Here is what Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in 1998.
" ... It is good here to recall what Cardinal Newman observed*, that the Church, throughout her history, has never abolished nor forbidden orthodox liturgical forms, which would be quite alien to the Spirit of the Church. An orthodox liturgy, that is to say, one which expresses the true faith, is never a compilation made according to the pragmatic criteria of different ceremonies, handled in a positivist and arbitrary way, one way today and another way tomorrow. The orthodox forms of a rite are living realities, born out of the dialect of love between the Church and her Lord. They are expressions of the life of the Church, in which are distilled the faith, the prayer, and the very life of past generations, and which make incarnate in specific forms both the action of God and the response of man. Such rites can die, if those who have used them in a particular era should disappear, or if the life-situation of those same people should change. The authority of the church had the power to define and limit the use of such rites in different historical situations, but she never just purely and simply forbids them!"
*Can anyone provide a reference to this?
All italics are mine.
8 July 2017
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Father Benedict's colleague Nicola Bux says the same thing about Newman in Benedict XVI's Reform: The Liturgy Between Innovation and Tradition and cites Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. II, sermon 7.
According to Nicola Bux in Benedict XVI's Reform, page 101, it's from Parochial and Plain Sermons, Book 2, Sermon 7.
It is an extract from an address given in Rome in 1998 by then Cardinal Ratzinger to celebrate ten years of the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei. Full details attached:
You will find your quotation in the first VERY long paragraph here:
It seems this was said in an address to pilgrims on October 24, 1998, the tenth anniversary of the motu propio 'Ecclesia Dei', when then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.
Ten Years of the Motu Proprio "Ecclesia Dei" (Oct. 24, 1998)
His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's address to pilgrims gathered in Rome on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the motu proprio "Ecclesia Dei."
I know you want no comments, Father, but I'd also be grateful for the source of this very moving - and in my simple opinion - forceful Ratzinger quote. I nearly began to weep when I read it. Sign of old age, I presume (73 in two weeks' time).
Catherina van Sienna (Acáma Fick, South Africa)
Here, I believe:
Ten Years of the Motu Proprio “Ecclesia Dei”
by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.
translated by Fr. Ignatius Harrison, Brompton Oratory, London
A lecture given at the Ergife Palace Hotel, Rome on Saturday 24th October 1998, to an audience of some 3000 traditional Catholics.
Please delete my previous comment. It is not the answer to your question.
Perhaps this passage from Newman's Parochial & Plain Sermons (thank you Elizabeth!) is the one Fr. Benedict had in mind:
"Places consecrated to God's honour, clergy carefully set apart for His service, the Lord's-day piously observed, the public forms of prayer, the decencies of worship, these things, viewed as a whole, are sacred relatively to us, even if they were not, as they are, divinely sanctioned. Rites which the Church has appointed, and with reason,—for the Church's authority is from Christ,—being long used, cannot be disused without harm to our souls..."
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