Benedict XVI: “The things of God do not seem urgent”

Bemoans man-centered liturgy in new edition of Opera Omnia

Pope Emeritus Benedict writes about liturgy in preface to Russian edition of his complete works.

The following comes from an Apr. 19 story on LifeSiteNews.

A mistaken liturgical reform following Vatican II that emphasized human “activity and creativity” in place of giving “priority” to God has jeopardized the very existence of the Catholic Church, according to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

“In such a situation, it becomes ever clearer that the existence of the Church lives on the just celebration of the liturgy, and that the Church is in danger when the primacy of God does not appear anymore in the liturgy, and therefore in life,” he wrote in the preface to the newly released Russian edition of the Opera Omnia (complete works) of Benedict XVI / Ratzinger.

“The deepest cause of the crisis that has subverted the Church is located in the effacing of the priority of God in the liturgy,” he added, according to a translation provided by Rorate Caeli.

Benedict, who just turned 90, said that the “absolute priority” that Catholics should give to attending Mass over and above any other consideration has been lost.

“In the conscience of the men of today, the things of God — and with this the liturgy — do not appear urgent, in fact,” he said.

“There is urgency for every possible thing. The things of God do not ever seem urgent. […] If God is no longer important, the criteria to establish what is important are changed. Man, by setting God aside, submits his own self to constraints that render him a slave to material forces and that are therefore opposed to his dignity,” he added.

The Pope Emeritus said that he dedicated himself to the theme of the liturgy after witnessing after the Vatican II Council how a man-centered liturgy “led almost to forgetting of the presence of God.”




  1. Linda Maria says:

    From the very first day of the Novus Ordo Mass, to today– I have thought the same thing as Pope Benedict XVI!! And since that day, I have prayed for the restoration of the beautiful Latin Tridentine Mass, during my lifetime, in my hometown parish church! The New Mass was such a big shock!! Not what we were expecting, after ripping out the 1500+-years-old, beautiful and theologically-excellent Tridentine Latin Mass– in which God was worshiped totally, and reverently! God was always first– not man! The priest and his Mass were once highly respected, and nearly every little Catholic boy, thought of becoming a priest! Wish the Vatican would fix these problems!!

  2. Do you miss him ? The former Bishop of Rome is silent no more as others, who have been silent except for topics like social justice, act like wolves while there sheep act as fools. God Bless Pope Benedict.

  3. Your Fellow Catholic says:

    Notice that with all that concern over the liturgy, Benedict never took any action to reverse the changes brought about the Paul VI, whether in his role at CDF or later as Pope. Never attempted to abrogate the post Vatican II missal. Never, not once. Why is that? Well, it must be because the “mistaken liturgical reform” he refers to is not the liturgical reform embodied in the missal of Paul VI. Simple as that. I’m sure many of you will use Benedict’s words to say he wants a return to TLM, but that is not, in fact, what he is advocating.

    • Steve Seitz says:

      I think you’re correct. It’s not the new Mass that the pope has a problem with, but what people have done with the new Mass that is at issue. This dovetails with his excellent work, “The Spirit of the Liturgy” by Ignatius Press.

      There is one exception, though. Pope Benedict wishes that the priest and congregation all face East. Or, if this is not possible geographically, facing toward something that represents East.

      • Your Fellow Catholic says:

        I haven’t read Spirit of the Liturgy (maybe I should), but if he “wishes that the priest and congregation all face East”, then why did he so rarely celebrate mass that way?

        • Steve Seitz says:

          Yes, I’ve wondered the same thing myself. In his defense, he did make some changes to correct some deficiencies in the mass in English. And I think that he was the one who allowed the priest to face “East” without having to get permission from the bishop. It could be that he felt that incremental change would be more stabilizing. Nevertheless, you do make a good point.

          • Your Fellow Catholic says:

            Steve Seitz, although I disagree with your conclusion, you could be correct. And most importantly, I want to thank you for engaging in reasonable dialogue. We could use more of your fine example in this forum.

          • YFC,
            I appreciate your kind words since I consider myself to be truth oriented and view the civil forum to be of great value. Thank you.

    • The mistaken liturgical reform consisted of misinterpreting and misapplying Sacrosanctum concilium and the rubrics of the new Mass to mean and support what they were never intended to, much as leftists and erstwhile fellow Catholics misinterpret and misapply the Church’s doctrines to claim that homosexuality, same-sex unions and so forth are not contrary to God’s will. Ideologues take a phrase like “active participation” and misuse it to encourage all sorts of liturgical abuses. Similarly, ideologues take a statement like “chastity means the integration of sexuality within the person” and misuse it to claim Church doctrine supports homosexual acts and unions.

