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Bishop Schneider: 10 Elements of Renewal in the Liturgy

18 February, 2016 0 Comments

During the Eucharistic liturgy – at the very least during the Eucharistic prayer – when Christ the Lamb of God is immolated, the face of the priest should not be seen by the faithful. Even the Seraphim cover their faces (Isaiah 6:2) when adoring God. Instead, the face of the priest should be turned toward the cross, the icon of the crucified God.

By Steve Skojec of OnePeterFive

This is excerpts from, analysis of, and audio of [I haven’t listened to it yet] of a talk given by our old friend in Washington DC, sponsored by the Paulus Institute.

Why do we publish so much by Bishop Schneider? Well, we sponsored his visit, and I met him. Everything he said made excellent sense – while personally he struck me as being not merely humble, but infectiously joyful. (Reverence, I presume, is self-evident.)  So whenever I come across something by him, I read it. And whenever I read it, I have the sensation of being hit over the head with The Truth, in the form of a hardwood 4×4.

As a general rule, I tend not to read anything on the internet which starts with a number. If you share this prejudice, make an exception for this one. You’ll realise this fairly brief list also contains the rationale for things we know and love in the traditional liturgy, in ways that – at least for me – were wonderfully fresh, and in many cases new.

It also expresses, much better than I could in a recent attempt, the complexity of the Mass, and (by implication) the futility of attempts to reduce it to an 

There’s also a great commentary by Steve Skojec of OnePeterFive – and don’t miss his comment in the combox about the Bishop’s response to the question “Well why not just have the Old Mass?”

– Editor.

On February 14, 2015, Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan, was sponsored by the Paulus Institute to give a talk in Washington, DC.  During the talk, he proposed concrete actions — ten essential elements — which should be implemented to accomplish liturgical renewal.

As an attendee, I was impressed once again by his excellency’s concern for reverence and piety in Catholic worship. Because of the deep value of the insights he presented, I would like to offer to you my own summary of his principle themes.

Bishop Schneider in Washington (Photo: OnePeterFive.)

The bishop instructed that ever since apostolic times, the Church sought to have holy liturgy, and that it is only through the action of the Holy Spirit that one can truly adore Christ. Exterior gestures of adoration that express interior reverence are vital within the context of the liturgy. These include bowing, genuflections, prostrations, and the like. His excellency cited St. John Chrysostom’s writings on liturgy, particularly focusing on the following theme: The liturgy of the Church is a participation in and must be modeled upon the heavenly liturgy of the angels.

The notion of heavenly liturgy, and our participation in it at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, offers some perspective to those of us who may be tempted to take for granted the incredible miracle in our midst. The reality is that each Catholic church is, itself, a place wherein dwell angels, archangels, the kingdom of God, and God’s own Heavenly Self. If we were somehow able to be transported to the heavenly liturgy, we would not dare speak even to those we know and love. When we are within a Church, we should therefore speak reservedly, and then only of sacred things.

In the early church, the altar and other sacred items were veiled out of respect for the sacred mystery in which they played a role. There was not, contrary to popular belief in our present time, a versus populum celebration of Mass or even a widespread practice of communion in the hand. The priest and the people faced together towards God in the liturgical East.

When we celebrate liturgy, it is God who must be at the center. The incarnate God. Christ. Nobody else. Not even the priest who acts in His place.

<read on>


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