The word culture comes from the Latin cultus where we also receive the word cult. A culture is defined by what it worships – what is at the center of its heart. Blessed John Paul II in Crossing the Threshold of Hope stated that we live in a culture of death – or the worship of death. It is for this reason that liturgy is neither an expression of religious piety not an ancient ritual reserved for the initiated. It is both and far, far more. Liturgy is how we will renew and revive the culture:
It is fitting that liturgical celebration tends to express itself in the culture of the people where the Church finds herself, though without being submissive to it. Moreover, the liturgy itself generates cultures and shapes them. (CCC1207)
Thus the liturgy has primacy of place as a catechesis for the Church and culture. It is here where God Himself teaches us and forms us. In fact, Servant of God Paul VI during his “Address for the Closing of the Second Period, December 4, 1963, AAS , 34″ (Papal Message) said the following:
In this event we observe that the correct order has been respected of the values and duties: thus we have recognized that the post of honor is reserved to God; that as first duty we are called to raise prayers to God; that the sacred Liturgy is the primary source of this divine exchange in which the life of God is communicated to us; it is the first school of our soul, it is the first gift that must be made by us to the Christian people. [emphasis mine]
Not only is it the formative principal of our lives and culture but the “source from which all of the Church’s power flows” (Sacrosanctum Concilium,10).
It is for this reason many have noted that the confusion in the liturgy since the Second Vatican Council has seriously contributed to the confusion in the culture. Louie Verrecchio in his February 15, 2013 article, “Spiritual warfare and the Pope’s resignation,” provides some great insight into the renewal of the Church, through the liturgy, after the Council. Pope Benedict XVI said during his 2005 Christmas address to the Curia, that
the “hermeneutic of reform”, of renewal in the continuity of the one subject-Church which the Lord has given to us. She is a subject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God.
He continued saying,
The hermeneutic of discontinuity risks ending in a split between the pre-conciliar Church and the post-conciliar Church. It asserts that the texts of the Council as such do not yet express the true spirit of the Council. It claims that they are the result of compromises in which, to reach unanimity, it was found necessary to keep and reconfirm many old things that are now pointless.
Of course, this is clearly seen in the pre/post-Council liturgy. When the Holy Father wanted to heal the dicontinuity he issued Summorum Pontificum. Now, while I have a great appreciation for the Extraordinary Form (EF) and the rich symbolism and tradition it provides for us, I appreciate just as much the Novus Ordo (properly celebrated) for its patristic nobility the Council Fathers desired to communicate. That being said, I would prefer that they would learn from each other in order for us to experience more of the continuity from past to present and give us a liturgy that is faithful to our Tradition which in turn, will effectively communicate to this generation.
Mr. Verrecchio boldly concludes his article stating,
Mark my words: We will know what the immediate future holds for the Church based upon just one observation; namely, the liturgical mindset of Pope Benedict’s successor.
If the man who is chosen has a distaste for the Traditional Mass, then rest assured, regardless of any apparent orthodox bonafides the new pope may have, the modernists will succeed in making Catholic life difficult.
If, however, they elect a man who loves the Tridentine Rite, celebrates it often, and continues to do so as pope, know for a fact that while tribulation is most certainly coming, we are moving in the right direction.
If this is the case, then the following cardinals have celebrated the Traditional Latin Mass (Provided by Rorate Caeli). They include:
- Philippe Cardinal Barbarin
- Raymond Cardinal Burke
- Carlo Cardinal Caffarra
- Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera
- Velasio Cardinal De Paolis
- George Cardinal Pell
- Albert Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith
- Jean-Pierre Cardinal Ricard
- Franc Cardinal Rodé
- Juan Cardinal Sandoval Íñiguez
- John Cardinal Tong Hon
- André Cardinal Vingt-Trois
Could it be that one of these men are our future pontiff? We will see. Until then, I thought I would provide some more food for thought. Would love to hear yours!