Chatty Worship Denounced

May 14, 2008

Australian Bishop Seeks Recovery of Sacred in Liturgy

Canberra, May. 14, 2008 ( – An Australian archbishop has called for a greater sense of reverence in the liturgy, urging a frank appraisal of problems that have arisen since the Second Vatican Council.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Canberra issued a letter on the liturgy for Pentecost Sunday, as the Australian bishops began full implementation of the new General Instruction for the Roman Missal (GIRM).

As he laid out the changes required by the GIRM, Archbishop Coleridge commented that “the Church is moving into a new phase of the ongoing journey of liturgical renewal.” That process is necessary, he said, in order to prune out undesirable elements that have become commonplace. He explained that since the reforms after Vatican II, “liturgical habits have taken hold, some of which have been beneficial, others detrimental to the celebration of the liturgy.”

“Our worship generally has become very chatty, to the point where one of the challenges now is to allow silence to play its part in the liturgy,” the archbishop said. He reported, too, that many of the faithful find “a loss of the sense of the sacred in the Mass– a weakened sense of the presence of God and the deeper resonances of the liturgical words and actions that comes with silence.”

Archbishop Coleridge said that special attention should be paid to translations of liturgical texts, noting that “the language of the liturgy was never everyday language.” He added that the sense of reverence is undermined when celebrants use informal language and when they offer mundane greetings, such as beginning a liturgical ceremony by wishing the congregation a “Good morning.” [The full text of the archbishop’s letter is available on the web site of the Canberra archdiocese.]


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