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Sacramentum Caritatis - A First Reaction

Today, March 13, 2007, the Moderator of the prestigious CTAC Internet List, Mr. Richard Freeman, issued the following brief commentary on the Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis released yesterday by the Vatican. We thought it very useful for our readers and asked his permission to post it here. TIA

People Commmenting
The long awaited Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis of the Holy Father is out and can be read in English here.

I have glanced over it and find it to be a quite infuriating document, which proceeds from the false assumption stated in its introduction that the abuses of the Novus Ordo are "occasional" and "cannot overshadow," the "benefits and the validity of the liturgical renewal whose riches are yet to be fully explored." And that it would be wrong to believe that the happy "renewal" represents a discontinuity with the past.

As a whole - and I haven't yet read the whole thing and may never do so as it doesn't seem to be worth the reading - it appears to be yet another in the long litany of "putting Humpty together again" documents which assume that one can fix the "occasional" difficulties with the ever glorious Novus Ordo by issuing mundane and half-hearted bureaucratic exhortations to Bishops, priests and what's left of the faithful sort of half-pleading with, half-instructing them to fix up some of the little problems that have arisen.

I find no hint in it concerning the fate of the long delayed motu proprio which some say will soon follow. I can only say that it represents a view of the current state of Catholic liturgy that is so completely divorced from reality that it is hard to see how anything good and useful concerning the liturgy could issue from the same authority that produced it.

Quoting from the introduction (paragraph 3) of the document which says of the Novus Ordo and its history:

"The difficulties and even the occasional abuses which were noted, it was affirmed, cannot overshadow the benefits and the validity of the liturgical renewal, whose riches are yet to be fully explored. Concretely, the changes which the Council called for need to be understood within the overall unity of the historical development of the rite itself, without the introduction of artificial discontinuities."

     Richard Freeman
Posted March 13, 2007

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