So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).


The elimination of altars and communion rails is the obliteration of sacred art. The obliteration of sacred art is the flattening of liturgical language. The flattening of liturgical language is the abandonment of ageless chants and hymns. The abandonment of those chants and hymns is the forgetting of immemorial devotions and prayers. The forgetting of those prayers is the secularization of time. The secularization of time is the laicization of clergy and religious. Their laicization is the rage to deny the mysteriousness of the faith. The denial of that mystery implies the building of churches as neutral spaces.—Anthony Esolen.
Whether we are more drawn to truth through beauty or to beauty through truth, they lead us to the person of Christ, who is truth, goodness, and beauty incarnate. It is his truth, goodness, and beauty first contemplated by Mary, his mother, that have then been contemplated by mystics of the Church through the ages, as recorded in classic writings of the Catholic mystical tradition. Here we find works such as St. Augustine’s Confessions; the anonymous author’s Cloud of Unknowing; St. Catherine of Siena’s Dialogue; St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises; St. Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle; St. John of the Cross’s Ascent of Mount Carmel; and St. Thérèse of Lisieux’s Story of a Soul.Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Liturgy, Doctrine, and Discipline: the Right Order

Speaking in Vienna this week, His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke said, “The Church’s discipline can never be other than true to her doctrine.” His Eminence was, in effect, articulating a principle that flows from the age–old law that grounds and shapes both Catholic doctrine and the Catholic moral life: Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi.
1. The lex orandi is the enactment of the sacred liturgy; it is composed not only of texts, but also of the whole complexus of sacred signs, gestures, and rites by which, through the mediating priesthood of Jesus Christ, men are sanctified and God is glorified. The sacred liturgy itself (being the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the other sacraments, the Divine Office, and the various rites and sacramentals found in the Church’s official liturgical books) is the Church’s theologia prima. It is in the sacred liturgy and through it that the Church receives her primary theology. The primary theology of the Church is a gift received from above, according to the word of Saint James: “Do not err, therefore, my dearest brethren. Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration” (James 1:16–17). The Church’s primary theology is not something invented by learned men; it is found in the givenness of the liturgy, the primary organ of the Church’s authentic tradition.

2. The lex credendi is the articulation of what is already given, contemplated, and celebrated in the lex orandi. The Church’s doctrine emerges in all its shining purity — in the veritatis splendor — from the wellspring of her liturgy. Catholic doctrine, the Church’s theologia secunda, is the fruit of her liturgical experience. The sanctuary precedes theaula of theological discourse; the altar confers authority upon the academic chair. A theological discourse at variance with the lex orandi will be flawed and lifeless. I am sure that His Eminence, Cardinal Burke, would agree that when he speaks of the doctrine of the Church, he is referring to the authoritative teaching that is grounded in, and shaped by, the liturgy of the Church, her lex orandi.

3. The lex vivendi is the Catholic moral life, a life quickened by the theological virtues, a life in obedience to the divine commandments, characterized by the cardinal virtues, illumined by the Beatitudes, enriched by the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and displayed in the Holy Spirit’s Twelve Fruits. The lex vivendi pertains to all that teaches men to live rightly, to every ethical and social question, and to the pursuit of that holiness that already we contemplate in the saints set before us by the Church.
The traditional Catholic and Orthodox approach to the Church’s law and discipline has always been grounded in and shaped by her liturgy and her doctrine in this precise order: Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi. The Protestant approach, on the other hand, begins with the question, “What are (we) to believe?” and from this extrapolates a form of worship in accordance with belief, and a moral and ethical code reflecting both of these. Here, then, the order would be: Lex credendi, lex orandi, lex vivendi. The approach taken by Unitarians and secular humanists — being essentially pragmatic — begins with the question, “How do we want to live?” and from this extrapolates whatever beliefs or rituals most aptly support the chosen moral and ethical conventions. Here the order is: Lex vivendi, lex credendi (and if they have any form of cultus, lex orandi).

The current crisis in addressing moral questions from a Catholic position can, I would argue, be traced back through a crisis in doctrine to the crisis that has, in recent decades, affected the sacred liturgy to the point of reshaping it, deforming it, and re–inventing it according to the Protestant and Secular Humanist criteria described above. The restoration of Catholic doctrine in all its beauty and richness, and the consequent reclaiming of Catholic discipline as something both healing life–giving, will begin with the restoration of the sacred liturgy. I believe that His Eminence, Cardinal Burke, would agree with this wholeheartedly. The Church’s discipline can never be other than true to her doctrine, and her doctrine can never be other than true to her liturgy. Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi.

(A)nother reason to make sure we have some Latin (and Greek and Hebrew) in the Mass: If we say/chant the Kyrie, if we say/sing Alleluia, and if we say/chant Agnus Dei, we will in the Mass connect to the titulus, the sign Pilate posted on the Cross, “The King of the Jews” written in Hebrew, Greek and Latin so that all would understand it.bsjy at Liturgy Guy blog.

The Excellence of the Latin Novus Ordo
July 15, 2011
by Richard Upsher Smith, Jr.

As a convert to Roman Catholicism from old Prayer Book and High Church Anglicanism, I resolved to tolerate the current translation of the Novus Ordo (the Latin Mass as revised after Vatican II) because it was the Church’s, not because it was edifying or beautiful. After recently translating the Ordo Missae for use at Christ the King Chapel at Franciscan University of Steubenville, I have become convinced that the Novus Ordo contains much that is beautiful and edifying.

The language of the Novus Ordo is robust, the rhetoric persuasive, and the theology a complement to the “revitalization” of Catholic thought aimed at by the theologians of ressourcement before Vatican II. All this despite the fact that Archbishop Annibale Bugnini’s “euchological pluralism and rubrical flexibility” (his prodigality with forms of prayer and his leniency with liturgical rules), advocated over a supposedly rigid “fixism,” displaced the traditional collects from the Mass, promoted a radically simplified ceremonial that tires the eye and deadens the imagination, and introduced a three-year lectionary that contains too much spread out over too long a period to shape a pious memory effectively.

A paragraph from the Third Preface of the Nativity of the Lord illustrates these points.
Per quem hodie commercium nostrae reparationis effulsit, quia, dum nostra fragilitas a tuo Verbo suscipitur, humana mortalitas non solum in perpetuum transit honorem, sed nos quoque, mirando consortio, reddit aeternos.
Through whom flashed forth today the transaction of the healing of our nature, because, when our frailty is received by thy Word, not only does human mortality pass across to everlasting honor, but it also, by a wonderful fellowship, renders us eternal.
The first clause in this passage is particularly striking, as commercium, a commercial term, is a jarring word to apply to our salvation. Effulsit, too, is vigorous, and in combination with commercium—“the transaction flashed forth”—creates an impressive concept for the mind. At the end of the passage, too, the phrase mirando consortio—“by a wonderful fellowship,”—implying as it does a community of goods, reinforces the notion of exchange that gives this passage its vitality.

Nor is the rhetoric of the passage unsophisticated. The placement of humana before its substantive mortalitas makes it slightly emphatic, and anticipates the more emphatic placement of honorem at the end of the clause with its separation from the adjective perpetuum. A dramatic “sandwich effect” is achieved with the wide separation of nos from its adjective aeternos. The phrase nos quoque also displays assonance, internal rhyme, which adds to the vividness of the clause. Further, this passage employs the “cursus,” a set of standard stress-meter clause-endings used in good late-antique and medieval prose. (The clause-endings reparatiónis effúlsittránsit honórem, and réddit aetérnos contain the cursus planus or plain ending—a dactyl and a trochee—while the ending Vérbo suscípitur contains a cursus tardus or slow ending—two dactyls.)

