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Pope Benedict XVI: The Church and The Liturgy

I read the following book excerpts in an article titled Pope Benedict taught us that the Church is not ours, it is the Lord’s by Fr. Michael Miller in the February 2013 issue of the The Catholic Servant and could not find a weblink to the article. I have not read the book, but based on what Fr. Miller wrote, it is now on my long list of books to read.


The Church is not our Church, which we dispose of as we please. She is, rather, His Church… The Church of Christ is not a party, not an association, not a club. Her deep and permanent structure is not democratic but sacramental, consequently hierarchical. For the hierarchy based on the apostolic succession is the indispensable condition to arrive at the strength, the reality of the sacrament. Here authority is not based on the majority of votes; it is based on the authority of Christ Himself, which He willed to pass on to men who were to be His representatives until His definitive return.

The liturgy is not a show, a spectacle, requiring brilliant producers and talented actors. The life of the liturgy does not consist in ‘pleasant’ surprises and attractive ‘ideas’ but in solemn repetitions. It cannot be an expression of what is current and transitory, for it expresses the mystery of the Holy. Many people have felt and said that the liturgy must be ‘made’ by the whole community if it is really to belong to them. Such an attitude has lead to the ‘success’ of the liturgy being measured by its effect at the level of spectacle and entertainment. It is to lose sight of what is distinctive to the liturgy, which does not come from what we do but from the fact that something is taking place here that all of us together cannot ‘make’.

—from The Ratzinger Report: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church by Pope Benedict XVI/Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger with Vittorio Messori, pp.48-49 and p. 126

The Ratzinger Report


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