Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Good Formation for Priests Is Essential For Good Liturgy

In the following article, Kurt Poterack, choir director and adjunct professor at Christendom College, shares his thoughts about the New Evangelization and the sacred liturgy.  The Cardinal Newman Society sponsored Dr. Poterack's attendance at Sacra Liturgia 2013 in Rome, where he joined hundreds of other participants in the conference aiming to study, promote and renew appreciation for the liturgy.  The Newman Society hopes to help spur on this liturgical renewal in Catholic higher education. - See more at: http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CatholicEducationDaily/DetailsPage/tabid/102/ArticleID/2389/Where-Liturgy-and-the-New-Evangelization-Meet.aspx#sthash.inytml7Q.dpuf
In the following article, Kurt Poterack, choir director and adjunct professor at Christendom College, shares his thoughts about the New Evangelization and the sacred liturgy.  The Cardinal Newman Society sponsored Dr. Poterack's attendance at Sacra Liturgia 2013 in Rome, where he joined hundreds of other participants in the conference aiming to study, promote and renew appreciation for the liturgy.  The Newman Society hopes to help spur on this liturgical renewal in Catholic higher education. - See more at: http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CatholicEducationDaily/DetailsPage/tabid/102/ArticleID/2389/Where-Liturgy-and-the-New-Evangelization-Meet.aspx#sthash.inytml7Q.dpuf

In the following article, Kurt Poterack, choir director and adjunct professor at Christendom College, shares his thoughts about the necessity of good priestly formation for the proper spirit of the liturgy.  The Cardinal Newman Society sponsored Dr. Poterack's attendance at Sacra Liturgia 2013 in Rome, where he joined hundreds of other participants in the conference aiming to study, promote and renew appreciation for the liturgy.  The Newman Society hopes to help spur on this liturgical renewal in Catholic higher education. 

As I said in my previous article, the clergy are, and will always be, the custodians of the sacred liturgy.  While the propagation of the proper spirit of the liturgy will ultimately come through a liturgically well-formed clergy, consequently it follows that problematic ideas about the liturgy may have come originally through the clergy as well. Indeed, French Bishop Marc Aillet said in his address on Wednesday (June 26) that at least French clerics were influenced in a bad way between the years 1945-1962.  Many bad theological – as well as liturgical – ideas began in Europe in the pre-Conciliar years and spread across the Atlantic as a result of what Emeritus Pope Benedict termed the “Council of the Media,” as opposed to the true “Council of the Fathers.”

However, a less than ideal seminary education in liturgical matters may have been common for centuries that opened the way to post-Conciliar problems.  Bishop Aillet cited Cardinal Journet on the various degrees of efficacy of Masses offered, depending on the sanctity of the priest and worshippers.  While this was certainly not unknown, there was a tendency in past centuries to put a big emphasis on mere sacramental validity (i.e. as long as there was a validly ordained priest with the right intention and valid form and matter, etc.). This may have led a number of otherwise conservative priests after Vatican II to accept liturgical abuses with a shrug and the thought that “as long as the Mass is technically valid . . . .” – when all along, the liturgical abuses which they allowed led to an irreverent atmosphere which rendered the Mass less efficacious.

This is why the experience of the liturgical life in its fullness is important on Catholic college campuses. College seminaries are, for the most part, a thing of the past. Therefore the spur and early formation of priestly vocations often is in the regular experience of the things of God in a beautiful, traditionally celebrated campus Mass.

It was also very encouraging to hear Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Oregon, speak on Thursday (June 27) about “The Bishop: Governor, Promoter and Guardian of Liturgical Life of the Diocese.”  Archbishop Sample stressed that a bishop is to govern, teach and sanctify, and the proper celebration of the liturgy falls under the category of sanctification. While Bishop of Marquette, Michigan, he published a pastoral letter on sacred music entitled “Rejoice in the Lord Always” and stressed that “if you want to accomplish something, you need to have the right lieutenants in place.”

Archbishop Sample also stated that the Usus Antiquior is “one of the greatest gifts that could have been give to the Church in the service of liturgical reform” – a line that received sustained applause.  He also called the Extraordinary Form a “reference point” and “our touchstone in moving forward,” and he urged “all bishops to familiarize themselves with the Usus Antiquior.”  Finally, Archbishop Sample stated that the older liturgical usage was necessary to “reconcile the whole Church with her past.”

Read Dr. Poterack's earlier article Where Liturgy and the New Evangelization Meet.

Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. Click here for email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society.

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