Friday, October 26, 2007

H.E Godfried Cardinal Danneels

Last night at the weekly Adoration at CUA it was announced that the campus ministry office had just received a phone call from a visiting Cardinal, who wanted to celebrate Mass with the students. Cardinal Danneels, the Archbishop of Brussels-Mechelen, is in town for a conference, and said Mass this afternoon at CU's Caldwell Chapel. Over our lunch break, I headed up the street, to a packed chapel (every pew was full, standing room only. Can't say if this state of affairs was because of the visiting dignitary. I think it unlikely, given that it wasn't known too far in advance!). Quite by coincidence, I happened to have read an interview with Cardinal Danneels in the October issue of Inside the Vatican, which I just purchased on Tuesday!

Cardinal Danneels is a thoughtful man and deep thinker (often identified, as a "progressive" whatever that means!), and it was great to see him in person. He celebrated mass wearing a simple green chasuble (no sign of Cardinalatial rank to be seen). Besides, I thought it spoke volumes that he wanted to say Mass with young people, rather than go over to the Shrine next door (which is what most visiting dignitaries are wont to do).

After Mass I got his blessing, and he kindly signed that copy of Inside the Vatican. (He had no idea the interview was in there. It is actually an English excerpt of a book-length interview that appeared earlier in the Belgian daily De Morgen. Rocco put up an English translation of the entire excerpt back in August.)

I didn't take my camera (rather gauche, wot, to show up at a daily Mass looking like a reporter!), but I did get this rather blurry and grainy photo on my cell phone. Nope, he's not really recognizable. Big deal.



Later in the day he gave a talk at the School of Canon Law: Liturgy - 40 years after Vatican II. Since I was painting the dining room, I couldn't attend. However, someone in the house did, and I got the following few points from him over dinner.

  • He didn't address the issue of the recent motu proprio but it did come up in the Q&A. His take was a) it's ok to expand its availability b) he thought the Holy Father did it as an outreach to the Lefebrevists, but until they acknowledged the validity of the teaching of the Council, there would be no unity.


  • As far as liturgy itself, some points included the fact that in the period after the Council, the "immanent" side of things was emphasized to such and extent that the liturgy could hardly be called Christ's liturgy any more. The local community was emphasized to an extent that almost excluded Christ. He also thought there was nothing really wrong with the priest celebrating ad orientem. (I'm afraid that's all I recall.


  • The Novus Ordo as it is often celebrated is very wordy. It engages the mind, the hearing. But not the other senses. Earlier, the beauty and art of a church spoke to us as well. Now, correspondingly, churches have become bare, functional, even ugly. And please note, these are just my recollections of what someone who attended the lecture remembered!
[Ah, the the Papist up the street did attend, and has a much more comprehensive and detailed account than these fragmented second-hand recollections. He was the one who asked the question about the motu proprio. As I was skimming through his notes, one thing struck me -- most (if not all) the points identified by Cardinal Daneels as being problematic with the Roman liturgy are not an issue at all with Eastern liturgies.]

[AmPapist links to an article in America (available to registered users of the website. Registration is free) that His Eminence wrote on the subject in the August 27, 2007 issue. There's also a link to the full-text of a talk with the same title that he gave at Boston College in April. Both are free.]

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