Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

The Liturgy is not celebrated for ourselves

October 4th, 2012, Promulgated by Bernie

The Holy Father’s Oct. 3 general audience

From The National Catholic Register

The primary importance of Jesus Christ within the liturgy has been a constant theme of Pope Benedict’s teaching during his seven-year pontificate. He has often expressed concern that bad teaching can lead some Catholics to view the liturgy “horizontally,” as the creation of a parish or group in which the community celebrates itself.

The liturgy is not a kind of ‘self-manifestation’ of a community,” he told pilgrims.

“Pope Benedict noted that when priests or parishioners reflect on how to make the liturgy “attractive, interesting…

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9 Responses to “The Liturgy is not celebrated for ourselves”

  1. raymondfrice says:

    I read this a few times and found it a little daunting until I thought of liturgy as a group prayer where, like in personal prayer, we raise or minds and hearts to GOD. The liturgy should have God as a focus and direction.

    PS: Where did liturgical dancing come from?

    PS: However,(tongue in cheek) with a few of the homilies, I have been guilty of liturgical napping.

  2. Dr. K says:

    “I have been guilty of liturgical napping.”

    Love that term.

  3. SALLYANNE says:

    I am guilty of liturgical napping….maybe that’s why the dancers are there? To keep people awake? Just kidding….

  4. SALLYANNE says:

    The Pope says that the lituragy is for God, to please God. I know that God doesn’t change, but how can we know just what HE likes during the lituragy? Maybe it’s not about US. Can’t people worship while singing and praising and seeing dancers and listening to people singing while playing their guitars? Why is organ music and choir singing acceptable and respectable when the other is not? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts becasue you know much more about scripture than I do. Is there scripture to back this up? What some feel is disrespectful might not feel disresptful to others and vice versa…Food for thought….Why is one perception right and the other wrong? Let’s just say that the congregation is watching while pretty women dance in skimpy clothing…If I saw that, and there were no sexual gestures, I’d not think about sex when they danced. If I happened to be a man, however, I might. I think I read a post by someone in this blog who mentioned this. I’m a woman, so what I might view as beautiful and pure another, especially a male, might see it in a different light. Women in Afganastan are made to wear burkahs, hide their faces, so men will not think sexual thoughts. I think I actually read of an instance where a woman was shamed in public and tortured by her accusers by actually ripping her fingernails out for this very reason. Where is the line? Just wondering….

  5. SALLYANNE says:

    To add to the fingernail ripping…the reason and justification for them actually tearing their fingernails from the skin was because the woman was wearing “nail polish” Pretty sick, wouldn’t ya say?

  6. Bernie says:

    SALLYANNE: Your questions are excellent and it is, in my opinion, critical that we (the Church)consider what the criteria should be especially concerning liturgical art (including possibly,dance) and sacred music. What makes a work of art or music ‘sacred’? Is there -can there be- ‘sacred art’ and ‘sacred music’? Is there such a thing as ‘Catholic art’ (for the liturgy)?

    I have addressed this issue several times over the last year or two on this site. I can’t go over it all again here, in one comment, so I invite you to look back at some of my posts to examine my thinking. I think I have some reasonable answers that I have fashioned from researching a few learned writers.

    While I write about the visual arts, I think music people will probably tend to agree that the premises I outline can apply to liturgical music.

    Regarding specific scriptural texts. 1) keep in mind that Catholicism draws from Tradition as well as Scripture; indeed, Scripture is part of Tradition; 2) the Old Testament is filled with texts describing liturgy and liturgical works. Alas, I’m not a chapter and verse fellow so test proofing is not right on the tip of my tongue. But, you can probably find what you might be looking with a little word search of a bible; 3) I have written in other places concerning the Jewish liturgical origins of Christian worship that you might find interesting ( )

    How do we know if a liturgical work is “Catholic”?

    There are other posts I, as well as others here, have done that I invite you to take a peek at. Most of mine are under Liturgical art, Beauty, Beautiful, Chancel Images, liturgical environments, and so on. Look under the ‘Topics’ list on the far right of the Cleansing Fire Homepage.

    Excellent questions you pose as they are in just about everyone’s mind when we debate such things.

  7. SALLYANNE says:

    Thanks, Bernie! I’ll check it out!!

  8. Nerina says:

    Hi Sallyanne,

    I highly recommend any of Bernie’s writing regarding the concepts of beauty especially as revealed in liturgical worship. His posts are simply fascinating.

    I would suggest that since individuals have such subjective taste when it comes to music, art and dance, it makes perfect sense that we all turn to the Church for direction regarding what is the most effective way in raising our hearts and minds to God.

    I had to endure what I will half-jokingly refer to as the “hoedown” Mass setting today at church. It was awful. It was distracting and instead of raising my heart and mind to God, I found myself thinking of Buck Owens and Roy Clark. I was tempted to yell out “Sal-ute!” at the end of the Gospel proclamation (and I realize I’m dating myself with the Hee-Haw reference). My kids felt similarly so it’s not just me that gets this impression.

  9. SALLYANNE says:


    I don’t think I’d appreciate a “hoedown” Mass, either. At least you tell it with humor, and yes, Bernie’s writings (I went to the links) are amazing! I wanted to come back here and tell him!!

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