Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Respect for the Liturgy

September 10th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

The following comes to you courtesy of Fr. Z.

How I changed my mind about the Pope

Mark Dowd embarks on a personal quest to understand Pope Benedict XVI

By Mark Dowd on Friday, 10 September 2010

June 1945. An exhausted 17-year-old boy has been released from a prisoner of war camp and completes an 80-mile journey back home, eager to see his family and friends. As he descends at sunset from the hills into his home town of Traunstein close to the Austrian border on the feast of the Sacred Heart, he hears music coming from the church of St Oswald. It is almost something from a Hollywood screenplay.

“The heavenly Jerusalem itself could not have appeared more beautiful to me at that moment,” he writes. The teenage Joseph Ratzinger knew that his mother and sister Maria were in the church. You or I might have hastily pulled open the church door and blundered in, scouring the pews in search of eager family reunion. But what does the present Pope tell us in, Milestones, his short collection of memoirs published in 1997?

“I did not want to create disturbance so I did not go in.”


So what about that reluctance to enter the church?

My brother has spent his whole life in devotion to the liturgy and knows that it is the central pillar of the Church’s life,” Georg told me. “He knows that if he had gone in, it would have created a disturbance. No, he said a prayer and that was it.”

The young Joseph went home. Father was waiting and later, that long-awaited reunion with his mother and sister. But if ever a story were to touch on so many important themes in the Ratzinger worldview, it is this one: the respect for the aesthetics of liturgical life, the centrality of order and a strongly held sense of boundaries: and not making yourself “the story”, realizing that self-assertion is not a central component of personal freedom.


Mark Dowd’s film, Benedict: Trials of a Pope, will be broadcast on BBC Two on Wednesday September 15 at 7pm

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One Response to “Respect for the Liturgy”

  1. Nerina says:

    What a telling story! Long live, Pope Benedict!

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