Cardinal Ranjith on Liturgical Priorities

People have misconceptions about evangelization as if it is something we ourselves, with human effort, can achieve. This is a basic misunderstanding. What the Lord wanted us to do was to join him and his mission. The mission is His mission. If we think we are the ones to be finding grandiose plans to achieve that, we are on the wrong track. The missionary life of the Church is the realization of our union with Him, and this union is achieved in the most tangible way through the liturgy. Therefore, the more the Church is united with the Lord in the celebration of the liturgy, the more fruitful the mission of the Church will become. That is why this is very important.

A very rich interview here. 

18 Replies to “Cardinal Ranjith on Liturgical Priorities”

  1. Mr Pentin can't seem to avoid some leading questions.

    Archbishop Ranjith is incorrect to suggest the 1962 rite has anything unique to offer the modern Roman Rite. We're still trying to get out from underneath its traps of minimalism, a poverty of Scripture, clericalism, and a lack of connection to the enterprise of evangelization.

    As for the connection between the Eucharist and evangelization, I can see a needful connection to prayer. Missionaries depended on prayer even when the access to clergy was reduced or non-existent.


  2. Out of curiosity, Mr Todd, are you old enough to have assisted at Mass in the old form?

    You look about my age in your pictures, and I am a cradle Catholic who doesn't remember the old Mass, even though my parents certainly took me.

    And since you seem to have some animosity towards it I will go out on a limb and assume you don't partake of its delights or failings now.

    So I would propose that you may be in no position to know what you are talking about.

    One cannot know prayer well enough to understand its benefits without praying.

    The old Mass is a prayer which you have simply not experienced enough if you do not see it's value, and I say that as someone who attends the new Mass quite happily.

    Roman Catholic
    (no, really, my name is Roman)

  3. I became a Catholic in 1970 at age 11. I was welcomed and reared in a parish with a pastor who emphasized good music, who encouraged the old choir as well as the new folk group. I preferred the former.

    I have watched video of the 1962 Rite's High Mass. Never celebrated it. Growing up back East we did have a lot of poor expectations to overcome regarding it. 20-minute Low Masses. Many clergy not trained in ars celebrandi. When the pastor I mentioned died, there was not quite the same cultivation of music and good liturgy as when I was younger. The new pastor cut back on music and did 20-minute Sunday Masses without it.

    As for personal prayer, we have the Scriptures and the liturgical texts. Which are better today, I would say.


  4. Thank you for your answer.

    So it's "no", you have actually never experienced the liturgical prayer that is the old Mass.

    You are not ina position to say the Bishop is "incorrect."

  5. Being in my late 50's, I have had the experience of serving at Holy Mass in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, NY, in 3 variations: in the 1962 Roman Rite in Latin, in a transitory version of the 1962 Roman Rite in an English translation that was proclaimed aloud by the priest and the Novus Ordo.

    My training as an altar boy was utterly impoverished throughout each phase. Absolutely no work or thought was put into my training, other than initially teaching the few lines of response, from about 2nd or 3rd grade through to the 6th or 7th (we moved btw my 6th and 7th grade years, so I stopped serving at the altar after that).

    It seems that The Church as expressed in both of my boyhood parishes, and I am guessing probably most of the diocese, always took The Mass for granted, before and after the implementation of the Novus Ordo. I have literally no memory of any manifested interest in teaching altar boys or children the rich meaning of the sacred liturgy and symbols associated with it…and my memory is probably pretty reliable…because I'm one of those types that got the award for the highest grades in religion…I was trying to pay attention. (cont'd)

  6. [part 2] When I first heard The 1962 Roman Rite celebrated in English, I began to learn the beautiful meaning of some of the liturgical text for the first time….and admittedly…some of the problems (what Gamber, B16 and others called "ossification") also came through. Hearing The Roman Rite of 1962 celebrated audibly in English was really my first "class" in what was being communicated in the liturgy. To hear the roll-call of martyrs and saints in the Roman Canon was teaching me something. Much later, as an adult, with my own effort to learn, I began to understand what that roll-call was teaching me. One other vivid memory of teaching liturgy is what was given me by my beloved choir director Sr. Maria Thomas. I can still see and hear her, teaching us to chant the Good Friday Reproaches (in English), and I began to learn, that I had crucified My Lord. [cont'd]

  7. [part 3] Then the Novus Ordo was implemented, in the ICEL 1973 English dynamic "equivalent", and with it, as planned, came the suppression of the Roman Canon (per Orwell, what was forbidden was given lip service: "#1"). Spiritual inheritance to be handed down was suppressed, to make room for whatever new things were on the mind of the clergy and the parish liturgy "interests."

    In sum, I have absolutely no memory of the clergy in my 2 parishes, or my Catholic Boys High School, making any effort to teach the meaning and beauty of the liturgy of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I was taught in preparation for First Holy Communion, via the Baltimore Catechism, that The Eucharist was the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Lord, by transubstantiation. But that 2nd-grade instruction was, until my own reading in my late 40's, the summit of the effort to teach.