    • Ann Malley says:

      What I notice, YFC and Steve is your mutual readiness to obscure and pretend that Benedict didn’t say what he did…. and mean every word.

      • Anonymous says:
        • Your Fellow Catholic says:

          Thank you Anonymous for the link. And again, if the Pontiff wished to re-instate TLM because he saw the MIssal of Paul VI as a misinterpretation of Vatican II, he had every power and authority to do so. He did not. He HIMSELF on most days celebrated the Mass of Paul VI. We can therefore draw no other conclusion than that the NO Pauline Mass was not part of the “mistaken reform” that he was speaking about. Otherwise, he would be a hypocrite, and I don’t think there is anyone on the left or the right that thinks that this pope was hypocritical.

          • Ann Malley says:

            Benedict did have every power to do so and yet, unlike Paul VI who foisted novelty upon us, Benedict, in my view, didn’t want to jar the faithful. (We’ve had enough of that.) That does not mean that Benedict didn’t believe that the NO was a banal construct.

            Your supposition about what we can therefore conclude is erroneous.

            The construction of the Novus Ordo was indeed a mistaken reform. Why? Because it was a new thing, not a reform. An entirely different animal. Please refrain from making false conclusions and then linking your shaky premise on the fear of branding Benedict as a hypocrite. It’s unbecoming, YFC.

          • Your Fellow Catholic says:

            I’m using simple logic, Ann Malley. Sorry you find that so difficult to comprehend. Why would a man call something a mistakenn reform, but then use it every day? What is erroneous is making the assumption that he is referring to the NO itself. Why would he say one thing and do another? What would be the point of levelling a criticism when you are the only person in the entire world who can do somehting about it?

      • Steve Seitz says:

        Pope Benedict wrote “The Spirit of the Liturgy” out of love and passion. At no point in his entire book did he condemn the new version of the Mass. But he did recommend a few tweaks such as facing East, and he was heavily perturbed by people interjecting personal vanity into the liturgy which, in his view, displaces God from the liturgy. This is what Pope Benedict meant.

        Ann, if you’re not afraid of the truth, I recommend that you read his book.

        • Ann Malley says:

          Steve, if you’re not afraid of the truth, and in all kindness, I’d recommend that you not attempt to ascribe sentiments of your own creation upon others.

          I did not say that Pope Benedict condemned the rite of Paul the VI. And, if you’re not afraid of the truth, you may wish to consider that a spirit of love and passion often moves one to critique even that which is considered, by many, normal for the good of all.

          The injection of personal vanity, to include presupposing the sentiments of others, is something quite common even here on CCD. But personal perturbation aside, the displacing of God from the liturgy is far more serious a fruit than can be correct by a mere “tweak”.

          • Ann,
            So maybe I misunderstood you. For some reason, I thought you said that the current version of the Mass was a mistaken reform.

            Nevertheless, it appears that you agree that Pope Benedict did not condemn the current version of the Mass. In regard to vanity displacing God in the liturgy, neither he nor I said that this can be solved by a small tweak. (Please go back and re-read what I wrote). Rather, it needs to be solved by people focusing on the transcendent nature of the liturgy and by a greater faith in the action of God in the liturgy.

          • Ann Malley says:

            I reiterated that I believe that the NO is not merely a reform but an overreach wherein a new thing was created. Pope Benedict stated that the NO was a banal on-the-spot product. That would indicate that he viewed the NO not as a reform but a new product.

            Be that as it may, Benedict, as I’ve stated previously, in my view, didn’t want to jar the faithful (again) by ripping away that to which they had become accustomed. So there is an attempt on his part to make the most out of an otherwise not-so-good situation. That is the fait acompli of the Novus Ordo being promulgated.

            As for tweaking, I did read what you wrote and took the full meaning of what it implied, Steve. Perhaps you should weigh your words more carefully because…

          • Ann Malley says:

            … they do not, it appears, communicate what you believe they do.

            Something you need to keep in mind here, Steve, is that human beings are creatures with 5 senses. So the rite of mass effects what we believe. This is why Sacraments are an outward sign. So we can recognize what is occurring by way of grace.

