One of the lasting legacies of Benedict XVI’s pontificate will be the mark he has left on the Liturgy as it is celebrated today. In short, he has re-focused our attention on how we, as Catholics, celebrate our faith in the light of tradition.
From his highly discussed 2007 Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontififcum, to his approval of the equally debated New English Language translation of the Roman Missal; from his elimination of all rites and gestures that are not specifically sacramental in nature from Papal liturgies to his recent changes to rites for the beginning of a pontificate, the “Ordo Rituum pro Ministerii Petrini Initio Romae Episcopi”, Benedict XVI has brought the Universal Churches’ focus back to prayer and the Eucharist, the source and summit of what makes us Church. In a way Benedict XVI has been a supremely liturgical Pope.
“I think we will be unpacking the significance of his impact on the liturgy for many years to come”, says Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth, executive director of the Secretariat for the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.
Mgr. Wadsworth, who was deeply involved in the New English Language translation of the Roman Missal, dropped by Vatican Radio to speak about the liturgical mark Benedict XVI has left on the English speaking Church.
“When the Holy Father spoke to his own clergy, the priest of the diocese of Rome for the last time, he said two very significant things about the Liturgy: Firstly he said that the Second Vatican Council was very right to treat of the Liturgy first, because it thereby showed that God has primacy. And in the Liturgy the most important consideration is adoration. He linked this to the fact that he has desired that in the celebration of our Mass there should be a Crucifix on the altar. So that the priest looks at the Cross and remembers that it’s the sacrifice of Calvary that’s being represented in the celebration of the Mass and that the people should look at the Cross rather than at the priest”.
“The Motu Propiro really is a very important moment in which the Holy Father puts two forms of the Roman Rite which potentially have been at loggerheads which each other since the Second Vatican Council in a creative dynamic relationship with each other. The Holy Father really is reminding us that the light of tradition should fall on all of our liturgical experience”.
“In relation to the New English Translation of the Missal…it was the Holy Father who judged on the whole question of pro multisfor many, chalice rather than cup, those are his particular judgements and his prerogative as the Pope. He showed a great interest in the process as it was unfolding …over ten years in the making”.