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Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Archbishop Ranjith in L'Osservatore

Many thanks to Fr Z for alerting us to an interview with Archbishop Ranjith in L'Osservatore Romano for 19-20 November. (WDTPRS: Archbp. Ranjith interview in L’Osservatore Romano on liturgy) Titled "Fedelt├á al Concilio" ("Faithfulness to the Council"), the interview was taken by Maurizio Fontana for the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the encyclical Mediator Dei. Father pastes the full Italian text of the article which can be sourced at the relevant webpage of L'Osservatore. The weekly English edition is due tomorrow, I think, and so there will perhaps be an English translation of the whole article. Fr Z translates one representative excerpt. Here is another in my own translation:
Is there an appeal also to those who form priests?

I would say yes. After all, faced by certain arbitrary and less serious conceptions of the liturgy, it must be asked what is taught in some seminaries.

We cannot approach the liturgy with a superficial and less than scientific attitude. This applies to those who adopt a “creative” interpretation of the liturgy but also for those who presume to establish too easily what the liturgy was like at the origins of the Church. A careful exegesis is always needed; we cannot throw out naive interpretations.

Above all, in some liturgical circles, there is a certain tendency to undervalue how much the Church matured in the second millennium of its history. They speak of the impoverishment of the rite but this conclusion is too banal and simplistic: we believe rather that the tradition of the Church is shown in a continuous development. We cannot say that one part is better than another: that which matters is the action of the Spirit in continuous growth, both in the high and low points of history. We must be faithful to the continuity of the tradition.

The liturgy is central for the life of the Church: lex orandi, lex credendi, but also lex vivendi. For a true renewal of the Church – so much desired by the Council – it is necessary that the liturgy is not limited to a solely academic study: it must also become an absolute priority in the local Churches. Therefore it is important that the proper importance should be given at the local level to liturgical formation according to the mind of the Church. In the final analysis the priestly life is strictly bound to what the priest celebrates and how he celebrates it. If a priest celebrates the Eucharist well, he is challenged to be consistent and to become part of the sacrifice of Christ. The liturgy thus becomes fundamental for the formation of holy priests. This is a great responsibility for the Bishops who can thus do so much for a true renewal of the Church.
The newspaper of the Holy See has recently seen the arrival of a new Editor-in-Chief, Signor Giovanni Maria Vian. Sandro Magister had a story on the appointment. Vian, 55, is a professor of the philology of ancient Christian literature at Rome's "La Sapienza" university and a member of the pontifical committee for historical sciences. Magister's post has the text of an article by Vian on the history of the newspaper and, interestingly, an article by Giovanni Battista Montini (the future Pope Paul VI) on 'The difficulties of "L'Osservatore Romano"'. Montini worked as supervisor for the paper during his time at the Secretariat of State before he was made Archbishop of Milan.
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