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Cardinal Sarah emphasizes importance of silence in the liturgy

February 02, 2016

Writing in L’Osservatore Romano, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has stressed the importance of moments of silence in the liturgy.

“External silence is an ascetic exercise of mastery in the use of the word,” said Cardinal Robert Sarah, who contrasted the Marian silence of the one wishes to meditate on God’s word with the noise of the person who wishes to show off.

Quoting Sacred Scripture, the Second Vatican Council, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s Spirit of the Liturgy, Cardinal Sarah said that “we must avoid transforming the church, which is the house of God intended for adoration, into a spectacle hall where you go to applaud the actors.”

Cardinal Sarah, who hails from Guinea, also criticized the “long and loud” offertory processions, “including endless dances, in some African countries. One has the impression of being present at a folklore exhibition.”

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  • Posted by: filioque - Feb. 03, 2016 1:43 PM ET USA

    It includes all applause. And the choir should be in the back, not in the sanctuary. The Mass is an awesome event when Jesus Christ, through the priest, offers Himself again for us to the Father. If we focus on that and not on ourselves, we will recognize the need for at least some silence. Cardinal Ratzinger explained all this in "The Spirit of the Liturgy" and Card. Sarah also in "God or Nothing" and his articles in LOR. See also the June 12, 2015, edition.

  • Posted by: unum - Feb. 03, 2016 11:26 AM ET USA

    Amen!

  • Posted by: brenda22890 - Feb. 03, 2016 11:06 AM ET USA

    Cardinal Sarah is such a breath of fresh air. I am reading "God or Nothing" and it is wonderful!

  • Posted by: vjenkins78814 - Feb. 02, 2016 11:54 PM ET USA

    I wonder if that includes applauding the choir at the end of mass? Should there be silence after the gifts have been brought up to the altar?