Sunday, September 25

One Week

The Bishops' Synod on the Eucharist is one week away. I am very excited for this synod.

I was reading through one of the working documents
located here

62. In other responses some lamented the poor quality of translations of liturgical texts and many musical texts in current languages, maintaining that they lacked beauty and were sometimes theologically unclear, thereby contributing to a weakening of Church teaching and to a misunderstanding of prayer. A few responses made particular mention of music and singing at Youth Masses. In this regard, it is important to avoid musical forms which, because of their profane use, are not conducive to prayer. Some responses note a certain eagerness in composing new songs, to the point of almost yielding to a consumer mentality, showing little concern for the quality of the music and text, and easily overlooking the artistic patrimony which has been theologically and musically effective in the Church’s liturgy.

64. Some responses reported other occurrences, opposed to afore-mentioned Church tradition, which obscure the sense of the sacred and the transcendent character of the sacred mysteries. For example, many new Churches—not to mention older ones after renovation—are built on the fundamental architectural plan of bringing the faithful into close proximity to the altar to ensure visual contact and communication between the celebrant and the assembly. Likewise, the tendency to turn the altar around to face the people—in practice eliminating the presbytery—is based on the same idea. In doing so, what might be gained in communication might not sufficiently safeguard a sense of the sacred, which is also an essential part of liturgical celebrations.

66. The responses consistently ask for greater times and spaces dedicated to adoration and meditation. Indeed, because of the frenetic pace of life today, people need to stop, think and pray. Various religions, for the most part in the East, propose meditation according to their particular religious traditions. In light of this challenge, Christians are called upon to rediscover the beauty of adoration, of personal and communal prayer, of silence and of meditation. Christianity teaches that these are a personal encounter with the Blessed Trinity, in Jesus Christ, risen and present in the Eucharist, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to the praise of God the Father.

I've actually had parish priests tell me that the Eucharist is "not about having Jesus inside of you," but about the (metaphorical) sprinking of His Blood on the people as a whole. Hmm.

75. Some responses, however, are less encouraging... the placing of the tabernacle in a separate or little-noticed place, which a good part of the faithful, upon entering the Church, cannot easily find, thus making them unaware of the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and keeping them from praying...

I hope every liturgist on the planet just heard that the little Eucharist Cubicle they built to our grandmothers' dismay was not actually "in conformity with Vatican 2," but a disappointment to the Church herself.

Now, granted, the schema for councils and synods do not always reflect the actual decrees of councils and synods. But it's better than a sharp stick in the eye. And, since this working document is a compendium of the responses of the world's bishops, I think there will be some correlation between the contents of the working document here mentioned and the synod's final recommendations.

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