Thursday, October 10, 2002

Good words on the liturgy from the new bishop of Regensburg

The members of the clergy often try to attract the interest of a bored generation with entertaining initiatives, for example, inviting the children to come to Mass wearing their carnival clothes or attracting people who have little to do with faith and with the Church through rock and pop concerts, for which the liturgy is only the exterior setting.

A profound discrepancy can be found between the official liturgy and the lack of reception of its deeper meaning. In [Middle] European countries participation in the Sunday eucharistic celebrations is drastically reduced. Many appear unaware that this is an encounter with Jesus Christ, who has offered us the gift of the Eucharist so that we may reach God in communion with the crucified and resurrected Lord, who is the reason for our lives and makes sense of them.

Many forms of devotion have also been lost to the extent that the liturgy is no longer based on a profound life of faith and hence cannot provide results. The "table of the Word of God" ("Sacrosanctum Concilium," No. 51; "Dei Verbum," No. 21) has never been so richly laid out for the faithful as it is today. But knowledge of the Bible, not to speak of a lively knowledge of the Scriptures, has reached a terrifyingly low level even in Protestant circles.

It is with reason that there are complaints concerning increased uncontrolled liturgy. The judgment of so-called spontaneous liturgy, altered and with a reduced meaning, even denies a number of truths of the faith, this due to a lack of understanding of the essence of the ecclesial liturgy.

Omissions and mistakes in the doctrine of God, in Christology and in ecclesiology cause both a crisis and the defeat of the liturgy, from the moment that interior law is no longer decisive, but the criteria of entertainment are instead applied.

The liturgy in the Christian sense should not provoke romantic feelings, setting off social and political actions nor should it involve people in a pseudo-religious sense, but rather strengthen the faithful. The point of the liturgy is not to make us feel good, causing us to feel happy and allowing us to forget daily matters for a moment.

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