No ‘reform of the reform,’ no realignment: Papal spokesman

July 12, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-lead

Vatican, July 12, 2016: Explicitly rejecting the term “reform of the reform,” the Vatican has released a statement clarifying that no changes are planned for the celebration of the Mass, Crux reports.

The statement released by Fr Federico Lombardi came in the wake of recent comments by Congregation for Divine Worship Prefect, Cardinal Robert Sarah, recommending that priests celebrate Mass ad orientem.

Fr Lombardi also rejected the vocabulary of a “reform of the reform” in liturgical practice, saying that phrase is “at times the source of misunderstandings.”

He said the decision to release a statement clarifying comments made by Cardinal Sarah, of Guinea, came after the prelate met with Pope Francis on Saturday.

“Cardinal Sarah has always been rightly concerned about the dignity of the celebration of the Mass, in order to adequately express an attitude of respect and adoration of the Eucharistic mystery,” Fr Lombardi said.

The Papal spokesman added that some of Cardinal Sarah’s expressions had been misinterpreted by the press, as a signal that changes in liturgical norms were imminent.

“It is very important that we return as soon as possible to a common orientation, of priests and the faithful turned together in the same direction – eastwards, or at least towards the apse – to the Lord who comes,” Cardinal Sarah had said on July 5, opening a conference in London called Sacra Liturgia.

Meanwhile, British Cardinal Vincent Nichols has written to priests in Westminster diocese discouraging them from celebrating Mass facing east, The Catholic Herald adds.

Cardinal Nichols said that Mass was not the time for priests to “exercise personal preference or taste,” and “as the last paragraph of the GIRM states so clearly, ‘The Roman Missal, though in a diversity of languages and with some variety of customs, must in the future be safeguarded as an instrument and an outstanding sign of the integrity and unity of the Roman Rite’ (399).”

After the London conference, Cardinal Sarah paid a personal visit to Cardinal Nichols, The Herald says.

Meanwhile, Fr Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civiltà Cattolica, tweeted citations from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal in favour of Mass facing the people.

“The altar should be built apart from the wall in such a way that Mass can be celebrated at it facing the people” and “the priest, facing the people and extending and then joining his hands, invites the people to pray,” he tweeted.

The Catholic Weekly cited American Jesuit Fr Bruce Morrill, of Vanderbilt University, who noted that Cardinal Sarah’s statement was not official.

“He was speaking to an annual meeting of an erratic conservative group . . . Those directives don’t happen in speeches and interviews” like those Cardinal Sarah has given, Fr Morrill said.

– cna

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