Cdl Schoenborn: Innovative Liturgy Should Cease

In an interview with the Kath.Net news service, Cardinal Schönborn stressed that “liturgy is always the liturgy of the Church, the liturgy of the whole people of God.” The Church’s liturgical directives, he explained, ensure that the Mass is always the worship of “the community of the Church Universal.”

Liturgical guidelines, the Austrian cardinal continued, are designed to ensure that “Jesus Christ is the center of the liturgy.” The personality of the celebrant should not distract attention from the Sacrifice of the Mass, he said. Cardinal Schönborn cited the British apologist C. S. Lewis, who once wrote to a friend: “What I desire as a layman is just this one and only thing, that I am not forced to think all the time during the service: ‘What is is crossing the celebrant’s mind now again, for God’s sake?’”

Arguing against individual efforts to bring new “relevance” to the Mass, the cardinal observed: “Death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are made present for us. Can there be anything more magnificent than this event?” He argued that the priest’s personal devotion to a faithful celebration of the liturgy would help the congregation as well. “It is no coincidence,” Cardinal Schönborn said, “that the event, the Holy Mass, is particularly impressive when the celebrant is deeply moved by the secret that he is celebrating.”

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