Monday, November 21, 2005

The (Ever-)Quotable Arinze

So the prefect of CDW (now awaiting a new #2, and I have a strange feeling I know who it is...) gave an interview to Bob Moynihan's sterling Inside the Vatican. I found it in my inbox half an hour ago, and I've been laughing so hard I couldn't type anything that isn't gibberish until now because I can hear the good Cardinal's lovely, musical voice in my head....

I do a wonderful Arinze impersonation, by the way -- and I'm told it's a good one. Hopefully you'll all get to hear it at some point. And he's not the only one I do; pick a prelate, any prelate.

Notable snips:
So that although the homily should be on the Scripture readings and the other liturgical texts, some way has to be found to cover the whole area of Catholic faith in a period of three years because many Catholics are really ignorant of fundamental matters. That is a fact; nobody could deny it.

It is also a fact that the liturgical renewal after Vatican II has brought many things positive; for instance, more attention to Holy Scripture, more attention to the people's participation in the liturgical celebration, the people's understanding of what it is; although understanding is not everything, but it is one element. The vernacular, if the translations are good, can help in this direction. And also, sharing of roles in the liturgy, ie when the deacon is reading the Gospel, proclaiming it, we listen.

So, Vatican II brought many good things but everything has not been positive and the Synod recognized that there have been shadows. There has been a bit of neglect of the Holy Eucharist outside Mass. A lot of ignorance. A lot of temptations to showmanship for the priest who celebrates facing the people. If he is not very disciplined he will soon become a performer. He may not realize it, but he will be projecting himself rather than projecting Christ. Indeed it is very demanding, the altar facing the people. Then even those who read, the First & Second Reading can engage in little tactics that make them draw attention to themselves and distract the people.

Not to talk of abuses, clear cut abuses where people are going against the books in the liturgy, doing things that the liturgy says should not be done. Then wrong ideas on creativity, believing that after Vatican II the important thing is to make something new.

A scenario where a parish team every week decides how they will have Mass next Sunday, as if the liturgy were something that we put together and not something that we receive. That wrong idea that the important thing is something new every week, which is not true. The people want to adore God. After all, our national anthem is the same, and we sing it every time. We are not tired because we love our country. Our Father, Hail Mary, although we say them many times, they don't get old....

Arinze on abuses of the texts:

If at Mass, we are self-controlled, we are disciplined, we don't talk in the Church and don't converse as if we were in a football stadium, it is because of what we believe. Therefore, the most important area is faith and fidelity to that faith, and a faithful reading of the original texts, and their faithful translations, so that people celebrate knowing that the liturgy is the public prayer of the Church.

Arinze on music:

I will not now pronounce and say never guitar. That would be rather severe. But much of guitar music may not be suitable at all for the Mass. Yet, it is possible to think of some guitar music that would be suitable, not as the ordinary one we get every time, the visit of a special group, etc.

The judgment would be left to the bishops of the area. It is wiser that way.
Arinze on the rumors of a universal indult -- which he says would be handled not by him in any case, but by Ecclesia Dei :

Priests and bishops have to ask themselves when some of our Catholics are asking for the Tridentine Mass, could it be that we should examine how we celebrate Mass? Could it be that they have seen many abuses? And they are sick and tired, and therefore they say, "Look, we have had enough of this. Let’s go back to how it was 50 years ago." Could it be?

Unfortunately, what some don't know is that even when there was the Tridentine Mass there were abuses. Many Catholics did not know, because they did not know Latin! So when the priest garbled the words, they were not aware of this.

And, finally, Arinze on abortion and communion:

Suppose somebody voted for the killing of all the members of the House of Representatives, "for all of you being killed. I call that pro-choice. Moreover, I am going to receive Holy Communion next Sunday." Then you ask me, should he be given communion. My reply, "Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that question?" Can a child having made his First Communion not answer that question? Is it really so complicated? The child will give the correct answer immediately, unless he is conditioned by political correctness. It is a pity, cardinals have to be asked such questions.

If a person has a way of life which is against the major Commandments, and makes a boast of it, then the person is in a state which is publicly sinful. It is he who has disqualified himself, not the priest or the bishop. He should not go to communion, until his life should be in line with the Gospel.

He didn't even go near my favorite analogy of his -- "We do not live in an ecclesiastical refrigerator" -- but it's colorful enough to make me happy. And, bizarrely enough, I agree with his points expressed here: that not everything needs expressed approval from the Curia (that's why God gave us episcopal conferences), that the integrity of the text as written (especially if it's that goregous 1998 ICEL Sacramentary) must be respected per Inestimabile Donum, that inculturation within limits is a service to the liturgy and the Roman rite, that the Tridentine clamor is often rooted in superficials, and that jingoistic pro-choicers have to stop whining and take their lumps.

All in all, it makes for a good reading experience.