Good news… we’re normal! But I’m sure you already knew that.


“…it is normal to use the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.”

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Cardinal Cañizares with Pope Benedict XVICardinal Cañizares with Pope Benedict XVI

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

vatican city

“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.”

Cardinal Canizares calls for Communion on tongue, kneeling

The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship has strongly endorsed the practice of receiving Communion on the tongue, while kneeling. Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera told the Catholic News Agency that the traditional posture is a “sign of adoration that needs to be recovered.” When Catholics receive Communion while standing, they should show their reverence with a bow, the Spanish cardinal said; but in practice few people do that. He said: “I think the entire Church needs to receive Communion while kneeling.”

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window. •Spanish cardinal recommends that Catholics receive Communion on the tongue (CNA)

Cardinal Cañizares on the Supreme Importance of the Liturgy


Big Ratzinger and Little Ratzinger

by Gregor Kollmorgen, NLM

The Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, recently attended a conference in Barcelona. On this occasion, he was interviewed by Catalunya Cristiana. Here is an NLM translation of the parts of this quite inspiring interview, which concern the liturgy. I have taken the liberty to highlight the passages which speak to the supreme importance of the liturgy, a point sadly still often overlooked:

Soon it will be a year that you were appointed by the Pope as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship … How do you assess your debut in the Vatican Curia?

It is not for me to assess my performance. All I have to say is that it is a very important time for all, intense work is being done, a plenary meeting of the Congregation has taken place, proposals have been reached which the Holy Father approved and which constitute the plan of our work [NLM: this appears to refer to the “reform of the reform proposals” mentioned by Andrea Tornielli in August, cf. here]. The great objective is to revive the spirit of the liturgy throughout the world.

What have been the most pressing issues that you have had to attend to?

Urgent business there is every morning, referring to excesses and errors which are being committed in the liturgy, but above all, the most urgent issue that is pressing all over the world, is that the sense of the liturgy be truly recovered. This is not about changing rubrics or introducing new things, but what it is about, is simply that the liturgy be lived and that it be in the center of the life of the Church. The Church cannot be without the liturgy, because the Church is there for the liturgy, that is, for praise, for thanksgiving, to offer the sacrifice to the Lord, for worship … This is fundamental, and without this there is no Church. Indeed, without this there is no humanity. It is therefore an extremely urgent and pressing task.

How can the sense of the liturgy be recovered?

At present we work in a very quiet manner on an entire range of issues having to do with educative projects. This is the prime necessity there is: a good and genuine liturgical formation. The subject of liturgical formation is critical because there really is no sufficient education [at the moment]. People believe that the liturgy is a matter of forms and external realities, and what we really need is to restore a sense of worship, i.e. the sense of God as God. This sense of God can only be recovered with the liturgy. Therefore the Pope has the greatest interest in emphasizing the priority of the liturgy in the life of the Church. When one lives the spirit of the liturgy, one enters into the spirit of worship, one enters into the acknowledgment of God, one enters into communion with Him, and this is what transforms man and turns him into a new man. The liturgy always looks towards God, not the community; it is not the community that makes the liturgy, but it is God who makes it. It is He who comes to meet us and offers us to participate in his life, his mercy and his forgiveness … When one truly lives the liturgy and God is truly at the centre of it, everything changes.

So far away are we today from the true sense of the mystery?

Yes, there is currently very great secularization and secularism, the sense of mystery and the sacred has been lost, one does not live with the spirit truly to worship God and to let God be God. This is why it is believed to be necessary constantly to be changing things in the liturgy, to innovate and that everything has to be very creative. This is not what is needed in the liturgy, but that it really be worship, i.e. recognition of the One who transcends us and who offers us salvation. The mystery of God, which is the unfathomable mystery of his love, is not something nebulous, but is Someone who comes to meet us. We must recover the man who adores. We must recover the sense of the mystery. We must recover what we never ought to have lost. The greatest evil that is being done to man is trying to eliminate from his life transcendence and the dimension of the mystery. The consequences we are experiencing today in all spheres of life. They are the tendency to replace the truth with opinion, confidence with unease, the end with the means … Therefore it is so important to defend man against all the ideologies which weaken him in his triple relationship to the world, to others and to God. Never before has there been so much talk of freedom, and never before have there been more enslavements.

After so many years of teaching and episcopal ministry, how have you experienced the call to serve in the Roman Curia as “minister of the Pope”?

I accept it with great joy, because it means fulfilling the will of God. When one does the will of God one is very happy, although I must confess that I did not expect something like this. At the same time, the fact of working together with the Pope allows me to live intensely the mystery of communion. I feel very united to him, happy to help him in all he really is asking for. As is known, one of his principal concerns is the concern for the liturgy.

Some Considerations of the Lateran Mass of Cardinal Cañizares

canizaresThe recent celebration of a Solemn Pontifical Mass in the usus antiquior by the Cardinal Prefect of the Roman congregation which oversees the sacred liturgy, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; and this further within the surroundings of the prominent Lateran Archbasilica, the Pope’s very own cathedral in the See of Rome, cannot be underestimated. Indeed, it carries with it both historic and symbolic aspects of note…Read the entire article