Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 3, 2004
Document calls for reverence -- Wiesner
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
The Vatican's new directive aimed at curbing liturgical abuses in the Church won't result in major changes for Catholics in Canada, predicts Bishop Gerald Wiesner of Prince George, B.C.
"There's a certain amount said about abuses in the document," said Wiesner, the chair of the English sector of the Canadian bishops' liturgy commission.
"But more important is the real call, the real challenge to deep reverence and respect for the full meaning of the Eucharist and its celebration, not just in terms of celebrating the Eucharist Mass itself but also with respect to devotion to the Blessed Sacrament."
In an interview April 26 Wiesner also said there were no real surprises in the document, Redemptionis Sacramentum (The Sacrament of Redemption), written by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments and published April 23.
In 2002, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) applied to Rome for several amendments to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), which explains in detail how the Mass is to be celebrated.
"We don't have a recognitio (confirmation of their juridical value by the Holy See) for those, so those directives, I don't think, will apply at this particular point," Wiesner said. The CCCB's proposed amendments deal with concerns about uniform posture during the Eucharistic celebration and the purification of the Communion vessels.
Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, told reporters following the release of the document that according to the directive, Catholic politicians who support abortion rights should not be allowed to receive Communion.
Asked how Canadian bishops will respond on that point Wiesner, a former president of the CCCB said, "I'm not sure. I'm not ready to comment on that."
Several Catholic politicians in Canada, among them former Prime Minister Jean Chretien, have publicly supported abortion rights, sometimes drawing the wrath of Canadian bishops. However, none of the politicians has publicly been refused Communion.
Wiesner said he doesn't anticipate "serious" opposition to the liturgical norms in Canada, adding that the directives "were quite in keeping with what I expected, some of them are perhaps a little confined."
He noted that the document makes clear the distinction between the ordained and the non-ordained. "And in order that that distinction may be very clear, it is rather reluctant to empower the laity to carry out certain functions with respect to the Eucharist," he said.
Following the publication of Redemptionis Sacramentum, the CCCB's English and French liturgy commissions issued "notes to help in the reflections of pastors and the faithful."
It said the instruction should be read hand in hand with, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Pope John Paul's April 2003 encyclical.
It also pointed out that all that is written in Redemptionis Sacramentum referring to the GIRM "is not yet in force in Canada, pending the necessary approvals of the bishops of Canada and the recognitio of the Holy See."
The full text of the liturgy commission's Observations on Redemptionis Sacramentum can be found at www.cccb.ca/PublicStatements.htm.
Letter to the Editor - 05/31/04