Man tuller ikke med sakramentene

Ei ny bok ble nylig presentert i Roma med denne tittelen; på italiensk «Con i Sacramenti non si Scherza». Forfatter er msgr Nicola Bux, og ved bokpresentasjonen var flere viktige teologer og geistlige til stede. Flere av disse uttalte seg svært negativt om liturgiske trender i dagens Kirke, kardinal Sarah sa bl.a.: «As Pope Benedict XVI repeatedly pointed out, in the decades since the Council we have witnessed deformations of the liturgy which are hard to bear, in a never-ending crescendo.» Og: «In the church today there is too much man and not enough God”.

Fr. Anthony Ruff på liturgibloggen PrayTell syns denne massive kritikken av dagens liturgi er overdrevet og lite nyttig, og sier bl.a.:

Cardinal Burke had his own bit of gaudium and spes to add to the occasion: there has been a “deformation of the sacraments in the name of creativity” since the Council. It appears that sacraments have become “private property” in some communities. But “Christ is the protagonist, not the priest.”

The cardinals are not entirely wrong, in my view. Sure, lots of things have gone wrong with the liturgy since the Council – lots of silliness, tackiness, misunderstanding, failed experiments, and all the rest. Might as well admit that. But overall, the cardinals’ diagnosis of the situation misses the mark. Their proposals are unhelpful and could even end up doing more harm than good. I think there’s an attitude problem here. Such unrelenting negativity does not help build up the church. ….

Let’s talk about creativity. It often feels to me like Cardinal Burke, and people like him, are fighting yesterday’s battles. So much of the misplaced creativity since Vatican II, which probably peaked sometime back in the 70s or so, has long since calmed down. If one were to trek around and sit in on lots of parish liturgies, I suspect one would find more of the opposite problem, especially among younger clergy: a rigid and off-putting ritualism, a formality that feels contrived – which is deadly to the true liturgical spirit, and a legalism that gets lost in minutiae and sometimes excludes and hurts people. Rather than focusing on yesterday’s problems, it would be more forward-looking to deal constructively with today’s. Let’s talk about ascendant tendencies now that merit critique and need some gentle redirection.

Burke is on to something when he says that the priest is not the protagonist, Christ is. But I observe that there are two ways for the presiding priest to draw attention to himself: by being a game show host, and by conspicuously imposing his Tridentine piety on the community’s liturgy.

Furthermore, instead of just railing at silly creativity (and I’m capable of that too – my personal liturgical tastes can tend toward the elitist and elegant), why don’t we talk about why it went off the rails at times? A little understanding and empathy would be helpful.

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