Thankful message to the Holy Father

Most holy Father,

With filial affection, we wish to manifest to you in a very special way our profound gratitude for your teaching and example in one aspect of your magisterium which stands out as being central to the very life of the Church: the liturgy.

Thank you, Holy Father, for having taught us that “the liturgy is not a sort of “self-manifestation” of a community; it means instead coming out of merely “being ourselves”, being closed in on ourselves,” while insisting that “the liturgy implies universality,” and that “this universal character must enter ever anew into the awareness of all”.

Thank you for reminding us that “the conviction must grow within us every day that the liturgy is not our or my “doing” but rather is an action of God in us and with us.” By stating that “it is not the individual — priest or member of the faithful — or the group celebrating the liturgy, but that the liturgy is primarily God’s action through the Church,” you underlined the fact that “this universality and fundamental openness, which is proper to the whole of the liturgy, is one of the reasons why it cannot be conceived of or modified by the individual community or by experts, but must be faithful to the forms of the universal Church. … It is by its nature catholic, it comes from all and leads to all, in unity with the Pope, with the Bishops and with believers of all epochs and all places.”

Your Holiness has also exhorted us to “ask the Lord to learn every day to live the sacred liturgy, especially the Eucharistic Celebration, praying in the “we” of the Church, which directs her gaze not upon herself, but to God, and feeling part of the living Church of all places and of all epochs.”

These sound principles, expressed in such rich synthesis in your recent Wednesday catecheses on the liturgy, found a concrete realisation in the promulgation of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum; the main consequence of the legislation contained within this document is that it has indeed made us feel, “part of the living Church of all places and of all epochs.”

Thank you, Holy Father, for by declaring that the Roman liturgy as it was before the reform of 1970 “was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted” you have made manifest the coherence which the Church desires to maintain with its own past. You have done so while affirming that “what earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful,” and that therefore “it behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.”

We thank you also because, by not placing more conditions on the celebration of this Mass than those normally required for any public celebration of the Holy Mass, you have granted us access to this heritage which, while rightfully belonging to the spiritual patrimony of all the faithful, was unknown to many. You have thus created a solid and well-defined juridical structure which will stand hereafter independent of changing currents of thought and opinion.

Finally, we thank you, for these wise measures have allowed us to discover the heritage which is ours, reminding us that the “great family” that is the Church is not a family composed only of “brothers” but also of parents and of ancestors.

We represent a large portion of the faithful who do not feature in the statistics, since we do not constitute a "problem" that needs to be resolved, but we have received great spiritual benefit from your teaching, example and legislation on the Church’s liturgy. For all these blessings, therefore, we wish to express to you most fervently our filial gratitude.

The strength of the universal principles - so clearly stated by Your Holiness - on which your teachings rest, give to these teachings a permanent character.

So thank you, Holy Father, for having taught us the “non-negotiable principles” of divine worship in this “our epoch of the eclipse of the sense of the sacred”!

 

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A printed copy of this letter of thanks, along with a list of all signatories, will be forwarded to the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, requesting that he kindly deliver it to its addressee as he sees fit.

The quotations are taken from:

Benedict XVI. General Audience. Wednesday, 3 October 2012.
Letter Of His Holiness. Benedict Xvi. To The Bishops On The Occasion Of The Publication Of The Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio Data". Summorum Pontificum On The Use Of The Roman Liturgy. Prior To The Reform Of 1970.
Benedict XVI. General Audience. Wednesday, 13 february 2013.

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