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Liturgy must not become ideology

Sunday, January 9, 2022 (21:04)

Yesterday I spoke with a friend who says that the Second Vatican Council introduced an important bug to the liturgy: the faithful no longer get part of the blood of Christ. “Some clericals in Rome decided that one form of communion is enough. But that’s against the Bible, and it is the root reason for the decline of the church: the faithful are no longer in full communion with the Christ.”

Me too I am very sensible to liturgy. The Mass is a weekly “workout” for the “muscles” of our faith. Every detail is important. As an example, I grew up in an unconscious belief that the words “We show forth your death O Lord, and confess your resurrection” are the so-called “mystery of faith”. But this caused by a bug in liturgy. The “This is a mystery of faith” is actually spoken by the priest in order to express that the consecration (which he just celebrated) is a mystery of faith. But in the liturgy the words “This is a mystery of faith” trigger our response “We show forth your death O Lord”, making it sound as if the priest invites the faithful to proclaim the mystery of faith. I can get quite angry when a priest fails to avoid this misunderstanding. The Mystery of Faith: Mysterium Fidei

Another example that shows how important liturgical details can be:

Ce dimanche j’étais à une messe où l’on a chanté “Eat this bread” (un chant de Taizé) pendant la communion. Je faisais partie de la chorale. Je trouve que ce chant se prête bien pour souligner ce temps méditatif de la messe. Mais la directrice nous l’a fait chanter d’une manière qui me dérangeait: une fois avec le texte, puis une fois vocalise en “m”, puis une fois en “a”, puis une fois en “u”, puis une fois en instrumental seul. Je me suis dit “Mais ce n’est pas ça! Elle tue l’idée! Le texte est plus important que la musique! Les gens ne retiennent pas le texte après l’avoir chanté une seule fois! Ecouter de la musique n’est pas encore prier!”

I also remember a Baptist who was in Taizé and complained that the brothers perform a kind of “show” when they enter the church before prayer, which is enhanced by the fact that they have a reserved space only for them. He perceived this as a form of clericalism. I have similar feelings in a Baptist adoration when the musicians are performing on a stage, making me feel as if I was at a concert, adoring these “stars” rather than praying to God.

My summary so far: liturgy is something important. A small detail can seem “wrong” and trigger allergic reactions. But identifying such details is difficult, and fixing them is even more difficult because human hearts aren’t flexible. Once you are used to some detail, you are reluctant to change.

I now received another contribution to these thoughts: Benediktiner Eckerstorfer: Liturgie darf nie zu Ideologie werden.