Oriented Liturgy: Benedict XVI Stands Behind Cardinal Sarah -- And Pope Francis Sinks Into Silence
Holy Liturgy: Celebration Direction versus deum, facing to the East, from which the Lord will come.
(Rome) The news is startling indeed, and was supported by different news agencies like Riposte Catholique and Boulevard Voltaire: Benedict XVI. adopted a position this October 12th in the Osservatore Romano on the battle escalating within the Church for the orientation of the Sacred Liturgy. He did not hesitate in himself making the line of Cardinal Robert Sarah entirely his own. Thus, the former head of the Church openly distanced himself from the line of his successor Pope Francis.
Benedict XVI. has made this downright sensational step on soil familiar to him, theology. He spoke in favor of changing the celebration direction in the New Rite. The direction of the celebration in the liturgical reform of 1969/1970 facing the people should be abandoned and returned to the celebration facing east, says Benedict. The German Pope wrote:
"In the orientation of the liturgy to the east, we see that Christians want to strive together with the Lord, for the salvation of the whole creation."
It is not the celebrant, who must become the eyes of all, since - says Benedict XVI :
"A shepherd of the flock of Jesus Christ is never facing only to the circle of his own faithful."
Benedict XVI. openly contradicts the line of his successor - Cardinal Sarah's Push
Some have expected that since there would be backlash by Pope Bergoglio. Since the publication of the opinion of Benedict XVI. it's been more than 20 days, so it is probable that no backlash will come, at least not directly.
"The situation is really irritating," said Corrispondenza Romana . A Pope that will be contradicted by his surviving predecessor in a core area, the core area of the Holy Church. In other words: The predecessor slips back into the role of the Pontiff and Supreme Pastor to do what was supposed to be done by his successor, the reigning Pope.
But why has it come about? Last June the prefect of the Roman Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Robert Cardinal Sarah, called upon "all, priests and faithful" to "face eastwards" to turn in the Holy Mass, at least in those central parts of the Mass where one turns directly to God: the Kyrie, Gloria prayers and especially the Eucharist. The cardinal urged not only all priests, again to change the Zelebrationsrichtung eastwards, as it has always been in the Church. He also named a specific date to implement the change: the First Sunday of Advent 2016th
The proposal was immediately agreed upon by Cardinal Raymond Burke, once the highest of judges and lawyers of the Church, whom Pope Francis removed in November 2014 from the Roman Curia because he resisted the weakening of the marriage sacrament.
The proposal was also decisively rejected on the part of those circles in the Vatican, who are close to Pope Francis. The then Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi rushed to the microphone to explain: "There are no new upcoming liturgical directives."
A statement by the Press Office, with which distanced the Holy See from Cardinal Sarah's proposal remained anonymous. Who was commissioned, which office and which person is in charge, is still unclear. There is no doubt, however, that it was approved by Pope Francis.
Unfriendliness against Cardinal Sarah - backing from Benedict XVI.
Since then Cardinal Sarah was invited to a few more of the numerous events than earlier that take place continuously in the Vatican. The most recent unfriendliness towards the courageous Cardinal from Guinea was his cancellation as a speaker at the opening of the academic year at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute. For Studies on Marriage and Family. Pope Bergoglio, who had previously conducted profound changes at the Institute, which amount to a change of direction, even gave the opening speech.
It was less marveled at that Cardinal Sarah was not even invited by Pope Francis to commemorate Luther and accompany him to the Swedish city of Lund.
But it was Benedict XVI., who stood with his authority behind Cardinal Sarah and the proposal to "reform the liturgical reform". It would be difficult for the reigning pope to enter the field against the theological competence of his predecessor,without daring to reveal sheer arbitrariness.
This could explain why 21 days after the publication of Benedict XVI's opinion he is still silent.