Når presten vender seg mot folket, kan Gud forsvinne – og presten komme for mye i sentrum

I dokumentet jeg nevnte i går siteres Ratzinger ang. spørsmålet om å snu alterne etter Vatikankonsilet. Når folket og presten er vendt mot hverandre, er faren at Gud kan forsvinne ut av bildet, og presten (faktisk) kan komme altfor mye i sentrum.

«The turning of the priest towards the people has turned the community into a self-enclosed circle. In its outward form, it no longer opens out on what lies ahead and above, but is closed in on itself.» (Spirit of the Liturgy, p. 80) Answering the common objection that once upon a time the priest rudely turned his back on the people, Ratzinger says, «The common turning towards the East was not a ‘celebration towards the wall’; it did not mean that the priest ‘had his back to the people’: the priest himself was not regarded as so important.» In the liturgy, he notes, «the congregation looked together ‘towards the Lord.’ … it was much more a question of priest and people facing in the same direction, knowing that together they were in a procession towards the Lord. They did not close themselves into a circle, they did not gaze at one another, but as the pilgrim People of God they set off for the Oriens, for the Christ who comes to meet us.» (ibid.)

Ratzinger points to this specific issue of priestly orientation as an example of how a problem that the Council intended to correct actually became a greater problem after the reforms. The problem of «clericalization» certainly existed prior to the Council; the liturgy appeared to be a thing belonging entirely to the priests – as Ratzinger notes, «it must be admitted that the celebration of the old liturgy had strayed too far into a private individualism, and that communication between priest and people was insufficient.»

… but … did the implementation of the Council’s reforms really solve this problem (of clericalization)? On the contrary, it seems that clericalization has reached a new level. With the re-orientation of the priest towards the people, Ratzinger says «an unprecedented clericalization came on the scene. Now the priest … becomes the real point of reference for the whole liturgy. Everything depends on him. We have to see him, to respond to him, to be involved in what he is doing. His creativity sustains the whole thing.» (Spirit of the Liturgy, pp. 79-80) As a result, says Ratzinger, «people try to reduce this newly created role by assigning all kinds of liturgical functions to different individuals and entrusting the ‘creative’ planning of the liturgy to groups of people who like to, and are supposed to, ‘make their own contribution.’ Less and less is God in the picture. More and more important is what is done by the human beings who meet here and do not like to subject themselves to a ‘pre-determined pattern.'» (ibid.)

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