Ibid., 123.

[33] Ibid., 124, 125.

[34] Ibid., 115.