Canizares: “I celebrate mass according to the Latin Rite to show that using it is normal”

Cardinal Cañizares explains why he agreed to preside over Saturday’s mass for faithful from the “Una cum Papa nostro” pilgrimage, in St. Peter’s Basilica.


“I gladly accepted to celebrate next Saturday’s mass for pilgrims who came to thank the Pope for the gift of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum because it is a way to make others understand that it is normal to use the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite…” This was the answer Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, gave to Vatican Insider when asked about the meaning of next Saturday’s (3 November) mass which will be celebrated at 15:00 in St. Peter’s Basilica. This morning, the spokesman for the “Una cum Papa nostro” pilgrimage announced that Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, Vice President of Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei will be present at the mass.

What is the point of the pilgrimage?

“To give thanks to God and thank the Pope for the motu proprio he issued five years ago, recognising the value of the liturgy celebrated according to the missal of the Blessed John XXIII and marking continuity with the tradition of the Roman Rite. By recognising the previous liturgy one understands that reform does not mean doing away with older traditional practices.”

Why did you agree to celebrate mass for pilgrims who follow the pre-conciliar Rite?

I agreed because it is a way to show people it is normal to use the 1962 missal: there are two forms of the same Rite but there is only one Rite, so it is normal to use it during mass celebrations. I have already celebrated a number of masses according to the missal introduced by the Blessed John XXIII and I will gladly do so again on this occasion. The Congregation in which the Pope has called me to act as Prefect does not oppose the use of the old liturgy, although the task of our dicastery is to enhance the meaning of liturgical renewal according to the directives of the Sacrosanctum Concilium constitution and follow in the footsteps of the Second Vatican Council. In relation to this it must be said that the extraordinary form of the Latin Rite must draw inspiration from the conciliar Constitution which in the first ten paragraphs focuses on the true spirit of the liturgy and so is relevant to all rites.”

What is your opinion regarding the implementation of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, five years on?

“I do not know the details regarding the world situation, partly because it is the Ecclesia Dei Commission that deals with this but I think that people are gradually beginning to understand that the liturgy is core to the Church and we have to revive the sense of mystery and sacredness in our celebrations. Furthermore, I believe that five years on we are able to better understand that it is not just about some faithful feeling nostalgia for the Latin Rite but about adding to the meaning of the liturgy. We are all part of the Church, we are all in one communion. Pope Benedict XVI explained this very well and on the first anniversary of the motu proprio, he recalled that “no one is unwelcome in the Church.” © 2012 Vatican Insider

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One thought on “Canizares: “I celebrate mass according to the Latin Rite to show that using it is normal”

  1. As converts to he glorious catholic church, nothing, absolutey nothing, could have prepared us to the chock of encountering the almost total absence, in far too many churches, of Latin. And- worst of all: with the disappearance of Latin, the fantastic and glorious Gregorian chant, too, vanished. Instead, what we are offered during Mass, is the hollowing and shouting of totally untrained voices, accompanied by the monotonous guitars, “played” by someone who usually can pride himself of “mastering” a few accords. To conceal the total lack of professionalism, the loudspeakers and the microphone are sometimes as loud as in a disco. And the priests? They seem to get along, as long as they think that this is what their congregation “wants”. Ignorance and indifference is widely spread, in the field of music in the church. A huge obstacle is that priests, contrary to what was the norm 40-50 years ago. do not recieve any training in music, especially Gregorian chant, in the seminaries, as far as we have been informed. In fact, not so few catholics highly appreciate listening to trained, beautiful voices during mass, but they just do not seem to being able to make their voices heard. The noise lovers in general know how to put themseles in respect. And sometimes quite aggressively so. We strongly suspect that the “guitar mafia”, and the totally unprofessional “choirs”, consisting of (usually) elderly ladies, shouting popular songs in their own tunes, feel too threatened by the beauty and professionalism offered by trained musicians and singers. They fear the embarrassing and inevitable comparison and are daedly afraid of being exposed. And why should they not feel that? After all, the church, apart from their private baath rooms, is the only place where they are offered a stage to promote themselves. Consciously or unconsciously. The problem in the Church is not the very few trained singers and musicians, but the incredible self promotion and undisguised lack of humility and insight to the lack of gift and abilities granted to the, in the field of music. Does not S:t Paul point out that the Church has to respect and value each and every gift, granted by God himself? Well, it certainly does not seem that this is respected by far too many, in far too many of the churches. ESPECIALLY in churches north of the Alps, where the organs have been neglected for the past 50 years, left to rot, replaced by incredibly, unbearably banal, home made pop music, leaving one to wonder if one by mistake has entered a Pentecostal church.
    So far, neither clergy, nor laietey, has been able to clarify this to us, when we try to tell them how terribly disappointed and chocked we are by this noise, in catholic churches.
    WHERE IS THE MYSTIQUE, in this tone deaf noise?
    WHERE IS THE SACREDNESS in a Gloria, a Sanctus, proclaimed by hollowing, hoarse, untrained voices, accompanied by someone hammering on a guitar?
    While “the whole world” seem to embrace Gregorian chant, especially young people flocking outside the monastery of Silo, in Spain, having heard the monks singing and when Gregorian chant is sought after and greatly admired in the world – paradoxically enough, the Catholic church is the only place where it is NOT sung! The monks sold more copies of their CD, chanting Gregorian, than most of the pop singers did with their pop songs! In Vienna, in a monastery, the same phenomena happened. Even secular media was fascinated and came to visit. Outside the monastery in Silos, suddely there were sveral thousand people, many of them young, who wanted to enter the monastery, to listen to the monks chanting.
    HOW COULD THE CHURCH BE DEAF AND BLIND to such obvious signs of love and fascination of Gregorian chant?
    Thank God for our wonderful pope Benedict XVI who has declared, already at the beginning of his pontificate, that “ignorace of music means ignorance of the liturgy”. Unfortunately, there obviously are far too many priests, religious and laiety out there, who seem to consider their understanding of music on the same level, if not superior to that of the pope, although they generally lack any knowledge in this area. Incredibly sad!
    If only Latin could begin to be considered as “normal” in the churches, the laietey would sooner than later forget their previous resistance to it. Actually, some gregorian chant is NOT DIFFICULT, since it was sung -always- during mass, 40 years ago, in Spain and Italy, for ex.
    By ordinary people, most of whom were not highly educated. If they loved and appreciated the Gregorian chant then – why would they not today? People have not been given a chance, most do not even have a clue of what Gregorian chant means. But, anyone, educated or not, can recognize the true beauty and greatness in the Chant, since it hits people directly in their hearts. The protestant churches have tried to attract more parishioners for decades and decades with all sorts of adaptions to modern society -“aggornamiento” – only resulting in a steadily increase of non believers. Interestingly enough, the only times, apart from Christmas, when the churhes are full, are when truly beautiful music is performed; Bach, Mozart, Händel, Scubert, Mendelssohn, Palestrina, Scarlatti…
    We will continue tp pray even harder for the necessary change to beauty, mystique and sacred tranquility in the catholic curches, at least where all of this is sadly missing.

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