Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 28, 2002
Boring or not, cardinal likes ritual
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
Catholic rituals may be boring and monotonous for many, but Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Belgium believes they are "priceless and irreplaceable."
He admits people complain to bishops that a ritual is "always the same" and that somehow "ritual is synonymous with rigidity and sclerosis."
But Danneels, who is a member of several Vatican congregations including Divine Worship, said, "The unique characteristic of every ritual is its repetitiveness and stereotypical nature. In order for us to interiorize profound matters, we need identical stereotypes, the reassuring ceremonial wordings we call ritual."
Danneels spoke to Canadian bishops at their annual assembly Oct.17-22 in Cornwall.
In a background paper on which he based his
address, Danneels, archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, said every significant human reality is surrounded and protected by ritual, including birth, marriage, love and death.
"Every time we encounter something that transcends the human person, we 'humanize' it with ritual," he said. "In order for us to interiorize profound matters, we need identical stereotypes, the reassuring ceremonial wordings we call ritual."
Danneels' talk was to help the Canadian bishops open discussion on new rituals in the Roman Missal.
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