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March 07, 2007



Jimmy, you may want to read the article on Envoy Magazine's site. In addition to the Latin and Gregorian chant, it sounds like he will be advocating the ad orientem posture.

Recent photos of the altar in Redemptoris Mater chapel in the Vatican may support this.

I made a post yesterday, which collects a few interesting links on this topic, and the expected motu proprio which many feel will come on the heels of Sacramentum Caritatis.

I can't wait to read this exhortation.


Oh - and I wondered how Pope Benedict may weave into this - by the title, the subject of love once again. I'm not fluent in latin, but I think another way to translate it could be "Sacrament of Love". Charity is love.


Quick question, before I get all excited, doesn't EXHORTATION mean he strongly encourages? I really like an agree what he has to say, but where we are, unless he says you need to do XYZ by such and such date, I FEEL they (bishop and priests) will view it as a SUGGESTION. Am I wrong with understanding what this documetn is?

Fr. John Pecoraro


Yes an exhortation is not technically a legal document which promulgates new rule or disciplines, but I would not discount the power of them. Let's say that the contents of the exhortation ask for the broader use of latin, chant and versus orientem liturgy for many the mere suggestion in a document would be enough motivation to act. There are many priests who are just waiting for the slightest confirmation to move forward with the restoration of Latin, Chant and versus orientem Liturgy.

Tim J.


I can't wait to read it. If a motu proprio is also in the works, this could be an interesting year.

Jordan Potter

The title of this long awaited and much needed exhortation reminds me of the prayer that at times has been recommended during genuflection. I read recently about a priest who said he was taught as a child that he should never do the quicky half-genuflection and sloppy, thoughtless sign of the cross that many Catholics do. Rather, his genuflection should last as long as it takes to say the prayer, "Lord Jesus, I adore You in the Sacrament of Your love."

Interestingly enough, this past Saturday my bishop referred to the Eucharist as the "Sacrament of God's love" in his homily.



Tim H.

Dance and applause... [shudder!] Having been taught as a child that it is inappropriate to applaud in church (you're not an audience at a performance--the music is part of worship), I've always been uncomfortable when I've gone to a church where they do. As someone else wrote, "People who clap in church have the upper hand in modern life."

Brian John Schuettler

It would be a good idea if the bishops have at least a summary of the Exhortation read from the pulpit, after it's release, at Sunday Mass by all the parish priests. That would be the only effective way that most Catholics will know what B16 "recommends"...another "teaching moment" that should not be squandered. Otherwise, only a small cadre of Catholics who follow these developments will even know that it exists.

Ann Margaret Lewis

may call for a proposal and plan for liturgical reforms

Gee whiz - this document took more than a year. How long will a proposal and plan for liturgical reform take?


Well, happy to hear it's finally coming. Can't wait to read it.


It is definitely coming out on Tuesday, and "Sacramentum Caritatis" is the title. The Holy See Press Office announced this yesterday.

Fr Martin Fox

I'm not trying to dash anyone's hopes (I have high hopes), but let's not build this up into the be-all and end-all of liturgical repair. An exhortation is not likely to fix everything, and I think it would be a little unrealistic to expect a single document to do that. Remember when our late holy father issued a document on the Eucharist, in which he said, in effect, "we need to do some tightening up, and I'll issue a document doing just that." If memory serves, that is what JPII did in Eucharistica de Ecclesia, followed up by Redemptoris Sacramentum (sorry if I butchered the titles). In some ways, that may be the better way to go, as it (a) gets folks warmed up and (b) signals that this isn't a one-shot deal, but rather an agenda of change.

Of course, let's not get ahead of the holy father. As it is, I hereby predict some will be disappointed, and some will even say--on the basis of baseless predictions and expectations (i.e., based not on the holy father's own promises), some will claim "betrayal."

My confidence is that the holy father will take a step in the right direction. I cannot believe otherwise, given how strongly he feels about the liturgy. How big a step this will be? That's subject to his judgment. Let us hope and pray, but not forget who the Successor to St. Peter is.

Dr. Eric

I want to write that I don't believe that the Motu Proprio is coming, sorry. There are too many bishops who are against it.

For those of you who want this to happen, I'm sorry. For your sake, I hope I'm wrong.