As to the theology of this passage, the application of a term from the world of buying and selling to Christ’s restoration of the human race is patristic. St. Augustine, for example, develops the notion vividly in On the Gospel of John 13.14 (translated by John Gibb and James Innes):
But what shall I say, brethren? Let us see plainly what He purchased (emerit). For there He bought (emit), where He paid the price (pretium dedit). Paid it for how much? If He paid it only for Africa, let us be Donatists, and not be called Donatists, but Christians; since Christ bought only Africa: although even here are other than Donatists. But He has not been silent of what He bought in this transaction (in commercio suo). He has made up the account (tabulas): thanks be to God, He has not tricked us. Need there is for that bride to hear, and then to understand to whom she has vowed her virginity.
There, in that psalm where it reads, “They pierced my hands and my feet, they counted all my bones;” wherein the Lord’s passion is most openly declared; the psalm which is read every year on the last week, in the hearing of the whole people, at the approach of Christ’s passion; and this psalm is read both among them and us; there, I say, note, brethren, what He has bought: let the bill of merchandise (tabulae commerciales) be read: hear ye what He bought: “All the ends of the earth shall remember, and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship in His sight: for the kingdom is His, and He shall rule the nations.”
Such a revitalization of a patristic metaphor fits well with the aims of the ressourcement theologians. As Fr. Henri de Lubac has written, “[T]he renewal of Christian vitality is linked at least partially to a renewed exploration of the periods and of the works where the Christian tradition is expressed with particular intensity.”

These are the elements of the Novus Ordo that ring in my ear and sparkle in my imagination. Moreover, they intrigue and edify my mind. If such passages were few and far between, I would not attempt to justify the ways of the Novus Ordo to frustrated Catholics. However, such passages are found throughout the Latin of the new Mass.

It is reasonable to claim that the Novus Ordo is both beautiful and edifying, despite its novel elements and the banality of its translation. Should the translation that will come into use next Advent be faithful to the Latin and show some literary sensitivity, Catholics will have good reason to rejoice, for delight will be added to the duty of attendance at Mass.

—Richard Upsher Smith, Jr. is Professor of Classics and Chairman of the Department of Classics at Franciscan University of Steubenville. His “Vade Mecum,” A Handbook of Terms in Grammar, Rhetoric and Prosody for Readers of Greek and Latin is forthcoming from Bolchazy-Carducci.

Pope Benedict XVI • The True Council

(T)here was the Council of the Fathers - the true Council - but there was also the Council of the media. It was almost a Council in and of itself, and the world perceived the Council through them, through the media. So the immediately efficiently Council that got thorough to the people, was that of the media, not that of the Fathers. And while the Council of the Fathers evolved within the faith, it was a Council of the faith that sought the intellectus, that sought to understand and try to understand the signs of God at that moment, that tried to meet the challenge of God in this time to find the words for today and tomorrow. So while the whole council - as I said - moved within the faith, as fides quaerens intellectum, the Council of journalists did not, naturally, take place within the world of faith but within the categories of the media of today, that is outside of the faith, with different hermeneutics. It was a hermeneutic of politics. The media saw the Council as a political struggle, a struggle for power between different currents within the Church. It was obvious that the media would take the side of whatever faction best suited their world. There were those who sought a decentralization of the Church, power for the bishops and then, through the Word for the "people of God", the power of the people, the laity. There was this triple issue: the power of the Pope, then transferred to the power of the bishops and then the power of all ... popular sovereignty. Naturally they saw this as the part to be approved, to promulgate, to help. This was the case for the liturgy: there was no interest in the liturgy as an act of faith, but as a something to be made understandable, similar to a community activity, something profane. And we know that there was a trend, which was also historically based, that said: "Sacredness is a pagan thing, possibly even from the Old Testament. In the New Testament the only important thing is that Christ died outside: that is, outside the gates, that is, in the secular world". Sacredness ended up as profanity even in worship: worship is not worship but an act that brings people together, communal participation and thus participation as activity. And these translations, trivializing the idea of the Council, were virulent in the practice of implementing the liturgical reform, born in a vision of the Council outside of its own key vision of faith. And it was so, also in the matter of Scripture: Scripture is a book, historical, to treat historically and nothing else, and so on.

And we know that this Council of the media was accessible to all. So, dominant, more efficient, this Council created many calamities, so many problems, so much misery, in reality: seminaries closed, convents closed, liturgy trivialized ... and the true Council has struggled to materialize, to be realized: the virtual Council was stronger than the real Council. But the real strength of the Council was present and slowly it has emerged and is becoming the real power which is also true reform, true renewal of the Church. It seems to me that 50 years after the Council, we see how this Virtual Council is breaking down, getting lost and the true Council is emerging with all its spiritual strength. And it is our task, in this Year of Faith, starting from this Year of Faith, to work so that the true Council with the power of the Holy Spirit is realized and Church is really renewed. We hope that the Lord will help us. I, retired in prayer, will always be with you, and together we will move ahead with the Lord in certainty. The Lord is victorious. Thank you.

Pope Benedict on Configuration to Christ

Two things, above all, are asked of us: there is a need for an interior bond, a configuration to Christ, and at the same time there has to be a transcending of ourselves, a renunciation of what is simply our own, of the much-vaunted self-fulfilment. We need, I need, not to claim my life as my own, but to place it at the disposal of another – of Christ. I should be asking not what I stand to gain, but what I can give for him and so for others. Or to put it more specifically, this configuration to Christ, who came not to be served but to serve, who does not take, but rather gives – what form does it take in the often dramatic situation of the Church today?

Saint Athanasius on the Real Presence

"You will see the Levites bringing the loaves and a cup of wine, and placing them on the table. So long as the prayers and invocations have not yet been made, it is mere bread and a mere cup. But when the great and wondrous prayers have been recited, then the bread becomes the body and the cup the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ... When the great prayers and holy supplications are sent up, the Word descends on the bread and the cup, and it becomes His body." Athanasius, Sermon to the Newly Baptized, PG 26, 1325 (ante A.D. 373).

Holy Mass • Extraordinary Form

Blessed Pope John Paul II on Active Participation

Active participation certainly means that, in gesture, word, song and service, all the members of the community take part in an act of worship, which is anything but inert or passive. Yet active participation does not preclude the active passivity of silence, stillness and listening: indeed, it demands it. Worshippers are not passive, for instance, when listening to the readings or the homily, or following the prayers of the celebrant, and the chants and music of the liturgy. These are experiences of silence and stillness, but they are in their own way profoundly active. In a culture which neither favors nor fosters meditative quiet, the art of interior listening is learned only with difficulty. Here we see how the liturgy, though it must always be properly inculturated, must also be counter-cultural.

