In his own foreward to the book, Cardinal Ratzinger compares this work to a much earlier classic of the same title by Romano Guardini
because Ratzinger feels that his insights here are similar with what Guardini achieved in his time regarding a renewed understanding of
"My purpose here is to assist this renewal of understanding of the Liturgy. Its basic intentions coincide with what Guardini wanted to achieve.
The only difference is that I have had to translate what Guardini did at the end of the First World War, in a totally different historical situation,
into the context of our present-day questions, hopes and dangers. Like Guardini, I am not attempting to involve myself with scholarly discussion
and research. I am simply offering an aid to the understanding of the faith and to the right way to give the faith its central form of expression
in the Liturgy."
EXCERPTS FROM The Spirit of the Liturgy:
Music and Liturgy | The importance of music in biblical
religion is shown very simply by the fact that the verb "to sing" (with related words such as "song", and so forth) is one of
the most commonly used words in the Bible.
and the Direction of Liturgical Prayer | The re-shaping so far described, of the Jewish synagogue for the purpose
of Christian worship, clearly shows--as we have already said--how, even in architecture, there is both continuity and
newness in the relationship of the Old Testament to the New.
TURNING TOWARDS THE LORD:
Orientation in Liturgy Prayer | by U. M. Lang | Foreword by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
"I hope that this book will help the struggle for the right understanding and worthy celebration of the Sacred Liturgy. I wish
the book a wide and attentive readership." -- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
Turning Towards the Lord presents an historical and theological argument for the traditional, common direction of liturgical prayer, known
as "facing east", and is meant as a contribution to the contemporary debate about the Catholic liturgy. Lang, a member of the London Oratory, studies
the direction of liturgical prayer from a historical, theological, and pastoral point of view. At a propitious moment, this book resumes a debate that,
despite appearances to the contrary, has never really gone away, not even after the Second Vatican Council. Historical research has made the controversy
less partisan, and among the faithful there is an increasing sense of the problems inherent in an arrangement that hardly shows the liturgy to be
open to the things that are above and to the world that is to come.
In this situation, Lang's delightfully objective and wholly unpolemical book is a valuable guide. Without claiming to offer major new insights, Lang
carefully presents the results of recent research and provides the material necessary for making an informed judgment. It is from such historical evidence
that the author elicits the theological answers he proposes.
Uwe Michael Lang is a member of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in London. He holds an M.A. in Catholic theology from the University of Vienna and
a D.Phil in theology from the University of Oxford. His publications include several articles on Patristic subjects and his doctoral thesis, John
Philoponus and the Controversies over Chalcedon in the Sixth Century.
Read the Foreword to
U.M. Lang's Turning Towards the Lord:
Orientation in Liturgical Prayer, written by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
RELATED ESSAYS and BOOK EXCERPTS:
For "Many" or For "All"? | Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger | An
God Is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life | At this point I should like to include a question about which
some people argue in extremely heated fashion: The German translation no longer says, "for many", but "for all", and this takes
into account that in the Latin Missal and in the Greek New Testament, that is to say, in the original text that is being
translated, we find "for many".
The Mass of Vatican II | Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J. | There is a lot of confusion about what the
Second Vatican Council said or didn't say about the liturgy and how the Mass should be celebrated today.
Father Fessio, founder of Ignatius Press and former student of Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, helps to make sense of
On Saying the Tridentine Mass | Fr. James V. Schall, S.J. | In this short document, the Holy Father was mainly
concerned with continuity. The reaffirmation of the Tridentine Mass in its last revision under John XXIII is an indirect way
of saying that this earlier form did not somehow become "heretical" or contain anything "wrong." There is nothing wrong with
preferring a Novus Ordo vernacular Mass. But that is no reason to say that the older Mass is somehow suspect.
Cardinal Ratzinger on Liturgical Music | Michael J. Miller | This article, first published in
Homiletic & Pastoral Review, is a summary of three
articles by Cardinal Ratzinger on liturgical music which appeared in German journals during the years 1986-1994. The
essays were written for different occasions, but they follow the same pattern: the author contrasts a problematic theory
or a pernicious trend with the true theology of the liturgy, and from that draws conclusions as to the proper place of
music in the liturgy and suggests guidelines for practical applications.
