The implementation of the new English translation of the Roman Missal is "a perfect moment in the life of the Church for a new 'eucharistic catechesis.'" So said Denver Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley in a talk to choir members and church musicians at a Colorado parish last fall. Next month's edition of the Adoremus Bulletin includes text from the bishop's message. Here is an excerpt:
We believe in a God who is transcendent. Yet through the pure gift of His grace, this God has humbled Himself to share in our humanity, so that we might share in His divinity. This is what is going on in the offering of the Mass. The mission of Christ’s incarnation continues in every celebration of the sacred liturgy. In the Mass, God stoops down to lift us up to His level. He makes it possible for us, though we are but creatures, to sing and worship with the angels, in praise of our Creator.
A lot of the liturgical renewal since the Council has got this dynamic exactly backwards. And that’s because a lot of the so-called renewal started from exactly the wrong place.
Pope Benedict XVI has described the problem this way. He has said that too many people interpreted Vatican II with a “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture”. Now “hermeneutic” is a big word that means “way of interpreting”. What the pope is saying is that some people interpreted Vatican II as a decisive break — a rupture and rejection of all that had gone before in the Church. I remember in the 1980s when I was in the seminary some of my professors would refer to the “pre-Vatican II” Church and the “post-Vatican II” Church as if these were two totally different Churches.
In reality, the right way to understand the Council is with a “hermeneutic of continuity”. In other words, we should interpret the Council’s reforms not as a break with the past, but as a natural, organic and integral development of the tradition that has been handed down to us from the apostles.
I say all of this by way of background and context. Because I believe that in this new edition of the Missal, the Church is trying to reassert the continuity of the Novus Ordo with the ancient liturgy of the Church.
In particular, I see in the changes a real effort to restore the transcendent dimension of the liturgy and to reassert the proper balance between God’s transcendence and His immanence — so that the Mass always reveals and makes real our communion and intimacy with God.
Click HERE to read the bishop's entire address.