Friday, April 07, 2006

Tabernacle! Front and Center!

Be reverent at Mass, Vatican official tells Catholics

By Simon Caldwell

LONDON – The head of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments urged Catholics to be reverent during Mass and to venerate the Eucharist properly.

During a talk in Westminster Cathedral April 1, Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze called on priests to restore tabernacles to central positions in churches and for Catholics to rediscover the tradition of reverent genuflection in the presence of the Eucharist.

He also called for an end to adding details to and subtracting them from the approved rites of the Mass and for an end to soft background music during Mass and other times when people were trying to pray in church.

"This is doubtless well intentioned, but it is a mistake," said the cardinal. "People enter churches to pray, not to be entertained."

The cardinal told about 400 audience members that Mass was the "supreme act of adoration, praise and thanksgiving which humanity can offer God."

"Man is not the center of reality. God is. By adoring God through the holy Eucharist, we pay this due tribute to God's transcendence," he said. "Those who refuse to adore God must not decorate themselves with the apparently nice title of liberal intellectuals."

The cardinal said that a person who refused to give God the adoration he truly deserved was like a child who refused to respect his parents, and as a result harmed his or her own best interests.

"Would it be wrong to call him stupid?" asked the cardinal.

He said Christians must not allow themselves to be "misled by the errors" of a secular mentality "which lives as if God did not exist."

He said attention had to be paid to the roles of every Mass participant, especially the priest, who must act "in such a way that his faith and devotion shine out."

Cardinal Arinze said the October Synod of Bishops stressed that the tabernacle should be the "center of our attention and prayer."

But, he said, some "misguided" people still relegated tabernacles to obscure corners of their churches, where it sometimes was difficult for visitors to locate.


This is great to hear all around, but especially the part about the tabernacles. That's because when I talked to my pastor about moving the tabernacle back to the center, he said it would be a whole lot easier if he had a sound bit from the bishop supporting him, and really helpful if he had something from Rome that he could lean on. Well, know he's got it. So, let's go haul!

An especially resounding "amen" to the last paragraph of the article. Any Catholic who has ever travelled around this great country of ours can relate frustrating stories of playing hide-and-seek with Jesus.

By the way, my pastor is not going to be sent away. Either on the diocesan level or the parish level, probably both, the entire truth about this ordeal was not revealed. I could ellaborate, but when I was in the car going up to my evening of recollection yesterday, we had four hours of trip there and back, with a seminarian of the diocese and who is currently in residence at our parish, and we could not make anything add up.

Anyway, this is happy news! Our pastor is staying for the rest of his assignment, and he's got encouragement from the Holy See to do something he, and I, have always wanted to do.

The article is via Gerald