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- Published in Catholic Voices
As many Catholics know, the Second Vatican Council famously referred to the liturgy as the “source and summit of the Christian life.” And following the prompts of the great figures of the liturgical movement in the first half of the 20th century, the council fathers called for a fuller, more conscious and more active participation in the liturgy on the part of Catholics.
Cardinal Robert Sarah’s recent book The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise explores a number of themes both theological and spiritual, all centering around the unhappy role that noise has come to play in our culture and more specifically in the church. His observations are most trenchant in regard to the liturgy, which should come as no great surprise, given his role as head of the Vatican congregation devoted to liturgy and sacraments. As I read the sections of his book dealing with the importance of silence during Mass, I often found myself nodding vigorously.
The immortal Yogi Berra said it best: “It’s déjà vu all over again.” That was my first reaction to the news that a new Vatican commission had been established some time back to consider — again — the question of liturgical translations.
A very important Catholic book tells us that the central purpose of the Gospel is to make us participants in God’s divine nature. As Christ is perfect, so shall we be. As he is powerful by the Holy Spirit, so shall we be. As he is love, so shall we be. As he is mediator between God and man, so shall we be.
Q: I have a question that I have been meaning to ask for some time. At the beginning and end of Mass I’ve noticed for years that the priest kisses the altar. Why does he do that? Is it a simple act of reverence or is there another reason?
Q: My family and I were on vacation last summer and attended Sunday Mass at another parish. At one point, the lector came up to the ambo and proceeded to “break open God’s word,” giving a lengthy teaching about the weekend’s readings. Isn’t this the role of the priest or deacon? Is lay “preaching” like this permitted?