Well that didn’t take long.
As you’ve seen all over the internet, the Pope slapped down Cardinal Sarah quite strongly, with only a bit of face-saving spared him (as if he had been misunderstood – yeah, right). Now we know what the Saturday meeting between Francis and Cardinal Sarah was about.
No new directives for ad orientem celebration this coming Advent.
More significant, it seems to me, is the phrase “it is better to avoid using the expression ‘the reform of the reform'” – not least because it is an expression Pope Benedict XVI explicitly approved of in his introduction to Alcuin Reid’s book The Organic Development of the Liturgy.
So I gather that the Pope hadn’t asked Cardinal Sarah after all to begin studying a reform of the reform, as he claimed the Pope had done in April.
Pray Tell is happy to provide this translation of the Italian press release:
Some Clarifications on the Celebration of the Mass
Communication of the Holy See Press Office, 11 July 2016
“A clarification is appropriate following media reports circulated after a conference held in London by Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, a few days ago. Cardinal Sarah has always rightly been concerned about the dignity of the celebration of the Mass, in order to adequately express the attitude of respect and adoration of the Eucharistic mystery. Some of his expressions were, however, misinterpreted as if to announce new instructions different from those in effect in current liturgical norms and the words of the Pope regarding the celebration of the Mass facing the people and on the ordinary form of the Mass.”
“Therefore it is good to remember that the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani (General Instruction of the Roman Missal), that it contains the relative norms for the celebration of the Eucharistic which remain in full force. # 299 states: “Altare extruatur a pariete seiunctum, ut facile circumiri et in eo celebratio versus populum peragi possit, quod expedit ubicumque possibile sit. Altare eum autem occupet locum , ut revera centrum sit ad quod totius congregationis fidelium attentio sponte convertatur” (That is:” The altar should be built separate from the wall, in such a way that it is possible to walk around it easily and that Mass can be celebrated at it facing the people, which is desirable wherever possible. Moreover, the altar should occupy a place where it is truly the center toward which the attention of the whole congregation of the faithful naturally turns. The altar should usually be fixed and dedicated.”).”
“For his part, Pope Francis on the occasion of his visit to the Congregation for Divine Worship, had specifically mentioned that the “ordinary” form of the celebration of Mass is that provided for by the Missal promulgated by Paul VI, while the “extraordinary” form, which was allowed by Pope Benedict XVI for the purposes and in the manner he explained in the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, must not take the place of the “ordinary”.
“There are not, therefore, any new liturgical directives beginning next Advent as some have wrongly inferred from the words of Cardinal Sarah, and it is best to avoid using the expression “reform of the reform”, referring to the liturgy, as sometimes it has been a source of misunderstanding. This was the agreed view expressed during a recent audience granted by the Pope to the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship.”
The English translation is provided by Dr. James Hadley, lecturer in liturgical art and architecture at The Catholic University of America, Rome Campus. The original Bollettino notice is found in Italian only.