Benedict and the Eucharist: On
the Apostolic Exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis | Carl E. Olson | Benedict's most recent major papal document is
a Eucharistic Catechism and essential reading for anyone wanting to better appreciate the Church's teachings about the Blessed
Sacrament. Here is a introduction and brief commentary on that document.
Rite and Liturgy | Denis Crouan, S.T.D. | In this excerpt from
The History and the Future of the Roman Liturgy,
Crouan writes: "Recently Cardinal Ratzinger ventured to speak of a 'collapse of the liturgy': indeed, we can say that the liturgy
is in ruins or, if you prefer, in an advanced state of dilapidation. It is enough to look at how, forty years after Vatican II,
the liturgy is celebrated in certain churches to admit that something is not working..."
Walking To Heaven Backward | Interview with Father Jonathan
Robinson of the Oratory | The author of
The Mass and Modernity: Walking to Heaven Backward talks about his book, which examines the origins and present day
influence of modernity and argues that there is nothing in the Christian's concern for the modern world that requires accepting
this damaging mind-set in connection with the highest form of worship, the Mass.
The Liturgy Lived: The Divinization of Man | Jean
Corbon, O.P. | In this selection from from
The Wellspring of Worship, the Dominican theologian reflects on the role of Liturgy in man's salvation: "If we consent
in prayer to be flooded by the river of life, our entire being will be transformed; we will become trees of life and be
increasingly able to produce the fruit of the Spirit: we will love with the very Love that is our God."
Does Christianity Need A Liturgy? | Martin Mosebach |
This excerpt from the provocative book
The Heresy of Formlessness: The Roman Liturgy and Its Enemy, begins with this
question: "Some Catholics, who enjoy being provocative, say that the Christian religion could manage without the Bible sooner
than without the liturgy. What do they mean by saying this?"
Liturgical Roles In the Eucharistic Celebration | Francis
Cardinal Arinze | The sacred liturgy is the public prayer of the whole Church. The chief person acting in every liturgical
celebration is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ himself, the one perfect Mediator between God and man. Many liturgical acts are
hierarchically ordered: with a role for the Bishop and priest, for the deacon, for those lay people who are assigned a liturgical
role as defined by the Church, and for all the people of God.
The Latin Mass: Old Rites and New Rites in Today's World |
Anthony E. Clark, Ph.D. | Nothing should unify Catholics more than the liturgy, but there is little else that so often
separates them. It would be dishonest to begin a discussion of the Mass offered in Latin without admitting that God's
beautiful gift to his followers has become a venue for division; what brings Catholics together is also the most virulently
debated topic in the Church. What is actually a sign of Catholic unity has unfortunately become an area of contention,
leading some Catholics to leave the Church altogether.
Worshipping at the Feet of the Lord: Pope Benedict XVI and the Liturgy |
Anthony E. Clark, Ph.D. | Pope Benedict XVI's first Mass as pope in the Sistine Chapel provided an
insight into our new Holy Father's liturgical vision, one which may bring young Catholics closer
to the perennial traditions of the Church and heal the rifts between those attached to the
Tridentine Mass and those accustomed to the Mass of Paul VI.
Liturgy, Catechesis, and Conversion | Barbara Morgan |
Catechesis is the science of passing on the Faith and the art of planting and cultivating faith for ongoing conversion in
the heart of individual believers. Facilitating ongoing conversion in the spiritual life
is a major concern of catechesis because "true participation in the mystery of Christ is the final goal of all catechetical
The Eucharist: Source and Summit of Christian Spirituality |
Mark Brumley | The Holy Eucharist, Vatican II tells us, is "the source and summit of the Christian life" (Lumen gentium,
no. 11; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1324). Since the Christian life is essentially a spiritual life, we
might say as well that the Eucharist is the "source and summit of Christian spirituality" too. To the pious Catholic, that
proposition may seem obvious enough, even if he does not quite understand why.