A School of Love: the Sacred Liturgy and Education
By David Clayton
In the following article, David Clayton, artist and lecturer at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in New Hampshire, discusses his thoughts about the impact of the sacred liturgy on Catholic education. The Cardinal Newman Society sponsored Clayton's attendance at Sacra Liturgia 2013 in Rome, where he joined hundreds of other participants in the conference that aimed to study, promote and renew appreciation for the liturgy. The Newman Society hopes to help spur on this liturgical renewal in Catholic higher education.
Here are my initial thoughts on what was for me an inspiring conference on the importance of liturgy in Catholic life. Here I give some general reactions on what I heard and its impact particularly on Catholic education. I will follow up with a number of shorter articles. Some will illustrate more what I say here, and others will just offer little lessons learnt aside from this broad theme. I should say that I offer my thoughts here as one who in this scenario is a student who hopes he has learnt well from the greater authorities who spoke (and not as authority giving a critique on the speakers).

In his book The Love of Learning and the Desire for God (which I have written about in more detail here), Jean Leclerq describes a tension that existed in medieval education. In very simple terms it was between those who rely strongly on the literary culture and the beauty of literary forms to communicate the truths of the Faith on the one hand; and those who rely more on a precise technical language of logic to do so on the other. The first would be from the monastic schools and St Bernard would be the figurehead; the second is the 'scholastic' approach of the 'schoolsmen' exemplified by St Thomas. From experience of Catholic education at the college level in the US, this tension still exists today and it is played out especially in the Catholic colleges that offer Great Books programs. Usually the debate is one over the content of the curriculum and the value of literature in the communication of the truths of the Faith relative to, for example, Thomistic philosophy and theology.

In contemplating all of what I heard at Sacra Liturgia 2013 what struck me is that sense of Sacred Liturgy that they were describing offered the means by which these two approaches can be reconciled. While educational institutions, in their discussion of curricula tend to talk about the right formation of the person, the emphasis here was on transformation. Speaker after speaker made the point that man is made to worship God and through right worship in the Sacred Liturgy he is transformed, partaking of the divine nature. This is a real transformation. It will be realised fully at the end of our lives, we hope, when our current pilgrimage is over. But by degrees it is happening now to the degree that we participate actively (properly ordered in spirit) in the Sacred Liturgy. United to the mystical body of Christ, which is the Church, we are shining with the divine light of His Transifiguration, and are part of his sanctifying presence on earth. To the degree that we conform, the grace with which we do anything, mundane or sacred, radiates the beauty of God and calls people to it, and then beyond to the source of that Beauty.

Sacred liturgy is the worship of the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit and this is how we love God most profoundly. It is the purpose of life - the summit to which our lives point - and the most powerful source of grace that will help us to get there.

The variety of value of the fruit of the liturgical life for 'homo liturgicus' - liturgical man - was astounding. We were told that sacred liturgy both evangelises and makes evangelists of us; it is a school of love that perfects our social relations and our family life and by this society as whole. Accordingly, where there is concern for sacred liturgy there is also concern for the poor. This school of love deepens our faith that is reflected in 'intelligence of the heart' that is a knowing of things in the fullest way, in love. It gives us wisdom, it stimulates the undercreative and forms the creative; and cleanses us so that we have 'mental hygiene' and an inner peace. This peace is so profound that it that allows us to enjoy solitude without loneliness. It catechises the ignorant and evangelises the faithless and provides an answer to our deep need to know the meaning of life.

How does this impact education? Well first of all, I think that any Catholic colleges that listed the above as the fruits of their particular brand of education on their website homepage would never struggle to fill places (if it was believed). So isn't the answer then to identify the 'Catholic' part of a Catholic education one primarily concerned with an education in the liturgy? I think that the answer is 'yes', but with one very important caveat.

As speakers listed the fruits of Sacred Liturgy they emphasised also that we cannot instrumentalise the liturgy. In other words, as soon as these benefits become the primary goal, supplanting the worship of God as our purpose, we do the liturgy 'violent' injury and, presumably, the fruits are not realised either. Bishop Sample of Portland, Oregon put it as follows : 'Liturgy is not a means to pedagogy or evangelisation although these are the fruits.'

It seems to me that Catholic education is directed towards deepening our active participation in the liturgy. Our speakers told us that this is possible. Most of their discussion, given the audience at this conference was directed at the education of priests in their celebration of the Mass and the liturgy. Nevertheless, the same principle could as easily be applied to lay people in accordance with their particular vocation I think.

I suggest that if a teacher or a school cannot justify a subject placed on the curriculum by virtue of what it contributes to this liturgical end then there is no purpose to teaching it all. Furthermore, such a college cannot really legitimately call itself Catholic. Every student should understand clearly why they are learning what is taught, again with reference to the liturgy. For Sacred Liturgy is the summit of all that we do. If our formation directs people to the Sacred Liturgy in the right spirit making the worship of God the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit the central focus of all that we do, then the fruits will ensue, as God chooses to bestow them and to the degree that each person cooperates with God's grace. This last part can never be controlled by any institution, of course. We can simply help by shining a light on the path of pilgrimage.

All of human activity and culture - all of it - can, potentially, be imbued with the grace that derives from this liturgical spirit and our work will through its beauty direct those who see it to God. The wider culture is not as some suppose, we were told, there to lead us to High Culture, but rather to instill in us a liturgical instinct that stimulates our sensitivity to liturgical forms - a 'liturgical high culture'. Fr Paul Gunter OSB recommended that a liturgical education therefore, should aim to develop an understanding of beauty through the study of art, music, architecture and literature, so that it would stimulate our 'liturgical instincts' and enable us to pass on these traditions and place each in a theological context. Various books were recommended (and I will talk of these in later pieces) but along with the official Church documents about liturgy, Cardinal Ratzinger's The Spirit of the Liturgy was highlighted by Fr Gunter as a key text.

The liturgical instinct is caught as much as taught, Dom Alcuin Read told us, and so as well as teaching about it, participation in it teaches us. Above all the liturgical life is lived. It seemed to me, therefore, that on every campus there should be the opportunity of participation in beautiful sacred liturgy and this means the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours (we were told that the norm for both is that they should be sung). Eucharistic adoration should be encouraged and all private devotions and prayer should be understood as being derived from and pointing to the liturgy. I feel as a teacher, that while it is probably not right, beyond the requirement of teaching exercises to oblige attendance, there should be a constant invitation to be part of Sacred Liturgy by having Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours sung constantly. Here the example of participation by the faculty is an important part of that encouragement, I suggest.

While part of me would love to encourage everybody to come to Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, where I work in New Hampshire, not all people, I admit, are meant to study Great Books programs for four years. Some do not have the academic ability and others will specialise in other less literary subjects, such as science.

It occurs to me also, that this view of the liturgy helps us to see how the Catholic education of vocational subjects that are not normally considered intrinsically Catholic might happen. Generally any discussions about being a Catholic doctor or nurse, for example, tend to focus on not much more than teaching the subjects as you would anywhere else with the restriction (as it might appear to some) of subjecting to Catholic morality. For liturgical man, all work or study, if it is worth doing can always be justified in the context of how it aids the person in his love for God, in the context of worship. For those who personal vocation it is to be, for example, an engineer, this will be a development of the mind and the directing of actions that contribute to the common good. As such they are activities in love that are particularly suited to that person so that they deepen his relationship with God and therefore his participation in sacred liturgy. The Catholic education of these things teaches him about the liturgy and its relationship to culture and then he will see the place of his personal vocation within that panorama. So alongside his studies there will be an education in liturgy and one that communicates this all embracing liturgical view of culture. Once grasped, and again through the grace of God, the Catholic person - nurse, doctor, engineer, plumber, gardener, father, mother - will be more loving in their dealings with their fellows and, most importantly the worship of God.

