ROME, April 19, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A mistaken liturgical reform following Vatican II that emphasized human “activity and creativity” in place of giving “priority” to God has jeopardized the very existence of the Catholic Church, according to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
“In such a situation, it becomes ever clearer that the existence of the Church lives on the just celebration of the liturgy, and that the Church is in danger when the primacy of God does not appear anymore in the liturgy, and therefore in life,” he wrote in the preface to the newly released Russian edition of the Opera Omnia (complete works) of Benedict XVI / Ratzinger.
“The deepest cause of the crisis that has subverted the Church is located in the effacing of the priority of God in the liturgy,” he added, according to a translation provided by Rorate Caeli.
Benedict, who just turned 90, said that the “absolute priority” that Catholics should give to attending mass over and above any other consideration has been lost.
“In the conscience of the men of today, the things of God — and with this the liturgy — do not appear urgent, in fact,” he said.
“There is urgency for every possible thing. The things of God do not ever seem urgent. […] If God is no longer important, the criteria to establish what is important are changed. Man, by setting God aside, submits his own self to constraints that render him a slave to material forces and that are therefore opposed to his dignity,” he added.
The Pope Emeritus said that he dedicated himself to the theme of the liturgy after witnessing after the Vatican II Council how a man-centered liturgy “led almost to forgetting of the presence of God.”
“I knew that the true renewal of the liturgy is a fundamental condition for the renewal of the Church,” he said.
It has now been 10 years since Benedict issued his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, an edict that restored the use of the Traditional Latin Mass, allowing priests to use the ancient form without having to request permission from their bishop.
Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said in a March 31 address that Pope Benedict showed a path forward to rediscovering authentic liturgy by opening the door to the “extraordinary” form of the mass which he said the pope hoped would help “enrich” the ordinary form of the mass.
“Now, it is enough to pick up [Vatican II's] Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy again and to read it honestly, without betraying its meaning, to see that the true purpose of the Second Vatican Council was not to start a reform that could become the occasion for a break with Tradition, but quite the contrary, to rediscover and to confirm Tradition in its deepest meaning,” Sarah said at that time.
“It must be reaffirmed that Vatican Council II never asked to make tabula rasa (blank slate) of the past and therefore to abandon the Missal said to be of Saint Pius V,” he added.
Sarah said that the liturgy called for by Vatican II has yet to be realized and many places in the world.
Following the lead provided by Pope Benedict in his Summorum Pontificum, Sarah said he would like to see the relaunch of a “liturgical movement.” Not one that is based on what he called the “ravings of some theologians who long for ‘novelties,’ but one based on a disposition towards discovering God in silence, adoration, and though a proper liturgical formation based on the teachings of the Church.
Cardinal Sarah: Many Church leaders ‘underestimate the serious crisis that the Church is going through’