By Elise Harris
Vatican City, Feb 18, 2014 / 12:13 am MT ().- During a recent interview, Archbishop Arthur Roche spoke on the significance of the Traditional Latin Mass, explaining that the Mass nourishes us, and that the special rite brings us together in a unique way.
“It’s a common language, as it were, that brings us together, that holds us together,” the archbishop noted during a Feb. 13 interview with CNA, adding that “the Latin Mass…is a beautiful expression of the worship of God.”
Archbishop Arthur Roche is the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, and is helping to organize a special conference commemorating the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s apostolic constitution “Sacrosanctum Concilium.”
“Sacrosanctum Concilium” is the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, which was promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1963 in order to foster a greater participation of lay people in the Mass by allowing them to hear the Gospel proclaimed in their own language. It also promoted a greater use of Gregorian chant.
During the conference, running from Feb. 18 – Feb. 20 and which has been organized by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, experts will discuss the impact the constitution has had in reforming the order of Mass and how Mass is said.
Archbishop Roche observed that the most important thing is to keep the Eucharist at the center, because “the Eucharist itself creates community because it is Christ who shares himself abundantly.”
“The act of worship is something that we do together for God. It is not something that is simply expressive of ourselves” he emphasized, stating that “It is expressive of our love for God; our response to his greatness, to his goodness for us, to the wonderful mercy that he gives to us.”
If we maintain this view, the archbishop noted, it creates community, “because first of all, we attend Mass because we are in need. We are there because we need to be fed.”
Recalling how Jesus in the Gospel stated that “unless you eat of this bread, and drink of this blood, you shall not have life within you,” Archbishop Roche reiterated that “we go to be fed,” and “we go to become more like Christ, and that itself creates a wonderful communion.”
Speaking of the Mass celebrated in Latin, the archbishop highlighted that it “will always be a part of the Roman rite” because it maintains “the language in which the Roman rite is written – whether it be the ordinary or indeed the extraordinary form.”
“It is the way in which the Church expresses itself,” he explained, observing how there has been an increase in use of Gregorian chant during Mass, “especially at international events.”
Drawing attention to the special international reach of the city of Rome, Archbishop Roche went on to say that “people from throughout the world, from every continent and from the different hemispheres, come together to share Mass and are joined together in that common expression of the singing of the Latin part of the Mass.”
Turning his attention to Pope Francis take on the rite, the archbishop explained that “the Pope hasn’t expressed anything about the extraordinary form nor in fact about the ordinary form either.”
However, he “is a very open man, as you know, and a very fair minded man,” the archbishop noted, and is someone who “when he celebrates Mass, as is visibly seen, is taken up in what he is doing, is very attentive, and very recollected in the celebration of the Mass.”
“And that’s the important thing,” Archbishop Roche stated, “it’s the function of Peter to hold the Church in unity and he will be more aware of that than I am.”
Participants of the conference will have the opportunity to meet with Pope Francis on Wed. Feb. 19 during his weekly General Audience.
Estefania Augirre contributed to this piece.