  8. [part 4 of 4] I guess like some of my generation – having been forced to suffer through the traditionalist-progressivist conflict, I am happy to be counted among the "ROTR-Crowd" as one frequent commentator labels them. I like the OF in the vocalization of the Sanctus by the faithful, and some of those "active" chances to engage in the sacred language. I wish we could retain those things, and reclaim more and more the rich tradition passed down to us over the ages by our ancestors in the faith, in the Roman Rite, which is, as Fortesque showed, the most ancient in The Church. I want my worship to be stamped with the same identity as that of "Linus, Cletus and Clement" and "Agatha and Perpetua and Lucy." As Ranjith says, the Liturgy is much more about "being," not "action."

  9. Todd, you are speaking against the express wishes of our Pope Emeritus with the publication of Summorum Pontificum. It may not be infallible teaching, but it is the sort of the document to which we, by faith, assent to. Note that our new pope, while not necessarily a liturgist, agrees that tradition must be respected and preserved.

  10. [Part 1] Archbishop Ranjith is in agreement with the Church that the 1962 Roman Rite has something essential that is missing in the Novus Ordo Rite.

    As the late, great artist and scholar Laszlo Dobszay showed, the 1962 Roman Rite has its defects, when compared to the larger family of Roman Rites. While its defects are recognized, as to Roman Catholic culture, it is radically distinct from the Novus Ordo, in that the 1962 Roman Rite derives organically from the larger culture of Roman Rites, while the Novus Ordo does not. Dobszay writes that the Novus Ordo has the characteristics of other "reform liturgies" of the last 400 years: (a) it derives from a one-time upheaval, rather than an organic outgrowth of the genus handed-down from generation to generation; (b) it is confected by of a group of "experts" and represents the time-bound interests of those particular experts; and (c) it deviates in great extent from the structure and material of the Roman Rite. In sum, the Novus Ordo can only be called Roman in a juridical sense; the Novus Ordo is not a Roman Rite in the cultural sense. [cont'd]

  11. [Part 2 of 2] Dobszay shows that the Novus Ordo has the same legal standing as the 1962 Roman Rite, but it is missing the "cultural identity" that is present in 1962 Roman Rite. The implementation of the Novus Ordo, which has marked itself by the suppression of The Roman Canon (aka Eucharistic Prayer "#1"), proves Dobszay's point.

    Because of the "identity" defects of the Novus Ordo, The Church, via the ROTR movement, is re-asserting the identity of the EF, because it intends to correct the cultural defects of the Novus Ordo, and stamp the Novus Ordo with the identity of the Roman Rite.

  12. Roman You are TOTALLY Correct…The Cardinal is wise in what was said.

    Todd, So many of your generation was and still are Poisoned re: Mass in the E.F. The church was not born after the council VII or after the N.O. was implemented in 1969……

    To bad you haven't attended a "High Mass" you might feel differently….a sense of the sacred , reverence, holiness is truly present in the Mass in the E.F. I encourage you to give it a chance…..

    as far as 20 min masses…..well my friend that also happens in the Novus Ordo Mass of Today. And the Abuses in the N.O. have been rampid…..folk masses are one that come to mind, and the music…yuk…..

    Could go on and on…..but the continuation of the Reform of the Reform Our Dear Pope Benedict started, must continue back to the sacred.

  13. P.S.

    Chris you are correct….something is missing in the N.O. it is the lack of the sacred….the Priest need to face the "east" and it needs to stop at best a Show at times.

    WHen the Priest faces the east he leads you toward worshiping God….after all don't our Eastern Catholics Face the East.

    The Entire N.O. needs revamping…..back to the sacred….reverence, etc.

  14. dferraro:

    I agree that the old 1973 ICEL translation of the Novus Ordo, as implemented (and abused) in the U.S., was largely emptied of the sacred. There is an amusing commentary on the 1973 ICEL, by an English (?) priest, who observed that the word "holy" had been completely erased by the 1973 ICEL translators, except for one place where they couldn't get away with it – in the SANCTUS – they simply couldn't have the faithful proclaiming "________, ________, _________."

    I strongly believe that the corrected English translation now in use is a giant step upward to a more sacred celebration. I believe more spiritual content could be reclaimed, and the structure could conform more to what the ancient evidence shows (per B16, put the "Kiss of Peace" before the offertory).

    It is a powerful spiritual gesture for the priest to face the altar in the same direction as the faithful for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. When our priests face the altar in Lent during the penitential rite, it is wondrous…we are all in the same humble posture pleading to Our Father. Re-integration of Latin in the Ordinary of The Mass would enrich the participation.

  15. Interesting Chris about the Sanctus….yes a revamp is needed for the N.O. sign of peace remember in the Mass of the E.F. the Priest says/chants "Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum." and we answer Et cum…..the faithful DO NOT shake hands etc. I think the Kiss of Peace is only in a Pontifical High Mass???

    Alot of the reform of the reform needs to go forward, Thank GOD for the Young Priests who seem to be taking P. Benedict's reform of the reform and putting it into practice……….

    Yes AD ORIENTUM (spelling???) posture needs to return as it was NEVER Sanctioned to begin with…….only to make the non-Catholics happy…….

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