A press conference for the document’s release will be held

Is this standard procedure? I don't ever recall a press conference for the release of a Papal document.


"...genuflection should last as long as it takes to say the prayer, "Lord Jesus, I adore You in the Sacrament of Your love."

Jordan Potter, this was pretty much how I was taught when I was a child. I was also taught to always have my hands together whenever standing or kneeling, and neverfidgiting'. But while sitting, I was 'at ease', so-to-say.

These little devotional customs are actually very powerful means of impression on the faithful essential Catholic truths! If EVERYONE was taught to genuflect in the way you describe, I think it would make a major impact on overall faith and devotion, as it did in my life! How many more Catholics would really come to believe and understand the "Real Presence" through this very simple, loving, and highly 'devout' act?!

It is the first lesson a child should learn when he is brought into a Catholic Church...and with nothing better than the devout and prayerful example of the adult bringing him!


So here's a question. What are the differences between all of these documents that we're always seeing. There are bulls, encyclicals, exhortations, etc...but what exactly is the difference. And what other 'types' of documents are prone to come out of Rome? Is there a place that anyone knows that describes all of this?

Or is the answer very fuzzy and not precise?


What are the differences between all of these documents that we're always seeing.

On The Second Exodus web site, there is a list of terms and definitions: http://www.secondexodus.com/html/catholicdefinitions/centraldefinitions.htm

The list is at the top, and it can be difficult to read the small print. You need to click on each term to find the definitions, so here is a partial list:

Vatican documents include, in descending order of formal authority: apostolic constitutions, encyclical letters, encyclical epistles, apostolic exhortations, apostolic letters, letters and messages.


... may call for a proposal and plan for liturgical reforms, including a greater use of the Latin language, Gregorian chant, classical polyphonic music. According to one source, the document may also call for “more decorum and liturgical sobriety in the celebration of the Eucharist, excluding dance and, as much as possible, applause.”

This is GREAT news!

However, my enthusiasm is yet dampened by the fact that this may mean nothing to the rogue clergy out there (and the dissident laity that follow them and encourage such departures from the Mass Proper) who have made the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass into such a spectacle!


I suspect that the effect of this Papal exhortation will be a 'mixed bag'. Those places where the clergy are inclined to liturgical orthodoxy, will continue to move in such a direction--aided by the document. Clergy--Bishops and priests alike, who are inclined to liturgical heterodoxy, will ignor the document and continue on the path of their own making. I really don't think this document will liturgically 'fix' poor liturgy in dioceses run by bad Bishops--only the removal of such Bishops will do that--and I don't see that happening.


The Cardinal of Los Angeles is in desperate need on this! check out The closing mass at the Religious Education Congress 2007 www.romancatholicblog.com/


Thanks for the link Barbara.

So on that web page, under the defn for Vat II:

Vatican II was the 21st Ecumenical Council. It produced four constitutions, three declarations, and nine decrees.

So what's the difference between a constitution, declaration and decree?

And Jimmy, I think one of you guys at CA needs to write a pamphlet about this stuff or something... Just a thought.


I'm afraid I agree that the only thing that will fix liturgical abuse is a revision of the rite of the liturgy with mandatory enforcement by Rome, which means that bishops who won't play ball must be removed.
I don't agree that a return to Latin and versus orientem is the answer. All that will accomplish is to drive away a large number of badly catechized laity, in the United States.
Brian is right, except a reading from the pulpit should be mandatory. Start with a clear message from the Holy Father informing the laity of what is not allowed (the clegy, who are ignoring the rules don't need to be informed, they already kow they are performing heretical practices.) Follow that with a requirment that the bishops enforce the norms, and remove those who refuse. Then require catechetical teaching of the norms to older youth. In many places the last training they get on the liturgy is in preparation for first communion, at a level aimed at seven year olds.
Then it will be time for radical reform of the reform.
Placing new orthodox bishops in the meantime will help move it along.
You can't fix 30 years of travel up the wrong road in less than a like number of years.


Sorry for the followup, but the sentence in paragraph three should be:
(the clegy, who are ignoring the rules don't need to be informed, they already kow they are performing illicit practices.)
Abuses which do not conform to the GRIM are illicit, not heretical.

