Three excerpts from Monsignor’s Talk…the entire can be read at
The Classical Roman Rite and the Renewal of the Liturgy"
Conference by Monsignor R. Michael Schmitz
February 19, 2007
Centrality of the Mass in the Life of the Church
“But as a young priest, as a young seminarian, I learned nearly nothing about the liturgy. The only thing that I really learned about the liturgy in depth, I may say a little jokingly, was in a half-course, how to purify the chalice in the quickest way. I am not an exception. There are many young priests or not so young, like me now, that have never been introduced to the mystery of the liturgy. And with the many priests, innumerous faithful have not been taught that the most important action of the Church is the liturgical action, is to honor God, is to put God in the middle of all what we do. God comes first. This reality has been totally forgotten. And we know that what has afterwards been called the anthropological change has dethroned God and has centered our attention on poor human nature. All of a sudden the Church, with Her majesty, cannot seem to turn any longer around the mystery of the altar but seems to incline Herself in front of this little slave of sin that is called Man.”
“Therefore, the first step we must take, along with the Holy Father, within our own life and existence, is that we recognize this powerful reality of the centrality of the Mass in the life of the Church. And with the Mass, of the whole liturgy, the liturgy of the sacraments, the liturgy of the Divine Office, the liturgy that the whole Church lives from morning to evening, the liturgy that still today is celebrated without end, 24 hours a day throughout the entire globe for the glorification of God. This used to be a uniform liturgy with many beautiful expressions, but it would always incessantly say “holy, holy, holy,” with all of its details and expressions throughout the whole world. If you destroy that, if you diminish it, if you touch it, then, the heart of the Church perhaps does not stop beating, but the beats of this heart will be weakened and the energy of the Church, the energy of the proclamation of the truth, the energy to battle the enemy, will get weaker and weaker. And that is what we are witnessing.”
“First of all, we have to understand that the Mass is in the first place a sacrifice. I will not linger on that because you all know it. In primi sacrificium est. In his famous letter, Dominicae Cenae, John Paul II said that the Church teaches, as always, that the Eucharist is in the first place a sacrifice. We cannot emphasize this too much. Even the part of the Mass that has the form of a meal – and I speak of communion (and you know that communion of the people is not necessary for the validity of the Mass) – even this part of the Mass is clearly a sacrificial banquet. It is not an ordinary meal. Everyone has known, right from the beginning, that this meal is the consequence of the sacrifice that God gives to him in order to strengthen him with the sacrificial fruit of the sacrifice of Christ. The Traditional Latin Mass makes that very clear.”