What about the imagined battle between the monastic and the scholastics? The answer it seems to me is one pointed out by Leclerq and is affirmed by what I heard at the conference. Each person will have particular strengths and some will be more suited to one mode of learning than another. However, the underlying truth that is communicated is intrinsically neither literary nor scholastic but is one, good, beautiful and true by virtue of its existence. However, the truth that is communicated is only known fully through an intelligence of the heart. That is, it is known in love. It is participation in the liturgy that increases our capacity for this loving knowledge.

Excerpt from a Zenit interview
with Leo Cardinal Burke Comments on Sacra Liturgia Conference
ZENIT: Some also say that to be concerned with liturgical law is being unduly legalistic, that it’s a stifling of the spirit. How should one respond to that? Why should we be concerned about liturgical law? 
Cardinal Burke: Liturgical law disciplines us so that we have the freedom to worship God, otherwise we’re captured – we’re the victims or slaves either of our own individual ideas, relative ideas of this or that, or of the community or whatever else. But the liturgical law safeguards the objectivity of sacred worship and opens up that space within us, that freedom to offer worship to God as He desires, so we can be sure we’re not worshipping ourselves or, at the same time, as Aquinas says, some kind of falsification of divine worship. 
ZENIT: It offers a kind of template? 
Cardinal Burke: Exactly, it’s what discipline does in every aspect of our lives. Unless we’re disciplined, then we’re not free.

With the constitution on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, issued in 1965 by the Second Vatican Council, everyone became very conscious of personal participation in the sacred liturgy, particularly in the Mass.

But active participation in the liturgy was not a concept created by the Second Vatican Council. Indeed, even the very words actuosa participatio can be found in the writings of the popes for the past one hundred years. Pope Pius X called for it in his motu proprio, Tra le sollecitudini, published in 1903, when he said that "the faithful assemble to draw that spirit from its primary and indispensable source, that is, from active participation in the sacred mysteries and in the public and solemn prayer of the Church."

Pope Pius XI in his apostolic constitution, Divini cultus, wrote in 1928, that the restoration of Gregorian chant for the use of the people would provide the means whereby "the faithful may participate in divine worship more actively." Such participation was to be achieved both by singing and by an appreciation of the beauty of the liturgy which stirs the heart of the worshiper, who thereby enters into the sacred mysteries.

In his encyclicals, Mystici Corporis in 1943, and Mediator Dei in 1947, Pope Pius XII used the term but carefully insisted that true participation was not merely external but consisted in a baptismal union with Christ in His Mystical Body, the Church.

In 1958, the Sacred Congregation of Rites issued the instruction, De musica sacra, which distinguished several qualities of participation:
The Mass of its nature requires that all those present participate in it, in the fashion proper to each.

This participation must primarily be interior (i.e., union with Christ the Priest; offering with and through Him).

b) But the participation of those present becomes fuller (plenior) if to internal attention is joined external participation, expressed, that is to say, by external actions such as the position of the body (genuflecting, standing, sitting), ceremonial gestures, or, in particular, the responses, prayers and singing. . .

It is this harmonious form of participation that is referred to in pontifical documents when they speak of active participation (participatio actuosa), the principal example of which is found in the celebrating priest and his ministers who, with due interior devotion and exact observance of the rubrics and ceremonies, minister at the altar.

c) Perfect participatio actuosa of the faithful, finally, is obtained when there is added sacramental participation (by communion).

d) Deliberate participatio actuosa of the faithful is not possible without their adequate instruction.
It is made clear that it is the baptismal character that forms the foundation of active participation.

Vatican II introduced no radical alteration in the concept of participatio actuosa as fostered by the popes for the past decades. The general principle is contained in Article 14 of the constitution on the sacred liturgy:
Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious and active participation in the ceremonies which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy.

Such participation by the Christian people as a "chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people" (I Pet. 2:9; 2: 4-5) is their right and duty by reason of their baptism.

In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true spirit of Christ. . .
The word "full" (plena) refers to the integrally human fashion in which the baptized faithful take part in the liturgy, i.e., internally and externally. The word "conscious" (conscia) demands a knowledge of what one is doing on the part of the faithful, excluding any superstition or false piety. But the word "active" (actuosa) requires some greater examination.

A true grasp of the meaning of participation in the liturgy demands a clear understanding of the nature of the Church and above all of Christ Himself. At the basis of so much of today's problems in liturgy lies a false notion of Christology and ecclesiology. Christ, the incarnate Word of God, true God and true Man, lives on in this world now. "I will be with you all days until the end of the world." Even though He has arisen and ascended into heaven, He lives with us. The Church is His mystical Body, indeed His mystical Person. We are the members of that Body. Its activity, the activity of the Church, is the activity of Christ, its Head. The hierarchical priesthood functions in the very person of Christ, doing His work of teaching, ruling and sanctifying. Thus the Mass and the sacraments are Christ's actions bringing to all the members of His Body, the Church, the very life that is in its Head. Participation in that life demands that every member of the Body take part in that action, which is primarily the liturgical activity of the Church. The liturgy is the primary source of that divine life, and thus all must be joined to it in an active way. Baptism is the key that opens the door and permits one to become part of the living Body of Christ. The baptized Christian has not only a right to participation in the Church's life but a duty as well. It is only the baptized person who can participate.

The difference between participation in the liturgy that can be called activa and participation that can be labelled actuosa rests in the presence in the soul of the baptismal character, the seal that grants one the right to participate. Without the baptismal mark, all the actions of singing, walking, kneeling or anything else can be termed "active," but they do not constitute participatio actuosa. Only the baptismal character can make any actions truly participatory. Let us use an example. Let us say that a pious Hindu attends Mass, takes part in the singing and even walks in a procession with great piety. In the same church is also a Catholic who is blind and deaf and who is unable to leave his chair; he can neither sing nor hear the readings nor walk in the procession. Which one has truly participated, the one who is very active, or the one who has confined himself solely to his thoughts of adoration? Obviously, it is the baptized Catholic who has exercised participatio actuosa despite his lack of external, physical movement. The Hindu even with his many actions has not been capable of it, since he lacks the baptismal character.

Granting then the absolute necessity of baptism, it still is imperative for the Christian to take part in the liturgy actively by a variety of actions. This means that the internal actuosa participatio, which the baptismal mark empowers, must be aided by those external actions that he is capable of. He should do those things that the Church sets out for him according to his role in the liturgy and the various conditions that age, social position and cultural background dictate. He must join participatio activa to his participatio actuosa which he exercises as a baptized person.

What are those actions that make for true active participation in the liturgy? These must be both internal and external in quality, since man is a rational creature with body and soul. The external actions must be intelligent and understood, sincere and pious internally. The Church proposes many bodily positions: kneeling, stand- ing, walking, sitting, etc. It likewise proposes many human actions: singing, speaking, listening and above all else, the reception of the Holy Eucharist. They demand internal attention as well as external execution.

One of the most active and demanding of human actions is that of listening. It requires strict attention and summons up in a person his total concentrative effort. It is possible, for example, to walk without really knowing that one is walking or advert to where one is going. It is possible even to sing, especially a very familiar tune, and not be conscious of actually singing. But one cannot truly listen without attention. Especially in our day of constant radio and TV broadcasting, we are able to tune out almost every sound we wish. To listen attentively demands full human concentration. Listening can be the most active form of participation, demanding effort and attention. Truly, as the scriptures tell us, faith demands hearing, fides ex auditu.

