Contra Cardinal Sarah: The Bitter and Noxious Fruits of Ideology
By Father Richard G. Cipolla
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The ideology that lies behind that repudiation of Cardinal Sarah’s exhortation to return to the Traditional posture of the priest at Mass rang out quite clearly in the Clarification. It is an ideology that has for so many years prevented the Church from restoring the liturgical life of the Church that is necessary for the mission of the Church to the world. It is an ideology that has no basis in Tradition and in fact is a break with Tradition. Anyone who still believes that the Mass of Paul VI is continuous with the Roman Rite of Catholic Tradition needs to get out into the fresh air more.
The heart of the ideology driving the post-Conciliar reform of the liturgical books is the destruction of the Traditional understanding of the Mass as a sacrifice, namely, the re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Calvary, the offering of the Son to the Father. Without the Roman Canon, which the reformers tried to get rid of entirely, that the Mass is a sacrifice is not evident in the three new Eucharistic prayers. What is at stake in the insistence on versus populum is the very nature of the Mass. What most Catholics believe today is that the Mass is a community meal and the priest’s job is to say the words that change the bread and wine to the Body and Blood of Christ for the purpose of Holy Communion. The Mass is for them. The priest facing the people engenders this understanding quite readily and enforces a heavily horizontal experience of the Mass. The almost universal practice of Communion in the hand standing in a line as if waiting for ham in a deli is the result of a deliberate repression of Communion on the tongue kneeling and telling the people that standing in the hand is the only way to receive Holy Communion after Vatican II. All nonsense. All ideology.