Rorate Caeli

Pope Francis: "Continue the good work in the liturgy begun by Pope Benedict XVI."

The much-anticipated Sacra Liturgia USA conference in New York City began yesterday. Its proceedings can be followed on the official Facebook page for the event.

That page has also posted Robert Cardinal Sarah's Message to the Conference (link), in which argues strongly for the importance of liturgical sanity to any renewal in the Church:

2. Because the Sacred Liturgy is truly the font from which all the Church's power flows, as the Second Vatican Council insists (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 10), we must do everything we can to put the Sacred Liturgy back at the very heart of the relationship between God and man, recognising the primacy of Almighty God in this privileged and unique forum in which we, individually and ecclesially, encounter God at work in our world. One cannot encounter God, my brothers and sisters, without trembling, without awe, without profound respect and holy fear. This is why we must rank what Cardinal Ratzinger called "the right way of celebrating the Liturgy, inwardly and outwardly" first amongst our concerns (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p. 9).

Cardinal Sarah continues with an important revelation: 

3. When the Holy Father, Pope Francis, asked me to accept the ministry of Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, I asked: "Your Holiness, how do you want me to exercise this ministry? What do you want me to do as Prefect of this Congregation?" The Holy Father's reply was clear. "I want you to continue to implement the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council," he said, "and I want you to continue the good work in the liturgy begun by Pope Benedict XVI."

My friends, I want you to help me in this task. I ask you to continue to work towards achieving the liturgical aims of the Second Vatican Council (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, I) and to work to continue the liturgical renewal promoted by Pope Benedict XVI, especially through the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis of 22 February 2007 and the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of 7 July 2007. I ask you to be wise, like the householder in St Matthew's Gospel, who knows when to bring out of his treasure things both new and old (cf. Mtt: 13: 52), so that the Sacred Liturgy as it is celebrated and lived today may lose nothing of the estimable riches of the Church's liturgical tradition, whilst always being open to legitimate development (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 23).  

At the end of his message, Cardinal Sarah expresses the hope that he will be able to join the next Sacra Liturgia meeting, to be held on July 2016 in London. He also asks for prayers that he may faithfully exercise the service to which he has been called.