With that in mind, surely the baptized Christian who listens with care to the proclamation of the gospel or the singing of the preface at Mass truly has achieved participation, both activa and actuosa.

The Church does not have the entire congregation proclaim the gospel text, but rather the deacon or the priest does it. It is the duty of all to listen. The canon of the Mass is not to be recited by everyone but all are to hear it. Listening is a most important form of active participation.

There is a variety of roles to be observed in the public celebration of the liturgy. There is the role of priest, deacon, reader, cantor, choir and congregation, among many others. Because each office has his own purpose and its own manner of acting we have the basic reason for a distinction of roles. If the reader or the cantor is to read and sing, certainly the role of the others is to listen. If the choir is to sing, someone must listen and in so-doing participate actively in the liturgy, even if during the period of listening he is relatively inactive in a physical way.

Every age has participated in the liturgy through baptism, as members of the Church and part of the mystical Body of Christ. All ages have shared in the right and duty of actuosa participatio. If, as Pius X insists, the liturgy is the primary source of the Christian life, everyone must take part in it to achieve salvation. Active participation is not an invention of our day; the Church throughout the ages constantly shared the life of Christ with its members in the Mass and the sacraments, the very actions of Christ Himself working through His Church and His priesthood. For each age the activities deemed by it to be useful in promoting that participation have varied according to the needs and ideas of the period. One cannot say that because the medieval period developed a chant that was largely the possession of monastic choirs, the congregations who listened were not actively participating. Perhaps not according to post-Vatican II standards, but one must carefully avoid the error of judging the past by the present and applying to former times criteria that seem valuable in our own times. Because Palestrina's polyphonic Masses require the singing of trained choirs, can one assume that non-choir members in the renaissance period were deprived of an active participation in the liturgy? No age could permit such a thing to happen and thus be deprived of the primary source of the spiritual life. The sixteenth-century baptized Roman did participate through listening along with other activities, as no doubt an eighteenth-century Austrian did when he heard a Mozart Mass performed by a choir and orchestra.

We must then carefully consider the roles of each individual, and we must consider the cultural and personal conditions of each one who must find in the liturgy the primary source of his spiritual life. A variety of opportunities for liturgical activity is needed, and good pastoral direction will supply the need. The Church herself does so by the very rubrics of the liturgical books, directing what is to be done. The Vatican Council taught the need of various functions and various roles to carry out completely the liturgical actions.

Surely the spoken and sung responses and acclamations in the liturgy are the right and the duty of all present. But the practice of calling the Sanctus an acclamation is without foundation; it is a hymn, found in the Old Testament and sung by the angels. It is not the exclusive prerogative of the congregation as it might be thought to be if it is labelled an acclamation. As a hymn it can be given to a trained group and sung in a more elaborate setting. The same is true of the parts called the ordinary of the Mass, including the Credo, which may be listened to and consented to with great faith without having to be spoken by the congregation. The proper parts of the Mass, because of the great variety of texts and settings, fall of necessity to trained and practiced groups. One may, of course, never exclude the congregation totally from participation by singing, but the variety of methods allows for many possibilities for participation by singing or by listening to singing. The possibilities of participation are almost infinite.

Important too for any participation in the liturgy is the elevation of the spirit of the worshiper. Ultimately, liturgy is prayer, the supreme prayer of adoration, thanksgiving, petition and reparation. Prayer is the raising of the heart and the mind to God as Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier. The means to achieve such elevation of the spirit in prayer involve all the activities of the human person, both spirit and body. Such means produce true actuosa participatio. Thus beauty, whether it appeals to the sight, the ear, the imagination or any of the senses, is an important element in achieving participation. The architectural splendor of a great church or the sound of great music, or the solemnity of ceremonial movement by ministers clothed in precious vestments, or the beauty of the proclaimed word—all can effect a true and salutary participation in one who himself has not sung a note or taken a step. But he is not a mere silent spectator as some would say; he is actively participating because of his baptismal character and the grace stirred up in him by what he is seeing and hearing, thinking and praying. 

The Church has always promoted Gregorian chant. Especially during this past century, the popes have fostered the music of the renaissance polyphonists. Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica with the Vienna orchestra and singers doing Mozart's Coronation Mass. Anyone who was present on that memorable occasion in that great church experienced true participation. 

Thus to limit participation to singing impoverishes seriously the opportunity of the Christian to take part in the most essential means for his salvation. One does not have to sing to save his soul. But one must be active (actuosa participatio) in the liturgy, through baptism and other actions according to his ability, state, culture and disposition, in order to enter into the mystery of the redemption wrought by Christ, outside of which there is no salvation. 

We can conclude with this definition of participatio actuosa
(It is) that form of devout involvement in the liturgical action which, in the present conditions of the Church, best promotes the exercise of the common priesthood of the baptized: that is, their power to offer the sacrifice of the Mass with Christ and to receive the sacraments. It is clear that, concretely, this requires that the faithful understand the liturgical ceremonial; that they take part in it by bodily movements, standing, kneeling or sitting as the occasion may demand; that they join vocally in the parts which are intended for them. It also requires that they listen to, and understand, the liturgy of the word. It requires, too, that there be moments of silence when the import of the whole ceremonial may be absorbed and deeply personalized. (Colman E. O'Neill, "The Theological Meaning of Actuosa Participatio in the Liturgy," in Sacred Music and Liturgy Reform after Vatican II. Consociatio Internationalis Musicae Sacrae, Rome, 1969. p. 105.) 

A Pastoral Consideration of Liturgical “orientation."
By: Msgr. Charles Pope

Some years ago the theologian Fr. Jonathan Robinson wrote a commentary on the modern experience of the Sacred liturgy and entitled it, The Mass and Modernity: Walking to Heaven Backward. It is a compelling image of so much of what is wrong with the celebration of the Liturgy in many parishes today.

While Fr. Robinson certainly had the celebration of Mass “facing the people” in mind, his concerns are broader than that.

Indeed, we have the strange modern concept of the “closed circle” in so many modern conceptions of the Mass. Too often we are tediously self-referential and anthropocentric. So much of modern liturgy includes long lists of congratulatory references, both done by, but also expected of the celebrant.

Instead of the Liturgy being upwardly focused to God and outwardly toward the mission of the Church (to make disciples of all the nations), we tend today to “gather” and hunker down in rather closed circles looking at each other, and speaking at great length about ourselves.

We have even enshrined this architecturally in our modern circular and fan shaped churches that facilitate us looking at each other, and focusing inwardly, not up or put. The author Thomas Day once described Modern Catholic Liturgy as, “the aware, gathered community celebrating itself.” [1]

In the ancient orientation or “stance” of the Mass that was ubiquitous until 1965, the focus was outward and upward. Though disparaged by many in recent decades as the priest “having his back to the people” even this description shows the self obsession of the modern age. And to those speak this way about the liturgical orientation of almost 2,000 years, the answer must come, “The priest does not have his back to you. Actually it is not about you at all. The liturgy is about God. And the priest, and all the faithful are turned outward and upward to God.”

The liturgical questions of the history of the eastward orientation and its recent loss, of how and why we got into the modern closed circle mentality, and the erroneous understandings of the liturgists of the 1950s about the practice of the early Church, are all discussed more aptly by others more liturgically versed than I.

