Siden jeg nå for alvor begynner å lese p. Louis Bouyers bøker om liturgi (først med boken Eucharist), innser jeg at jeg nok burde ha gjort det tidligere. Jeg publiserer her innlegg på min blogg som jeg skrev for snart seks år siden, der det refereres til Bouyer og hans nokså karakteristiske jødiske synspunkter på teologien. Slik skrev jeg for seks år siden som innledning til et sitat: I John Baldovins bok (som jeg nevnte HER), som i utgangspunktet er kritisk til kritikerne av den nye messen, men som gjengir disse kritikernes synspunkter ganske så presist, er det også en beskrivelse av pave Benedikts/ kardinal Ratzingers synspunkter på liturgiforandringene, bl.a. dette:
Of all the liturgical questions on which he has written, Cardinal Ratzinger has clearly created the most stir with his attitude toward the orientation of the priest-celebrant at Mass … To understand the stance he has taken, one must appreciate his theory of the development of church architecture. Basically he has accepted the theories put forward by Louis Bouyer in his famous Liturgy and Architecture. Bouyer argued a direct link between the architecture of Jewish synagogues and the development of Christian church buildings, with the latter oriented toward the east instead of toward Jerusalem. In place of the ark containing the Torah, Christians set up the cross of Christ. Ratzinger sees in the «orientation» (literally east-facing) of Christian churches an attitude of eschatological expectation. The cross symbolizes the returning Christ, who will rise like the sun. Thus the priest in offering the sacrifice faced east and the altar was placed near the eastern apse of the church building. Ratzinger emphatically insists that in the early church it was never a question of «facing the people» (versus populum) or not but rather one of orientation. …
For Ratzinger the position of the altar is «at the center of the postconciliar debate.» Having the priest face the people has caused a fundamental shift, essentially a novelty, in the meaning of the liturgy which now looks like a communal meal.» As we have seen above, he rejects this as a one-sided interpretation that fails to take the sacrifice aspect of the liturgy into account. To make matters worse, the liturgy now becomes primarily a matter of roles, since the priest’s role has been so greatly accentuated and others need to have their functions too. The problem with all this for Ratzinger is that the liturgy devolves info a «self-enclosed circle» rather than worship directed toward God. There is some accuracy to his criticism of a liturgy that has focused more and more on the role-and personality of the priest. The great irony here is that in the pre-Vatican II liturgy the priest was not all that important (except when he sang badly). The «success» of the liturgy had little to do with his personality, except for the fact that people might prefer the piety and devotion of one priest over another. Now, I would agree, too much can depend on the personality of the priest, who must exercise enormous self-discipline in not succumbing to the temptation to put himself forward.
In his reply to Pierre-Marie Gy, Ratzinger has recently reiterated that he does not necessarily want a return to the eastward position. He regards his own stance as rather nuanced. It involves three factors:
1. He thinks there should be a separate space for the proclamation of the Word.
2. In large churches where the apse altar is a great distance from the people, an altar should be constructed closer to them.
3. Altars need not be «turned around» again. Instead, the «liturgical East» can be symbolized by a cross in the center of the altar toward which both priest and people face.
He puts the last point this way: «To be able to fix our gaze, all of us together, on him who is the Creator, the one who receives US into the cosmic liturgy, and who shows us also the path of history; this is what would enable us to recover the dimension of deep unity that exists between the priest and the faithful within their common priesthood.” Elsewhere he had already regarded moving the cross on the altar to one side an absurd phenomenon in the liturgical reform. I think it is fair to say, however, that he wishes that the altars had never been «turned around.»