John Lilburne

What the Pope said on 22 February is clearer from a report on Zenit. The CNS report above has "He also said he hoped it would "serve to guide, enlighten and revitalize popular piety," especially eucharistic adoration." It sounds like he was saying Eucharistic Adoration is popular piety. But the distinction is clearer from the Zenit report:

"... The third dimension is that of popular piety. An important Document of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments speaks of this popular piety and tells us how to "guide it". Popular piety is one of our strengths because it consists of prayers deeply rooted in people's hearts. These prayers even move the hearts of people who are somewhat cut off from the life of the Church and who have no special understanding of faith.

All that is required is to "illuminate" these actions and "purify" this tradition so that it may become part of the life of the Church today.

Then comes Eucharistic Adoration. I am very grateful because Eucharistic Adoration is being increasingly renewed. During the Synod on the Eucharist, the Bishops talked a great deal about their experiences, of how new life is being restored to communities with this adoration, and also with nocturnal adoration, and how, precisely in this way, new vocations are also born.

I can say that I will shortly be signing the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist, which will then be available to the Church. It is a Document offered precisely for meditation. It will be a help in the liturgical celebration as well as in personal reflection, in the preparation of homilies and in the celebration of the Eucharist. And it will also serve to guide, enlighten and revitalize popular piety.

Lastly, you spoke to us of the Shrine as a place of caritas. I think this is very logical and necessary. ...".

The full Zenit report is at http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=104223 , translation issued by the Holy See, © Copyright 2007 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

Some Day

I want to write that I don't believe that the Motu Proprio is coming, sorry. There are too many bishops who are against it.

For those of you who want this to happen, I'm sorry. For your sake, I hope I'm wrong.

Well it will be neccesary if one hopes to say that it is law and not just custom or whatever excuse they give.

You know when they got rid of the purification by lay people, I barely heard the parishes talk about it, and then after awhile they realized it was not a joke or suggestion but an order.

Ah, and you Lord, how long do appear to be sleeping?

Exurge Deus!

Alex Benziger.G

Bishops and priests who are running after money is the upper hand in the conciliar Church.His Holiness Pope Benedict xvi when he was the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Faith has said in October 1998 is as follows: "The differences in the liturgy according to the new rite as it is actually practised in many places, are often greater than the difference between the new and the old liturgy,when both are celebrated according to the prescribed liturgical books"[The Journal-Inside the Vatican/December 1998 issue].The traditional values should be implemented strictly.We are eagerly waiting for the Tridentine Mass.

John Lilburne

Some Day wrote "... You know when they got rid of the purification by lay people ...".

They did not get rid of the purification by lay people. Instituted acolytes are lay people. Instituted acolytes can do the purification. From the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal: "279. The sacred vessels are purified by the priest, the deacon, or an instituted acolyte after Communion or after Mass, insofar as possible at the credence table. ...".

Unfortunately Sacramentum Caritatis does not include the words "lector" or "acolyte". Although it has in n. 45 "... Consequently I urge that every effort be made to ensure that the liturgical proclamation of the word of God is entrusted to well- prepared readers. ..." it does not refer directly to the instituted ministers.

These is despite a great need for education about them and despite the synod propositions including these extracts:
38 "Likewise, it is important to thank instituted ministers, consecrated men and women, extraordinary ministers ...".
18: "It is appropriate therefore that the readings be proclaimed with care, if possible by instituted readers."
25: "In particular, the role of deacons and the service of readers and acolytes deserves greater attention."

The closest reference to them is in footnote 162, with references to two documents that includes instituted ministers. But part of the footnote is a confusing extract of a proposition likely to give people the opposite belief to that of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "903. Lay people who possess the required qualities can be admitted permanently to the ministries of lector and acolyte." The extract of proposition 33 in the footnote: "These ministries must be introduced in accordance with a specific mandate and in accordance with the real needs of the celebrating community. Those entrusted with these liturgical services must be chosen with care, well prepared, and provided with ongoing formation. Their appointment must be for a limited term. They must be known to the community and be gratefully acknowledged by the community." Find the full proposition and it will be understood that it is not referring to instituted ministers, it refers to a different part of the GIRM (n. 103-107). But those reading footnote 162 are likely to form the incorrect belief that instituted ministers are appointed for a limited term.

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