Please consider dear reader that my proposal is not for a sudden and swift change in our liturgical stance. Rather, that we begin to ponder if, by our inwardly focused stance in circular and fan shaped churches, facing each other, we are communicating what we really intend. Does our stance project that our real focus here is God? Does it communicate the goal of the liturgy to lead us to God? Does it inculcate a spirit of leadership in our clergy who are called to lead us to God? Does a largely closed circle manifest an outward trajectory to evangelize outward and unto the ends of the earth?

Whatever pastoral blessings come with “facing the people” (and there are some blessings) there may be value in continuing to reassess whether our modern pastoral stance of an inwardly focused liturgy serves us well and communicates what we are really doing and experiencing.

I would like to link the current “closed circle” liturgical experience to another struggle of Church life today: the crisis of leadership. Many of the lay faithful have come to decry the crisis of leadership among the clergy. And while there are excesses in way these concerns are expressed (according to me), there is surely a grave hesitancy on the part of too many clergy to lead. Too rare are clergy today who point to God and the will of God in clear and unambiguous terms. Too many of us prefer to speak in abstractions and generalities. I do concur that we have experienced so degree of a crisis in leadership. There are notable exceptions to this problem, but it remains a widespread issue. And of course the primary place that the faithful ought to experience leadership is in the sacred Liturgy, where the clergy unambiguously point to God and lead others to Him.

But the stance of the Liturgy as a kind of closed circle does not easily support this sort of thinking.

To be sure, there are many reasons for the current crisis of leadership in the Church. Surely the overall crisis of manhood in our culture, along with passive or missing fathers is a central cause. Also related is the rise of feminism and the designation of normal male tendencies to competition and leadership as “pathological” and misogynist. Many normal school boys, full of spit and vinegar, and a tendency to rough-house are “diagnosed” and medicated, and told explicitly to behave more like girls.

There are also modern tendencies that are unreasonably hateful or suspicious about power and the use of authority, along with a kind of hyper-vigilance not to offend, and to be obsessed with how others “feel” about things. And while “getting along” with people and being respectful of their feelings are good dispositions in themselves, they are not absolute virtues and must sometimes be set aside for the higher good of pointing to the truth of God and insisting on it.

Hence, there are many factors that have fed the crisis of the leadership among the clergy. But I propose that liturgical orientation is both emblematic of the crisis of leadership and also fuels it.

While a priest is called to love his people, speak to their hearts and even to learn form them, he is most especially tasked to lead them to God. And while, in the Liturgy of the Word, it makes sense that he turns to them to instruct and engage them, there ought to be a moment when he turns to God and leads his people toward God.

The Eucharistic Prayer is surely this time. As priest, he leads. Acting in persona Christi, he leads the people, (for Christ said, “follow me”) out to Calvary, to the death and resurrection, to new Life. In this Jesus, acting through the priest, also leads back to the Father. He is leading us somewhere.

But leaders do not walk backward facing their followers. They are out front, at the head of the procession. One of the Collects of the Breviary asks that the humble flock may reach where the brave Shepherd has gone before.

But there is usually very little sense of leadership in the current liturgical environment. There seems the unspoken demand that the leader, our celebrant, focus on us, rather than God. His job is to please and enrich us, rather than point to God and insist that we follow. Leadership suffers under this kind of expectation of “enriching” and affirming, rather than summoning to discipleship and pointing unambiguously to God.

The direction of the Liturgy should be an “onward and upward” trajectory. But too often today it is inward, and it is difficult to perceive a motion upward to God or outward to evangelization.

I realize that a post like this will generate considerable controversy. But remember that this is only a discussion. I do not argue for sudden or radical shifts in our liturgical stance, only that we should continue to discuss it and explore various options. I am only a priest, not a bishop and I do not argue that priests act independent of their bishop in significant matters such as this. Further, some settings are better for a change of stance than others. Great pastoral discretion is required in matters like these.

Neither do I argue for a return to Mass wholly facing the altar as was done in the past and still often is in the Extraordinary form. The Liturgy of the Word is authentically directed to the people of God for their edification, instruction and attention. It ought to be proclaimed to and toward them, as is fitting to its purpose and end. But the Eucharistic Prayer is directed to God, and not the celebrant is leading the faithful on procession to God. St. Augustine often ended the his sermon and the Liturgy of the Word by saying, “Let us turn to the Lord” and he then went up to the altar, facing it and leading the people to God.

Ever Ancient, Ever New:
The Role of Beauty
in the Restoration of Catholic Culture

When I began my seminary studies, I had only been a Catholic for a few years. I had converted to the Catholic Church during my undergraduate years at the University of Kansas through a course of studies in the Great Books called the Integrated Humanities Program. When I started seminary, I was still learning the ropes of Catholicism.

In my first semester, I discovered that new seminarians needed to find a spiritual director. A number of my brother seminarians recommended Fr. Anton Morganroth, one of our professors.

Fr. Morganroth was a Jewish convert to the Catholic faith who fled Nazi Germany with his family in 1938. He was a tall, imposing figure. He was both loved and feared by the seminarians.

One day I mustered up the courage to introduce myself to Fr. Morganroth and I asked him if he would take me on for spiritual direction. He gazed down at me in silence, sizing me up, and then simply said “report to my quarters next Tuesday at 7pm.”

After dinner in the refectory, Fr. Morganroth would return to his room to play his piano—he played brilliantly. If you had an appointment with him he would leave the door ajar. You were to simply push the door open and take a seat in a chair next to the piano.

I remember making my way down the hallway toward Fr. Morganroth’s rooms for the first time, hearing beautiful classical piano music coming from his room. The door was ajar. I stood outside the door for a moment and just listened to the music. Eventually I pushed the door open, entered the room and took a seat. He looked over at me from the piano and nodded in approval.

I sat there, listening to the music. There was a musical score on the piano—a Mozart sonata—but Fr. Morganroth had his eyes closed the whole time. He was not reading the music. A few minutes went by. Then five minutes. Then seven minutes. Finally ten minutes went by. He completed the piece and there was silence.

I’ll never forget that silence.

We were both caught up in the beauty of the moment. It was probably the first time I had ever really heard classical music at such close range. It was something like perfection.

After a few moments of silence, eager to get started, I broke the silence and said “so, Father, are we going to have spiritual direction?”

Fr. Morganroth turned. He stared right through me and said “son, zat was your spiritual direction, you can go now.”

I returned the next week and we began our regular sessions, which were wonderful. But it was the beauty of that music that led the way; that opened my heart and mind to the realities of the spiritual life.

Most of us love the truth and beauty of our Catholic faith, and we want to share it with others. Most of us also know that our culture is headed in an alarming direction—toward a crisis that cannot be averted without Jesus Christ and his Church.

In fact, those two concerns—salvation and culture—are deeply related. The Gospel involves more than our individual salvation: it is also a universal mandate to, as Pope St. Pius X said, “restore all things in Christ.” Such a mandate extends beyond our own personal sanctification.

When we speak of evangelization, we mean not only the conversion of individuals, but also the transformation of culture. Christ is Lord of the public square, and our common life, just as he is the Lord of our homes and hearts. Thus, the Church’s evangelistic mission is also a mandate for cultural conversion.

The Second Vatican Council confirmed this cultural mandate, in its decree on the lay apostolate. Chapter II of Apostolicam Actuositatem taught that “Christ’s redemptive work, while essentially concerned with the salvation of men, includes also the renewal of the whole temporal order.”

