Dr Tighe sent me the link to this post on Weedon’s Blog: A Few Gems from Ratzinger on Liturgy. The Ratzinger quotes are indeed “gems”, but the real entertainment is in the comments string, starting right off with this comment from a WELS pastor:
I appreciate much of what you share on your blog, Fr. Weedon, but this one gives me great pause.
The demons were “bang on right” when they confessed that Jesus was the Son of God, too. But Jesus shut them up because he didn’t want that kind of publicity.
Do you really want to be quoting Antichrist as the author of “gems”?
What follows is simply hilarious. Or sad. Or both.
I am, however, in total agreement with Pastor Weedon that his selection of Ratzinger quotes on the liturgy are “gems”. They are precisely the sort of “gems” that led me into the Catholic Church. I was reflecting on what first prompted my transition the other day (due to the fact that this month is the 10th anniversary of the beginnings of my twinges of conscience regarding the Catholic Church) and realised that it was as much a question of the liturgy as anything that started me down that path. This time 10 years ago, I was travelling a little bit, and was dismayed to find that it was difficult to find a Lutheran Church that had the Lord’s Supper every Sunday and even more difficult to find one that did the Lutheran liturgy faithfully. The 1990’s were a decade of liturgical experimentation in the LCA, and, I guess, in Lutheranism in the States too, especially with the rise of Church Growth ideology and methodology. It was this frustration that led me to reflect on the Augsburg Confession’s definition of the “true Church”, namely the one where the Gospel is rightly preached an the sacraments rightly administered. I came to question what that would mean if the church I belonged to did not actually administer the sacrament every Lord’s day. It was only a start, but it got me thinking.
Travelling around a bit again this Christmas, and attending several Lutheran services, I am also amazed to find that a practice has crept into the local Australian Lutheran Church to the Eucharistic Liturgy even in the most conservative Lutheran congregations. I generally find that the Eucharistic liturgy looks like this:
3) Lord’s Prayer (SAID BY THE WHOLE CONGREGATION)
4) Words of Institution
5) Pax Domini (ending with “Amen” rather than “And also with you”)
Now, there is nothing really odd about this from a Lutheran point of view EXCEPT that point 3 “said by the whole Congregation”. Luther justified his cutting out of the Eucharistic Canon by saying that the Lord himself had given a better prayer for consecration, namely the “Our Father”, which he then used instead of the Canon. (There are examples in other early Lutheran service orders that have the “Our Father” after the Verba). But the “Our Father” was always said by the pastor, as it was understood to be a prayer of consecration. I seriously wonder what having the Lord’s Prayer said at this point by all the congregation means. I usually like to join in with the Lord’s Prayer with the rest of my family, but I do have some qualms of conscience at this point about praying what is effectively a prayer of “lay consecration”!