This reform in continuity – producing chant music in vernacular languages – is an example of neither breaking with the past, nor remaining stuck in it.
“That’s really what we’ve been dealing with in the Church for the past 50 years,” reflected Archbishop Cordileone, “rupture, versus continuity and reform.”
He named the new liturgical institute for Benedict XVI, who identified this “hermeneutic of continuity, saying that the emeritus Pope was “calling us to see the (Second Vatican) Council in the context of a historical continuity … building upon what came before; so Benedict was calling us to build upon, not replace,” the tradition of the Church.
“The Church builds on what it has received,” he said, and “Pope Benedict understood what was received.”
The second main purpose of the education institution, Archbishop Cordileone explained, is a more profound formation for laity who serve as lectors or extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.
He explained that good training for such lay ministers, while essential, “isn’t enough.”
“There has to be a deeper formation, so it’s coming out of their heart, out of their soul, so they understand the true spirit of the liturgy and they have a liturgical spirituality.”
He cited the importance of lectors appreciating the context of readings and Biblical theology, and said extraordinary ministers “need to understand truly who it is they are handling, and to be formed in that deep respect for the Blessed Sacrament.”
The Benedict XVI Institute will be based at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, and will serve seminarians as well as laymen; according to its website it “supports pastors in their efforts to form lay people” for liturgical ministries and will offer courses both online and at parishes.
The new initiative is one among a number of acts Archbishop Cordileone has done in the 18 months he has served in San Francisco: he has also said a number of Masses in the extraordinary form, provided for regular celebration of the extraordinary form, and has provided for a new order, the Contemplatives of St. Joseph, to assist in liturgical reform and spiritual renewal in the archdiocese.