Official comments by Cardinal Scola, relator general of the Synod

Source: FSSPX News


The Patriarch of Venice, relator general of the Bishops’ Synod in October 2005, expressed himself in a press conference presenting the Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis at the Vatican on March 13.

On this occasion he noted that the assembly did not want to hide the “very positive character of the liturgical reform,” even though there were “abuses”. A liturgical reform like that which followed the Second Vatican Council “requires decades of fine tuning,” he said. According to him, we are still in “a phase of doctrinal reception and deeper study” of the reform “from a practical viewpoint”. Commenting upon the Exhortation, the relator general of the 11th synodal Assembly stated that one of the “creative and inspired” aspects of the Exhortation is that it takes up the directive of the Synod for “a better balance between what we call the horizontal dimension of the Eucharistic assembly (the relationship between the faithful) and the vertical dimension (the relationship with God).”

Concerning the possible liberalization of the Tridentine Mass which might create divisions within the Church, Cardinal Scola explained that if “the liturgical action, in its capacity to unify and in its coincidence between rite and gesture” became “a factor of division in the Church”, it would be “a contradiction”. According to him, what the Synod said about “the more usual recourse to the Latin and to Gregorian chant already clarifies the Church’s viewpoint on the question and can contribute to ease possible misunderstandings or difficulties.” And he specified: “In the history of the use of the rites in the Church, it never happened that the introduction of a new rite coincided with the abolition of the preceding rite.” For the Patriarch of Venice, it is a matter of obtaining a balanced progress of the communion, while respecting “objective indications”: “We cannot cast a shadow upon the rite of Paul VI, nor on the meaning, value and decisive importance of the liturgical reform.”

For him, the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Benedict XVI must serve as the model for a good reception of the Council. “The Holy Father’s insistence over these two years of his pontificate on the truth of love clearly indicates that this is one of the crucial themes upon which the future of the Church and of humanity depend,” and this teaching constitutes a veritable “paradigm of the reception of conciliar texts.”

Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, Secretary General of the Synod spoke after Cardinal Scola. In his discourse, entitled “Experience of ecclesial communion,” he stressed that the Exhortation formed part of the “series of great documents on the sublime Sacrament of the Eucharist” like John Paul II’s encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia or Letter on Sunday’s observance Mane Nobiscum Domine, and was part of this continuity.

During the Angelus on March 18, Benedict XVI insisted on saying that his Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, released five days earlier was truly “in the continuity” of the Second Vatican Council. This document, he specified, “is in continuity with the Second Vatican Council and the Magisterium of my venerable Predecessors, Paul VI and John Paul II.” He was thus answering various criticisms regretting the “backsliding” implied by some recommendations – like the value given again to Latin or Gregorian chant – compared with the postconciliar changes in liturgical matters.