In his address to the Conference (Cardinal Ranjith) spoke of the lack of faith in many parts of the Church itself, a lack of faith in the objective presence of the Lord in the Holy Eucharist. He thought there was often a lack of wonder and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, quoting St Augustine saying, “We would sin if we did not adore Him before receiving Him.”
The Cardinal spoke of the meaningless and tasteless (in many senses) experience of the Eucharist in many parishes because of a noisy and frenetic atmosphere that was no longer devout, adoring and contemplative. These aspects are not of choice but essential to a celebration of the Mass – an experience much more usual in the “Tridentine” Mass.
Of the priest facing the people instead of the Lord, he said that it promoted an attitude of showmanship, a silent body language of entertainment inevitably enters into the Mass. It is an innovation never advocated by the Second Vatican Council and is not respectful of the awesome mystery of the Holy Eucharist. (There was here an extended interruption for as applause echoed around the auditorium.)
He re-iterated the view that active participation does not mean outward activity but interior adoration, which takes a great deal of effort and spiritual activity. Later over dinner he was also telling us of some of the changes he has made in his own diocese:
Each and every church has altar rails once again for the reception of Holy Communion, which is to be received kneeling. The allowance to deviate from the universal norm of Holy Communion on the tongue has been withdrawn. So Communion is always on the tongue. …
Personlig syns jeg disse tre tingene som nevnes her, er de aller mest problematiske med dagens katolske messepraksis; at presten feirer eukaristien vendt rett mot folk (heller enn mot Gud, vendt samme vei som folket), og at kommunionen mottas stående og i hånden. Og det underligste er at disse tingene ikke en gang ble nevnt under konsilet; de ble heller ikke innført med messereformen i 1969; det har faktisk ikke blitt bestmt noe sted at det skal være slik – det har bare blitt slik. Pave benedikt har pogså argumentert grundig med denne praksisen, men det er ytterst få som følger ham.