Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Pope in Benin, Africa - The Gloria in the New Roman Missal

From the press conference on the papal flight to Benin:

Q:Holiness, at the opening of the African synod in Rome, you spoke of Africa as a ‘great spiritual lung for a humanity experiencing a crisis of faith and hope.’ Thinking about the great problems of Africa, this expression can appear almost disturbing. In what sense do you think faith and hope for the world can truly come from Africa? Are you thinking about the role of Africa in the evangelization of the rest of the world?

A: Naturally, Africa has great problems and difficulties, like all humanity has great problems. If I think about my youth, it was a completely different world than that of today, so much so that I sometimes think I’m living on a different planet from when I was a young man!
I would say there’s a fresh humanism in the young soul of Africa, despite all the problems that exist. There’s a reserve of life and vitality for the future that we can count upon.

Humanity finds itself in an ever more rapid process of transformation, and for Africa this process over the last 50-60 years, moving from independence after colonialism up to today, has been very demanding. Naturally, it’s a very difficult process with great problems that haven’t yet been entirely resolved.

Nevertheless, there’s a freshness, a ‘yes’ to life, in Africa, a youthfulness that’s full of enthusiasm and hope. There’s a sense of humor, a joy. It shows a freshness, too, in the religious sense. There’s still a metaphysical perception of reality, meaning reality in its totality with God. There’s not a rigid positivism, that restricts our life and makes it a little arid, and also turns off hope.

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Why the Changes to the Gloria?


If we examine the previous text of the Gloria alongside the new version, we note that although the wording has been expanded, it does not sound very different.

There are changes but it does not seem as if we are praying something altogether new. The new version makes it clear at the beginning of Mass that we are gathering to do something utterly different from whatever else we do during the week. We are participating with heaven and earth in the Divine Liturgy, blending our voices with those of angels and saints.

The Gloria’s opening words repeat the message of the angels to the shepherds at the birth of Christ: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people of good will" (Luke 2:14). Though human, we are privileged to join the angels in praising God and participate in the heavenly liturgy.

The Gloria possesses rhetorical devices, such as repeating a word or a phrase, that reflect speech patterns from early Christianity. They highlight the reality that this is no ordinary "thank you" we are expressing to a friend or loved one. Instead, we are oining angelic choirs in adoring the Trinity.  --Father Geoffrey Kerslake

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