read his whole column here. (BTW, Terry, forewarned, I am quoting a Pope and commending an article by a Roman Catholic.)
The words ["the best catechesis on the Eucharist is the Eucharist itself, celebrated well" -- not the whole article linked to the quote] are something which may be Roman Catholic in origin but are thoroughly Lutheran as well. The rite, well celebrated, is its own best teacher of what we believe, teach, and confess -- not only with respect to the Sacrament of the Altar but with respect to Baptism as well. For those who think I am being picky or that my concern for how we celebrate the Sacraments as well as that we do, this is exactly the point. The rite and the manner in which we observe that rite is itself catechetical. What we do in worship and how we do it teaches. It says something.
This is one of the reasons why I am so adamant about baptism taking place within the Divine Service. The rite of Baptism teaches and observing this rite teaches. It is not just about throwing a little water on the kid in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The rite is not something neutral but heavily laden with values. It teaches. We have a hymnal and rites approved for use within the Church not because we Lutherans are hierarchical and demand uniformity but precisely because the rite teaches. What it teaches changes when we change the rite. BTW this is one reason why I insist upon the exorcism in the rite -- children are not nice, sweet, little, innocent balls of joy but born in sin and doomed to eternal death unless delivered from sin, death, and the devil. What we do and how we do it counts. Pastors who run commentary during the baptism as if it were a photo op or a cutesie YouTube moment are doing a disservice. Maybe the baptism is not rendered ineffective but the teaching moment came and went and the train left the station empty. This is not incidental to the baptism but part of it, as well.
This is one of the reasons why I get so upset by a truncated, cut and pasted, and made up rite for the Liturgy of the Sacrament. The rite itself teaches. The liturgy is a teacher. When we steal all the tools from the liturgy, it leaves precious little to teach. The rite is instructive and how we observe it teaches us also what we believe about the Sacrament. When we disregard the Liturgy of the Sacrament (either Common Service form or Divine Service form) and reshape the rite to fit personal taste, artificial time constraints, or because we think it unimportant, what we do and how we do it also affects what we believe, teach and confess. It is not a Lutheran but Scripture which reminds us of this. For as often as you eat of this bread and drink of this cup you proclaim the Lord's death til he comes... What is that we proclaim? The rite or liturgy is part of that proclamation and not simply the Words of Institution in a vacuum. When we rush the words, we say something about what we are doing (mostly about it not being at all important). When we expend the consecrated elements and add additional hosts or wine and repeat the Verba Christi over then, it says something. What we do with and how we treat the reliquae says something about what we believe, teach, and confess.
This is also one of the reasons why we accompany the reading of God's Word with care and attention. Whether the ceremonial that attends this is elaborate or simple is less important than the manner in which we speak forth God's Word to the people of God assembled to hear it. It is not our word but His, not dramatic reading for effect but the reading of the Word that has authority and is efficacious, and not a tool of the preacher but the Word which the preaching extols, explains, and applies within the careful confines of the parameters of the Law and Gospel. This is why those who read need to be carefully chosen (and, BTW, I have sat through Pastors who read so poorly I was not even sure what they had said when they had completed the reading -- Pastors need to practice every bit as much as others who might be charged with a portion of this responsibility). And, one more aside, this is why so much of what passes as children's sermons demean and diminish the Word of God and treat it as mere moralistic speech whose goal is an object lesson like Aesop's fables. We do not do it because we hold to a high view of the Word not because we have something personal against these Kodak moments with the kids.
What we do and how we do it says something. Ideally, the best catechesis IS the liturgy itself, well said and carefully observed. This is not even a Western idea -- when I spoke with an Orthodox priest of the catechesis required of those who became Orthodox, he pointed first to the Divine Liturgy as its own best teacher of Orthodox belief and practice. Lutherans stand right in the midst of this. This is, in effect, nothing more and nothing less than the application of the ancient axiom, lex orandi, lex credendi. This more than anything else is why you so much of this kind of stuff on this blog...