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Cardinal says liturgical change reflects the Church is alive

People have a right to their opinions about various aspects of the liturgy, but the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council will continue as the Catholic Church continues, said Cardinal Francis Arinze.

"The church is alive. It is not in the Vatican museums or sealed like some kind of 'ecclesiastical refrigerator.' It is alive and it will change," said the cardinal, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

The Nigerian cardinal spoke on Friday at a Vatican press conference marking the publication of a book of papal documents and of speeches from a 4 December Vatican meeting to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Sacrosantum Concilium, the Vatican II Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.

Catholic World News reports that Cardinal Arinze was closely questioned by journalists who saw evidence of an internal dispute among Vatican officials regarding liturgical reform. When one reporter suggested that discussions of liturgy sometimes became battles, the cardinal replied with a smile that "the liturgy is not a battlefield, but the worship given to God." He went on to say that "one can't stop men from having opinions."

Prodded about a more concrete sign of disagreements within the Vatican, Cardinal Arinze admitted that he could not give a date for the publication of a long-awaited document on abuses in the Eucharistic liturgy. That document, originally promised by Pope John Paul II more than a year ago, has been seriously delayed by critics. Vatican officials had said that it would be published before the end of 2000, then that it would appear in February of this year. Now informed sources say that it could finally be issued in the near future-- but say that it will not contain any significant policy changes. Cardinal Arinze declined to encourage the speculation on the document's timing, instead assuring the reporters that they would be "the first to know" when the document is published.

The book that was launched on Friday is titled Spiritus et Sponsa. It is published by Librarie Editrice Vaticana, and divided into two main parts.

The first main section is made up of pontifical documents: an apostolic letter from Pope John Paul II entitled Spiritus et Sponsa (from which the volume takes its title); and a chirograph of November 2003 on sacred music.

The second main section consists of addresses delivered at the December conference, reflecting on the liturgical changes of the past 40 years. There are also sections on liturgical music and on the papal liturgies of the current pontificate. Among the contributors are Cardinals Arinze, Francis George, Joachim Meisner, Christian Tumi, and Ivan Dias.

Liturgical changes are sign of church's life, Cardinal Arinze says (Catholic News Service 2/4/04)
Prelate seeks an end to liturgical abuses (Catholic World News 2/4/04)

Perth seminar told liturgical renewal a "work in progress" (CathNews 5/12/03)
Liturgical renewal: a "work in progress" conclude liturgists (Vias Tuas)
Sacrosanctum Concilium, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy - Second Vatican Council, Promulgated by His Holiness Pope Paul VI On December 4, 1963
Times were a-changing (Catholic Weekly 7/12/03)
Archbishop warns against liturgy nostalgia (CathNews 4/12/03)
The Fortieth Anniversary of the Liturgical Reform of Vatican II (David Orr OSB)
Some Highlights of the Liturgical Renewal Initiated by Sacrosanctum Concilium (Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments)

Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

6 Apr 2004