Holy Mass: "evocation of the Eternal" or "condemned to an internal death"?

John Henry Cardinal Newman

“Nothing is so consoling, so piercing, so thrilling, so overcoming, as the Mass, said as it is among us. I could attend Mass forever, and not be tired. It is not a mere form of words; it is a great action. The greatest action that can be on earth. It is. . .the evocation of the Eternal.”

Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, Problemi e risultati del Concilio Vaticano II, Brescia: Queriniana, 1967, pp. 25-27

"…The [liturgical] additions of the late Middle Ages were eliminated, and at the same time severe measures were adopted to prevent a rebirth. … At that time, the fate of the Western liturgy was linked to a set authority, which worked in a strictly bureaucratic way, lacking any historic vision and considering the problem of the liturgy from the sole viewpoint of rubrics and ceremonies, like a problem of etiquette in a saint’s court, so to speak.

"As a consequence of this link, there was a complete archeologization of the liturgy, which from the state of a living history was changed into that of pure conservation and, therefore, condemned to an internal death. Liturgy became once and forever a closed construction, firmly petrified. The more it was concerned about the integrity of pre-existent formulas, the more it lost its connection to concrete devotions …

“In this situation, the baroque carved it [the liturgy] superimposing a people’s para-liturgy over its true and proper archeologized liturgy. The solemn baroque mass, through the splendor of the orchestra’s performance, became a kind of sacred opera, in which the songs of the priest had their role as did the alternating recitals. … On the ordinary days that did not allow such a performance, devotions that followed the people’s mentality were often added to the mass…”

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