“Hence,” the council said, “the mission of the Church is not only to bring the message and grace of Christ to men but also to penetrate and perfect the temporal order with the spirit of the Gospel.”

Cultural renewal is essential, because the Catholic faith is not just a private conviction. The mystery of the Incarnation changes everything. Our faith is meant to be the basis of a culture—a shared way of life that uses the things of this world to glorify God.

The great theologians teach us that grace does not abolish the good things of this world. Christ brings them, rather, to their fulfillment. Our faith is incarnational. All truth, all beauty, and all goodness, are “through him” and “for him.” These things are part of God’s redemptive plan. Truth, beauty, and goodness are integral to our salvation.

Faithful Catholics care about truth: like our Lord, we want all people “to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” We care, too, about goodness—especially moral goodness, the life of virtue so often spurned by contemporary culture.

But what about beauty? Where is the place for beauty in our evangelization of the culture?

This is an important question, and one we sometimes overlook or misunderstand. It is this question, the role of beauty in evangelization and cultural renewal that I want to consider.

The title of this essay is Ever Ancient, Ever New: The Role of Beauty in the Restoration of Catholic Culture. The title is taken from a passage in Book X of the Confessions of Saint Augustine. In Chapter X, Saint Augustine laments the fact that it has taken him 33 years to discover the beauty of the divine. In those immortal lines he cries out: “Late have I loved thee, O beauty ever ancient, ever new.”

Beauty is both ancient and new: we are at once surprised and comforted by its presence. Beauty exists in a sphere beyond time. And so beautiful things expose us to the timelessness of eternity.

This is why beauty matters, in an eternal sense. Beauty was part of God’s creative plan in the beginning, and it is just as much a part of his redemptive plan now. God has placed the desire for beauty within our hearts, and he uses that desire to lead us back to himself.

Truth and beauty are both gifts from God. So our New Evangelization must work to make truth beautiful. By means both ancient and new, we must make use of beauty—to infuse Western culture, once more, with the spirit of the Gospel.

By means of earthly beauty, we can help our contemporaries discover the truth of the Gospel. Then, they may come to know the eternal beauty of God—that beauty Saint Augustine described as “ever ancient, ever new.”

II. Encountering the Beauty of Christian Culture
As I mentioned, I am a convert to the Catholic faith. I entered the Church in 1975, under the guidance of one of the 20th century’s great teachers—the late John Senior, co-founder of the Integrated Humanities Program at the University of Kansas. John Senior was my godfather, and his ideas about faith and culture are a continuing inspiration to me.

My godfather loved beauty—not for its own sake, but for the sake of Jesus Christ, the creator and redeemer of beauty. Senior saw the beauty of this world in the light of eternity, and he helped others to acquire the same transcendent vision.

John Senior was not an evangelist, in the traditional sense of the word: he did not preach from a pulpit, or write works of apologetics. His goal in the classroom was not to convert us, but to open our minds to truth, wherever it might be found. And he did that primarily through the imagination.

In his own unusual way, Senior was a remarkably gifted evangelist. He had a deep love for the Church, and for the beauty of historic Christian culture. And that love was infectious. There were literally hundreds of converts to the Catholic Church at the University of Kansas in the 1970’s.

The Integrated Humanities program ran from 1970 to 1979, a decade that, with the exception of some really great rock and roll, was a cultural wasteland.

When I began the program, there was little of Christendom’s rich history in my cultural formation. At the University of Kansas, my fellow students and I had very little sense of our own cultural inheritance. We were ignorant of Western civilization’s founding truths, and we had only a passing acquaintance with the beauty they had inspired.

Our lives had largely been shaped by the crass appeals of the mass media, and the passing fads of popular culture. There was a lack of truth in our lives, certainly; but there was also a profound lack of beauty. Our souls were starving for both, and we did not even know it.

But John Senior knew what we were lacking. His fellow professors, Dennis Quinn and Frank Nelick, also knew. They knew that students had to encounter beauty, and have their hearts and imaginations captured first by beauty, before they could pursue truth and goodness in a serious and worthy manner.

Truth was the ultimate goal. But the search for truth involved certain habits of mind, and habits of life, which we—as students—did not have. Our pursuit of truth required an initiation into beauty: the beauty of music, visual art and architecture, nature, poetry, dance, calligraphy, and many other things.

Through these experiences of beauty, we gained a sense of wonder; and that sense of wonder gave us a passion for truth. The motto of the IHP was a famous little Latin phrase: Nascantur in Admiratione(“let them be born in wonder”).

The experience of beauty changed us. When we studied the great philosophers and theologians, we were open to their words. We no longer assumed that truth was found in the dictates of popular culture—just as we no longer saw modern fads and fashions as the pinnacle of beauty. Truth is perennial and beauty is timeless.

As I mentioned, a large number of students became Catholic through the Integrated Humanities Program. But this was not the result of proselytism in the classroom nor was it engaging in apologetics. It occurred because we became lovers of beauty, and thus, seekers of truth. Beauty gave us “eyes to see” and “ears to hear,” when we encountered the Gospel and the Christian tradition.

III. The Transcendent Language of Beauty
I know, from experience, that beauty can reach people who seem unreachable. It can open their minds to truths they might otherwise dismiss. Even hardened skeptics and postmodernists find it hard to deny the reality of beauty, when they encounter it in a setting conducive to contemplation and reflection.

We have to realize that our ambient secular culture has a tight grip on the imagination. It is hard to break through. But the power of beauty still has a force that can penetrate even the hardest of hearts.

The experience of beauty is transformative. It awakens a sense within us, that life is meaningful on the most profound level. Beauty can move us to humility, giving us a sense of wonder before the mystery of life. The encounter with beauty speaks to us about the true, awe-inspiring nature of existence.

This is why we speak of beauty as something “transcendent.” Every instance of real beauty points beyond itself, toward the infinite perfection of God. He invested this world with many forms of captivating beauty, so that created things would lead us to contemplate the transcendent glory of the Creator.

We can think of beauty as a kind of language, through which God speaks to our hearts and souls. He is always speaking in this way—to all of us—believers and nonbelievers alike.

The beauty of creation declares the glory of God, even to those who do not yet believe. In beauty, the Lord reveals himself. In a similar way, artistic beauty shows us that man is made in the Creator’s image—even if the artist himself does not acknowledge this fact.

The language of beauty is especially important in our time, because we live in a period of grave intellectual and moral confusion.

Beauty is not the only language God uses to communicate his glory. Our Creator also speaks to our souls through intellectual truth and moral goodness.

But these forms of communication have become problematic. Many people, especially in modern Western culture, are too intellectually and morally confused to receive such a message.

God still speaks to these individuals in the language of truth and goodness. But their understanding is blocked by popular misconceptions—especially the idea that truth and goodness are purely subjective, and thus relative to the individual or group. “To each his own” or “who’s to say.” What Pope Benedict called the “dictatorship of relativism.”

Fr. Robert Barron, the Rector of Saint Mary of the Lake Seminary in Chicago, a theologian and great communicator of the faith, has lately taught that in the New Evangelization we must “lead with beauty.” Fr. Barron says that postmodern man might scoff at truth and goodness, but he’s still enthralled with beauty. He says that beauty is the arrowhead of evangelization, the point with which the evangelist pierces the minds and hearts of those he evangelizes.

