Yesterday a piece appeared on a Lutheran blog this blog reads regularly, but I was unable to post a comment, which is strange because that is a Blogger blog and so is this one. So either I am Blogger challenged, or I am on that blog's S-list. So, since so far I am allowing my own posts on this blog, I am posting the bleeder here.
The subject was liturgical change and led off with a quotation from Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict XVI these days. A comment asked why if Luther was so cautious about liturgical change did he make such a big one in removing the canon from the mass. The blogger responded that in Luther's day the canon was said silently so the butt in the pew (my summary, not his words) would not have noticed a big change. We pick it up there.
BTW, I hope you are enjoying the Lenten series of Gospel music, which is anything but CCM, chosen to harmonise as it were with the themed Sundays in Lent. Now, on with what I meant to comment:
There is a reason the canon is said silently. The two parts of the mass represent the teaching and the sacrificial ministry of Christ, therefore, in the first part there is plenty of speaking, prayers, Scriptures, sermon, creed etc, but in the second part following the example of Christ who said not a word even in his own defence during his action for our salvation not a word is audibly said of the canon but rather the emphasis is on the action, hence the elevation and the ringing of a bell to make sure you don't miss it. The hearing of the canon is not important, hence not possible, unless you are an altar boy like me. First Word, hence words, then Sacrament, hence no audible words, just action, his. That is the understanding of the mass.
Ratzinger wrote nothing we should wish to have written. Those words were anything but a defence of traditional liturgy, but a statement of precisely why it was liturgy that was the first thing addressed at Vatican II -- the sea change coming in doctrine would first happen as a sea change in liturgy. It's lex orandi lex credendi from the dark side. Change what professors profess and you change a few theologians and seminarians and a few in the pews; change what happens in the liturgy and you change the experience of everyone. Hence it must be changed and the old liturgy offed first. My teachers, which included some of the writers of sacrosanctum concilium, could not have been clearer about this.
Granted in Rome things rarely are what they appear to be, but this is why we are far more dangerously foolish to listen to Rome and revise ourselves accordingly or think they have something to contribute and we can tidy it up with Lutheran content than we are to adopt this same posture toward "evangelical" worship and CCM. Not to mention that not one of the latter crowd has gone on to accept an office bearing the mark of AntiChrist as Ratzinger has.
Luther was in fact preserving the mass, not changing it. It is Rome which changed it. There is no "I'm kind of in a rush here guys, what with dying to-morrow and everything, so you guys dress up this Take and eat stuff after I'm gone will ya". The history of canons, anaphorae, or whatever one wants to call them, say Eucharistic Prayers is a long one, but a mistake is no less of a mistake for having a long history. And nothing has so served to assist the making of this work of his into a work of ours than these canons. Luther was removing nothing whatever from the mass except what has no place there to begin with. Instead, all that is said is what Christ said as he united the Passover seder to his Passover as the full and final one, the sacrifice of his body and blood for our salvation, the new testament, which being a testament has a testator, one about to die, him, and heirs, us. Skipping the nonsense of a prayer where it is action, whether that irrelevant prayer comes in the preposterous garb of an inaudible one, or worse, audible, it does not come at all. There is no more need to create and insert a prayer here than to re-create and insert the Haggadah, the book of texts for Passover.
Instead we have the mass, first Word hence words, then Sacrament hence no words save his in action.
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