Thursday, June 19, 2008

Weigel on Why Latin?

By Patrick Archbold

George Weigel has a piece in Newsweek on what Pope Benedict is trying to accomplish by restoring the "Gregorian Rite". Weigel provides an easily comprehensible presentation of the "gravitational pull" hypothesis. Weigel describes it a such:
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Yes, the mass of John XXIII is celebrated in Latin, and yes, it is often celebrated (although it need not be) with the priest and the congregation facing the same direction as they pray--looking together, as classic liturgical theology teaches, toward the return of Christ and the inauguration of the heavenly Jerusalem. But the pope's point in making this form of liturgy more widely available is neither nostalgic nor retrogade. Rather, by encouraging the more widespread celebration of this classic form of the always-evolving Roman rite, Benedict XVI intends to create a kind of liturgical magnet, drawing the "reform of the reform" in the direction of greater reverence in the Catholic Church's public worship. In doing so, the pope is also reminding the church that, as Vatican II put it, the mass is a moment of privileged participation in "that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the Holy City of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle." "Going to mass," in other words, is not something we do for ourselves, or something we make up ourselves; liturgical worship is our participation in something God is doing for us.
This is a well written synopsis of the hope. On another note, Weigel makes note of the tempest in a teapot that resulted over the Good Friday prayer for the Jews. Weigel casually notes that the prognostications of the fear mongers proved unfounded.
The modified prayer was used in the minuscule number of Catholic congregations that celebrated Holy Week 2008 according to the Missal of John XXIII; no pogroms resulted, and indeed the argument seems to have died out.
No pogroms, fancy that.

Read the entire piece.