To say with the poet, “look up, look up at the stars” is to point to creation or even to an artistic achievement, invites the nonbeliever first to appreciate what is and then to consider the origin of that which is.

In a cultural environment bereft of wonder, beauty takes on an even greater importance than it would otherwise have. Something in the experience of beauty is almost undeniable, even for the person who rejects the idea of objective truth or goodness. Beauty can get through, where other forms of divine communication may not.

When we begin with beauty, this can then lead to a desire to want to know the truth of the thing that is drawing us, a desire to participate in it. And then the truth can inspire us to do the good, to strive after virtue.

In one of his pre-papal writings, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the experience of being “wounded by the arrow of beauty.” That is a wonderful image for an experience shared by believers and non-believers alike. God’s “arrow of beauty” can pierce through many layers of confusion and error.

When that arrow reaches its target, a way opens within the heart. The search for truth becomes possible, and an obstacle to faith disappears.

IV. Beauty in the New Evangelization
Clearly, beauty has a major role to play in the New Evangelization. I want to conclude with three points of guidance, which will help us incorporate beauty in our re-evangelization of Western culture.

The first point—and the most essential—is that we must present the truths of faith in a beautiful way. Our liturgical worship, in particular, must reflect God’s own beauty and holiness.

Worship, after all, is the basis of Christian culture. The beauty of the sacred liturgy is meant to radiate outward into the world. Liturgical beauty shapes the common life of believers, and it can also help to attract those who are outside the Church.

A leading liturgical scholar, Monsignor Nicola Bux, has said that: “a mystical liturgy celebrated with dignity can be a great help for people searching to find God.”

“Historically,” he notes, “great converts were struck by grace while attending solemn rites and listening to extraordinary chants.”

Monsignor Bux is right. To renew Catholic culture, and evangelize our contemporaries, we must restore beauty to the sacred liturgy. If we cannot restore beauty and holiness to our sanctuaries, we will not be able to restore it anywhere else.

My second recommendation is that we familiarize ourselves with the beauty of historic Christian culture. We do not all have to be scholars like John Senior. But we should open our hearts and minds to the beautiful things that the Incarnation has made possible.

Recently the fledgling monastery of Benedictine Nuns north of Kansas City have recorded two beautiful CDs of Gregorian chant for the record label Decca and sales have gone through the roof. People recognize beauty when they see it and hear it.

The Benedictine Monks of Clear Creek, the founders of whom are fellow classmates of mine from the IHP, started the monastery with 12 monks in 1999 and now count 42—all young and living lives of prayer and work, ora et labora—centered on chanting in Latin the psalms throughout the day.

It is interesting to talk to the local Oklahoma farmers who have lived in the area for generations, an area which has very few Catholics. They are enamored with the monks. Farming, and friendship, is an important point of common ground. Through dialogue and friendship, we can help the world to understand the Christian worldview that inspired the beauty we all appreciate.

Finally, I would suggest that we open our own minds to beauty, in all its manifestations. It is often said that all truth is God’s truth, wherever one finds it; and the same can be said of beauty: all genuine beauty belongs to God, wherever it may be found.

Christian culture is a supreme expression of beauty in the service of truth. But there is beauty to be found everywhere, throughout God’s creation and the field of culture. The Jesuit priest and poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, a favorite of Pope Francis, wrote that the whole world was “charged with the grandeur of God,” for those with eyes to see it.

So we must develop our own appreciation of beauty, wherever it exists. Then we can help others to see beauty for what it is: an earthly reflection of God’s glory—a glory that leads to truth and goodness.

V. Conclusion
In the midst of our present cultural crisis, we can take courage, knowing that God is not silent. He continues to speak powerfully by means of beauty, even to those who have become dulled to the realities of truth and goodness.

“Beauty will save the world,” wrote Dostoevsky. It will. When it points to God’s enduring love.

There are many souls to rescue, and a vast cultural wasteland to restore. Both tasks will require fluency in God’s language of beauty.

To speak this language, we must first begin to listen. And to listen, we must have silence in our lives. I pray that God will open our eyes and ears to beauty, and help us use it in the service of the Truth.

The Ordinary Form of Holy Mass
A comparison of the four Eucharistic Prayers of the Ordinary Form

How to Actively Participate at Any Mass
by Susanna Spencer

Six Ways to Internally Participate in God’s Action in the Liturgy:
1. Prepare as much as you can, especially for Sunday Mass. Read the readings before the Liturgy, so when you here them again, your heart can be open more fully to God’s Word.
2. Focus your attention on the unchanging parts of the Mass. The basics will always be there, no matter what else is added in or not. The OF and the EF have the same basic parts, especially the Eucharist, and that is where unity can be found between them.
3. Follow in a missal or missalette, if you can. I have found that even when I have heard a Eucharistic Prayer hundreds of times, I pay so much more attention to God’s actions when I read along.
4. If you can’t read along, exert yourself to listen, watch, and pray. The action at the altar is where God acts. You can join your heart with the sacrifice on the altar; the sacrifice is ours to take part in.
5. Memorize or have with you a devotional prayer for before receiving the Eucharist and another for after. This helps greatly with remembering that the liturgy is for our salvation. My favorite before and after where written by St. Thomas Aquinas.
6. If something is distracting for you, offer it up, and focus on the real action, which is God’s. This was the hardest thing for me when I discovered the richness of the Church’s liturgical tradition. But when I was able to get over my nit-pickiness, I learned to move beyond what I wished was different, and seek God in the liturgy.


Ritual Movement

The manner in which the Mass is celebrated is essential to understanding Who and what is being celebrated.

The Mass is the person of the Church in communion with her Lord, Jesus Christ. Jesus meets His bride at the holy altar of sacrifice as heaven descends to earth in the sanctuary before the people. Oriented to the returning Lord, the people offer themselves and the whole world at the hands of the priest who, being an icon of Christ, leads the people to their Groom.

In order to better foster Catholic worship, the rubrics of the Ordinary Form Liturgy must necessarily be refined to enhance the gestural or non-verbal dimension of the Mass, the gestures or ritual movements which affirm in a profound and poetic manner the theological details which saturate the Mass and point to Christ.

The sacred gestures and liturgical rhythm of the Extraordinary Form offer a wellspring of truth, goodness and beauty or artfulness from which the Ordinary Form can draw and thus awaken worshippers to a nuanced sense of the sacred and profound prayer.

St. John Paul II on The Mass

Hence, I feel it my duty to make an urgent call to attention so that liturgical norms are observed with great fidelity in the Eucharistic celebration. They are concrete expressions of the authentic ecclesiality of the Eucharist; this is its most profound meaning. The liturgy is never someone's private property, either of the celebrant or of the community in which the mysteries are celebrated. John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, No. 10. n. 52. Cf. also Vatican Council II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, No. 28.

True Development of The Liturgy
An excerpt from an article by Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith

What is most clear to any reader of Giampietro’s True Development of the Liturgy is that, as Cardinal Ratzinger stated, “the true time of Vatican II has not yet come.” The reform has to go on. The immediate need seems to be that of a reform of the Missal of 1969, for quite a number of changes originating within the postconciliar reform seem to have been introduced somewhat hastily and unreflectively, as Cardinal Antonelli himself repeatedly stated. The change must be made to fall in line with Sacrosanctum Concilium itself, and it must indeed go even further, keeping with the spirit of our own times. 

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