            So the inference that the faithful must focus more on the efficacy of God is to know that God can bring good out of evil if we yield to Him. That being said, retaining a demonstrably banal rite and just putting the onus on the people to put more faith in God is to reject the reality that human beings are human beings. It is foolishness. It is an attachment to trappings that have proved themselves deleterious to the Faith.

          • Ann,
            Here is what I wrote: “But he did recommend a few tweaks such as facing East, and he was heavily perturbed by people interjecting personal vanity into the liturgy. . .”

            It truly shouldn’t be necessary to diagram this, but the first independent clause of the compound sentence pertained to “tweaks”: The second independent clause pertains to vanity displacing God. Ann, please please take greater care in reading. It will save much fuss.

            Secondly, your argument is based on your own personal conjecture whereas mine is based on Pope Benedict’s own words in his book, “The Spirit of the Liturgy.”

            Ann, you have no argument. But I’m sure you’ll take this last statement of mine and repeat it many times in your reply to…

  4. Benedict is clever; he correctly identifies the ” human centeredness” of post Vat II liturgy (in my mind the turning of the presenter towards the parishioners instead of the altar and Crucifix is an abomination), and logically by extension attacks Francis’ social justice, utopian madness (Christo Marxism) without explicitly saying so. It is good, that Holy Benedict, Pope Emeritus continues to pray for this deeply troubled Church, may he be blessed.

    • hosemonkey says:

      Amen! Pope Paul VI allowed his autonomy to be stolen away by the destroyers of V2 and handed to those who thrust a dagger into the heart of the Church. The Church has become merely a vapid bunch of homosexual-driven social workers that have very little influence on society. I, for one, did not convert to Catholicism to be a social worker. Let’s get back to what works.

  5. Or just find a Chapel or an oratory where the Traditional Latin Mass is offered on Sundays and every day (I know, I’ve been very blessed). I love attending Mass where the prevalent attitude is one in which the Second Vatican Council never happened. If the Modernist house is on fire, grab your belongings and get out. Don’t stay behind in order to pick out curtains for the kitchen.

  6. See, now why couldn’t Francis have said that?

    (Not the best photo pick, I’d say; nor was it in the original article.)

  7. Your Fellow Catholic says:

    Ann Malley, I am not obscuring anything, I’m just pointing out that what he said doesn’t map onto a denial of the liturgy of Paul VI or a promotion of the TLM, as folks like you might wish it did. He certainly has a strong opinion, and the fact that he didn’t make any changes to the liturgy tells us that his strong opinion is that he Pauline liturgy should endure and remain the ordinary liturgy.

    • Ann Malley says:

      YFC, you began by making erroneous conclusions and have now added false comparisons to the mix. Reiterating Benedict’s less-than-favorable and hard-hitting review of the rite of Paul VI does not imply the man is a hypocrite or that he doesn’t believe the proposed reform was overreached in the creation of an entirely “new” rite.

      Nowhere does Benedict even imply that the Pauline liturgy “should” endure and remain the ordinary liturgy. So, please, stop putting words in the mouths of others.

      • Your Fellow Catholic says:

        Benedict is not giving a review of the of the rite of Paul VI at all. Where did he mention the NO or the Pauline mass? Noplace! How can a review of soemthing be “hard hitting” if it doesn’t mention the thing you think he is reviewing? Also, please go back and read what I wrote about Benedict and hypocricy. Oh, I’ll just cut and past and save you the trouble. I didn’t say he was a hypocrite. I said, “We can therefore draw no other conclusion than that the NO Pauline Mass was not part of the “mistaken reform” that he was speaking about. Otherwise, he would be a hypocrite, and I don’t think there is anyone on the left or the right that thinks that this pope was hypocritical.

        • Ann Malley says:

          I read your attempt to castigate Benedict as a hypocrite if he believed the Novus Ordo was a banal on-the-spot product while still offering it. You, Sir, are merely doubling down on false comparisons.

          Go ahead and bold your words if you’d like. But the red herring here is you supposing that to acknowledge Benedict’s unfavorable critique of the Novus Ordo is tantamount to branding him a hypocrite.

          Much as you may not like it, “your” only conclusion is not the definitive conclusion. Not by any means.

    • Anonymous says:

      YFC, thank you for reading the link. It is obvious in the link that Pope Benedict XVI is not giving an “unfavorable critique” of the Ordinary Form of the Sacred Liturgy of the Eucharist.
      People twist things to support what they want to believe.

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